Article by Judith Bergman which warns that: "Russia has not only been modernizing its nuclear triad; it has also been developing new types of nuclear systems...."
Russia, of course, is not the only nuclear threat to the United States. China has accelerated its nuclear buildup to the extent that Admiral Charles Richard, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee last April, "For the first time in our history, the nation is on a trajectory to face two nuclear-capable, strategic peer adversaries at the same time, who must be deterred differently. We can no longer assume the risk of strategic deterrence failure in conflict will always remain low."
The Minuteman III ICBMs are badly in need of modernization -- they were built in the 1970s and were originally intended to last for just 10 years. The development of a next-generation ICBM, known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) has been decided, but the process has proven slow and the Air Force only expects the GBSD to begin replacing Minuteman III in 2029. According to General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the GBSD system will not achieve initial operational capability until 2030, or full operational capability until 2035.
"It's going to take us 10 to 15 years to modernize 400 [ICBM] silos that already exist. China is basically building almost that many overnight." — General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Defense Magazine, regarding the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, September 13, 2021.
The Minuteman III has grave structural problems stemming from the fact that "the missile itself is 51 years old," but the launch capsules and other support facilities are "58 years old." — Col. Erik Quigley, director of the Minuteman III systems directorate, Air Force Magazine, June 14 2021.
In the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, the Trump administration decided that a new Nuclear-Armed Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (known as the SLCM-N).... needed to be added to the US nuclear arsenal to provide the US with "a needed non-strategic regional presence" that would address "the increasing need for flexible and low-yield options." The Biden administration, however, removed it from the FY2023 budget, while several generals have disagreed with that decision, arguing that it is needed against Russia and China.
"The Trump Administration proposed the SLCM-N in 2018. Message to Mr. Putin: If you drop a nuke on NATO soil, the alliance has the will and ability to respond in kind. This reduces the risk Mr. Putin will use a nuke," the WSJ wrote in April. "The Trump Administration said the U.S. might reconsider the SLCM-N if 'Russia returns to compliance with its arms control obligations, reduces its non-strategic nuclear arsenal, and corrects its other destabilizing behaviors.' How's that working out? Now Mr. Biden is surrendering this leverage—probably to placate progressives who are opposed to nuclear weapons as an article of faith." — Wall Street Journal editorial, April 20, 2022.
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Russia has not only been modernizing its nuclear triad; it has also been developing new types of nuclear systems. Pictured: Mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launchers at a military parade in Moscow, Russia, on June 24, 2020. (Photo by Sergey Pyatakov - Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )