Former Defense Secretary Says Eliminate ICBMs

Former Defense Secretary William Perry urged the elimination of the ground-based ICBM leg of the nuclear deterrent triad and opposed production of the nuclear-armed Long Range Standoff missile, which will replace the air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), calling both “uniquely destabilizing.” Speaking at a Dec. 3 defense writers’ breakfast in Washington, D.C., Perry said because of “deteriorating” US-Russian relations, “we are now facing the kinds of dangers we faced in the Cold War,” with the threat of “a nuclear event,” and “we’re now at the precipice, the brink, of a nuclear arms race.” Perry, however, supported buying the Long-Range Strike Bomber and a replacement for the Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines to modernize the other two legs of the triad. The Air Force has started development of the LRSO to ensure the continued viability of the bomber leg. Ironically, as Defense Secretary from 1994-97, Perry cancelled the B-1 bomber program and approved production of the original ALCMs to counter the threat to the B-52s from Soviet anti-air missiles. Perry said he opposes the ICBMs because “under any reasonable definition of deterrence, they are not needed,” and they are destabilizing because any threat of an attack triggers the “use it ?or lose it” mentality.