The top United States military official who runs the U.S. nuclear arsenal cautioned that Russia and China are modernizing their nuclear arms and capabilities faster than America, saying during a Congressional hearing Tuesday that if it doesn’t start investing more in atomic defense and infrastructure, the United States will be at risk of losing credibility in the eyes of their adversaries.
The head of United States Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard, which oversees the United States nuclear arsenal, said that Russia is aggressively engaged in conventional atomic capability development and modernization and is now 80 percent complete while they are at zero.
Richard said that it is easier to define what they aren’t modernizing, nothing, than what they are, which is pretty much everything.
Mr. Richard said China is modernizing its atomic capabilities so quickly that he cannot get through a week right then without finding out something they did not know about China.
Richard stated in his opening testimony that while China’s nuclear stockpile is much smaller than Russia’s and America’s nuclear arsenals, it is undergoing an unprecedented expansion.
According to the latest START treaty, the United States and Russia are limited to some 1550 nuclear weapons on deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear arms, and deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, it’s estimated that China has only about 320 nuclear warheads.
The Joe Biden government is presently carrying out a nuclear posture review, which is examining the total money invested in the atomic modernization program. During the hearing, a Massachusetts Democrat, Senator Elizabeth Warren, said that the purpose of the review is to reduce the goal of nuclear warheads in their defense strategy.
Warren said that he agrees with that goal, and he thinks it is incompatible with that staggeringly high level of spending. Every government makes strategic decisions about its force structure and modernization, and when it comes to nuclear warheads, those opinions carry tremendous weight.
According to an Oct. 2017 report from the Congressional Budget Office Operations, interim upgrades and complete modernization of the American nuclear arms program could cost 1.2 trillion dollars.
About a week ago, Richard learned that now China has more fast-breeder atomic reactors than earlier did, an example of how rapidly the country is changing.
Richard said that they now have a significant source of weapons-grade plutonium available to them with a fast-breeder reactor. That will change the upper bounds of what the country could select to do if they wanted to in terms of further of their nuclear capabilities’ expansion.
A fast-breeder nuclear reactor makes more fissile material than it consumes. The revelation that China has more fast-breeder atomic reactors means it is potentially developing more nuclear stuff that can be used for nuclear arms.
A spokesperson for United States Strategic Command said that the intelligence community gathered the information Adm. Richard referred to in the hearing concerning China’s nuclear armaments and their capabilities.
Mr. Richard said when discussing the nation’s atomic weapons and capabilities that Russia is across the board operating new equipment.
Moreover, Richard said that they are on the second generation of a new ballistic-missile submarine. Furthermore, they have a new ballistic missile for that. It is quite capable.
He further said that they have new road-mobile missiles, and they have up-gunned their bombers. Moreover, they have new armaments off their bombers.
Mr. Richard warned that while America has an adequate missile defense, they need to make sure they pace it into the future against the threats they’re seeing.