In their recent article, Keir Lieber and Daryl Press argue that enhanced counterforce capabilities are increasingly threatening the survivability of nuclear forces.1 They do not, however, provide a technically valid basis to support this judgment regarding the United States' strategic submarine (SSBN) force. This omission raises doubts about the emergence of any new counterforce era against the U.S. arsenal.

Lieber and Press base their claim partly on sources that reveal how U.S. antisubmarine warfare (ASW) efforts against Soviet SSBNs during the Cold War benefited from advances in acoustic-gathering and data-processing capabilities (pp. 35–36). They then assume that further advancements within these domains should be expected to aid ASW efforts once again. Not only does this assumption predetermine Lieber and Press's findings, but it ignores fundamental limits that physics places on technology and suggests that an updated review of U.S. SSBN vulnerability is long overdue in the public domain.


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