Monday, June 08, 2009
I am surprised that there were so few comments on the news, late last week, that a French nuclear submarine was involved in the search for the remains of the Air France airbus that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean between Rio and Paris.
If the nuclear submarine can help find technical answers to what happened, and relieve the relatives and friends of those who disappeared in this tragedy, that's good of course.
But the doctrine of nuclear submarine deterrence is based on the fact that the location and movements of nuclear submarines carrying nuclear missiles is never publicized. Nuclear submarines from the main nuclear weapons States roam the seas with no-one having an exact knowledge of where they are, that's the scary fact behind nuclear submarine force de frappe and warfare.
More and more voices say that nuclear submarine deterrence [and nuclear deterrence as a whole] is not fit for today's real global security challenges; that -- at best -- it is an expensive and unsafe distraction. The new and unprecedented role apparently given to a nuclear submarine this week-end in the search for the remains of Flight AF 447 is maybe a warning that nuclear submarine operators are looking for a new role for themselves. One that is more conventional, to provide them with a visibility that makes their huge operating budgets more acceptable to lawmakers and taxpayers.