Extremely Well-Written Piece on How Much of the Nuclear Arsenal Is Nothing but an Unneeded and Dangerous Make-Jobs Program

Chancing nuclear armageddon for everyone for budgetary Congressional-corporate pork and a few jobs

When you get to a certain age, you may need help in getting around. You know: canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Same thing’s true with nuclear bombers. To face ever-improving air defenses over countries they might have to attack, they’re turning into lobbers, not bombers. They can fly close to their targets, but stay outside the range of enemy air defenses. That way, the thinking goes, they can “safely” lob atomic weapons, designed to kill millions, with minimal risk to the weapon or the people deploying it.

Bizarre world, this nuclear-war biz.

Just brand it “deterrence,” the liturgy goes, and it’s not only logical, but required. To argue otherwise is strategic sacrilege, because reducing deterrence makes war more likely, the argument goes.

We get around just fine with two legs, but the Pentagon has long argued that three are necessary to ensure the security and utility of the nation’s long-range nuclear weapons. That’s why we have a “triad” to send them toward the enemy. Yet three, when it comes to deterrence, is overkill, so to speak. Even a pared-down dyad would be redundant. But don’t count on that happening any time soon, given that we have leaders armed with rubber stamps rather than foresight.

We have a triad because that was how the enterprise grew during the Cold War. Now it’s a fait accompli, locked in amber. To argue against the triad risks excommunication from the nuclear priesthood. Before becoming President Donald Trump’s defense secretary in 2017, retired Marine general James Mattis wondered in 2015 if it made sense “to reduce the triad to a dyad.” But once tapped to run the Defense Department, he embraced the triad-and-true, saying keeping all three legs “is the right way to go.”

Now the Air Force is rushing development of its highly classified Long Range Standoff missile, a $20 billion effort to keep the still surprisingly spry B-52 atomically relevant. Some think the move is designed to get the program up and running before a non-President Trump has a chance to shoot it down.

The Air Force issued a surprise announcement April 17 saying it picked a contractor, Raytheon, to develop the missile nearly two years earlier than expected. Defense Secretary Mark Esper worked as Raytheon’s top lobbyist from 2010 to 2017earning $1.5 million in his final year. In 2017 he went to work at the Pentagon as Army secretary. At his confirmation hearing last year for the top Pentagon post, he declined to continue to recuse himself from Defense Department decisions regarding Raytheon beyond the initial required two year period. While there’s no suggestion he played any role in the missile decision, a surprise benefitting his former employer raises questions about conflicts of interest. That said, the shrinking defense industry increasingly perfumes such actions.

The originally planned 54-month competition between Raytheon and Lockheed ended after 32 months in what Defense News called a “surprise decision.” It’s not every day the development timetable for a new weapon shrinks by 40 percent. The Air Force says it needs the new missile to replace the B-52’s AGM-86B cruise missile, which first flew 38 years ago in 1982. (But that’s nothing: The 76 B-52s still flying are nearly 60 years old, making them eligible for AARP membership and the resulting 5% discount on their Consumer Cellar mobile phones.) The Long Range Standoff missile is slated to start replacing the AGM-86B on the B-52 in about a decade.

The Air Force plans to buy about 1,000 missiles, with roughly half of them nuclear-armed. The missile will use a modified W80-1 warhead, now atop the AGM-86B, to be renamed the W80-4. The Long Range Standoff missile is expected to match the 1,500-mile-plus range of the older missile. It is supposed to do a better job at reaching targets because of its radar-eluding stealthiness, and to find them even if GPS signals are jammed.

But why are we buying a brand new missile for an ancient airplane? Let’s back up a bit.

Parishioners, please turn to the triad’s Old Testament. There you’ll see that a pair of U.S. Army Air Forces B-29 bombers destroyed much of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The Air Force, created in 1947, added the ground-based Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile to its arsenal in 1959. In 1960, the Navy’s first sub-launched ballistic missiles were launched.

The U.S. military—Voilà—had stumbled upon what only later would be called the nuclear triad. “The language of the ‘triad’ comes well after the various weapon systems have been deployed,” atomic-weapons historian Alex Wellerstein wrote in 2016 on his Nuclear Secrecy blog. “It is not the ‘logic’ of why they made the weapons systems in the first place, but a retrospective understanding of their strategic roles.” (Emphasis in original)

And, let’s face it, the retro-branding of bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and sub-launched missiles as a triad was little more than, you might say, a Department of Defensive PR move. “The invocation of the ‘triad’ as a unitary strategic concept seems to have come about when people started to wonder whether we actually needed three major delivery systems for strategic weapons,” Wellerstein noted. “The triad technologies each require heavy investments in bases, in personnel, in jobs. They aren’t weapons so much as they are organizations that maintain weapons. Which is probably why you have to defend them: they are expensive.” (Emphasis in original)

Last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the triad and its supporting elements, including the labs that build them and the communications that launch them, will cost the U.S. $479 billion between 2019 and 2028. An additional $15 billion is slated to pay for “tactical” nuclear weapons, which, due to the peculiar rituals of doomsday dogma, are not deemed to be strategic weapons.

There’s a key unspoken agreement among the nuclear-triad clergy that boils down to this: “If you don’t criticize my leg of the nuclear triad, I won’t come after yours.” That unholy alliance is superglued tightly together in a congressional vise, based on where each leg is produced and deployed. New England lawmakers are heavily represented in the Congressional Submarine Caucus. Californians love the bomber leg, and High Plains lawmakers strongly support the intercontinental ballistic missile bases in their region. Eureka! You now have the perfect recipe for the atomic-weapons autopilot that has persisted, not only during the Cold War, but for the 30 years since it ended.

Since the first B-52 flew in 1954, the Pentagon has spent $65 billion buying 100 B-1s and 20 B-2s for the bomber “leg” of the nuclear triad. Now a brand new bomber, the B-21, is rolling down the runway and slated to become operational in the mid-2020s. At an estimated cost of $97 billion, that works out to about $1 billion per plane.

Curious taxpayers might wonder why we need the Long Range Standoff missile for the Eisenhower-era B-52s if we have B-1s and B-2s still flying, and B-21s are in the pipeline. Well, that gets kind of embarrassing.

You see, the B-1 Lancer lost its nuclear mission in 1994, a victim of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its own poor reliability (only 46% were able to perform a single mission at any one time last year). And the B-2 Spirit has had trouble maintaining its touchy and costly radar-eluding coat (readiness rate last year: 60%). So the Air Force is planning on retiring both planes in the 2030s so it can pump billions into keeping the much older B-52s flying (readiness rate last year: 66%). And to buy that new bomber, of course. That’s going to leave the Air Force with a two-bomber force: Very old B-52 Stratofortresses and very new B-21 Raiders.

Actually, calling the B-52 a bomber is blasphemy. The B-52 hasn’t been carrying dumb, old nuclear bombs—guided to their targets by gravity’s grace—since 2010. “The reason for the change appears to be that the B-52 is no longer considered survivable enough to slip through modern air-defenses and drop nuclear gravity bombs on enemy territory,” Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists said in 2017 (the Air Force confirmed his hunch in January). That leaves the AGM-86B cruise missile as the only nuclear weapon assigned to the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fellow, in front of the children).

It’s not that the Pentagon didn’t try to do better, mind you. Starting in 1990, B-52s were outfitted with the AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile, a $6 billion stealthy nuclear punch. But the Air Force scrapped it in 2012 because of reliability issues (starting to notice a pattern?).

As the Air Force plunges ahead with the LRSO, its third nuclear-tipped cruise missile for the B-52, it’s important to recall the flawed logic it used to justify building that Advanced Cruise Missile a generation ago. It was needed, advocates said, because Soviet air defenses were becoming so potent they could shoot down lumbering jets like the B-52, as well as the lumbering AGM-86B cruise missiles it fired. Plus, the U.S. needed the new missile’s greater range and accuracy.

But the Government Accountability Office blew the Air Force’s assertion out of the sky. The Soviet air defense threats “had been overestimated,” the agency found in 1993. Moscow’s “current air defenses are more likely to degrade than improve,” given the country’s collapse. The Air Force’s “belief” that the “ACM [Advanced Cruise Missile] is needed to overcome low ALCM [AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missile] survivability” was discounted by tests that “did not demonstrate low ALCM survivability.” The range of the old missile “was better than what had been reported”—the government routinely classifies such information, so you can guess who did the misreporting—and meant the new missile’s range was only “slightly greater.” Finally, the GAO concluded, “the improvement in accuracy offered by the ACM appears to have little real operational significance.”

Of course, sloppy salesmanship isn’t the only reason to question the warfighting wisdom of the new cruise missile. The Air Force plan to outfit it with both nuclear and conventional warheads is dicey. “The capability of a delivery platform to carry both conventional and nuclear forces may create warhead ambiguity for adversaries leading to unintended nuclear war,” a 2018 report by Sandia National Laboratory noted.

If there’s anything worse than an accidental nuclear war triggered by “warhead ambiguity,” it’s a deliberate nuclear war launched on purpose. But that’s pretty much the assignment for this new missile in the Air Force’s playbook. “Service and industry officials have said LRSO will have a mission to destroy densely overlapped air defense systems, clearing a path for stealth bombers to penetrate enemy airspace,” Air Force Magazine reported in 2018.

The thermonuclear theocracy insists such war-planning is required to bolster deterrence. But what this country truly needs is fewer atomic acolytes and more atomic atheists. Or even more critically, converts like former Defense Secretary William Perry. Originally a triad true-believer, he was a key champion of the AGM-86B when he served as the Pentagon’s top weapons civilian during the Carter administration. But now that it’s nearing the end of its life, he doesn’t think the U.S. military should replace it. “I see it as imperative … to stop this damn nuclear race before it’s underway again,” Perry argued in 2015. “Not just for the cost of it. It’s the danger it puts all of us in.”

Unfortunately, given the Air Force’s decision last month, along with similar efforts by Russia and China, the race seems to have already begun anew. It will take true leaders, with a keen understanding that the future doesn’t belong to those with the most missiles, to alter that course.

Source: Pogo

    1. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

      And it falls when shot down by an S-400.

  1. Canosin says

    the race of who has the bigger dick……this will lead to an extremely and very painful last erection called priapism and than game over (dooms day)

    1. bob says

      Better tell Putin then

      After all it was his silly video show a couple of years ago,declaring he’d got advanced wizz bangs,so advanced that Russia was now invincible

      Well what do invincible countries like Putin’s Russia do?

      Yup, they bomb and blast millions of innocent Syrians out of their country,because thats basically what Assad wanted

      Afterwards you cynically steal the very same people’s property,which you can then sell to grateful Russians,Chinese or Iranians

      Oh, and if the world doesn’t approve,tough! Putin the big man can threaten the world with first strike nuclear war,which apparently he’s just done,as he’s had published some sort of document which the Putin fan boys love,basically because they think it makes Putin look smart and strong

      So lets sum up,America basically bad and evil,Putin the font of all love and humanity

      And this site calls itself ‘ anti- empire’ what a sick and perverse joke !

      1. cechas vodobenikov says

        an idiot liar–only the US maintains a policy of 1st strike–no other nation does….the US empire is near collapse; your insecurity and stupidity is 1 more proof

        1. bob says

          You’re gonna be controlled by China soon,who are now under the control of the money power,the transfer of power from America is now almost complete

          Its the continous plan of the power elite,the controllers certainly know how to play the game,first they transfer the power from imperial Britain,to America,now they’ll do so to China,and export the totalitarian Chinese police surveillance state model worldwide,hence the role of 5G, and the notion of block chain digital money,look at China they don’t use physical money,why????

          So they can have total control,Putin wants the same in Russia,not his plan though,but the plan of the globalist,don’t believe me then whatch RT International,and Max Kaiser,he never stops going on about digital money,this is covert memetic engineering to prime you for the digital dictatorship which the money power controllers have planned

          This system is now ready to be implemented in Russia now, as the crisis,the Hegelian covid crisis,has been created for the Russian caretaker,Putin, to implement the plan of his Chinese controllers and money power dictatorship

          The Russian people are now doomed,their only saviour from slavery is to start nuclear war,and prevent total control from the power elite, deep control globalist system

          China, under ownership of the same money power as America,the globalist controllers have won,a caretaker group of controllers from the globalist money power are now in charge of America

          Soon Putin will be purged and the new Chinese imperialism will take control of Russia

          Putin has done his job with remarkable alacrity,he’s kept the Russian population down,booth emotionally and politically,they are now broken,they won’t demonstrate against the money power who control Putin,he’ll become the dictator for life soon,and as a pupet of the globalist money power,he’ll take his orders from China

          He’s been manipulated into doing crazy things, like invading Crimea,which meant only one thing,a kremlin pivot to China,this was all planned by the globalist who have played Russia

          Putin has been a stooge,this covid thing demonstrates beyond doubt that he’s part of the global plan to destroy Russia,and create the new imperial system from Beijing,as the Russian economy is in bits,and only China can ” help” save it

          1. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

            Can you think without your television to tell you what to?

            1. bob says

              I’d ask if you can without the aid of kremlin propaganda,because it seems to me its got its claws into you

      2. Canosin says

        what a load of shi……it seems you had already your “priapism moment” but without a last bang…….you poor pitiful thing

      3. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

        Russia has no first strike plan like the Pentagon has been yammering about since the end of the USSR. Russia has hypersonic ICBMs and cruise missiles that our antiquated systems can’t stop, and they would all be launched if we ever attacked them, in a doomsday attack. Russia and China are allies, so we’d get all that both of them can field simultaneously. Iran is a non-nuclear ally of both of them, so our ships in the Persian Gulf would become anchors.
        Ignorant Americans like you are the cause of the problem.

        1. bob says

          Russia and china aren’t allies

          China is taking Putin for a ride,and he’s so desperate that he has to go along with it

          Basically he’s giving Russia away

          Russia doesn’t have anything but propaganda,its fancy wizz bangs exist only as very cheap and crude video presentation,from Putin’s silly stunt he pulled a couple of years ago

          It was basically a load of jingoistic blather to keep all those ugly Russians from the region’s happy

          And yes i did whatch it,so don’t try and BS me

          Unfortunately you’re another fool easily taken in by the kremlin

          Incidentally name your favourite go to websites you get your information from about Russia,id love to know,so i could fact check them!

          1. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

            That must be why everyone is buying the Russian S-400 instead of our toy Patriot system. After all, look how well it worked in Saudi Arabia against Yemen knockoffs of Iran’s S-300s.
            You haven’t ever heard of Janes?

            1. bob says

              Russian weapons don’t work that well thats why Israel bomb Syria about every week without problems 😂😂😂😂

              And they really didn’t work recently when Turkey ripped the Syrian army apart 😜

              Its embarrassing for Putin,but the Israelis are thoughtful people as they don’t want to embarrass poor old Putler,and therefore keep this hushed up,although the Iranians don’t like it,and Assad certainly doesn’t and thats why they’re having a bit of a bun fight with the Russians about how those invincible wizz bangs don’t actually work,of course the bent cheating Russians basically blame the Syrians,well that’s about right isn’t it what Russians always do

            2. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

              That must be why so many countries are interested in buying the Russian S-400 system after Yemen knockoffs of the Russian S-300 penetrated the Saudi’s Patriot battery without resistance.
              Why did Turkey buy the Russian S-400 instead of the American Patriot when Turkey is a member of NATO? Maybe the Turks wanted the best regardless of what NATO or the Americans wanted.
              Are you familiar with the incident of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea where their Aegis went off line while a MiG flew over them repeatedly
              The Israelis might not want to test the Russians now that Trump has withdrawn from the Open Skies Treaty…
              Lockheed’s flying turkey F-35 doesn’t seem to be selling any better than Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX. Airbus will be happy to replace their crappy products on the world market with European planes made in America.
              Are you afraid to let us see your past posts that you are hiding behind those cheap virtual sunglasses?

            3. bob says

              Am i familiar,….. 😴😴😴😴😴😴

              Yup I’m totally familiar with BS from the kremlin,and all those silly Putin fan boy websites in the west who make Putin out to be some sort of genius,when in actual fact he’s a stunted little pygmy

              You need to wake up,i bet those idiot’s in Syria don’t sleep well 😂😂😂😂

              Knowing that all the Russian scrap metal S300/400 ain’t gonna protect them 😂😂😂😂

              This is the age of the drone,you’ve admitted yourself by informing me how well they did against the US systems in Saudi,didn’t you ! 😁😁😁😁

              Why do you think the Russian system would be any better????

              Well they aint 😯😉😉😉….

              ….and Turkey proved it about a month ago when they handed Assad his back side,including destroying the invincible Russian stuff

              What’s it called,the Pantsdown?,Pantyhose? Pantystar???😆😆😆😆😆

              Yup did real well,got reduced to scrap😂😃😄😅😁😁😁

              I bet the Russian didn’t like that one bit,as it made their stuff look just as useless as the American stuff 😂😂😂😂😃😄😅😅😅

            4. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

              You didn’t get any of that from Janes, did you?
              Was it CNN or Fox or….?

            5. bob says

              Jane ???

              Who’s she???


  2. cechas vodobenikov says

    without war and imperialism the US would have collapsed 40 years ago—Heilbroner observed that since WWII the USA has relied on wars to creat the fiction that they possess a real economy …now at least 25 trillion in debt, the empire will collapse in less than 10 years, as Galtung predicts: good riddance

    1. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

      It is more like 200 trillion and growing by 1 trillion a week.

  3. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

    The military doesn’t build any of its own equipment. They leave it to the highly profitable and vertically integrated MICIMATT to do it for them, while pocketing obscene stock dividends.

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