Stratcom Commander: New Nukes Needed:
Advisory Panel Insists Old Nukes Still Fine for Decades
by Jason Ditz, November 20, 2009
Speaking today at the Air Force Association conference in Los Angeles, Strategic Command commander General Kevin Chilton urged the US to invest more money into developing new nuclear weapons and improved weapons laboratories.
Calling the existing infrastructure “decrepit,” Chilton urged a far-reaching modernization process that would bring America’s weapons of mass destruction into the 21st century, adding “its a new world in the 21st century, and we need weapons that were designed for and support the needs of the 21st century.”
Exactly how a 21st century nuke differs from a 20th century nuke is unclear, and the challenges behind leveling cities with hydrogen bombs and ushering in a post-apocalyptic hellscape don’t appear to have materially changed in the past few decades.
And at least one top level advisory panel strongly disagrees with Gen. Chilton’s assessment, insisting that the aging nuclear arsenal could be extended “for decades, with no anticipated loss of confidence,” using the existing approach to maintaining the stockpile.
The creation of new nuclear weapons will likely be a tough decision for the Obama Administration, as its attempts to negotiate new strategic arms reduction treaties with Russia and push forward international disarmament efforts would be seriously undermined by America running a parallel program to increase their arsenal’s destructive power.