The Air Force general responsible for most of the nation’s military nuclear force is worried that the Continuing Resolution and the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration will wipe out 20 percent of the money he needs to keep his force combat ready.
“You can’t take those kinds of reductions we’ll be looking at without some kind of degradation.” said Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command and America’s nuclear-capable bombers and the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that represent two-thirds of the total nuclear deterrence force. Keep reading →
The start of a new year and of a new administration is a good time to think about the future. A key challenge facing the new Obama administration and the Congress is to ensure that US military capabilities continue to innovate and evolve in challenging times.
Paul Bracken has underscored that we are in a Second Nuclear Age, and in this age deterrence is different, but remains as significant as the first. Bracken is concerned that we are ignoring the rebirth of nuclear weapons within the global dynamic at our peril. Keep reading →
The recent commentary by Maj. Gen. William Chambers touting the war-prevention benefits of nuclear weapons in this publication is unconvincing.
Gen. Chambers, the Air Force’s assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, overstates the peace-promoting virtues of nuclear weapons. In addition, he exaggerates the benefits of the nuclear triad and downplays the significant financial resources that will be required to sustain it. Keep reading →
One of the biggest debates in the defense world centers on the nuclear triad. Is it too expensive? Does it actually deter anyone? Is it a Cold War relic or a crucial tool for managing risk? Some experts have argued that land-based missiles just aren’t needed. Others say nuclear-capable bombers are a big fat waste of money. A very few say boomers, as nuclear missile submarines are known, are just too expensive to invest in. None of this is being discussed very publicly so when the top general who oversees the Air Force weapons that deliver nuclear warheads, Maj. Gen. William Chambers, offered us an op-ed addressing the issue we jumped at the chance to run it. The Editor.
We have just marked 50 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis, two long weeks of terror embedded in the early years of the Cold War, itself an extended period of nuclear war angst. Keep reading →
Everyone knows military technology projects take forever and cost billions to produce, right? Just look at the Air Force’s latest fighter jet, the F-22 Raptor. The Raptor’s initial requirement was written in 1981, with the objective of developing an air superiority fighter to counter the Soviet air threat. It was declared operational in December of 2005, 14 years after the USSR collapsed. Better late than never, eh? After spending $65 billion (that’s billion-with-a-b), the Raptor fleet was capped at 187 aircraft, just 28 percent of the 650 originally envisioned.
This isn’t a unique situation. The V-22 Osprey has an almost identical story (requirement published in 1981, first delivery in 2005), except instead of $65 billion the military is projected to spend a mere $55B to acquire as many as 458 Ospreys. Keep reading →
With its launch of a new, faster intercontinental missile, Russia appears to have sent a message to NATO and the United States that it isn’t sitting still in the face of what it says is the threat posed by the alliance’s new missile defense system.
This new, faster missile — supposedly called the Avant Garde — would supposedly have a better chance of evading our anti-missile system. It boasts a range of more than 10,000 miles and can carry a larger warhead than any existing Russian missile. It appears to be an improved version of the Topol-M. Keep reading →
Sequestration: it’s a term only Washington could love. Behind the bland euphemism lie dramatic cuts to the U.S. military, shipbuilding and aerospace manufacturing jobs, and in communities across America.
Washington politicians insist a half trillion in defense cuts — and the attendant degradation to our national security — is a reasoned belt tightening. In reality, sequestration is nothing more than seat of the pants management, a lurch from crisis to crisis. No reasoned, thoughtful process brought this on; it was simply the last minute debt ceiling deal. Now that the cuts are baked into the cake, President Obama has threatened to veto any efforts to unwind sequestration that do not include tax increases. Keep reading →
Washington: America does not need a stealthy long-range bomber able to penetrate deep into remote, well-defended places, America’s No. 2 military officer said this morning. The country, Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright said, cannot afford to buy an upgraded nuclear triad of new bombers, new intercontinental ballistic missiles and new nuclear missile submarines.
Cartwright, outgoing vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also confirmed that the Pentagon is considering — as part of its budget deliberations — scrapping its next aircraft carrier, the first official confirmation by a senior military official. Cartwright spoke with reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast here. Keep reading →