Some of us have heard the statistic: There were more U.S. casualties in World War II than in every U.S. Conflict since. But, why? Why have we lost not just less, but actually less than half as many people in conflicts over the last 80 years as in that single 6 year conflict? Why were there 66,000 casualties during the American Revolution, but only 22,311 casualties during the War in Afghanistan despite a boom in world population?
The Genesis of Strategic Deterrence
Deterrence Theory began with the development of nuclear bombs during WWII, but was quickly popularized during the Cold War. This theory explains the concept of preventive measures used to deter other countries and entities from open warfare through limited force, such as the maintenance of a nuclear arsenal. During the cold war, the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) weapon system was installed at F.E. Warren Airforce base and across the United States. That same missile system has stood watch to deter major conflicts and maintain stability for our nation and our world since that time.
A More Peaceful Future
Starting in 2011, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce began to advocate for an enhanced and updated Strategic Deterrence triad that would protect our nation and the lives of our fellow americans. At that time, the Minuteman III ICBM system was already 60 years old but had no plans to be replaced. By 2015, efforts by our Chamber had resulted in the GBSD mission and $86 billion to accomplish it.
The United States Air Force is now well in the process of replacing its current Minuteman III ICBM weapon system with the LGM-35A SENTINEL. This includes a $13.3 billion contract to cover the Engineering & Manufacturing Development as well as Northrop Grumman’s selection as the contractor for the modernization of the system. This modernization will bring additional economic development and growth to the community.
Our first Sentinel system is projected to deploy in 2029, and more units will be added across the U.S. through the mid-2030s. These Sentinel missiles are expected to remain in operation until 2075, and will protect our nation, our world, and our future.
Story by J. Elizabeth Bennett
Elizabeth Bennett serves the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Marketing and Communications. She is passionate about working with the diverse communities in Cheyenne and creating accessible communications material that engages our chamber members.