Arms Control Today published an interview with STRATCOM Commander General James E. Cartwright, in which he defends (among other things) the plan to deploy conventional warheads on Trident submarines alongside with nuclear ones.
The extent to which Cartwright is divorced from reality is quite astounding. Asked about the (quite negative) reaction that Russia had to the "conventional Trident" plan, Cartwright said that he is not concerned - it's just Russia worrying about "other countries" overreacting. That's an interesting way to read Putin's words. Unfortunately, it's totally wrong.
Moreover, Cartwright went on with his musings:
Maybe transparency and the Joint Data Exchange Center and some of these things are actually starting to work. I hope so.Oh, how interesting. JDEC is starting to work? I'd guess that for this to happen JDEC at least would have to be open. Which it is not - as the Arms Control Today correctly points out, the Joint Data Exchange Center has been on hold, languishing in bureaucratic limbo, ever since the United States and Russia agreed to establish it in 1998.
I'm not a big fan of the JDEC idea. A center like that, which allows launch notifications almost in real time, may create more opportunities for misunderstanding than exist today. It is a crutch that cannot and should not replace focused transparency and confidence-building efforts. But whatever the merits of JDEC, it is really disturbing to see a STRATCOM commander who believes that JDEC or "some of these things" would bail us out and doesn't realize that these "things" do not exist.