A Post-START Nuclear Enterprise

Now that national attention is focused on nuclear affairs thanks to the ratification debate on the New START agreement with Russia, it’s up to advocates of the US military’s strategic deterrence mission to ensure the touted nuclear investment and modernization plans come to fruition, said Gen. Robert Kehler, head of US Strategic Command, Thursday. STRATCOM officials are now engaged with the Joint Staff and Office of the Secretary of Defense on how to achieve the new limits in the strategic arsenal imposed by New START as well as the new verification processes, he told attendees at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition in Orlando, Fla. Kehler, STRATCOM chief since late January, said he has requested that his staff arrange visits to all the locations in the nation’s nuclear weapons complex. “I am interested in knowing the health of that part of the complex,” he said. He continued, “My number one concern is that the stockpile is safe and effective and able to support what we need to do.” In an era where live nuclear testing is no longer permitted, the health of this complex is equally important if not more important than the nuclear weapons themselves, he added.