China currently lacks a highly survivable strategic nuclear force. The US has anticipated for years that China would modernize its nuclear force with the goal of making it larger and more survivable, thereby providing a robust assured destruction capability. China has now begun such a program -- building mobile ICMBS and ballistic missile submarines -- that will take many years to complete. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in an article titled Chinese nuclear forces 2013, “China is only one of the five original nuclear weapon states that is quantitatively increasing its nuclear arsenal, although the pace of growth is slow. The capability of the arsenal is also increasing…” ...view middle of the document...
This paper explores more of the conceptual issues surrounding creating the strategic weapons programs designed specifically to deny China an effective retaliatory capability, rather than force on force specifics.
Deterrence involves a threat designed to influence an opposing actor’s choices. Mutually assured destruction capability is the major term surrounding this. It is a condition rather than a strategy. The benefits of it are that it provides a high level of crisis stability. The only issue with deterrence is that it is not completely reliable. Furthermore, China and Russia can be unpredictable, so MAD, while typically a strong enough deterrent, requires constant intelligence surrounding the nuclear weapon modernization. According to Glaser, in … “China is modernizing its nuclear forces to increase their ability to survive and retaliate following a large-scale U.S. attack. Standard deterrence theory holds that Washington's current ability to destroy most or all of China's nuclear force enhances its bargaining position. China's nuclear modernization might remove that check on Chinese action, leading Beijing to behave more boldly in future crises than it has in past ones.”
Crisis stability is another major issue involving the strategic issues of responding to China’s nuclear weapon modernization. In short, there is a huge possibility of an arms race. According to Glaser…China has always lacked the type of force that would provide stability according to U.S. standards. If the United States decides that its security requires preserving its nuclear advantage vis-à-vis China, it will have to invest in capabilities dedicated to destroying China's new nuclear forces. Such an effort would be in line with the United States' Cold War nuclear strategy, which placed great importance on being able to destroy Soviet nuclear forces. This kind of arms race would be even more unnecessary now than it was then. The United States can retain formidable deterrent capabilities even if China modernizes its arsenal, and a competitive nuclear policy could well decrease U.S. security by signaling to China that the United States is hostile, thereby increasing Chinese insecurity and damaging U.S.-Chinese relations.
The final strategic issue that presents itself is a possible pressures for accidents. Yes, there is a large risk of accidents when creating nuclear weapon defensive missiles. There is also a risk that the Russians misinterpret the United States’ purpose for the creation of these new nuclear weapons. They may believe the weapons are being created to use against Russia. They may also believe that it goes against previous treaties signed, which furthermore disrupts political issues between Russia and China.
The second major issue that arises are technical issues – is this even possible with the funds and technology that the United States has right now? Would it even be successful? Yes, the technology is feasible and...