Skip to comments.Nuclear missile program's future in doubt, retired general warns
Posted on 03/02/2013 11:46:51 AM PST by Jet Jaguar
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A former top military commander warned local business leaders that F.E. Warren Air Force Base and the rest of the countrys nuclear ballistic missile program is being threatened by budget and political forces.
Retired Maj. Gen. Timothy J. McMahon told members of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce on Friday that public support is needed now more than ever to prevent the nuclear reductions.
There is a growing political and cultural influence of nuclear abolitionists along with power political agendas that are driving forcefully for further and immediate reductions in our strategic nuclear forces, he said. There is also the enormous and growing pressure imposed by the drive for budget reductions and the many influential people who look toward the ICBM force to pay what would be a very small part of our nations bills.
McMahon retired in 2003 as the commander of the 20th Air Force, which is responsible for the nations intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal. This includes the 150 Minuteman III missiles at F.E. Warren.
He said the push to reduce the nations nuclear arsenal is nothing new. But he said there is now an unprecedented effort to draw down the number of nuclear weapons, especially land-based ICBMs.
He added that supporters of maintaining the nuclear arsenal can no longer just use the argument that jobs and local communities, such as Cheyenne, would be hurt if the missile bases are consolidated or eliminated.
Instead, he said the public must recognize and rally in support of the strategic benefits of the weapons.
Absent immediate, thoughtful and public support, I believe the ICBM forces are not facing just another significant reduction, but the real possibility of elimination all together, he said.
McMahon said most of the defenders of the nations nuclear program are people within the Air Force and are restricted from publicly lobbying in support of it.
He said at the same time, groups that advocate for nuclear disarmament, such as Global Zero, are gaining influence.
Global Zero recently published a report that lists recently confirmed U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as one of its authors.
The report calls for the elimination of the land-based ICBM forces. It argues they are a relic of the Cold War and have no practical defense purposes.
No sensible argument has been put forward for using nuclear weapons to solve any of the major 21st century problems we face, the report states.
A large standing Cold War-like nuclear arsenal cannot productively address any of these dangers n for instance, it is unable to reliably deter or defeat terrorists with no return address, and its impact on proliferation may be largely counterproductive, the report says.
But McMahon disputed these assessments.
He said Russia and China are in political and cultural turmoil that could pose a threat to the U.S. And he said emerging nuclear weapon programs in North Korea and Iran need to be countered though nuclear deterrence.
In my simple-minded way, I could not imagine the world becoming more complex, more prone to mass violence and more beset by extreme ideologies than it is today, he said. Different threats might need deterrence to be applied in different ways, but I think that all nuclear threats, including North Korea and Iran, are worthy of real, compelling deterrence.
McMahon applauded the chambers past efforts to support F.E. Warren, which included the work of the Wyoming Wranglers committee that advocates for the base and its mission.
But he said Cheyenne as a community can do more to lobby policymakers and stress the importance of the base.
You can choose a course beyond the status quo, he said. You can take quick action to protect this force and to provide for its future as it has provided for your past.
Chamber President and CEO Dale Steenbergen called for the business leaders to take McMahons advice seriously.
We want to make sure when you leave here today, the message you hear is shared with the rest of the community, he told the gathering. The military is very important to us here, and we want to make sure the tradition and heritage of the military here in Cheyenne can prosper many years into the future.
Nuclear missiles? Who needs ‘em. We have rainbow warriors and gal grunts now.
Its not the budget, its Obama. Its also a Joints Chief of Staff that is a gaggle of politically correct careerists and not a warriors council committed to the nation’s defense.
Knock it off with the crap...He is talking about Obama and Hegel
This is one of the biggest threats to our country and it has been under the radar.
We are in danger of losing our nuclear capability or seeing it greatly degraded. Many politicians, like Obama, want to get rid of nukes all together. We are not spending enough money on upgrading or maintaining existing stock. Most disturbing, we are losing the infrastructure and trained personnel to maintain these weapons. Nuclear physicists and nuclear ordnance technicians don’t just appear out of nowhere like an EBT card. It takes years of difficult schooling and training to produce such people. The people maintaining our nuclear weapons are becoming old just like the complex systems they maintain.
Don’t laugh. The Low Information generation probably thinks that nuclear missiles are unnecessary because some Milla Jovovich like super warrior will save us from annihilation at the last second.
They don’t necessarily want to see it completely eliminated. They only want to see it reduced so that an opponent can, with a very high probability of success, completely destroy our nuclear capability in one fell swoop. Once that is done, Obama can order the Trident SSBNs base to their home ports and the stage is set.
Why attack and destroy the US riches when they will be delivered without a shot being fired by the enemies who now lead our government with the bleating approval of the generations of sheep produced by the public school system?
That is a good point, but the One hates America so much that the only just punishment for our freedom and success is nuclear destruction. He is god.
Strategic nuclear offense and defense is where we should put the bulk of our military resources and not in policing and remaking the whole world.
Barack Obama is part of those who believe in George Soros’ goal of a nuclear free (U.S.) world. Some kind of “Zero” objective.
Except that no one else is giving them up. Barack has opposed weapons development, is seeking disarmament, and has all but removed their use from the table.
While his time in the White House is nearing its end, the damage he is doing now and for future defense will have repercussions.
Really? Uncle Sugar will still be getting $600+ billion per year. I think we can get missiles in the air if need be.
Are you saying you don't want the military to build schools and dig wells and play 'liberal Peace Corps' on steroids?
Maybe you don't want schools built because you feel Islamist will use them to teach hate - and they should build their own damn schools? What kind of throw-back are you?
That’s alright. Our trading partners will protect us. Besides, women (and the effeminate) in leadership positions will use diplomacy instead of nukes. ;-)
[Enough irony and sarcasm there to cause vomiting.]
something to watch for
There’s no more need to buy these kinds of weapons than there is to buy any kind of insurance.
Unilateral disarmament today, Russian occupation tomorrow - after the major US and European and Russian cities are eliminated as moslem threats. Our D.C. mandarins don’t understand islam but the Russians do and will destroy us to save themselves. It’s all about who has the nukes.