“We Must Maintain the Nuclear Triad”

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Air Force Secretary Michael Donley addresses the Air Force Association / Air Force photo by Melissa Goslin

That’s what Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told the Air Force Association’s annual gathering Monday. I’m sure his statement has nothing to do with the fact that his service owns two — bombers and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles — of the triad’s three legs (the Navy’s submarine-launched missiles being the third). And that the Air Force’s two legs are the most vulnerable of the trio.

The triad is a Cold War construct that has outlived its usefulness and now only offers illusory hedges against Strangelovian fantasy attacks at a cost of billions of dollars annually. It would be bracing for someone in a position of authority to tell the weapons-peddlers at the AFA gathering that the Cold War is over, and that an economically ailing America could do with a nuclear dyad. That would be a refreshingly rare example of leadership. After all, even a fool only needs suspenders and a belt to keep his pants from falling down.