Crisis in Ukraine Prompts Renewed Focus on U.S. Nuclear Posture

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Yusuf, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    As tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalate, U.S. foreign policy hawks contend that Russian aggression merits a second look at the U.S. military’s uncertain nuclear modernization plans.

    Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become increasingly anti-democratic and hostile to the United States, said Mark Schneider, senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy. For the the United States, this should stir concerns about Russia's nuclear intentions.

    "U.S. nuclear modernization programs are minimal. We are basically replacing systems only when they're 40 to 80 years of age,” he said March 19 on Capitol Hill. "Assuming everything went perfectly [with future budgets], and we actually had the funding, nothing [new] will be operational before 2020."

    Putin announced Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian province of Crimea on Tuesday. Since then, Russian forces have seized Crimean bases and pushed out Ukrainian forces, according to reports.

    During Putin’s two presidencies, Russia has invaded two countries – Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine. Putin previously held the presidency from 2000 to 2008.

    "In both the Russian actions in Georgia and the Ukraine, the U.S. unfortunately made no significant effort to deter the events before they happened, and no real penalty was imposed on Russia for what it did in these situations,” Schneider said.

    President Barack Obama on March 20 announced sanctions against Russian officials and Putin allies.

    The U.S. nuclear triad — comprised of land-based ballistic missiles, long-range bombers and submarines that can launch ballistic missiles — is aging and in need of modernization or replacement. Russia’s military activities in Ukraine may push the U.S. government to move forward with procuring new weapons, said Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Va.-based think tank.

    The most expensive leg of the triad to modernize is the Ohio-class submarine replacement, which the Navy wants to begin building in 2021. At about $6 billion per copy, the service will likely struggle to fit procurement costs into its shipbuilding budget, which is about $15 billion per year.

    The Air Force also intends to purchase a long-range strike bomber at $550 million per aircraft to replace the B-2 and B-52, Undersecretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning said earlier in March. He indicated that the price of the aircraft is causing the service to cut back on desired capabilities.

    Although the Air Force plans to start building the new bombers in the mid 2020s, officials want to delay certification for nuclear operation until the 2040s, Thompson said. “If concern about a resurgent Russian threat persists, though, it may move up the date when the new bomber can contribute to nuclear deterrence,” he wrote in a March 20 editorial for Forbes.

    The service soon must also decide whether to upgrade its collection of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles or pursue new delivery vehicles. It is conducting an analysis of alternatives due later this year.

    “The most important military consideration that Vladimir Putin overlooked in mounting his annexation of Crimea is how it would bolster the resolve of western nations to maintain their defenses. … Many people in Washington might have been prepared to forego spending money on a new generation of nuclear weapons before Putin made his move, but he has now changed the strategic calculation,” Thompson said.

    Meanwhile, Russia is building its next-generation nuclear fleet. The first of the country’s new Yasen-class attack submarine was delivered last year.

    "The announced program involves modernization of about 98 percent of the ground-based ICBM force by 2021. They have announced a new heavy bomber which would be deployed somewhere around 2025 if they’re successful,” Schneider said. “The current pattern of modernization basically is one [in which] we will see complete modernization of Russia's nuclear portfolio before we modernize anything."

    Schneider argued that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty had the opposite effect on Russia than was intended. Instead of decreasing the number of nuclear weapons the country is allowed to have, the treaty contains loopholes that could allow Russia to expand its arsenal, he said.

    “For example, the New START treaty does not mention ground mobile ICBMs, and all definitions in the treaty were changed to exclude coverage of ground mobile ICBMs. And they also eliminated the START treaty prohibitions on air-launched ICBMs or surface ship-launched ICBMS,” he said. “Together those are very large loopholes that can be exploited to achieve capabilities far in excess of what's notionally permissible under the New START treaty."

    Since that treaty was signed in 2010, Russia has announced increases to its intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missile fleets, he said. It plans to produce 400 new ICBM and SLBMs before 2020.

    Schneider believes one of those new weapons, the RS-26, is an intermediate-range missile that would be illegal under the 1987 intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty.

    Because the Obama administration has not called attention to Russian nuclear treaty violations, Congress should press executive branch officials to respond publicly to questions on arms control issues, said Paula DeSutter, former assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance, and implementation during the George W. Bush administration.

    Crisis in Ukraine Prompts Renewed Focus on U.S. Nuclear Posture - Blog
     
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  3. bose

    bose Senior Member Senior Member

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    Anyone who does not listens to USA [Read refuses to be its Lapdog] is a potential anti democractic and hostile... :lol:
     
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  4. angeldude13

    angeldude13 Lestat De Lioncourt Senior Member

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    Amreekans are getting funnier day by day.

    Last time I heard Puerto Rico was going to be amreeka's 51st state because they wanna be part of amreeka.

    Crimea wants to be part of Russia but it is against democratic rules and Russia is anti democracy.
    Hypocrisy at its best :lol:
     
  5. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    The article is thought-provoking. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the posts made in response show no thought at all, just a knee-jerk reaction. Really, you guys are so pitiful. :yuno:

    I'll make a stab at some actual discussion.

    From the article:
    I think the submarines are the best investment because they are the least vulnerable when they are operational over several months. Missile installations and USAF bases are significantly more vulnerable, I believe.
     
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  6. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    The submarines form the strongest deterrent as they are the most difficult to take out, is what I think.

    What if in response to this and other stuff, Russia decides to leave New START and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

    1. New START: If there is a major war b/w Russia and the US, then the UK and France will probably side with the US. In addition the US has placed its nukes in Nederlands, Belgium, Italy, Turkiy. So to take out targets in these countries and to maintain deterrence more nukes would be helpful. Besides the European Missile shield "against Iran" also disturbs strategic balance and hence the deterrence value of Russian nukes.
    2. The INF is of no use to Russia. The US has no potential threats in its vicinity but Russia is surrounded by them. Withdrawing from INF will make Europe think several times before they arrange for coups in Russia's near abroad.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
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  7. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Really !!??? I thought they were dividing LA or some other state into 3 states on some administrative grounds??
     
  8. debasree

    debasree Regular Member

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    us the joker in the planet in these days
     
  9. angeldude13

    angeldude13 Lestat De Lioncourt Senior Member

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    My bad puerto Rico is already a part of amreeka But they can't participate in voting and doesn't have to pay taxes on there local earning.
    There was this rumor that Puerto Rico will be the 51st state but no news came after that.
    LA is a city and not a state.
     
  10. angeldude13

    angeldude13 Lestat De Lioncourt Senior Member

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    @mods please edit my post number 3.
    I made an embarrassing mistake.
    Puerto Rico is already amreeki territory.

    Not to worry. We all make mistakes. The goodness of people is when they do not wrangle endlessly to 'prove' it was no mistake!

    Thanks for your frankness.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2014
  11. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    Most predictable. This is exactly what I had written in 'Russian massive movements thread'. A aggressive Russia, will be a plea for MIC bosses ( through their respective lobbying of senators), for release of funds for continuing production and continuing research about newer technologies, in these years of curtailment of funding. Along with aggressive Russia, the article talks about a resurgent Russia also. A combination which defense industries feel will be a sure-shot combination for release of funds.

    But, the fact is the US govt. machinery, didn't come to know about Russian modernization through and during Crimea crisis, they have their own channels to know about the same and own mechanism to circulate the information. But, in years of low spending, these aren't powerful enough information to turnaround the cut in spending. But, then a question arises what is powerful enough? Public opinion which is derived from a cognizable stimulus which is distinct and on which the lacunae and disadvantages of cut in funding can be effectively demonstrated. Isn't it?

    But, then again the question arises, were the MIC bosses waiting for the a situation like this to happen, to reverse the trend of shrinking funding or were they ingenious enough to manufacture one? One that is called Crimea? Probably.

    Now, another question arises, what if this ploy fails in reversing the cut in military funding? Or the quantum of funds allocated is marginal and far lower than what is expected? Then what?

    We have/had seen a effort in the past where the subject of increase of of funding was China. Now is Russia and if this fails, what would be the next subject? Co-ordination between Russia and China? Maybe. So would the next target be likely SCO?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
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  12. lookieloo

    lookieloo Regular Member

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    Not holding my breath for any drastic changes in Western policy in the near term, nuclear or otherwise. Rather, expect small alterations over time as Western politicians start to keep what the Russians have done in the back of their minds. Here and there, a defense-cut will not be made... a base will not be closed... a ship not decommissioned... a tariff not lowered... a transaction not made... a trade-agreement not renewed... a conference not held... a treaty not ratified............. little things that build over time.
     
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  13. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC)
     
  14. lookieloo

    lookieloo Regular Member

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    ... and so it begins.
    Finns, Swedes Weigh NATO Membership | Defense News | defensenews.com
    Europe Ramps Up Defense Posture Amid Russia Crisis | Defense News | defensenews.com

    Like I said... no major changes here in tangible terms, but the mood has definitely been altered. Everyone still wants good relations with Russia, which still has a good deal of leverage via energy exports and other overseas spending; but spring is upon us, and Europe has all summer to sort itself out in that department. Of course, those nations sharing a border with Russia are already shifting priorities; but keep an eye on the Germans. Watch to see if defense cuts recently planned materialize or reverse as Germany is the country least-likely to over-react. If they start taking security matters more seriously, it's a fair bet that others will do so as well. Likewise, if they continue chopping their military, it's fair bet that Western rhetoric is empty bluster.
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Cold War resurrects!
     
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  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    We have stupid replies on this thread nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    Some real progress was made in the last decade or so in the nuke weapons arena. Warheads reduced, better understanding of each other's concerns, securing nuclear material etc.

    Russia shipped fissile material from dismantled nukes for use in US nuke plants as fuel.

    There have been positives over the last few years after half a century of absolute distrust.

    Now it certainly will be reviewed. More warhead reduction will not happen, qualitative improvement & new weapons designs will be pursued
     

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