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Saturday, September 26, 2015

How America used 3 stealth subs to show China who's still the boss of the Pacific

USS Maine (SSBN-741)Nuclear powers rarely go to war with each other, but that doesn't mean they don't threaten to do so. Indeed, military posturing is an integral part of what Forrest Morgan, an analyst for the RAND Corporation, called "crisis stability." In other words, "building and posturing forces in ways that allow a state, if confronted, to avoid war without backing down."

Long-range heavy bombers are some of the best forces for crisis stability, Morgan wrote in a 2013 study for the U.S. Air Force. Bombers are powerful, mobile, and visible — perfect for signalling strength and intent.

On the other hand, the U.S. Navy's submarine-launched cruise missiles are less effective — even counterproductive — for crisis stability … because they're invisible most of the time. "SLCMs could contribute to the instability," Morgan wrote. "[T]he opponent's anxieties might be magnified by the ability of SSGNs [cruise missile subs] to posture in stealth nearby."

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