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Bush orders cuts in nuclear stockpile
AP via Yahoo! ^ | By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer | By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer

Posted on 12/18/2007 7:11:24 PM PST by F15Eagle

WASHINGTON - President Bush has approved "a significant reduction" in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, cutting it to less than one-quarter its size at the end of the Cold War, the White House said Tuesday.

At the same time, the Energy Department announced plans to consolidate the nuclear weapons complex that maintains warheads and dismantle those no longer needed, saying the current facilities need to be made more efficient and more easily secured and that the larger complex is no longer needed.

"We are reducing our nuclear weapons stockpile to the lowest level consistent with America's national security and our commitments to friends and allies," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. "A credible deterrent remains an essential part of U.S. national security, and nuclear forces remain key to meeting emerging security challenges."

The government will not provide any numbers on the overall size of the nuclear stockpile, but there are believed to be nearly 6,000 warheads that either are deployed or in reserve.

Separately, under terms of a 2002 arms control treaty with Russia, the U.S. is committed to reducing the number of deployed warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012.

Three years ago, Bush said he wanted the overall stockpile reduced to half by 2012, but officials said that goal now has been reached so further reductions are being made, resulting in the new targets for 2012.

The Energy Department has been examining ways to consolidate the complex of weapons stockpile-related facilities at eight major locations across the country. They include federal research laboratories and other sites involved in nuclear stockpile stewardship and warhead dismantlement.

"Today's nuclear weapons complex needs to move from the outdated Cold War complex into one that is smaller, safer, more secure and less expensive," said Thomas D'Agostino, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees nuclear warhead programs within the department.

Under the consolidation proposal, which must still go through formal environmental reviews, special nuclear material used in weapons will be moved to five sites by the end of 2012 and the overall work force will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent.

While none of the eight major facilities will be closed, about 600 buildings or structures will be closed or shifted to non-weapons activities and two testing facilities supporting weapons labs will be closed.

While the consolidation reflects the reduction in the size of the warhead stockpile, it also has been prompted by growing concern over the ability to provide adequate security over the larger complex as security demands have increased sharply since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Some of those security demands have been viewed as far too expensive under the current spread of nuclear materials — plutonium and highly enriched weapons-grade uranium — within the complex.

The NNSA announced in September plans to consolidate plutonium from sites in Washington state, California and New Mexico to the Savannah River facility in South Carolina for storage and conversion.

Meanwhile, the administration faced a setback in its hopes of developing a new, more reliable and robust warhead that would eventually replace the existing, aging warheads.

The broad omnibus spending bill expected to be approved by Congress eliminated money for the Reliable Replacement Warhead for the current fiscal year. The administration had asked for $88 million for design and preliminary work on the proposed warhead.

"This (warhead) would have sent the wrong signal around the world encouraging the very proliferation we are trying to prevent," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a critic of the new warhead program said.

NNSA spokesman Bryan Wilkes said the funding cut was disappointing.

"This program is intended to establish the feasibility of a more secure and safer warhead that would help to assure long-term confidence in the reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing," Wilkes said.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: atomic; nuclear
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Not exactly PC I suppose but I guess I'm not really happy to reduce them at this time. Just me I guess.
1 posted on 12/18/2007 7:11:28 PM PST by F15Eagle
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To: F15Eagle

Wait until Iran burns a pit in an AGT. Then we’ll see if we continue to downsize the stockpile.


2 posted on 12/18/2007 7:14:05 PM PST by DBrow
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To: F15Eagle

Out with the old, in with the new? Are we still upgrading our nuclear arsenal?


3 posted on 12/18/2007 7:15:28 PM PST by doc1019 (Fred Thompson '08)
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To: F15Eagle
The Iranian president will be telling the world that he forced Bush to do this.
4 posted on 12/18/2007 7:16:31 PM PST by oyez (Justa' another high minded lowlife.)
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To: doc1019

There was talk at one time. Sounds like it’s on the radar. They do degrade after a period of time.


5 posted on 12/18/2007 7:17:32 PM PST by F15Eagle (1Tim 1:4; Gal 1:6-10; 1Cor 2:2; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35; 2Thess 2:11; Jude 1:3)
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To: oyez

yep


6 posted on 12/18/2007 7:18:53 PM PST by F15Eagle (1Tim 1:4; Gal 1:6-10; 1Cor 2:2; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35; 2Thess 2:11; Jude 1:3)
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To: F15Eagle
What Secret? and I thought America was at War....
one can always count on AP.
7 posted on 12/18/2007 7:19:20 PM PST by no-to-illegals (God Bless Our Men and Women in Uniform, Our Heroes. And Vote For Mr. Duncan Hunter, America! TLWNW)
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To: F15Eagle

Just wondering about the viability of all those nukes we have floating around under the surface of the sea (subs). Hope they keep their viability, only real deterrent we have.


8 posted on 12/18/2007 7:20:59 PM PST by doc1019 (Fred Thompson '08)
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To: doc1019

I’d heard the rumor was the MIRV count was reduced on all the D5’s. Down to 3 or so per 24 missiles per boat (14 left as SSBN, 4 to convert to SSGN cruise missile boats).


9 posted on 12/18/2007 7:23:15 PM PST by F15Eagle (1Tim 1:4; Gal 1:6-10; 1Cor 2:2; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35; 2Thess 2:11; Jude 1:3)
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To: F15Eagle

I hope this is just a means to look good while performing maintenance and retiring aging equipment that is losing it’s reliability. Taking the material out of the weapon and back to a depot storage facility will allow it to be recycled if necessary.


10 posted on 12/18/2007 7:26:10 PM PST by BuffaloJack (Before the government can give you a dollar it must first take it from another American)
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To: F15Eagle

Still, much to our advantage. Good news, thanks.


11 posted on 12/18/2007 7:26:28 PM PST by doc1019 (Fred Thompson '08)
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To: F15Eagle

Fred Thompson has a plan to simultaneous reduce the number of nukes and countries. I like that better.


12 posted on 12/18/2007 7:37:19 PM PST by Reo
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To: BuffaloJack

I hope you are right. I wonder how the Russian stockpile is holding up?

I dunno. I’d rather have a 10:1 advantage over a potential enemy. Makes me nervous.


13 posted on 12/18/2007 7:40:57 PM PST by dadgum (Ibrahim Hooper is a closet transvestite)
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To: F15Eagle

If Feinstein’s for it, you know its bad for the country.


14 posted on 12/18/2007 7:42:50 PM PST by Thrownatbirth (.....Iraq Invasion fan since 1991.)
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To: F15Eagle
About a third of U.S. warheads are W76s (100 kilotons). They are the oldest. They have a lifespan of 30 years which is set to expire in 2008.
15 posted on 12/18/2007 7:50:03 PM PST by Brad from Tennessee ("A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.")
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To: F15Eagle
The new Standard Missile-3s are probably the best ones. And nobody knows where they are and under which oceans. Just build a new nuclear plant to use up the stuff after it is molded and formed into the right alloy. A lot of those missiles are getting old and are expensive to maintain. There are newer, smaller, smarter and faster ones that destroyed incoming missiles in space during testing.

Just keep 24 of those big MIRV ones underground in the midwest for insurance. Those climb about 200 miles before releasing their eggs to go downrange 5 thousand miles.

16 posted on 12/18/2007 7:50:15 PM PST by BobS (I><P>)
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To: F15Eagle

We could cut the number by 90% and still leave the planet sterile if we popped off 10% of what was left.


17 posted on 12/18/2007 7:55:04 PM PST by taxed2death (A few billion here, a few trillion there...we're all friends right?)
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To: BobS

Standard Missile 3 is a Naval Surface to Air Missile (SAM), not a nuke.


18 posted on 12/18/2007 7:57:43 PM PST by IndispensableDestiny
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To: F15Eagle
November Scientific American has an article—somewhat hand-wringing—bout this issue but it gives the technical details:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleid=43148FBD-E7F2-99DF-32BC61E7D934DD8A

19 posted on 12/18/2007 8:02:13 PM PST by Brad from Tennessee ("A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.")
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To: F15Eagle

He’s just following UN instructions.


20 posted on 12/18/2007 8:02:16 PM PST by B4Ranch (( "Freedom is not free, but don't worry the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share." ))
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To: Brad from Tennessee

That’s what I knew. Use the uranium up. It’s very expensive to make. And less expensive to just use it up in the correct alloy and sell for electricity. Space tech has changed a lot from 30 years ago. That’s obsolete. New things are a bigger deterrent than that old stuff. And MIRVs are on updated ICBMs which blow up in space after downloading the eggs.


21 posted on 12/18/2007 8:06:56 PM PST by BobS (I><P>)
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To: F15Eagle

What is the advantage of having enough nukes to make the rubble bounce?


22 posted on 12/18/2007 8:07:29 PM PST by verity ("Lord, what fools these mortals be!")
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To: IndispensableDestiny
"Standard Missile 3 is a Naval Surface to Air Missile (SAM), not a nuke."

Then why does it have 4 navigation and command systems to order it what to do and where?

23 posted on 12/18/2007 8:16:04 PM PST by BobS (I><P>)
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To: doc1019
Out with the old, in with the new? Are we still upgrading our nuclear arsenal?

Not with the Rats in control of Congress

The broad omnibus spending bill expected to be approved by Congress eliminated money for the Reliable Replacement Warhead for the current fiscal year. The administration had asked for $88 million for design and preliminary work on the proposed warhead.
"This (warhead) would have sent the wrong signal around the world encouraging the very proliferation we are trying to prevent," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a critic of the new warhead program said.

24 posted on 12/18/2007 8:21:01 PM PST by OCC (Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time)
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To: F15Eagle

Our nuclear arsenal is in dire need of refurbishment and modernization. I have no problem with a reduced number of warheads as long as we end up with a strategic force that’s agile, flexible, and reliable enough to serve us as well in the 21st century as it did in the 20th.


25 posted on 12/18/2007 8:22:19 PM PST by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country.)
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To: BobS

The Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW1) was what the $88 billion, that Congress cut, was about. So it is out at least for the next budget year. It would have been a new generation. Lawrence Livermore has the contract. One problem though is that a prototype can’t be actually tested because of the test ban treaty.

This is all in article:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=new-nukes-are-good-nukes

The Russians are making a lot of noise about upgrading their strategic weapons and platforms but they neglected everything for so long who knows what will work? For years now, the Russians have been keeping all of their submarines clustered in two ports 90 percent of the year.


26 posted on 12/18/2007 8:22:52 PM PST by Brad from Tennessee ("A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.")
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To: no-to-illegals
>I>What Secret? and I thought America was at War.... one can always count on AP.

Are you trying to say that somehow it was wrong for the AP to report on something Dana Perrino said from the podium at a daily briefing?

27 posted on 12/18/2007 8:22:57 PM PST by ReignOfError
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To: F15Eagle
I know, let's build one big basket and put all our nuclear "eggs" in it.

Yeah, too many locations increases the chances one will get compromised but OTOH, one stealth sub taking out a handful of locations might make a first strike scenario pretty tempting.

28 posted on 12/18/2007 8:23:20 PM PST by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: F15Eagle
American Nuclear Primacy/FOREIGN AFFAIRS/Oct. 2006

Even as the United States’ nuclear forces have grown stronger since the end of the Cold War, Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal has sharply deteriorated. Russia has 39 percent fewer long-range bombers, 58 percent fewer ICBMs, and 80 percent fewer SSBNs than the Soviet Union fielded during its last days. The true extent of the Russian arsenal’s decay, however, is much greater than these cuts suggest. What nuclear forces Russia retains are hardly ready for use. Russia’s strategic bombers, now located at only two bases and thus vulnerable to a surprise attack, rarely conduct training exercises, and their warheads are stored off-base. Over 80 percent of Russia’s silo-based ICBMs have exceeded their original service lives, and plans to replace them with new missiles have been stymied by failed tests and low rates of production. Russia’s mobile ICBMs rarely patrol, and although they could fire their missiles from inside their bases if given sufficient warning of an attack, it appears unlikely that they would have the time to do so.

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060301faessay85204/keir-a-lieber-daryl-g-press/the-rise-of-u-s-nuclear-primacy.html

29 posted on 12/18/2007 8:30:45 PM PST by Brad from Tennessee ("A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.")
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To: verity
"What is the advantage of having enough nukes to make the rubble bounce?"

Only to tell other people that if our rubble bounces, their own rubble won't be bouncing at all shortly after our rubble bounces.

30 posted on 12/18/2007 8:32:30 PM PST by BobS (I><P>)
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To: F15Eagle

Why?


31 posted on 12/18/2007 8:36:42 PM PST by wastedyears ("I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery." - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: F15Eagle

http://www.fas.org/blog/ssp/2007/12/congress_zeroes_out_money_for.php#more

Congress Zeroes Out Money for the Reliable Replacement Warhead. Part Funding for Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

The spending bill just agreed by Congress over the weekend explicitly specifies zero funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead, or RRW, and support for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, but below the administration’s request.

The RRW is a new nuclear weapon that the administration claims is essential to maintaining the integrity of the nuclear arsenal. Most outside experts believe that existing nuclear weapons are more than adequately reliable. Moreover, as I have commented previously in this blog, the Reliable Replacement warhead will almost certainly not be more reliable than current warheads and absolutely certainly will not be meaningfully more reliable. Moreover, it will not replace existing warheads but be deployed alongside them for decades, and it is not even the reliable replacement warhead, because a minimum of four new types were planned.

This does not mean that the RRW is dead forever. The Congress has not said “No!” to any future warhead program. Instead, the Congress has stated quite clearly that the administration was moving forward with plans for a new warhead without thinking through what a new nuclear warhead is for. The Congress blocked funding this year and required the administration to develop a plan for what the scientific capabilities of the National Labs ought to be. The relevant Committees of both the House and Senate have written quite emphatic language that the administration needs to go back to the drawing board of nuclear weapons and explain why we need nuclear weapons before asking for money for new ones. I want to thank David Culp of the Friends Committee on National Legislation for sending out the Congressional language on the RRW.

Another major program of interest to the Federation is the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, or GNEP, which received $179M all together. Other non-GNEP expenses are folded in there so this represents a small cut from last year’s spending. (Thanks to Shervin Boloorian of the Union of Concerned Scientists for alerting us to the GNEP budget numbers.) (Keep in mind that last year, the government operated under a continuing resolution, which allows the administration some leeway in spending, so the administration spent more on GNEP than would have been approved by Congress in an appropriation.)

The GNEP is a plan to restart commercial plutonium reprocessing in the United States after a three decade hiatus. The Federation opposes the GNEP because the world wide proliferation of plutonium reprocessing technology presents a grave risk of nuclear weapon proliferation. And there is no balancing benefit. Reprocessing is more expensive than direct disposal, the energy benefit is quite limited until a new generation of advanced fast neutron reactors is developed and, finally, if the long term goal is to develop breeder reactors by the end of the century, then the last thing we should be doing is burning up the plutonium now. Plutonium reprocessing is a good idea in theory that does not work in practice, at least for now. It might make great sense eventually but “eventually” is probably no sooner than 2070 and possibly 2100. Even if plutonium reprocessing turns out to be technically feasible and economically justifiable, the country would be making a huge mistake by prematurely forcing itself to choose among heo technical choices available today. You don’t have to be opposed to reprocessing to be opposed to the administration’s program. We should revisit this question in another 50 years.

This bill was agreed by the joint Senate-House conference committee and must be voted on the floor and is subject to amendment. Once a bill gets this far, however, amendments are hard, although certainly not impossible. And, finally, keep in mind that President Bush might veto the whole thing. If that happens, the Congress might just give up and fall back on a continuing resolution, which means the country just goes back to last year’s budget. But since last year we also had a continuing resolution, a second continuing resolution would put the country back to its Fiscal Year 2006 budget, which included money for RRW and GNEP.


32 posted on 12/18/2007 8:48:56 PM PST by the lone wolf (Good Luck, and watch out for stobor.)
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To: F15Eagle

There is only one Mecca, so how many nukes do we need?


33 posted on 12/18/2007 8:50:13 PM PST by Hunble
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To: Brad from Tennessee

Be very careful here talking about this stuff. Everything we talk about must be public knowledge from a trade magazine or anything else in the public domain. You would do best to not say much more and shut up. A clearance means something. Keep it.


34 posted on 12/18/2007 9:00:24 PM PST by BobS (I><P>)
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To: Thrownatbirth

“This (warhead) would have sent the wrong signal around the world encouraging the very proliferation we are trying to prevent,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a critic of the new warhead program said.”

She couldn’t find a way to tap some of the funding for herself apparently, so nixed the deal.


35 posted on 12/18/2007 9:04:30 PM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists...call 'em what you will...They ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: BobS
updated ICBMs which blow up in space after downloading the eggs.

They don't blow up in space. They just follow a ballistic trajectory until they reenter the atmosphere and then fall to the ground, if they don't burn up on reentry.

36 posted on 12/18/2007 9:13:14 PM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: Hunble

One, if it a B-53 bomb (9 megaton yield).


37 posted on 12/18/2007 9:14:34 PM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: BobS
Chill out. I haven’t said anything not in the public domain. If you look at the two papers I’ve posted #26 and #29 there isn’t anything I’ve said not printed in Foreign Affairs, Oct. 2006; Scientific American, Nov. 2007.
38 posted on 12/18/2007 9:47:00 PM PST by Brad from Tennessee ("A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.")
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To: F15Eagle

Perhaps we should be replacing them with strongly worded UN letters.


39 posted on 12/18/2007 10:13:04 PM PST by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Elections have consequences.)
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To: F15Eagle

In Catch 22. the Germans contract with Americans for each to bomb their own airbases to save on fuel costs.

Since we are going to do nothing to stop Iran from building an amateur bomb, why not just sell them one of ours for $100 million?


40 posted on 12/18/2007 10:24:55 PM PST by Soliton (Freddie T is the one for me! (c))
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To: verity
What is the advantage of having enough nukes to make the rubble bounce?

To assure the enemy that we'll be bouncing their rubble long after we're already cleaning up ours.

41 posted on 12/19/2007 12:25:53 AM PST by Looking4Truth (Radical muslims and illegal immigrants: One group wants to kill U.S and the other invade U.S.)
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To: F15Eagle
You are not alone. First, if these are viable weapons, let 'em reach the end of their shelf life. The geopolitical situation is less certain than ever, and China, Russia, and their proxies could be considerations in a situation which could always become hostile in a relatively short period of time.

In addition, weapons should be easier to keep track of than the dismantled parts. I'd just as soon not have anyone pulling devices apart and creating new opportunities for a security breach in the process.

42 posted on 12/19/2007 12:53:24 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: verity

Not just for rubble bouncing. We need to have a big reserve after any nuclear attack, in case some other country wants to take advantage of our “depleted” stockpile. After all, we can expect that our nuclear weapons labs, factories, and reactors will be somewhere between heavily damaged and completely destroyed.


43 posted on 12/19/2007 2:15:28 AM PST by the lone wolf (Good Luck, and watch out for stobor.)
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To: rockinqsranch; Thrownatbirth

Yes, Feinstein is such an idiot that she thinks terrorists will respect unilateral disarmament. They rejoice at it because they have a greater chance of surviving a first or retaliatory strike.


44 posted on 12/19/2007 6:50:44 AM PST by F15Eagle (1Tim 1:4; Gal 1:6-10; 1Cor 2:2; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35; 2Thess 2:11; Jude 1:3)
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To: F15Eagle

What is the optimum number to have? I know at one time they were in the 10’s of thousands. In a conflict how many do we have to shoot before it become a moot point?


45 posted on 12/19/2007 6:53:00 AM PST by Rb ver. 2.0 (Global warming is the new Marxism.)
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To: BobS
"Then why does it have 4 navigation and command systems to order it what to do and where?"

Because Standard Missile 3 is used in the shipborne Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

46 posted on 12/19/2007 7:07:24 AM PST by IndispensableDestiny
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To: Rb ver. 2.0

We used to have over 30,000 I think or around that number. For a long time it was about the construction facilities, since they usually can’t be restarted quickly if needed and such a war might last from a few hours to a couple of weeks of so, so no time to restart the months and years necessary to re-create the weapons.

It was an insane, but necessary solution to keep major powers in check. It won’t be a good day when they go off, obviously, but a reasonable number keeps major powers in check.

Jihadists are a whole different beast altogether.


47 posted on 12/19/2007 7:14:34 AM PST by F15Eagle (1Tim 1:4; Gal 1:6-10; 1Cor 2:2; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35; 2Thess 2:11; Jude 1:3)
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To: IndispensableDestiny
Standard Missile 3 is a Naval Surface to Air Missile (SAM), not a nuke.

Terrier missiles were SAMs with a nuke capability. There was a "controlled-fragmentation" type and a "one-punch" that could be used against surface targets.

The only good thing about it were the sawed-off shotguns we got to aim at our closest shipmates. :-)
48 posted on 12/19/2007 1:49:29 PM PST by Thrownatbirth (.....Iraq Invasion fan since 1991.)
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To: F15Eagle
Bush is closing out his presidency as an idiot, the energy bill then this I have lost all confidence in this moron.
49 posted on 12/19/2007 4:05:58 PM PST by boomop1
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To: doc1019
Are we still upgrading our nuclear arsenal?

The nuclear arsenal has many components and other systems are available for the many varied threats. All are being upgraded and new technology is coming on line all the time.

50 posted on 12/19/2007 4:09:44 PM PST by RightWhale (Dean Koonz is good, but my favorite authors are Dun and Bradstreet)
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