No-Fun Nuclear Holiday

The United States is falling behind potential adversaries, such as Russia and China, in modernizing its nuclear deterrent, and the bills for that modernization are coming due at the worst possible time, said Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, strategic deterrence chief on the Air Staff. “Almost everybody else is modernizing, certainly at a pace beyond ours,” he said during a Capitol Hill speech on June 17 sponsored by AFA, the Reserve Officers Association, and National Defense Industrial Association. “Part of the problem is a lot of these things should have been taken care of 25 years ago. We took a procurement holiday when it comes to strategic nuclear modernization” while our rivals have, in many cases, kept a steady pace since the end of the Cold War, he said. Now, with budget sequestration in force, and money becoming scarcer, the United States is saddled with having to upgrade or replace everything from ICBMs, bombers, and submarines, to warheads, cruise missiles, and command and control infrastructure at once, said Harencak. “It’s just a fact,” he said.