This is the fifth of five entries looking at Navy #Warfighting by Rear Adm. Michael Smith, Director, Strategy and Policy Division (N51).
“As long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal to maintain strategic stability with other major nuclear powers, deter potential adversaries, and reassure our allies and our partners of our security commitments to them.”
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Nuclear weapons remain in the arsenal of many countries, including the United States. In addition, non-state actors and rogue nations continue their pursuit of nuclear weaponry. However unlikely, the use of nuclear weapons could cause unspeakable damage to the U.S. and our allies. Given this fact, the U.S. must maintain a ready, safe, and secure nuclear deterrent force.
Strategic deterrence is predicated on possessing robust nuclear forces that would confront an adversary with the prospect of unacceptable damage from a counter-strike should they strike the U.S. or our allies. The Navy is uniquely suited to provide such deterrence and has historically made vital contributions to U.S. efforts to discourage aggression and dissuade adversaries from developing chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.
The Navy’s ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) force constitutes the most survivable leg of the U.S. nuclear triad. For 67 years it has provided this deterrent force 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Because of their stealth and long-range weapons, SSBNs guarantee that the U.S. will always maintain our capability to immediately respond to a nuclear threat. Navy personnel onboard these SSBNs and ashore work tirelessly to ensure that the U.S. maintains a safe, secure, and effective nuclear naval arsenal.
I hope you will share your thoughts with me on strategic deterrence. I look forward to hearing from you.