Category Archives: National Defense and Military

Rebuttal of China deniers’ understatement of China’s nuke capabilities

nukeexplosion

Even as China becomes an ever greater military threat to America, the pro-disarmament lobby in the US is still stubbornly denying that threat. The pro-disarmament lobby does so in order to lull American policymakers and voters into a false sense of security. The goal of this induce them to agree to dramatically and unilaterally cut America’s military power, especially its nuclear deterrent, which the Left outright hates.

Thus, it is not surprising that the Left continues to vastly understate China’s nuclear arsenal’s size and capabilities. Recently, the Left has been desperately denying the threat posed by China’s Jin class of ballistic missile submarines, which have given China a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent capable of striking the CONUS. Most recently, Christian Conroy and Hans Kristensen (a lifelong Danish pacifist who has spent his entire adult lifetime advocating the West’s unilateral disarmament) have denied that the Jin class gives China a credible sea-based deterrent.

Their denials are utterly wrong and are based on several utterly false claims they make. Specifically, China threat deniers falsely claim that:

1) The Jin class is too noisy to be survivable;

2) Its ballistic missile, the Julang-2 (JL-2), doesn’t have sufficient range to hit the CONUS;

3) China’s Central Military Commission has not delegated command-and-control authority over nuclear weapons to the PLA Navy nor authorized loading nuclear weapons on its submarines;

4) China has only three Jin class submarines.

 

Let’s refute each of these claims in turn.

1) The Jin class is NOT too noisy and IS survivable. Data on Chinese submarine noise from the Office of Naval Intelligence or other parts of the DOD has to be treated very skeptically, because the ONI is little more than a propaganda department which has, throughout many decades, routinely overestimated America’s military capabilities and understating those of her adversaries. It excelled in that during WW2.

Most importantly, the USN’s anti-sub warfare capabilities have atrophied so badly during the last few decades that even very noisy and obsolete subs can evade detection by the USN, especially if captained by competent, intelligent skippers.

America’s ASW capabilities today are in shambles, to say it very politely. To say it brutally, they’re almost extinct. The US has not seriously practiced, or devoted any significant resources, to ASW since the CW’s end. The S-3 Viking, a dedicated carrier-borne ASW a/c, has been retired. The Navy’s P-3 Orions are now being used as overland ISR aircraft. P-8 Poseidon production is slow and threatened by sequestration.

But even during the Cold War, when US ASW capabilities were far better than they were today, they were still woefully inadequate – so much so that even obsolete allied and Soviet submarines had no problems sneaking up on, and scoring goals against, USN surface ships and subs – including, yes, the Navy’s much vaunted and supposedly undetectable Ohio class boomers.

To give but one example: in 1981, during routine NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, a Canadian 1960s-vintage diesel submarine sneaked undetected under US ships and “sunk” not one, but TWO American aircraft carriers and took photos of them. The USN didn’t even know what hit them until a Canadian submariner leaked the story to the Canadian press. This was at a time when the Canadian military was dramatically underfunded and Ottawa had arguably the most anti-military government in its history. And in 1985, an obsolete Soviet submarine successfully sneaked upon USN SSBNs several times, again without the USN knowing the adversary was even there.

These days, allied submarines – even obsolete ones – ROUTINELY beat the US Navy and “sink” its much-vaunted carriers and submarines in exercises. It has happened more often than I can be bothered to count, but Professor Roger Thompson has listed some of these occassions here:

http://pl.scribd.com/doc/18023250/Is-the-USN-Obsolete

The USN is so crappy at ASW that even an idiot could sneak a submarine upon its ships and sink at least one of them. Intelligent submarine skippers, such as those of the PLAN, could compensate for the Jin class’s noise by using ocean current temperature changes, for example.

In fact, using the Jin class is a win-win situation for China. If they stay in the noisy waters of the Yellow Sea or the South China Sea, it would be very difficult to find them. If they sail into the open Pacific, it would be even more difficult to detect them as one would have to scan the entire, vast Pacific – the largest ocean in the world – for their subs.

2) The JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile DOES have sufficient range to hit the CONUS (though not yet from Chinese territorial waters). While Kristensen and Conroy falsely claim that the JL-2 only has a 7,200-7,400 km range, it actually has a range of at least 8,000, and probably more, kilometers.

GlobalSecurity.org, arguably the most credible military information website on the Internet, says that the JL-2’s range is at least 8,000, and may be up to 9,000, kms:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/china/jl-2.htm

Quote from the GS article:

“Most reports agree that the JL-2 will ahve a range of about 8,000 km, while some reports suggest that the missile will have an estimated range at least 9,000 kilometers.”

The DOD itself was saying, as recently as 2008, that the JL-2 had a range of 8,000 kms, not 7,200 or 7,400, and in that year’s report on China’s military, the DOD included this nice map showing the JL-2’s range to be sufficient to strike the entire Pacific Northwest of the US:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/da/PLA_ballistic_missiles_range.jpg/300px-PLA_ballistic_missiles_range.jpg

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range

So why the downgrade now? In all likelihood, due to the pressure of the Chinese (pro-appeasement) lobby inside and outside the US government, which doesn’t want the American public to know the real magnitude of the Chinese military threat and doesn’t want anyone to interfere with their kowtowing to China. Bill Gertz has already documented how the CIA, the DIA, the DOD at large, and other agencies have, for years if not decades, dramatically understated the Chinese military threat.

But even the Air Force’s NASIC intelligence center, while understating the JL-2’s range, admits that this missile, coupled with the Jin class, will allow China to “target portions of the United States” from waters near China.

Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that the DOD is on the record, saying just a few years ago, that the JL-2 had an 8,000 kms range and the capability to target the entire PNW.

TheDiplomat agrees that the JL-2 has an 8,000 km range:

http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2013/07/25/coming-soon-chinas-jl-2-sub-launched-ballistic-missile/

So the JL-2’s range is 8,000 kms, not a mere 7,200 or 7,400.

With that range, the JL-2 still cannot target the CONUS while being in Chinese territorial waters – but it can target anything on the West Coast, including LA and San Diego, if positioned at just slightly east of 150E, i.e. slightly east of Honshu Island. Roughly the same geographic longitude as Micronesia.

If it sails somewhat further into the Pacific, to 160E, it can target any place in the CONUS. I’ve already covered this subject here:

http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/dismissing-the-jin-ssbn-class-is-wrong/

And included a nice map here:

http://zbigniewmazurak.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/easia_oceania_92_2.jpg?w=1024&h=710

Of course, if the JL-2’s range is 9,000 kms, as some reports say, the Jin class can target the CONUS from even further afar.

In any case, within a few years, the discussion over the JL-2’s range will become a moot one, because two new JL-2 variants will enter service: the Jia and the Yi. The Jia will be able to carry 6-8 warheads over a distance of 12,000 kms; the Yi, up to 12 warheads over a range of 14,000 kms. Proof:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JL-2

Both of these missiles will give the Jin class the ability to target any place in the CONUS from Chinese territorial waters or even their homeports.
And as for the oft-repeated idiocy that China has only 250 warheads – it’s also a blatant lie. In fact, China has between 1,600 and 3,000 nuclear warheads, according to estimates by General Viktor Yesin (former CoS of the Russian SMF) and Professor Philip Karber (former DOD chief nuclear strategist), respectively. China’s 3,000 miles of missile tunnels alone prove that China’s nuclear arsenal is far, far larger than a mere 250 warheads – you don’t build such a vast network of tunnels for just 250 warheads. A few hundred miles would have been enough.

There is other evidence China’s nuke arsenal is larger than that. The PLAAF alone has more bombs than a mere 250 for its bomber/striker fleet (H-6s, JH-7s, Q-5s): 440 according to General Yesin. China also has 500 nuclear-armed LACMs and SRBMs, and China’s 100-120 MRBMs (DF-3, DF-21) are quite likely also nuclear-armed, considering the vast majority of them are aimed at Russia and India.

3) There is no evidence that the Central Military Commission has NOT delegated command-and-control authority to the PLA Navy and that China does not load nuclear warheads onto its submarines. In fact, we should assume that the CMC HAS given such authority to the PLAN and that Chinese SSBNs ARE normally loaded with nuclear warheads. Otherwise, it would make no sense at all for China to build all of these submarines and missiles only not to load them with nuclear weapons. In any case, China threat deniers like Conroy and Kristensen have no evidence whatsoever for their claims.

4) The PLA Navy has five Jin class subs, not a mere three, and is building a sixth one. Three Jin class boats is what it had in 2007/2008, when none other than Hans Kristensen spotted the third Jin class sub in a satellite photo of Huludao Shipyard. Evidence here.

Kristensen also desperately denies that any articles boasting of the PLA’s nuclear strike capability against the United States have been published in Chinese state media. He claims this has appeared only on private Chinese websites not connected to the government.

This claim, however, like all other claims of Kristensen, is patently false, however. The article boasting of how China would strike the US with nuclear warheads carried by JL-2 and DF-31 missiles appeared in none other than the Global Times – a state-run, rabidly anti-American newspaper tightly linked to and controlled by the Communist Party of China. As Bill Gertz correctly reported in the Washington Times on Nov. 20th (emphasis mine):

“an alarming report in another newspaper, the xenophobic Communist Party-affiliated Global Times, revealing for the first time the Chinese military’s detailed plans for using submarine-launched and road-mobile nuclear missiles to attack American cities.

The Global Times article included photos of missile systems and maps showing nuclear attacks on downtown Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and other U.S. locations.

“In general, after a nuclear missile strikes a city, the radioactive dust produced by 20 warheads will be spread by the wind, forming a contaminated area for thousands of kilometers,” the report said.

“Based on the actual level of China’s one million tons TNT equivalent small nuclear warhead technology, the 12 JL-2 [submarine-launched] nuclear missiles carried by one Type 094 nuclear submarine could cause the destruction of five million to 12 million people, forming a very clear deterrent effect.”

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In sum, China threat deniers’ claims are all blatant lies. China DOES already have a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent and its JL-2 SLBMs CAN hit the Continental United States if launched from a position just slightly east of Japan. China has five, not three, modern Jin class submarines, enabling it to provide a continous at-sea nuclear deterrent, and these submarines CAN, without much difficulty, evade detection by the USN.

Let’s face it. China is coming closer to reaching nuclear parity with the US every day – and deploying Jin class subs is a big step in that regard. These subs have given China a very survivable, accurate, deadly, and continous at-sea nuclear deterrent. 

“Rendition”, Fact or Fiction? Totalitarian Government is Here

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RenditionI watched the movie “Rendition” a few nights ago and began thinking about the situation in our nation today.  The movie is about an Egyptian man who has lived in the United States for 20 years, moving here when he was 14. He is a college educated chemical engineer, married, with a young son and a pregnant wife.  He has some relatives who have the same last name as a known terrorist so he is kidnapped by the CIA upon his return to the United States from South Africa.  When questioned by the CIA counter terrorism branch he denies any knowledge of terrorists, past terrorist attacks, or plans for future attacks.  As a result of his denial he is put on a plane and taken to a country in the Middle East (which I surmised to be Egypt) and is given to the nation’s secret police for questioning.  He is subjected to beatings, water boarding, and electric shock torture.  He finally gives up names of “co-conspirators” and is thrown back into a very small cell.

An American intelligence analyst who survived a terrorist bombing that killed his companion replaces the dead man as part of the interrogation team.  After days of torture the prisoner gives a list of names to his interrogators.  The American runs the names of the people given up by the prisoner through various intelligence agencies, including Interpol.  What he finds is that the names given are the members of the Egyptian National Soccer Team in 1990, the year the prisoner left Egypt for America.  In the meantime, the wife of the prisoner has contacted an old friend who is the chief of staff for a prominent Senator.  The friend is stonewalled and when he is faced with losing his job if he pursues the matter further he tells the wife that he can do nothing to help.   The analyst goes to the Minister of the Interior in this foreign country, shows the information he has found, and gets the man to sign an order for the release of the prisoner.  The American then arranges clandestine travel for the man to get home.

After September 11, 2001 I bought into many of the steps taken to find terrorists and stop them in their tracks.  I agreed with the Patriot Act at the time, when I knew only talking points about it.  Much has changDept Homeland Security Logoed in light of thirteen years of wars that have not really made our nation any safer from outside attack, but have certainly made the nation much more of a police state.  Today the story line of this movie is more than just a story about Moslem terrorism; it is much closer to home.

When I first heard Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, and others call me a homophobic, Il Duce Obamaislamophobic, hate mongering, bomb throwing Nazi TEA Party “potential domestic terrorist” I took offense.  And frankly, they drove me deeper into the Republican ranks of voters.  But in the years since the 2010 elections, and especially in the last few months, I have begun to hear Republicans speak the same rhetoric as life-long Marxist Democrats.  John McCain, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Peter King, and others begin to call people like me the same names and refer to patriotic citizens in the same vein as the Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Schumer crowd.

This is alarming to me.  When I see the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge, without trial, and without probable cause I begin to wonder.  I hear  those in both political parties call me and other patriots  “potential domestic terrorists” for having the temerity to staBi-partisanship logond up and demand our government follow the Constitution.  I wonder when they will subject me to the same treatment as this innocent man in the movie.  All that is necessary for me to be arrested and held indefinitely is for someone, anyone, to denounce me as a terrorist for my political beliefs and my rights under the Constitution are gone, just like that!!!! Call me crazy but this sounds like a movie right out of Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Communist China, East Germany, North Korea, and countless Moslem countries.  Of course, politicians in both parties who are calling for these NDAA provisions say they will never abuse the Constitution and subject We the People to these provisions.   If that is the case then why even have those provisions in the bill?????

Our nation has lasted long past any form of government since the Roman Empire because the Constitution provides for “unalienable rights” given by God and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.  Those currently in charge of our government have already trampled on those rights.  The 1st Amendment, written to protect religious organizations FROM government, is constantly under attack where Christianity is concerned.  Atheists, agnostics, and Moslems aren’t attacked by those who are so concerned about the “separation of church and state”.  Only Christians are subjected to the restrictive decisions by activist judges.  The Secret Service now has the option of declaring the 1st Amendment  provision of “the right of the people to peaceably assemble” null and void if they decide they want to.  No justification is needed other than the President or other high level official will be present.  So they can prevent any dissent from being voiced by a gathering of protestors when it suits them.  I know what that sounds like to me, and it isn’t a free Republic!!!!!

Our civil rights under the 2nd Amendment are constantly under attack by local, state, and federal governments, despite the amendment very clearly stating that  ”the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.  New Feinstein Veterans mentally illYork City and the State of California are using registration lists to confiscate the firearms of people who have done nothing to violate the law, and other states are not far behind.  This video is from Canada but it is coming here:

Some Senators are saying all veterans are mentally unstable and therefore should not be allowed to own firearms.  Colorado state legislators are being recalled by state voters for passing gun control laws that stand against the Constitution and the will of We the People because citizens are fed up and taking action.  Obamacare has provisions for the search of citizen homes without probable cause and without a warrant, violating the 4th Amendment.  The 9th and 10th Amendments are being rendered irrelevant by federal bribery and/or bullying of state governments who are so dependent on federal tax dollars that they refuse to stand on those provisions of the Constitution.  Add the fact that the political machines own most politicians at the state level, and many at city and county level also where do We the People go for redress of our grievances?

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, before he left office, outlawed what was it; salt, pepper, any soft drink over 16 ounces, among a host of unconstitutional actions.  The Federal Food and Drug Administration is about to outlaw trans-fats, and the EPA has now outlawed the use of wood burning stoves, just to name a few instances of government bureaucratic over-reach.  Wood burning stoves?????  I can’t eat what I want to eat now?????

Does anyone really believe these same people won’t subject We the People to the FEMA camps when push comes to shove and citizens have reached their limit of toleration of tyranny?  What have federal agencies, unconstitutional onesBarbed Wire at that, done to ensure that We the People will not be subjugated and led to the slaughter as were the Jews and others in Nazi Germany?????  It looks to me like they are doing exactly the opposite.

This is not a Democrat vs. Republican battle here.  This is, good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, ruling political elite vs. We the People, the working class American; and finally the Constitutional Republic vs. dictatorship.  From a practical aspect this is what we are facing, like it or not.  The Republican Party as currently controlled is as much a danger to liberty as the Democrat Party. They have teamed up to enslave We the People, and they are doing just that!!!!!

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

 

Bob Russell

Claremore, Oklahoma

December 20, 2013

House GOP Doesn’t Listen Any Better than Walmart

New GOPOccasionally the wrong person takes a column to heart.

Earlier this month I wrote that Walmart doesn’t help its PR efforts when the company acts in a manner that only serves to reinforce its reputation as the Simon Legree of retail. (Details here.) In this instance an Ohio store had a display in the employee break room asking for donations to help other Walmart employees that had fallen on hard times during the Thanksgiving & Christmas season.

Asking employees who earn an average of $12.83/hour to contribute to other employees is a touching testimony to the innate decency of the Walmart workforce, but it also calls up unfortunate images of the widow’s mite particularly in comparison with the wealth of the Walton family.

The column concluded with a look at Walmart’s Associates in Critical Need Trust. This is a fund that dispenses up to $1,500 to employees suffering severe financial setbacks. (This does not include a bad losing streak in connection with the Powerball lottery.)

I liked the sound of that, until I learned that once again these donations are no skin off the Walton family’s stock certificates. This trust is funded by voluntary payroll deduction, again from the $12.83/hour employees.

And that’s when problems began at the Shannon household.

My wife announced that unless the Walton family stops being so selfish (they have $144 billion in Walmart stock) and makes a major contribution to the Trust we will be boycotting Walmart. Generally I have no problem with boycotts. It’s an individual decision that uses the market to bring pressure on a merchant. No government intervention required. Colonists did it during the run up to the Revolution.

For taste and political reasons, I never darken the door of Starbucks (homosexual marriage is “part of the corporate DNA”), Caribou Coffee (Sharia–compliant finance) or Chipotle (one of the nation’s leading employers of illegals).

On the other hand I’m also cheap, so I regularly shop at Walmart, in spite of linguistic encounters with Walmart employees that graphically illustrate what retail shopping is going to be like after John Boehner decides it’s safe to grant illegals amnesty.

The wife says Target is going to be the windfall beneficiary of Shannon shopping dollars in the future. But I have mixed emotions regarding that store, too. All too often in the Sunday advertising circular the clothes younger models wear contribute to the sexualization of tweenaged shoppers. Young girls are hard enough to shop for without major retailers urging them to dress like pint–sized Kim Kardashians.

This is not a problem encountered when viewing the frumpy models in a Walmart catalog. I don’t know for certain whom it is wearing those dowdy clothes, but most of them appear to be related to Fred and Ethel Mertz. Regardless of age there are no sex symbols in a Walmart catalog.

Besides the Target food section is mostly full of do–it–yourself yogurt mixes and it is about one third the size of Walmart’s. (Although, credit where credit is due, Target does carry Malt–O–Meal.) I do hate sneaking around behind my wife’s back. The fact that my future secret assignations are with a major retail chain and not a hoochie mama is probably a commentary on the dullness of my existence, but I plan to continue to visit Walmart.

On the other hand I won’t be visiting Republican members of the Virginia House delegation. Last week I wrote about the shameful Boehner/Ryan sellout they tried to spin as a “budget deal.” (Details here.) This capitulation raises taxes (fees), increases spending and negates the sequester.

Ryan is so proud of himself. The good congressman says he’s increased Pentagon spending by $2 billion, which means all the Coffee Colonels there can go back to using the Keurig instead of making do with Nescafe. In return for all this bounty Ryan agreed to let the Democrats increase their spending by $22 billion! That’s an 11 to 1 ratio and we’re on the short side.

GOP apologists talk about future spending cuts contained in the deal, but with these big spenders the cuts always remain in the future, just over the horizon, like a mirage.

You can’t bind a future Congress to a deal made today. Heck this Congress can’t even bind itself. Who do you think negotiated the original sequester?

Now Boehner is flush with positive MSM coverage and has declared war on the TEA party. He’s tired of having Obama hand him his hat, so the great strategist turns on his base. Now maybe Karl Rove will return his phone calls.

At times like this the favorite criticism of the TEA party centers on Senate candidates. The TEA party supported candidates that lost and that cost Republicans the Senate.

Establishment Republicans never foist a loser on the electorate. Just look at the great work being done by President Romney and Senator George Allen. Not to mention that paragon of tanning, Senator Charlie Crist from Florida. All these worthies are (or were, Crist became a Democrat this year) establishment Republicans with the full support of party elders.

The TEA party is not a monolithic closed structure resistant to outside ideas — wait that sounds like Boehner’s cabal — it’s a loosely affiliated collection of like–minded conservatives and tin foil distributors. (Just kidding.)

There is no national body that selects candidates. Local groups support local candidates.

The TEA party–backed candidate lost in Missouri because establishment Republicans in that state utilize a primary system that doesn’t have a runoff if no one gets 50 percent of the vote. That’s how Todd Akin becomes your nominee with fewer than 35 percent of the vote. Akin and his gynecological theories could have never won a runoff. The TEA party candidate would not have survived the primary if Missouri Republicans ran the party like Texas Republicans.

In Delaware, Christine O’Donnell was simply mislabeled. She would have had no problem winning as a Democrat. If Patty Murray of budget deal negotiating fame can win her first race running as “a mom in tennis shoes,” O’Donnell would have had few problems as “a mom who’s not a witch.”

Country club Republicans conveniently overlook the fact that TEA party energy is responsible for Boehner sitting in the Speaker’s chair today.

This wretched budget deal has now passed the Senate where Republicans with primary opponents voted against it as a sop to people like you and me. There was never a doubt as to House passage. If you want to see how your house member voted you can check here and here.

I’m sorry to say the deal passed with every GOP member from Virginia voting ‘yes.’ These Republicans are either too timid to vote conservative or they simply aren’t conservatives.

Regardless of the reason for their failure, I’ll be happily boycotting every one of these politicians until they’re out of office. No money and no votes from the Shannon household and I urge every conservative reading this to do likewise.

This is a boycott every conservative can get behind.

Rebuttal of Andrew Erickson’s “let’s play solely on defense” proposals

Display of might

AirSea Battle, the DOD’s battle concept for countering China’s rapid military rise and aggressive actions in East Asia, has been under fire from the opponents of a strong national defense and from China’s lackeys in the US since its inception. They claim, inter alia, that AirSea Battle, which postulates striking the Chinese mainland in the event of Chinese aggression against the US or its allies, is too provocative and escalatory and would cause an unnecessary “escalation” in the event of a conflict.

Among the proponents of such a ludicrous claim are retired colonel T. X. Hammes and Naval War College professor Andrew Erickson. The former proposes playing on the defense in East Asia while interdicting China’s sealanes of commerce at strategic chokepoints – the straits in South and East Asia, between the various islands there (85% of China’s oil goes through the Strait of Malacca alone). Erickson, for his part, considers even that to be too “escalatory” and advocates playing solely on defense.

To support their concepts, these people claim that when playing on defense, America can attrite China’s offensive weapons by fielding more defensive systems and forcing China to spend money on overcoming them. But this is a recipe for failure. Firstly, as I’ll discuss below, few wars in history have been won solely on the defensive, and secondly, China can always outproduce and outbuild the US, and build multiple offensive weapons for every single defensive system the US or its allies deploy. Let’s discuss this in more detail.

Even assuming that the DOD and the US defense industry somehow get much more efficient in the next few years, that proposition is utterly unrealistic, and will always be.

Why? Because in China, one dollar can buy far, far more than in the West – so for every air defense system or anti-ship missile launcher the US or Japan buys, China can buy several. Ditto fighters. Ditto missile defense systems. Ditto every other class of weapon systems.

Say the US spends $1 bn on air defense systems for its bases in East Asia and China spends $2 bn on stealth a/c and bombs (or missiles) designed to take them out. Say the US can buy 10 batteries for that $1 bn. For $2 bn, China could buy at least 20 (and probably more) J-20 stealth strike a/c with a full complement of weapons.

China has, and will always have, a big advantange in numbers over the US (except nuclear weapons). That is inevitable. In terms of numbers, China can always out-build and out-produce the US. However many defensive systems the US and its Pacific allies deploy, China can always saturate them with huge amounts of offensive weapons (ballistic and cruise missiles, bombs, ASAT weapons, submarines, anti-ship missiles, etc. etc. usw.).

The US can NEVER compete with China in that regard – which means the US can NEVER afford to play with China solely on defense. China already has more than enough ballistic and cruise missiles to destroy every US and allied base in the First and Second Island Chain (in SK, Japan, the Phils, Guam, northern Australia, etc.) several times over, using DF-11, DF-15, DF-16, DF-21, DF-25, DF-3, CJ-10, DH-10, and HN-3 ballistic and cruise missiles launched from the ground and (in the CJ-10’s and HN-3’s case) from H-6K bombers. In fact, China has far more of these missiles than it knows what to do with!

And missile INTERCEPTORS, as the CSBA points out, and as this very website has noted some time ago, cost FAR more than the offensive missiles they’re supposed to shoot down. For example, an SM-3 or THAAD missile costs $10 mn per copy; a single GBI costs $70 mn per copy. A single PATRIOT costs over $3 mn per missile. China can build offensive missiles for a fraction of that amount.

The future USS Gerald R. Ford will cost $13 bn by the time it’s completed, the Kennedy, $10-11 bn. For that amount of money, China can build 1,227 DF-21D ASBMs for each carrier. Which means China can build over TWELVE HUNDRED carrier-killer missiles for each a/c the US builds going forward. US missile defenses would have to intercept EVERY SINGLE ONE of these missiles to protect the carrier, while only one DF-21D would need to hit its target to sink it.

“Going into China” is the ONLY way to defeat that country should any war arise in East Asia. Not going into China would mean giving China sanctuary on its ENTIRE territory, leaving it free to continually stage attack after attack from that territory and continue to produce offensive weapons en masse – in quantities far outproducing the US.

One could say it’s an “escalation” – but if China tries to grab the disputed islands by force, or attacks America’s Pacific allies directly, that will already be a HUGE escalation of the present situation, and at that point, no attempt to “restrain” such war will bring peace or reduce casualties and suffering on either side. If China does commit aggression, the US will be fully justified to strike China itself. Chinese leaders should know that.

Historically – and I speak here as a history grad with the highest honors (I hold BA and MA degrees in the field) – few, if any wars, have been won by fighting solely on the defensive. That’s because playing solely on defense allows the enemy to control the tempo of the war and to decide where and when you will fight. It gives him the initiative and thus, the ultimate victory. Winning purely defensive wars is possible only if the enemy commits some monumentally stupid mistake, thus defeating himself. Tell me, Messrs. Clark and Freedberg, exactly how many wars have been won solely by playing on defense?

This fact was brilliantly demonstrated by China’s most-reputed military genius, Sun Tzu (whose teachings are clearly lost on “Professor” Erickson and on this website’s editors). Sun Tzu was tasked by Helu, the King of Wu, to defend his state against an expected invasion by a much larger neighbor – Chu. Master Sun could’ve simply locked himself up with his troops in Wu cities and fortresses, but being Sun Tzu, he did the opposite. He did the unexpected. He invaded Chu.

(Of course Sun Tzu did not initially confront the large Chu army head-on; he started by attacking softer targets like small bases, border crossings, and unfortified cities and villages, in a guerilla-like style. Only much later on did he battle the large (but by then, depleted) Chu army directly.)

Likewise, during the Civil War, the Confederacy twice attempted to invade the North to achieve a political goal of forcing the Union to sue for peace (and convincing European powers to recognize the South) by defeating the Union on its home court. (Lee would’ve done that if he had taken Harrisburg and Camp Curtin as he originally planned instead of being distracted by Union cavalry detachments in Gettysburg and abandoning the original plan.)

By contrast, during the Korean War, the US played solely on defense, with the disastrous result that the war dragged on and on for years because China could always field far more troops and weapons in Korea than the US and its allies could – and the Truman administration was too cowardice to strike China. The result? By November 1952 the American people were so weary of the war they elected a President who promised to end it.

And you know how he ended the war? By threatening to escalate with nuclear weapons against China if the Communists continued the war. This, coupled with Stalin’s death and his successors’ struggle for power, ended the war.

Again, it must be underlined: very few wars have been won by playing solely on defense. Winning requires going on the offense.

Master Sun himself wrote in his treatise, the Art of War, that you can secure yourself against defeat by remaining on defense, but to WIN you’ll have to go on offense; and that “those skilled in warfare bring the enemy to the battlefield; they are not brought there by him”, meaning they choose the time and place of battle instead of letting the enemy choose them.

Last but not least, fielding all the long-range strike weapon systems called for by AirSea Battle and making it clear to China that its mainland would not be spared from US strikes if Beijing commits an act of aggression against anyone is actually very likely to PREVENT war in the first place by DETERRING China.

Beijing will refrain from aggression ONLY if it understands that any attack on America or its Asian allies would result in a swift, devastating retaliation against the PRC. In fact, only a credible threat of an immediate and devastating retaliation can deter ANY potential aggressor – including, but not solely, China.

On the other hand, declaring – or making it clear through procurement choices – that the US will, in even of a war, play only on defense and leave mainland China untouched will only EMBOLDEN China. For it would signal clearly to China that it could attack other countries, wreak death and destruction upon them, based on the most ridiculous territorial claims – and the worst it could expect would be an America desperately trying to defend these countries’ territories. No threat of any US retaliation upon China – Beijing would be free to churn out thousands of missiles, aircraft, and other offensive weapons, and launch attacks from any base on its territory.

This would be seen in Beijing as what it really is – a sign of weakness and cowardice.

US policymakers should utterly reject any such proposals and proceed full speed ahead with implementation of AirSea Battle in word and deed. ALL weapon systems and force posture changes called for by that battle concept must be fully procured/implemented in the required quantities. No ifs, no buts, no ands.

Rebuttal of William Hartung’s blatant lies about the threat environment

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The leftist “BreakingDefense” website has recently (on Dec. 12th) published yet another utterly ridiculous leftist screed, this time by ignorant anti-defense hack William Hartung from the far-left “New America Foundation”, an organization that seeks to turn America into a socialist, militarily weak country. In that garbage screed, Hartung falsely claims that:

1) The world is much safer now than during the Cold War and there is no significant threat to America’s or her allies’ security;

2) US military superiority is uncontested and there’s no one able to contest it;

3) The US spends too much on defense and should cut it by $100 bn per year, below Cold War average levels;

4) The only threats to US security on the horizon are the politically-correct threats of man-made climate change, disease, hunger, and nuclear-armed terrorists, and potential “miscalculations” in the current territorial disputes in East Asia. Hartung falsely claims none of America’s current or future security challenges can be solved through the “traditional means of military power”;

5) The Ryan-Murray budget deal would give an additional $20 bn to the DOD every year and would effectively increase defense spending.

All of Hartung’s claims are patently false. All of them.

1) Despite his pious denials, the world is far, far more dangerous than at any point during the Cold War except the Cuban Missile Crisis over 50 years ago. It is, in fact, more dangerous than at any point since WW2, again excluding only the CMC. During the CW, the US had to deter only one hostile superpower. Today, it has to deter and keep in check TWO hostile superpowers with large nuclear arsenals – Russia and China – as well as a nuclear-armed and belligerent North Korea, soon to be joined by a nuclear-armed Iran. It also has to fight terrorist organizations, such as AQ and Hezbollah, around the world. To cut US defense spending even further (after all the previous, pre-sequestration rounds of defense cuts implemented by the Obama admin) would be suicidal. No, the US is not spending too much on defense; if anything, it is spending too little. The world is decidedly NOT safer now than during the Cold War; for all of the above reasons, it is far MORE dangerous.

2) US military superiority is mostly a thing of the past already. Russia and China both wield large, modern, and growing nuclear arsenals as well as large, modern conventional militaries. In most categories of weapons, they’ve already matched or bested the US and are now working on closing the remaining few gaps. Their Flanker fighters are superior to everything the US flies except the F-22 and upgraded F-15C/Ds. Their PAKFA, J-20, and J-31 stealth fighters will best everything on the planet except the F-22 (whose capability they will nonetheless approach). Their Sovremenny and Type 052 DDGs are better than the USN’s DDGs, their submarines are quieter than the USN’s (who also sucks at ASW), and the PLAN already has far more attack subs than the USN does. In a few years, the PLAN will have more submarines, and more ships, in total than the USN. They both also have IRBMs, a class of weapons the US does not have, and China also has a huge arsenal of GLCMs. It is now also developing a stealthy, intercontinental bomber capable of reaching the CONUS.

But most troublingly, these countries (and on a lesser scale, rogue states like the DPRK and Iran) have fielded large, multi-layered networks of anti-access/area-denial weapons and capabilities that can shutter the US military out of entire war theaters completely, by destroying US land bases, USN surface ships, US satellites, and crippling US cyber networks as well as denying access to their airspace to all but the most stealthy a/c (F-22s and B-2s, plus the future LRSB/NGB). Their air defense systems can shoot any nonstealthy aircraft from hundreds of kilometers away. This means the US will have to acquire a wholly new series of long-range strike platforms that can access even the most heavily-defended countries, hit their assets, and operate at great distances, as well as disperse, harden, and fortify its current land bases and upgrade its air and missile defenses. This cannot be done on the cheap – it will require significant and sustained investments.

So Hartung’s claim that there’s no threat to US military supremacy is also a blatant lie – like the rest of his screed.

3) How much money the US has spent on defense in decades past is completely irrelevant to how much money should it be spending on defense right now. The only way to determine the right amount is to ask: “What exact capabilities (and thus weapons) do we need, at what level of sophistication, and at what quantity, and how much will it cost to recruit, house, feed, equip, train, maintain, care for, and compensate such a military?” Only this way can the right amount of defense spending be determined.

Raw figures and exclamations, like “oh my gosh, we’re spending $480 bn to $500 bn per year on defense, can’t we provide for our security with that amount?” and “oh my gosh, we’re spending more than during the Cold War on defense!” are utterly irrelevant and childish. Not to mention that the dollar is worth far, far less today than during the Cold War, and that as a share of the federal budget and of GDP, the US now spends LESS on defense than at any point since FY1940.

Hartung, whose goal is to totally gut America’s defense, OTOH, wants to arbitrarily cut US defense spending deeply so that it will be woefully inadequate.

4) Despite Hartung’s blatant lies that the world’s current security threats cannot be solved by military means, nothing could be further from the truth. Today, the biggest threats to America’s and its allies’ security are: an ascendant and aggressive China, a resurgent and aggressive Russia, a nuclear-armed NK preying on its southern neighbor and the US itself, an Iran speedily developing nuclear weapons and BMs, and terrorist groups of global reach like Hezbollah and AQ. These threats cannot be defeated by ANYTHING other than military means – because the ONLY thing these potential aggressors understand and respect is military strength. It’s the only thing that can deter and if necessary (Hezbollah, AQ) defeat them.

5) Contrary to Hartung’s blatant lies, the Ryan-Murray budget deal would not add a penny to the defense budget. It would only slightly reduce the amount of sequestration-required budget cuts the DOD would have to make in FY2014 and FY2015: by roughly $20 bn this FY and $9 bn the next, out of over $50 bn in cuts mandated by the sequester for every FY going forward thru FY2022. After FY2015, the sequester would return in full force.

Even before sequestration, the DOD had already cut almost a TRILLION dollars out of its budget: in over $330 bn in cuts resulting from the killing of over 50 crucial weapon programs by Sec. Gates, $178 bn in his later “efficiencies”, and $487 bn under the first tranche of BCA-mandated (pre-sequester) budget cuts. Sequestration is only the newest series of defense budget cuts being implemented by the Obama administration, which targeted defense for deep cuts as soon as it took office. Any claim that Ryan and Murray want to add any amount of money to the defense budget is a flat-out lie.

6) The Stimson Center’s proposals are useless, because they would “achieve” $25 bn in “savings” only by deeply cutting the military’s MUSCLE – America’s military CAPABILITIES, not the fat. Specifically, the Army would see even deeper cuts than those proposed by Obama, and the Navy’s planned SSBN replacement fleet would get cut from the barely-adequate planned number of 12 to just 10 boats. This is the defense policy of a madhouse.

7) Hartung shows his true colors when he calls on Congress not to spare the DOD at all from the sequester… but does not object to Congress reducing the scheduled sequester cuts to nondefense (domestic) discretionary programs, the vast majority of which are unconstitutional. This proves, once again, that Hartung’s goal is NOT to save taxpayers money, but to gut America’s defense.

And for that, he should be damnated forever as the traitor he is.

Shame on Hartung for lying so blatantly, but above all, shame on BD and its editors, Colin Clark and Sydney Freedberg, for publishing his litany of blatant lies and thus giving him yet another avenue to lie to the public, as if he didn’t have enough. Shame on you, Messrs. Clark and Freedberg!

What military capabilities will be crucial in the years ahead

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Although it’s hard to predict what the world will look like ten or twenty years from now, we can say with certainty that it will be even more dangerous than it is today and that the existing threats to US national security – Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, etc. – will grow even worse over time.

That being the case, it is time to completely cancel and reverse the sequestration of the US defense budget, to fund the US military properly, and to think what capabilities (and thus weapon systems, as well as skills for personnel) will it need in the future.

These capabilities cannot be chosen in a vacuum; they need to be oriented towards defeating the potential adversaries of the US: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and the various terrorist organizations they support.

#1: Nuclear deterrence; and #2, ballistic missile defense

The biggest threat to US national security by far is that of a nuclear, chemical, biological, or ballistic missile attack by a peer adversary (Russia, China) or a rogue state (North Korea, Iran), because the consequences of failing to deter and prevent such an attack would be far graver than any other kind of attack. Even one nuclear warhead detonating over an American city or major military base would be worse than the sinking of 10 US warships.

Russia alone has 434 ICBMs, 251 intercontinental bombers, and 13 ballistic missile subs. The submarines alone can deliver over 2,000 warheads to the CONUS, while its ICBMs can deliver 1,684. China also has a large nuclear arsenal: between 1,600 and 3,000 warheads, as well as at least 87 ICBMs, 120-160 strategic bombers, and 6 ballistic missile subs. China can deliver hundreds of warheads to the US, and would gladly nuke American cities and major military bases if it could get away with it without American retaliation, as official Chinese media have recently noted. Deterring these adversaries, and providing a nuclear umbrella to over 30 allies of the US, requires a large nuclear arsenal; a small one will not suffice.

As for ballistic missiles, over 30 countries possess them today, and these missiles’ accuracy, range, and payload – especially in China’s Iran’s, and North Korea’s case – is growing fast.

Accordingly, defending against these threats must be the US government’s #1 priority. This requires maintaining the US nuclear arsenal at NO LESS than its current size and modernizing all three legs of the nuclear triad (bombers, ICBMs, submarines) as well as the supporting plutonium- and uranium-producing facilities.

Additionally, it requires deploying a comprehensive missile defense system to protect the homeland and US bases overseas from ballistic missile attack. If you can’t protect the homeland, you are out of the power-projection game, period.

#3: Long-range strike

Although ballistic missiles and their payloads are a significant threat in and of themselves, they are but a part of America’s adversaries anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) arsenals of weapons designed to keep the US military out of crucial world regions (such as the Pacific Rim and the Middle East) – to prevent the US military from even being present, let alone operating and winning battles, there.

Ballistic (and cruise) missiles, as well as enemy strike aircraft, pose a large threat to US forward bases abroad, including in those regions (and to American carrier battle groups) – and the US is currently heavily dependend on these. The US must therefore dramatically reduce its dependence on overseas bases (and on theater-range platforms operating from them, such as tactical strike aircraft) and begin to quickly develop and deploy a family of long-range strike systems.

These must include a stealthy long-range bomber, a new tanker, conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) weapons (preferrably missiles), the Virginia Payload Module for Virginia class submarines, and stealthy-long range jammer and naval strike aircraft (preferrably unmanned).

The centerpiece of this must be the long-range strike bomber, of which at least 100, and preferrably 200 or more, should be built.

#4:  Anti-submarine warfare

America’s potential adversaries around the world all operate a large number of submarines. Russia has 43, China has 63-64, and Iran has at least three. North Korea operates a large fleet of midget submarines that could perform suicide, intelligence, or commando infiltration/exfiltration missions. Russia’s, China’s, and Iran’s submarines can launch a wide range of weapons, including, and most worryingly, SS-N-27 Sizzler anti-ship missiles.

Yet, the USN’s anti-sub warfare capabilities have declined dramatically since 9/11. All S-3 Viking ASW aircraft have been retired, the number and condition of P-3 Orions has declined badly, and P-8 Poseidons are just beignning to tnter service. USN personnel’s skills have also plummeted. In recent years, the USN has held ASW exercises with numerous allied nations bringing their quiet diesel-electric subs to bear.  The USN FAILED to find these subs in EACH exercise.

If those exercises had been real combat, all USN aircraft carriers would’ve been at the bottom of the sea right now.

ASW must start being treated as a priority, not as an afterthought. More submarines and more P-8 aircraft must be built, P-3 Orions’ service lives must be extended or zero-timed, enough spares should be brought in from AMARC, and USN personnel must be trained properly in ASW.

#5: Demining

China alone has about 100,000 naval mines; North Korea, Iran, and Russia have further thousands. Iran could easily close the Strait of Hormuz simply by mining it. Yet, demining has been an afterthought for the USN until recently, with the US relying on allies to do most of the work.

As a result, the much smaller French Navy has only two demining vessels fewer (11) than the USN (13), and the (also much smaller) UK Royal Navy has 15 – more than the USN! While the US should continue to ensure that allies continue to provide these crucial assets when need be, it also needs its own, proper demining ship fleet with personnel specialized in this kind of work. This would be cheap, and could easily be paid for by cancelling the LCS program.

#6: Air superiority

Air superiority is and will continue to be crucial for winning wars. If you don’t control the skies, you’ll lose. Additionally, it is much better to kill the archer than the arrows – to shoot down a missile-launching plane than try to intercept the missiles.

To do that, the USAF needs a dedicated air superiority platform. The best choice by far would be resuming F-22 Raptor production, prematurely terminated for purely political purposes 2009 at a paltry 187 aircraft. Alternatively, the USAF could procure several hundred F-15SE Silent Eagles, a new variant of the F-15 Eagle. This (and all other capabilities listed herein) could easily paid for by cancelling the ridiculous, egregiously over budget F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program. Additionally, the USAF should train with, and fly simulated combat against, Su-30 operators such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as this is the mainstay fighter of the Russian and Chinese air force.

Conclusion

Because the sequester will likely remain the law for several years to come, and thus resources will be ever more scarce, the DOD won’t be able to get everything it wants or needs. Tradeoffs are inevitable.

It is therefore important to make the right tradeoffs – to maintain and even increase investments in the crucial capabilities, weapon systems, and human skills listed above, while scaling back those that will be less relevant in future threat environments. Nuclear deterrence must remain the first priority, because the nuclear threat to the US and its allies will only grow in the years and decades ahead, but several other key capabilities also receive priority status to prevail over the most dangerous threats of the 21st century.

House GOP Has Nothing to Offer Conservatives

GOP surrenders principlesHere’s the situation: You’re in a high–stakes negotiation with an untrustworthy opponent. The opposition has violated every agreement the two of you have made in the past. Enforcement mechanisms are weak or non–existent.

In other areas of mutual interest your opponent regularly violates the law and dares you to do something about the violation. Your weak and vacillating leadership can’t be counted on in a pinch. And finally, the opposition lies shamelessly to the state media, doing its best to paint you as a fanatic and pathological liar.

So what do you do?

Bomb Iran is a good answer, but it’s not the answer for this question, because I’m talking about negotiating a budget deal with Democrats.

The Republican House leadership decision in this case was to sell out their conservative base in a brazen attempt to insure their own re–election at the expense of the nation’s fiscal future.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R–WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D–Sneakers) have presented us with a plan that shatters the spending ceiling that was the main result of the bruising sequester fight, dilutes the small budget cuts from the sequester and raises taxes (Ryan calls it a “fee” but if the feds get more money and it comes from our pockets it’s the same as a tax).

Ryan even has the gall to say the deal will balance the budget in ten years and sidestep the threat of government shutdowns in January and October 2014.

And those dates are what are really important for craven House negotiators. In fact, the real motivation for the deal is Ryan’s shutdown statement. House Republicans still think they suffered a near–death experience in the recent government shutdown. But instead of seeing Jesus and a bright light, they saw a Mayflower moving van and a bright white resume. For them if it’s a choice between selling out to the Democrats and losing their cushy Congressional job, sellout is just another word for job security.

The risk of a potential shutdown in January and October of an election year was simply too much uncertainty for these stalwarts to bear. So instead of simply passing a continuing resolution as has been done for the past few years and keeping the sequester savings, Ryan decided to remove all uncertainly and cave in this year.

Ryan and Speaker Boehner (R–Risible) think they can get away with this lie to conservatives because the result of increased federal spending and budget busting won’t have the personal impact on voters that Obama’s insurance lie had. You don’t get a letter from the government cancelling your future. You get a Chinaman repossessing the Washington monument.

The rationalization for this total surrender is threefold according to our betters: The agreement restores some defense spending reduced by the sequester, cuts the budget and brings the entire budget into balance in ten years.

Let’s start at the top. Ace negotiator Ryan was able to restore $2 billion in Pentagon spending next year in return for letting Democrats increase wasteful social spending by $ 22 BILLION! That’s a ratio of 11 to one in welfare to warfare spending.

The sequester was bad enough — defense took half the cuts, while social spending took the other half spread over countless pointless programs — but this disaster in multiplication makes that deal look positively prudent.

Second the budget cut. I admire Ryan’s poker face as he announced $26 billion in cuts over ten years. This means the federal government will be cutting $2.6 billion a year out of a budget that’s over $1 trillion! For comparison purposes, the city of Washington, DC spends more than $2.6 billion in four months. In 2012 the IRS issued $11 billion in fraudulent income tax refunds. In the same year the government wasted $95 billion in programs identified by the Government Accounting Office that duplicated other wasteful government programs.

In federal terms, Ryan’s $2.6 billion is pocket change.

Finally, the budget balances in ten years. This is not because spending will finally be brought in line with revenue, which is how individuals balance budgets. No, Ryan is hoping that federal tax revenues will grow enough through a recovering economy to finally match the spending right now. In the other nine years the deficit continues to pile up.

This is like a drunk driver careening the wrong way down the interstate hoping his blood will absorb enough of the booze for him to regain control before the car hits the bridge abutment.

David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director who saw firsthand how Republicans agreed to increase taxes for Democrat spending cuts that never came, says, “First, let’s be clear—it’s a joke and betrayal. It’s the final surrender of the House Republican leadership to Beltway politics and kicking the can and ignoring the budget monster that’s hurtling down the road.”

Earlier this week reporter Paul Kane of The Washington Post seemed confused that TEA party members were mounting challenges to incumbent Republican senators. The answer is simple; conservatives have no reason to support big government incumbentcrats, regardless of whether they are Senators or Congressmen. Keeping the likes of Boehner or Ryan or Orrin Hatch in office is not the be all and end all of our existence. If nothing else even an unsuccessful primary can be a wakeup call for these whited sepulchers.

Why fight for them if they won’t fight for us? Why waste the gas necessary to drive to the polls to vote for these weaklings?

The only difference between these Republicans and Nancy Pelosi is we go broke slower and there’s a slim chance we won’t have to attend a same–sex marriage ceremony to qualify for Social Security benefits.

Retreating to a compound in Idaho is looking better and better. And since Janet Reno is no longer attorney general, we might even survive until the Chinese foreclose.

Rebuttal of anti-nuke hacks’ lies about US nuclear weapons spending

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The leftist “National Defense Magazine”, which has often published utterly false propaganda screeds on defense issues, has recently published yet another one of this kind: an article that falsely claims US nuclear weapons spending is poised to skyrocket and is exempt from sequester.

Even worse, that garbage screed uncritically repeats the lies of several extremely leftist anti-nuclear activists and organizations, such as the Council for a Livable World’s Kingston Reif, the CATO Institute, and POGO.

The screed repeats Kingston Reif’s blatant lies that nuclear weapons spending is supposedly poised to “soar” at a time when the rest of the military budget is declining fast, that such spending will increasingly crowd out funding for conventional weapons, that it will force the DOD into very difficult between nuclear and conventional arms, that deeply and unilaterally cutting the nuclear arsenal would still leave the US with a “devastating deterrent”, etc.

All of these claims are blatant lies borrowed uncritically from leftist groups and activists. Here are THE FACTS:

1) Nuclear weapons and their delivery systems are NOT, have not been, and will not be in any way spared or shielded from the sequester. There is NO provision in the Budget Control Act (BCA), which created the sequester, or in any other law, that would shield/ring-fence the nuclear arsenal from budget cuts. In fact, by the National Defense Magazine’s own admission, the sequester has recently cut the B61 warhead modernization program’s budget by $30 mn.

And in 2012, then-SECDEF Panetta said that if sequestration persists, the DOD would have to eliminate the entire ICBM fleet, cut the bomber fleet by 2/3s, kill the NGB program, cut the SSBN fleet, and delay the SSBN replacement program.

So any claim that nuclear weapons spending is protected from the sequester, or is set to skyrocket, is a BLATANT LIE, meaning that the people making such claims are LIARS.

And no one should be fooled by Kingston Reif’s false concern for conventional weapon programs. His organization advocates, and has long advocated, deep cuts in America’s conventional and nuclear weapon programs like – in ALL categories of American military power. They simply want to gut America’s defense.

At present, the entire nuclear arsenal and its associated infrastructure cost only $31-32 bn per year, that is, a paltry 5% of the entire military budget. Therefore, Kingston Reif’s claim that nuclear weapons will force the DOD to choose between them and conventional weapons is a blatant lie. At just 5% of the military budget, US nuclear weapons spending is too low to have that effect.

Even cutting US nuclear weapons spending deeply, or even eliminating it entirely, would not come anywhere close to freeing up enough funding for (increasingly expensive) conventional weapon systems.

OTOH, terminating the useless F-35 program (whose cost is nearly $400 bn) and reforming the DOD’s grotesquely costly pay, personnel, and benefits schemes and its byzantine acqusitions system would yield huge savings that would allow significant investments in both nuclear and conventional programs.

Absent such reforms, however, there will not be enough money for any weapons – nuclear or conventional – because personnel costs will eat up an ever-larger share – and eventually the whole – of the US military budget! By FY2039, on present trends, there won’t be a single dollar for ANY weapon – nuclear or conventional – because 100% of the DOD budget will be spent on personnel and their benefits!

2) Kingston Reif is not an expert on anything, let alone nuclear weapons. He’s a far-left anti-nuclear activist. He has zero knowledge of nuclear weapons or US defense budgets. Calling him an “expert”, as the NDM has done, is ridiculous and an insult to every real expert on the subject.

3) Kingston Reif’s “estimate” of the costs of nuclear modernization ($300 bn/25 years) is a wild exaggeration designed to mislead the public and thus to get the public to abandon the program. It isn’t based on any sound sources. But even if his wildly exaggerated “estimate” were true – and it isn’t even CLOSE to being true – that would amount to only slightly more than $10 bn per year ($300 bn over a period of 25 years – a quarter of a century). That’s very much affordable.

That Reif and other anti-nuclear activists make such grossly exaggerated claims is not surprising – they want America to disarm itself unilaterally (and thus to open itself to attack by powers which these anti-nuke activists serve) by simply allowing its nuclear arsenal to decay and rust away without modernization.

4) Reif’s claim that the US could still have a “devastating” nuclear deterrent after cutting the planned new SSBN fleet from twelve to just eight boats and delaying the next-gen bomber program until the mid-2020s is likewise a blatant lie. Such actions would GUT the nuclear deterrent while saving only a pittance – according to the CBO’s grossly exaggerated estimate, $48 bn over two decades – and possibly inviting a Russian nuclear first strike on the US, since, after such deep cuts, the US would have only 4-5 boats and 450 ICBMs of any credible retaliatory power. (The rest of the boats would be in overhaul, and the USAF would lack bombers that could penetrate Russian airspace in retaliation.)

With just eight SSBNs, only four to five at most would be at sea at any given time (the rest would be in refit/overhaul). That’s a paltry number, and nowhere near enough to provide a sufficient nuclear retaliatory capability, even if all 4-5 SSBNs that would be at sea at any moment survived an enemy first strike… which would be highly unlikely, given that America’s enemies and allies alike have, in recent decades, REPEATEDLY detected, snuck upon, and scored goals against American (Ohio class) SSBNs.

Moreover, even if 4-5 SSBNs still survived, they would still be woefully inadequate to deliver a sufficiently devastating second strike, because they wouldn’t have enough missiles and warheads on these paltry 4-5 boats. A single future SSBN will have only 16 missiles, so 5*16=80 missiles, armed with, at best, 10 warheads each. That’s just 800 warheads compared to the over 1,400 (and growing) that Russia’s 13-strong SSBN fleet can deliver.

Nuclear deterrence is a numbers game. More nuclear weapons mean a stronger, more credible, more survivable nuclear deterrent.

The Navy did not take the planned number of new SSBNs (12) out of thin air; it arrived at that number after a careful, thorough analysis of how many subs are needed to provide deterrence after New START entered into force. The exact opposite of the “eight SSBNs” number proposed by the CBO and by pro-unilateral-disarmament groups like CLW, POGO, and others – which was taken out of thin air.

And make no mistake: these treasonous pro-unilateral-disarmament groups treat that as a mere step on the way to disarming America completely and unilaterally.

As for the next-gen bomber, it is urgently needed NOW and cannot be delayed any further. It is absolutely needed for both nuclear and conventional missions on which it would have to penetrate highly-defended airspace – Russian, Chinese, North Korean, Iranian, and Syrian airspace defended (or soon to be defended, in Iran’s and Syria’s case) by sophisticated, modern (excl. NK), highly capable long-range air defense systems like the S-300, S-400, S-500, HQ-9, and HQ-16 (not to mention any systems Moscow or Beijing may field in the next decade or two, like the S-500 currently in development).

Currently, America has only a handful of bombers able to penetrate such airspace – a paltry 20 B-2 bombers. That’s woefully inadequate. Moreover, even B-2 bombers may, in the early 2020s, lose ability to penetrate defended airspace (CSBA’s Mark Gunzinger, a REAL expert on bomber and nuke issues, says they will). This means the next-gen bomber is needed NOW and cannot be delayed any further. In fact, it was already delayed for way, way too long before the program was launched in 2011. Without it, the USAF will completely lose its ability to penetrate defended airspace by the 2020s.

The urgent need for this bomber, and for development to be conducted NOW, has been reaffirmed by the 2006 and 2010 QDR, by every SECDEF since at least Bob Gates, by every SECAF and USAF Chief of Staff since the Gates years (Wynne, Donley, Fanning, Gens. Moseley, Schwartz, and Welsh), by the USAF as a whole, and by numerous independent (outside the DOD) think-tanks from the Mitchell Institute to Heritage to the Lexington Institute to the CSBA, CNAS, and AEI, and to the Joint Force Quarterly publication. And just recently, both Gen. Welsh and (outgoing) Deputy SECDEF Ash Carter have STRONGLY reaffirmed the need for a next-gen bomber.

For more on why the NGB is needed, see here, here and here.

The need for the next-gen bomber is INDISPUTABLE. It’s an undebatable FACT.

The CBO’s “recommendations” should be ignored. The CBO only employs bean-counters who know nothing about defense issues.

5) POGO’s and others’ claim that the B61 nuclear bomb modernization’s cost is “out of control” and “unaffordable” is also a blatant lie. At $10 bn in total, over a span of 11 years, it works out to just $900 mn per year, a perfectly affordable cost – a fraction of one percent of the military budget (let alone the entire federal budget or GDP). Don’t tell me America can’t afford to spend one sixth of one percent of its military budget modernizing its most important nuclear warhead.

You know what’s really unaffordable? The federal government’s social spending, which now comprises over 60% of the federal budget. It – not defense spending – is driving America ever deeper into debt. That is to say nothing of the coming tsunami of Social Security and Medicare spending as the Baby Boomers retire.

6) POGO’s and others’ claim that the B61 bomb is not needed in Europe is likewise patently false. The B61 is VERY MUCH NEEDED in Europe to deter Russia, which has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal (4,000 tactical warheads and the means to deliver all of them by a wide range of systems), and just in the last 6 years has threatened to aim, or even use, its nuclear weapons against America or its allies at least FIFTEEN separate times. It has also repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers into or near European countries’ airspace and simulated nuclear strikes on them – even on neutral Sweden!

Putin’s Russia is an increasingly aggressive potential adversary and can only be deterred with strength, not unilateral disarmament like POGO advocates.

Moreover, as recently as the last NATO summit, NATO REAFFIRMED the need for US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, and America’s European (and Asian) allies have REPEATEDLY, in recent years, stressed the importance of America’s extended nuke deterrent which the B61 bomb constitutes.

The need for B61 modernization has recently been reaffirmed by top DOD, DOE, and NNSA officials, including STRATCOM commander Gen. Bob Kehler.

 

7) POGO is not a watchdog group. It is a treasonous, anti-American, pro-unilateral disarmament organization partially financed by George Soros.

8) Dianne Feinstein’s and others’ claim that the US has more nuclear weapons than it needs is also a blatant lie. The US barely has enough deployed weapons to deter Russia and China. Russia’s ICBM fleet (430 missiles in all) can deliver at least 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; Russia’s bomber fleet, over 2,000, and Russia’s SSBN fleet, over 1,400. Russia’s tactical submarines armed with cruise missiles can deliver further warheads. China, for its part, has between 1,600 and 3,000 nuclear weapons. A small nuclear arsenal, like Sen. Feinstein demands, could be easily destroyed by Russia or even China in a first strike. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal further will only invite such a strike eventually, and it will also leave America’s allies (esp. Japan, SK, and the Gulf states) with no choice but to build their own nuclear weapons. 66% of South Koreans already want to do so. South Korea and Japan are ready to do so within months if need be.

Thus, the end result of cutting the US nuclear arsenal would be a world with MORE nuclear weapons (outside the US) and more nuclear-armed states. In other words, nuclear proliferation would get much worse.

The US nuclear arsenal is BY FAR the most valuable counter-proliferation tool the US has at its disposal.

9) CATO’s claim that eliminating the ICBM and bomber legs of the nuclear triad would save $20 bn per year is a blatant lie as well. In fact, doing so would “save” only $2.6 bn per year. That’s how little it costs to maintain these two legs of the triad.

CATO’s claim that the triad came to exist only because of interservice rivalry is a blatant lie, too. If it were true, why weren’t the Army and the Marines given any nuclear role?

CATO’s claim that the triad is a Cold War relic is likewise a total falsehood. If it were true, why are the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis retaining, modernizing, and expanding their own nuclear triads?

Answer: because they know that a nuclear triad is BY FAR the most survivable nuclear deterrence arrangement.

In sum, not a single claim that CATO, POGO, or CLW anti-defense hacks like Reif make is true. Not a single one. All their claims on nuclear weapons are blatant lies. Shame on the NDM for publishing yet another litany of blatant lies and for uncritically repeating the blatant lies of anti-nuke activists who only seek to disarm America unilaterally and thus to expose it to great danger.

Rebuttal of Democrats’ and other anti-defense types’ blatant lies on DOD budget

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A new “supercommittee” of Republicans and Democrats met recently on Capitol Hill to discuss possible ways to solve the nation’s fiscal woes and, if possible, replace the sequester with other, more carefully designed, budget cuts.

In the opening of that meeting, the Democrats, specifically Sens. Ron Wyden and Bernie Sanders, stated some very blatant lies that need to be refuted, for we will undoubtely hear them many more times in the months ahead.

Ron Wyden falsely claimed that “we shouldn’t bail out the Defense Department while continuing to slash vital domestic programs.”

Excuse me? Bail out the DOD? Slashing “vital domestic programs”?

Nobody is talking about or proposing a bailout of the DOD. What most Republicans, and other people concerned about America’s security, are talking is sparing the DOD from the worst, deepest, and most mindless of the budget cuts it has had to endure for the last 5 years: sequestration, which has already been in effect for one fiscal year and has brought the defense budget down to just $469 bn, the lowest level since FY2013. In the one year in which it has been in effect so far, it has already done considerable damage to the US military. Continuing sequestration will completely gut the military – as previous rounds of post-war defense cuts did in the 1920s, 1940s, 1970s, and 1990s.

But sequestration is hardly the first round of budget cuts the DOD has had to endure in the last 5 years. In fact, the Obama administration targeted defense for deep cuts as soon as it had taken office. In 2009, they (and a compliant Congress) killed over 30 crucial weapon programs, including, and most disastrously, the F-22 Raptor. In 2010, they killed several more programs, and in 2011, they found another $178 bn in “efficiency savings.” By Obama’s own admission, they had already cut $400 bn from defense budgets by April 2011.

After that, Congress passed, in August 2011, the Budget Control Act, which mandates two new rounds of defense cuts. The first round took effect in FY2012 and requires $487 bn in defense budget cuts from then until FY2022, which then-Secretary Panetta duly found – at the cost of retiring hundreds of aircraft and 9 ships early, as well as killing further weapon programs.

Almost nobody is calling for the reversal of these previous rounds of defense cuts.

What most Republicans and other defense conservatives calling for is the cancellation of sequestration – the newest round of defense cuts which, if implemented fully through FY2022, will slash another $550 bn from the base defense budget – ON TOP OF all defense cuts previously implemented or programmed.

That would hardly be a bailout of the DOD; rather, it would mean sparing it from excessive, disproportionate, destructive budget cuts coming on top of several rounds of already deep budget reductions.

Yes, disproportionate – because a full 60% of all budget cuts under the BCA – both the BCA’s first tier and sequestration – comes exclusively from the defense budget, and only 40% from discretionary domestic programs. (Mandatory programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are completely shielded from any budget reductions.)

And the cuts to domestic programs (40% of the sequester) are spread over a myriad of such programs and agencies, while all defense cuts (60% of the sequester) fall exclusively on one agency: the DOD.

So Sen. Wyden and his staffers are blatantly lying when they claim that “we continue to cut vital domestic programs” – no “vital domestic programs” are receiving any meaningful cuts, and certainly do not “continue” to be cut, because the sequester is the first time that any of them are being cut! And even under sequestration, entitlement programs are completely exempt from any cuts!

And what “vital domestic programs” are you talking about, Senator? Under the Constitution, the vast majority of domestic issues – from education to healthcare to the environment – are OFF LIMITS to the federal government and are reserved to the states and the people. They are NONE of the federal government’s business.

Defense, OTOH, is the highest Constitutional DUTY of the federal government.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-admitted socialist from Vermont, for his part, falsely claims that the US can afford to cut its defense budget because “We’re not fighting the Soviet Union, we’re fighting Al Qaeda.”

But there are several much bigger threats to US national security besides al-Qaeda: a resurgent KGB-governed Russia with a huge nuclear arsenal and a large and increasingly modern conventional force; a rapidly ascendant and aggressive China arming itself to the teeth; a nuclear-armed North Korea capable of delivering nuclear weapons to the US; a theocratic-governed Iran that could shut the Straits of Hormuz down in an afternoon and will, in a month, have enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear warhead.

Considering these, and many other, threats to US national security, America cannot afford to cut its defense budget – already dramatically reduced – any further. And what the US currently spends is a pittance: 4% of GDP and just 17% of the total federal budget, as opposed to 9% of GDP and almost 50% of the federal budget at the Vietnam War’s peak.

Larry Korb, a propagandist working for the George-Soros-funded “Center for American Progress” (an organization that wants to institute socialism in the US), falsely claims that the sequester will not be damaging at all, can be paid for solely by cutting waste, and  that it will cut defense spending only to FY2007 levels. He and other anti-defense hacks accuse the military’s service chiefs – distinguished men who collectively have more military experience than this nation has years of existence – of scaremongering the public and resisting needed reforms.

Those are blatant lies as well. The sequester has cut defense spending down to the lowest level since FY2003 – $469 bn, lower than $473 bn in FY2003 (in constant dollars). And it cannot be paid for solely by cutting “waste”, for waste, contrary to public misconceptions, accounts for only a small part of the defense budget. There isn’t much genuine waste there. Sen. Tom Coburn, for example, for all his decrying of “waste” in the DOD budget, could find only $7 bn per year of “waste” in it.

Any deep defense spending cuts, such as sequestration, will unavoidably mean killing dozens of crucial weapon programs and deeply cutting the force structure – as successive Defense Secretaries, Service Secretaries, and Service Chiefs have warned. Multiple think-tanks from the center and the right – including the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Center for a New American Security, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the AEI, and the Heritage Foundation – have done their own studies and/or budget exercises and have reached largely the same conclusion: sequestration will force the DOD, even at maximum efficiency, to deeply cut funding for either the force structure and readiness or modernization – or both.

That will mean a severely weakened military. There is no way around that fact.

And as for anti-defense hacks’ accusation that the Service Chiefs are blocking and resisting badly needed reforms that could save the DOD much money – balderdash! The Service Chiefs (and their predecessors), as well as the current Defense Secretary (and his predecessors going back to at least Donald Rumsfeld) have been AT THE FOREFRONT of fighting FOR badly needed DOD reforms, especially in the areas of personnel pay&benefits, military healthcare programs, closing unneeded bases, slashing bureaucracies, retiring unneeded aircraft, and reforming acquisition processes and programs. Yet, at every turn, Congress has BLOCKED these reforms (except those related to acquisition*), AGAINST the pleas from all of the Joint Chiefs and all Service Secretaries plus a succession of Defense Secretaries.

It is the sole fault of the CONGRESS that these vital reforms have not been enacted yet. But even if they had, that still wouldn’t have come up with nearly enough savings to pay for sequestration – as the CSBA budget exercise earlier this year showed (it was built on the assumption that these reforms would be passed).

There’s simply not enough waste and inefficiency in the defense budget to make enough savings through “efficiencies” to pay for sequestration. The sequester will inevitably result in deep cuts in the military’s force structure, readiness, and/or modernization programs.

And remember: as I said at the beginning, the sequester, itself a $55 bn annual cut, is coming ON TOP OF all the defense cuts previously scheduled and implemented by Obama since 2009: the killing of over 50 weapon programs in 2009 and 2010, the Gates Efficiencies Initiative of 2011 ($178 bn in further cuts), and the pre-sequester BCA-mandated budget cuts ($487 bn over a decade). The sequester is yet another, and even deeper, round of defense cuts under the Obama administration.

The military has been cut so badly, and been required to cut its budget so deeply, that there is little genuine “waste” remaining, so any further cuts will have to bite force structure, readiness, and modernization. There is no way around that fact.

Shame on Sens. Wyden and Sanders, on Larry Korb, and on everyone else who lies about US defense spending and seeks to cut it further.

Stupid Senators Suckered By Obama On Nuke Deterrence

 

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URGENT PLEA: A number of Senators have introduced amendments to the NDAA that would bar Obama from cutting the nuclear deterrent unilaterally, scrapping any ICBM squadrons, or honoring arms reduction agreements that no one abides by. Dear Readers, please call your Senators (and other states’ Senators) and tell them to vote for ALL of these amendments.

Over three years ago, way back in 2010, well before the treasonous New START treaty had even been ratified by the Senate, I warned the Senators and the public to reject that dangerous treaty, as it would unilaterally reduce and undermine America’s nuclear deterrent while permitting an unrestrained Russian nuclear buildup.

Nonetheless, 13 Republican Senators voted for the treaty, because Obama promised that in exchange for the Senate’s consent to ratification, he would fully modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad, as well as the warheads and its supporting facilities, and implement all four Phases of his so-called “European Phased Adaptive Approach” to missile defense (EPAA).

I warned publicly that Obama’s promises were not to believed or trusted, that Obama was blatantly lying just to obtain Senate ratification and would never keep his promises, and that once New START would be ratified, the cuts to America’s deterrent would be deep and immediate, while the promised modernization of what’s left would not occur or be defunded and delayed ad infinitum.

Everything that has happened since then has proven me right.

Since New START’s ratification, Obama has delayed the construction of the vital Nuclear Metallurgy Research and Replacement Center by five years; delayed the ballistic missile submarine and bomber replacement programs; has unilaterally retired and scrapped all W80 warheads for Tomahawk cruise missiles; and has, to date, failed to initiate any replacement program for the USAF’s air-launched cruise missiles and silo-based ICBMs. He has also cancelled the fourth phase of his EPAA.

But Obama has decided to go even further. He has now decided to reduce America’s arsenal unilaterally further by retiring the powerful bunker-busting B83 bomb and by eliminating an entire ICBM squadron with 50 missiles.

It is not yet known which squadron at which base will be eliminated – whether in Wyoming (Francis E. Warren AFB), Montana (Malmstrom AFB), or North Dakota (Grand Forks AFB). What is certain is that not only will the missiles themselves be scrapped, but their siloes will be destroyed so that no future President could reuse them and deploy ICBMs in them if he needed to (which a future President WILL need to do, given the relentless growth of Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals).

And what is also certain is that this act of unilateral disarmament will significantly undermine America’s nuclear deterrent and thus the security of the US and all of its allies.

As a result, the US will have FIFTY fewer missiles with which to deliver nuclear warheads if retaliation against an aggressor is necessary, and a significantly smaller (and thus less survivable) nuclear deterrent.

Russia, by contrast, is GROWING the number of ICBMs (and bombers) it has. It currently wields 434 ICBMs (58 SS-18s, 136 SS-19s, 171 SS-25s, 78 SS-27s, 18 SS-29s) capable of delivering at least 1,684 warheads to the CONUS. On top of that, Russia’s bomber fleet can deliver over 1,700, and Russia’s ballistic missile submarine fleet another 1,400 warheads to the CONUS.

The smaller a nuclear arsenal is, the less survivable and less credible it is, and thus the less secure its owner nation is. Cutting America’s nuclear arsenal only makes the US (and all of its allies) LESS secure, not more.

Such deep cuts will also prod some of America’s allies to develop their own nuclear arsenals, because that of the US wll no longer be credible. 66.5% of South Koreans ALREADY want to do so, and Saudi Arabia has already ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan, according to the BBC. Japan has recently opened a facility that could produce enough fissile material for 3,600 nuclear warheads in a matter of months if need be.

You see, Washington’s best-kept secret is that America’s nuclear arsenal, far from being a part of the proliferation problem, is actually America’s best tool for confronting and limiting it. It protects over 30 allies of the US, thus making it unnecessary for them to develop their own nukes, and deters all potential troublemakers, thus significantly limiting the proliferation problem.

Continually cutting the US nuclear deterrent will only AGGRAVATE that problem.

Indeed, since 1991, while the US has cut its arsenal by over 75%, China, India, and Israel have significantly increased theirs, Russia has begun rebuilding its own, and two new members have joined the nuclear club: Pakistan (1998) and North Korea (2006). Iran and Saudi Arabia are well on their way there – and they are racing to get there first.

So cutting the US nuclear arsenal deeply, by over 75% since the Cold War’s end, and signing a plethora of arms control treaties, has UTTERLY FAILED to solve or even slow down the problem of nuclear proliferation.

Indeed, all arms control treaties signed to date by the US have done nothing but dramatically REDUCE the security of the US and all of its allies while emboldening America’s enemies. Over twenty years of continually cutting and refusing to modernize the US nuclear arsenal have utterly failed to convince other states to give up their nukes, to stop them from modernizing their arsenals, or even to prevent the emergence of new nuclear powers.

Arms control treaties have resulted in ONLY the US (and for a while, Russia) significantly cutting its nuclear arsenal. They do nothing but gravely UNDERMINE US and allied security. This is especially true of the New START treaty, which obligates ONLY the US (not Russia) to cut its nuclear arsenal. God forbid that Obama have any opportunity to sign more treaties like that!

Arms control treaties serve NO purpose but to hog-tie and disarm the West unilaterally. As Ronald Reagan rightly said, “We honor our arms control treaty obligations. Those who wish to do us harm don’t.”

The Obama administration claims that it needs to dismantle those ICBMs in order to comply with New START.

This is utterly false: under New START, it doesn’t have to destroy any siloes, just warhead delivery systems like ICBMs. Even then, it doesn’t have to dismantle as many as 50, or instead of dismantling ICBMs it could simply disable some missile tubes on the Navy’s ballistic missile subs.

Most importantly, New START is a treasonous treaty which is only UNDERMINING America’s nuclear deterrent and national security. It should’ve never been signed, let alone ratified. The US should immediately WITHDRAW from that treaty.

In addition, Russia has, this year, flagrantly violated another arms control accord – the INF treaty – by testing intermediate range ballistic missiles, which is strictly prohibited by that treaty. Why should the US comply with arms control treaties when Russia never does?

But Obama isn’t merely content with disarming America unilaterally. He’s going even further and will make it much easier for Russian missiles to target the US.

The Obama State Department, led by John Kerry, has just approved Russia’s request to build a network of signalling stations for Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system (their version of GPS) in the United States. The Obama State Department approved this without even telling the DOD and the Intelligence Community – both of which are reportedly angry about it.

This is, of course, yet another part of a long list of unilateral Obama administration concessions to the Russians in the name of his utterly failed “reset” policy with Russia.

So not only is Obama unilaterally and deeply cutting America’s own nuclear deterrent – to make America unable to deter and if need be retaliate for a Russian nuclear first strike – he’s also allowing the Russians to build satellite navigation ground stations in the US to help make such a strike more likely and more accurate! What is this, if not treason?

Congress – and by that, I mean BOTH the House AND the Senate – must act IMMEDIATELY to protect America’s nuclear deterrent, and in particular, the ICBM fleet. This means they must:

  1. Pass a National Defense Authorization Act containing a firm PROHIBITION on the retirement of any ICBMs below the treshold of 420, the elimination of any ICBM siloes, or the construction of any Russian sat nav stations in the US.
  2. Fully fund, and direct the Obama administration to dramatically speed up, the modernization of America’s entire nuclear deterrent, in particular, the bomber and submarine replacement programs, the construction of the metallurgy center, and the development and deployment of a new ICBM and air-launched cruise missile. Set firm target dates.
  3. Prohibit the use of any funding for the implementation of New START or the dismantlement of any elements of the US nuclear triad, or for the retirement of the B83 bomb.

This must be done THIS YEAR, not a year from now when 1/3 of Senators will be busy running for reelection.

In addition, all Democrat Senators running for reelection next year – including Mary Landrieu (LA), Kay Hagan (NC), Mark Begich (AK), and Mark Pryor (AR) – must be punished for voting for the treasonous New START treaty, which has enabled Obama to conduct this process of unilateral disarmament in the first place. They ABSOLUTELY must be voted out of office. This means supporting whichever Republican has the best chance of beating them in a general election. No ifs, no buts. In Lousiania, that Republican is Bill Cassidy; in Alaska, Mark Begich; in AR, Tom Cotton; in North Carolina, this is yet to be seen, though it currently appears to be Greg Brannon.

Landrieu, Hagan, Begich, and Pryor are not “moderate Democrats”; they are strident liberals, loyal footsoldiers of Obama and Reid. They must not be allowed to hide behind their utterly false mask of “moderate Democrats”; they must be exposed for whom they really are. They, in fact, loyally vote with Harry Reid over 90% of the time.

In 2010, they cast two fateful votes for leftist policies. The first was for Obamacare. The second was for New START. They must be voted out of office for both. 

UPDATE: A number of Republican Senators have introduced amendments which would effectively prevent Obama from scrapping any ICBM squadron, cutting America’s nuclear deterrent while treaty-noncompliant nations do not, or giving aid to any country developing ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US. See here.

Rebuttal of Friedman’s and Preble’s blatant lies about US nuclear weapons

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On November 14th, the NY Slimes newspaper published a litany of blatant lies about the US nuclear arsenal,written by Cato’s Benjamin Friedman and Christopher Preble, two anti-defense hacks employed by CATO. In it, Friedman and Preble falsely claim that:

  1. The US nuclear arsenal is “bloated” and amounts to overkill;
  2. Nuclear weapons and the nuclear triad are relics of the Cold War and have been irrelevant in America’s recent wars;
  3. The US doesn’t need a nuclear triad; a monad, specifically a submarine fleet, would be enough;
  4. The number of targets for US nuclear weapons is growing scarcer; Russia allegedly can no longer afford nuclear parity, China has only a few long-range missiles, and NK struggles to deploy even as much (they completely omitted Iran);
  5. A nuclear triad was created and retained solely for bureaucratic reasons to keep both the USAF and the USN happy; and
  6. America retains conventional superiority which, together with missile defense, can substitute for nuclear weapons.

All of these claims are blatant lies. Not even one of them is true. Not even one. Here’s why.

Ad. 1. and 4. The US nuclear arsenal is not bloated nor an overkill at all; in fact, it is barely adequate. Why? Because America’s principal nuclear adversaries – Russia and China – both have large nuclear arsenals and would gladly use them in a first strike if they could get away with it. Surviving a possible Russian or Chinese nuclear first strike and thus providing a credible deterrent requires a LARGE nuclear arsenal; a small one will not suffice. Nuclear deterrence is above all a numbers game – and who has the most nuclear weapons wins. A small nuclear arsenal could be very easily destroyed by both Moscow and Beijing.

Russia currently has:

  • around 415-430 ICBMs collectively capable of delivering at least 1,684 nuclear warheads to the CONUS;
  • 251 strategic bombers, each capable of delivering 6-12 nuclear warheads (typically, 6 cruise missile warheads and one freefall bomb), i.e. 1,700 warheads between them;
  • 13 ballistic missile submarines collectively capable of delivering between 1,400 and 2,000 warheads to the US;
  • at least 4,000 tactical nuclear weapons and a wide variety of means to deliver them (short-range ballistic missiles, theater aircraft, artillery pieces, surface ships, submarines, submarine-launched cruise missiles, etc.).

Russia is now building up and rapidly modernizing its entire nuclear arsenal, including its strategic nuclear triad. It is developing, or already deploying:

  • a new strategic intercontinental bomber, the PAK DA, to replace the Tu-95 strategic bomber;
  • a new ballistic missile submarine class (the Borei class) with two new ballistic missile types (the R-29RMU2 Liner and the RSM-56 Bulava);
  • several new ICBM types (the RS-24 Yars, the “Avangard”, the “Rubezh”, a rail-mobile ICBM, and the “Son of Satan” missile to replace the SS-18 heavy ICBM that can carry 10 warheads and 38 penetration aids);
  • 400 new ICBMs in total, which will be complemented by keeping in service and modernizing some of Russia’s older ICBMs to keep the ICBM fleet above 400 missiles;
  • new warheads; and
  • a full panoply of new tactical delivery systems, including new nuclear-capable cruise and short-range ballistic missiles and theater nuclear strike aircraft (e.g. the Su-34 Fullback).

By 2016, 80%, and by 2021, all of Russia’s ICBMs will be new, post-Cold-War, 5th generation modern ICBMs – the Topol-M (deployed in 1997), the Yars (first deployed in 2010), and even newer missiles. Altogether, by the 2020s, Russia’s nuclear arsenal, especially its nuclear triad, will be even larger and much more lethal and survivable than they are today.

The claim that Russia can no longer retain nuclear parity is also utterly false. Russia is, as demonstrated above, fully modernizing its entire nuclear arsenal, replacing old missiles, submarines, and aircraft with new ones, and is expanding it. And according to CATO’s own Nikolas Gvosdef (backed up by United Press International), Russia will, by 2016, DOUBLE its spending on nuclear weapons from today’s levels.

Russia can easily afford to do so, thanks to high oil and gas prices (oil prices have been very high for years, are currently above $100/barrel and will stay there for a good period of time). Thanks to huge oil and gas revenues and its near-monopoly on gas deliveries to Europe, Russia has a virtually endless stream of revenue for its huge nuclear modernization and expansion program.

Not only that, but Russia is willing to use nuclear weapons first if Moscow thinks it get can away with it. In the last 6 years alone, Moscow has threatened to aim or even launch its nuclear weapons at the US or its allies at least 15 times. This year, it has twice conducted large-scale nuclear exercises simulating a Russian nuclear first strike. Not only that, but Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons first in its war doctrine and considers its nuclear arsenal “sacred.”

Also, Russia has, within the last 18 months, simulated a nuclear bomber strike on the US or its close ally Japan several times, including in May 2012 and July 2012 (the Fourth of July, to be precise). When asked in June 2012 by the world media about what they were doing simulating an attack on Alaska, the Russians said they were “practicing attacking the enemy.”

So the Russians consider America their enemy – and have simulated attacking it several times. And they have a huge nuclear arsenal to do so if they ever want to try. America’s nuclear deterrent is the ONLY thing that is preventing them from doing so.

China also has a large nuclear arsenal, though not as large as Russia’s. Nonetheless, it is large, contrary to the false claims of American arms reduction advocates. Former Russian Strategic Missile Force Chief of Staff Gen. Viktor Yesin estimates it at 1,600-1,800 warheads, while Georgetown University Professor Philip Karber (the DOD’s former chief nuclear strategist) puts the figure at up to 3,000 warheads. This analyst, for his part, did his own study on the subject last year and estimated that China has at the very least 1,274 warheads, not including the warheads for the 500 nuclear-armed ground-launched cruise missiles that the DOD warns about.

Specifically, China has:

  • ICBMs: 36 DF-5 heavy ICBMs capable of carrying up to 10 warheads each, over 30 DF-31/31A ICBMs (4 warheads each), at least one DF-41 missile (10 warheads each), 20 DF-4 missiles (3 warheads each), for a total of 550 warheads for ICBMs – all deliverable to the US, though DF-4s can only reach Alaska;
  • 120 medium range ballistic missiles: 100 DF-21s and 20 DF-3s (1 warhead each), for a total of 120 MRBM-attributed warheads;
  • 500 warheads for short-range ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles;
  • 440 nuclear bombs for the PLAAF’s delivery-capable aircraft (440 H-6s, JH-7s, and Q-5s);
  • an unknown number of warheads for the PLAAF’s cruise missiles carried on H-6K bombers;
  • six ballistic missile submarines: one Xia class boat carrying 12 single-warhead missiles and five Jin class boats each carrying 12 JL-2 missiles with 4 warheads each; note that future JL-2 missile variants will be capable of carrying 12 warheads each, over a distance of 14,000 kms.

The CATO anti-nuclear hacks’ claim that China has only a few long-range missiles is a blatant lie (like the rest of what they write); in fact, China has at least 87 (and probably many more, due to continuing DF-31A production) ICBMs and 72 SLBMs. And that number will only grow in the future.

In total, China, by this writer’s calculations based on Chinese ballistic missile, aircraft, and SSBN inventories and on DOD’s data on Chinese SRBMs and cruise missiles, has at least 1,862 warheads, including 802 deliverable to the US (though not all of them to the CONUS). Here’s a map of Chinese ICBM ranges.

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range

Not only that, but Chinese state media have recently boasted of how many ICBMs they can launch at the US and how devastating a first strike they could conduct!

Note that China’s nuclear arsenal, like Russia’s, is not at a standstill and will only get larger, more survivable, and more lethal in the future. China is increasing its inventory of ballistic missile subs, ICBMs, MRBMs, SRBMs, cruise missiles, and is developing:

  • a rail-mobile ICBM;
  • a stealthy intercontinental bomber that will be capable of striking the CONUS with nuclear weapons;
  • new variants of the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile that will be capable of carrying 12 warheads over a distance of 14,000 kms (i.e. striking the CONUS from Chinese ports and territorial waters); and
  • a new ballistic missile submarine class, the Tang class.

And remember: the US needs to deter not only the nuclear-armed adversaries of today, but also those of tomorrow. And tomorrow, America’s adversaries will have more nuclear weapons and delivery systems than today.

On top of that, the US must provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but to over 30 allies who depend on it for their security and their very existence. If it fails to do so – if it continues to cut its nuclear arsenal – they will develop their own atomic weapons, and thus, the nucler proliferation problem will become that much worse. This is not a theoretical concern: already 66.5% of South Koreans want their country to “go nuclear”, and Japan has recently opened a facility allowing it to produce enough material for 3,600 nuclear warheads in a matter of months if need be. Saudi Arabia has reportedly ordered nuclear weapons from Pakistan (to counter Iran), according to the BBC.

Thus, the US nuclear arsenal is by far the most valuable counter-proliferation tool the US has at its disposal. And a large, diverse, survivable nuclear umbrella is absolutely necessary to reassure those allies – and to protect America itself.

And the number of targets for US nuclear weapons is not becoming any scarcer; on the contrary, it is growing in number and striking difficulty.

Russia and China not only have all of the missiles, submarines, and bombers that I’ve listed, but also missile, submarine, and aircraft bases; nuclear warhead, material, and missile production facilities; all tactical nuclear warheads, facilities, and delivery systems (to prevent US allies and troops abroad from being nuked); and, in China’s case, numerous ports and caverns along its coast to hide submarines and 3,000 miles of tunnels to hide land-based missiles.

And as Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals grow, the number of targets for American nukes to destroy will grow even further.

All of these Russian and Chinese military assets would need to be destroyed if credible deterrence is to be provided; just destroying enemy missiles is not enough. Not even close.

Why? Because to provide credible deterrence, you have to be able to first survive the enemy’s first strike, then, in your retaliatory strike, destroy the vast majority (if not all) of his military, economic, and strategic assets, so that he can never repeat a strike against you and the consequences of attacking you will be way, way too devastating for him to contemplate such a preemptive strike on you in the first place. THAT is the definition of credible deterrence – and it can be provided for ONLY with a large nuclear arsenal; a small one will never suffice, for it will neither be survivable (too small to survive) nor will it have enough warheads to inflict sufficient punishment on the aggressor.

And if the US cuts its nuclear deterrent significantly further, it will become too small to survive a Russian or Chinese first strike, let alone to deliver a sufficiently painful retaliation against Russia or China, especially given the large number of targets to be hit. And as Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals and military establishments grow, the list of targets the US will need to wipe out will only grow over time.

So no, America’s nuclear arsenal is not bloated nor an overkill at all. On the contrary, it is barely adequate today.

Ad. 2. While US nuclear weapons have not been used in any wars since WW2, including America’s most recent wars, that doesn’t mean they’re useless or militarily irrelevant – far from it. They perform THE most important mission of the US military – deterring and thus preventing a catastrophic (nuclear, chemical, or biological) attack on the US and its allies. And they’ve performed that mission flawlessly, without failure, ever since 1945. That is by far the military’s most important mission – and contribution to national security.

The ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu, the author of the Art of War, famously wrote that “to win one hundred battles is not the acme of skill; to subdue the enemy without fighting is.” The corrollary to Master Sun’s saying is that a weapon that deters and subdues the enemy without fighting is worth a hundred times more than a weapon that is actually used in war.

Nuclear weapons deter America’s adversaries without firing a shot. And have successfully done so continously since 1945. No other weapon in America’s inventory has a record that even comes close.

And regarding the wars which America has recently fought: what have these wars done to increase America’s national security or advance its national interests? Absolutely nothing – and they have cost a lot of money (over $100 bn per year) and over 6,000 US troops’ lives – all for no gain whatsoever.

By contrast, nuclear weapons have protected America against the gravest threats to its security, including Russia, China, and North Korea, throughout all that time and still do today, at a cost of just $31 bn per year (5% of the military budget and a fraction of the total federal budget). Far better would it be to continue investing in them than in useless wars.

The implication by Friedman and Preble that nuclear weapons are Cold War relics is also utterly false. The need for nuclear deterrence – and indeed, for a LARGE US nuclear arsenal, is only growing, not shrinking. The US now has to deter three hostile nuclear powers (Russia, China, North Korea, the first two wielding atomic arsenals), soon to be joined by Iran, and to reassure over 30 allies who depend on the American atomic umbrella for their survival. The need for, and the importance of, a large US nuclear arsenal is only growing, not shrinking.

Ad. 3 and 5. The claim that ballistic missile submarines alone would be enough, and that a nuclear triad of subs, ICBMs, and bombers is unneeded, is completely false. A nuclear triad is by far the most survivable deterrence arrangement and is based on rational thinking: never put all your eggs into one basked. No sane person does this; every sane person (not just savvy investors) diversifies their portfolios of assets.

Cutting down to a monad would leave America’s adversaries with only one, simple, one-dimensional problem: how to detect America’s SSBNs?

Should the US ever simplify this issue so much for its enemies, they’ll solve the problem – they’ll invest sufficient resources in solving it. According to recent news, China’s and Russia’s ASW capabilities are woefully underappreciated in the West, Admiral Greenert’s boasting that “we totally own the undersea domain” notwithstanding. And US intel has been taken completely by surprise by America’s enemies’ capabilities and actions so many times that it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t know China and/or Russia had potent ASW capabilities. US intel is ignorant of many things it should know.

In fact, as Canadian Professor Roger Thompson revealed in his article several years ago, during the Cold War Soviet submarines detected American SSBNs on numerous occassions. For example, in 1985, the Soviet submarine K-324 snuck up to and detected American ballistic missile subs on three different occassions! Meanwhile, another Soviet sub tailed another American SSBN for FIVE DAYS! And in the late 1980s, an obsolete, noisy USN attack submarine was able to sneek up to and hunt down yet another American SSBN; a Canadian submarine repeated that feat in 1992.

So much for Preble’s and Friedman’s myth that America’s ballistic missile subs are undetectable and no enemy could ever detect them. What a human hand has built, a human hand can built the equipment to detect and sink. One more time to remember NEVER to put all your eggs into one basket.

As Robert D. Kaplan rightly says, “never give your opponent too few problems to solve because if you do, he’ll solve them.” You can be sure as hell Moscow and Beijing would quickly solve the singular problem of how to hunt down American SSBNs if the question of attacking America were reduced just to that problem.

Friedman’s and Preble’s claim that the nuclear triad arose from bureaucratic politics (keeping both the USAF and the USN happy by giving both a nuclear role) is also a blatant lie, like the rest of what they write. If it were true, why hasn’t Washington also given the Army and the Marines a nuclear role? Answer: because Friedman’s and Preble’s claim is a lie.

In reality, Washington created a nuclear triad of ICBMs, bombers, and submarines because that is by far the most survivable arrangement – far more than relying on any one leg. It greatly complicates the enemy’s planning, for he would have to target not just the subs but also the bombers (and shoot down any that would be airborne) and all US ICBMs.

And for that reason – NOT because of interservice rivalry – every administration since the 1950s has reaffirmed the nuclear triad as the most survivable form of deterrence.

If a nuclear triad is an obsolete Cold War arrangement, why do the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis all retain, modernize, and expand their nuclear triads?

Answer: because they know it’s by far the most survivable deterrence arrangement.

Finally, Ad. 6.: the claim that alleged US conventional superiority and missile defense improvements can replace nuclear weapons.

In fact, US conventional superiority is history, thanks to successive administrations’ neglect of defense issues and especially conventional forces and weapons, due first to post-Cold-War defense cuts (1989-2001) and then to an opinion spurred by 9/11 that conventional forces and weapons were irrelevant. As a result, the US has already lost its conventional edge; to speak of any US conventional warfare advantage is utter idiocy.

For example, while the US has foolishly killed F-22 fighter production at just 187 aircraft, Russia’s and China’s 5th generation stealthy fighters are proceeding smoothly, and both countries will eventually field hundreds of such aircraft. China’s newest Type 052 destroyers are superior to all USN surface combatants except the USS Zumwalt. The US Navy’s anti-submarine warfare skills have atrophied so badly that in numerous exercises with foreign navies involving their diesel-electric subs it never succeeded in detecting these subs.

Had those exercises been real combat, ALL carriers of the US Navy would’ve been at the bottom of the ocean. So much for America’s much-vaunted carriers.

As for missile defense, it is still in its infancy, and questions abound about such systems’ ability to intercept targets and to discriminate real warheads from decoys. Moreover, missile defense can be easily overwhelmed by any enemy with sheer numbers of offensive missiles – which cost much less than the interceptors intended to shoot them down.

No, conventional weapons and missile defense can NEVER substitute for nuclear weapons – as Gen. Kevin Chilton warned in 2011 when he was commander of the Strategic Command.

In sum, all of Friedman’s and Preble’s claims are blatant lies. No, the US nuclear arsenal is not oversized, bloated, nor an “overkill.” A large nuclear deterrent is STILL needed, and will be for the foreseeable future – to deter Russia, China, and North Korea, and to reassure over 30 US allies to depend on it. A small nuclear arsenal will not suffice – it would be way too easy to destroy in a first strike.

And in nuclear deterrence, what matters is how many weapons you’d have AFTER an enemy first strike – not before.

Endnote: A nuclear triad is a Cold War relic? Oops, someone forgot to tell that to the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis! :)

UPDATE: Friedman and Preble will hold a pro-unilateral disarmament propaganda event on Capitol Hill on Monday, Nov. 25th.

Rebuttal of political admiral’s false claims about Chinese submarines

Hainan-full

On Saturday, during the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Reagan Presidential Library, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, a political admiral whom President Obama appointed Chief of Naval Operations in 2011, dismissed China’s entire ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet as not being credible. He furthermore said:

“For a submarine-launched ballistic missile to be effective it has to be accurate, and you have to be stealthy, and survivable and I’ll leave it at that.”

This wasn’t the first time that a senior DOD official dismissed the military threat posed by China, nor will it be the last, I suspect. But throughout all human history, underestimating and dismissing the enemy has ALWAYS cost dearly those who did so – including the US. China is, militarily, far stronger than any US official and most think-tankers and journalists are prepared to admit – it is, in fact, already almost as strong as the US. Dismissing the Chinese threat will lull the American people into a false sense of security and cause America to be unprepared for this threat.

And specifically, dismissing the JL-2 missile and the Jin class of SSBNs is a particularly foolish and disqualifying error.

As far as accuracy goes, the JL-2 is pretty accurate – with a circular error probable (CEP) of just 300 meters, similar to modern Western missiles. CEP is the measure used by virtually all military men and defense analysts to measure ballistic missile accuracy.

As far as stealthiness and survivability goes, this is also no problem for the Chinese navy. While some have claimed that Jin class submarines are noisy, so are the US Navy’s Ohio class ballistic missile submarines – probably even more so  because they are obsolete 1970s’ technology, while the Jin class is a 21st century class of submarines.

Moreover, the basic JL-2 variant (the one currently in service) has a range of 8,000 kms, which means it can strike any target on the West Coast while being just east of Japan, at 150E. If it sails a little further to the east, towards 160E, it can strike any target in the CONUS with nuclear weapons. Indeed, as recently as 2008 the DOD itself admitted that the JL-2 had an 8,000 km range and the ability to hit most of the CONUS. See the map below, from the 2008 DOD report on China’s military power.

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range

(GlobalSecurity.org says the basic JL-2 variant may even have a range of 9,000 kms.)

While many Sinophile Chinese threat understaters, including DOD bureaucrats, have falsely claimed that the JL-2’s range is just 7,000-7,400 kms, the truth is that the missile’s range is actually 8,000 kms, putting the entire West Coast within its range if launched from just east of Japan, at 150E.

And survivability? That of the Jin class is good, no matter where it deploys. If it operates within the First Island Chain – the waters between China and Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia – it will be able to evade detection quite easily, because these waters are congested and noisy. If the Jin class deploys outside the First Island Chain, in the open ocean, it is also highly likely to survive due to the vast swathes of that ocean.

The facts remain the facts. No matter what China’s friends and Obama’s political appointees, including Admiral Greenert, say to dismiss the Chinese threat, the fact remains that this threat is huge and growing every day. No amount of lies by political appointees like Admiral Greenert will change that fact.

The “we don’t need so many warheads” lie

nukeexplosion

Among the many lies being repeated by the Left in defense of Obama’s plan to further deeply cut America’s nuclear deterrent is the blatant lie that America can safely afford to continue cutting its deterrent indefinitely and could maintain deterrence even with a significantly reduced arsenal. Obama made that blatant lie himself during his infamous June 19th speech in Berlin, and the White House trots out that lie in its pseudo-“fact sheet” about Obama’s plan.

But they’re blatantly lying. America’s nuclear deterrent is already barely adequate (as well as old and in need of modernization). It cannot be cut indefinitely. In fact, it cannot be safely cut any further.

Here’s why.

To provide credible nuclear deterrence, you need to:

1) Be able to threaten the vast majority of all of your adversaries’ military, economic, and other strategic assets with destruction (threatening only some, or half, or 55%, of them is woefully inadequate because the other half or 45% will survive), and to threaten all the assets of Russia or China you need THOUSANDS of warheads; and

2) A small nuclear arsenal would not be survivable – it would be easy for an enemy to destroy in a first strike. The smaller it is, the less survivable and easier to destroy in a first strike it is. A few submarines and a few bomber bases would be far easier to destroy in a surprising first strike than 14 submarines, several bomber bases, and 450 ICBMs in hardened siloes.

These two interrelated factors are extremely important because what determines your deterring ability – or the lack thereof – is how many warheads and delivery systems you have left after a possible enemy first strike. If you have a large number of these left to unleash a devastating second strike on your enemy, he won’t attack in the first place. But it has to be a large number – huge enough to devastate his entire country, economy, and military. This is a numbers game. Here, numbers reign supreme.

—————–

What are the nuclear capabilities of America’s potential adversaries? Who are the adversaries America must deter?

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (including 1,550 deployed) and up to 4,000 tactical warheads – and the means to deliver all 6,800 if need be.

Its 434 ICBMs can collectively deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; its 14 ballistic missile submarines can deliver over 2,200 warheads to the CONUS (while sitting in their ports); and each of its 251 strategic bombers can carry up to 7 warheads (1 freefall bomb and 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles). Its Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 1,700 warheads to the middle of America.

Russia’s strategic nuclear triad consists of:

  • 251 intercontinental bombers (64 Tu-95s, 16 Tu-160s, 171 Tu-22Ms), each capable of carrying 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and one free-fall nuclear bomb;
  • 75 SS-18 Satan heavy ICBMs (up to 10 warheads and 38 penetration aids each);
  • 136 SS-19 Stilletto ICBMs (up to 6 warheads each);
  • 171 SS-25 Sickle single-warhead ICBMs;
  • 75 SS-27 Stalin single-warhead ICBMs;
  • 18 RS-24 Yars ICBMs (4 warheads each);
  • 13 ballistic missile subs capable of carrying 16 SLBMs and one (the Dmitry Donskoi) capable of carrying 20 SLBMs; each sub-launched ballistic missile, in turn, can carry 4, 10, or 12 warheads depending on the type (R-29RMU Sinyeva, RSM-56 Bulava, or R-29RMU2 Liner, respectively). Russia has ordered hundreds of these SLBMs.

In total, Russia’s ICBM fleet alone – to say nothing of its submarine or bomber fleet – can deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS. Russia’s bomber fleet could deliver over 1,700.

In recent years, while the US has been steadily cutting its arsenal unilaterally under New START, Russia has been growing its own, as it is allowed to do under the treaty. Also, the document contains no restrictions whatsoever on road- and rail-mobile ICBMs, treats every bomber as if it were carrying a single nuclear warhead, and doesn’t limit Russian ICBMs’ carriage capacity or throw-weight – which are huge loopholes that Russia is only too eager to exploit.

Russia is now developing a rail-mobile ICBM as well as replacements for Russia’s older ICBMs: a heavy ICBM called “Son of Satan” (designed to replace the SS-18 Satan) and a mid-weight ICBM called the Rubezh to replace the SS-19 and SS-25, while continuing RS-24 Yars production. Meanwhile, the US has no plans to develop a road- or rail-mobile ICBM (although the USAF is considering the rail-mobile version), and development of the next-generation ICBM – the replacement for America’s aging Minuteman ICBMs – has been delayed by many years for political reasons.

Moscow is also developing and testing an IRBM, the Yars-M (AKA Rubezh), in violation of the INF treaty – showing that arms control treaties signed with Russia are worthless pieces of paper.

On top of that, Russia has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal – much larger than America’s. Estimates of its size vary, but various sources say it numbers up to 4,000 warheads (all deliverable) – much more than America’s ca. 500. These 4,000 warheads can be delivered by a wide range of systems, from short-range ballistic missiles, to theater strike aircraft, to bombers, to torpedoes and surface ships, to cruise missiles, to artillery pieces, because they come in various forms: nuclear bombs, torpedo warheads, depth charges, artillery shells, cruise missile warheads, etc.

China, like Russia, has a large nuclear arsenal – far larger than the 240 warheads American arms control advocates claim. In fact, China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, most of them hidden in the 3,000 miles of tunnels it has built for its arsenal. The two estimates come from Gen. Viktor Yesin (Russian ICBM force CoS, ret.), and Professor Philip Karber, the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist during the Cold War. The existence and length of these tunnels is a confirmed fact.

To deliver its warheads, China has:

  • 36 DF-5 heavy ICBMs (up to 10 warheads each);
  • at least 30, and likely far more, DF-31 ICBMs (3-4 warheads each);
  • at least one DF-41 heavy ICBM (10 warheads);
  • 20 DF-4 IRBMs (3 warheads each);
  • 20 DF-3 single-warhead MRBMs;
  • 100 DF-21 MRBMs;
  • 500 DH-10, CJ-10, and Hongniao cruise missiles;
  • 440 nuclear-capable aircraft (Q-5, JH-7, H-6) each with at least one warhead attributed to them (the H-6K bomber variant can carry several nuclear- or conventional-tipped cruise missiles as well);
  • 1 Xia class SSBN with 12 single-warhead JL-1 missiles; and
  • 5 Jin class SSBNs with 12-24 4-warhead JL-2 missiles, with a sixth under construction to replace the Xia class boat.

On top of that, China has between 1,100 and 1,600, and possibly more, short-range ballistic missiles, though it isn’t known how many of these are armed with nuclear warheads.

 

China, of course, stubbornly refuses to reveal anything about its nuclear arsenal, while falsely claiming it pursues a “minimum nuclear deterrent” policy, even though it is evident to everyone except the willfully blind it has thousands, not mere hundreds, of warheads.

Over a year ago, this writer, based on very conservative estimates of China’s missile stocks and their warhead carriage capacity, estimated China had 1,274 nuclear warheads. This was calculated as follows:

I started with the 440 aircraft-deliverable nuclear bombs owned by the PLAAF and attributed to its H-6, Q-5, and JH-7 aircraft. Then, I added 10 warheads for each of China’s 36 DF-5 ICBMs, then, one DF-41 ICBM with 10 warheads, then, 40 DF-3 and DF-4 MRBMs, then 100 DF-21 MRBMs, then 90 warheads for China’s 30 DF-31 ICBMs, and finally, 12 warheads for China’s 12 JL-1 SLBMs and 240 warheads for its (at least) 60 JL-2 SLBMs (12 missiles per boat, 4 warheads per missile).

Keep in mind that the 4-warhead JL-2 is just the basic variant of the missile. China is already developing (if it hasn’t already deployed) two new variants of the JL-2:  Jia, capable of carrying 8 warheads over 12,000 kms, and Yi, capable of carrying 12 warheads over a distance of 14,000 kilometers. China is also building a sixth Jin class submarine to replace the sole Xia class boat.

So in the future, China will have even more ballistic missile subs, more SLBMs, and more nuclear warheads than it already has – which means the number of nukes required to deter China will only grow.

And I was so conservative in my estimates that I didn’t count a single Chinese SRBM or cruise missile as being nuclear-armed. If any such missile is armed – and the DOD says 500 such land-based missiles are – China’s nuclear arsenal – and the US arsenal required to deter Beijing – are even greater.

Besides Russia and China – two huge nuclear threats to US and allied security – the US also has to deter North Korea (which already has ICBMs capable of reaching the US) and Iran (which, within a month, may have enough HEU to build a nuclear warhead).

So the US currently has to deter three, soon to be four, hostile nuclear powers, two of whom have large, diverse, and very capable and survivable nuclear arsenals.

On top of that, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies, many of whom will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons if the US continues to cut its umbrella. 66.5% of South Koreans already want to do this, and Japan has facilities enabling it to produce enough fissile material for 3,600 nuclear warheads if it chose to.

You see, while Russia and China are threats to many but protectors to nobody, the US is a protector of itself and 30 allies.

In addition, Russia is blatantly violating the INF Treaty by developing and testing an IRBM, and also violating the CFE Treaty! How can we trust Russia to comply with New START and reciprocate the newest cuts proposed Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!

Yet, the advocates of cutting America’s nuclear arsenal want the US not only to slavishly adhere to such treaties (while Russia doesn’t), but even cut its arsenal further deeply and unilaterally.

Then there’s North Korea with its nuclear arsenal (which it has recently announced it will grow its nuclear arsenal) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday. Only nuclear weapons can protect America against these threats. So they are HIGHLY RELEVANT in the 21st century.

Besides deterring nuclear attack, nuclear weapons also protect America’s treaty allies against a large-scale conventional attack – ensuring that it has never happened so far since WW2.

But if the nuclear arsenal is cut further, and America’s already deficient conventional capabilities continue to atrophy under sequestration, a large-scale conventional attack is inevitable.

The military and geopolitical reality is simple. If the US cuts its nuclear arsenal further deeply and unilaterally, a nuclear first strike by Russia or even China is virtually guaranteed – as is the acqusition of nuclear weapons by America’s allies in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific, none of whom can afford to bet their security, and their very existence, on the “less nukes will make us safer” and “a world without nukes” fantasies of Barack Obama and his pacifist friends in Western pro-disarmament organizations.

Thoughts on Veterans Day

brian0

On this Veterans Day I find myself on the couch after a three-week work marathon catching my breath, and all over the news, Facebook, even next door, there are signs of thanks and appreciation for our fighting forces. Check that. People are just plain gushing over soldiers, to the point where one fellow I know once said, “Dammit, I wasn’t a hero, I pushed paper and screwed around a lot, stop thanking me.”

It’s hard for me to join in on the celebration. It’s not that I don’t appreciate veterans. A lot of the men I grew up with, including my father, served somewhere in Vietnam, and they weren’t average grunts. My father was a Ranger; my ROTC drill sergeant, for another example, was First Air Cav. My father doesn’t talk much about the war but Sergeant Gomez would never shut up about it. He always had a story to tell about that place, either when shooting the bull or including the anecdote in a lesson. I actually think he enjoyed being there.

But as I sit here watching a television program called Vietnam in HD, thinking of my father and Sergeant Gomez, the contrast between now and then is more clear than ever.

What makes it hard for me to join in on the verbal masturbation over today’s fighting forces and, allegedly, those of the past, is that I believe we are seeing the left and anti-war forces trying to correct their atrocities of the past. The way Vietnam vets were treated upon their return is one of the biggest black eyes in this nation’s history, and, oddly, something they took in relative silence. The Vietnam vet never needed a Jesse Jackson to tell people they should be treated better, but, somehow, over the years, regret for that treatment has boiled to the surface. Who knows where or when it began, but you can probably say that as soon as some dumb hippie’s son went into the army, the hippie thought, “I hope nobody spits on him when he comes back.” And then, “Uh-oh, isn’t that what I did?”

When the first Iraq War ended, we saw the first of the Appreciation Thing begin to take place, and it has grown since. Yeah, it’s a Thing. It’s Cool to Like Soldiers, stinky. Problem is, the wrong people think it’s cool, and they think it’s cool for the wrong reason. (They also think it’s cool to say they support the soldiers but not the policy, which you can’t do, but that’s also another column.) I don’t think, deep down, these people really appreciate anything, they just don’t want to feel bad like their parents. This Thing is all about not feeling bad.

The Right Wing isn’t any better, as they try to distinguish themselves from the left by being Uber Patriotic ‘Muricans. And their efforts to overcompensate for the left is equally disgusting in my eyes. I’m looking at you, Sean Hannity.

But let me try and communicate some genuine appreciation today, not just because our fighting forces defend the country. They also put up with a lot of crap, from the 90 Day Wonders of West Point to the bureaucratic dip-dunk pencil-necked REMFs to the idiot Lt. who’s old man pulled strings for his cushy assignment to the overall insanity of military life that makes you want to scream because It’s Like Nothing Else and those of you who know, know exactly what I mean. I should have gone myself, but at the time I didn’t want to work for a draft dodger who would inevitably ask me to make a sacrifice he refused to make. At least I had the choice, and the Veteran gave me that choice. The Veteran gave me a lot of choices, actually, starting as far back as a cold day in April, 1775, and even if we’ve never served, our duty is to make sure those that follow have the same choices we did.

 

BRIAN DRAKE is a 20-year broadcast veteran in California and the author of The Rogue Gentleman, a thriller in the tradition of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. Follow him on Twitter.

 

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