Wednesday, August 01, 2018

There Should Be No Gray Area With Nukes

I don't like this one bit:

The U.S. Navy’s fleet of ballistic missile submarines will soon carry tactical nuclear weapons, as Congress prepares to fund development of a new, low-yield nuclear warhead. The submarines, which form a functional invulnerable retaliatory force in case of surprise nuclear attack, will soon be able to launch missiles with less powerful tactical nuclear weapons.

When an enemy sees a missile flying from the ocean, they will rightly assume it is a strategic weapon. We should not rely on them to refrain from a strategic response that requires them to figure out that it is a single tactical warhead and not merely the one strategic missile they can see from all of the sub's tubes.

I do see the value of smaller nukes. But they should not be launched from our strategic ballistic missile submarines or our land-based ICBMs. I've argued this position before.

Keep those tactical nukes for aircraft or smaller land-based missiles.

Besides, precision weapons make tactical nukes far less valuable than they were in the pre-precision days when you needed the blast radius of a nuke to destroy certain high value targets.

And if the target is important enough to be destroyed within an hour, it's probably important enough to use a big boy nuke.