Politics

NYT: “A Nuclear Legacy Within Reach”

The 8 August 2016 lead editorial of the New York Times made a financial argument against modernization of the nuclear arsenal — including the land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.  They then noted that former Defense Secretary William Perry had argued that land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles are no longer needed.  Concluding that, “the time has come to think seriously about whether that leg of the traditional air-sea-land triad should be gradually retired”.   Only one letter was published on 15 August that partly addressed the real problem associated with this leg of the triad.  Here is the letter I wrote that addresses the issue:

To the Editor:

William Perry, as you report in your editorial of 8 August, is correct that land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles are no longer needed. What was not said is that their mere existence increases the probability of accidental war.  As former defense secretary Perry well knows, these missiles are not survivable under nuclear attack.  Historically, and no doubt currently, the lack of survivability drives national policy to a launch-on-warning posture.  What this means is that when satellite and radar systems both indicate a massive ballistic missile attack, the President is given barely enough time to make a couple of phone calls before he must make the decision to launch the missiles or lose them.  It has happened in the past that both satellite and radar systems have falsely indicated a nuclear attack.  The nation went to the highest defense readiness condition but luckily the indication of an attack was found to be a false alert before the President was called.

At one time land-based ballistic missiles had a greater accuracy than survivable sea-based systems, but this hasn’t been the case for many years.  The country would be well served by taking this opportunity to unilaterally eliminate them.

ENERGY FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE

(with S. Fred Singer)

Many people believe that wind and solar energy are essential for replacing nonrenewable fossil fuels. They also believe that wind and solar are unique in providing energy that’s carbon-free and inexhaustible. A closer look shows that such beliefs are based on illusions and wishful thinking.

Op-Ed in The Bridge: Linking Engineering and Society (Winter 2015)

Published quarterly by the National Academy of Engineering

Singer-Marsh_Bridgev45n4

 

THE PRESIDENT JUST DOESN’T GET IT

USA TODAY MAGAZINE-November 2014

Defeat of the Islamic State cannot be achieved by solely military means and, most especially, not by Western military actions such as the air strikes—even if given the cover of a coalition containing Arab nations; nor can military operations decrease the spread of beliefs upon which radical Islam is based.

USA TODAY-MARSH-MIDEAST

THE HUMAN CONDITION AND THE 21st CENTURY

The phrase “the human condition” has come to mean many things to different people, but here it simply refers to what history has shown to be the inescapable features of being human.  In this essay we take a look at current trends, what they foretell for the remainder of this century, and how the characteristics that make us human might affect the evolution of those trends.

PDF:  THE HUMAN CONDITION

A NUCLEAR BOMB WORTH MORE THAN ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD

In the December 2013 issue of Physics Today David Kramer tells us—in an article titled A nuclear bomb worth more than its weight in gold?—that “some critics of the B-61 life extension program question whether the program is necessary.” And, “Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) questioned why the B-83, a newer bomb that officials acknowledge won’t need a life extension for at least 10 years, shouldn’t replace the B-61”. Strangely enough the article omits the principal reason why the administration may think the B-61 is worth more than its weight in gold.

The article appears in Physics & Society 6 Feb 2014.  The link is:

http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/201401/b61.cfm?utm_source=fpsnewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FPS+News+Jan+14&renderforprint=1

The MS with better quality figures and equations is available here: P&S-EPW-nid

 

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