The Ultimate Guarantee of National Sovereignty

The world isn’t moving to zero nuclear weapons anytime soon, making it imperative for the United States to proceed with modernizing and recapitalizing the nation’s nuclear deterrent force, said Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, Air Force Global Strike Command boss. Not doing so is “a risk we cannot take,” he said on Sept. 17 during the nuclear panel discussion at AFA’s Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. “We must continue to be able to deter any adversary and assure any ally,” he said. Kowalski said he finds it “incredulous when people tell me we can’t afford to recapitalize the ultimate guarantee of our national sovereignty.” He noted that the Fiscal 2012 budget for AFGSC, which oversees the Air Force’s ICBM force and nuclear-capable B-2 and B-52 bombers, amounted to $4.7 billion. That was “less than 5 percent” of the Air Force’s total budget and “less than one percent” of the Defense Department’s total budget. Meanwhile, the US Postal Service operated at a loss of $15.9 billion in Fiscal 2012, he said, offering some context. “This is not a slam on the Post Office,” said Kowalski.