Modernizing the Nuclear Deterrent is Key

Foreign nations “are increasing the role of nuclear weapons in their national security and US policy needs to take that into account,” said Franklin Miller, senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Speaking on Capitol Hill on May 15, he called on the Obama Administration to give direction and leadership to modernize the nuclear triad. During his talk—sponsored by AFA, the National Defense Industrial Association, and Reserve Officers Association—Miller pointed out the Navy’s attempt to develop the Ohio-class replacement submarine only to have the program slip by two years. He also referenced the Air Force’s new bomber, which will have a nuclear role, but not when initially fielded. “When it will have that role is left unsaid,” he said of the bomber. He also expressed concern about the Air Force’s plans to procure a successor to the Air Launched Cruise Missile, saying “the way that program is structured, seeking to procure only a few hundred nuclear-only missiles almost certainly makes it unaffordable.” He said the United States shouldn’t reduce its inventory of nuclear weapons unless there is a “plan to modernize,” noting that “the last time the triad was modernized was in the 1980s.” (See also A Very Serious Strategic Challenge.)