Stimson in the News

Gordon Adams cited in The Economist on Maintaining Nuclear Deterrence


Some of the most expensive parts of the nuclear programme are not disputed, even by liberal Democrats. Few argue against the replacement of the 14 Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines which will begin to wear out in the late 2020s. The bill for that is likely to be around $140 billion for 12 new boats. More questionable is the air force’s bid last year to replace the 440-strong Minuteman III land-based missile force at a cost of $62 billion. A study in 2014 by the RAND Corporation judged that incremental modernisation might cost only a third as much, and could sustain the missile system for several more decades. Some, like Gordon Adams of the Stimson Centre, a think-tank, argue that land-based missiles are no longer necessary to maintain nuclear deterrence. They are the minority. The counter-argument is that as long as Russia builds all the 700 deployed missiles and bombers it is allowed under the New START treaty, America’s land-based force will still be needed—if only as a “sink” providing targets to absorb a nuclear strike.

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