Just what the military-industrial-intelligence complex needs, a huge new program that will put it in space. From Franklin C. “Chuck” Spinney at theamericanconservative.com:
Trump’s new missile defense plan will be a bonanza for political patronage in Washington, and a huge fail for peace.
President Donald Trump’s plan to escalate efforts in Ballistic Missile Defense (BDM), including the introduction of space-based weapons, should not be viewed in isolation.
It comes on top of the Defense Department’s plan to execute an across-the-board modernization of all our nuclear strike forces. It comes on top of the expansion of NATO under three presidents, despite earlier promises (here and here) to the contrary. It comes on top of the unilateral decision by President George W. Bush to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in June 2002, on top of Trump’s threat to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and on top of Trump’s publication of a more aggressive Nuclear Posture Review. To argue that such a massive effort is directed at deterring Iran or North Korea is ludicrous. Russia and China know who these programs and policies are aimed at.
Viewed through the lens of the precautionary principle, any sensible strategic planner in Russia and China would have no choice but to see these efforts as being a consistent, integrated plan to harden the U.S. nuclear shield while sharpening the U.S. nuclear sword.
Consider that the makeup of the offensive modernization program—i.e., the nuclear sword—includes: 1) increased precision guidance; 2) improved command and control systems; 3) dial-a-yield warheads on nuclear gravity bombs; 4) new families of nuclear warheads for ballistic and cruise missiles; 5) new ICBMs; 6) new air launched cruise missiles; 7) new bombers; 8) new missile-launching submarines; 9) modernized SLBMs; 10) new sea-launched cruise missiles; and 11) new space-based C4ISR systems with the possibility of ASAT capabilities. Taking all of this into account, it is quite obvious that Russian and Chinese war planners will have no choice but to assume the worse about U.S. intentions. Russian and Chinese planners will be forced to assume that Washington is returning to the thoroughly discredited 1970s-era nuclear war-fighting theory of graduated nuclear escalation via the use of a series limited nuclear options, punctuated perhaps by diplomatic signaling. Application of the precautionary principle by Russian and Chinese nuclear war planners would force them to conclude that the U.S. believes it can fight and win a nuclear war regardless of any U.S. protestations about its sword-shield modernization plan being a defensive application of deterrence theory.