What Is the Nuclear Triad?
After President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to reduce their countries' nuclear warheads, a former Clinton administration official told the Washington Post: "We're breaking what had been an effective sound barrier in the arms control world, which is the 2,000 number. That had always been the holy grail—if you go below 2,000 [the theory went] you'll lose the strategic triad." OK, but what's the strategic triad?
The United States can deliver a nuclear attack by land, by sea, or by air: with land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, sea-based submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and airborne strategic bombers. That's the triad. Since the 1960s,