Triad - A Relook - Should the United States Retain Its Land Based ICBM Force?   [open pdf - 0B]

From the thesis abstract: "The United States has maintained a Triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems since the early 1960's. This Triad includes strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), and submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). The redundancy and mutual support provided by the Triad provided the United States with a credible nuclear deterrent during the Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union. Each element of the Triad has distinct attributes for deterrent and warfighting roles. In the emerging aftermath of the Cold War it is appropriate to determine if the United States needs to retain its ICBM force of 1,000 missiles. This study reviews the evolution of the Triad and U.S. nuclear strategy, and examines the continuing need for the ICBM force against the following criteria: threat, alternatives to the ICBM, the advantages and disadvantages to retaining the ICBM capability, and the impact of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on the ICBM force? This study determines that the threat issue is the dominant criteria and concludes that the United States can sometime in the not too distant future retire most of its ICBM force, but first must negotiate with the former Soviet republics to achieve a significant reduction or total elimination of their strategic nuclear forces. Although those fledgling new republics should have no desire to threaten the United States, the existence of their vast nuclear capabilities, particularly ICBMs, must be seriously considered by U.S. defense planners."

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Combined Arms Research Library: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/CGSC/CARL/
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