At a hearing on Wednesday, Air Force Generals Paul J. Selva and John Hyten, who serves as the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, testified before a House panel that nuclear deterrents need to top the priority list for modernization and recapitalization efforts in the U.S. military.

According to Selva, modernization of America’s nuclear force has been back-burnered in recent years in favor of addressing “more urgent needs” in support of ongoing combat operations around the globe.

“But in making those decisions we have squeezed about all the life we can out of the systems we currently possess,” the general claimed, “so that places an extra premium on a very deliberate long-term investment strategy to replace those systems as existing systems age out of the inventory.”

As a result, Selva suggested, the United States is facing a “crossroads” in terms of our nuclear capabilities and ability to deter nuclear attacks.  As far as he’s concerned, nuclear modernization “can no longer be deferred.”