• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

US Nuclear weapons

Status
Not open for further replies.

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
sferrin said:
Colonial-Marine said:
Any idea on what the payload was for the SRAM-T? This is one nuclear weapons program I think they should have kept running following the end of the cold war. Especially now that they retired the AGM-129 early.
W91 10-100 kt nuke.
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,018
Reaction score
1,067
bobbymike said:
sferrin said:
Colonial-Marine said:
Any idea on what the payload was for the SRAM-T? This is one nuclear weapons program I think they should have kept running following the end of the cold war. Especially now that they retired the AGM-129 early.
W91 10-100 kt nuke.
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
Warheads aren't numbered by year but by sequence. (Like fighter and bombers sort of.)
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
sferrin said:
bobbymike said:
sferrin said:
Colonial-Marine said:
Any idea on what the payload was for the SRAM-T? This is one nuclear weapons program I think they should have kept running following the end of the cold war. Especially now that they retired the AGM-129 early.
W91 10-100 kt nuke.
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
Warheads aren't numbered by year but by sequence. (Like fighter and bombers sort of.)
I know I was just using the coincidence of the warhead designation/name and year canceled to make my never ending point about the state of the "nuclear enterprise" :p I guess I should have said will we see RNEP or RRW or ??? anything!

By the way have you come across any other details on the MX alternate warheads listed here, from Nuclear Weapon Archive, the CALMENDRO and MUNSTER? I'm assuming MX could carry ten of these other optional warheads as that was generally the configuration envisioned during development.

The W-87 was selected over three other options: the W78 used on the Minuteman III, and two higher yield warheads -- the 500-600 Kt CALMENDRO warhead (developed at LANL but transferred to LLNL), and the 800 Kt MUNSTER.

My MMIII replacement would carry a single MUNSTER with "upload ability" to four to six warheads this size. A good deterrent IMHO.
 

blackstar

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,714
Reaction score
72
bobbymike said:
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
With thousands of nuclear weapons still in service 20 years later, me thinks your sorrow is misplaced.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,018
Reaction score
1,067
blackstar said:
bobbymike said:
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
With thousands of nuclear weapons still in service 20 years later, me thinks your sorrow is misplaced.
Resting on one's laurals is not a good way to maintain expertise.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
bobbymike said:
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
With thousands of nuclear weapons still in service 20 years later, me thinks your sorrow is misplaced.
Resting on one's laurals is not a good way to maintain expertise.
I equate to a Super Bowl winning football team. So let's get those 1991 NY Giants and have them play today, same lineup 20 years later. Just like the NFL there should be constant replacement and modernization just like having the NFL draft every year.
 

blackstar

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,714
Reaction score
72
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
bobbymike said:
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
With thousands of nuclear weapons still in service 20 years later, me thinks your sorrow is misplaced.
Resting on one's laurals is not a good way to maintain expertise.
It's a little more complicated than that. And it certainly isn't a "unilateral march to disarmament." The Cold War ended. That was kind of a big deal.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,018
Reaction score
1,067
blackstar said:
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
bobbymike said:
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
With thousands of nuclear weapons still in service 20 years later, me thinks your sorrow is misplaced.
Resting on one's laurals is not a good way to maintain expertise.
It's a little more complicated than that. And it certainly isn't a "unilateral march to disarmament." The Cold War ended. That was kind of a big deal.
Funny, there are still countries building nukes today. I guess we should have waited a bit to start the party. ::)
 

blackstar

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,714
Reaction score
72
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
bobbymike said:
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
With thousands of nuclear weapons still in service 20 years later, me thinks your sorrow is misplaced.
Resting on one's laurals is not a good way to maintain expertise.
It's a little more complicated than that. And it certainly isn't a "unilateral march to disarmament." The Cold War ended. That was kind of a big deal.
Funny, there are still countries building nukes today. I guess we should have waited a bit to start the party. ::)
The Cold War is over. The party was celebrated in East Germany, and Romania, and Poland. And we're no longer facing the possibility of mass annihilation. Global Thermonuclear War(tm) is not a worry anymore. I think that's enough reason to party.

As I hope you are aware, the subject is vastly more complicated than "the Iranians are trying to build an atomic bomb, we need to build more nuclear weapons to add to the thousands that we already have." Stockpile maintenance and industrial base concerns are certainly important, but they are internally-driven issues, not externally-driven ones. It's a bad argument to claim that our existing, very large, stockpile of nukes is insufficient for deterrence purposes.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,018
Reaction score
1,067
blackstar said:
It's a bad argument to claim that our existing, very large, stockpile of nukes is insufficient for deterrence purposes.
I don't see where anybody has suggested anything of the sort. What the concern is is that we've lost (or are rapidly losing) the ability to design and build new, modern nuclear warheads. The ones we have won't last forever.

As for the Cold War being over I think it is generally overstated what that actually means. Russian ICBMs and SSBNs didn't evaporate. They're still around and Russia is in the process of building more. Borea, Bulava, RS-24, the SS-18 follow on to name but a few. Then there is China. No, the world didn't turn into some Utopian fantasy where there are no nukes and everybody rides unicorns with pockets stuffed full of gold just because "the Cold War is over".
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,356
Reaction score
589
sferrin said:
No, the world didn't turn into some Utopian fantasy where there are no nukes and everybody rides unicorns with pockets stuffed full of gold just because "the Cold War is over".
But Obama said... :'(
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
blackstar said:
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
bobbymike said:
W91 - canceled September 1991, The US's last nuke developed forever? Will we see a W011 or W012 or W013 (as in 20XX)? So do we "celebrate" this September (20 years) as the start of our unilateral march to disarmament? :'(
With thousands of nuclear weapons still in service 20 years later, me thinks your sorrow is misplaced.
Resting on one's laurals is not a good way to maintain expertise.
It's a little more complicated than that. And it certainly isn't a "unilateral march to disarmament." The Cold War ended. That was kind of a big deal.
Funny, there are still countries building nukes today. I guess we should have waited a bit to start the party. ::)
The Cold War is over. The party was celebrated in East Germany, and Romania, and Poland. And we're no longer facing the possibility of mass annihilation. Global Thermonuclear War(tm) is not a worry anymore. I think that's enough reason to party.

As I hope you are aware, the subject is vastly more complicated than "the Iranians are trying to build an atomic bomb, we need to build more nuclear weapons to add to the thousands that we already have." Stockpile maintenance and industrial base concerns are certainly important, but they are internally-driven issues, not externally-driven ones. It's a bad argument to claim that our existing, very large, stockpile of nukes is insufficient for deterrence purposes.
While I could ask, if things are so hunky dory with the Russians why was the New Start treaty sold as "reducing tensions and lowering the chances of nuclear war"? Arguing for maintaining the industrial base is not a discussion of US extended deterrence policy today.

I think you misunderstand if you think this argument is about re-constituting Cold War strategic forces. It is about the maintenance of the entire nuclear enterprise from the smallest part to ICBM motors and reentry vehicles, etc.

In the early 15th Century China was building the largest, by far, ocean going naval vessels. A new emperor said stop and within one generation the skills were lost and shortly thereafter China was conquered and colonized by naval powers ironically enough.

"Having" workable nukes today without building new ones, even in small numbers means you risk losing those skills. The key is the "human capital" needed generation after generation. Kids going to school to obtain advanced science degrees in a field where there is a chance for gainful employment. How many kids today that have an interest in building nuclear weapons think they could find work ten years from now"

In the long run the message from Washington is pretty clear there will be no work on new weapons in our labs, so all you people (remember the time it takes to get an advanced degree) interested in this type of work will not be able to find this type of work. People, in most cases (sociology majors notwithstanding :D) try and maximize their return on education and will not enter a field that is "dying on the vine" or where they will never get to practice their skills. So in my mind that puts us "one generation" away from losing these skills forever.

It reminds me of an article I read years ago in National Defense magazine (this is from memory so I apologize for any inaccuracies) about the "explosives" industrial base. After the Cold War the US had massive stockpiles of ordinance. So research and development on explosive energetics came almost to a stop. "We can just maintain what we have" the argument went.

Well about 15 years later the DOD looked at the industrial base to determine our capabilities because nanotechnology and improved computer simulation of chemical synthesis and reactions, in other nations, made it appear that "breakthroughs" in explosives that could produce 10X the power of TNT/volume (imagine a 250 lbs bomb with the explosive power of a 2000 bunker buster) was possible. They discovered there were only like 15 scientists (considered experts) most in their fifties doing advanced research in these technologies "in the entire US". Now five years later they are still struggling trying to insure these skills are maintained not just today but generation after generation.
 

Orionblamblam

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
7,688
Reaction score
778
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
For anyone in a specialized field (my case: aerospace engineering) such as nuclear weapons design, there are two words that strike terror deep and hard:

TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE

You let it pass at your dire peril. And it can only be adequately passed with *experience,* not with books.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
Interesting Nuke Facts:

5113 Number of operational warheads in the U.S. nuclear stockpile, according to the Pentagon. That figure is down from a peak of 31,225 weapons in 1967. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimated in 2009 that Russia has 4,830 operational warheads; the Soviet arsenal topped out at around 45,000 weapons in 1986. The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty would limit both countries to 1,550 operational warheads each.

111 Estimated number of nuclear weapon storage sites worldwide, according to the International Panel on Fissile Materials. Russia has the most, with 48; the United States is second, with 15 domestic and 6 foreign sites. The total number of nuclear weapons worldwide is approximately 20,350, with about half of those operational.

0.1 Approximate percentage of the mass of a uranium atom converted to energy during nuclear fission. The amount of matter converted to energy in the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was about 700 milligrams, less than one-third the mass of a U.S. dime.

6.3 x 1013 Estimated energy, in joules, released from the Hiroshima bomb, the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT.
At low altitudes, about half the energy of such a bomb is released in the air blast, 35 percent as heat and 15 percent as nuclear radiation. The fireball resulting from the Hiroshima explosion was 50 percent hotter than the surface of the sun.

55 Pounds of weapons-grade uranium required to build a nuclear weapon. The global stockpile of highly enriched uranium stands at around 1,600 tons, enough for more than 60,000 nuclear weapons. Another 60,000 could be constructed from the 500 tons of separated plutonium estimated to exist in stockpiles around the world.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
In bold is the most interesting facts. So an anti-matter weapon - perfect energy release or annihilation - using only 700 milligrams would produce a Hiroshima sized nuke? Wow!

Another reason to dramatically increase weapons funding including a large increase in pure physics research. We need to know all the physics possible. And to insure we understand the physics we have to test.
 

Orionblamblam

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
7,688
Reaction score
778
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
bobbymike said:
So an anti-matter weapon - perfect energy release or annihilation - using only 700 milligrams would produce a Hiroshima sized nuke?
Problem is that 700 milligrams of antimatter would cost several times the planetary economy to produce. Nukes are easy and cheap.

Antimatter is to a uranium bomb kinda like hydrogen is to gasoline. Gasoline and uranium are more or less dug out of the ground and processed, and are net energy producers; antimatter and hydrogen need to be manufactured, and are net energy sinks.

Plus, if the power goes off on an atom bomb in storage, the worst that'll happen is that the core might overheat (which could be bad, worst case something like a meltdown). If the power goes out on your stored antimatter bomb... so much for your storage facility. Also; if a stored nuke were to somehow detonate, it wouldn't cause nukes stored nearby to go off. But an antimatter bomb would cause any other nearby antimatter bombs to go off.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
Orionblamblam said:
bobbymike said:
So an anti-matter weapon - perfect energy release or annihilation - using only 700 milligrams would produce a Hiroshima sized nuke?
Problem is that 700 milligrams of antimatter would cost several times the planetary economy to produce. Nukes are easy and cheap.

Antimatter is to a uranium bomb kinda like hydrogen is to gasoline. Gasoline and uranium are more or less dug out of the ground and processed, and are net energy producers; antimatter and hydrogen need to be manufactured, and are net energy sinks.

Plus, if the power goes off on an atom bomb in storage, the worst that'll happen is that the core might overheat (which could be bad, worst case something like a meltdown). If the power goes out on your stored antimatter bomb... so much for your storage facility. Also; if a stored nuke were to somehow detonate, it wouldn't cause nukes stored nearby to go off. But an antimatter bomb would cause any other nearby antimatter bombs to go off.
Ya I read several articles about the difficulty, to say the least, of producing sufficient quantities of anti-matter (let alone storing it for any significant time, Dan Brown novels not-withstanding) for weapons or space propulsion but for me I was more commenting on and trying to grasp the power of pure matter annihilation. It is just mind boggling!

Now the next question I would have would be the possibility of pure fusion. I don't think weaponized pure fusion bombs are possible but I would feel better if the US stayed on the cutting edge of all things nuclear.
 

Orionblamblam

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
7,688
Reaction score
778
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
bobbymike said:
I don't think weaponized pure fusion bombs are possible ...
Back in the day, Orioneers were pretty confident that fission-free nukes were feasible. I've seen a number of designs for fusion explosives that require no fission trigger; sadly, most are pretty enormous (requiring massive banks of lasers, or magnetic field generators, or mass drivers a kilometer long). But there are certainly hypothetical designs for fission-free nukes that use a whole lot of carfuelly shaped chemical explosives to get the fusion process started.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
Orionblamblam said:
bobbymike said:
I don't think weaponized pure fusion bombs are possible ...
Back in the day, Orioneers were pretty confident that fission-free nukes were feasible. I've seen a number of designs for fusion explosives that require no fission trigger; sadly, most are pretty enormous (requiring massive banks of lasers, or magnetic field generators, or mass drivers a kilometer long). But there are certainly hypothetical designs for fission-free nukes that use a whole lot of carfuelly shaped chemical explosives to get the fusion process started.
OBB - If you Google "4th Generation Nuclear Weapons" you can find a few interesting documents outlining research initiatives in this area. I am also looking through my magazines trying to find an old Scientific American article on 3rd generation nukes described as being 3rd generation by having a "tailored" output, like the Teller nuclear driven x-ray laser for missile defense.

To sound like a broken record....that is why continued research on advanced nuclear weapon concepts is so important to avoid strategic surprise.
 

Mat Parry

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
417
Reaction score
7
bobbymike said:
55 Pounds of weapons-grade uranium required to build a nuclear weapon.
George Dyson's excellent book "Project Orion" implies that the tribal knowledge exists to produce frighteningly small bombs. Ted Taylor talks about bombs much smaller than Davy Crockett (~12 inches in diameter, with a weight of 60 pounds). Mr Taylor refers to "a full implosion bomb that you could hold in one hand that was about six inches in diameter" he is also quoted as saying "it was never built in those years, It certainly has been since then". Also discussed are nuclear explosions produced using less than a kilogram of plutonium, "golf ball, not baseball, size. :'(

Pure fusion weapons are very frightening to me, the barriers to use just seem less prohibitive. Without a pressing non-weapons application I wonder if the state of the art thermonuclear weapons aren't good enough, and actually it's the delivery systems that should, and hopefully are being evolved. Work on "clean" fusion nukes will either be leaked or inspire other countries to do the same, maybe this tech should be left in pandoras box.... or at least pandora's super computers (until an asteroid comes calling or radio signals are picked up from the aquaphibians on europa ;D)
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
China determined to rival US arsenal
Philip Dorling
February 28, 2011

HIGH-RANKING Chinese officials have declared there can be no limit to the expansion of Beijing's nuclear arsenal, amid growing regional fears that it will eventually equal that of the US, with profound consequences for the strategic balance in Asia. Records of secret defence talks between the US and China reveal that US diplomats have repeatedly failed to persuade the rising superpower to be more transparent about its nuclear forces and that Chinese officials privately admit a desire for military advantage underpins the continuing secrecy. According to US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to the Herald, the deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army general staff, Ma Xiaotian, told US Defence and State Department officials in June 2008 that the growth of China's nuclear forces was an ''imperative reality'' and there could be ''no limit on technical progress''. Rejecting US calls for China to reveal the size of its nuclear capabilities, Lieutenant-General Ma declared: ''It is impossible for [China] to change its decades-old way of doing business to become transparent using the US model.''

While claiming in a discussion in July 2009 that Beijing's nuclear posture has ''always been defensive'' and that China would ''never enter into a nuclear arms race'', General Ma acknowledged there were ''areas of China's nuclear program that are not very transparent''. The Assistant Foreign Minister, He Yafei, told US officials in June 2008 there would be an ''inevitable and natural extension'' of Chinese military power and China ''cannot accept others setting limits on our capabilities''. Other cables reveal that Japan fears China's nuclear arsenal will equal that of the US, and Tokyo has urged Washington to retain strong nuclear capabilities to deter an ''increasingly bold'' China from ''doing something stupid''. In nuclear policy talks in June 2009, senior Japanese Defence Ministry officials told US representatives Tokyo believed China ''is rapidly upgrading its nuclear capability … and is trying to reach parity with Russia and the US''. In separate talks with US envoys, Japanese officials were concerned that the Obama administration's plan to negotiate a cut in nuclear forces with Russia would encourage China's build-up. A senior Japanese official said that while China had declared a ''no first-use'' nuclear weapons posture, ''no nuclear expert believes this is true''. After the release of the Obama administration's nuclear review last year, the US and Russia signed a new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty on April 8 to halve their nuclear arsenals to 1550 strategic weapons over the next seven years.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates China has up to 90 intercontinental ballistic missiles and more than 400 intermediate range missiles targeting Taiwan and Japan. US intelligence predicts that by the mid-2020s China could double the number of warheads on missiles capable of threatening the US.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Items in bold may be of interest.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
Now read this and sleep at night, from the Air Force Association:

Nuke Fix, Phase II
By Megan Scully

It’s not just the weapons that were neglected. For years, nuclear modernization was a back-burner issue for both the military and the American public. Efforts to modernize the nuclear force, its support equipment, and related infrastructure received little attention. A skilled and knowledgeable workforce—once highly sought after and valued during the Cold War—was relegated to the background as the national laboratories began to show serious signs of age.

A confluence of events has now pushed the nation’s nuclear inventory and enterprise into the spotlight, exposing problems with crumbling infrastructure. Many proponents of modernizing the nuclear force say the past neglect will require a decade-long investment plan to correct. The series of problems with nuclear weapons and components in 2006 and 2007 led to renewed focus on the nuclear force and efforts to correct deficiencies affecting the service’s nuclear weapons arsenal. This included the activation of Air Force Global Strike Command, dedicated strictly to nuclear matters. The major command has the weighty mission of providing for safe, secure, and effective forces for nuclear deterrence and for global strike, and it now oversees the nation’s ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers.

The State of the Arsenal

As the Air Force was righting its nuclear structures, intense political debate was under way concerning the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia. The state of the nuclear arsenal and infrastructure dominated debate as Republicans sought to secure greater long-term commitments from the White House to modernize aging missiles, labs, and other equipment.

Meanwhile, an engineering failure at Wyoming’s F. E. Warren Air Force Base in October, which temporarily took a squadron of intercontinental ballistic missiles offline, helped push concerns about the nation’s nuclear capabilities even higher.

The Air Force launched an investigation into the matter and stressed the incident was isolated. At no time, officials said, did the Air Force completely lose communications with the missile squadron, which could have been controlled by an airborne command and control platform if necessary.

"The safety and security of the weapons system was never in doubt," Gen. Carrol H. Chandler, then Air Force vice chief of staff, said in October. "There are things we need to work on, there’s no doubt about that."

Still, the widely publicized incident occurred at a crucial time for the Obama Administration, as it was trying to sell reluctant Republican senators on New START. Retired Lt. Gen. Arlen D. Jameson, who served as deputy commander of US Strategic Command in the mid-1990s and supported treaty ratification, called the incident at Warren an "isolated malfunction." He warned Congress in October against doing "something foolish like not ratify the New START because of this isolated occurrence."

In the end, the White House won 71 Senate votes to approve New START just before Congress adjourned for Christmas. But the lingering concerns about nuclear modernization—which Republicans hammered throughout the months-long debate on the accord—resulted in an additional $4.1 billion pledged for nuclear programs. The White House had already laid down a marker for an $80 billion investment over the next 10 years; the added $4 billion over five years came at the insistence of Republicans, many of whom still voted against the treaty.

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and his party’s point person on treaty negotiations, cited a litany of concerns in voting against the treaty. But he lauded the Administration’s commitment to modernization funding and stressed debate on the treaty helped bring to light the needs of the aging nuclear force.

"I think as a result of focusing on our nuclear arsenal, which we had to do by looking at this treaty, we also learned that we have a very big challenge in this country," Kyl said just before the Senate voted on New START. "And fortunately and parallel with the treaty, we worked on this challenge, the issue of how we can modernize our nuclear facilities and nuclear force and the delivery vehicles of the triad that would deliver those vehicles."

Exactly how the money should be spent remains to be seen, with Kyl and others acknowledging the need for flexibility in spending as the needs of the nuclear force become clearer each year. This is a far cry from the situation throughout much of the 1990s and 2000s, however, when nuclear infrastructure suffered from what can charitably be described as benign neglect.

"Nuclear folks felt like the red-headed stepchild" within the Air Force, said Adam B. Lowther, a research professor and analyst at the Air Force Research Institute at Maxwell AFB, Ala., in a recent interview. Airmen "began to buy into this view that ‘we’re not important anymore’ " Lowther explained. The undercurrent was, "we were critical during the Cold War, but now that the Cold War is over, we’re not important anymore." The new investment is certainly welcome, but Lowther said it is "tough to say what is most in need because, for the most part, the entire nuclear enterprise is 40 years old or older." What is clear, however, is that the list of funding needs for the nuclear force over the next decade will include a lot of support and test equipment—the unglamorous stuff essential to maintaining the arsenal. At the Air Force Association conference in September 2009, Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, then commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, acknowledged the Air Force has neglected some of those critical pieces of the nuclear enterprise. "Before you can load a bomb on a bomber or place a warhead on top of an ICBM, there is a series of checks of the weapon itself as well as the ... connections to the platform that all have to be performed by various types of test equipment," Klotz said. "It’s not a very glamorous part of the business, but it’s an absolutely key and essential aspect of the business, and quite frankly, we have underinvested in that."

A Positive Trend

Klotz, who retired and handed over Global Strike Command to Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski in January, said the service was developing a roadmap for the Air Force’s needs for test equipment, as well as loaders, vehicles, and trailers necessary to maintain the bomber and ICBM fleet. But the pendulum may now be swinging in the other direction, with additional attention being paid to the second- and third-tier pieces of the nuclear arsenal that have gone largely ignored since the end of the Cold War, officials say. "I can see a very positive trend starting to happen out there as far as modernization for those things that ... we perceived [weren’t] sexy," Brig. Gen. Everett H. Thomas, then commander of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M., said in September 2010.

Pointing to Air Force successes,Thomas ticked off an investment of $8.5 billion to upgrade and modernize the ICBM arsenal, specifically the Fast-Rising B-Plug Kit security system for the Minuteman III and the new Environmental Control System, an improvement to the missiles’ launch control centers, ensuring electronics and ground support systems are maintained at specified preset temperatures. But Thomas, now vice commander of Global Strike Command, pointed to a lack of investment in operational test and evaluation, which has led to sustainment issues within the arsenal. Thomas said the Air Force is identifying all the pieces of its nuclear fleet that have been overlooked since the end of the Cold War—a task that will become all the more important as the United States prepares to cut the number of strategic nuclear weapons in its arsenal by about a third to adhere to New START.

"The smaller we get, the more attention we’ve got to pay ... to everything because it all needs to work," Thomas said. Another investment area for the military’s nuclear weapons is the decades-old national laboratories and facilities critical to sustaining nuclear weapons. "Everything in the labs themselves was built for the Manhattan Project and shortly thereafter," Lowther said. "Everything is old and in need of replacement." During the September 2010 AFA conference, Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, then commander of US Strategic Command, did not mince words when he highlighted the poor state of some of the country’s nuclear facilities. "You would be appalled if you visited Oak Ridge, Tenn., and saw our uranium facility, which was built during the Manhattan Project," Chilton said. "That’s how old it is." In addition to Oak Ridge, Chilton said the military must upgrade the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where plutonium research, development, and processing is done. "If you’re going to have a nuclear weapons program, you must have a first-class plutonium and first-class uranium facility to do that," Chilton said. "That’s just absolutely fundamental."

The directors of the country’s three national laboratories—George H. Miller of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Michael R. Anastasio of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Paul J. Hommert of Sandia National Laboratories—have all raised concerns about long-term funding for nuclear programs. But in a Dec. 1 letter to the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the lab directors said their concerns have been assuaged by the additional $4.1 billion added to nuclear investment plans.

The laboratory directors said the additional dollars would "provide adequate support to sustain the safety, security, reliability, and effectiveness of America’s nuclear deterrent within the limit of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads established by the New START treaty with adequate confidence and acceptable risk." The extra money—which would pay for enhanced surveillance, pensions, facility construction, and other items—"would establish a workable funding level for a balanced program that sustains the science, technology, and engineering base." Chilton also sees a side benefit to modernizing labs: It would keep the highly skilled workforce at the aging facilities happy. "If you really want people to perform and do their job right, you take care of them in their workplace," he said. "You give them quality spaces to work and do their work."

The workforce itself is in need of investment, with many of the engineers and other workers trained during the Cold War nearing retirement age. With little emphasis placed on the nuclear arsenal for the last two decades, the military is having difficulty recruiting replacements. Losing too much skill from the workforce without time to properly train a new generation of experts would mean decades of human capital are lost.

Meaningful and Challenging Work

"If you let the expertise and the knowledge go away and all that’s left are the books that they wrote, well, when you go back and look at those books you’ll find out they weren’t written very well because a lot of what they did was in their [heads]," Chilton said. The key, he added, is not only giving them quality workplaces, but also meaningful and challenging work. Complicating that, Chilton acknowledged, is that the next crop of nuclear scientists will never be allowed to do weapons testing. "In many respects, we will have a scientific base that has never seen a nuclear test," Lowther said. "The scientists are aging out." With no tests on the horizon, the key to providing scientists with fulfilling work will be funding programs to make weapons safer and more effective and secure, Chilton said. The Nuclear Posture Review, released in 2010, reaffirmed the need for a nuclear deterrent and the sea-air-land triad and may go a long way to ensuring there will be a steady workflow for the next generation of the nuclear workforce.

"It calls for improvements in safety, security, and effectiveness, and it takes no options off the table for consideration by future engineers and scientists in providing what this country needs for future nuclear weapons in our inventory," Chilton said of the review.

Funding, however, may not be the only solution to sustaining the workforce. The Air Force, Lowther said, needs to change its cultural mindset regarding both the nuclear arsenal and the workforce that modernizes and sustains them. "During the Cold War, if you worked in the nuclear enterprise, you knew what you were doing was criticial to the security of the nation," he said. "You were devoted to it because you knew how critical it was." The activation of Global Strike Command and the Administration’s stated commitment to the triad in the Nuclear Posture Review have "gone a long way" to reaffirming the military’s commitment to its nuclear force, Lowther said.

But with the country’s focus on irregular warfare and nonstate enemies in the last 10 years, questions remain about what role nuclear weapons will play in the future of the country’s defense, and how committed the nation will be to sustaining, maintaining, and modernizing them over time. "A fundamental question, that has not been answered, is how important are [nuclear weapons] to the nation and the existence and survival of the nation," Lowther concluded.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Read the bolded paragraph as a longer way to say EXACTLY what OBB was saying - TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE !!!!!
 

Orionblamblam

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
7,688
Reaction score
778
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
bobbymike said:
Read the bolded paragraph ...
I did. And then the very last line of the article grabbed me:

nation and the existence and survival of the nation," Lowther concluded.

For a second there, my thought was "When did I get interviewed?" :eek:
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,018
Reaction score
1,067
bobbymike said:
China determined to rival US arsenal
Philip Dorling
February 28, 2011

HIGH-RANKING Chinese officials have declared there can be no limit to the expansion of Beijing's nuclear arsenal, amid growing regional fears that it will eventually equal that of the US, with profound consequences for the strategic balance in Asia. Records of secret defence talks between the US and China reveal that US diplomats have repeatedly failed to persuade the rising superpower to be more transparent about its nuclear forces and that Chinese officials privately admit a desire for military advantage underpins the continuing secrecy. According to US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to the Herald, the deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army general staff, Ma Xiaotian, told US Defence and State Department officials in June 2008 that the growth of China's nuclear forces was an ''imperative reality'' and there could be ''no limit on technical progress''. Rejecting US calls for China to reveal the size of its nuclear capabilities, Lieutenant-General Ma declared: ''It is impossible for [China] to change its decades-old way of doing business to become transparent using the US model.''

While claiming in a discussion in July 2009 that Beijing's nuclear posture has ''always been defensive'' and that China would ''never enter into a nuclear arms race'', General Ma acknowledged there were ''areas of China's nuclear program that are not very transparent''. The Assistant Foreign Minister, He Yafei, told US officials in June 2008 there would be an ''inevitable and natural extension'' of Chinese military power and China ''cannot accept others setting limits on our capabilities''. Other cables reveal that Japan fears China's nuclear arsenal will equal that of the US, and Tokyo has urged Washington to retain strong nuclear capabilities to deter an ''increasingly bold'' China from ''doing something stupid''. In nuclear policy talks in June 2009, senior Japanese Defence Ministry officials told US representatives Tokyo believed China ''is rapidly upgrading its nuclear capability … and is trying to reach parity with Russia and the US''. In separate talks with US envoys, Japanese officials were concerned that the Obama administration's plan to negotiate a cut in nuclear forces with Russia would encourage China's build-up. A senior Japanese official said that while China had declared a ''no first-use'' nuclear weapons posture, ''no nuclear expert believes this is true''. After the release of the Obama administration's nuclear review last year, the US and Russia signed a new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty on April 8 to halve their nuclear arsenals to 1550 strategic weapons over the next seven years.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates China has up to 90 intercontinental ballistic missiles and more than 400 intermediate range missiles targeting Taiwan and Japan. US intelligence predicts that by the mid-2020s China could double the number of warheads on missiles capable of threatening the US.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Items in bold may be of interest.

Thank god for the new treaty to reel these guys in. Oh wait. . . .
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,356
Reaction score
589
sferrin said:
Thank god for the new treaty to reel these guys in. Oh wait. . . .
The greatest failure of new start, it was with a failing, depopulating Saudi Arabia with snow and trees rather than with any country actually worth worrying about.
 

RanulfC

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
846
Reaction score
304
Orionblamblam said:
bobbymike said:
Read the bolded paragraph ...
I did. And then the very last line of the article grabbed me:

nation and the existence and survival of the nation," Lowther concluded.

For a second there, my thought was "When did I get interviewed?" :eek:
Sorry, but while you had a "need-to-answer-the-question" at the time it was determined that you lacked a plausable "need-to-remember" the interview... Windows deleted the memories per regulations ;)

Randy
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,018
Reaction score
1,067
sealordlawrence said:
sferrin said:
Thank god for the new treaty to reel these guys in. Oh wait. . . .
The greatest failure of new start, it was with a failing, depopulating Saudi Arabia with snow and trees rather than with any country actually worth worrying about.
Uh. . .what?
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,356
Reaction score
589
sferrin said:
Uh. . .what?
It is a bilateral treaty with Russia which is yesterdays news and tomorrows irrelevance- so well done Obama, the US nuclear arsenal is now tied to a middling and shrinking power whilst India and China are free to build to their hearts content.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
Orionblamblam said:
bobbymike said:
Read the bolded paragraph ...
I did. And then the very last line of the article grabbed me:

nation and the existence and survival of the nation," Lowther concluded.

For a second there, my thought was "When did I get interviewed?" :eek:
That's funny you thought that cause as I quickly scanned the article I saw "Lowther said" saying to myself, "was that Scott!" Also because it was pretty consistent to what you were saying about tribal knowledge.

But on a more serious note the current head of US arms control negotiation said she's negotiating with the Russians to get back to the bargaining table to reduce the arsenal further. A two superpower world hey we're back in the 80's (or earlier).

A thought I had, which is pretty obvious, to me anyway, is the Chinese desire to "match the US arsenal". So despite the MASSIVE downsizing of our strategic and tactical nuclear forces and the promise "that as long as we lead the way" other nations will see our leadership and not build nukes.

Do you think the Chinese would even be attempting to match our arsenal at 12,000 strategic weapons or even the original Start limit of around 5000? It becomes much easier to do it at 1550 warheads under New Start. Our disarmament "invited" this development it is NO WAY stopped it.
 

Firefly 2

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Jun 30, 2009
Messages
461
Reaction score
7
Hmmmm... I feel like I have to play advocate to the devil again.
If any country has a workable nuclear weapon and a definitive or even possible means of delivering it, that is definitive deterrant right there. No western country, or under western influence, will ever try to move against even a possible nuclear power. North Korea has pr oven the ability to launch primitive long range rockets, and the ability to cause underground explosions that most probably were caused by nuclear means. The possibility is that their nuclear device was the size of a bus. Possibility and capability are two entirely different things. Yet North Korea, proving only the possibility of nuclear weapons delivery, gets away with murder ( downing that ship, firing on that island)

Now China, this country has a proven nuclear capability. Even though it means nothing by US or Soviet standards the capability is there, and is therefore a credible deterrent against further political and conventional action.
Nor China nor India actually need to get on par with the old superpowers... the West needs to believe that they are endeavoring this, and leave them be otherwise. China is intertwined in a very real way to the USA in terms of economics. No sound politician will ever move against China when this is the case. Boasting political messages doesn't actually hurt, and leaves the other side guessing as to one's capability.

Do I mean China, or North Korea, or any of the emerging nuclear powers are harmless? No. What I mean is simple: the possibility of the damage outweighs the probable damage and fallout caused by a possible conflict. This is the way things are done nowadays, and a single nuclear weapon, or the suspicion of nuclear capability, is a game changer. Especially when combined with a ruthless boasting and posturing.
In olden days, the USA launched cruise missiles against possible terrorist strongholds. Now, against confirmed terrorism from the part of North Korea no action was taken. South Korea has the capability to retaliate in no uncertain ways, and did nothing. The possibility of nuclear retaliation is therefore an effective deterrent, the certain capability of this is even more so.
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,356
Reaction score
589
North Korea got away with murder long before it had its primitive nuclear device, in fact that is why it has it.

The effectiveness of a deterrent is directly proportional to the probability and severity of the thing it is trying to deter. Consequently in a world of a conventionally hegemonic non-aggressive block headed by a hyper-power with an economy 3x the size of its nearest competitor the threshold is very low.

That situation will not remain, Chinese and Indian economic growth has the potential to produce economies superior in scale to US within the next 50 years, at which point their capacity to limit US military power and thus diplomatic influence through relativity will be greatly enhanced and the hegemony will flag, with nuclear weapons part of that equation.

And let us not forget that the US is not the centre of the world, a pier rival to the US is as likely to arise from competition between two other states as it is with direct competition to the US. The harsh reality is that in the decades to come the US will have to decide whether to invest in the full spectrum of inter-state military capabilities and whether to sacrifice elements of the hegemony.
 

Firefly 2

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Jun 30, 2009
Messages
461
Reaction score
7
sealordlawrence said:
The effectiveness of a deterrent is directly proportional to the probability and severity of the thing it is trying to deter. Consequently in a world of a conventionally hegemonic non-aggressive block headed by a hyper-power with an economy 3x the size of its nearest competitor the threshold is very low.
It's even more of a deterrent when factoring in a public opinion unwilling to recognize the effectiveness off said deterrent, whilst at the same fearing it for folklorist reasons. I do like your reply, though, and will ponder it some more. It's past midnight here. Sleep beckons.
 

Orionblamblam

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
7,688
Reaction score
778
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
My suspicion is that when little pipsqueak powers like Nork and Iran gain nukes, they become "untouchable." Until the very moment one of them, *any* of them, actually uses a nuke. At that point, nuclear hellfire will rain down upon them.

Deterrence is only deterrence only so long as:
1: The other side thinks you are capable of it
and
2: The other side thinks you're willing to do it
and
3: You haven't actually *done* it.

Consider: the cops and a criminal are in a standoff, with nobody willing to shoot first. But the moment someone opens fire, even one shot.... blam.
 

unclejim

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
77
Reaction score
0
Agree with OrionB.B.. First use will be last use.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
What is also interesting is that countries like India and China seem to have a much more nuanced approach to nuclear weapons deterrent theory. They seem to be able to separate the instrument (the object) from subjective emotional appeals like the current cry to "get to zero".

While in the US the debate is from the opponents, "nukes are evil period," to the strongest supporters whose best argument seems to be, "yes they are evil but we need them." By agreeing with the "evil" premise you lose all moral authority to argue for their continued development and modernization.

This tactic was used successfully against the neutron bomb. Sam Cohen, RIP, the inventor, called it the most ethical weapon because (these are his words as paraphrased from a video I saw) it was to be used only is case of invasion very selectively on enemy soldiers in the open sparing civilians as much as possible. It would be much more ethical than the usual dirty (in comparison) tactical weapons of the day. But once the anti-nuke crowd convinced everyone it was "evil" and the pro-neutron bomb crowd tried to argue, "yes its evil but we need it", the debate was over.

Arguing the "ethics" of weaponry is difficult. Reagan was very successful arguing the case for SDI. He asked the country, "is the best we can offer our citizens is that we will kill 100 million of their people after they kill 100 million of us." Agree or disagree it changed the debate and caused many to question the entire morality of MAD.
 

shivering

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
"Until the very moment one of them, *any* of them, actually uses a nuke. At that point, nuclear hellfire will rain down upon them."

I am quite sure the response would be much more nuanced than you think, especially if it was a single nuke strike by either
Iran or North Korea upon CONUS. A multiple nuke response by the USA (or even a one-to-one response) would cause fallout
radiation issues (in addition to the political ones) for USA allies or other countries (say, China) with whom semi-cordial relations
are needed. Therefore a larger, more 'conventional' destructive response is another probability. Politics (domestic AND
international AND military) would definitely shape the response, as usual.
 

Orionblamblam

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
7,688
Reaction score
778
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
shivering said:
Politics (domestic AND international AND military) would definitely shape the response, as usual.
Any American President who responded to a state-sponsored nuking of an American city with anything less that a nuke of our own can probably expect to be lynched by the American populace.

To take a fictional example... "Caliphate" by Tom Kratman. In it, jihadis nuke a few American cities as well as London (and I think one or two other Euro cities). The US president at the time hems and haws, and takes relatively little action; when the action was carried out by an Al Queda stand-in using former Soviet nukes, who do you actually declare war on? Same kind of problem that faced Bush after 9/11. But in the book, this lack of action pisses off the electorate, so two years later that President loses handily to a third party candidate whose campaign motto is something like "I'll make the bastards pay." And some time after taking office, this new President springs a little surprise on the middle east by unleashing several dozen Trident missiles, with hundreds of warheads, wiping out a whole lot of cities. The American populace thinks that this response was just *awesome.*

(NOTE: The author makes it clear that, while popular, the actions taken by this President were evil and unpleasant, and the United States that results from all this is a bad and unrecognizable place.)

Point being: you basically *have* to respond in kind when it comes to nukes. If, say, Nork nuked Newark and the US *didn't* nuke Nork in the nuts...even if we plastered 'em day and night with iron bombs and daisy cutters, the US would look weak. And weakness, on the world stage as on the playground, invites attack. The only good response ("good" here meaning "less bad long-term") to a nuking of a Western civilian target would be a terrifyingly overwhelming response, such that anybody else who might've had such ideas decides to go join the Peace Corps or something.
 

Triton

Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
9,723
Reaction score
428
Website
deeptowild.blogspot.com
We can argue that the Cold War is over and we just signed a New START treaty with the Russian Federation that will will lower the limit on U.S. and Russian strategic warheads from 2,200 to 1,550 during 10 years. Unfortunately, I don't believe that this lowers the dangers of nuclear war. The New START treaty has no effect on India, Pakistan, and the People's Republic of China. It seems that both India and the People's Republic of China are intent on aping the United States and the former Soviet Union by building up their military forces. France, the United Kingdom, Iran, North Korea, and Israel possess nuclear weapons. Canada, Lithuania, and Saudi Arabia are believed to be nuclear weapons capable nations. South Africa claims that it has dismantled the six nuclear bombs it created. There also may be nuclear weapons programs currently on going which we are not currently aware or nations that were part of the former Soviet Union or Warsaw Pact may have control of legacy weapons. Clearly, the nuclear genie hasn't been put back into the bottle.

With the United States ending underground testing of nuclear warheads, canceling the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) program, no publicly known programs for creating new ICBMs or SLBMs, no publicly known programs creating new nuclear warheads, does the United States still have a credible nuclear deterrent capability? The last time that the United States used a nuclear device in anger was over 65 years ago. Can the United States still claim a willingness to use its nuclear arsenal or will a newly emerged conventional and/or nuclear power call our bluff?

I fear that our reliance on a legacy and aging nuclear force demonstrates to a potential adversary that we do not have the resolve or fortitude to use nuclear weapons rendering them an ineffective deterrent against any future aggressor.

Orionblamblam said:
Point being: you basically *have* to respond in kind when it comes to nukes. If, say, Nork nuked Newark and the US *didn't* nuke Nork in the nuts...even if we plastered 'em day and night with iron bombs and daisy cutters, the US would look weak. And weakness, on the world stage as on the playground, invites attack. The only good response ("good" here meaning "less bad long-term") to a nuking of a Western civilian target would be a terrifyingly overwhelming response, such that anybody else who might've had such ideas decides to go join the Peace Corps or something.
I agree. The President of the United State would HAVE TO respond to a nuclear attack on United States soil with a nuclear weapon. To not respond with a nuclear weapon would render the nuclear weapons in the United States arsenal impotent.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
Triton said:
We can argue that the Cold War is over and we just signed a New START treaty with the Russian Federation that will will lower the limit on U.S. and Russian strategic warheads from 2,200 to 1,550 during 10 years. Unfortunately, I don't believe that this lowers the dangers of nuclear war. The New START treaty has no effect on India, Pakistan, and the People's Republic of China. It seems that both India and the People's Republic of China are intent on aping the United States and the former Soviet Union by building up their military forces. France, the United Kingdom, Iran, North Korea, and Israel possess nuclear weapons. Canada, Lithuania, and Saudi Arabia are believed to be nuclear weapons capable nations. South Africa claims that it has dismantled the six nuclear bombs it created. There also may be nuclear weapons programs currently on going which we are not currently aware or nations that were part of the former Soviet Union or Warsaw Pact may have control of legacy weapons. Clearly, the nuclear genie hasn't been put back into the bottle.

With the United States ending underground testing of nuclear warheads, canceling the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) program, no publicly known programs for creating new ICBMs or SLBMs, no publicly known programs creating new nuclear warheads, does the United States still have a credible nuclear deterrent capability? The last time that the United States used a nuclear device in anger was over 65 years ago. Can the United States still claim a willingness to use its nuclear arsenal or will a newly emerged conventional and/or nuclear power call our bluff?

I fear that our reliance on a legacy and aging nuclear force demonstrates to a potential adversary that we do not have the resolve or fortitude to use nuclear weapons rendering them an ineffective deterrent against any future aggressor.
Triton I couldn't agree more. Countries like Iran and North Korea has hinted that they were producing nukes to blunt the US's conventional capability. Read between the lines the US would not attack conventionally - a nuclear armed country - and "may" not respond with nuclear weapons. IMHO I believe there are many leaders of dangerous countries who do not fear the US using nukes in anything other than after a strike against American itself.

But your exactly right about the lack of attention to the entire nuclear enterprise and nuclear mission. If I was another country I would sit back and let the whole US nuclear enterprise "whither on the vine."
 

Triton

Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
9,723
Reaction score
428
Website
deeptowild.blogspot.com
Plus we also need to remember that the United States, through defense treaties, is obliged to protect other nations under its nuclear aegis for example the signatory nations of NATO, Taiwan, and Japan.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
9,814
Reaction score
884
As related to previous posts with regard to generational education here is a story from the Atomic City Underground blog:

The second annual Oak Ridge Science Fair, an event for third- fourth- and fifth-graders, was held over the weekend, with about 75 kids participating. The science fair is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary Club.

Jacob Burber, a fifth grader at St. Mary's School, won the top prize for his "Clean Machine" entry in the Physical Science Category. He will receive a trip to NASA's Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. Second place went to Lindsey Burtis-Fuller, also of St. Mary's, for her Earth Science project, "Oil and Water Don't Mix." And third place went to Olivia Milloway for her Life Science entry, "Soiled Soil and Greasy Grass."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Top three prizes for "environmental" presentations and I would hazard to guess the vast majority of the 75 entries were dealing with the environment. See kids see a future in "all things environmental" I doubt many see a future in weapons R&D.

One generation away!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another statistic of interest:

Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Air Force Intercontinental Ballistic Missile crews call practice launches from Vandenberg "a trip to the Super Bowl"—they are often the highlight of their careers. In 1963, the US launched 166 rockets from Vandenberg, but in these post–Cold War days, just three to four rockets are launched a year.

You're not going to inspire the youth of the nation with numbers like this, IMHO.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top