tv Nuclear Deterrence Discussion with the Heritage Foundation CSPAN April 8, 2021 6:17pm-7:48pm EDT
problems into turning to big problems. the issue of strategic deterrence doesn't get near the attention it deserves but this may be the most informative and that an extensive discussions of what really could be one of the defining issues of our generation. to start us off aside to avoid rodgers back time who is at the reagan institute and senator jon kyl who are competing figures on this issue to join us on the screen. we will start what i think will be a very important discussion so roger, over to you. >> yankees so much. it's wonderful to partner with the heritage foundation on this nuclear series. it's my honor to welcome our guest today senator jon kyl. you may know him as his time serving the senate from 1995 to
2013 when he retired he served as the senate i nor a whip from 2007 through 2013 and during that time he was a champion of nuclear modernization issues. it was pivotal during that period of time and we will get to some of that momentarily. senator kyl returned to the senate of september of 2018 after being appointed to succeed his good friend the late john mccain in the fact that he was asked to return to the senate really is a testament to the respect and trust his colleagues have for as long commitment to public service. senator kyl welcome and i'm glad to be having this conversation with you today. >> thank you roger thank you jim and thank you heritage and the reagan foundation. >> wonderful.
we have about 25 minutes or so to set the scene a bit on this important issue. let me start with something deputy secretary of defense said during her confirmation hearing. she said quote bag renuclear deterrence is the department's highest priority mission and updating and overhauling our nation's nuclear forces is a critical national security priority. end quote preview for this a lot from passing your officials dr. heck said deputy secretary and so on one will be a central player on this issue. with the kind of bipartisan commitment there tell me how we got where we are today regarding nuclear and how bad is the situation like. >> back in about 2008, 2009
there were a lot of questions being asked about how we were going to conduct the modernization program both for the nuclear weapons themselves and also we understood the platforms all needed modernization as well. congress commissioned a report the so-called 1231 report which outlined ultimately the needs of both the department of energy and the department of defense have been moving ordered with the modernization program and concluded there would be a significant budget shortfall if we didn't up our commitment. as a result of that report when the administration the obama administration began to discuss the possibility of a new s.t.a.r.t. treaty i engaged and others did as well on the question of whether or not they would be supportive of the modernization effort called for
in that report because without it certainly we couldn't join new start or in any other way restrict their capabilities area and through process of negotiation we eventually agreed with the obama administration and the president sent a letter to the senate outlining his support for the modernization program presumably based upon that report. and for the first couple of years after the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty was adopted the administration did request in its budget submittal the funding for the modernization program. over time that eventually waned in the wasn't just in the administration per there were appropriators in the house of representatives that are not particularly helpful and as a result we began to fall behind in by the time the trump mr. shing came in we were in
fact behind both in weprin modernization itself and the three aspects of our triad, the delivery systems and i will say roger just to conclude at this point we brought the problem on ourselves by allowing these two needs to arise at the same time both of which are money. if we had moved forward with a weapon modernization first and gotten that out of the way then we wouldn't have to worry so much about the expense of doing the platform modernization at the same time but now we have those of them, both bills are due at the same time as a result we will have to devote more funding for that and the trump mr. she did increases spending to some extent in congress was somewhat helpful so we have caught up to some extent but there's literally no margin for error in finishing out the program which will require attended 15 year commitment.
>> senator i want to jump in on that than little more detail. so our viewers can see you it's not just me who they don't get to see if you could except the webcam share and if you want to click on that and i see you have done it now so we are good to go. senator you are referencing the act in 2010 where the obama demonstrations might as well install a red telephone hotline. you are so pivotal on these issues and they knew if you were not satisfied with the administration's commitment to funding the nuclear enterprise that you would likely not only just vote against new start which it ultimately did what encourage others to do the same.
based on your answer it seems to me you are not satisfied with how it all played out 10 years later. is that an actor at assessment? we haven't modernized in the way that we did a decade ago. >> that is true although i do want to make it clear that i agreed not to oppose the treaty on the basis of the commitment the president did make an as i said for the first couple of years the budget submittal stood reflect the commitment date for modernization. the problem is and i will brag a little bit about the report that doctor hicks was involved in a doctor pain and others myself providing for the common defense. this was an analysis of art defense strategy after general and secretary mattis developed a defense strategy for the trump
administration. we called for a five to 7% increase annually and the implied period of time was about 15 years for this program to be completed. the problem is we haven't had that kind of wanting but both the unanimous recommendation of the strategic or the defense commission report and the defense department and the trump administration agreed that without this 7% growth it was characterized at one point of three to 5% plus inflation. so if you have been at least 2% inflation you have got a five to 7% and that have to occur over 15-year period for the program to be completed. unfortunately we have fallen behind so we are going to have to maintain that commitment and right now we do not have the consensus that ostensibly
existed back in 2010. >> indeed you and i worked on that. i remember you being the leading voice on that convention doctrine. is cochaired by ambassador adelman in terms of what we needed to do with respect to her nuclear enterprise. the national defense strategy commission focused heavily on modernization because the challenges and the competition that jim carafano recognized in russia made the united states more reliant the nuclear weapons then perhaps prior to this era of competition and possibly with the obama administration but i want to read you a couple of quotes and policies which suggests somehow the new administration may be departing
from that bipartisan consensus that was captured in that commission report. senator warren for example during her campaign called for quote no policy in biden promised quote to reduce excessive expenditure on nuclear arms and you may have seen the international security guidance that is a document that came from the national security council in the foreshadowing of their national security strategies and national defense strategies that quote will take steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and that would would be the barger from the previous administration. do you think this is a sentiment that will find its way into administration policies of the budget or is this outside groups that want to use language on this but perhaps cannot really
make a significant impact on policy? what's your take after hearing that? >> i don't know what is on the presidents find in what to extend you will drive those within need a station. there are some people like doctor hicks like you mentioned in people around who run the joint chiefs and secretary of defense and others who put this as a top priority. they say the funding must be there in the program must continue. there are others who were more ideologically oriented to the left who would like to somehow see the problem go away so we don't have to spend so much money on it it be nice if the russians and the chinese a iranians in the north koreans would be cooperate it but unfortunately they aren't. ..
and of their modernization program. and the chinese might by the end of this decade have doubled or tripled their number of warheads. they are both a proceeding at pace. we have a challenge from them and you have a problem here in the united states because we do not apparently have a consensus on what needs to be done. and a commitment to expend the funds necessary to reach our goals. that needs to be addressed by the biden administration. statement i want to get to the funding and domestic view in a moment. you did mention china, russia, what they are doing. let me share with you what chairman adam smith had said he's the armed services committee and oversees the oh zero five budget and the nuclear air projects he said quote i just wish we take a serious look at whether or not
we can achieve the necessary level deterrents for less money like china has". china currently has less than 200 around 200 nuclear warheads where the u.s. has just under 4000. how do you respond to adam smith's point? you seem to look at china as an example which really should drive our prioritizing nuclear weapons funding part he seems to be drawing a different conclusion. >> a couple of things but first of all the united states has to worry about several potential challenges. china has to worry about one. we have to deal with both china and russia and we have to be concerned about challenges from countries like north korea, iran, and potentially others. we have got a bigger problem on our hands in china. secondly, you cannot compare our funding levels with china. chairman smith is a smart guy
who chairs the house armed services committee. sure he appreciates this. over half of our military budget is personnel costs. guess how much the personal costs are for the chinese military? it's a very small percentage. and so it is comparing apples and oranges to try to suggest our level should be no more than the chinese. we have to deal with a combination of threats. the chinese and the russians rank about how they practice their military operations together in wargaming. so what if they combine their efforts and we under a new start have supposedly have an adequate force to deter russia. but it does not equate to a threat that would be simultaneously from both russia and china. this is one of the problems with the new start. we should have been able to somehow include china and the new start treaty when it was
automatically agreed to reauthorization by president biden. the other thing we should have done is gotten a better consensus of our own on hauber going to conclude her own modernization with the time frames that are required. >> will get to the extension of new start in just a minute. you'd did put your finger on the challenge. we wrestle with that on the defense challenge which is reliance on nuclear weapons with the previous administration strategy was precisely because we are only have adequate to deal with the china and to adequately deter spoiler, actor or russia. that really brought nuclear weapons into high release. let me shift to the domestic view. the 2021 reagan national defense survey sound the 3% think the u.s. would win a war
of nuclear power. my own view on that that's a pretty low number that americans are not overwhelmingly confident we could defeat a nuclear power. you were eight champion of nuclear issues during your time in office on the various commissions you have been on. what you think the support is for nuclear modernization? and is it something you ever really encounter in discussing with your constituents? >> no, i didn't. some people's on reasons mind. the leaders don't talk about it. we have not had a president since ronald reagan was willing to sit down and explain things to the american people. when the a nuclear war, nobody wins a nuclear war. the object is to never have to fight when. you do that by being strong enough and clear enough in your intentions that no
potential opponent ever takes the risk of starting a war with the united states. that is what deterrence is all about. the object is not to win the war the object is to deter the war. in order to do that with credibility the potential opposition has to know that you're willing to use your weapons and they will suffer a defeat at the hands of the united states if we ever do decide to use our weapons. that is why this deterrent must be credible. it is quite clear i am sure that both the chinese and military leaders appreciate the dilemma that the united states now faces with a divided congress and a divided policy elite discussing this issue. when you have people honestly discussing the possibility of eliminating the leg of the
triad that is our land leg with missiles and actually eliminating that link of the triad for a few dollars that is not serious thinking. >> i'm glad you raised that because that's the next place i wanted to go. he mentioned there is an increasingly loud voice. i do not know if it is a winning a voice in congress that wants to go from a triad to a dyad. the chileans of dollars the government is spending on other priorities that seems to be one of the gbs d the ground based deterrent is continues to be targeted. you have appropriations committees and authorization committees will be looking at this issue we are told from a ranking member mike rogers in the house of the armed services committee there are not the votes there to move from a triad to a dyad.
but what is the best argument to why we need all three legs of the triad? why is it, what is it the critics understand ask the ground based deterrent so relevant and important even today? >> in view of the time we have i would hope the next panel which includes doctor keith bain who is the expert on this and offering the npr and so on can go into a little bit more detail. the bottom-line olmec two points. china and russia are both relying on a triad. they understand the importance of it. up until not every serious defense thinker has appreciated the fact we need all three legs of the triad in order to provide the maximum deterrence. he want to prevent an opponent from ever believing there is potentially something to be gained by testing the united states. we have got all three legs they cannot win. you've got the missile leg
which contains the most weapons that can do the most offensive destruction against the enemy. and which if enough of them are launched in time can do dramatic damage to the enemy. there's also a a leg which requires a lot of assets by the opposition to take out. so if russia for example were trying to plan an attack of the united states they would have to devote a considerable amount of their arsenal to take out that missile component of the united states. which would leave us with a better opportunity for our bombers to reach their targets. with the missiles they have to launch their weapons. and also the submarines for the missiles they have on board. it is currently pretty hard for an enemy to know where our submarines are. it's a relatively safe part of our deterrent. in the future we cannot guarantee our submarines will not be detectable. who would be folly in the
tenth degree to think the russians in china are working on ways to defeat all three legs of our triad. in which case obviously you need the three. without all three complicate in the enemies offensive planning are we significantly diminish the potential effectiveness of our deterrent? >> great set of points will have time for one more question. it's always a pleasure to chat with you and get your real thinking on this. we'll end of the ins treaty. you mention ronald reagan the arms and his administration the trump administration pulled out the inf treaty in 2019. and any renegotiation of the deal would have to incorporate beijing that is china. the chinese of course have thus far refused. and they point to disparities
between u.s. and chinese arsenal. do you agree with that approach? should we look to bring china in two future reduction treaties? and do you think that could actually happen where the u.s. and china may come together and arms control reduction agreement? >> i have three quick thoughts on that. it is imperative given the commitment the chinese have now made to become a nuclear power with russia and the united states. certainly at a level we have to account for. they have done that we cannot ignore it. yes, china should be involved in these discussions. secondly, even though china doesn't like to talk to people about what they have and they are not transparent at all. therefore it makes it dangerous because we are not quite as sure as we are with russia exactly what deterrent requirements there are. i think it is important to
continue the negotiations if at all possible. wish to some extent give you a window into their thinking and give them a window into our thinking. so they will never miscalculate and think they possibly might be able to get away with a threat against us are actually using weapons. the third point i would make is this. arms control is never the complete answer. it can be a component to deterrence. the bottom line as sovereign nations will do what they think is in their interest at the time they have to make these decisions. a note treaty is going to stand in their way. russian violations of the inf treaty is a good example of that. there is no way. even verification. you can verify the enemies cheated but does not solve the problem. as in what you do about it? at the end of the day the only thing you can do is use force. that is not a good option either. you cannot rely on treaties to
deter an opponent from aggression. especially in regards to nuclear weapons. because since once you start it's very hard to stop it and that can lead to the destruction of mankind literally if done to completion. you have to appreciate that sovereign nations will, if they think it is in their interest, violate treaties. and you have to have a backup which convinces them they don't dare ever try to test the united states. because the consequences for them would be too significant. >> senator kyle will have to leave it there with endorsement of peace through strength. it is wonderful to have a chance to chat with you today. greatly appreciate your voice it's a voice that we continue to need here. thank you so much.
now will go to the heritage foundation to lead the second portion of our event today thanks to senator kyle that the audience got a lot out of that. for nuclear deterrence and missile defense here at the heritage foundation. digs deeper into the russian and chinese and with the u.s. can do to counter them. i would like to invite our panelists to join us on screen now. and i will introduce them. so first we have rebecca heinrich the senior fellow at the hudson institute are
specializes in nuclear deterrence and missile defense. rebecca and i recently worked together that details current nuclear threat despite the extension. who will get to hear more about that issue from her. next we have doctor matt. he is the deputy director of the center for strategy and security and director of the global strategy initiative at "the atlantic" capitol. he has served in multiple dod and intelligence community physicians and is also professor georgetown. and finally we have doctor keith kate. he is president cofounder of the national institute for public policy. he has served in a number of key government positions and we are grateful to benefit from his years of expenses afternoon. never going to start opening remarks of each of our panelists. i've asked rebecca to outline the growing challenges posed by russia then the rising chinese nuclear threat. and nuclear capabilities in
the chinese threat. memo to moderate discussion while field questions from the audience that you can submit on the right-hand side throughout the event. so with that, rebecca whenever you're ready please start us off. >> thank you so much patty jade is a privilege and pleasure to be here today with his esteemed panel. if i could just say one more thing about senator kyle, i think it is really rare to have somebody like him who understands these issues so well and is completely committed to them. and as the political skill necessary. he pulled off that agreement to make that a better agreement, treaties and to really rally the troops to make sure that happens. he did it for the treaty's been incredibly helpful when the russians are treating up a trip -- stopping the nuclear
and sieve testing that being ratified. for myself and for our prosperity we owe a great thanks to senator kyle. it's a privilege to be part of this event which i just gave the opening remarks four. and then i would make a couple brief points before we begin. one is that broadly speaking will often hear people say that our nuclear deterrent is the most important at is a priority. doctor kaplan hick said it during her confirmation. she also made the point that not only nuclear modernization is important and paraphrasing here, it has to be credible. you don't to assume greater risk of we do not provide the modernization necessary. she has a good understanding of that. it is my hope that with enough bipartisan effort to carry
through the commitment to nuclear modernization that that will win the day of the end. it's going to be tough because the political climate is tougher. poet mean by nuclear deterrence being the most important i think it deserves some fleshing out a bit. i think it is important to know that all of our conventional military operation planning are baked into the assumption nuclear deterrence were hold that strategic deterrence will hold. and that our nuclear will be an incredible deterrent for the worse kind of active aggression against united states. everything else or military does, again that assumption that nuclear deterrence were hold. need to be constantly working at the new world threat is a change over time. making sure nuclear deterrent therefore is credible in the minds of our adversary. senator kyle laid out some new threats that are coming that
are different even today there was four years ago or five years ago. certainly from the time the obama administration with the review. in some things change since the trump we need to make sure forces are adapting to those real changes. i do not distill the thunder doctor pain. i wanted to just pull out a peace. as a new manuscript that lays out modern strategic deterrence from the caucus right now i talked to russia for the last minute. the mechanistic we swapout any country of certain kinds of capability but hold their capability at risk rather than that in contrast to that there's more metaphors the
blocking and scaling of arising torrents of water and diverse rivers and streams that will expand beyond their established base where and when there is an opportunity and nothing to prevent flooding. the necessary system of resilience must prevent flooding in the conflict. i think that is an incredibly helpful picture for me. so wanted to pass on to you all. we will let max talk about china. the russians are investing heavily in the nuclear program. there are about 80% done with their nuclear modernization program. it's not just the kinds of weapon systems they are. abate novel weapons delivery system. there's also certain categories of weapon that are not included in the new start treaty. so i might have some policymakers breathing a sigh of relief the divided administration extended for another five years without condition that does not include number of kinds of
nuclear weapons that the russians are heavily invested in and outnumbered the united states. it of us it comes to mind they outnumber the united states ten to one. so jane and i include that in the report lays out in a nice way the differencing and see what the russians are doing ursus the united states and also the chinese. the united states has have an answer to that. again, to deter the worst kinds of conflict. and so these are for the united states office of the goal of stability and peace. that is increasingly tenuous. the strategic command has now been sounding an alarm bell as calmly as they can without being an alarmist to much that we are at a time now are the nuclear employments is increasingly plausible because the russians in particular
have lowered the threshold at which they would employ nuclear weapons and what could be, could start out as a purely conventional nonnuclear conflicts because they believe they could inflict nuclear weapons against the nato ally and the united states and the nato ally would not essentially deem it worth it to risk escalation. that's the idea of escalate to de-escalate. so the trump thought to adapt that challenge by adding nuclear weapons into the battlefield so we have a credible option there. but we need to constantly be looking to make sure that provides a credible deterrent to the russians in particular. i'll just leave my remarks there. >> awesome thanks rebecca that was excellent. there is a document attached in the handout tab of the control panel that includes some of the reports that
rebecca mentioned that i would recommend the audience check out. with that i will hand it over to you doctor. >> thank you very much. thanks for the invitation. it's great to be speaking with my team, colleagues on the subject. i'm going to talk about the growing chinese nuclear threat. just a few years ago when i would talk about the nuclear threat facing the united states and its allies high would say that of the three major nuclear arms arrivals, china, russia, north korea. i was leased or at about china a few years ago. i think that is change. i'm probably most worried about china now. so what i want to talk about today's briefly the history of china's nuclear program. habit is really changing under president xi jinping and the threat in terms of capability and possible nuclear use scenario china poses to the
united states. so historically famously wanted china to have a note first use policy. basically promising china would not use nuclear weapons first in a conflict would only use nuclear weapons in retaliation to another attack. also said he did not want to get into an arms race with a superpower. he thought that having a lien and effective deterrent was enough freight incorrectly translated into english as a minimum deterrent. but a better translation is lean and effective. and so for many years successors basically follow that. china still has a note use the first policy. many western analysts pair the chinese talking points. i think it is really changed. president xi jinping has turned out the strategy of paying and others who came before him.
becoming more aggressive in politics. that's happening in the nuclear era as well. in terms of capabilities were seeing a rapid modernization and increase of china's nuclear capability. and i think a change, causally a change in policy doctrine will talk about in a moment. the united states set china's will double within the decade. admiral richards questioning senator tom cotton saying maybe even triple or quadruple over time. and so for a long time we feared that as china tried to become a superpower it would tried to build a super power arsenal. not yet on where it will reach parity with united states. but it does seemed like that is moving in that direction and that is concerning. moreover, china has a nuclear
advantage over the united states and the indo pacific. it has hundreds or thousands of short intermediate range missiles that could meet us basis, u.s. allies, u.s. forces in the indo pacific. united states currently doesn't have any theater nuclear weapons in asia. we did during the cold war but we have taken them home. now we have deployable nuclear weapons we could potentially bring forward. be 61 bombers, dual capable aircraft. currently no nuclear weapons in asia. and so china in a sense has a nuclear advantage over the united states if there is a conflict over taiwan tomorrow, china would have nuclear weapons it could use where the united states would have to bring those from long distances. or rely on strategic capabilities which would not be ideal in a local conflict. so worried about the growth in
china's nuclear capability is a comparative. then just talk a little bit about the scenarios. some america analysis say we should have the personal use policy there's nothing to worry about if we don't use nuclear weapons they won't use nuclear weapons. i think there are a few things to worry about. i have been a dialogue with chinese experts who said we have a personal use policy but what if there's a major conflict in the policy. what if the united states has conventional strikes on chinese control. videos nuclear weapons first. there's a narrow range we do have a no use policy but there are a narrow range of contingencies i think they
might use nuclear weapons first is going poorly for them to help them when they wore with the u.s. military power maybe shock u.s. leaders into backing down. think they would find that attractive. in fact the last nuclear posture review did talk about how china >> the other things i would say the united states does not have a policy. they are on the table to deal with our rivals. over taiwan united states might want to use nuclear
weapons and use nuclear weapons against chinese invading forces. and one would be of deterrence. how would we deter china from attacking u.s. homeland? can we keep a conflict limited? i think i'm nearing the end of my time. the last point i leave you with is the last national defense strategies that if united states wanted to remain a favorable power over china and the indo pacific. i think that is the right goal. i think many people thinking what the challenge or the conventional. china arguably has a theater nuclear advantage. we are increasingly vulnerable at the strategic level with china's ability of the u.s. homeland is growing. it's hard for me to it see how we maintain that favorable balance of power. then strategic and nuclear
levels. more looking for to remarks from doctor pang. >> sounds great thank you. it's a pleasure to be on a panel with such excellent speakers. and to share virtually the stage with the great senator kyle. i may start with a caveat. everything i say these are my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of any institution that i am associated with or have been associated with. with that caveat out of the way let me start with my conclusion. that is that the west now faces an unprecedented nuclear threat challenge. it is unlike anything we face during the cold war. how is that? let me explain. nuclear weapons can be more or less threatening depending on how those opponents think about nuclear use.
that is at least as important with the term consideration as a weapons capable characteristics that we usually focus on. unfortunate opponents now. think of nuclear weapons and a new and more dangerous way. the old familiar cold war deterrence provides very little useful guidance on how to proceed in this new threat context. what is that? contemporary great powers and rogue states seem to not abolish. the wii in the west assume a balance of power will place on all rational leadership. russia for example has meant explicit and using nuclear threats to push its goal of changing the existing international order. russia's coercive use of nuclear threats go well beyond cold war's assumed stable deterrence exchange. if you strike me i will
retaliate massively. that would be assumed largely use of terms and western politics. however the coercive nuclear threat russia now brandishes is if you resist my encroachment i will strike you. this is an offensive coercive nuclear threat on him like anything we face through the cold war. it presents an unprecedented challenge for u.s. deterrence, strategies, capabilities. russia pierces a nuclear first threat is a way to paralyze perspective nato military opposition in the event conflict arrives from russia's expansive drive. this is euphemistically referred to as noted earlier as de-escalating a conflict. it's important to understand the conflict is de-escalate it because the west stands down. this is not a defensive deterrence strategy. it's a strategy to defeat western will. an enforcer relatively on
challenge to changing the international system. this type of thinking is a direct contradiction of our familiar cold war notion balance of terror. which provides no guidance here because it's fundamental presumption is that no rational leadership can think about nuclear weapons in this way. it must be asked now how do moscow leaders perceive the risks associated with provoking the west with limited nuclear threats or deployment? and what nuclear risks are they willing to accept in pursuit of their goal of reestablishing what they believe the west stole from them. or to the point, how credible against russia's limited nuclear threats that may avoid u.s. territory entirely. in the old strategy the
consequence of executing such a threat from the united states would likely be our own destruction. the same questions as to be asked of china's thinking about nuclear weapons and risk. this situation suggests a significant hole in u.s. detergent content deterrence strategies based on confidence in the old stable balance of power thinking. i know this may sound nebulous, but it is a stark real-world problem. much of our dip offensive planning is predicated on the assumption that strategic nuclear prevent nuclear use. if that expectation is mistaken we have a breathtaking deterrence problem. i fully agree that the point senator kyle made in what president reagan made earlier. a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. so what? western strategy and capabilities nuclear and non-
nuclear must now be structured to credibly deter the so-called red theory of victory. this is a new deterrence requirement for western policy and capabilities. in our understanding of deterrence much catch up to the geopolitical reality. what is the implication of the situation for the calculation of how much is enough of a credible deterrent? yes requirement now is to deter a range of possible nuclear threats. particularly in including unprecedented regional use threats. correspondingly u.s. policies and capabilities must be resilient, flexible, and tailored to support credible deterrence. with the premium on the deterrence by of the nuclear triad and made out nuclear forces for the resilient and flexibility they can provide. that is the goal underlying the obama and trump
administration programs to rebuild the nuclear force. until fairly recently what some describe as a 30 year holiday away from strategic thought and movement. opponents have not reciprocated but clearly express u.s. desire for further nuclear reductions and disarmament. fact they got in the opposite direction for well over a decade. the current obama and trump programs adequate to disdain deterrence now? that is the bottom line question. they adequately deterrence now? i believe is necessary and hope they are adequate. i wish i could be more definite. there is no methodology. there's no group of people there's no methodology that can eliminate the uncertainties regarding how much is enough of a deterrent. that is why hedging against uncertainty as best we can is
so critical and why rebuilding the triad is so important. his being destabilizing rather than starting a response race after a three-day holiday. rebuilding the triad now is unnecessary deterrence. which we can deter with much smaller forces and without the bomber legs of a triad. i asked folks to please realize such competent claims are entirely speculative. entirely speculative. these critics of the bipartisan u.s. nuclear program and policies do not and cannot know if they are correct or entirely mistaken. their claims and factor derive
from our character notions of deterrence in the 1960s which ignore contemporary realities and should not be the basis for our consideration. my conclusion as it they are dangerously mistaken given contemporary reality. and if we do not recognize that now, we are likely to learn it the hard way is some future point. there is a lot more to say about this. but in the interest of time oh stop there and thank you. >> thank you, excellent doctor pain that was really insightful. my first question actually follows onto one of the last points you were making there. we discussed how the u.s. has a new requirement to deter a range of nuclear threats including our regional, also questioned by the obama trump plan is enough to do that. something that concerns me that i've been thinking about is our current modernization plan or simply replace the
capabilities that were agreed upon under the 2010 new start force structure. however, those capabilities were product of the security environment at the time assumed a environment of the multi- bowler challenges we face today. a few years ago he would not even put china at the top of his list port nuclear threats to worry about. and i think it might've mentioned in the past that the 2010 pasta review said russia was not an adversary. so my question for you doctor pain or anyone who wants to take it is the biting administration conducts a new nuclear posture review which we are hearing as well. should that nuclear posture review take a broader review of what capabilities the u.s. needs to account for these changes for the political environment? or do you think the best we can expect as a validation of our current minimal modernization plan?
>> let me suggest broadly that it is never possible realistically to say this is deterrent requirement we need. we build it, we have it, it is good for an indefinite period of time. the deterrence requirements can change, they can change very quickly. so any review these to look very carefully at the context, the strategic environment that we are and now in the perspective environment that is coming. i often say the outside world has something to do with our requirement. we cannot generate these internally and say we want this because it meets us some standard we picked for some internal reason. the outside world has a vote in the outside world changes. part of my initial remarks for the outside world has changed dramatically.
our approach to identify requirements to understand what those changes are what they need for our requirement. and yes, we need to take a broader look what those requirements might be. because the outside world drives it. if the outside world threat environment was very different perhaps we could just sit back and say we have is fine. we don't need anything else. we do not need to modernize way have it. for some reason the outside world has become benign. his i see the threat context seems to be getting more and more challenging as opposed to less and less challenging. any review needs take that into account. >> just add to that real quick. i would say without question, because a senator kyle laid out the new start treaty that
the republicans even agreed to support the treaty based on the threat conditions laid out at the time on bold new nuclear under the obama administration. the obama administration did provide for couple of years. but that need still hold as a baseline. different kinds of adoption. i would just say that without question there is some talk about possibly not putting full modernization pending this year because of the coronavirus and all kinds of other things that are pulling on the desires of policymakers are sending infrastructure now. i would just say this is paramount. the threats of gotten worse in the bipartisan commitment was there. we have no excuse at this
point to fully modernize the nuclear triad. and in particular the leg of the triad came up in the previous conversation. where chairman smith the chairman of the armed service committee continues with respect to him. i can tell these long conclusions based on faulty assumptions of what the united states is trying to do. we cannot compare our nuclear modernization plans to the chinese because we are different countries with different objectives, different priorities, different concepts of risk but were trying to do. different desires to deter the deployment of nuclear weapons. we have different obligations. the united states provide nuclear assurances to allies. that helps dissatisfied objectives that we do not want other objectives to be obtained.
we devise a nuclear posture that impart can meet the assurance needs of our allies who rely on that nuclear umbrella. i would say for the sake of all of those things, that certainly at the very least, the united states must fulfill what it has already deemed and earned by consensus about the nuclear modernization plan. >> i will just add to that as well. the people on the listening and who do not focus on this on a daily basis, i just want to remind every one that u.s. nuclear weapons are old. they're built at the end of the cold war. i don't know if any of you drive cars, you drive cars were built in the 1980s? they probably don't work that well. departing got a new and since then. the united states does need to update his triad pierced bipartisan consensus for this. we knew bombers and the submarines. until obama agreed to that, trump agreed to that.
in 2018 then the trump administration added these to supplement her capabilities. think that is important. especially for the russia de-escalation challenge. we do need those capabilities that was an adjustment to a change security environment. so my hope would be at a minimum biting maintains and continues with a full modernization program. i am somewhat worried they promise in the international security guidance to reduce the role of nuclear weapons. there are a variety of ways they could do that. i would hope it would not be by curtailing the modernization program. think that would be a challenge. i'll just point out there is a possible tension and biden stated objectives. he really made a big deal about repairing america's alliances. i'll just remind everyone that america's alliances depend on us nuclear weapons.
the 34 allies are depending on the u.s. deterrent. i have heard from allies who have said they are nervous that biden's talk about reducing the role of nuclear weapons. so i don't think biden can reduce the role of nuclear weapons and repair alliances at the same time. he has to choose. i hope he chooses strong deterrent and strong alliances. excellent thank you. i'm glad you brought up biden's interim security guidance about reducing the role of nuclear weapons. event like this entered deb for sure i did she pointed out that at the same rhetoric that was obama's 2010 posture review based on entirely different security environment. much more benign one. doctor paint mention we need to be looking at the current threat should be driving but we are saying about our nuclear policy. so, i want to hone in now on the nonstrategic nuclear threat that you all kind of touched on.
rebecca comment our report pressure can deploy nuclear weapons on numerous types of dual systems ranging from cruise missiles, landmines, artillery even potentially systems like the f300. you mentioned china's theater nuclear advantage in the indo pacific. comparatively, the u.s. only as a couple hundred nonstrategic nuclear weapons in europe. we recently deployed a low yield to warhead to help fill the gap. i am wondering, this could go to any of you, how would you assess the capability of existing u.s. nuclear forces to deter these nonstrategic threats? and do you foresee new or additional nonstrategic forces to help deterrent in the future? 's >> i can ahead and take that.
first, a couple of things that came to mind as you were talking. one is that we have got to take a more humble approach to how we think about this. doctor paint has constantly now, several times said there is no set definitive formula essentially that we can look to. because the threat environment is changing behind more complex and we've got things -- we write now repeatedly heard from senior military officers about the threat of china taking taiwan. and taiwan is of enormous geopolitical for the united states. really if china does take taiwan successfully they will have effectively supplanted the united states meet the pacific. but then broadly as the preeminent global power preventing the united states from really credibly being able to make it in our security commits are allies and partners et cetera by blocking us. having that unthinkable aircraft carrier right there
in the island chain. so all that being said i thought matt did a great job explaining why nuclear conflict is not only plausible but a sinner that can happen in the case of a taiwan crisis. and so that is right now purely admiral david said has talked about needing to quickly, quickly, quickly deploy long range fires along ground based cruise missiles to make up for the conventional mismatch that we have right now the indo pacific theaters. i would just put stop what matt said as a warning. we should not limit our imagination to strictly conventional. because the chinese might make different calculations because of the value they place on taiwan that if a conventional conflict begins to look like the united states with our allies, with the japanese
hopefully are coming into defend taiwan. they may make a rash decision we would deem unreasonable but they do not. so we need to not be so hubristic about being certain about what the chinese might go in that scenario. so with that we need to make sure we have nuclear capabilities to fill up the escalation ladder so we can have a credible option in the event we try to de-escalate a situation that has gone nuclear. so we can win on terms that are favorable to the united states. i think we should be serious look at that hope that answers partier questions. >> let me just add on. that was a very nice answer, rebecca. let me add on because it's what i would like to say fits back into the point i made earlier about reducing the reliance on nuclear weapons. what that often suggests, was suggested in the past and that was presented as the goal was we are going to emphasize more
conventional forces for the purposes of deterrence as opposed to nuclear forces and that means we can step back from alliance on nuclear forces or deterrence. that is the logic benefits out the point rebecca just made. let me suggest very briefly why that is an illogical argument. i am all for conventional forces for deterrent purposes. this is not suggesting i think conventional forces are used for deterrence. but the suggests conventional forces can reduce reliance is incoherent it's illogical because the stronger capabilities are her opponent cs two conventionally gives them a greater incentive to escalate out of the conflict they may be losing conventionally.
our nuclear deterrent has to hold. has to prevent the escalation. and so we should have robust conventional forces with deterrent. the challenge is making sure our nuclear deterrent holds. so we have not given our opponents the grades and send to escalate out of their problem by using nuclear weapons. we have to deter at both levels. we have to work at both levels. head south that nuclear deterrence have less reliance placed on it. nuclear reliance is just as important even as we go forward with conventional forces that we hope can serve those purposes. and so when i hear the argument we're going to reduce reliance on nuclear deterrence by moving forward with conventional forces, the answer is don't you understand? it has to hold for us to be able to use conventional forces. that is the fallacy of that point. think it's easy to understand but hard to make.
>> i do think the two supplemental capabilities introduced by the trump administration to go a long way to giving flexible theater capabilities. i do wonder if there is more we should do. i was talking before china basically does have the theater advantage now. during the cold war we had more deployed nuclear weapons in asia. we exercised more with dual capable aircraft. i think those are other options we could maybe consider for deploying which some people think be going too far. at least exercising the capability and showing china that we do have other options in the theater. and then looking at europe, for a long time for decades really without is important that nato kind of as an alliance capability. we have the four deployed
weapons there. and we have the nato allies that have dual capable aircraft that can deliver conventional weapons or be 61 gravity bombs. but as russia's air defenses improve i think the real questions about our ability to get gravity bombs over target and the likely conflict in eastern europe. i think at some point we need to make a decision to we want nato to be a nuclear alliance till? or is it just going to rely on u.s. british weapons? if he wanted to be a nuclear alliance it needs a more standup capabilities that gravity bombs or some type of air launched cruise missile that could be delivered by will aircraft. or basically moving to a situation where we are going to have to rely on nato's losing capability. maybe want to make that decision i think it should be a decision not just a
situation imposed on us because we do not updater capabilities the deals russian defenses. >> grates, those are great points. i certainly hope is a biden administration was sort of their views they will consider the increasing nonstrategic threat and different capabilities as a deterrent particularly in the seat launched cruise missile is expected to start this year. i'm curious to see that in the black budget request. i'm going to jump to the topic of the land leg of the nuclear triad. i'm going to ask him. we also have an audience question here on the ground based strategic deterrent program. the question is that we have seen proposals to cancel ground base strategic deterrent program. and to maintain a minute and briefly first long as possible. it would be some of the
consequences of this policy? doctor pain we can start theo. stomach i thought senator kyle give a very nice answer to the question about why icbms, i will talk very briefly here they have their own point. the one point i would add his that in the absence of icbms or the absence of a continuing modernization of icbms, what you have done is ease the opponents problems. at one then, he let me describe one end and rebecca can add as she would like. in the absence of icbms of let say well the s lbm summary launch missiles can be somewhat of a deterrent. but in the absence of icbms and also suggest limiting. the absence of these other platforms, legs of the triad is just allowed opponents to
focus all those resources on antisubmarine warfare. so the argument that says the submarines are going to be survivable forever, amen. all decided by relying on that and getting rid of the other legs of the triad or effectively getting rid of the other legs of the triad, you given any opponent who is interested in competing in that way can focus its resources rather than on three legs of the triad, focus on one leg of the triad. and that may cause problems we just have not anticipated with regard to survival ability of that leg of the triad. that's one important reason why the triad is enormously useful. it is essential if we want to continue to have a credible nuclear deterrent. >> i could jump in here then. i would just say not only should we maintain that land
base with the triad we need to be very, very clear we cannot just do another service life extension of minimum three. it's long past time with the funding of the ground-based deterrent to replace the icbm with the gps back in 2014. opponent now will say that we can just study it some more and save some money. that is just a predicated on bad thinking. we cannot study anymore. we have studied enough. affinity says we just study together using it as a pretext to slow down the triad. and in doing so you're going to actually move down below 400 deployed icbm through attrition. their component parts of the minuteman three that need to be replaced the next three years. and working to begin doing that you're getting down below those 400. and matt can tell you all day about going down lower than 400.
and so there is a really, really serious problem. the ground based deterrent is not just for replacing an old system then he wouldn't to make sure this one works better. it is because we have been doing it, have been replacing component parts of the minuteman three. that is good. but it is still technology that is decades-old. we want the newest technology because our adversaries have been advancing their own capabilities. we want to make sure we can buy those icbms on the targets we want. not because we want to do it because we want to convince our adversaries that we could do it. thereby deterring them from making very bad decision about targeting united states. the last part in this congressional staff watching you'll hear them say listen, oliver icbms are a warhead is what they will say. they are just there because it sets a really high bar for the enemy to have to want to clear to be able to attack the
united states homeland. that's all it is. we don't need to have greater capability. that is a myth. again based on faulty reasoning and understanding of what those are. the reason the adversaries want to target them is they believe they could successfully put a warhead on a target. so you want to make sure you are using the latest back technology to convince, not ourselves, the enemy of what capabilities we have to dissuade them from acting against the united states interest in the worst possible way. it is long past time. who got to the ground based strategic deterrent had that land base that leg of the triad that has earned bipartisan consensus today. i'll add to this too. i just published a report with "the atlantic" council calling the downside to downsizing. why the united cc 400 icbms i
believe it's in the handout thank you for sharing that with the audience patty gina. : : : appreciate it so in the report layout the contribution, the strategy and then the 2018 view, there were several explicit goals with the nuclear strategy that contributes to all of them and putting them together or even putting the number and we get all those goals for the reasons doctor mentioned, it would be on the united states and thankful for russia has china increasing arsenal within reach, china's capability, assurance of allies at a time
when allies question whether america is willing to play a traditional role, is it won't do spend or at least cutting back arsenal, it will exacerbate, not just me saying that but something i've heard from allies. something the mtr said, russia and china expand, russia decided to pull out so we need to think about that, it would allow us to update an increase if we wanted to. we achieve objectives and of course the primary purpose of nuclear weapons is to determine if the company gets, if it attacks then we want to achieve that. it helps us do that so essentially the number, god
forbid if there's an event of nuclear war, millions of americans would die where if we just kept them, we could save lives so i think for all those reasons, it makes a lot of sense and this strategy. >> if i could when we talk about nuclear triad, 7% of the entire budget. it's a tiny fraction of the incredibly reasonable amount for what we are getting it simply not affordable. >> the 6% is the peak not even from the entire process. >> if i could just add i say americans spend much more on those, cheetahs and bunions every year end we plan to spend
on this modernization. >> last, i want to follow, net, report, the art i thought was compelling, about 200 russian warheads to reach target the cities and populations i found that alarming. can you explain the logic the audience? >> well in the event of nuclear war, russia wants to attack nuclear weapons, if we couldn't use them outside analysts as a rule of thumb, they target enemy warhead, what if the warhead on? you want some redundancy? if russia launches a nuclear attack on the united states, we
need to allocate 900 and other than 400 list ballistic, 60% of russia's arsenal so that's a lot. if we cut by 100, which is what some are proposing, it frees up 200 russian warheads to do other things so they can use that to attack other u.s. cities and millions more americans are killed and they can try to hold them back with u.s. retaliation so is. >> we have two members of the audience ask question about engaging china. as we know has been full ministration but they are used to participate in on, what you
think it will take to incentivize china enter into discussions with the. >> we had a report at the center as well i think it's going to matter in the 21st century and has to include, it's not the 70s anymore russia is not the only nuclear threat, china has the primary arrival so we have to include china. it's going to be very smart. so i think it is worth pursuing but i think we need to be realistic, we are unlikely to get anywhere in the short term. maybe strategic security dialogue with russia china, some have proposed the idea of bringing chinese experts belonging to start today get the
verification done so i think it is a noble goal and will be hard it's all we can expect. >> i'm happy to add generally going back to 1960, i am paraphrasing because i don't have it in front of me but herman said if you want to be successful in arms control, we have to look so capable to your opponent the opponent chooses to work with you as opposed to working against you. you have to be so capable your opponent doesn't want to compete with you in that sense but rather cooperate with you so i find it ironic here reducing capability is going to lead to a greater chance of arms control, no, i think, is right. the more capable you are,
wherever the other party is, the more capable you are -- the more the public has to cooperate with you as opposed to strategic so the general motion for x, y and c, the opponent will somehow come to term. the end of the negotiation process, that may be right, that's not the way to go into the office. >> one more thing, i will say we haven't created incentive for the chinese to begin talking to us. secrecy is a characteristic that defines the party and its everything, especially concerning when they want to replace the united states, the mantle of leadership from the united states to set parameters
and the rolls in which other countries should abide by it comes to trade and commerce and everything else and they are not willing to provide responsibility and duty that goes with that tolerance especially when it comes to nuclear weapons and i have heard the paraphrasing that he testified, because their program is so close, it forces the united states to make worst case scenario functions about what they are doing so it is in the interest of the chinese communist party not respect with the notion of the direction and how they rely on nuclear weapons if we are wrong. united states will have to create the context in which they conceal pressures so they decide in their interest to begin conversations with the united states and behave more transparently because they
believe it's better than the alternative so that is why all these things everyone has been saying, it's still incredibly important because the chinese simply don't think it's in their interest to begin conversations. >> we have time for one more audience question, doctor pain. since taking office, the biden administration has faced heavy emphasis on renewing commitment for allies. the reassurance of taiwan, u.s. commitment and unwavering support and sovereignty, how do you think of failure to modernize the u.s. nuclear triad in a timely manner affect the credibility? >> that's a great question. the way you just described, is reconfirming commitment with
allies, it's a positive step, a good way to go but if we turn around and essentially walk it back, the type of planning that received bipartisan support for going on ten years, we are going to send, rhetorically saying we are with you, we are with you unconditionally with you but what they are going to actually see is reduction in capabilities. i've had allies, folks tell me we hear what you said but what we want to see is you actually doing so if we want to have in renewing commitments to allies and partners in expressing the commitment, reducing nuclear capabilities that many of them
have extended deterrence security mixed signals and reducing our ability to ensure allies of the. going back to the greater deterrent doing so, degrades your ability, we are also doing is providing some motivation for at least some of them to think about okay, we have to do this ourselves and think about what that means. in south korea, majority of south koreans have their own independent nuclear capabilities so what you want is consistent signals, we do support allies we are going to have capabilities necessary. >> any final, before we wrap up?
>> click on ukraine, one of the most compelling arguments i've heard of why the u.s. still is not just handing ukraine over to the russian federation is the memorandum which assures ukrainians that their capabilities have the integrity of the orders be respected. if the united states simply throws in the towel, what impact does it have about it's one thing to say things about nuclear assurances or promises, to make good on the cell ukraine, they do have commitments that obviously russian federation is clearly openly violating, they are the aggressor so there needs to be consequences for that kind of violation.
>> you don't want to incentivize by saying cap nuclear weapons, you're going to get these nuclear powers, that's not the message united states wants to send, you can still understand you have the integrity and they will be respected even if you don't have these capabilities. >> i would just add, i think often u.s. nuclear weapons, there's we are going to reduce reliance, wouldn't that be a good thing? the u.s. nuclear weapons have long been one of the greatest progress over the past 75 years and there's a lot of focus on this system, the biden administration wants to revitalize the system u.s. leadership has been a good thing over the past 75 years, the world is a more prosperous place than it was before but i think that's made possible by u.s.
nuclear weapons, deterring power conflicts in europe and asia, extending deterrence for the entire free world allowing them to forgo their own nuclear weapons and essentially creating peace and prosperity in europe and asia and north america, i think it's no coincidence the most prosperous parts of the world are those protected by u.s. nuclear weapons so if we want to strengthen alliances and rules -based system, that is strengthening america's nuclear weapons. >> let me add, i go back to one of my earlier professors and what the professor said, all the talk about against nuclear weapons seems to ignore the value provided.