In his most recent testimony before Congress, Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the commander of the US Strategic Command, in charge of the entire US nuclear deterrent, has confirmed that:
1) Russia’s and China’s nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals are steadily growing;
2) China is developing, and has successfully tested, two different kinds of anti-satellite missiles;
3) North Korea has managed to miniaturize its nuclear warheads;
4) In the face of the growing Russian, Chinese, and NK nuclear threat, the US nuclear deterrent must be modernized.
The Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz has reported that:
“On the nuclear and strategic threats, Haney said: “Today’s threat environment is more diverse, complex, and uncertain than it’s ever been, against a backdrop of global security environment latent with multiple actors, operating across multiple domains.”
Haney warned that the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal and infrastructure can no longer be taken for granted as safe, secure, and effective in the future without modernization, which is threatened by budget cuts.
“For decades, we have sustained while others have modernized their strategic nuclear forces, developing and utilizing counterspace activities, increasing the sophistication and pervasive nature of their cyber capabilities and proliferating these emerging strategic capabilities around the globe.
Haney singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin for “provocative” actions, along with Russian modernization of nuclear missiles, bombers, submarines, and industrial base.
The provocative actions included demonstrating nuclear capabilities during the Ukraine crisis and penetrating U.S. and allied air defense zones with long-range strategic bombers. He also mentioned Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty.
China also is building up strategic forces. “China has developed a capable submarine and intercontinental ballistic missile force, and has recently demonstrated their counterspace capabilities,” Haney said.
On North Korea, Haney noted Pyongyang’s claim to have miniaturized a warhead capable of being fired from the new KN-08 road-mobile long-range missile.
“As of yet, I don’t see any tests yet that associated with this miniaturized claim,” he said. “But as a combatant commander, as commander of your Strategic Command, it’s a threat that we cannot ignore as a country.”
Iran recently launched a space vehicle that “could be used as a long-range strike platform,” he said.
U.S. nuclear forces remain in urgent need of modernization, he said.
“As a nation, we cannot simply afford to underfund our strategic capabilities, Haney said. “Any cuts to the president’s budget, including those imposed by sequestration, will hamper our ability to sustain and modernize our joint military forces and put us at real risk of making our nation less secure and able to address future threats.””
Haney’s statement that North Korea has likely managed to miniaturize its nuclear warheads is no surprise – in 2012, that country demonstrated its mastery of miniaturizing satellites and mating them with space rockets. The technology used to do so is the same as the technology used for miniaturizing nuclear warheads.
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