Insidedefense.com reports this week that the Pentagon is seeking congressional approval for communications upgrades on the Air Force’s fleet of four E-4B flying command posts — widely known as “doomsday planes.” These are the airborne nerve centers from which a nuclear war would be directed by the president or his designated successor. Upgrades to the on-board equipment are a reminder that even if many Americans have stopped paying attention, nuclear war is still a very real possibility. The current U.S. nuclear strategy seeks to deter attack by threatening overwhelming retaliation, but that approach might not work if Russian leaders were crazy or prone to miscalculation. The near absence of active defenses from America’s strategic posture is an invitation to catastrophe — and to political action by those who see the folly of expecting offensively-based deterrence to last forever. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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