US Needs to Beef Up Its Nuclear Arsenal to Deter China, Russia: Expert

The United States needs to beef up its nuclear arsenal to deter adversaries including China and Russia, according to retired Navy Capt. James Fanell, former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Fanell’s comments came as the U.S. Strategic Command prepared for its annual nuclear command and control exercise, Global Thunder, which started April 11. Participation in the Global Thunder 23 (GT23) training included the representatives of key allied states, including the UK. “The purpose of GT23 is to enhance nuclear readiness and ensure a safe, secure, and reliable strategic deterrence force. This is an annual exercise and is not in response to actions by any nation or other actors,” an agency statement said. U.S. Strategic Command, headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska, is responsible for strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, missile defense, analysis, and targeting. Fanell said that GT23, which is a command and control exercise of the U.S. nuclear force structure, centers around three types of weapon delivery: air-launched nuclear weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and ballistic missile submarines with submerged launch ballistic missiles. He called it a good sign that America is continuing to pour time and effort into its nuclear command and control capabilities. “But it needs to be backed up with increased resources because we have an aging nuclear force. And we need to shore that up and make sure that we’re able to deter, not just one bad actor like Russia, but now we have to deter the PRC [People Republic of China], North Korea, and Iran,” Fanell recently told the “China in Focus” program on NTD, the sister media outlet of The Epoch Times. He cautioned that America may be on the receiving end of being “out weaponized, out-gunned,” by the combination of an alliance between Russia and China and surrogates like North Korea and Iran. Having a “credible nuclear deterrent capability,” is extremely important, Fanell said. “We have to have the force structure, we have to have the numbers of SLBMs [submarine launched ballistic missiles] on ballistic missile submarines, we have to have enough ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] across America that can be launched securely and with assurance, and then a fleet and air fleet that can launch these weapons. If we don’t have that, then we lose that deterrent effect.” Reassuring America’s Allies On the other hand, a training exercise like Global Thunder can play a role in allaying suspicions about the defense capability of the United States after the Chinese spy balloon incident earlier this year. “I think there’s a question that’s out there in the international domain about ‘how good is America’s national defense? Have they lost their ability to defend themselves? And can they defend their allies and friends?’” Fanell said. The recent military exercises can serve to“reinforce to our allies and friends that we still have those capabilities.” “These are things that are critically important for our own national security and safety, but also [for] the assurance that we provide to our allies and friends,” Fanell added. Staying Forward, Staying Engaged As a further example, Fanell cited large combat exercises kicked off on April 11 by the Philippines and the United States. The joint exercises involve about 17,600 military personnel, including 12,200 American troops, 5,400 Filipino troops, and 111 soldiers from Australia, Col. Michael Logico, director of the Philippine military’s training center and spokesperson for the event, told Reuters. The Balikatan drill will run through April 28 in Northern Luzon, Palawan, and Antique, featuring live-fire exercises in water. Australian troops will take part in smaller land-based exercises. In February, the United States and the Philippines announced that the Phillippines had granted American forces access to four new military bases, including a naval base and an airport in Cagayan province, an army camp in Isabela, and a site on Balabec Island. The sites are strategically located with respect to Taiwan and the hotly contested Spratly Island Group in the South China Sea, where China has established a military presence. According to Fanell, the Philippines’ growing readiness to work with the United States sends a message to Beijing that countries in the region are concerned about rising aggression from China. Moreover, he said, “It also sends a message to the United States that if you stand up and lead, that other nations will likely be more willing to follow.” “I think it is a demonstration of how critically important it is for the United States to stay forward in the region and to stay very much engaged in the region. And that our alliances cannot be taken for granted. As we’re seeing in other places around the globe, traditional friends and allies or partners are considering breaking with

US Needs to Beef Up Its Nuclear Arsenal to Deter China, Russia: Expert

The United States needs to beef up its nuclear arsenal to deter adversaries including China and Russia, according to retired Navy Capt. James Fanell, former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Fanell’s comments came as the U.S. Strategic Command prepared for its annual nuclear command and control exercise, Global Thunder, which started April 11.

Participation in the Global Thunder 23 (GT23) training included the representatives of key allied states, including the UK.

“The purpose of GT23 is to enhance nuclear readiness and ensure a safe, secure, and reliable strategic deterrence force. This is an annual exercise and is not in response to actions by any nation or other actors,” an agency statement said.

U.S. Strategic Command, headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska, is responsible for strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, missile defense, analysis, and targeting.

Fanell said that GT23, which is a command and control exercise of the U.S. nuclear force structure, centers around three types of weapon delivery: air-launched nuclear weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and ballistic missile submarines with submerged launch ballistic missiles.

He called it a good sign that America is continuing to pour time and effort into its nuclear command and control capabilities.

“But it needs to be backed up with increased resources because we have an aging nuclear force. And we need to shore that up and make sure that we’re able to deter, not just one bad actor like Russia, but now we have to deter the PRC [People Republic of China], North Korea, and Iran,” Fanell recently told the “China in Focus” program on NTD, the sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.

He cautioned that America may be on the receiving end of being “out weaponized, out-gunned,” by the combination of an alliance between Russia and China and surrogates like North Korea and Iran.

Having a “credible nuclear deterrent capability,” is extremely important, Fanell said. “We have to have the force structure, we have to have the numbers of SLBMs [submarine launched ballistic missiles] on ballistic missile submarines, we have to have enough ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] across America that can be launched securely and with assurance, and then a fleet and air fleet that can launch these weapons. If we don’t have that, then we lose that deterrent effect.”

Reassuring America’s Allies

On the other hand, a training exercise like Global Thunder can play a role in allaying suspicions about the defense capability of the United States after the Chinese spy balloon incident earlier this year.

“I think there’s a question that’s out there in the international domain about ‘how good is America’s national defense? Have they lost their ability to defend themselves? And can they defend their allies and friends?’” Fanell said.

The recent military exercises can serve to“reinforce to our allies and friends that we still have those capabilities.”

“These are things that are critically important for our own national security and safety, but also [for] the assurance that we provide to our allies and friends,” Fanell added.

Staying Forward, Staying Engaged

As a further example, Fanell cited large combat exercises kicked off on April 11 by the Philippines and the United States. The joint exercises involve about 17,600 military personnel, including 12,200 American troops, 5,400 Filipino troops, and 111 soldiers from Australia, Col. Michael Logico, director of the Philippine military’s training center and spokesperson for the event, told Reuters.

The Balikatan drill will run through April 28 in Northern Luzon, Palawan, and Antique, featuring live-fire exercises in water. Australian troops will take part in smaller land-based exercises.

In February, the United States and the Philippines announced that the Phillippines had granted American forces access to four new military bases, including a naval base and an airport in Cagayan province, an army camp in Isabela, and a site on Balabec Island. The sites are strategically located with respect to Taiwan and the hotly contested Spratly Island Group in the South China Sea, where China has established a military presence.

According to Fanell, the Philippines’ growing readiness to work with the United States sends a message to Beijing that countries in the region are concerned about rising aggression from China.

Moreover, he said, “It also sends a message to the United States that if you stand up and lead, that other nations will likely be more willing to follow.”

“I think it is a demonstration of how critically important it is for the United States to stay forward in the region and to stay very much engaged in the region. And that our alliances cannot be taken for granted. As we’re seeing in other places around the globe, traditional friends and allies or partners are considering breaking with us or even joining with the Chinese, and so it’s really important that our government understands [that],” Fanell said.

Aldgra Fredly contributed to this report.