United States Needs Cheap, Quickly Orbited Satellites To Replace Those Lost In Anti-Satellite Attacks: Gates
The leader of the largest war-making force on the planet told members of an august peace group that weakness doesn't prevent war, and that the best bar to conflict lies in strength and a capability sufficient to deter aggression.
That includes erecting a U.S. multi-layered ballistic missile defense shield, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said before the Carnegie Endowment for Peace think tank in Washington, D.C.
His comments come as some Democrats in Congress are expected to attempt cutting funds for missile defense in deliberations next year, as they have in prior years.
He also said the United States needs cheap, easily-orbited satellites to replace any that are destroyed by enemies in anti-satellite operations such as interceptor shots.
Gates outlined the manifold threats that increasingly confront the United States, its allies and its interests, and indicated it would be a colossal blunder to permit emerging enemies to wield weapons of awesome power while American armed forces had no ability to counter that danger.
What U.S. military leaders seek isn't merely a parity with these dangerous factions, but rather an overwhelming American competence and capability that can compel would-be enemies to abandon their attack schemes aborning, Gates indicated.
Preventing war is to be preferred over fighting a war, he said. But what won't work is to ignore a threat in hopes that an attack won't materialize.
"Deterrence has a specific policy goal, and in this sense, deterrent strategies can be applied to many situations," he explained. "A few examples come to mind."
Gates specifically cited the growing threats posed not by major military powers, but by rogue nations.
"Rogue regimes that threaten their neighbors and our allies, potentially with nuclear weapons, are a problem today and will be in the future," he said. "Our goal is, in part, to reduce their ability to hold other nations hostage, and to deny them the ability to project power." And missile defense will help the United States to achieve that objective.
Gates extolled the new triad of American military power. While the old triad consisted of long-range bomber planes, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarines with nuclear-tipped missiles, the new triad includes those nuclear-strike components, plus a conventional strike element and the ballistic missile shield.
"A conventional strike force means that more targets are vulnerable without our having to resort to nuclear weapons," lessening chances of a nuclear exchange, he continued.