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Friday, June 28, 2013

Taking another shot at cutting nukes

Taking another shot at cutting nukes

President Obama wants the number of deployed U.S. strategic nuclear warheads reduced from the 1,550 limit set by the 2010 treaty with Russia to closer to 1,000, depending on an agreement with that country.

In a June 19 speech in Berlin, Obama said: “After a comprehensive review, I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third. And I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures.”

That review of the Nuclear Weapons Employment Strategy was only the third such study since the end of the Cold War. Led by the Defense Department, it included representatives from the departments of State and Energy (which builds the weapons), plus the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Council.
It led to a new presidential nuclear employment guidance under which the Strategic Command sets contingency nuclear targeting plans for the U.S. triad of delivery systems: strategic bombers, along with land-based and sub-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

In a report released June 12, Defense stated that the 2018 levels specified in the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty “are more than adequate for the United States to fulfill its national security objectives.” That left open the option of more cuts.
The president also wants to take some deployed ICBMs off constant alert. The White House, in a fact sheet released the day of the speech, said the president had directed the Defense Department “to examine and reduce the role of launch under attack [the phrase for constant alert] in contingency planning.”

Why? Because, as the White House said, “the potential for a surprise, disarming nuclear attack is exceedingly remote.” That’s because no country, including Russia, has the capability to knock out enough nuclear weapons to prevent the United States from responding with a more devastating nuclear counterattack to the enemy country.

For example, Russia or another country would have to have enough warheads to simultaneously hit all the nuclear-capable delivery systems allowed under the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that will be in effect after 2018. That means probably 420 land-based ICBMs, along with 60 nuclear-equipped bombers and 12 strategic submarines, at least eight of which would be out to sea.

The “first strike” attack theory — which never could have been carried out — caused the United States and the Soviet Union to build up to 10,000 strategic nuclear warheads each during the Cold War. That’s what both are now reducing.


Anonymous said...

There is no ABM treaty in effect that prevents Russia from expanding its ABM system to the point at which it could defeat any US response from a Russian first strike.

Anonymous said...

Obama does not know what he is doing, period.

Anonymous said...

What's really scary is realizing that he knows exactly what he's doing!

Anonymous said...

No, the question of whether Obama knows or doesn't know what he is doing is irrelevant. The fact is that he just does not care at all about anything having to do with nuclear weapons. He would like them to cease to exist, but since he can't make that happen by executive order he has decided not to decide anything. Get used to no leadership at all from the Administration regarding our nuclear deterrent for the next three years. No funding fights, no stockpile size fights, no nuclear treaty initiatives, no nothing. It's "la-de-dah" time in Obama-land.


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