Jeffrey Lewis • The Hunt for Small Potatoes

In April 2009, Bob Gates openly mused about eliminating the Triad.  I was a little surprised, to say the least.

Now, he’s gone and done it again.

Gates stopped openly musing about eliminating a leg of the triad once the Obama Administration chose to make the Nuclear Posture Review a continuity document that would reinforce ratification efforts for the New START treaty — and the hefty modernization price tag that accompanied the treaty.

via Jeffrey Lewis • The Hunt for Small Potatoes.

The Nuclear Triad- Bombers, ICBMs, and Sub Launched Ballistic Missiles- has been around since before I was born. It’s just one of those things that just IS.

Is it time to question that? Any savings would be relatively modest. But these days, any savings are pretty attractive, too.

3 thoughts on “Jeffrey Lewis • The Hunt for Small Potatoes”

  1. Elimination of land-based ICBMs would likely be the least damaging to our national security. With TRIDENT subs on patrol, you’ll still retain a very credible deterrent force, and of course it’s a lot harder to counterbattery an SSBN, or eliminate it in a preemptive strike, than is the case for a missile silo on land.

    That said … it’s probably a lot less expensive to maintain 24 Minuteman silos than it is to maintain a TRIDENT boat.

  2. I agree that if we are going to cut out one leg of the triad, the ICBMs would be the one to go. However before anything is scrapped I would like to first see a “reconstitution” study done to determine how quickly and at what cost any deactivated capability might be restored.

    1. Maintaining is always less expensive than reactivation. And, to be able to reactivate within a reasonable time, the infrastructure must be maintained anyway. The missiles themselves are the most expensive part.

      Think of the Battlewagons we have put up as museums with the training mechanisms welded down. What did it cost to keep them ready to go to sea, as opposed to building new ships. Admittedly we won’t likely see anything like Normandy or Okinawa again, but there were times those bigs peashooters come in handy and I think we will regret doing away with them.

      24 Silos are probably much cheaper to build and operate than a single Trident boomer. Silos are easier to build, and can be made with reinforced concrete which is far cheaper than the high grade steel required to build a Boomer.

Comments are closed.