A Gigantic New ICBM Will Take US Nuclear Missiles Out of the Cold War-Era but Add 21st-Century Risks

A Gigantic New ICBM Will Take US Nuclear Missiles Out of the Cold War-Era but Add 21st-Century Risks

December 11, 2023 at 10:18PM

The Sentinel nuclear missile program aims to modernize America’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, replacing Cold War-era Minuteman missiles. The $96 billion overhaul involves over 450 silos and control centers, with cybersecurity being a top concern. The modernization efforts seek to address both technological vulnerabilities and the challenges of operating in harsh winter conditions.

The key takeaways from the meeting notes are:

1. A $96 billion overhaul is underway for the Sentinel nuclear missile system, with a focus on modernization and cybersecurity to ensure it remains effective and secure in the face of evolving threats.

2. The overhaul includes replacement of Cold War-era Minuteman missiles with the new Sentinel ICBM, involving the upgrade of 450 silos across five states, control centers, missile bases, and testing facilities.

3. The modernization efforts aim to address challenges such as power loss, mechanical breakdowns, outdated technology, and extreme environmental conditions.

4. The program faces significant technical and cybersecurity challenges due to its software-intensive nature, compressed schedule, and the need for maintaining a secure closed network while introducing new security measures.

5. The connectivity and modernization efforts are set to bring significant cultural shifts and improvements in efficiency and quality of life on the bases, but also potentially introduce new vulnerabilities.

6. The challenges of maintaining modern technology in frigid field conditions and the need to balance automation with the necessity for human oversight in the event of a missile launch were also discussed.

Overall, the meeting highlighted the ambitious scope and the significant challenges facing the Sentinel nuclear missile modernization program, as well as the need to ensure its effectiveness and security in the face of technological advancements and evolving threats.

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