Nuclear war will remain the most important military threat that America faces for the foreseeable future. The United States must maintain a secure retaliatory capability to deter attack, because there is no guarantee that leaders of other nuclear powers will always be as reasonable as they seem today. Over time, though, the land-based components of the current nuclear posture — bombers and silo-based missiles — are likely to lose credibility as a second-strike force. It therefore is essential that the government begin developing a successor to the sea-based component of the force, which today consists of 14 Ohio-class ballistic-missile subs. The oldest Ohio sub in the strategic force today is expected to conduct its final patrol in 2027, and it will take all of the time between now and then to develop a successor sub. I have written a commentary for Forbes.com this week noting that the dozen subs likely to replace the Ohio class may one day make the difference between national survival and nuclear annihilation. You can read the commentary here.
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