Top general says U.S. needs fresh look at deterrence, nuclear triad – Government Executive

The nation’s second-ranking military officer on Thursday called for a broad reassessment of how to deter significant threats to the United States.

A future national military strategy should strike a balance between fielding conventional weapons and nuclear arms, with the latter viewed as less usable against most threats, said Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Fresh planning should also account for the emerging roles played by missile defenses and cyber capabilities, he said.

Cartwright suggested, as well, that the future role of each leg of the nuclear triad — bomber aircraft, ICBMs and submarine-launched missiles — must be fundamentally re-examined so that desired capabilities and quantities are maintained, rather than determined by budget-cutting drills or political horse-trading.