The Instigator
Pro (for)
14 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
21 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: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,790 times Debate No: 69882
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (113)
Votes (7)




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. Thanks Raisor for the debate challenge.
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A) The US Nuclear Triad is grossly outdated and in need of overhaul.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) 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- it 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.



R1: Trillion Dollar Nuclear Triad

Pro implies that we will see a one-third reduction of a trillion dollar cost over thirty years if we eliminate ICBM. The real savings estimate is much lower. According to Fig 1 in Pro's source [1, pg13], it is actually a one fourth reduction of just the current costs of the nuclear triad which amounts to around $80-90 billion over thirty years. Pro's source also adds in the cost of a "Minuteman follow-on" which is a replacement to the current Minuteman III missiles. There is no need for the USFG to do that as the Minuteman III can be refurbished to extend its life till 2030. According to the CBO, over the next 10 years, $10 billion can fund modernization [2, pg14] of ICBMs.

Counterplan: The USFG should substantially reduce its Strategic Bomber force and forgo LRS-B

The USAF currently has 94 heavy bombers that can be equipped with nuclear weapons of which they intend to maintain 60 under new START and they can be maintained through at least 2040-2050. Bombers share many of the same strengths and weaknesses as SLBM. They are global and mobile while also being high value targets. They are vulnerable to being destroyed in accidents while on a mission whereas a nuclear attack on ICBM is a direct act of nuclear war. According to Pro’s source, the Bombers are the most expensive leg of the triad. They are also not routinely equipped with nuclear weapons. I propose that a) The number of Bombers be substantially reduced, and b) The USFG not invest in the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B). The current fleet will last approximately 30 years.

If my counterplan is solvent, it takes all of Pro’s fiscal impacts in C1 which is the entirety of his C1.

R2: Nuclear Terrorism

A) Isolated security lapses and misbehavior are non-unique to ICBMs. A study by retired military officers found problems with all three legs of the triad including staffing at submarine bases being so scarce that nucelar armed submarines were kept away from patrols far longer than intended undermining their deterrent capabilities [3]. There will be bad apples in every sector of the military. The solution is to root them out as opposed to eliminating a leg of the nuclear triad.

B) There is no evidence to show that Air Force believes that the ICBM program is not essential. Pro's source is an opinion from a new article which actually claimed that "the Air Force will sabotage ICBM replacement and keep finding excuses to save money on the LRS-B by delaying nuclear certification for the aircraft." This is non-unique. If Pro's source actually holds, it supports my counterplan as well. Pro's source also argues that people don't take their job seriously because they think nukes are unimportant. If this stands, it applies to all nuclear weapons and isn't unique to ICBM.

C) Security concerns of nuclear terrorism are grossly exaggerated. We’ve had nukes and securely guarded them for over 70 years. Terrorists don't normally hijack missiles. The primary risk from terrorism is that terrorists could steal fissile material used to create nuclear weapons which apply to all the triad legs. It is near impossible for a terrorist to break into a silo, steal an ICBM and walk out just because it is on land or hold the launch site at gunpoint as they have multilayered security [4].

R3: Eliminate the Third Wheel

A) Deterrence is not the only reason to have nuclear weapons. The US must be prepared to fight and win a nuclear war should one occur. While the potential for nuclear weapons to wipe out humankind in a very large scale nuclear war exists, nuclear war does not always involve extinction of mankind. Brian Martin, a professor of Social Sciences outlines several scenarios:

Limited nuclear war in the periphery: Nuclear war breaks out in the Middle East. US and Russia place their nuclear forces on the highest alert. A state of emergency is declared and the dissidents are rounded up. The crisis may contribute to an increased arms race.

Limited nuclear war between superpowers: A limited exchange of nuclear weapons occurs destroying a sizeable number of military and civilian targets. Further political mobilization and arms race occur.

Global nuclear war: A massive nuclear war occurs killing hundreds of millions of people in the US, Russia and elsewhere but need not lead to human extinction. Most of the radioactivity will have died away by the time it reaches areas away from major nuclear conflict. [5]

B-E) ICBMs while stationary are also in hardened individual silos making them low value targets. Each ICBM silo is also orders of magnitude cheaper than a submarine. The best survivability comes from keeping both.

Pro’s impact of crossing private airspace is warrantless. A phone call is all it takes to alert third parties after a missile launch and can be done in minutes. With a well-staffed DOD and White House, this is trivial. It also makes the inflexibility of missile paths irrelevant.

Pro’s source doesn’t say anything about quick launching due to longer trajectories and I don’t see what difference it makes to strike our opponents a few minutes later anyways. What the source discusses is whether ICBM need to be launched quickly in order to avoid being destroyed pre-launch and also mentions that “Land-based missiles are vulnerable to attack, but they don't need to be launched quickly because there are hundreds of them dispersed across the country [6]."

Bombers have the same weakness of pre-launch vulnerability but do not have the advantage of being in silos which makes destroying all ICBM a herculean task. Cost trade-off to SLBMs occurs with my counterplan as well and isn't unique.

==== My case: Why we should keep ICBMs ====

C1: ICBM survivability characteristics diversifies risk

The Minuteman III missiles which comprise the ICBM force are secured in geographically separated silos equipped to handle nuclear environments like overpressure and EMP. Due to accuracy limitations, the adversary would be forced to use at least a two-on-one scheme to ensure destruction of each missile requiring them to use over 900 warheads which makes Russia the only credible threat. Each silo is a low value target as it only has one warhead [7]. This causes waste and exhaustion of opposing forces which significantly weakens their nuclear capabilities and exposes them to easy attack serving as a massive deterrent.

All nuclear bombers are stationed at a mere three US bases and are vulnerable to pre-launch attacks [8]. The bases contain multiple bombers and therefore are high value targets. ICBMs offer a cheaper alternative to manufacturing substantially more bombers.

Of the fourteen SLBM-carrying submarines in service, each carry about 96 warheads and 4-5 of them are at port at any given time. The submarines at port are vulnerable, high value targets with a single warhead potentially destroying 96 warheads. Submarines at sea are high value targets if detected [7]. ICBMs offer a hedge against advances in submarine detection technology by the Russians. Without ICBMs, we leave the nuclear capability of the US hanging solely on Russian inability to make advances in anti-submarine warfare. The survivability of the nuclear triad complement each other. The impact is safeguarding our nuclear arsenal and nuclear deterrence.

C2: ICBMs as buffer

ICBMs offer a target away from civilians and the other components of the triad. To avoid retaliation from ICBMs, opposing forces must target the ICBM silos first or in conjunction with the other triad components.

Targeting ICBMs first alerts the US to a hostile nuclear power and enables second strike from SLBMs and strategic bombers. Targeting the triad simultaneously makes the attack more complicated and exhausts resources. The large quantity of resources that need to be spent attacking ICBMs in hardened silos weakens the attack elsewhere allowing the US to gain the advantage.

It is easier to pin down an attack on ICBM silos as hostile since it is an attack on US sovereignty than it is to pin down an attack on SLBMs or Strategic Bombers which could easily be results of accidents. The impact is high moral ground which results in international allies, and political capital in negotiating favorable treaties.

C3: ICBMs as post-nuclear war reserves

The USFG should store a substantial number of ICBMs in reserve in the event of a nuclear war. What happens in a nuclear war? Despite popular perceptions nuclear war doesn’t typically end in total elimination of a nation’s population or human extinction [5]. ICBMs can be stored underground to provide a reserve of strategic nuclear weapons for a long time in a post-nuclear war world. They have two advantages over SLBMs. First, they are cheaper to store securely in underground bases than SLBMs constantly at sea. Second, they will last substantially longer than the operational life of SLBMs without land-based logistic support [9]. In a post-nuclear war world with a highly reduced population and economic and industrial breakdown, cheap and durable access to a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons can shift the balance of power back to the United States against an occupying power. The impact is liberty of the American people against a hostile, occupying power which will have the leverage to enforce unfair treaties and force reparations if the US surrenders.











Debate Round No. 2



Con should defend a single and consistent advocacy. Con has advocated a counterplan (CP), so he should be bound to defend that counterplan throughout this debate because:

a) It’s unfair to allow Con to shift his advocacy. If Con can change his CP he can just shift the goalposts in resonse to all my arguments.

b) Pro has to defend a single position- the Resolution. It’s only fair the Con do the same

c) Con has last speech. If he is allowed to shift his advocacy he could do so in the final round and I have no way of responding.

d) Multiple positions is a time skew. I’m going to spend this whole round attacking his CP; if he shifts his advocacy he will invalidate my entire R2 without doing any work.

e) Allowing Con to to defend multiple contradictory advocacies promotes lazy and intellectually dishonest debating.

In choosing to advocate a CP, Con has forfeited his right to defend the status quo.

Perm the CP: Do both - the CP is not mutually exclusive to the Rez. We can eliminate ICBM and forego LSR-B research while maintaining sufficient nuclear deterence with subs and our existing bomber force. The CP therefore does not prove we shouldn’t do the Resolution.

DA1: Conventional Military Power

The primary function of the heavy bombers the LRS-B will replace is conventional warfare. B-52s etc play are crucial to deterring military aggression- they have historically been deployed to Asia in response to crises. Bombers serve a key role in conventional warfare, as they did in Iraq and Afghaistan

Conventional military power is more crucial to deterring conflict and upholding security agreements such as with NATO. Conventional power is what we actually use when we flex our muscles and engage in hard diplomacy. We must prioritize our conventional arsenal over our nuclear arsenal.

Experts question the reliability of our existing bomber fleet- much of which is over 50 years old. Without the LRS-B, the US will rely on a decaying bomber fleet with no plan for replacement. Given the recent shift in US strategy to a focus on the Asia Pacific and the aggressive modernization efforts of Russia and China, foregoing upgrading our bomber fleet seriously jeopardizes US security.

The impact is regional and global conflict and the collapse of the global economy:

“...navigation and access to the South China Sea is...vital to the economy of every nation in North America and East Asia. More than half of the world’s shipping passes through the South China Sea .. Any attempt to restrict universal access to this maritime common could impact the security, political stability, and economic prosperity of the United States... Long-range bombers, conducting maritime reconnaissance and capable of anti-shipping operations, could actively and passively maintain situational awareness of the vast Asia-Pacific maritime region. “


It’s taken years to get the ball rolling on planning for the LRS-B and it will take decades until it is operational. If we wait until our bomber force falls apart, we will go decades militarily crippled.

DA2: Politics

Extend my [4] that nuclear modernization was key to getting domestic support for the New Start treaty. By foregoing LRS-B, Con reneges on the promise of modernization, crippling future efforts at arms agreements as right-wing hawks will remember this betrayal.

C1) ICBM Solvency

a) Pro misrepresents my source by excluding follow-on missile programs, the cost of replacement ICBM shown in Figure 10, and the ICBM contribution to the $350 billion NNSA cost. Even so, if ICBM only accounted for a one-fourth cost reduction the savings are still massive. ICBM will cost hundreds of billions we don’t have over the next 30 years.

b) Con claims we can exclude the cost of the follow-on missile program, but the program is the planned replacement of our ICBM. The government is committed to the program so the cost is real- its money the government WILL try to spend. Without the follow on program all ICBM go offline in 2030 with no replacement missiles. This is exactly the “unplanned disarmament” I talk about in my C1.

c) Con’ CBO source notes that the follow-on program is a real cost that the study hasnt accounted for; modernization is a real cost of the ICBM program:

“For this study, CBO assumed that DoD would develop a new silo-based missile... Design of that missile would need to begin around 2018 to ensure that the new missile was available by 2030”

d. Con’s CBO source [2], by its own admission, underestimates savings:

“ the potential savings in life-cycle costs from eliminating a leg of the triad (and the associated military personnel) would probably be higher than the costs shown in this report, because the 10-year period examined here does not capture the full cost of modernizing nuclear forces.”

CP Solvency:

a) Con doesn’t specify what “substantially” means, so I will assume he means the planned reduction from 94 to 60 bombers under new START. These savings are already accounted for in my [1]; his only savings come from eliminating the LRS-B.

b) Con’s savings will be far less than Pro’s because he retains the majority of the bomber program. As his own CBO source [2] says:

“Because of fixed costs for infrastructure and other factors, a partial reduction in the size of the force from cuts to any of the current systems that make up the nuclear triad would be likely to result in cost savings that were proportionally less than the relative reduction in the force.”

c) Con’s plan results in less than half the savings of Pro, assuming he saves $100 billion from the LRS-B and I save 25% of $1 trillion.


a. While other organizations have “bad apples” the Air Force has a systemic problem:

Unlike the Air Force, which continues to make headlines for cheating scandals related to the network of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, Navy cheating on this scale has been rare and isolated to ongoing qualifications underway”


b. The ICBM force faces unique morale problems. Officers have lost faith in their leaders, internal studies showed that many officers wished they could transfer to other Air Force divisions, and many believe Air Force leadership intentionally de-emphasized training for the ICBM program. Cross apply my argument that these problems exist at all levels at leadership; this isnt just a few bad apples. My evidence is all unique to ICBM.


c. Pro says it is nearly impossible for a terrorist to break into a silo- but cross apply my evidence that a GANG LEADER had access to ICBM silos. A man trafficking in drugs and sex rings could allow unsavory characters access to secure areas.

d. Con is sticking his head in the sand. The litany of disciplinary problems in the ICBM program are exactly the sort of warning signs we can’t ignore. These problems show a deterioration of the force, making the past 70 years irrelevant.

e. The Air Force doesn’t want nuclear certification for the LRS-B because it's expensive, this proves lack of commitment to the nuclear mission. This doesn’t at all prove that the unique security deficiencies of ICBM also exist for our bomber force.

f. This entire argument cross-applies to my C3. The deficiencies in the ICBM force also undermine its effectiveness- it doesn’t matter how many missiles we have if they are chronically mismanaged.


1. Extend my analysis that the primary goal of our nuclear force is deterring nuclear war. This is accomplished by any credible second-strike ability; if the enemy believes we have the ability to retaliate MAD will prevent a first strike.

2. Con’s arguments about a post-nuclear war world are absurd. We shouldn’t base our national security decisions on the outside chance that the US isn’t completely annihilated in a nuclear war. Our overwhelming priority is the prevention of nuclear and conventional war.

3. All we can do is make wild guesses about the outcome of all out nuclear war. These predictions aren’t credible enough to weigh against immediate considerations like the balance of power between the US and Russia.

4. Extend my R3 analysis that SLBM give adequate nuclear response capability.

5. Con’s scenerios all end with a new arms race- we can re-think ICBM then.

Con’s Case:


a) Con’s own analysis shows SLBM are an adequate deterrent- by his math even in the worst case scenario of 5 submarines getting hit at port, we would have almost 900 nukes available for retaliation. This is in addition to any surviving bomber force. These numbers demonstrate that subs have high survivability.

b) Existing and new bombers also offer a hedge against anti-sub warfare- a two legged nuclear force is adequate.


ICBM acting as a buffer is a ridiculous argument.

a) Any attack on the US would include both silos and sub ports and air-bases. The High Value targets Con discusses will be attacked first no matter what.

b) ICBM ensure that any nuclear war will require a huge number of nuclear weapons, increasing the environmental impact of war. The carpet bombing required to attack 450 missile silos would create devastating destruction to the US even if the bombs don’t hit cities. This means that the a nuclear war in a world with ICBM is much worse than in a world without.



a) Turn: ICBM as post-war reserves is a security risk.

If society collapses, the LAST thing we want is unsecured nuclear weapons. The geographic distribution and large number of ICBM means they will be difficult to secure in a post-war environment, making them vulnerable to theft or hijacking by terrorist.

b) The post-war scenario is unrealistic. First, nukes make no sense as a weapon against an occupying power. Second, there is no reason to believe a crippled nuclear weapons stockpile would not swing the balance of power back to the US.


R1: Counterplan

Pro incorrectly but understandably assumes that my CP refers to the planned reduction from 94 to 60 bombers. I didn't give an exact number because a) Pro's numbers were vague. b) There are large variations in cost projections of nuclear technology which is shown by how imprecise Pro's source is with its estimates. I'll clarify the CP here:

Bomber force costs about twice as much as ICBM. Reducing a triad leg in half won't halve cost. To get the same benefits as Pro (without counting LRSB), we'd have to cut the number of Bombers by MORE than half. With 60 Bombers in service, my plan could result in retaining around 15-20 Bombers at half the price. The exact number is difficult to predict due to the nature of nuclear technology but my CP's solvency doesn't depend on needing more than a nominal force.

Concede that Minuteman follow-on is needed. Pro gains no cost-impacts from this. Pro case advocates forgoing follow-on while I advocate forgoing LRSB. The cost savings are comparable. NNSA cost savings apply to both of us. To conclude, a significant reduction in the Bomber force (to less than half) to halve the cost gets me the same cost benefits as Pro, including NNSA and every other cost.

Perm fails:
A) Cross-apply my C1 on ICBM being hard to destroy, low value targets. With only the subs and a nominal force of Bombers, we move close to having a Monad and will lack diversity of forces.

B) Lack of diversity leaves US without a hedge against advancement in Anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The small number of Bombers that we will have left are vulnerable to same weaknesses as submarines: high value targets at base, liable to accidents. It only takes one genius advancement in anti-sub technology (ala Atom bomb) to expose the underwater world. While current submarine stealth technology is ahead of ASW, historical precedent has shown us that it oscillates.

C) Implementing both plan and CP leaves US without the bulk of its nuclear teeth. The mere threat of ASW advancement will be enough to cause unrest among US and allies regardless of whether ASW is actually advancing. Apply Pro's evidence on US allies relying on US nuclear capability and it can't be hanging by a thread solely dependent on the belief that ASW has not advanced. CP if solvent is a reason to reject resolution.

DA1: Conventional war
A) Gulf War: B52s role limited. Used as tactical fighter aircraft. The nuclear role emphasized long range, low-altitude, centrally planned strikes against fixed targets with little to no communication. During Desert Storm, B52s required tactical fighter support and were used against mobile targets. Changes of the assigned targets required frequent communications to update plans. B52s were inadequate for the demands of Desert Storm's conventional missions and not used to its full potential. [10]

B) Reconnaissance: Using Bombers for reconnaissance in the South China Sea is laughable. Reconnaissance was conducted by Bombers equipped with cameras during WWII. Today, the strategic role has passed to satellites [12][13] and the tactical role to drones [12]. The US also has dedicated reconnaissance aircraft such as the U-2 and the SR-71.

C) Anti-shipping operations: Conventional Attack Submarines are specifically built for tactical missions, including sinking ships and subs, launching cruise missiles, and gathering intelligence [14] not to mention Aircraft carriers can deploy a variety of fighter aircraft [15].

D) The only advantage of Bombers is the longer range which is significantly mitigated by aerial refueling. A small force of Bombers is sufficient for long range missions inland such as Afghanistan when working in tandem with fighters.

E) Pro's source says that the B2 will last till 2058. Re-evaluations for new aircraft can be done after 2045 outside the scope of the 30 year timeline tacitly agreed to for this debate and after other triad legs are modernized so costs are spaced out. "Experts" will always question reliability of fleets. Pro doesn't cite who. Other aircraft have successful 50 year service, B52 is no exception. B2 is relatively new.

F) Link to the global economy impact tenuous. Won't collapse merely because one nation (USA) doesn't have Bombers in the South China Sea. Other weapons do the same job.

G) Bomber's role replaceable, not integral to US security. Large number of Bombers unnecessary for conventional warfare, waste of resources. US conventional security ensured by fighter aircraft, attack submarines, ships, drones, and satellites. Non-nuclear bombers are WWII relic.

DA2: Politics
Non-unique. Forgoing modernization of ICBM and in fact, eliminating them altogether will affect domestic support for the New START treaty as well. This doubles if we do both plan and CP. Another reason to reject Perm.

R2: Nuclear Terrorism

A) Nuclear terrorism is caused by terrorists stealing fissile materials to create weapons. Every instance so far has been of that type. Terrorism is not caused due to morale problems. The bases are secure enough that one person going to sleep will not result in terrorism. Pro's link to terrorism is non-existent and misleading.

B) ICBM security has actually improved in the past 70 years. There used to be no Permissive Action Link (PAL) and the codes were all set to 00000000 [24]. With the introduction of PAL, with encrypted firing parameters, and anti-tamper systems not to mention being located in secure air force bases where employees can't just allow their "unsavory friends" inside to hijack missiles, ICBMs are safer than ever.

C) Gang leader, isolated example. Counter-example: USS Miami destroyed in ARSON by dock worker [16].

D) Morale problems caused due to the frigid winters at the Minot Air Force base which is where Pro's drug scandal occurred [18]. Non-unique to ICBM. Morale also low because soldiers drive to missile sites in freezing weather. Being remedied by issuing winter clothing [19]. Turn: Pro's source says modernizing ICBM can solve morale problem.

R3: Third Wheel

A) Deterrence only works when adversaries are rational. Must prepare for nuclear war with irrational opponents. Pro doesn't refute evidence that not all nuclear war will end in MAD merely calling it absurd.

B) Rebuilding ICBM from scratch wastes time and resources. Resolution advocates destroying silos and facilities as well.

C) Backup needed to hedge against breakthroughs in ASW when subs may not be a deterrent.

================ My case: Why we should keep ICBMs ================

C1: Diversifies risk

A) Submarines can be destroyed at sea. Any adversary that develops a breakthrough in ASW poses a risk to submarines. ASW has been advancing with time. The MH60R Romeo ASW Helicopter can find, track, and destroy all modern subsurface threats [22]. In fact, the United States Navy aims to "deny enemy submarines an offensive capability by maintaining the ability to destroy them, if and when required, at a time and place of our choosing." [23]

B) Nuclear submarines and Bombers can all be destroyed by conventional weapons [21]. The ICBMs are the sole triad leg that REQUIRES that the adversary use nukes. What if submarines are tracked and destroyed by conventional means by either terrorists groups or unstable nations? If it takes decades to rebuild, we need a backup. Bombers don't serve that role well as they are vulnerable to the same weaknesses as submarines.

C) Pro drops ASW, and the similarity of Bombers to submarines. Both are prone to accidents, and unprotected. ICBM are different. They are protected differently, and are a hedge against ASW. Without ICBM, the security of our nuclear arsenal and of the US will be compromised.

C2: Buffer

A) Pro ignores that there are only three air bases, and five submarine ports compared with 450 ICBMs in protected silos requiring a two to one attack or 900 nuclear warheads. Subs at sea if tracked don't exhaust opponent's nukes. This is unique to ICBM.

B) This argument is nonsensical. Without ICBM, our adversaries can directly attack US cities, military bases, and centers of industry. Using up nearly all their warheads to carpet-bomb fortified silos in the middle of nowhere means those warheads are not available to be used on cities.

C) Nuclear climate change is a different threat from direct bombing. It doesn't result in instant death. People can evacuate to unaffected areas and adapt their lifestyles to survive. The impact is survival of Americans and the chance to rebuild. Without ICBMs as buffer, we could potentially be wiped out by a similar scale of attack.

C3: Reserves

A) My proposal was to store ICBM in secure underground bases where military and political leaders have access to them. ICBM are secured with PAL and require multiple people enter the code so terrorists can't threaten someone into launching them. The threat of US leadership launching nuclear weapons when most have been destroyed is a good deterrent from further attack.

B) While some nuclear wars may cause extinction, not all will. People still live in Hiroshima. A larger scale nuclear war might cripple redevelopment but is nothing like Pro's implication that time, space and matter end once nuclear weapons are fired.

C) Mankind has survived for tens of thousands of years through Ice Ages, the Plague, and numerous threats. We will rebuild our cities. We will improve our environment. We will reclaim our territory. Extinction of humans in a nuclear war is very real possibility but is far from certainty. But we must be prepared. And we must have back-up plans. ICBM are that backup.

















Debate Round No. 3


*As a reminder to judges and Con, this round is artificially restricted to 6000 characters*

a) Solvency

Con has no evidence to support his cost analysis. As the CBO notes, simply cutting the number of bombers does nothing to fixed costs like the cost of R&D in modernization or upkeep of facilities.

Con can’t leverage savings from the NNSA budget; this is cost specifically associated with fixed costs like maintaining the chain of command, engineering, and logistics.

Eliminating the entire ICBM leg guarantees solvency - my savings estimates are reliable. Savings from elminating ICBM could exceed projected costs as reduction of inefficiencies like bureaucracy and procurement spillover to the other two legs of the triad. My [1] specifically cites the difficulty of managing multiple modernization programs. The CP requires modernization of the existing fleet as part of extending the life of the fleet to 2050. Con has no solvency for managerial simplification.

Con's estimate is based on a CONSERVATIVE ICBM saving of 25% of a trillion dollar estimate not allowing for budget over runs and poor project management - and a LIBERAL LRS-B saving of 100 million. In the best case Con has to get rid of 75% of long range bombers to match my solvency. This is a clear indication of a solvency deficit in the CP

I'm kicking the Perm.

b) Conventional War

The bomber force has been used in Iraqi Freedom, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, and against ISIS. New smart bomb technology has amplified bomber’s efficacy since Con's Desert Storm report- bombers were crucial to Iraqi freedom.

[15] “Operation Iraqi Freedom: A First-Blush Assessment” CSBA 2003

The B-2 stealth bomber plays a huge role in reconnaissance and power projection. The bomber has longer flight range than drones and is more flexible and quickly deployable than subs. The US relies on multiple platforms but bombers are essential. Stealth, range, and speed maked bomber critical to power projection.

The stealth capabilities of the B-2 are critical to maintaining a credible deterrent against Chinese aggression towards Japan. One report notes the biggest weakness of the B-2 is “there are simply not enough of them.” The CP hurts our deterent capability.


Con’s sources are generic links to wikipedia, prefer my specialist authored reports specifically addressing modern security. My [11] gives many examples of B-2 enabling US power projection and stabilizing global conflict. Stealth bombers are critical as Pacific countries like China and Russia develop “Area Denial” technology designed to monopolize strategic commons like airspace.

The China Sea is just one example of the man flashpoints for conflict that are held in check by the US bomber force- I could spend this entire round listing specific ways bombers are used to prevent conflict.

Even if we can maintain the B-2 for 40 years, Con calls for a 75% reduction in the existing force.

Cross apply all my R1 impacts regarding US security guarantees.

c) Nuclear Terrorism

First, all these morale and security problems also undermine ICBM strike capability.

Terrorists try new attack venues all the time- 9/11 was an unprecedented attack method. All it takes is one officer to intentionally allow a catastropic breach in security.

One of facility failed inspection

“...because security forces did not respond adequately to a simulated hostile takeover of a silo housing a nuclear missile.”


Study after study has shown chronic low morale in the program over the past decade [6].

Go read Con’s source on PAL codes, it is terrifying- his argument is “we used to be TERRIBLE at ICBM security, now we're OK.” Terrorists can steal codes or torture officers who know the codes.

d) Nuclear Readiness

The only standard by which to measure nuclear capability is deterrent capacity. The US doesn’t actively use nukes or even threaten to use them. This means the strategic role of nukes is deterrence.

Subs alone provide adequate second strike capability - Con’s CBO source calls submarines “the most survivable leg.” Retaining a full-strength bomber force gives us redundancy. Second strike capability is sufficient to provide deterrence.

ASW is not a threat to nuclear deterrence-the navy paper cited has no credible warrants.

No country is even close to the tech required to coordinate a strike on all our airbases/ports harboring nukes AND rely on attack helicopters to simultaneously take out 10 subs. Anyone willing to try that would be willing to do so while carpet bombing an ICBM force anways.

Whether we have ICBM or bomber we will still have a sizable nuclear force after a limited nuclear war. We have a huge warhead stockpile and could convert conventional medium range missiles and aircraft to nuclear delivery systems.

Turn: Cutting bombers increases risk of miscalculation and nuclear war- ICBM require a decision to launch or not launch, while SLBM and bombers allow for de-esculation:

Con’s [2] “ Bombers provide the most flexibility, because the tempo of their operations can be ramped up or down, signaling intent to an adversary.”

Con effectively concedes my environmental argument. ICBM require an opponent exhausting their nuclear arsenal, guaranteeing that any war results in an environmental apocalypse- "tens of millions would die" [14]. Exhausting an opponent’s nukes is not inherently valuable.

Nuclear war probably will cause extinction or societal collapse. Con is sacrificing real world security concerns for post-apocalyptic fantasy scenarios.

Post-war ICBM would be geographically diverse WMD’s in a country with broken infrastructure and chain of command. The US spent billions after the dissolution of the USSR to prevent exactly what Con is advocating.

e) Politics

No link- axing ICBM can be spun as rebalancing while we modernize subs and bombers.

CP directly links - My [4] states that the 1251 report was key to getting support for START; this report specifically commits to a new bomber.



==== CP Solvency ====

Pro arguing I should less than halve the Bomber force (75% cut) is a waste of time since that is exactly what I advocated.

Pro gives no breakdown of NNSA costs or how much they allocate for each purpose. NNSA manages the nuclear stockpile. Smaller stockpile means less costs. Bureaucratic inefficiencies are negligible impacts in nuclear war. Pro doesn't quantify them.

I have not used conservative estimates for mine and liberal estimates for Pro's. See Table 1 of his source 1. LRSB is between $55-100b. Minuteman follow-on is between $20-120b. I said they were comparable.

==== How to judge this debate? ====

Decisions on whether to keep or destroy a nuclear triad leg should be based on:

1. Presenting a credible deterrent
2. Ensuring survival should an adversary attack us first

My CP does them best.

1: Deterrence

A) Deterrence credibility in the eyes of the world takes a hit upon switching to a dyad. Pro says ASW is underdeveloped. Doesn't answer my arguments that a) It is the threat of advancement in ASW that will undermine our deterrence credibility, b) Historical precedent shows the stealth/ASW race oscillates.

B) Enemy states could easily sponsor terrorists and rogue agents to conventionally destroy our subs. Pro drops that if it takes decades to build subs, the attacks need not be simultaneous. The possibility will worry people under the US nuclear umbrella as well.

C) Pro claims that the same people will also carpet bomb silos but drops that a) Only Russia has enough nukes to carpet bomb, b) They will be exhausted, and c) It will be a direct, open attack on US sovereignty.

D) Miscalculation/signaling turn doesn't work when we still retain a smaller number of bombers.

E) US has more nukes quantitatively than any other state and similar to Russia. By FORCING our adversaries into symmetric warfare rather than asymmetric warfare, we retain our advantage. Only ICBM threaten our opposition with the daunting task of matching our arsenal rather than asymmetrically destroying our subs and bombers.

2: Survival

A) Solely focusing on deterrence is foolish when a) The US-Russia nuclear rivalry is increasing again [26], b) Deterrence only works on rational actors. Pro drops this.

B) Inherent value of exhausting our adversaries nukes is so they can't directly attack cities. Pro acts like the alternative is our enemy will simply hold onto those nukes and do nothing if we lack ICBM. This is illogical. If they committed to attacking the US, they will hit our industrial and population centers. But with ICBM, they are forced to exhaust their power, bombing silos in a desert.

C) Pro drops that people can relocate and adapt in the event of environmental degradation. If silos in North Dakota are bombed, people in nearby cities can relocate to California. But if 900 warheads are directed at the 900 largest US cities, there is very little chance of Americans surviving. Pro drops Hiroshima example. US has large land area increasing likelihood that some parts will be unaffected.

C) US population 300 million. Pro says tens of millions will die if silos are bombed. Why should we not care about the survival and welfare of the remaining 200+ million people? This isn't a post-apocalyptic fantasy. It is the difference between tens of millions dying and America existing.

D) Reserves: Even if tens of millions die, it is a small proportion of our population. Military and political chains of command are specific and fixed. The president has 17 backups in case of death [25]. Nukes can be secured post-war. USSR analogy fails, not under threat of occupation.

==== Pro's case ====

What does Pro offer to counter deterrence and survival? He argues for 1. conventional war, 2. nuclear terrorism. He also has a politics impact which is non-unique and not well developed: 1251 report also mentions ICBM and its replacement and reducing Bombers can be spun as re-balancing for Minuteman IV so it works for my side as well.

1. Conventional War

Pro says there aren't enough B-2 Bombers to project power in China. But why is conventional "power projection" something that we should aspire for? In a day when Obama has been trying to reverse Bush's interventionist policies, the last we need is to project power and threaten the airspace of China which causes regression of the progress made against the world's perception of the US as a police state.

Pro's source on Iraqi Freedom says that while Bombers were useful, this was primarily due a "benign air-defense environment" and lack of Iraqi aerial capability . This won't be true in China. Precision Guided Munitions or Smart Bombs have actually been used extensively in Desert Storm - by Fighters. They aren't new. The F-35 Lighning is a stealth aircraft as well. Stealth is not synonymous with Bombers. Pro provides no reason why stealth fighters can't be used to counter "Area Denial" technology.

Weigh "power projection" less than nuclear deterrence because it is offensive as opposed to defensive, does no good to image of the US, and only creates resentment.

2. Nuclear terrorism

The main issue here is that the link to nuclear terrorism is weak. Pro talks about low morale and soldiers wanting a different assignment. He does not counter that the Minot Air Force Base is freezing and accounts for the low morale. He does not counter my refutation of his source that low morale is prevalent among all three triad legs and not just ICBM. He makes a leap of logic to conclude that in his view, ICBM are useless, therefore the soliders stationed there have morale problems.

Weigh nuclear terrorism less than my impacts because we ought not to eliminate ICBM as a solution to reduce terrorism. We have not stopped using commercial aircraft after 9/11. The solution is to increase security. Pro mentions a simulation. The Air Force clearly will use it to improve security. Pro's source says that modernizing will improve morale so this destroys the morale argument altogether.




Debate Round No. 4


*As a reminder to judges and Con*, R4 is artificially limited to 4k characters*

I want to thank Con for this debate. I think this was a pretty interesting debate- I learned a lot and I hope Con did too.


Both sides are advocating for a restructuring of the nuclear triad- this debate is about which leg to cut: the ICBM or bomber leg. The CP reduces the bomber leg to an aging skeleton force torn between a conventional and nuclear mission with no plan for replacement.

There are effectively five topics on which the Rez and CP are competitive, and they can roughly be prioritized as follows:


Con’s case hinges on arguments that ICBM are critical to nuclear readiness. But a budget crisis will collapse US nuclear deterrence; Con must win that the CP solves the budget for any of his pro-ICBM arguments to be relevant. It doesn’t matter how great ICBM are if the US is forced to scrap the program due to a budget crisis.

Con concedes most of my first contention- that a budget crisis will collapse US nuclear deterrent and grants that cutting the ICBM program will solve this crisis. The Pro case is guaranteed to solve the budget; Con’s suffers from a major solvency deficit. My [1] notes that managerial complexity is a key feature of the crisis; the CP still requires modernization of all 3 legs of the triad and so can’t solve this. Only Pro leverages the cost savings of cutting an entire leg.

Conventional Military Power

Global economy and peace depends much more heavily on US conventional power than nuclear. The US uses its military all around the globe EACH DAY; nuclear weapons function mostly as a worst-case trump card. My R1 arguments about US security guarantees apply equally to conventional force; I have also provided evidence specific to the bomber program are essential to deterring Chinese aggression against Japan.

I have multiple sources for specific ways bombers are crucial to US power; Con can’t just dismiss these with his own assessment of the airforce and a 25 year old paper.

Loss of conventional military power outweighs concerns about nuclear deterrence because a) timeframe is immediate- the CP eliminates weapons we currently use to keep China and Russia in check, and b) probability of impact is much higher- China and Russia are already showing signs of military build up and aggressive action, loss of conventional deterrence will destabilize the globe.


The disarray and chronic mismanagement of ICBM both exposes us to a risk of nuclear terrorism and undermines the reliability of ICBM for nuclear defense. Despite promises that systematic failures of the program will be fixed, nothing has been fixed over the past decade. Budget issues means problems will only get worse. If we have to cut a leg off the triad, we should cut off the leg that’s a magnet for terrorism.


Subs are the most survivable leg of the triad; as long as we have subs we have second strike capability and credible deterrence. The bomber force ensures redundancy. The CP cripples the bomber force which are crucial to signaling intent- bombers can be deployed and recalled to signal a stand down. This makes miscalculation more likely and increases the odds of accidental nuclear war.

Con’s ASW arguments are based on speculation about technology that doesn’t exist and convoluted plots for terrorists to destroy subs.

Even if you buy Con’s arguments, loss of ICBM is only a marginal loss of deterrence. Nuclear war will still be improbable due to high costs to all parties. The immediate cost of losing conventional military power and risking total collapse of US nuclear deterrence in a budget crisis are more important.

I am winning the survivability issue- retaining ICBMs forces nuclear carpet bombing in the event of war, leading to environmental catastrophe that will disrupt agriculture and kill tens of millions- the impact is both death and societal collapse. But a credible deterrent means the odds of nuclear war are minimal. Survivability is a worst-case scenario that should not govern defense spending.


The Politics issue should be seen as a tiebreaker. Con concedes that CP directly links and jeopardizes arms control agreements.

Vote Pro



=== Debate Scope ===

For this debate to be instructive, consider plan vs CP over a fixed timeline. In R2, Pro advocated his plan based on a thirty-year timeline which I accepted. Anything beyond this is a moving goalpost, complicates cost comparisons, and should be rejected. Pro dropped my R3 timeline argument. Judges should therefore consider it binding.

=== Solvency ===

It is impossible for Pro to get a budget advantage as he conceded that a 75% reduction in the Bomber force will yield the same budgetary benefits as his plan. His own source shows that politics are non-unique. Bombers will eventually need to be modernized but outside the debate timeline so managerial complexity is moot.

=== Weighing Mechanism ===

This debate has four main impacts. Weigh them in the following order:

1: Deterrence

Weigh deterrence the highest as it is the primary purpose of a nuclear arsenal.

Subs are currently hidden but deterrence is about hedging for the future. The Atom Bomb wasn't a threat 30 years before it was dropped. Pro drops that the power of submarine stealth technology and ASW has historically oscillated which gives us a reason to believe that ASW will overtake in the near future.

Pro drops that the threat of advancement of ASW is dangerous because of perceptions. This is a massive win for me because perception is key in nuclear detterence. While Pro argues about current sub capability, he ignores that if the world is threatened by ASW advancement, the US nuclear umbrella will be under threat. Pro also drops that in the eyes in the world, the US switching to a dyad while others have triads is a sign of weakness which lowers our deterrent credibility.

Pro conceding his perm is telling as it shows he doesn't believe subs alone are a deterrent. He advocates bombers for redundancy. He drops my plethora of reasons why they are a poor choice. They are high value targets, prone to accidents, can be destroyed conventionally and covertly without intruding upon US soverignty and ICBM force symmetric warfare. ICBM and sub survivability complement while subs and bombers don't.

2: Survival

Slam dunk win for me as Pro drops that credibility of deterrence only works on rational actors, thus survival must be a factor in nuclear policy.

Pro drops that the US is vast and relocations will minimize deaths due to environmental degradation. Pro acts like nuclear war is the end of humanity yet says only tens of millions out of 300m will die. I win that ICBM as buffer will save 200+ million lives.

Pro drops Presidential succession so I win that nukes can be securely stored in reserve, winning freedom from occupation.

3. Conventional War

Weigh survival higher than conventional warfare. 200+ million lives is a massive impact that easily outweighs any impact magnitude from conventional war. With magnitude a win for me, this leaves probability.

Conventional war between US and China unlikely; no conventional wars between nuclear states ever. This undermines probability.

Pro asserts global economy and peace depend more on conventional than nuclear power. Cold War proves him wrong.

Even with lower probability, I should win surival/conventional war impact clash because American casualities in conventional wars like Iraq and Afg number in the thousands while mine's 200+ million. The US could fight hundreds of conventional wars and not reach my impact.

4. Terrorism

Weigh terrorism the least as a) Pro's warrants for terrorism have been reduced to nothing at his point, b) Cutting nuclear arsenal is not an appropriate response to terrorism which Pro drops. We didn't stop conventional air travel after 9/11. The solution is to improve security which even Pro points out is being done through simulations.

Pro has all but conceded that low morale due to ICBM is a cause-corelation fallacy and provides no evidence of unique problems due to ICBM. Prefer my evidence on freezing as a reason for low morale. Pro concedes modernizing ICBM will solve morale problem anyways so this argument self-destructs.
Debate Round No. 5
113 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
(1) "I severed on accident" isn't a great response to a severance perm argument.

(2) I've never seen a judge that says "you win that the perm is better than the CP, so I vote for the plan." The judge says "I vote for the perm." I agree it's not *always* an advocacy position, but it often is.
Posted by Raisor 3 years ago

I disagree that any perm is an advocacy. It can be if that's how it is argued, but it isn't necessarily.

Your 1) is a non sequitur, lots of things are time skews- that has nothing to do with whether a perm is an advocacy

Unique benefits to perm or any discussion of world of perm vs world of cp tests competitiveness of cp thru net benefits. Neg often claims (as in this debate) that even though cp is textually compatible, net Benz make it competitive. If perm beats cp on benefits, then the cp is non competitive. Aff doesn't win on the impacts of the perm, they win by showing the cp is non competitive and then in the impacts of case.

I didn't intend to sever any of the cp, I may have come up with a bad perm text but intent was not a severance perm. I was consciously tryin to make the perm explicitly a test of competitiveness bc I think perm as advocacy is illegitimate. Severance perm is an advocacy.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago

Perms are generally considered a new advocacy positions. Aff typically responds with: "no it's not a new advocacy. It's just to test the mutual exclusivity of the CP." The problem with that is that:

(1) It's a time skew just like a new advocacy position. Con can win turns specific to the perm only but lose all that offense when Pro kicks it.

(2) When Pro argues, as here, that there are unique benefits to the perm, this proves it is an advocacy, not merely a thought experiment to see if there is mutual exclusivity. If it were just a mutual exclusivity argument, Pro would label it that way and say, "see you can do both."

(3) Pro has no credibility to argue it's not an advocacy in this debate because it's a severance perm, meaning Pro doesn't actually advocate both. He severs out of the cuts to long range bombers and only cuts future *research.* (Here's what Pro said: "Perm the CP: Do both - the CP is not mutually exclusive to the Rez. We can eliminate ICBM and forego LSR-B research while maintaining sufficient nuclear deterence with subs and our existing bomber force."). So this perm doesn't merely prove that the plan and CP are not competitive; it creates a whole different plan that didn't exist until after Pro said "perm."
Posted by FourTrouble 3 years ago
bluesteel, that's awesome analysis of the debate. I hadn't even thought of cross-applying theory (the "it"s unfair that Pro gets two advocacies and Con only gets one" argument), but that's a great point -- something I'll keep in mind for my debates going forward.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
I didn't consider the perm as a whole different advocacy so it didn't seem as unfair then. I probably should have.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago

The difference is that a conventional deterrent has *triple* usefulness because (1) it is a deterrent to nuclear weapons use, (2) it is a deterrent to conventional aggression, and (3) it can actually be deployed in the battles we have had to fight (e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iraq, etc).
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
(1) Turn. Budget crisis good. Solves politics scenario for two reasons. (a) Right wingers won't blame the President for cutting ICBM's if the reason is a budget crisis. (b) If there is a Republican president when the budget crisis hits, Republicans won't blame the president for the cuts.

(2) The budget crisis argument proves that the status quo solves for most of Pro's offense. Pro concedes that a budget crisis forces cuts in the ICBM program. The only offense Pro has then is that (1) some ICBM's *might* remain, and (2) specific disadvantages to the rapidity of the cuts. However, that doesn't leave Pro much offense. A scaled down ICBM force due to budget cuts would be safer from terrorists because it would be easier to protect a smaller number of ICBM's. A scaled down ICBM force solves modernization costs because it's cheaper to modernize fewer ICBM's. While the cuts might seem "rapid" compared to Pro's plan, Congress -- assisted by the CRS, CBO, etc -- would still realize that it needed to do the cuts a few years in advance of the crisis. There's no way a bill would pass to just eliminate our entire nuclear deterrent just because there was a budget crisis.

(3) Pro's evidence is wrong. Cuts due to a budget crisis would likely happen across the board, reducing each prong of the diad a bit, instead of eliminating one altogether. This is better for nuclear deterrence for the reasons I argued that are specific to why ICBM's are good.

(4) Turn. Forced cuts to our nuclear deterrent may force Congress to reprioritize conventional deterrents. A stronger conventional deterrent not only keeps Russia and China in check from more traditional aggression in Eastern Europe and the South China Sea, but could also supplement our nuclear second-strike capability. For example, fire bombing in Japan did more damage than either of the nuclear detonations. Conventional munitions -- on a large enough scale -- can be a deterrent to nuclear aggression.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
How would you have answered the budget deficit if you had to defend the status quo?

I considered doing it but I figured a counterplan would take out Pro's strongest point in R1 which was his C1 about how we're facing a budget crisis.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
>What exactly are you referring to as "time skew?"

In this context, wasted character space. All the responses you put specifically on the perm, and the turn you made regarding the perm on the politics scenario.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
After glancing over the final round again, which I would have done if I had to vote on conventional war vs. lives saved in full-out nuclear war, I would have still voted Pro even without the de-escalation turn. I forgot about Pro's impact calculus on probability on conventional war. Conventional war with Russia or China, based on Pro's arguments, seems much more highly probable than us suffering a full-out nuclear first strike from Russia.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 3 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 3 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: See comments.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 3 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: I am gonna start my RFD. I have only read the cases, and I am going to post the summary of each argument in the comment -- I will post (hopefully tomorrow or the next day) why which side wone ach argument. So this ONLY is a summary of the constructive case, NOT the rebuttals (haven't read them yet). So I cannot say who is winning or not--both sides had pretty good arguments.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: I only read the first two rounds of this debate. I thought PRO's plan was exceptionally inaccurate...cost savings were carelessly asserted (just because it's one leg of a triad doesn't mean it's 1/3 the cost of the program), the "private airspace" point was totally irrelevant compared to the magnitude of nuclear war, and his characterization of military personnel (which let's face it, were isolated incidents) was insulting and misleading. While I disagree with the viability of CON's counterplan (long range bombers serve more than just the purpose of nuclear deterrence), I was convinced by his reasoning on the viability of silos as a safeguard against advances in anti-submarine/anti-stealth technology. I will not vote on this, but by the end of the openings, I would have easily sided for CON.
Vote Placed by bsh1 3 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: See comments. Well-met to both of you! Sorry for tying it up, and for the errors arising from my C/Ping from Word.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 3 years ago
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: Will read through this and vote in a day or two, although I'm still studying for midterms. If I haven't updated my vote to actually award points by the last day poke me.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments. Very difficult debate, easy contender for the Hall of Fame.