Field of Science

Two politicians speak out against the Air Force's new cruise missile

There are three key questions that remain unanswered.
First, does the military need a new nuclear cruise missile? In other words, are there any enemy targets we can no longer “hold at risk” using existing nuclear and conventional weapons and the platforms used to deliver them? We are aware of no such military necessity.  
Next, what role does the military intend this weapon to serve? The Pentagon says it would “provide the president with uniquely flexible options in an extreme crisis.” This suggests a lowering of the threshold for nuclear war, a perilous approach that would endanger not only America but allies that we are pledged to protect, like Japan and South Korea.  
Finally, what is the weapon’s cost? The Defense Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration have yet to provide concrete estimates for the program, but the Federation of American Scientists has reported that it could cost as much as $30 billion. At a time when the Defense Department is set to modernize every leg of the nuclear triad, investing $30 billion in an unnecessary and dangerous new nuclear weapon is irresponsible.  
More here...

The point about lowering the threshold of nuclear war is especially important. In the early 2000s there was a lot of controversy about so-called earth-penetrating warheads or 'bunker busters' - low yield nuclear weapons designed to penetrate deep into the earth and destroy hidden bunkers, or 'hardened' targets. 

The problem was that not only was the radioactive fallout from such a strike unacceptably dangerous, but the weapons themselves lowered the threshold for introducing nuclear weapons and would prompt an adversary to act similarly. In another paradox of the nuclear age, less is actually more.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why you decided to not name the politicians.


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS