For over 60 years, Strategic Deterrence has prevented Major Power Conflict that resulted in over 100 million deaths in the 20th century’s two global conflicts. The global threats to the United States have grown worse since the last Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in 2010, with more diverse and advanced adversaries as the U.S. Deterrent Triad ages out. Russia and China continue to modernize their nuclear forces.
A TRIAD of SLBMs, ICBMs and Bombers is needed. This nuclear arsenal must be large enough to dissuade other nations from pursuing parity and diverse enough to deter nuclear use across a wide range of contingencies. This force must remain safe, secure and effective to deter adversaries; prevent conflict among major powers; and protect our national security and national prosperity.
America’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) are the Triad’s most survivable force, providing the United States with credible and enduring strategic deterrence capabilities. Hiding deep in the ocean, with virtually unlimited endurance, SSBNs are capable of reaching almost any target at the direction of the President.
Today’s force of 14 SSBNs began service in the 1980’s. For 4 decades they have served as a robust, reliable and cost effective force, now carrying 70% of the nation’s strategic arsenal for less than 1% of the DoD budget. A minimum of 12 new Columbia Class SSBN, with initial construction beginning in 2021, will maintain the U.S. Navy’s nuclear deterrent force into the 2080’s.
To learn more about SSBN programs click on the links below.