Due to Russian non-compliance to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the operational deployment and testing of the SSC-8 missile over the past 6 years at the Kasputin Yar missile test site and elsewhere in Russia, the President of the United States made the decision to withdraw the United States from this treaty.
The INF Treaty eliminated ground-based missiles for ground-based targets from the ranges of 310 miles to 3,420 miles between the missile inventories of United States and Russia. It placed no limits on similar air and sea-based weapons and on land-based missiles below 310 and land-based missiles above 3,420 within the limits of Strategic Arms (START) numbers on nuclear missiles.
The INF Treaty is outdated and an antique valued relic of the past that does not address nor contain current Russian technological developments on missiles that are tremendously more lethal, more capable, and certainly not limited to being based on land. The INF Treaty is a symbolic historic great achievement in Arms Control at the peak of the Cold War enabling security to the Soviet Union to come to terms with the end of the Cold War and a breakup of their empire four years later as they could not economically compete with the United States.
The Strategic Defense Initiative with the INF Treaty and a strong unified NATO alliance put maximum economic pressure on a collapsing Soviet Union that resulted in beginning of the end of the Cold War starting with the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Coming to the terms of tearing down the Berlin Wall, the formation of Eastern European NATO allies, and the reaps of financial peace dividends for the NATO allies that reallocated their defense dollars into social welfare was a tremendous windfall that the INF will always be linked to.
The INF Treaty is simply no longer relevant in its constraints on today’s “Over the Horizon” Long Range Cruise Missiles Launched from Aircraft and Ships, UAVs with weapons that fly in those ranges, Hypersonic missile platforms that are air launched or ship launched, let alone future space-based lethality that both Russia, China, and the United States are developing and deploying. The United States is not going to deter Russia from land air strategies of the last war with the weapon systems from the last war. We are no longer linear, no longer a phased build up to a conflict, we are Cross Domain and will deter and fight across any, some or all domains at the same time in non-sequential phases.
The INF Treaty is a late 1980s linear, land-based limited arms control agreement that has accomplished what it was created to do for the security of Russia as it rebuilt itself after the Cold War. The modern transformation and aggressive polices of President Putin to make Russia more relevant in the world have not adhered to this treaty. The friction of aggressive policies and actions of noncompliance of the INF treaty are eroding stability and the status quo of the post-Cold War era.
There is no real point in staying in a treaty that one side does not abide to and in this case with Russia leveraging that non-compliance of the INF to add Anti-Access Area Denial Control from Russia to include Kaliningrad to influence aggressive intent to Europe.
Withdrawing from the INF gives an opportunity to bring forward a much more comprehensive arms control negotiation on the modernization of current technologies that are relevant and create much more stability to the European Region in the near future between Russia and the United States.
Withdrawal or non-withdrawal with continued Russian violations from the INF Treaty demands for the stability and defense of the European population more Missile Defense Capability and Capacity in Europe to negate the infractions of Russian long-range cruise and ballistic missiles that are not INF treaty compliant and their future development as well as create stability for negotiations.
China is not bound by INF treaty limitations and have grown their ground-based missile and cruise missile forces for decades within the ranges that were prohibited by the INF to project power into the island chains of the South China seas and the Pacific.
Missile Defense of China and Russian missile development and deployment require a full integrated air and missile defense which today has only been done at sea on baseline 9 and 10 Aegis BMD Ships of the US Navy. The land-based versions of the Aegis Ashore deployed today in Romania and soon to be Poland do not have IAMD integration to defend against Russian INF violation nor has the most capable missile defense interceptors for these threats today, the SM-6, has been land-based.
The U.S. withdrawal of the INF Treaty could enable a more relevant and a more stable security environment for Europe and it could economically bankrupt Russia if they chose to create a nonexistent arms race they can never win.
First published by MDAA on October 24, 2018.