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USA’s new Nuclear Posture Review – an (unsustainable) gift to the nuclear weapons industry

Pentagon’s New Nuclear Strategy Is Unsustainable And A Handout To Defense Industry
Considering the arsenal we have is extremely costly to maintain not to mention update, expanding it will be fiscally unsustainable in the long run. The Drive, BY TYLER ROGO, WAYFEBRUARY 21, 2018 

 I had high hopes that the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review would lay out a creative new strategy that would save money when it comes to sustaining and modernizing America’s hideously expensive nuclear arsenal. It ended up doing just the opposite.

Basically an “and the kitchen sink too” document, it not only maintains and modernizes the current nuclear triad, but also expands upon it with calling for new iterations of established delivery systems as well as a developing a whole new one as well. Most controversially it looks to field more “usable” nuclear weapons in some nebulous attempt to deter an enemy’s own use of low-yield tactical nukes during a limited conflict. This is sometimes referred to as “escalate to de-escalate,” but regardless of the tactics involved, really this document represents a handout to defense contractors of monumental proportions and above all else, a unsustainable and highly expensive strategy overall.

Just modernizing the nuclear arsenal we have today was slated to cost roughly $1.5T with inflation over the next 30 years and that is without the new initiatives laid out by the Strategic Posture Review. These include the introduction of low-yield warheads for the D5 Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile, the reintroduction of a nuclear-tipped naval cruise missile, and the development of nuclear-armed hypersonic weapons that will become a whole new medium of delivery in the coming decades.  ……….

In the end, substantially increasing the number of America’s nuclear delivery systems and making nuclear weapons “easier to use” is a reckless and extremely costly path to go down, especially without giving up something in return. And the cold hard truth is that $700B defense budgets are notsustainable. As America is forced to confront its reckless spending habits in the years to come, sustaining the nuclear arsenal we already have will become fiscally challenging—doing so with an expanded arsenal will be all but impossible.  ……….

So who wins in all this? Defense contractors, and in a huge way. Nuclear weapons contracts are extremely expensive and the secrecy surrounding them helps with limiting public ridicule and even congressional oversight.

But don’t blame the contractors, blame those who are making these decisions. Just going on a nuclear shopping spree while the dollars are many sets the Pentagon up for some tough, if not embarrassing triaging of fiscal priorities down the road. As such, the chances are very high that these initiatives will end up being viewed as highly wasteful and nearsighted in the not so distant future, and even integrating them into existing arms treaties is a whole other issue altogether.

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February 22, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, weapons and war

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