Category Archives: Support the Troops

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

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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.

 

Rebuttal of the ridiculous Roll Call commentary

Putin KGB officer

Several weeks ago, the Roll Coll magazine published a ridiculous commentary by an anti-nuclear activist who seeks America’s unilateral disarmament and has launched yet another attack on the US nuclear deterrent – and more specifically, on the Navy’s ballistic missile submarine replacement program. He wants the Navy to cut the planned order from 12 to just 8 subs.

That commentary is a litany of blatant lies. There isn’t enough space here to refute all of these, but I will refute the most outrageous lies. (Dr Loren Thompson, who taught the subject of nuclear deterrence at Georgetown University for many years, has written his own rebuttal of the Roll Call piece.)

What’s wrong with that Roll Call piece? To start with, everything.

Because the author is an anti-nuclear activist seeking America’s nuclear disarmament, he wants to mislead the public into thinking that America’s nuclear deterrent can be safely reduced sharply and eventually scrapped. In order to mislead the public this way, he makes a number of utterly false claims.

For starters, he lies that “the Pentagon needs to resize its sub program based on the understanding that the U.S. can meet today’s security challenges with fewer nuclear weapons at less cost.” This is totally false.

In fact, the need for nuclear deterrence has not shrank at all since the end of the Cold War; if anything, that need has grown. During the Cold War, the US had to deter the Soviet Union, and on a lesser scale, China. Now it has to deter Russia and China – both of whom have large arsenals – as well as North Korea and Iran.

And while these countries are threats to many and protectors to nobody, the US has to provide a large nuclear umbrella not just for itself, but for over 30 of its allies – many of whom will “go nuclear” if the US continues to cut its own arsenal. 66% of South Koreans already want their country to do so.

Deterring Russia and China will require a nuclear arsenal of a size no smaller than the current one, and probably larger. 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 (though recent reports claim they can carry multiple warheads);
  • 78 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. Russia’s ballistic missile submarines could deliver between 1,500 and 2,000, depending on the types of missiles used.

A large, diverse nuclear arsenal – such as the one America has today – would be hard even for these thousands of warheads to destroy in a first strike. But a smaller one, such as a fleet of only eight SSBNs, only 4 of which would be at sea at any given moment, would be much easier to decapitate.

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. Vladimir Putin announced last year that Moscow would order 400 new ICBMs for its strategic missile force. 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, 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 four-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.

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.

Moreover, as Dr Thompson rightly observes in his own case for 12 SSBNs, the future submarine fleet will have to meet the security challenges of tomorrow, not today. And in the future, we will see Russia’s, China’s, and North Korea’s nuclear arsenals only grow, not shrink. That will be the consequence of continued cuts and neglect of America’s nuclear umbrella.

And why does the size of that umbrella matter? Because a nuclear arsenal HAS to be large in order to a) survive a possible enemy first strike, and b) be able to hold enough enemy assets (military bases, submarines, ICBM siloes and trains, industrial facilities, HQs, comm centers) at risk. A small arsenal would be woefully inadequate. And 8 ballistic missile subs would be woefully insufficient, as only about half of these eight boats would be at sea on patrol at any given time, the rest being in refit. Putting one’s eggs in so few baskets – only about four – is ridiculously dangerous, especially in the nuclear deterrence business, where there is ZERO permissible margin of error. In this business, it is far better to have more weapons than you need as opposed to not enough weapons.

The Navy and the DOD have not taken the required number of 12 ballistic missile subs out of thin air. They arrived at it through a lengthy, rigorous analysis of enemy nuclear arsenals and of deterrence requirements. Anything less than 12 SSBNs will be utterly inadequate. No amount of lies by anti-nuclear activists will change these facts.

Rebuttal of Stratfor’s false claims on China’s ballistic missile subs

nukeexplosion

The open-sources-based Stratfor think-tank has recently published an article on China’s ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) that downplays the threat these submarines, and China in general, pose to the US. Because of this, and because it contains numerous factual errors, I’ve decided to pen this rebuttal.

The article begins by repeating the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s laughable understatement that China is merely “on the cusp of having a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent”, as opposed to already having one (which it does), and falsely claims that China “still lags considerably behind the leading powers, notably the US.”

Those are blatant lies which serve no purpose but to downplay the Chinese threat and mislead the American public about it.

China is not lagging behind the leading powers; it is among them and is keeping pace firmly with them.

The article first wrongly claims China has only “three or four” Jin class SSBNS in addition to its Xia class boat. In fact, China has five Jins already in commission and a sixth one under construction. Stratfor then wrongly claims that the Jins are more noisy than Russian Delta III class submarines. This is not true, but even if it were, remember that by today’s standards, the US Navy’s Ohio class SSBNs and Los Angeles class attack submarines are also quite noisy, too, and need to be replaced.

Stratfor also wrongly claims that the old JL-1 ballistic missiles are still the mainstay of the Chinese SSBN fleet, and further falsely claims that the newer JL-2 missile has not yet entered service, will not do so until next year, and will have a range of only 7,000-8,000 kms.

This is totally false. The basic variant of the JL-2 has already entered service and IT (the JL-2) is the main armament of China’s SSBN fleet – NOT the old JL-1 missile, deployed only on the single Xia class boat. Moreover, only the basic variant of the JL-2 missile has a range of 8,000 kms (quite a significant range, BTW).

China is now developing two new variants of the missile – the Jia and the Yi – which will have ranges of 12,000 and 14,000 kms, respectively, and will be able to carry up to 8 and 12 warheads, respectively. Source: DOD 2012 report to Congress on China’s military power.

Such a range – or even a range of just 10,000 kms, which both missile variants will greatly exceed – would allow Chinese SSBNs to target all of the US and Western Europe while staying in Chinese territorial waters or even in homeport.

And these newer variants of the JL-2 missile will enter service within the next few years, perhaps next year, so China’s nuclear striking power will grow significantly in the near future.

Thus, while Stratfor is technically correct – for now – that “”, that will cease to be true as soon as the JL-2 Jia variant, with its range of 12,000 kms, enters service. That will happen within the next few years.

And when it does, Chinese SSBNs will be able to target the US from their territorial waters or even their homebases – a capability the Soviet Navy did not achieve until the late 1980s.

But even now, Chinese ballistic missile subs and their JL-2 “Basic Variant” missiles, with a range of 8,000 kms, can reach virtually any target on the West Coast and anywhere in the northwestern CONUS. Keep in mind that China has FIVE submarines each armed with 12 such missiles – each missile, in turn, carrying 4 independently targetable warheads.

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range

Stratfor also falsely claims that for the near future, China will have to rely on its land-based missile force to deter the West.

That is patently false given all the facts about its SSBN fleet listed above, and given the fact that China’s bomber fleet is also very potent. With cruise missiles that have a range of 3,000 kms, it can obliterate any target in the First and Second Island Chain and well beyond them, including anywhere in Australia or Russia. China is also now developing a stealthy intercontinental bomber that will be capable of striking the CONUS.

But leaving all these facts aside, China’s land-based missile force is quite a potent one, and in some respects stronger than America’s. It consists of:

  • 36 DF-5 ICBMs (up to 10 warheads each), over 30 DF-31/31A ICBMs (4 warheads each), at least one DF-41 ICBM (10 warheads), and 20 DF-4 ICBMs/IRBMs (3 warheads each);
  • 100 DF-21 and 20 DF-3 MRBMs (one warhead per missile);
  • over 1,200 SRBMs; and
  • untold hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles, 500 of them nuclear armed.

By contrast, the US has no SRBMs, MRBMs, IRBMs, or ground-launched cruise missiles, and no plans to develop any. It is, moreover, barred from fielding any ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles of a range between 550 and 5,500 kms by the INF treaty. China, not being a party to the treaty, has a free hand in procuring such missiles.

China’s ICBMs alone could deliver 510 warheads to the US, including 490 to the CONUS alone. So China’s land-based missile force must not, on any account, be dismissed.

But, as I said earlier, China no longer needs to rely solely on its land-based missiles for deterring the West. Its SSBN and bomber fleets are already quite potent, and as their number and sophistication grow, their credibility will, as well. Within the next few years, when the JL-2 Jia missile enters service,  China’s SSBNs will be able to target any point in the US from their homeports. And that will be a gamechanger.

The Few, The Proud, The Unisex

Crisp Pullman Porters CapWhen Ronald Reagan was president he described members of the U.S. Marine Corps in a memorable phrase that is featured on the Marines’ Heritage Museum website: “Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

The generation of paper–pushers and PR–minded behind–kissers that inhabit the Pentagon and the Obama administration do not reflect that view of the Corps. In fact the levelers in the White House view the Marines’ independence and combative nature as a problem. All that aggression and testosterone looks out of place in the elite circles where citizens of the world reside.

Modern military management (they don’t deserve the term ‘leaders’) has been taken over by the “everybody gets a trophy” crowd. That’s why in the Army all soldiers now wear a beret, instead of just Rangers and Special Forces. Chelsea Manning’s feelings were hurt when he couldn’t wear a fashionable French–style chapeau. No need to recognize the additional motivation of troops that go the extra mile if it discriminates against those who don’t or can’t. Now it’s Bless Them All the “big and the fat and the small.”

But while other branches of the armed forces are marching in lockstep to the administration’s tune of women on the front lines, the Marines are fighting a rear guard action. The Corps has been reluctant to lower physical standards for combat soldiers (in bureaucrat–speak this degradation of standards is called “gender norming,” too bad wars are not also “gender normed”).

In fact, every woman that has ever been allowed to attend the Marine’s infantry school has washed out. In the long run, unless there is an outbreak of sanity, this means Marine commanders will have to justify why their standards are keeping women out of the front lines. The fact women have no business there is irrelevant to Pentagon sociologists who have never had a bullet whizz past their ear. It’s inevitable that eventually women will fill combat slots in the Marines.

That’s a long–term project though. In the short term the empire strikes back where it’s been successful before. As the New York Post puts it, “Obama wants Marines to wear ‘girly’ hats.”

According to the Post, the Obama administration wants to “create a ‘unisex’ look for the Corps.” The plan is for the Corps to discontinue the current caps — known as “covers” and in use since 1922 — and go to a new cap that bears a remarkable resemblance to a Pullman Porter’s cap.

This is not to disparage Pullman Porters. They set a standard for service and dedication, but they didn’t do it under fire.

This similarity between hats could be an unexpected advantage for the taxpayer. Since changing to the new headgear will cost $8 million, its possible some of the expense could be covered by civilians who mistakenly tip Marines after asking for help with their luggage.

As poster Carol Robinson on the Post site commented, “Now the Marines look like WACS [WWII Women’s Army Corps]. This is stupid and a waste of money.”

This imperial hat edict is actually the second time the Marines have been asked to alter their appearance so they would appear less warlike to outsiders.

Marine Corps lore has it that during the early weeks of the Korean War, Communist troops received the following command: “Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army.”

Immediately Marines were ordered to no longer wear their khaki leggings, which was the cause of the “yellowlegs” description, so the Army would not have to bear the brunt of the fighting alone. The Korean War proceeded with the Marines getting their fair share of attacks.

It must be comforting for America’s enemies to know how worried the Obama Administration is about the difference in appearance between male and female Marines. I fear Obama may also start agitating for the Marines to remove the ‘blood stripe’ from their uniform pants, since it may have unfortunate associations for him due to his own “red line” problem.

But who knows, maybe it’s time for the tradition–bound Corps to embrace change and become a softer, gentler Marine Corps.

In a spirit of cooperation (or fighting withdrawal, if you will) the Corps could even alter the lyrics of the Marine Hymn to something like:

From the halls of Montezuma,

To Barack’s haberdashery.

We will fight our country’s battles,

In this cute accessory.

First to fight for right and freedom,

We will keep this cover clean.

Even though it’s true Obama,

Could have never made Marine.

Rebuttal of Tom Collina’s and Kingston Reif’s call to cut nukes

nukeexplosion

The US nuclear deterrent – cut by over 75% since the Cold War’s end – is now barely adequate, yet the leftist anti-nuclear-deterrence movement wants to cut it deeply even further and eventually scrap it altogether. They want that to happen unilaterally, without Russia or anyone else’s participation.

Why? Because these people, such as the ACA’s Tom Collina and the CLW’s Kingston Reif, genuinely hate the US and would love to see it nuked.

It was therefore not surprising (even though not pleasant, either) to see both of these rabid anti-nuclear activists to write new garbage screeds calling for deep, unilateral cuts in the US nuclear arsenal and the fleet of its delivery systems – ostensibly to save money. These pacifists are now laughably casting themselves as friends of the US military who want to help it cope with sequestration and save its conventional capabilities.

They claim that a) such cuts can be done without imperiling US national security; b) they would save much money to help the DOD cope with sequestration; c) they would help save higher-priority conventional programs; d) the US has more nuclear weapons than it needs.

All of their claims are utter garbage. Here’s why.

Firstly, contrary to their, and their Dear Leader Barack Obama’s, blatant lies, the US DOES NOT have “more nuclear weapons than it needs.” In fact, the current number – roughly 5,000, of which only about 1,700 are deployed – is barely adequate to deter Russia, China, and North Korea. The current commander of the US Strategic Command (responsible for America’s nuclear weapons) and his predecessor have both said that the current size of the arsenal is “exactly what we need.” Those are General Kehler’s words, not mine. Both of them have also utterly rejected calls for further deep cuts.

Thus also refuting Collina’s lie that “the US military is telling us we have more nuclear weapons than we need.” The US military has not said any such thing.

Why? And why have both Secretary Hagel and Deputy Secretary Carter – to the displeasure of Tom Collina – rejected calls for further cuts?

Because further cuts to America’s nuclear deterrent would gravely undermine US national security and quite possibly invite a nuclear first strike on the US.

In order to deter any adversary, a nuclear arsenal has to be able to a) survive a first strike by any enemy; and b) hold, and if need be, obliterate, so many of the enemy’s military and economic assets that the cost of American retaliation will be prohibitive to him and hence, he won’t retaliate.

For both of these purposes, you need a LARGE nuclear arsenal; a small one will never suffice, as it would be too easy to destroy in a nuclear first strike.

No amount of conventional weapons can substitute here; only nuclear weapons have a sufficient striking and retaliatory power.

The US needs thousands, not mere hundreds, of deployed nuclear warheads to deter Russia and China, and many hundreds of delivery systems to deliver these warheads – at minimum, no fewer than the current number.

Russia currently has 434 ICBMs capable of delivering 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; 251 bombers able to deliver 1,757 warheads to the same destination; and 13 ballistic missile subs capable of unleashing another 2,000 nuclear warheads on the US, depending on the missile type used.

On top of that, Russia has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal of 4,000 warheads and a wide range of systems (missiles, torpedoes, artillery pieces, aircraft, etc.) to deliver these, and is also developing an IRBM in flagrant violation of the INF treaty.

And if that were not enough, it’s also developing new road- and rail-mobile ICBMs, while the US is not developing any, and has not fielded a single new ICBM since the 1980s.

And on top of that, Russia has recently conducted a huge nuclear attack exercise involving several ICBMs and SLBMs, as well as several SRBMs, being fired at once – an exercise US intel agencies say were a simulation of a Russian nuclear attack!

Yet, Collina and Reif want the US to unilaterally cut its ICBM fleet from 450 to a paltry 300, the nuclear warhead stockpile to 1,000 or fewer warheads, and the ballistic missile sub fleet to just 8 boats!

China, contrary to the claims of American anti-nuclear activists, has at least 1,600, and potentially up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, according to two credible experts: General Viktor Yesin, a former chief of staff of Russia’s ICBM force, and Professor Philip Karber, the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist during the Reagan years and now a Georgetown University professor. This writer himself has estimated that China has at least 1,274 deployed nuclear warheads, without counting any of the 500 warheads attributed to China’s ground-launched cruise missiles or short-range ballistic missiles. If these are counted, China has at least 1,774 deployed nuclear warheads.

China’s nuclear arsenal is not at a standstill; Beijing is now introducing a new, 10-warhead ICBM called the DF-41, and two new sub-launched missile variants capable of carrying up to 12 warheads over 14,000 kms, as well as a sixth ballistic missile submarine.

This, BTW, completely belies China’s claim to have a “minimum nuclear deterrent” – but then again, deception is a practice deeply ingrained in Chinese military culture since at least the Sun Tzu years, if not earlier.

Additionally, while Russia, China, and North Korea are threats to many but protectors to nobody, the US has to provide a nuclear deterrent not only to itself but also to over 30 allies around the world, who rely on it for their security and their very existence. And they cannot afford to bet these on Obama’s, Collina’s, and Reif’s childish fantasies of a “world without nuclear weapons”, which will never happen.

If the US continues to further cut its nuclear umbrella, it will become woefully inadequate, forcing other countries to develop their own weapons. Already 66.5% of South Koreans want to do so. Persian Gulf states are already preparing to do so, in the face of the future Iranian nuclear threat. Japan, for its part, has facilities that can produce enough fissile material for 3,600 warheads in a matter of months if Tokyo chooses to go nuclear.

So cutting the US nuclear arsenal further will only lead to MORE nuclear proliferation around the world, not less.

But wouldn’t it at least save lots of money?

No, it wouldn’t.

Deputy Secretary Carter has already warned there is little that can be saved even by cutting the nuclear arsenal deeply. Collina condemns DOD officials for thinking nuclear weapons are cheap, but even he admits that they cost, overall, only $31 bn per year and that this is little compared to the overall US military budget.

Indeed, $31 bn is just 5% of the roughly $600 bn annual US military budget, and only 5/6 of 1% of the annual federal budget. It is also only about $100 per capita (for a US population of roughly 310 mn people).

So it costs every American (and immigrant) only $100 per year to maintain this large, diverse, three-legged, survivable nuclear deterrent which, for the last 68 years (and counting) has protected America against Russia, China, and North Korea.

Collina proposes to “dial back” the B61 nuclear bomb’s service life extension, cut the ballistic missile sub fleet (and its planned replacement) to just eight boats, delay the next generation bomber program by a decade, and cut the ICBM fleet from 450 to “300 or fewer” (there is no lower limit on cuts to US ICBMs that Collina would ever consider).

Collina desperately responds to such criticism that in fiscally dire times, every saving that can be accrued is worthy. But such puny savings are worthless – and even dangerous when they are made in the inventory of such crucial instruments of deterrence as nuclear weapons, which nothing can replace today.

Cutting the US nuclear arsenal further – let alone as deeply as Collina and Reif suggest – is not only not worth the puny savings it would accrue, it would be utterly suicidal, as it would invite (God forbid) a nuclear first strike on America and its allies. A much smaller US arsenal would be much easier for Russia and China to destroy in a first strike.

Preventing such a strike is, and out to be, THE highest priority of the DOD – as confirmed by Sec. Hagel and Deputy Secretary Carter. It is worth far more than any amount of money.

And at just 5% of the military budget and a paltry $100 per capita, it is a very low cost.

When lean budgetary years come, no sane company or organization cuts its budget by eliminating the most valuable service it provides. And nuclear deterrence is by far the most valuable service the military provides to the nation.

Collina’s proposal to delay the next-gen bomber by a decade is very dangerous (and treasonous) also for another reason: the next gen bomber is needed for conventional, not just nuclear, missions. This is because the B-52 (whose retention Collina advocates) and the non-nuclear B-1 have long ago lost ability to penetrate Soviet airspace (in fact, the B-1 never had it – it was obsolete by the time it entered service). Their radar signatures are so large that even legacy Soviet air defense systems, such as those owned by North Korea, would have no trouble detecting them and shooting them down.

That’s to say nothing of the modern, state of the art air defense systems used by Russia, China, Venezuela, and Belarus, and soon to be delivered to both Syria and Iran. No aircraft except the B-2 and the F-22 will be able to penetrate these systems – and experts such as CSBA’s Mark Gunzinger (a retired bomber pilot) say that even the B-2 will, a decade from now, lose its penetrating ability. Which would leave the US with no bomber able to penetrate enemy airspace – and thus give enemies complete sanctuary within their airspace and on the land below it.

And when you give your enemy any sanctuary, you lose the war.

The next-gen bomber is therefore absolutely needed – NOW, not a decade from today. The requirement for it has been validated by two consecutive QDRs (2006, 2010), by successive SECDEFs (Gates, Panetta, Carter) and USAF Chiefs of Staff (Moseley, Schwartz, Welsh), and by a wide range of outside-DOD studies by the CSBA, the Heritage Foundation, the Mitchell Institute, the Joint Force Quarterly, and others, including this writer. The USAF says delaying this program would be “very high risk.”

The NGB is not a mere wish; it is an absolute requirement. The USAF’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Welsh, lists it as one of his top three modernization priorities, along with the KC-46 tanker and the F-35 strike fighter.

Collina’s claim that making such cuts in nuclear weapons is necessary to cope with sequestration is also a blatant lie, and a figleaf for advocating deep, treasonous cuts that he and his treasonous, subversive organization (ACA), as well as other anti-nuclear groups like Kingston Reif’s CLW, have long been calling for in order to disarm America unilaterally.

Eliminating the ICBM leg of the nuclear triad would save only $1.1 bn per year; scrapping the bomber leg, only $2.5 bn per annum.

In fact, even eliminating the US nuclear arsenal completely would not provide more than half of the savings required to pay for sequestration, which amounts to $55 bn EVERY YEAR and $550 bn over the decade from FY2013 to FY2022.

The real money in the defense budget is in the military personnel accounts – pay, benefits, healthcare, retirement packages, etc. – which have, so far, been considered sacrosanct and off the table, based on the mistaken belief that even touching them would mean “breaking faith with the troops.” If there’s one thing Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on, it’s stonewalling any DOD requests for authorizing reforms of personnel programs.

Yet, without meaningful reforms, personnel programs will, by FY2039, consume 100% of the US defense budget – leaving no money for any weapons, nuclear or conventional.

And that is probably what Collina and Reif want.

New enemy air defense systems mean ONLY stealthy aircraft are viable

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Russia has recently decided to sell the state-of-the-art S-300PMU2 air defense systems (commonly known as SAMs, though the term SAM applies only to the missiles themselves) to the Syrian government to prevent any foreign intervention against the Assad regime, and to sell the equally capable S-300VM system to Iran. Earlier, it agreed to sell even more advanced and more capable S-400 (SA-21) air defense systems to China, which already has numerous S-300 and HQ-9 brigades. What does this mean for the US military and allied militaries (such as the IDF)?

It means that all nonstealthy Western aircraft (including the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, EA-18, EA-6, the Typhoon, the Rafale, the Gripen, the B-52 and the B-1) are by now completely and utterly obsolete, useless, impotent, and irrelevant. The US military might as well scrap all of its nonstealthy aircraft and save itself the expense of operating them. And this vulnerability cannot be overcome, or even ameliorated, with upgrades. The same applies to all nonstealthy cruise missiles.

This is because, quite simply, all of these aircraft and cruise missiles would be detected and shot down quite easily from a very large distance by the forementioned Russian and Chinese air defense systems, were they to ever venture into airspace protected by such systems (or by fighters like the PAKFA, the J-20, and the J-31).

Here’s how it works.

Like all other weapons, air defense systems need just two things to shoot aircraft down: the ability to detect and track their targets and the ability to shoot them down from a sufficient distance, before the enemy aircraft makes it to a point from which it could release its weapons (bombs or missiles) or jam the system.

These Russian and Chinese air defense systems – the S-300, S-400, and HQ-9, plus the HHQ-9 and HQ-16 onboard Chinese ships – meet both requirements. They can detect nonstealthy aircraft, even those flying at low altitudes, and shoot them down from a very long distance. That distance, in the S-300’s and HQ-9’s case, is 200 kilometers. The S-400’s maximum range is double that, at 400 kms.

This means that, once S-300 systems are delivered to Syria, Damascus will be able to declare and enforce a no-fly zone over almost all of Israel and shoot down IAF aircraft while they take off from their bases.

This also means that China can, even today, declare and enforce (if it wants to) a no-fly zone over half of Taiwan – the western and northern half, to be precise. Once S-400 systems are delivered to China (which is on track to happen in 2017 or sometime thereafter), Beijing can enforce a no-fly-zone over ALL of Taiwan (shooting down ROCAF aircraft when they try to take off), as well as ALL of Okinawa (where the USAF’s 18th Wing and USMC aviation units are based) and the disputed Senkaku Islands – because they are so close to China.

The F-15, F-16, F/A-18, EA-18, EA-6, B-52, B-1, and the Eurocanards have such large radar signatures (i.e. are so easibly visible on radar screens from such a long distance) that they would be detected and shot down at a large distance from their planned weapon release point – to which they would never make it – or to the point where jammer aircraft like the EA-18 and EA-6 could effectively jam enemy radars. This renders the EA-18 and the EA-6 completely useless for jamming, as they would never be allowed to get close enough to jam enemy radars.

This is because none of these aircraft were ever designed to be stealthy, and no serious attempt was made with any of them to reduce their radar signatures. All of them except the EA-18 were designed during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, before there was any stealth technology. Today, they are hopelessly obsolete, and thus utterly useless, impotent, and irrelevant.

For jammer aircraft such as the EA-18 and EA-6, the situation is doubly worse, because modern SAM system are much more jam resistant due to their high-power aperture. They also use ploys such as ‘frequency hopping’ from pulse to pulse.  The jammer may respond to the last pulse, but does not know the frequency of the next one, so misses.  This is built into all modern air-to-air radars as well.  And don’t forget that all modern SAM missiles have ‘home-on-jam’.  It works like this: “Light up that jammer and come in, sucker!”

Thus, all nonstealthy aircraft, including the EA-18 and the EA-6, have ZERO chance of surviving in airspace protected by the forementioned advanced Russian and Chinese air defense systems. This means that developing the Next Generation Bomber and resuming F-22 production is a NECESSITY, not a luxury, let alone “waste”, contrary to the utterly false claims of leftist, anti-defense groups such as TCS, POGO, CATO, the ACA, and others.

The ONLY Western (not just American, but WESTERN) aircraft capable of surviving in such airspace are the B-2 bomber, the F-22 fighter, and the F-35 strike jet. The Next Generation Bomber and the UCLASS carrier-capable drone are at the beginning stages of their development.

And the F-35 actually has slim chances of survival, because unlike the B-2 and the F-22, it is not very stealthy, and not from all aspects, and not in all radar bands. It is stealthy mainly from the front and up, and primarily in the X and S bands – much less so in lower radar bands or at lower frequencies.

This is not surprising, given that the F-35 was designed to be a battlefield interdictor, i.e. a tank hunter operating in airspace already sanitized by the B-2 and the F-22 – not as a Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses aircraft. It was (and is being) designed for a world in which the S-300, S-400, PAKFA, J-20, J-31, HQ-9, and HQ-16 did not exist.

Now that these systems all exist – and that the S-500 and HQ-12 air defense systems, even more advanced than those described above – are in development, the F-35 is obsolete before it has even entered service, although it is still much more modern and more capable than all of the legacy aircraft listed above.

The only solution for the US is to cancel the F-35 program, resume F-22 production, develop Marine and Naval versions of it, make the F-22 available to select allies, and speed up the development of the Next Gen Bomber and the UCLASS. Only these aircraft can survive and prevail in airspace defended by modern air defense systems such as the S-300, S-400, HQ-9, or HQ-16 – and looking to the future, only these systems will be able to survive in airspace defended by the S-500, HQ-12, PAKFA, J-20, or J-31.

Mr. President, Enough With the Lies, the Fear, and the Spin

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First, let me start off by saying, this is not a Democrat vs. Republican piece. This is a “administration gone stupid” piece.

These budget games have been played for years. These fights over who knows best have been played for years. But Mafia-style thuggery, like this, should be left in Chicago, New York, Miami, or Boston. I presume they are used to it and know how to deal with it.

The government shutdown caused by the failure of the Senate to pass a budget in the last five years (read my piece from last week if you need details) should have no effect on our war memorials. If we can keep the president’s golf courses open and Mrs. Obama’s 16 assistants funded and, if, we can continue to enter into contracts and pay for guards to protect illegal aliens marching at the National Mall, then we can allow our veterans to visit their war memorial. Yes, we could have cancelled the march on the National Mall, just like we cancelled some air shows across the country. Air shows that demonstrate what American pride and strength look like. Air shows that inspire our kids to want to be soldiers and pilots and heroes!

Now, on October 1st, the White House ordered the National Park Service to put up barricades around the monuments in and around Washington, D.C. That included the World War II Memorial, an open air monument normally open year round, with no chains, no gate, ever… until now. Did anyone in the White House stop to think that the brave men and women who most want to visit these monuments, our veterans, were not thwarted when landing at the beaches of Normandy, were not stopped by ground to air fire, nor stopped by depth charges or torpedoes? Did they really think some little crowd control gates were going to stop them from paying respects to their fallen brothers and sisters? Apparently, no one in the White house has ever been in a combat position to understand the determination of our veterans.

Planeloads of World War II veterans were scheduled to arrive on Honor Flights to visit their war memorial. Instead, this administration spent money and time to block the monument from those it stands to honor. To call this ridiculous would not do it justice.

And let’s not stop at the veterans. The White House is also attempting to cancel the Air Force vs. Navy football game, and the Army’s game against Boston College. It doesn’t seem to matter that service academy athletic programs are self-funded private organizations requiring no government funds. It also doesn’t seem to matter that by cancelling the Air Force-Navy game alone, those programs stand to lose $4 million. According to a story in the Capital Gazette, Naval Academy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said…
“We could run our entire athletics program and conduct events as we always do without any government funds… in talking to the Air Force athletic director, their football team could execute the trip without government funding.”

According to the National Review, when the Department of Defense was asked why it was suspending intercollegiate athletic contests if government funds were not required, Gladchuk said he was told it was about ‘optics.’ “It’s a perception thing.”
Think about this. It is self-funded. That means no tax dollars. The programs will lose millions. And all this current White House administration cares about is perception?!

The White House told us health care wouldn’t cost us any extra money and everyone would have healthcare. Yes, they sold you PERCEPTION.

This president said he was going to fundamentally transform this country to be a better country. Yes, he sold you PERCEPTION.

Our nation’s founding fathers feared the majority of a mob as much as they feared the tyranny of a King, and that’s why they gave us a Constitutional system of checks and balances that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives is using today. Minority rights are protected in that document, which makes the position of a president demanding 100 percent compliance proof positive that he doesn’t understand the document he swore to uphold.

Mr. President, tear down these unnecessary barricades, gates, and roadblocks. Quit shutting down programs that have no reliance on government funding. And stop with the lies, the fear, and the spin. Our founding fathers were fearful of under-informed voters because they knew it could mean disaster. You seem to feed on misinforming and sometimes even downright lying to public simply to justify your position. You seem to embrace disaster and thrive on confusion.

Tear down the walls you have erected, stop exaggerating the divisions, and work to unite all of us. Maybe then, you’d allow us to be that great country we can be, and once were, again.

A Disgrace Worthy of a Resignation

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It is unconscionable. It is rude, insensitivity, callus and unacceptable. With the news that family members of fallen soldiers killed in Afghanistan are not only being denied death benefits, but are being denied transportation to Dover AFB for the arrival of the caskets containing the remains of their loved ones, the Obama Administration has crossed a “red line” with the American people. Progressives in Washington and across the nation, you are now on notice: We – regular, rank-and-file, hard-working American every-men and -women – are not going to take the “pain” of your ideological agenda anymore.

Few things are sacrosanct among all Americans, the proper treatment and respect of the men and women of the Armed Forces – and their families – one such thing. But Mr. Obama, his administration, and the sycophants who voted for and support them have disrespected and caused unnecessary pain for these patriots, both fallen and family. Just as in the 1960s, these very same people and people of the same mindset, are once again spitting in the faces of the American soldier, this time extending that vile discontent to the survivors and their children.

FOX News reports:

It’s another ugly symptom of Mr. Obama’s partial government shutdown — and this time it impacts the families of soldiers who are dying for their country.

The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that, as long as the budget impasse lasts, it will not be able to pay death benefits to the families of troops who’ve been killed in combat.

“Unfortunately, as a result of the shutdown, we do not have the legal authority to make death gratuity payments at this time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman.

House lawmakers, though, are planning to vote Wednesday on a bill to restore funding for the payments. And Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), on Tuesday accused the Obama administration of needlessly withholding the money…

The Pentagon says it has specific instructions from its budget office not to make payments for deaths that occurred after 11:59pm on Sept. 30, 2013.

And that’s about enough…We should all demand – demand – the name of the imbecile who made this decision (I am certain that it came from Mr. Obama’s inner-circle) and demand – demand – that person’s resignation, terminating that person’s governmental career complete with withheld benefits.

President Obama is the Commander in Chief and that position mandates a responsibility to care for the whole of the military family. This responsibility is absolute and non-discretionary. That this situation even exists must – must and without question – rest on Mr. Obama’s shoulders personally.

In fact, if one of the duties of the Presidency is being Commander in Chief, this abdication of responsibility to our soldiers and their families (they are considered military families and many live on military bases, shop at military base PXs, etc.) for political purposes should be deemed an impeachable offense; disavowing any aspect of the position of Commander in Chief must be considered a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

We, as a nation, have been subjected to the arrogance and bully-tactics of Mr. Obama’s Chicago Progressive political mindset long enough. We have been subjected to the sycophancy of a Progressive mainstream media continuously lobbing softball questions to this president; ignoring not only the execution of poor government, but scandals that – in more than one case – have cost Americans their lives. I contend that this is too high a price for a country to pay just because Progressive ideologues insists on executing the politically correct, “social justice,” Marxist transformation of our nation, purely for power, fame and fortune.

It is time to define Progressivism for what it is: a destructive force that is antithetical to our Founders’ vision of a limited government and a free people. It is also time to confront Progressivism at every level, in every governmental chamber, on every street corner and in every individual.

Progressivism is not unlike Islamofascism in that the ideology is not – not –compatible with the Natural Law right to individual liberty and the overall concepts of self-reliance and freedom. It also stands as just as lethal a threat to our nation.

That Mr. Obama has not already addressed the subject of getting the fallen soldiers’ families their promised death benefits and respectful transportation to Dover AFB for the arrival of the caskets is beyond disgraceful. If Mr. Obama had a shred of decency; an once of honor, he would have already ordered a solution to this problem from the available Pentagon funding (and yes, there is money there to satisfy this situation). That he hasn’t should result in his resignation from office…immediately.

Yes, it is that much of an issue.

Rebuttal of liberals’ attack on AirSea Battle

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In 2009, the Secretary of Defense directed the Navy and the Air Force to develop an AirSea Battle concept to deal with increasingly aggressive Chinese behavior and military posture in the Western Pacific, as well as Beijing’s expansive territorial claims that China has threatened to go to war over. The two services completed the work in late 2011 and stood up an AirSea Battle office in the Pentagon.

No sooner had that happened than liberals – who, for decades, have falsely claimed (and continue to) that China is a peaceful state with benign intentions that resolves its disputes peacefully and doesn’t provoke or attack anyone – began denouncing AirSea Battle as a mere justification for weapon systems, a gold vein for the defense industry, and a provocation against China that could lead to nuclear war. Examples of these liberals’ blatant lies can be found here and here.

They falsely claim that:

  • AirSea Battle is an unnecessary and aggressive provocation against a peaceful China which will lead to escalation and to nuclear war with that country;
  • ASB is a mere justification for more defense spending and for weapon systems that the defense industry could make money on;
  • China is a peace-loving, nonaggressive state that resolves its disputes with others peacefully; and
  • China’s defense budgets and military capabilities are nonthreatening to the US, meager, and way behind those of the US; warnings about China’s military are mere “China hype.”

All of their claims are blatant lies. There is not a single shred of veracity to them; their claims are 100%.

Writing recently in The Diplomat, Robert E. Kelly falsely claims that:

“And the U.S. Department of Defense, eager to cash-in on the China hype in an era of sequestration and domestic exhaustion with the “Global War on Terror,” tells us now that the U.S. must shift to an Air-Sea Battle concept (ASB). In a not-so-amazing coincidence, ASB is chock of full of the sorts of costly, high-profile, air and maritime mega-platforms the military-industrial complex adores. China’s single, barely functional aircraft carrier—the second one is not due for awhile—is a god-send to hawks and neo-cons everywhere. Even as the U.S. scales back in the Middle East, defense can seemingly never be cut.”

Those are blatant lies.

China’s aggressive behavior

Regionally, China is trying to dominate the Western Pacific by coercion and if necessary by military force. It has made vast (and ridiculous) territorial claims WRT and around the Senkaku, Spratly, and Paracelsus Islands. It has repeatedly sent submarines and entire flotillas of surface warships into Japanese and Philippine waters to bully those countries into accepting these claims. They have repeatedly threatened war on these countries over those islands, have repeatedly used force to expel the Vietnamese from the Paracelsus Islands, allowed (if not encouraged) Chinese mob attacks on Japanese businesses, and repeatedly threatened (and are quite prepared) to use force to subjugate Taiwan.

(And yet, liberals claim that America is the aggressor and the wrong side here!)

As for China’s global ambitions, one of China’s most prominent political analysts let the cat out of the bag last year in the pages of the NYT. He said that China and the US are in a struggle for world leadership and world influence, and that for him and his fellow countrymen, including China’s leadership, this is a “zero-sum game” (his words, not mine).

Analyst Robert Sutter was absolutely correct when he wrote in 2005 that “China is the only large power in the world preparing to shoot Americans.”

And indeed, the Chinese are vying with the US for influence and world leadership – the world over. In Latin America, they are actively courting that region’s leftist, anti-American dictators, from Rafael Correa to Cristina de Kirchner to Nicolas Maduro to Raul Castro. In Africa, they’re courting governments too – and the US, for its part, is countering that with its own reachout, investments, and trade proposals. (When Barack Obama recently visited Africa, he brought some 500 American businessmen with him.)

In Europe, China has long been lobbying the EU to abolish its arms embargo against China, so that the PLA could get access to Europe’s top-drawer weapons. And in Asia, in addition to bullying the above-mentioned allies and partners of the US, China has been significantly (and covertly) aiding North Korea with ICBM launchers (the ones first displayed in 2012, supplied by China’s CASIC company). Moreover, China has been supplying anti-American terrorists with weapons, including MANPADS, and has extended diplomatic protection to Syria, Iran, and North Korea – the most anti-American regimes on this planet.

In the outer space, China has blinded a US satellite with a laser (in 2006) and has tested two ASAT ballistic missiles: one (SC-19) in 2007 and another one (the Dong Ning 2) last May. Internal PLA documents reveal plans of waging massive (and integrated) warfare against the US in cyberspace and the outer space, including attacks on US satellites, which, as China knows, are very vulnerable to kinetic hits and jamming. Internal PLA documents also call for destroying eight US GPS satellites, which would cripple the US military’s communications, navigation, and weapon guidance capability.

So yes, the Chinese ARE trying to forcefully expand their territory and unseat the US as the world’s top power. And they ARE preparing to wage war against the US.

China’s military: far more powerful than you may think

And their military capabilities are growing rapidly, and are already close to matching and surpassing those of the US – with or without sequestration of America’s defense budget. China currently has, inter alia:

– enough ICBMs to deliver over 460 nuclear warheads to the US, plus 6 SSBNs with further dozens of SLBMs, again multiple warhead;

– over 1,600 SRBMs and over 140 MRBMs, as well as numerous GLCMs and 120-160 cruise-missile-capable H-6 bombers, to destroy targets inside both the First and the Second Island Chain;

– potent cyberwarfare capabilities that have repeatedly and successfully attacked US cyber networks and stolen the design docs for dozens of American weapon systems;

– carrier-killer DF-21 ASBMs and 500 carrier-killer SS-N-22 Sunburn ASCMs, as well as hundreds of ASCMs of other types (notably the SS-N-27 Sizzler and the Yingji family);

– about 100,000 naval mines;

– 63 nuclear- and conventional-powered submarines of all types (BM and attack), most of them being quiet attack submarines;

– over 500 modern 4th generation aircraft, such as the J-10, J-11, Su-27, and Su-30, superior to everything the US has except the F-22 and the F-15, plus hundreds of upgraded J-8 interceptors and lightweight, very maneuverable (though aging) J-7 (MiG-21) fighters;

– dozens of modern and well-armed DDGs and FFGs, most notably the Type 052, the latest variant of which, Type 052D (AKA the Chinese Aegis) is more capable than any destroyer currently being built by the US;

– anti-satellite weapons, including up to 24 ASAT missiles and 3 recently-launched ASAT satellites (yes, there is such a thing – these PRC satellites would engage US satellites in orbit and damage or destroy them);

– between 1,600 and 3,000 nuclear warheads (depending on whether you ask Gen. Viktor Yesin or Professor Philip Karber);

– the second largest military budget in the world, which has been growing at double digit rates for the last 24 years uninterrupted, to $235 bn this year (without even accounting for PPP differences), and shows no sign of slowing down;

– the largest and most active ballistic missile program in the world according to USAF intelligence (NASIC);

– and the largest and most capable ground army in the world.

On top of all of that, China is currently developing, among other things:

– TWO medium range stealthy fighter/strike aircraft, the J-20 and the J-31, BOTH of which will, when commissioned, be superior to every other fighter on the planet except the F-22 and the PAK FA; the J-20 is due to enter service 4-5 years from now;

– a carrier-capable fighter (the J-15, already tested numerous types on the Liaoning aircraft carrier);

– a new, long-range anti-ship missile called the HN-2000, with a planned range of 3,000-4,000 kms;

EMP weapons which, if detonated above the US, could instantly set the US back to the Stone Age;

– new ASAT weapons;

– a stealthy, intercontinental, nuclear-capable bomber.

In addition, China plans to build SEVERAL new aircraft carriers – in the 100,000 ton league of the Nimitz class – and create entire carrier battle groups, as has been confirmed by Chinese shipbuilding companies and PLAN admirals.

So China’s military capabilities are already awesome – and they will overtake America’s before long. So now, ASB was NOT developed in “a foreign policy vacuum”, is NOT provocative or aggressive, and is well justified. It is merely a response to China’s ever-more-belligerent actions, both in the Western Pacific and around the world, and its rapid military buildup that long ago exceeded China’s legitimate self-defense requirements.

ASB is NOT a gift to the defense industry

As for the claims that ASB is a gift to the “military-industrial complex” and that the DOD just wants to get more funding based on “China hype” – those are also blatant lies. There is no such thing as the “military-industrial complex”, and the DOD knows full well that its budget will decline significantly under any scenario. ASB is designed to help the DOD counter the real and growing Chinese threat in an era of quickly declining defense budgets – which means tight cooperation between the services, among other things.

This was the ASB concept’s authors’ challenge from the start: how to counter the Chinese threat (and other A2/AD threats) in an era of rapidly declining defense budgets.

As for the platforms required by ASB – they don’t have to be (and probably won’t be) expensive, and they have been singled out by the DOD and the CSBA because they are the ones needed to win wars of the future – especially in the vast expanses of the Pacific, but also in the Middle East, whee US military access to warzones and to in-theater bases is under doubt.

Liberals: “Let’s be weak! Weakness leads to peace; strength is provocative!”

Liberals, including Kelly and Etzioni, falsely claim that AirSea Battle is a needless, aggressive “provocation” against China which, they claim, will lead to unnecessary escalation and to nuclear war.

This is utterly false too, and it’s essentially a claim – which the Left has been perpetuating for decades – that military strength is provocative and leads to war while weakness leads to peace.

But, as all human history shows, the CONVERSE is true: it is military WEAKNESS that is provocative, while military strength safeguards peace and prevents war – as Ronald Reagan showed during the 1980s, while Carter’s military weakness only led to a more warlike and less peaceful world. Indeed, throughout the 1970s and 1980s the Left, including RINOs within the GOP, falsely claimed that Reagan’s peace through strength policies, especially his reconstruction of the US military, would lead to nuclear war with the Soviet Union. History, of course, proved them dead wrong once again.

Nowadays, China, like the former Soviet Union, is conducting a military buildup that long ago exceeded China’s legitimate self-defense capabilities, challenging the US to an arms race, and bullying America’s allies – even threatening war over territorial claims and engaging in naval standoffs against US allies. It is also supplying Islamic terrorists with weapons and North Korea with ICBM launchers.

Liberals claim ASB will spark an arms race, but China is ALREADY engaged in such a race against the US – but America is currently slow to respond.

America can ignore the lessons of all human history, continue to gut its military, cancel ASB, and adopt a posture of appeasement and military weakness towards China – as Kelly, Etzioni, and other liberals advocate – and hope that it brings about peace contrary to all human experience.

Or, America can heed the lessons of history, learn for once that weakness only invites aggression while strength prevents it, reverse its defense cuts, and fully implement the ASB concept. If history is any guide, THIS is the road to peace.

Moreover, as the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the think-tank where ASB originated, has stressed, ASB is based on the assumption that CHINA, not the US, will initiate hostilities. All China has to do to avoid a fight with the US is not to attack the US or any of its allies. That’s not an unreasonable demand.

As for the rest, a nice rebuttal of the Left’s lies about AirSea Battle is here: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/09/why_air-sea_battle_is_needed.html

Conclusions

The US government is absolutely right to adopt the ASB concept and to start implementing it. Shame on liberas like Kelly and Etzioni for lying so blatantly on China’s behalf, downplaying and understating the Chinese threat while blaming solely the US. The American Left has not learned ANYTHING since the Jimmy Carter days. Just like in those days, they claim that weakness brings about peace, that military strength is provocative, and that America’s adversaries are benign and peace-loving – when precisely THE OPPOSITE is true.

 

Recommended further reading:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/chinas-high-tech-military-threat/

http://www.examiner.com/article/china-developing-super-electromagnet-pulse-bomb-to-use-war-against-u-s

http://freebeacon.com/china-military-preparing-for-peoples-war-in-cyberspace-space/

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