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USA military does not need a numerical increase or new nuclear weapons in Europe

trump-puppet-of-weapons-makersNo, the U.S. Doesn’t Need to Expand Its Nuclear Weapons Program, Politico By STEVEN PIFER December 29, 2016 
December 23, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the United States must “expand its nuclear capability.” Had he written modernize, upgrade, update or renew, no one would have paid much attention. But he seemed to call for a quantitative increase, something Matthew Kroenig endorsed in a December 23 Politico Magazine article.

They are both wrong. The U.S. military currently fields a safe, secure and effective nuclear force that provides a robust deterrent, and it has plans to modernize that force. It does not need a numerical increase or new nuclear weapons in Europe………
Dr. Kroenig raised three points in endorsing Mr. Trump’s tweet. First, he wrote that the U.S. military must modernize all three legs of its strategic triad. That, however, is already in the works. The Pentagon plans to buy new ballistic missile submarines, new ICBMs and new strategic bombers in the next decade.

 Some question whether the Pentagon will be able to afford all of that, and its nuclear plans may indeed be more than is necessary. For example, the Air Force developed air-launched cruise missiles in the 1970s because B-52 bombers presented big targets on radar. It’s not clear why a new air-launched cruise missile is needed when the new B-21 bomber will have advanced stealth and electronic warfare capabilities to penetrate sophisticated air defenses.

There is little doubt, however, that the Pentagon is cranking up a robust strategic modernization program……..

Dr. Kroenig’s third point is that NATO must deploy additional nuclear capabilities, including a nuclear-armed air-to-surface missile, to maintain its deterrent. The NATO alliance, however, has already decided what it requires: Proceed with the on-going modernization of the U.S. B61 nuclear gravity bomb and deployment of the F-35, whose stealth capabilities will make it a formidable delivery system.

There is no need, then, for a new U.S. nuclear weapon in Europe. Many, if not most, NATO allies would oppose introducing a nuclear-armed air-to-surface missile. And those allies most likely to want to host such a weapon are in Central Europe, closer to Russia. Even Dr. Kroenig has recognized, in the Atlantic Council report he cites in the article, that such a deployment would make the weapons more susceptible to pre-emption in a crisis.

Nuclear policymaking should not be conducted by Twitter. A close and careful look at the data shows that the United States currently has sufficient nuclear forces for deterrent requirements plus plans to maintain those forces in the future. There is no need to increase their number. Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.


December 30, 2016 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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