Center Chairman Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA, ret.) published an op-ed in The Hill today on the ongoing, Pentagon-led review of U.S. nuclear deterrence requirements. A February 14 Associated Press story reported that as part of this review the Pentagon has prepared a range of options for future nuclear force levels.
Below is Gen. Gard’s closing argument:
In a time of limited budgets and scarce resources, it would be irresponsible not to consider reductions in weapons that most national security experts see as of marginal strategic value. Those scarce funds certainly can be better directed toward addressing 21st century national security threats, not those of the 20th century. The mere consideration of that possibility, however, will mean overcoming the passionate objections of the defenders of the last century’s Cold War thinking.
The Associated Press story appears to be the result of a leak aimed at embarrassing the president and preemptively limiting the range of possible actions he may consider, but that kind of approach to policy making is profoundly irresponsible. What should be embarrassing is attempting to block the president and the Pentagon from considering all options. Seeking to derail deliberative policy-making and play national security for political points is hardly the stuff of responsible leadership.
Many things happen in Washington because of an entrenched status quo. Maintaining a hugely expensive and colossally redundant nuclear force of declining strategic significance shouldn’t be one of them. History is rich with examples of nations that failed to adapt to changing times: they fought for the status quo instead of meeting the needs of their people. America cannot afford to become that example.
You can read the whole thing here.