Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pentagon sees Russia strengthening nuclear arsenal

I have been screaming for years, people are sleeping....

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (Reuters) - Russia appears focused on strengthening its nuclear capabilities rather than building up its regular armed forces, which makes maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal increasingly important, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Monday.

The Pentagon chief, speaking to Air Force officers in Virginia, said America's need for nuclear weapons to deter potential enemies from striking would grow in the future.

While that is partly due to the risk that nuclear weapons will end up in the hands of anti-American groups or states, such as Iran, it is also related to Russia's plans to build its nuclear capabilities, Gates said.

"It seems clear that the Russians are focused as they look to the future more on strengthening their nuclear capabilities," he told reporters after his visit to Langley.

"So to the extent that they rely more and more on their nuclear capabilities as opposed to what historically has been a huge Russian conventional military capability, it seems to me that it underscores the importance of our sustaining a valid nuclear deterrent, a modern nuclear deterrent."

Moscow has boosted military spending as part of an effort to make Russia more assertive on the world stage after the chaos of the post-Soviet period. It has also tried to reform its military to create a more professional, well-equipped and mobile army.

But that reform has been slow, some critics say. The Russian military still suffers from poor morale among low-paid soldiers and generals dissatisfied with the state of the army.

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