Defense: Breaking yet another promise, this one to Congress, the administration jeopardizes our national security with plans to eliminate an entire squadron of intercontinental ballistic missiles and destroy its silos.
A document prepared by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon maps out a strategy to eliminate an ICBM squadron — and destroy its missile silos — by Dec. 5, 2017.
The military would begin removing ICBMs next October, after an environmental assessment is complete, and the silo elimination would begin in May 2016.
The fact is, as the Heritage Foundation notes, the U.S. does not need to eliminate an ICBM squadron to meet New START's limits. The State Department's Oct. 1 fact sheet says the U.S. must dismantle 109 of its deployed ICBMs, deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and deployed heavy bombers, and remove another 138 warheads.
Heritage notes the U.S. has already reduced its deployed warheads by 112 and that destroying an ICBM squadron to comply with New START is unnecessary.
The document says the reductions are necessary to "meet the New START Treaty compliance date by closing an ICBM squadron and eliminating the associated Launch Facilities." But that's not true. New START does not require destruction of the silos.
So why the unnecessary move to cut our offensive missile deterrent force after the administration has scrapped Phase IV of our European-based missile defense, which was the proposed replacement for the ground-based interceptors and missile radars that were scuttled in a betrayal of our Polish and Czech allies?
The president has said he dreams of a world without nuclear weapons, which critics point out seems to mean only a world without U.S. nukes.
He sees U.S. military supremacy as an anachronistic example of the American exceptionalism for which he has apologized so many times.
To that end, in his June 2013 Berlin speech, President Obama spoke of his desire to unilaterally reduce deployed U.S. nuclear forces by up to one-third.
Never mind his promises to U.S. lawmakers that he would maintain a strong land-based ICBM force, a promise he made to garner votes for ratification of the New START Treaty.
Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Democrats from Montana, home of many ICBMs, issued a press release in 2010 backing New START and saying the missiles would "continue to play a key role in U.S. national security for decades to come."
The Air Force now deploys three ICBM wings on its bases in Wyoming (Francis E. Warren), North Dakota (Minot), and Montana (Malstrom). Each operates 150 ICBMs, with a squadron consisting of 50. The Obama administration proposes getting rid of one of those squadrons. Destruction of the silos would make it nearly impossible to reconstitute that squadron, if needed.
Meanwhile, Russia is taking the other route, making sure its arsenal is updated and ready. It recently had its strategic forces carry out a large-scale military drill that included the test-launch of two land-based ICBMs and two submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Nov. 22 is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy who, speaking of our adversaries, said in his Inaugural Address: "We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed."
President Obama, unfortunately, doesn't share that view. And we're all much less secure for it.
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