US Strategic Command would consider eliminating part of the US nuclear triad at the President’s request, but the mix of bombers, ICBMs, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles remains the best deterrent option for now, said STRATCOM Commander Gen. Robert Kehler July 12. “My view today is that the triad continues to serve us well. It may not be true in the future, but it continues to serve us well,” stated Kehler during a Capitol Hill address sponsored by AFA, the National Defense Industrial Association, and Reserve Officers Association. US nuclear doctrine has traditionally adhered to an indivisible triad concept, wherein each “leg” provides unique and indispensable capability. Kehler stressed that the survivability, speed of response, and flexibility offered by each respective leg is “the best arrangement that we have today.” He noted, however, that there has “always been concern” about whether the ICBM force is stabilizing or destabilizing, adding that for now it’s “still a valuable component” in the range of alternatives for the President. Kehler said the command regularly reviews the triad concept, and if the President determines that the deterrent need has diminished, “it’s up to us to meet his needs.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.