The Missile Gap

David Reavill
5 min readNov 28, 2022


John F. Kennedy

In the 1960 Presidential Campaign, the Junior Senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy, proclaimed that there was a “Missile Gap” between the United States and the Soviet Union. Just two years after the Soviets had launched the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, the accusation by Kennedy seemed to resonate with the American public.

You see, America had always viewed the USSR as a vast but technologically backward country. Americans commonly assumed that what little technology the Soviets had was stolen from the US. Sputnik destroyed that view. The Soviets, after all, had beaten the Americans into space with the first manufactured satellite to circle the globe successfully.

Here came the young Senator, with that strange, New England accent, claiming that the Soviets had passed us in the number of Intercontinental missiles in their arsenal. If his assertions were factual, they would present a grave threat to the US.

No dove, Kennedy began the policy that America should be so strong militarily that no country would dare attack us. Naturally, he saw Russia’s superior nuclear capability as a threat. And he said so.

But as you can imagine, the powers that be in Washington were gravely offended. Not on our watch, they claimed. Not on our watch has American military power fallen behind the Soviets. Taking it the hardest was the incumbent US President, who also happened to be a five Start General, and the former Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, Dwight Eisenhower.

Eisenhower took Kennedy’s words as a personal affront, and the relationship between these two became frigid from that time on.

Incumbents, after all, never accept criticism well, primarily when that criticism revolves around national security and the President’s primary responsibility to keep the nation safe.

The same is certainly true today. We see it in the actions and behavior of our current President, Joe Biden. Today the United States is actively involved in military activities in Ukraine. The principal combatants are the Russian Federations and Ukraine.

Not to be confused with the old Soviet Union, which ceased to exist 31 years ago, the new Russia is a country that is one-third smaller and has only one-half the population of the old Soviet Union.

Nonetheless, the new Russia is a global power and country with significant military resources, as demonstrated in the Russo-Ukraine Conflict.

In terms of Nuclear power, there is no debate. Russia isthe superior Nuclear Power in the world. It possesses more deliverable nuclear bombs than any other country, including America. Using President Kennedy’s criteria, an acknowledged “Missile Gap” exists today between Russia and the US.

Although much of this information is classified, we can be confident that Russia currently has more than 5,900 active nuclear warheads. About the same number as America’s until our recent down-sizing, when the US retired 2,000 of its warheads. So today, without question, Russian A-bombs exceed American by about 2,000.

As for the Russo-Ukraine Conflict, the United States is the principal supporter of Ukraine. The current estimates are that nearly two-thirds of Ukraine’s military and non-military aid comes from the US.

By the end of this month (November), the Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that the US will send more than $100 Billion in aid to Ukraine. These donations include vital American stockpiles of armaments that our forces would need should a conflict directly involve the US. There are rumors that our reserves are running perilously low.

When the Special Military Operation in Ukraine began, Russia and Ukraine both had forces in the field of nearly 200k. Russia had another 34K in local militias, while Ukraine had over 100k paramilitary, which theoretically could be brought into battle.

So just looking at the number of combatants on each side, a slight advantage for Ukraine. Although it’s not exactly clear what the role of the “Paramilitary” forces is and whether they are a match for the Russian Regular Forces.

However, all this is about to change.

By all reports, the Russians have mobilized 300k additional troops, now trained and ready to enter the battle. These new soldiers will bring the total Russian operations force to nearly a half million — a number greater than the entire US Army.

In short, a country with half the population of the US is about to field an actively engaged combat force that is larger than the total US Army. And those US numbers include the rear echelon, such as support, logistics, and command.

It is a remarkable feat.

Russia is now vividly demonstrating that with Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and battle-hardened troops, it has a marked advantage over the US. Admittedly, this does not account for the other US military branches, the Navy and Air Force. Where the US likely possesses a significant advantage over Russia.

However, in a conventional land war or an all-out Nuclear War, Russia presents itself as a most formidable foe.

What do you suppose President Kennedy would say?

Econ Briefs

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Break as we get back into the swing this morning.

Holiday weeks are often the times that Washington likes to slip in controversial moves, and that’s just what appears to have happened last week when the Biden Administration approved the new Enterprise Sea Port in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore from Texas. When completed in about a year, the new oil port will handle 2 million barrels of oil per day.

Approving the Port is an unusual decision by an Administration that has been decidedly anti-oil until you realize that the oil from this Port is not intended for the United States. This oil is destined for export, likely to Europe.

In other news reported over the Holiday, Zero Hedge says another 1.8 million chickens have been slaughtered in Nebraska. This culling is in response to an Avian Flu outbreak at one of the Nebraska farms. Yet another indication that food production in the country is getting tighter.

In the pre-open, markets are reacting to the unrest in China. Large demonstrations are happening across the country as the Chinese are increasingly restless over the CCP’s Zero Covid Policy. A Policy that has seen authorities again locking-down towns and cities to contain the spread of Covid. These demonstrations are gaining momentum as ordinary Chinese citizens are rising in opposition to the Xi Jinping government.

Follow me here on Medium for more stories on money and finance.



David Reavill

David Reavill writer + finance +iconoclast + hiker + Pennsylvania #valueside daily podcast + medium + meditate