Jeffrey LewisMeet the erLEP

In my most recent article, After the Reliable Replacement Warhead, in Arms Control Today I mention the so-called “extensive reuse” Life Extension Program (erLEP), in which components are mined from other warhead designs to make more reliable weapons:

One option that falls between current LEPs and the RRW program, proposed in a joint study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is the extensive reuse of components from dismantled warhead types to extend the lifetime of those warheads that remain in the stockpile.

Try not to think of Frankenstein’s monster.

And, whatever you do, don’t call it the FrankenLEP.

With apologies to Mark Fiore’s Buster and the cast of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Anyway, that AAASAPSCSIS paper Nuclear Weapons in 21st Century U.S. National Security is now online — with all the working papers and the meeting summaries. In particular, I draw your attention to:

– Sidney Drell and Marvin Adams, Technical Issues in Keeping the Nuclear Stockpile Safe, Secure, and Reliable

– Bruce Goodwin and Glenn Mara, Stewarding a Reduced Stockpile

Summary of Science and Technical Workshop

I will post the charts to my article online. If you want to comment on my article, give the ACT comment site a try.

Comments

  1. yousaf (History)

    The AAAS-APS-CSIS papers says:

    “A credible U.S. nuclear deterrent, in turn, requires a safe, secure, and reliable stockpile of nuclear weapons:

    The standards of what constitutes reliability5 must be debated in the military and technical communities”

    In addition, what constitutes a credible deterrent needs to be debated.

    My argument is that the existing tested legacy weapons will always — in the eyes of potential adversaries — be a more credible deterrent compared to untested new weapons.

  2. Frank Young (History)

    “existing tested legacy weapons will always — in the eyes of potential adversaries — be a more credible deterrent compared to untested new weapons.”

    Amen to that!

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