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Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Resolved: The USFG should eliminate its nuclear armed ICBM force

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/14/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 503 times Debate No: 70079
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)





Resolved: The USFG should eliminate its nuclear armed ICBM force

Context and Definitions:

USFG= United States Federal Government

ICBM force= Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force; the roughly 450 existing silos, staff, and facilities supporting the ICBM.


1. No forfeits

2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be provided in the text of the debate

3. No new arguments in the final round.

4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere

5. The artificial character constraints listed below MUST be adhered to. Rounds should telescope in length as the debate focuses on the salient points of debate. The total characters for this debate is equal to a three round debate but is spread over four rounds.

6. Pro accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add definitions. Any dispute over definitions outside of R1 are to be resolved through argumentation within the debate.

7. BOP is shared. The winner of this debate is whichever side best supports their case.

8. R1 is for acceptance only.

9. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss.


R1. Acceptance

R2. Constructive Cases

R3. Constructive Cases

R4. 6k character Rebuttals

R5. 4k character Rebuttals


I accept this debate. We need the nuclear armed ICBM in order to protect ourselves from foreign countries in case we were either attack, threatened, etc. It is dangerous but it is worth it in order to ensure our safety.
Debate Round No. 1


Contention 1: The Trillion Dollar Triad

A) The US Nuclear Triad is grossly outdated and in need of overhaul. Current plans for modernization of the US nuclear force have not engaged in rigorous estimates of the cost of modernization, have overlooked critical hurdles in the procurement timeline of modernization. Independent analysts estimate the modernization project will cost in excess of one Trillion dollars even without accounting for the typical budget inflation that accompanies large defense projects. As a point of comparison, the entire 2011 defence budget was roughly $665 billion.

In planning and budgeting for nuclear modernization, the DOD has relied on documents that do not account for the full modernization effort. The result is that multiple DOD and air force officials have voiced concerns about the lack of planning for the upcoming modernization.

The nuclear budget crisis is compounded by the existing fiscal anchor of the infamously expensive F-35 fighter program and the staggering array of defense programs set back by the recent sequestration of the defense budget.


B. The looming nuclear budget crisis will lead to unplanned emergency cuts to defense spending and nuclear modernization. Contrary to popular beliefs, the government can’t fabricate financing for defense projects- the money has to come from somewhere or the project doesn’t happen. The recent sequestration proves this; the DOD provides a long list of planned projects that simply won’t happen without additional budget. [10]


C. Emergency budget cuts will result in chaotic and poorly planned attempts to reduce the cost of modernization. The ICBM force will likely be the first on the chopping block. The choice is to eliminate the ICBM now as part of a planned restructuring of US nuclear deterrence, or engage in a sudden forced disarmament as part of a budgetary crisis. Chaotic unplanned disarmament will undermine our nuclear deterrence not only during the emergency restructuring, but also in the long-term as modernization hobbles along in a haphazard and underfunded manner. [1]

D. Loss of US nuclear deterrence makes both conventional and nuclear war more likely. First, by undermining any semblance of MAD, a loss of deterrent capability creates a power imbalance that increases the odds that major conflicts will go nuclear. In particular it drastically makes Russian nuclear war in Eastern Europe more likely. Russia has consistently indicated it views limited use of nuclear weapons in conventional war as a live strategic option. The instability along Russia’s European border means that Russia is consistently on the brink of nuclear war. [2]


E. Loss of US nuclear deterrence also undermines US nuclear assurances to allies, leading to Asian and European proliferation. Of particular concern is the impact to NATO countries, which enjoy the protection of the US “nuclear umbrella.” NATO countries face pressure to obtain nuclear weapons not only from Russia, but also from the prospect of a nuclear Iran- loss of a US security guarantee could result in a nuclearized Turkey, which shares a border with Iran [3]


F. Emergency cuts to the US nuclear arsenal will undermine any prospect for future negotiations with Russia for two reasons. First, emergency cuts will force unilateral US arms reduction, undermining quid-pro-quo negotiations used to entice Russia into arms reductions. Second, GOP support of ratification of the 2010 New Start treaty was tied to promises of nuclear modification. A collapse of modernization efforts will preclude any possibility of bipartisan Senate support needed for future nuclear agreements as domestic support of arms reduction agreements is contingent on confidence in US nuclear capabilities. [4] This is a perception based issue, meaning the mere occurrence of a budget crisis will derail the prospects of future arms agreements.


G. Nuclear weapons represent possibly the single greatest threat to the future of the human race. Arms agreements like START are critical to keeping the spectra of nuclear war at bay. Not only are such agreements our only hope for a nuclear-free world, arms agreements prevent proliferation and reduce the chances of nuclear miscalculation. Arms agreements include verification programs that yields transparency between participants. This removes an impetus for proliferation due to perceived capability imbalances and maintains a degree of trust and confidence in intentions between participants. [5]


H) Strategic reductions of the ICBM force amounts to a one third reduction in the projected Triad budget force [1]. This savings comes both from reducing the cost of existing operations and foregoing planned modernization efforts.

Contention 2: Nuclear Terrorism

A) Low morale, underfunding, etc. have led to an epidemic of misbehavior and security lapses in the ICBM program. A laundry list to illustrate the disarray of the program: a commander was fired for going on a drunken bender while on mission in Moscow; a unit controlling ONE THIRD of ICBM FAILED a security inspection; officers in possession of nuclear launch keys have twice been caught sleeping on duty in nuclear command capsules with security doors ajar; the number two nuclear commander was reprimanded for gambling at a casino with fake chips; a criminal drug ring run by an ICBM officer who ALSO RAN A GANG. Existing ICBM facilities are wildly out of date and use decades old computers pre-dating floppy disks. [6]

B) The terrible management of the ICBM program is endemic to the system- the Air Force fundamentally doesn’t believe in the value of the program. The Air Force views the ICBM program as unessential to national security, as evidenced by misbehavior at all levels of command. The political will doesn’t exist to take the ICBM program seriously and security problems will persist. The problems described above have persisted despite multiple security reviews and reports over the past decade. [6]


C) The impact is nuclear terrorism. ICBM’s are land based and pose a unique risk of being targeted for terrorist hijacking of missiles. Multiple security lapses and systematic failure to adhere to basic security procedures make the possibility of nuclear terrorism very real. In the case where security blast doors were deliberately left open while officer on duty were napping, a maintenance worker discovered the behavior. [7] An officer in the ICBM program was running organized criminal- infiltration of the ICBM program is not only conceivable but is actively occurring.


Contention 3: Eliminate the Third Wheel

A) Nuclear weapons serve a narrow role in U.S. security- they are only effective as a deterrent against nuclear attacks by other countries. A combination of international norms and symmetrical deterrence by other nuclear powers means nukes can’t be used as a military stick in foreign policy. The reason the US hasn’t used nuclear weapons in the past 60 years is because the only thing nukes are good for is stopping other people from using nukes. The U.S. only needs a nuclear force capable of providing a credible deterrent.

B) ICBM are least effective leg of the nuclear triad for multiple reasons: they are stationary targets easily identifiable by satellite; critical missile launch paths are inflexible and risk alarming third parties by crossing private airspace; ICBM have long trajectories and so require quick launch times, risking miscalculation. [8]


C) Nuclear subs are critical to US deterrent capability. Subs are mobile, giving them the best chance to survive a nuclear attack. Subs are located globally, giving them shorter range launches and flexible launch trajectories. SLBM have optimal second-strike capability and are thus not only sufficient for US security needs, but exceed the technical requirements needed to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent

D) ICBM costs directly trade off with funding supporting SLBM. In addition to the risk to the SLBM modernization outline in Contention 1, budget constraints mean the DOD is focusing on upgrading our existing ICBM stock rather than researching new SLBM. Shifting away from ICBM allows the US to focus on developing new SLBM technology [9]


E) The impact is two-fold. First, the ICBM program is an unneeded anchor on US defense spending. The ICBM program does not serve defense needs and so should be eliminated as an unnecessary expenditure. Second, the ICBM program sucks funding from other programs more vital to the nuclear mission.


Eliminating the ICBM program is crucial to avoiding the budgetary implosion of the US nuclear program. There are two impact scenarios: first, a loss of US nuclear deterrence. Second, loss of domestic support for arms control agreements.

The ICBM program creates a unique risk of nuclear terrorism due to chronic mismanagement. The failure of past reform attempts indicates that elimination of the program is the only way fix this hole in security.

Finally, ICBM are simply not needed. They aren’t worth the money we spend and compete for funding with the more important aspects of US nuclear defense.



Debate_King1475 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Pro has broken the first rule in this debate: "No forfeits."

Per rule 9, this merits a loss.

Additionally, my wonderful opening round should be enough to warrant a Pro ballot.

Thanks, vote Pro.


Debate_King1475 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Again, con has conceded vote pro


Debate_King1475 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Debate_King1475 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Raisor 1 year ago
F-16 I sent you a challenge with an identical Resolution.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 1 year ago
I missed it by SEVEN seconds? Ugh.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 1 year ago
I tried to accept this but it was no longer in the challenge period. Missed it by seconds. Good luck guys. I'll be following.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: ff