November 25, 2014
America Musn’t Neglect Its Nukes
Earlier this month the Pentagon released a devastating assessment of its own management of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The report, authored by two widely respected former four-star officers, judged that America’s nuclear weapons complex — particularly the personnel who operate and maintain it — is near its breaking point, worn down by years of neglect, lack of funding and unnecessarily invasive and inquisitorial screening of employees. This malaise has been exacerbated by bouts of apathy and even hostility on the part of prominent voices in and out of government: The prevalent attitude is that there are more important national security priorities and, among some, that nukes are useless and should be left to rust.
The situation is considerably worse than we thought — even worse than in 2007 when it was revealed that the Air Force had inadvertently transported six live nuclear weapons from North Dakota to Louisiana. Last week a senior Pentagon official claimed in a background briefing that unless immediate and substantial action is taken to modernize antiquated infrastructure, prioritize the issue, and relieve suffocating bureaucratic pressure, the nation’s nuclear complex risks coming apart at the seams.
Read the full piece at The New York Times.
More from CNAS
Time for US nuclear strategy to embrace no first use
No first use is the most meagre of many measures needed to restrain US presidential authority in the nuclear realm....
By Van Jackson
If You Want Peace, Prepare for Nuclear War
In a little under three decades, nuclear weapons have gone from center stage to a sideshow in U.S. defense strategy. Since the 1990s, the United States has drastically reduced...
By Elbridge Colby
Trump's nuclear views are terrifying: Column
The contours of Donald Trump’s foreign policy are becoming disturbingly clear. Newspapers have labeled his thinking on international affairs "isolationist” and “unabashedly no...
By Mira Rapp-Hooper
Elbridge Colby before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Elbridge Colby testified before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces on adapting U.S. nuclear strategy and posture to a more contested and competitive wor...
By Elbridge Colby