Does the United States Need to Develop a New Nuclear Earth Penetrating Weapon?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Potential adversaries of the US have hard and deeply buried targets HDBTs that prevent their centers of gravity from being held at risk. All US services currently have programs aimed at defeating these HDBTs. Both conventional and unconventional techniques have shown promising results. Despite these efforts, nothing in the US inventory, to include nuclear penetrators, can defeat the hardest of deeply buried targets. The current administration has taken steps that open the possibility of developing a new nuclear weapon. Critical nuclear research programs, DOE national laboratories and testing infrastructure, as well as DOD nuclear supporting facilities, have received large funding increases. The National Security Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review both support this end. Furthermore, a feasibility study has been proposed to Congress to investigate a robust nuclear earth-penetrating weapon. This thesis analyzes the primary thesis question using a strategic policy test incorporating feasibility, acceptability, and suitability. The determination is that the US does need a new nuclear earth-penetrating weapon and offers recommendations for the path forward.
- Nuclear Weapons