B61 gravity bombs are all cost, no benefit
Are we sure we can get our nukes out of Turkey?
Nuclear weapons are a political statement as much as military. Would the government classes in those countries accept the withdrawal?
Putin and the Russian ethno-nationalists are certifiably paranoid but removal of the nukes could help lower the temperature by a small degree. The conventional threat the nukes were meant to deter is a phantom. Addition of Finland and perhaps Sweden soon lowers need for nukes by making Russian aggression less likely. It would be a diplomatic win for the US and we desperately need one. In answer to THE Drill SGT's excellent question: I think the Turks would be happy to see them go. Lessens chance of them getting hammered in a Russo-NATO spat. (Opinion comes with the caveat I am frequently wrong). To modify your point, I see all benefit and no cost to removal of the B61s.
Pull em; but marry that move with very public re-arming of tactical nuclear missiles onboard Navy platforms of all types.
Gonna' disagree. (Partially.) Move them out of Europe and to the UK.
And if they're removed completely? Putin will crow that his proclaimed movement of nukes to Belarus made the US move them.
That will only make his satellite allies like Iran bolder and further encourage countries like Saudi Arabia to migrate into the Russian sphere.
I had no idea how perfectly useless our (USA--not NATO) nuclear weapon arsenal was over in Europe and the Middle East. Thanks for the lesson, CDR Salamander.
In the 70's and 80's (when I had a role in tactical delivery) they were a viable weapon option. I doubt the US would have been the first user, Soviet doctrine certainly allowed their first use.
These days? I agree: Everyone has them, nobody will use them. The danger in this status quo is that should someone actually use one, the only logical response would be a strategic exchange. A 'tit for tat' nuking a'la "The Third World War 1985" by General Sir John Hackett? Not these days
There are days I'd wonder if the Euros would have the stones to use them when they need to, especially if it's on behalf of another Euro NATO member rather than their own country. But your point is sound. What about restoring more bombers at Thule on a regular basis? You'd be going over the pole, shorter to fly, or is just you don't like gravity bomb delivered weaponry and reality is they'd just target Thule minute one? Putting a ground launched mobile platform that could handle a nuke cruise missile, or converting some of the new Hypersonic missiles to use nukes (at 55 mil a pop, might be the only logical thing to put on them rather than a conventional warhead for that price), would that better? They can be hidden much easier, stored perhaps in mountain type cave structures and dispersed.
And removing from Turkey, why they are still there begs the question "if" they are still even there, it's just too tempting for takeover if say Erodogan was replaced by someone that was even more anti-Western.
When you think about gravity atomic weapons, think about the aviators who had to prepare and train to fly them to the target.
I have been flying on a regional airline. They fly out of a minor airport that has a nice, long runway. A naval air station in the cold war. There’s a plane on a pylon at the entrance to the airport. The plane is a RA-5C Vigilante.
Imagine a pilot, and a bombardier, moving at Mach2 with a big atom bomb under their seats. Carrier launched with a 900 mile range and engines powerful enough to reach the edge of space. The mission was to launch, sprint over the target, yank a lever to let a drogue pull the package out the tail of the bomber, then head back home. It takes some pretty valiant airmen to train for a mission like that. Peacetime operations must have been frightening; the thing was a beast.
The Commander is dead right about the atomic arsenal. The soundest course of action would be to remove the weapons are replace them with training dummies filled with sand. Now is not the time to enter into arms talks with Russia, and removal of the bombs is something we should expect to trade for. Removing the bombs from Turkey removes the risk, and a policy of neither confirming, or denying, there are bombs in Turkey allows us to demand concessions when the time is right. Then we can make a big show of pulling our dummies out, and closing the facility.
"Russia ... we have learned in the last year that they can be met on the field of battle, and defeated, by a well armed conventional force."
That's a comical way to look at it. Russia is fighting at its own pace. Ukraine is not holding anything at bay, it has lost two armies already and when the end comes it will shatter many rose colored glasses.
But I agree, US nukes should be removed from Europe, Turkey in particular.
I believe you are right. Apologists who say the B-61s are a useful deterrent or statement or whatever haven't thought the issue through, but I think you can be sure the Russians have. My vote would be to replace them by mobile based nuclear capable cruise missiles.
"If they are NATO weapons, you not only have to get NATO to approve their use, but host nation to as well … in addition to the USA. Do you really think the Russians would not leverage their influence with the useful idiots in the Euro-Green parties, former communists, and general black-block anti-nuke activists to politically of physically stop the use of the nukes, especially in BEL, NLD, DEU, and ITA? "
What is deterrence? Read the above
Just that right there is reason enough to take them back...they'll never get used and the hassle with safety and security alone is just as lengthy and daunting as getting usage authorization.
As they serve no useful purpose, bring them home.
I will go one step further. I consider our land based ICBMs to be fixed targets and would reduce our strategic nuke force to SLBMs and aircraft armed with extend range cruise missiles. Keeping some ICBMs armed with conventional warheads for a rapid strike 30 minutes anywhere in the world capability
No issue with the premise of the piece; we should have unilaterally removed the gravity bombs when NATO expanded. Moreover, we would not have had to modify some of our FMS to accommodate carrying a nuke. But I do take issue with the 'useful idiot' comment regarding the Green Party in Europe. The Greens hold 74 seats in the European Parliament, they are a political force in eight nations, and they are ascendant in beating out the Socialists. Factually, the US would be in a better place if a green party displaced our MAGAs who have shown themselves free of any value. Let's hope the U.S. has a few more clear-eyed greenies before we step off on our next combat operation.
Provocative thoughts, but boring old gravity bombs still have a role. That said, beyond me why any are presently stored outside of the US.
The Wohlstetters and Kahns of our past recognized ICBMs are vulnerable to first strike whether afloat or ashore, leaving the nucs parked in the sky as the only assured counter-strike. Should the threat of a true nuclear exchange re-emerge, we'll need to again park nucs in the sky.
As to their efficacy, the rest of the world recognizes we are 2 for 2 in air deliveries. They likewise assume the US would again be successful if pressed to do so.
Like those who ignore old salts to proclaim obsolete the tube artillery, tanks and APCs of the ongoing Russo-Ukraine War, the past suggests we are still at least a generation away from doing away with this most-trusted and cost-effective nuclear capability in our arsenal.