As the nation begins discussions on the future of the nuclear triad, knowledgeable Navy voices must be ready to explain the utility and advantages of the sea-based leg.
The cost of modernizing the nation’s strategic nuclear forces has awakened discussions on strategic nuclear weapon systems after years of somnolence. Thoughtful analysis of strategic nuclear deterrent policy has been slim to nonexistent since the implosion of the Soviet Union and the resultant temporary disappearance not only of a threat, but also of a political entity to be deterred. With the rise of Vladimir Putin and the entry of a nuclear-armed and aggressive China into the great power arena, however, both have reappeared. Simultaneously, the end of life of the United States’ existing strategic weapon systems has renewed debate on the nature of future deterrent forces. In discussions about these major programs, knowledgeable voices, careful reasoning, and measured opinions are important.