Hollow Nuclear Force

Proper attention must be paid to funding the nuclear triad if the nation is to avoid having a “hollow nuclear force,” said US Strategic Command chief Gen. Robert Kehler Tuesday. Kehler told defense writers in Washington, D.C., that if the nation goes below certain levels of bombers, ICBMs, or submarines—he declined to say what those levels might be—its “ability to sustain the force and to have the level of expertise required” comes into question. He noted that the Air Force “got itself in some difficulty some years ago” by neglecting the nuclear force in favor of conventional forces, which “of course . . . was where the war was.” But modernizing the triad is essential, he said. When asked if the triad can bear further delay, Kehler said he would argue it “cannot.” He added, “We have deferred modernization for some time.” (See also Progress Report on Nuclear Enterprise from the Daily Report archives.)