Nuclear Threat on the Rise

The threat from nuclear weapons is growing and the need for a strong US deterrent needs to keep up, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said Thursday at an AFA Mitchell event in Washington, D.C. The top threat comes from Russia, who is “our only peer” in nuclear development, and “will likely remain so in the coming decade.” Russia now has “robust programs in place” that began development “about a decade ago.” These programs include “modernizing their ICBM force, their ballistic missile submarines, their nuclear-capable bombers, their nuclear cruise missiles, their national command and control,” Wilson said. “It’s not talking about it—they’ve done it.” China is more difficult to assess because “they are being completely opaque with regard to nuclear capabilities.” Still, Wilson said, it is clear that China is investing in “both fixed and mobile ICBM systems and the technology to counter US ballistic missile defense technology.” China also reorganized its military last year to create a “strategic rocket force,” that is focused on nuclear weapons, and a “strategic support force,” to work on space, cyber, and electronic warfare, Wilson said. All of these developments, he added, underline the “importance of strategic stability” provided by a strong US deterrent.