Defense Secretary Ash Carter, delivering a speech at Strategic Command headquarters, has ratcheted up ongoing Pentagon calls for massive spending increases, particularly on the creation of new modern nuclear weapons, claiming the current arsenal is becoming “antiquated.”
Carter rattled off a list of potential nuclear “foes,” including Russia, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and Iran, insisting that while the US had “under-invested” in nuclear arms all those nations “consistently invested” in such weapons.
The Pentagon has been talking up this modernization scheme for years, and the estimated price tag has continued to rise precipitously throughout, with the plan likely to be well in excess of $1 trillion when all is said and done. Carter, like other Pentagon officials, mostly ignored the cost in his comments, insisting the program is vital.
Despite the US having one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals, Carter insisted that potential “adversaries” aren’t deterred by them anymore because they’re pretty old, and conceivably some of them might not work. This too has been a recurring argument from the Pentagon.
Yet with the US arsenal large enough to exterminate the entire human race several times over, the possibility that a few percent of the bombs might ultimately be duds because they’re old seems to have minimal logical impact on deterrence.