Friday, June 09, 2006

General James E. Cartwright Interview

Submitted by Anonymous:

If you are interested I would like to get the reaction of your
readers to this. Does it pass the smell test?

"As the advocate for operational nuclear forces, I would note that
most of these weapons are aging. The design criteria associated with
them that was valid in the 1950s and 1960s against the world that we
live in today is starting to change. So, this concept introduced by
Congress called the Reliable Replacement Warhead [RRW program] is
important to us. It is not a new warhead. It is going after upgrades
in safety, security, and surety of the weapons. The extent to which
you can leverage the reduction in operationally deployed warheads to
free up resources—the intellectual capital, the laboratories, the
production- and maintenance-type capital, and the dollars and cents—
to start moving us to safer and more reliable weapons is something we
are supporting. So, bringing down operationally deployed weapons is
leverage to allow us to move in that direction. We also see in [the
RRW program] the ability to build and design in the current construct
weapons that do not need testing. Now, that has yet to be proved, but
that is the design goal that we are trying to shoot for.

ACT: Would STRATCOM be comfortable in adding an RRW weapon that had
not been tested?

Cartwright: The work that we are doing with the laboratories today
would give us reasonable confidence that we can move forward [without
testing]. Again, it is not a redesign of the whole weapon; it is
focused on safety, security, and surety. We believe we can understand
the changes that would be introduced and be comfortable that we can
manage the margins of performance inside of those and stay within the
regime that would allow us not to have to test. Now, we are in the
early stages of the design work. You have got to see this mature, and
you have to understand the uncertainties associated with it. There
are a certain number of uncertainties that are just associated with
nuclear science. You have got to understand how all of those stack
up. But the belief right now is that you could, in fact, manage this
activity in a way that would not require testing."

Doublespeak for: "We hope..."
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