Why the American public should be talking about nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons are the 350-kiloton elephant in the room that we as Americans simply do not give enough thought or attention. As long as the United States and other nations possess nuclear arms, they will remain relevant and a healthy debate about what we should do with them is essential. Whether or not we all agree on the issues is irrelevant. Nuclear weapons were perhaps the quintessential Cold War issue and even with that conflict decades in the past, that does not make them irrelevant. Present circumstances make the arsenal as relevant today as it was then.
This Sunday the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) along with U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense, U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Navy conducted its first successful test of the Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system since 2008. The test is a major milestone in proving that the GMD is a viable option for the protection of the U.S. homeland from a limited ballistic missiles attack. Yet despite the success of the test, stubborn critics of the system refuse to acknowledge the advances made and the nature of the threat. The national missile defense system is a complicated engineering feat that demands regular testing. While intercept failures may be discouraging, it is important to note that the data collected presents an opportunity to correct the issues that caused those failures. While some would call the threat of a ballistic missile attack by North Korea “exaggerated”, there is currently no reliable way to measure just how advanced that threat is. Failing to plan for the worst could prove disastrous.