Friday, February 5, 2016

Pentagon Nuclear Budget Woes

Since the 1950s, the United States has built its existential security framework around a simple idea: Nuclear superiority ensures the nation’s safety.
It’s a strategy that represents the pinnacle of the proverbial “peace through strength,” but that began to change as the Soviet Union fell. The US delayed major modernization of the naval, air and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) components that make up the “nuclear triad” at the core of the US global strategy. And as the US emerged as the sole super power in the world, calls began to emerge to eliminate one or more of the triad’s legs.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and the rise of special forces-dominated counterinsurgency operations as the norm – only added to the feeling that the nuclear arsenal was a Cold War relic.
As time passed, the technologies that comprised the US nuclear enterprise began to near their expiration dates. Now, with a rising China and a resurgent Russia, as well as six other nations armed with nuclear weapons, the Pentagon is sounding an alarm that the tab for nuclear recapitalization is due.
And what a tab it is.