WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger F. Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States released its final unclassified report:
“Ensuring the United States military is able to protect and defend our country is one of Congress’ most solemn responsibilities. We appreciate the work of the commission to provide a clear-eyed assessment of our strategic posture. It is apparent from the report that there is much more that we should be doing to ensure our military, and particularly our nuclear forces, are capable of deterring two near-peer nuclear adversaries at the same time.
“The findings of this bipartisan report detail the gravity of the situation we face and emphasize that the current trajectory of the U.S. strategic forces are insufficient to deter the looming Chinese and Russian threat. The report is also a stark reminder of the significant work needed to expand our nuclear submarine industrial base to increase production and reduce repair time. The details of this report should serve as a wakeup call for our armed forces and the national security community as a whole.
“It is essential that Congress move forward quickly with a plan to provide our military with the resources necessary to restore our nuclear deterrent and rebuild the capacity to fight and win two wars if necessary. Passing a defense supplemental in the near-term and guaranteeing real growth in the annual defense budget will help us meet this moment. Failing to make these investments now will leave the United States weaker and invite costly new threats from our adversaries.”
The Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) established the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States (Commission), and tasked it with examining the long-term strategic posture of the United States.
The Commission’s report includes a comprehensive review of the current and projected threat environment; an assessment of our current nuclear deterrence, missile defense, space, cyber, and conventional military forces and strategic posture; and recommendations for the most appropriate strategic posture and nuclear deterrence strategy.
The bipartisan Commission is led by Madelyn Creedon, who most recently served as Principal Deputy Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration from 2014 to 2017, and former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.
“DOD should increase shipbuilding capacity, by working with industry to establish or renovate a third shipyard dedicated to production of nuclear-powered vessels, with particular emphasis on nuclear-powered submarines.”
“The nuclear force modernization program of record is absolutely essential, although not sufficient to meet the new threats posed by Russia and China.”
“The current modernization program should be supplemented to ensure U.S. nuclear strategy remains effective in a two-nuclear-peer environment.”
“A number of commissioners believe it is inevitable that the size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and the number of delivery systems should increase.”
“The size and composition of the nuclear force must account for the possibility of combined aggression from Russia and China. U.S. strategy should no longer treat China’s nuclear forces as a “lesser included” threat. The United States needs a nuclear posture capable of simultaneously deterring both countries.”
“The U.S. theater nuclear force posture should be urgently modified to: Provide the President a range of militarily effective nuclear response options to deter or counter Russian or Chinese limited nuclear use in theater. Address the need for U.S. theater nuclear forces deployed or based in the Asia-Pacific theater.”
“The Commission recommends Congress fund an overhaul and expansion of the capacity of the U.S. nuclear weapons defense industrial base and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear security enterprise, including weapons science, design, and production infrastructure. Specifically: Congress should fund the full range of NNSA’s recapitalization efforts, such as [plutonium] pit production and all operations related to critical materials.”
“The United States develop and field homeland integrated air and missile defenses that can deter and defeat coercive attacks by Russia and China, and determine the capabilities needed to stay ahead of the North Korean threat.”
“The Commission’s assessment is that the United States must consider the possibility that Iran will become a nuclear state during the 2027-2035 timeframe.”
Read the report in full here.