Good Luck With Space Force: U.S. Technological Advantage Rotting Away

America cannot maintain its nuclear arsenal or produce advanced materials required for technologically advanced weapon systems. The country has lost its focus and no longer pays attention to the needs of its citizens or its own defense.

This DoD review of America's nuclear posture discusses the lack of tritium. The U.S. doesn't have enough tritium to sustain its nuclear force and it is woefully under supplied in the event of a crisis (unforeseen loss of supply or sudden demand). The report says there are plans to increase tritium supply, but left unsaid is that these plans have all failed for two decades.

Arms Control Today in 2000: Civil Reactors to Replenish U.S. Tritium Supply
DOE has pursued and continues to fund several other options for tritium production, including construction of a particle accelerator or a new light-water reactor, or completion of a light-water reactor already under construction in Bellefonte, Alabama. DOE chose to use TVA's reactors primarily because of the low cost, but the department continues to fund alternatives in case the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is scheduled to complete a review of the TVA option by next summer, fails to approve the use of TVA reactors.
NTI in 2011: Some Nuclear Experts Question Ramp-up in U.S. Tritium Production
The Energy Department's semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration plans over the next few years to more than triple capacity to produce tritium at the commercial Watts Bar reactor in eastern Tennessee, according to the agency's fiscal 2012 "Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan."
Defense News in 2017: Commentary: The looming crisis for US tritium production
By the early 2030s, the viability of the entire U.S. nuclear deterrent is at risk from an inability to produce tritium for nuclear warheads. The Trump administration will need to take action soon to manage this long-term problem.

Cheap oil and gas today make new enrichment plants uneconomical. There is thus a national security imperative for the U.S. government to either renew subsidies to U.S. firms willing to take on this mission, or do this itself.

The Department of Energy estimates many billions of dollars and a decade or more to design and build a U.S.-origin centrifuge plant. Given DOE's sorry experience in failing to field critical nuclear infrastructure on time and cost -- for example, facilities to produce plutonium and HEU parts for nuclear warheads, and for mixed oxide (MOX) fuel -- we anticipate these estimates are overly optimistic. Therefore, it is not too soon to start now.

Failure to restore domestic enrichment by the early 2030s leaves only one alternative: use of foreign-origin LEU. But there are many drawbacks.
It is fair to debate whether the United States needs its current nuclear arsenal, but cutting its size doesn't solve the problem of a government that can no longer carry about basic functions. National defense is one of the government's core jobs. The U.S. government cannot defend its borders and cannot carry out an advanced project such as tritium production. Meanwhile, countries such as Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear weapons programs. Beyond defense, these materials are key for space exploration. Space itself will be closed off to the United States and it will have to rely on Chinese and Russia beneficence in the coming decades if it wants to continue space programs.

China is correct to think it will be able to overtake the United States on the curve as it slips into decline. When the United States wakes up to the hole it has dug for itself, it will come as the pension crisis explodes, entitlements go bust and the U.S. dollar is facing a multi-generational crisis.

There is a fundamental rot within the United States if it cannot carry out activities that Russia and China are doing, and one could argue Iran or North Korea could implement with enough funding. The question isn't money, it is a cultural and ideological problem. It can be traced in part to the university system. The Closing of the American Mind no longer needs the present continuous form of the verb, but the simple past. The American mind is closed as the Russian mind was closed under Soviet rule.

Department of Defense: Nuclear Posture Review

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