And if it means scrapping air and land nuclear weapon delivery systems to replace the fleet, then so be it, according to a study by the
The study underscores what it considers the importance of the replacement fleet as a deterrent to nuclear war.
The study suggests the
It suggests a simple, but potentially controversial solution.
"Eliminating the other two legs of the nuclear triad -- intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, and nuclear bombers -- would save American taxpayers around
Analysts agree the Trident submarine fleet is the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad. In fact, the submarines by themselves are a more powerful nuclear war deterrent than any possessed by nearly every other nation.
The missiles are believed to be as accurate as land-based ICBMs and are "far superior as a delivery vehicle than bomber aircraft," the study said.
"Given their stealth and survivability, SSBNs represent a secure second-strike force on their own," the study said. "No other state now threatens America's SSBN fleet."
The institute has an answer for those who believe all three delivery systems are necessary.
"The reliance on three nuclear delivery systems is a relic of Cold War bureaucratic politics, not the product of strategic calculation," the study said. "A submarine-based monad is more than sufficient for America's deterrence needs, and would be considerably less expensive to modernize and maintain than the current force. The
But she said the issue will be discussed sometime in the near future.
"We are working on a conference that will educate our leadership on each leg of the triad," she said.
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