Hartung’s suggestion that submarines are invulnerable is simply untrue. During the Cold War, American Los Angeles class attack submarines would wait outside Soviet submarine pens and successfully track Soviet ballistic missile submarines. Space-based assets and hydroacoustic arrays are becoming increasingly more capable of tracking submarines and will only be aided by quantum computing and artificial intelligence in the years to come. Thus, to say submarines are “invulnerable” is just not accurate.


In the final analysis, ICBMs remain as important to the nation’s nuclear triad as they were when first fielded in 1959. If the desire of Americans is to maintain strategic stability, eliminating land-based ballistic missiles would have the exact opposite effect. 

Don’t take our word for it. Just look at Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization. Both countries have focused their efforts on modernizing their own ICBM forces. If they are merely Cold War relics, why are our adversaries so focused on advancing their own ICBM forces?        

Dr. Adam Lowther is a professor at the U.S. Army's School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. He was the founding Director of the U.S. Air Force's School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies (SANDS).

William Murphy is the Director of Senior Leader Education for Nuclear Command, Control and Communications at the Louisiana Tech Research Institute.  He is also an Air Force reserve general officer assigned to Air Force Global Strike Command.  

Brig Gen Gerald Goodfellow (USAF, Ret.) is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Tech Research Institute. During his 30-year Air Force career, he flew B-1, KC-135, and E-6B aircraft in support of the nation's nuclear mission.  In his current position, he is responsible for teaching all of the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications continuing military education courses within the USAF.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.