Thursday, April 09, 2020

Making Inter Service Rivalries Worse to Enhance Nuclear Deterrence.

New discussions about nuclear deterrence, and the triad specifically, have been creating tensions between branches of the military. There is an argument beginning to surface that the only part of the triad the US would need for effective deterrence is the submarine launched ballistic missiles(SLBMs). Having submarines as the only means of launching nuclear warheads aids deterrence by erasing the need to not promise a “no first strike policy” and "launch on warning" policy. Erasing the need for bombers and ICBMs gives the enemy no realistic military targets to strike and thus would reduce the risk of a nuclear attack. By using only SLBMs, the US would rely less on luck. Previously, there have been glitches and false warnings on both US and Russian systems that almost put the world in the middle of a nuclear World War III. By erasing launch on warning, this issue of “luck” is essentially erased. However, this is detrimental to other branches of the military, specifically the Air Force, as they will no longer have nuclear capabilities of their own. While nuclear policy is primarily run by the civilian side, there would certainly be new and rising tensions between the US Navy and Air Force. 
This policy of only utilizing SLBMs as a means of nuclear delivery would certainly heighten tensions between the Navy and Air Force. However, it would be an excellent non proliferation treaty for the “big five” nuclear capable countries and enhance the overall effectiveness of deterrence theory. The US, Russia, China, UK, and France are all capable of utilizing their own SLBMs. This would be a much more stable version of arms control as with only SLBMs in the water, there are no targets on any country's mainland that would give them any strategic edge if they were struck with a nuclear weapon. The only real downside to this policy idea is that inter service rivalry between the US Navy and Air Force would almost certainly get worse. If there was some way to put this policy into action and keep tensions cool, this policy could potentially be a new beginning for safer relations among nuclear capable countries.

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