The US must invest in sustaining and modernizing its nuclear deterrence capabilities or risk losing them, said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of US Strategic Command, in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22. “We are fast approaching the point where we will put at risk our safe, secure and effective, and ready nuclear deterrent, potentially jeopardizing strategic stability. We must not let our deterrence capabilities be determined by failure to sustain and modernize our forces,” Haney said at an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Haney noted that B-52 bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles were first fielded in the 1950s and 1960s, while the Ohio-class nuclear submarines were fielded in the 1980s. “We are out of time. Sustainment is a must. Recapitalization is a requirement,” he added. The defense budget can have its own deterrent effect, showing that the US prioritizes national security, but the investment must be continual, he said. “Budget stability is integral to strategic stability,” Haney said.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.