Monday, September 17, 2007

Op-Ed Questions Necessity of RRW

The Baltimore Sun put out an excellent op-ed by Bennett Ramberg yesterday questioning the necessity of the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program.

Ramberg begins:

As the Bush administration attempts to beat back the nuclear weapons ambitions of Iran and North Korea, it recently raised the specter that the United States has become perilously close to neutering its own atomic capacity. The alarmist forecast emerges in "National Security and Nuclear Weapons: Maintaining Deterrence in the 21st Century," a July statement by the secretaries of defense, state and energy. According to the secretaries, the "aging" and "hazardous" Cold War stockpile puts at risk "the long-term ability of the United States to sustain its strategy of deterrence [and] meet its security commitments to allies." [Ed. More analysis of this document is available here and here.]

The secretaries have called upon Congress this month to fund continued development of a new thermonuclear weapon, the Reliable Replacement Warhead, or RRW. Touted as safe, easy to maintain and regenerate, economical, politically sensible and, by definition, more reliable than the current arsenal, the RRW promotes the nonproliferation treaty's disarmament objective by promising to reduce the number of nuclear spares in the stockpile.

At first blush, the RRW makes sense. But like many sales pitches, this one is too good to be true. The premise - that old nukes make the country less secure - is patently false, and Congress should reject it.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

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