Officers speak on Nuclear arms

IUS Horizon

Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard
Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard

Lt. General Robert G. Gard Jr. and Col. William Hauser gave a presentation on U.S. Nuclear weapons policy April 10 in University Center, room 122, to a crowd of more than 25.

The presentation comes shortly after President Barack Obama announced the United States is encouraging all relevant nations to disband their nuclear arsenals during his trip to Europe.

Both Gard and Hauser served as career army officers during the Cold War. Gard is currently the chairman of the board of directors for The Center for Arms Control and Nuclear Proliferation.
Hauser is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan think-tank based in Washington D.C. and New York.

Both Gard and Hauser said the United States is facing a more tumultuous threat from nuclear weapons with the advent of terrorism than we faced against a conventional enemy during the Cold War.

“During the Cold War, we had thousands of weapons on alert pointing at the Soviet Union, and they had thousands of weapons pointing at the United States,” Gard said. “Had there been an exchange, it would have obliterated both sides if not the entire world.”

Despite this ominous doomsday scenario, Gard said the risk of the United States being attacked with a nuclear weapon has increased partly because of a deterioration of Russian advanced warning and command and control systems.

“Each of us still keeps about 2,000 weapons on high alert, pointed at, and ready to be launched on warning of an incoming attack on the other country,” Gard said.

Gard said while highly unlikely, misinformation could lead to these weapons being launched, but the more pertinent threat, and probably the greatest we face according to Gard, is the desire of terrorists to steal, buy or build, and ultimately detonate a nuclear weapon.

“That wasn’t an issue at the time of the Cold War, but it certainly is now,” Gard said.

“Take it on faith, they’re after one, and they would like to use it.”

Gard then proposed another doomsday scenario to the crowd.

“Consider the unthinkable; the detonation of a crude, 10 kiloton nuclear weapon on Manhattan Island,” Gard said. “It would kill 1 million people and render that area uninhabitable for centuries.”

Houser noted our current armed forces are overworked and, in some part, staffed insufficiently.

To fix this, Houser suggested the United States draft young men and women to supplement the ranks of the armed forces.

MICHAEL MARCELL
Staff writer
mdmarcel@ius.edu