Why America Doesn’t Need All Its Nukes…And It Can’t Afford Them Either
by Kingston Reif
Earlier this week in RealClearDefense, the Foreign Policy Initiative’s Evan Moore made his case for “why America still needs nukes.” Moore points to the conclusions of the recently released National Defense Panel (NDP) report on defense policy as evidence of the importance of nuclear weapons to U.S. security and the need to rebuild America’s aging nuclear delivery systems and their associated warheads.
However, the panel is more nuanced and circumspect in its prescriptions for nuclear weapons than Moore would have us believe. In fact, the report reinforces the argument that the cost to rebuild the U.S. nuclear arsenal of approximately 4,800 warheads is unaffordable and that attempting to fund a replacement for every element of the triad may not be a wise investment.
Consisting of a who’s who of former civilian defense officials and military leaders from both political parties, the NDP was mandated by Congress to review the Pentagon’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Moore is right that the panel emphasizes the role played by nuclear weapons in deterring potential adversaries and reassuring U.S. allies and partners. He is also right that the panel calls for modernizing U.S. nuclear forces.
But Moore ignores key statements in the panel’s report that contradict his apparent conclusion that maintaining our current archaic nuclear posture in perpetuity is the only sensible path forward.
Read the full article here.