The hypothetical program reductions cited by Secretary Panetta in his November 14 warning would hit nuclear forces harder than any other part of the U.S. defense posture. That’s a worrisome prospect given the fact that those forces were already programmed to decline as the U.S. complies with arms-control treaties, and nobody really knows what the future requirements of effective deterrence will be. Having taught and written about this subject for decades, though, I can say one thing with absolute certainty: if the Pentagon phases out land-based ICBMs, cuts the size of the sea-based deterrent, and delays buying a new bomber, nuclear war will become more likely. The one thing that keeps us secure in the nuclear age is the expectation potential adversaries have of suffering devastating retaliation for nuclear aggression. If they can construct a plausible theory of how to disarm America in a surprise attack, then they have powerful incentives to do so. [emphasis mine.]
Lexington Institute CEO Dr. Loren B. Thompson, December 13, 2011.
My quick (because I don’t have the energy for a longer and more humorous) observation: If Dr. Thompson admits that “nobody really knows what the future requirements of effective deterrence will be,” how can he be absolutely certain that reductions in U.S. delivery systems will make nuclear war more likely?