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Spending More on Nukes: STRATCOM’s Nuclear Death Wish

Spending More on Nukes: STRATCOM’s Nuclear Death Wish

Photograph Source: Sgt Samuel Rogers (USAF/Barksdale Air Force Base) – CC BY 2.0

Being sufficiently able at your job is a good thing.  But beware the trappings of zeal.  When it comes to the business of retaining an inventory for humanity’s annihilation, the zealous should be kept away.  But there Admiral Charles Richard was in April this year, with his siren calls, urging the US Senate to consider a simple proposition.  “Sustainment of modernization of our modern nuclear forces … has transitioned from something we should do, to something we must do.”  As Commander of the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM), he was aching to impress the Senate Committee on Armed Services that the nuclear deterrent was there to be polished and improved.

Much of his address as part of the Posture Statement Review should be treated as the conventional lunacy that comes with that cretin-crusted field known as nuclear deterrence.  “Peace is our profession” remains the somewhat obscene motto of STRATCOM, and it is a peace kept by promising the potential extinction of the human species.

For the Admiral, strategic deterrence is the holy of holies.  If it fails, “we are prepared to deliver a decisive response, decisive in every possible way.”  This decisiveness will be achieved “with a modern resilient, equipped, and trained combatant-ready force.”  To avoid the failure of such deterrence also required revisiting “a critical forgotten lesson that deterrence operates continuously from peacetime, through the gray zone, worldwide, across all domains, and into conflict” [Richard’s emphasis].

The fate of the US (Richard humourlessly calls it safety and security) is indelibly linked to an “effective nuclear triad; a reliable and modern nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) architecture; and a responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure.”

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