Mainstream, Corporate Media in U.S. Yet to Cover Alarming Change in Nuclear Balance
U.S. policy “creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike”
Asked in the June 2017 edition of Z Magazine about “the distressing lack of discussion on climate change and nuclear proliferation in the mainstream media,” scholar Noam Chomsky suggested readers look at “an absolutely spectacular article by two real experts—Hans M. Kristensen and Ted Postol from MIT,” How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze, in the March 1 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
“They discuss the new targeting systems that have been invented under the Obama Modernization Program that’s now being escalated by Trump, and it’s extremely dangerous,” said Chomsky.
“What they claim based on disclosed information is that the U.S. missile systems have been improved by such a huge factor that they are now capable of instantly wiping out the Russian deterrent. This is massive overkill and nuclear stability is gone, and, of course, the Russians know this. What that implies is that if they ever feel a threat, they’re just going to be compelled to launch a preemptive strike because otherwise they’re dead, you know? And that means we’re all dead. This is the most important news that’s come out in I don’t know how long.”
Reading the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists piece, one is challenged to disagree.
Scientists Kristensen, Postol and Matthew McKinzie open their report with an astonishing assertion.
[Emphasis added – RR]
The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed to the public as an effort to ensure the reliability and safety of warheads in the US nuclear arsenal, rather than to enhance their military capabilities. In reality, however, that program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. This increase in capability is astonishing—boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three—and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.
Because of improvements in the killing power of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles, those submarines now patrol with more than three times the number of warheads needed to destroy the entire fleet of Russian land-based missiles in their silos. US submarine-based missiles can carry multiple warheads, so hundreds of others, now in storage, could be added to the submarine-based missile force, making it all the more lethal.
The revolutionary increase in the lethality of submarine-borne US nuclear forces comes from a “super-fuze” device that since 2009 has been incorporated into the Navy’s W76-1/Mk4A warhead as part of a decade-long life-extension program. We estimate that all warheads deployed on US ballistic missile submarines now have this fuzing capability. Because the innovations in the super-fuze appear, to the non-technical eye, to be minor, policymakers outside of the US government (and probably inside the government as well) have completely missed its revolutionary impact on military capabilities and its important implications for global security.
Before the invention of this new fuzing mechanism, even the most accurate ballistic missile warheads might not detonate close enough to targets hardened against nuclear attack to destroy them. But the new super-fuze is designed to destroy fixed targets by detonating above and around a target in a much more effective way. Warheads that would otherwise overfly a target and land too far away will now, because of the new fuzing system, detonate above the target.
That the United States nuclear “modernization” program initiated by Obama is effectively inaugurating an era of nuclear instability by neutralizing the Russian deterrent is, at the very least, worthy of much media, citizen and congressional conversation which has yet to occur. Please encourage your elected representatives and your media outlets of choice to begin discussing this remarkably invisible issue.
Read Jonathan Marshall’s piece at the Consortiumnews.com for much more information on this subject.
Further reading, links courtesy of Jonathan Marshall: