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Fewer, Better Nuclear Weapons Can Make the U.S. Stronger: View via Bloomberg view

U.S. President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey unveiled a new long-term defense strategy on Wednesday designed to save money while adapting U.S. forces to tomorrow’s security challenges.

While short on specifics about individual programs — those will come later this month in an official budget (USBODEFN) request — the Defense Strategic Review is realistic about trims in force size and retiree costs, and rightly calls for an increased focus on Asia and the Pacific Ocean, counterterrorism and cybersecurity.

In particular, we applaud the insistence that U.S. “deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force.” Unlike many other areas of the Pentagon budget, in which strategists and number crunchers should be able to negotiate their way to fiscal detente, the nuclear issue requires a complete rethinking of long-term strategy and philosophy.

Today’s world calls for a two-part nuclear strategy: ensuring that the U.S. has a robust retaliatory force against a major power (a resurgent Russia or a rising China) in a large- scale nuclear war, and maintaining a flexible deterrent to deal with regional challenges in a proliferating world (think Iran, North Korea and, perhaps, Pakistan). The key is making certain that the arsenal is optimal in terms of size, cost and, most important, capability.

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  1. yukimiyamotodepaul says

    “Better” nuclear weapons…. isn’t that categorically wrong?

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