Maintaining the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent
At a time when hostile countries are investing in nuclear weapons and delivery systems, the future of the U.S. nuclear deterrent is at a critical juncture. Two of the candidates for our nation’s highest office recently signaled that they would mean trouble for the U.S. nuclear force. Campaigning in Iowa, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flippantly remarked that the Obama administration’s plan to modernize our nuclear force “doesn’t make sense” to her, putting her to the left of the current president. And in the last Republican debate, reality-TV host Donald Trump demonstrated how clueless he is about the U.S. nuclear triad. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has, even if reluctantly, worked with Congress to provide funding for nuclear modernization.
The Obama administration should leave the next president with a nuclear force as flexible and credible as possible. This means, in part, that the next budget should close the gaps outlined in Secretary Moniz’s letter, and the B-61 model 12 and the LRSO should be given priority. Most importantly, the American people must ensure that the next president fully appreciates the indispensability of a strong and modern nuclear deterrent and will follow through with its modernization.