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Title: REDUCTIONS WITHOUT REGRET: DEFINING THE NEEDED CAPABILITIES

This is the second of three papers (in addition to an introductory summary) aimed at providing a framework for evaluating future reductions or modifications of the U.S. nuclear force, first by considering previous instances in which nuclear-force capabilities were eliminated; second by looking forward into at least the foreseeable future at the features of global and regional deterrence (recognizing that new weapon systems currently projected will have expected lifetimes stretching beyond our ability to predict the future); and third by providing examples of past or possible undesirable outcomes in the shaping of the future nuclear force, as well as some closing thoughts for the future. This paper begins with a discussion of the current nuclear force and the plans and procurement programs for the modernization of that force. Current weapon systems and warheads were conceived and built decades ago, and procurement programs have begun for the modernization or replacement of major elements of the nuclear force: the heavy bomber, the air-launched cruise missile, the ICBMs, and the ballistic-missile submarines. In addition, the Nuclear Weapons Council has approved a new framework for nuclear-warhead life extension not fully fleshed out yet that aims to reduce the current number of nuclear explosives frommore » seven to five, the so-called 3+2 vision. This vision includes three interoperable warheads for both ICBMs and SLBMs (thus eliminating one backup weapon) and two warheads for aircraft delivery (one gravity bomb and one cruise-missile, eliminating a second backup gravity bomb). This paper also includes a discussion of the current and near-term nuclear-deterrence mission, both global and regional, and offers some observations on future of the strategic deterrence mission and the challenges of regional and extended nuclear deterrence.« less
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1092930
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2013-00552
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
SRS
Sponsoring Org:
DOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION