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Document: Report to Congress on U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces

The following is the March 10, 2016 Congressional Research Service report, U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues.

  • Curtis Conway

    Outstanding article Amy . . . that was concise and articulate. The rationale, its development, and continued relevance of our Nuclear TRIAD is discussed in detail demonstrating in very specific terms why monkeying with this methodology of Nuclear Deterrence would be fraught with much uncertainty of effect or utility, introducing unforeseen RISK into this very delicate equation.

    “Some analysts see the Air Force’s possible renewed interest in these concepts as a step backward; they argue that the United States should consider retiring its ICBM force, and should not consider new, expensive schemes to increase the missiles’ capabilities.”

    These folks (analyst?!) obviously are not qualified to perform their task for they have not followed Russian improvements in their mobile nuclear missile employment programs, nor have they stayed up to date with Chinese accelerated growth in their Strategic Rocket Force programs, including Tactical Ballistic Missiles targeting land and naval targets. Both nations forces have modernized/grown respectively, and are well exercised. Russian exercises demonstrated by creations of modern art in the stratosphere in the Northern latitudes (google search [video] Norwegian Spirals).

    During this redesign period we should take full advantage of commonality of the USAF GBSD and USN FBMs in there replacement design (as with the fuse), entertaining some input from the United Kingdom, and retain a mobile basing model which provides versatility in the future, and consider modifications to the ICBM’s post-boost propulsion system components, as was performed in the Propulsion System Rocket Engine (PSRE) program, that will give the ICBM its additional range. This provides a FBM common rocket with [ICBM] post-boost phase motor on top, delivering a common package that can contain the appropriate sized warhead. Who knows what the future will bring. Also commonality of USAF/USN systems will reduce logistics, maintenance and training cost over the long term, while providing that basing versatility. We do not want to give too much to a potential adversary that already has mobile basing as a planning factor that further confuses the equation.

    “This change in [Bangor-Kings Bay] basing pattern apparently reflected changes in the international security environment,…”.

    This could very well happen again, given rapid changes taking place in the European Theater. A rebalancing of the FBM force could take place in the short term again.

    “…the United States does not maintain a single, unified budget for nuclear weapons and other nuclear activities.”

    TIME FOR THIS TO CHANGE . . . for without the Nuclear Deterrent, in force, solid and inviolate, nothing else matters, and this must be funded outside the constraints of the Budget Control Act in 2011.

    The National Sea-based Deterrence Fund (P.L. 113-291, §1022) should be renamed the ‘National Strategic Fund’ covering all Nuclear Strategic National Assets under National Command Authority including:
    • The ICBM/FBM modernization/replacements
    • Ohio [submarine] Replacement (OR)
    • Warhead maintenance and upgrades, including LRSO development and test
    • All nuclear delivery aspects of the B-21 Bomber, and other aviation platforms capable of delivering nuclear weapons
    • All NCA command and control fleet that support these activities
    o E-6B Mercury [TACAMO] specifically
    o And equipment sets on E-4B National Command Operations Centers & Air Force One, and shore stations that support these activities, because they are dual use