The Hardest Targets

It is “very clear that there are underground structures in the world that are beyond the limits of US power” to destroy, said Linton Brooks, undersecretary of energy for nuclear security, in a meeting with the Defense Writers Group Thursday. Deterrence is improved if nations know they are not sheltered from US retaliation, he asserted, adding that nuclear weapons are not to be taken lightly. “I don’t think there is any question that there is a military requirement” to hold these underground facilities at risk, he said. A national debate centers on whether nuclear weapons should be developed for this purpose. So far, Congress has said no and has refused to allow the development of the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator.