Defense Secretary Leon Panetta writes Congress that the “doomsday” cuts that will befall the Defense Department if sequestration occurs will force the military to eliminate one of the legs of its strategic nuclear triad – as if this is a bad thing.
The triad – that collection of land-based missiles, bombers and submarine-launched missiles – is going away. It was overkill during the Cold War, and its value-added utility today is marginal. Budget pressures, if not forward-looking military thinking, will render it obsolete. The only question is when – and how – it will happen. Far better that the Pentagon choose to scale back the triad instead of having it forced down its missile tubes by some fiscal calamity.
Panetta, in an addendum to Monday’s letter, confirms the Air Force’s land-based missile leg will be the one to if deep budget cuts come, and that doing so will save $8 billion over the coming decade:
“Eliminate ICBM leg of Triad,” it notes. “($8B).”