Conventional PGS Not a Nuke Substitute

Gen. Kevin Chilton, head of US Strategic Command, does not believe that a conventional ICBM or SLBM could substitute for a nuclear deterrent. James Miller, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, had just told Senators during an April 22 hearing that the nuclear posture review considered the possibility of fielding “a small number of conventional ICBMs” for the prompt global strike mission, noting that if the ICBM still maintained a “traditional ballistic missile trajectory,” it would be counted against the new START limits. He said the Pentagon is doing more analysis on this as part of the on-going long-range strike study. Chilton added that he considers a conventional PGS “a niche capability, another weapon in the quiver.” However, he emphasized, “You don’t replace the nuclear deterrent with that one-for-one or not even ten-for-one.”