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Analysis: 'Broken' Nuke Program Is Deteriorating as US Deterrent

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By    |   Thursday, 14 December 2017 01:13 PM

An aging American nuclear arsenal and the advances being made by China and Russia is a potentially lethal combination in the United States' ability to remain an effective global nuclear deterrent, a former Pentagon official wrote in a paper for the Center for Security Policy.

"Our nuclear weapons production complex is broken," wrote Dr. Mark Schneider in a scathing takedown of former President Barack Obama.

"After two decades of neglect, the U.S. nuclear deterrent has become seriously eroded," Schneider wrote. "America's nuclear forces are very old and will get significantly older before they are replaced."

On the flip side, Schneider warned Russia and China are in the midst of a massive modernization of their nuclear capabilities.

"Russia and China are now deploying new nuclear ICBMs, new nuclear air-launched cruise missiles, new nuclear submarines-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and new ballistic missile submarines," Schneider wrote.

"Both are developing still newer nuclear ICBMs, SLBMs, ballistic missile submarines and bombers, including stealth bombers," Schneider wrote. "Russia and China are developing and deploying new and improved nuclear weapons, apparently with the assistance of very low-yield nuclear testing."

Meanwhile, the U.S. cannot even produce tritium — "a vital nuclear ingredient" — and also lacks the production abilities to make nuclear fuel, called pit, which has a lifespan of 45-60 years, Schneider writes.

Schneider says the average age of America's nukes is 35 years old.

"This means that in as little as 10 years, we could see a collapse of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. These critical problems must be corrected promptly," Schneider writes.

"If Russia is not in compliance with the new START Treaty in February 2018, U.S. ICBMs and SLBMs should be reloaded back to Clinton administration levels," Schneider wrote.

"This very low cost solution would considerably enhance our deterrent until modernization programs bear fruit 10-15 years from now and would reduce the near term need for missile defense countermeasures," Schneider wrote.

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A former Pentagon official wrote in a paper for the Center for Security the United States' ability to remain an effective global nuclear deterrent has been compromised by aging nuclear weapons.
nuke program, china, weapons, icbms
314
2017-13-14
Thursday, 14 December 2017 01:13 PM
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