Should Chinese leaders withdraw their objections, the administration could negotiate a new arms control treaty with both Russia and China that limits each signatory to no more than 3,600 warheads. Such a treaty should include stronger verification measures than the New START Treaty and address all of the various nuclear superweapons, including Russian and Chinese hypersonic missiles, as well as rail-mobile ICBMs not currently covered by New START, perhaps by limiting the aggregate megatonnage of each superpower’s nuclear arsenal.
Fourth, Biden should rescind Presidential Decision Directive (PDD-60), which, according to some reports, makes it official U.S. policy to “launch on impact” (following confirmation of the first nuclear impact on U.S. soil), and return to a policy of “launch on warning.” This would better deter potential nuclear aggressors like Russia, China, and North Korea who may believe they can take advantage of the U.S. “launch on impact” posture to render a decisive “knockout” blow against the United States before it can retaliate against them. Opponents of returning to a “launch on warning” posture argue that this could lead to an accidental launch leading to a nuclear exchange. However, given the fact that all U.S. nuclear missiles are pre-targeted at empty oceans, the risk of that happening is extremely low.
Fifth, with the realization that nuclear weapons constitute only a small fraction of the U.S. defense budget but are by far the most critical program to defend and deter against catastrophic and existential attack, the United States should fully fund the Columbia-class nuclear submarines to replace the Ohio nuclear submarine fleet, which will have to start being retired in 2030 due to their aging hulls. In addition, the United States should fully fund the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program to replace its 400 Minuteman III ICBMs, many of which were built half a century ago (as opposed to newer and more modern Russia and Chinese strategic nuclear weapons systems), beginning in 2027.
Sixth, U.S. leaders must remove and replace all 300 Chinese-manufactured transformers in the U.S. electrical power grid to prevent China from using secret “back doors” in the technology to take control of the U.S. grid or even shut it down entirely. The United States should also store enough reserve electrical power transformers in underground storage to replace all of them should they be disabled by an EMP or cyberattack. U.S. leaders must also take immediate executive and legislative actions to reduce the ability of China and other adversaries to cut off the homeland’s increasingly vulnerable manufacturing supply chains in the event of war and ensure that the United States is self-sufficient in every critical area needed to defend America as well as fight and win protracted military conflicts. These actions would include ensuring that the United States is capable of producing all of its own weapon systems, including computers, microchips, and other electronic components. As part of this effort, the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress should continue to support efforts to restore America’s capability to mine rare-earth minerals critical to the production of modern weapons as quickly as possible. Finally, U.S leaders should pursue trade and taxation policies designed to “re-shore” strategic industries, which have left the United States and relocated to China during the past two decades, that produce high-tech dual-use military technology. This “re-shoring” would prevent their nationalization by China in the event of a crisis. Such a policy would also greatly expand America’s tax base to better fund critical defense priorities.
The time has come to put aside partisan politics and unite the United States, as it was united during World War II, to safeguard the American people against the unprecedented dangers which threaten them. If Biden and congressional leaders are willing to provide the courageous leadership needed to do so, while helping to educate other U.S. policymakers and citizens about the threats Americans face and what the country must do to overcome them, then the United States can and will succeed.
David T. Pyne, Esq. is a former U.S. Army combat arms and H.Q. staff officer with an M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He currently serves as Deputy Director of National Operations for the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security and is a contributor to Dr. Peter Pry’s new book Blackout Warfare. He may be reached at [email protected].