Rand: US Must Modernize Nuclear Triad

To ensure that they remain ready to perform their critical mission as part of the strategic nuclear deterrent force, the land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and the strategic bomber force must be modernized, the Air Force Global Strike Command boss said Thursday. And in addition to fielding the new B-21 bomber and replacing or modernizing the Minuteman III ICBMs, Gen. Robin Rand said he needed to update the nuclear command, control, and communications system, the airborne and land-based network of systems that give the President 24/7 assured control of the nuclear deterrent force. Addressing an AFA Mitchell Institute breakfast audience, Rand also argued for the Long-Range Standoff weapon to replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile, which was supposed to last 10 years but is now 30 years old. The LRSO is essential in the current anti-access, area-denial environment, he said. Rand said the ICMBs are nearly 50-years old and the B-52s are even older and the command is struggling to keep them ready. “We can meet our missions today, but it is time when we need to make some decisions” on how to ensure the reliability and survivability of those two legs of the strategic triad, he said. (Read also: Ground-Based Question Mark from the July issue of Air Force Magazine.)