The commander overseeing the nation’s nuclear arsenal said Tuesday that any cuts to modernization efforts would force a reconsideration of America’s nuclear strategy just as adversaries China and Russia are advancing differing nuclear threats to America.
“Let me be very clear: You cannot life-extend Minuteman III,” said Adm. Charles Richard, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, describing the 50-year-old intercontinental ballistic missiles that form the land-based leg of America’s nuclear triad.
In recent months, progressive Democrats have questioned the need for expensive upgrades and the land-based component altogether, but Richard said such a delay would jeopardize America’s nuclear deterrent.
“That thing is so old,” Richard said, describing a recent visit to Hill Air Force Base in Utah where he viewed the inner workings of the aged system.
“In some cases, the drawings don’t exist anymore, or where we do have drawings, they’re, like, six generations behind the industry standard,” he added. “There’s not only anybody that’s working