Aaron SteinModernization Mountain: Ash Carter and the Aging Triad

After a series of scandals, incoming Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has some tough choices to make about US nuclear weapons and the future of the so-called “triad” of nuclear delivery system.

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss Carter’s confirmation hearing, Jeffrey’s article in Foreign Policy (The Nuclear Trials of Ashton Carter, Foreign Policy, February 5, 2015), and Janne Nolan’s account of Carter’s role in the Clinton Administration’s 1994 Nuclear Posture Review (see below).

Jeffrey also interviewed Geoff Brumfiel, a science correspondent at National Public Radio, about his reporting on the future of the US ICBM force. Geoff visited the 90th missile wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base and reported a three-part series for All Things Considered:

Geoff also wrote a pair of very funny blog posts:

After outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel received a pair of reviews of the nuclear enterprise, Geoff revisited his reporting for All Things Considered:

Reading recommendations:


  1. Kevin (History)

    Thank you for explaining the problem with the Triad mod plan. I have disputed arms controlists who contest that the modernization of the nuclear forces is unaffordable, because a trillion dollars over 30 years is nothing compared to total federal spending, but when you mention the five year mountain it makes more sense.

    Also, if the USAF sloughs off their ICBM mission they might as well eliminate the entire Service, they only unique thing they have is space and ISR which the other Services and NASA could do just fine. Plus who is going to take the ICBM mission over? Army SMDC/ARSTRAT? God the Air Force is worthless.

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