Here’s the Oklahoma Senator:
Inhofe was among several lawmakers who warned that cutting the country’s strategic nuclear arsenal by one-third would put America at a disadvantage against countries like Russia, North Korea and Iran. Inhofe said the president’s plan wrongly assumes that reducing the role of nuclear weapons would make the world safer.
“Instead, our experience has been that nuclear arsenals — other than ours — are on the rise, Russia defies us at almost every turn, efforts to curb the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran are failing, and our allies grow increasingly uneasy about the reliability of U.S. nuclear guarantees,” Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.
Russia is modernizing its missile forces. The RT-2UTTKh Topol-M dates back only to 1997, and production of the RS-24 Yars began in 2010. Both are road-mobile to compliment Russia’s collection of older, silo-based ICBMs. After years of neglect, Russia is rebuilding its SSBN fleet and arming them with brand new RSM-56 Bulava SLBMs.
Our strategic forces consist of 450 Minuteman-III missiles dating back to 1970, and about 540 Trident D5 SLBMs which first began operating in 1990. The Tridents are a problem, because the Navy won’t be building enough replacement boats for the aging Ohio-class SSBNs to maintain the size of the current force. We have no road- or rail-mobile missiles.
So if Obama wants to negotiate down our forces, fine — but it ought to be on the condition that we start modernizing our nuclear deterrent.