The Obama Administration continues to study US nuclear deterrence requirements and operational plans in a follow-on effort to the 2010 nuclear posture review, said Madelyn Creedon, assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs, last week. “The analysis is not yet complete, but our preliminary view is that continuing modernization is essential, and that further reductions [beyond New START levels] should be possible,” she told the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel on May 9. Asked if further reductions would increase US national security, Creedon responded, “That’s actually something that we’re looking at right now. But it’s not an issue that’s resolved yet.” She said additional reductions would depend on the global strategic environment and the US defense strategy. “But we believe there is an opportunity for future reductions,” she reiterated. As for today, “a triad is what we absolutely need,” said Creedon. “The strategy is to maintain a triad. And we’ve not changed that.” At the same hearing, US Strategic Command chief Gen. Robert Kehler echoed that message. “I continue to support the triad as a matter of best military advice,” he said. (See also Less Ambiguous and No New Nukes.)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.