Defense

April 5, 2013

Report calls for end to ‘Cold War autopilot’ plan

Dwindling military budgets and the diminished threat of a nuclear war in Europe dictate that the United States and Russia abandon their Cold War mentality and gradually remove some nuclear weapons from ready-to-launch status, according to a report Wednesday.

The study by an international group of political, military and security experts questions the billions of dollars spent by the U.S., Russia and European nations on new nuclear-armed submarines and weapons when those countries are facing deep budget cuts and austerity measures.

Citing the current political cooperation among the countries, the report recommends that they work together on missile defense, reduce tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and develop a new strategy.

“Outdated Cold War-era security concepts and their associated weapons and military postures (in particular, mutual assured destruction and nuclear forces on prompt-launch status), continue as if the Berlin Wall had never fallen, producing a dangerous asymmetry between military capabilities and true political partnership,” the report said.

The document, developed over the past year, makes 19 recommendations.

Among the leaders of the group are former Sen. Sam Nunn, a Democrat, best known for his work with then-Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican, in 1991 in creating the program to help the former Soviet states destroy and secure their weapons of mass destruction; former British Defense Minister Des Browne; former German Deputy Foreign Minister Wolfgang Ischinger; and former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

In contrast to the saber-rattling from North Korea, the report highlights improved relations among the U.S., European nations and Russia, which is unlikely to be propelled into a conventional or nuclear war.

Against that backdrop, the group argues for the U.S. and Russia to take the lead in systematically moving nuclear weapons off high-alert status, a template for France and Britain to follow.

In an interview, Nunn said the U.S.-Russia relationship is one of both growing distrust and increasing mutual interest. The former Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said issues such as missile defense and nuclear weapons need to be addressed as the world faces new challenges such as cybersecurity.

“We have to have a break out in thinking about how we’re going to deal with these issues in the future,” Nunn said, underscoring the report’s call for a new dialogue on mutual security.

The report suggests that the U.S. and NATO back a 50 percent reduction in U.S. tactical nuclear weapons based in Europe, with Russia adopting reciprocal steps. The move would be phased in over time.

Currently, the U.S. and Russia have about 5,000 nuclear weapons each, either deployed or in reserve. Both countries are on track to reduce the deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 by 2018, the number set in the New START treaty that the Senate ratified in December 2010.

The Federation of American Scientists estimates that Russia has approximately 2,000 tactical nuclear warheads and the United States has 500.

“A five-year target for completing consolidation of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the United States, combined with a process of mutual reductions with Russia, could give a greater sense of direction and pace to nuclear risk reduction in Europe,” the report said.

The report also calls for greater cooperation between the countries on missile defense, including sharing data and joint exercises.

The experts, including several former retired U.S., Russian and European generals, say that high-level talks involving leaders of the nations are imperative to establish a new strategy far from one that largely is on “Cold War autopilot.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Navy photograph

USS Roosevelt marks 200,000 trap

Navy photograph An F/A-18F Super Hornet flown by Capt. Daniel Grieco, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, deputy commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, complet...
 
 
Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned

USS California returns from maiden deployment

Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned The Virginia-class attack submarine USS California (SSN 781) returns from its maiden deployment to its homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London. Under the command of Cmdr. Shawn Huey, Ca...
 
 
Army photograph

Army proves new watercraft capabilities

Army photograph Marine Corps assets are loaded onto the USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak (T-AK 3005), from an U.S. Army Landing Craft Utility, or LCU, USAV Port Hudson during port operations, at White Beach Naval Base, Jan. 22, 2015. Sold...
 

 
Army photograph by Kashia Simmons

Improved Army system, training to increase vigilance

Army photograph by Kashia Simmons Vigilant Pursuit provides dedicated tactical pursuit vehicle-mounted and dismounted assets that utilize cutting-edge technologies, enabling Signal Intelligence, or SIGINT, and Human Intelligenc...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>