Pentagon Says Why It Needs 2 New Types Of Nuclear Weapons
Pentagon Says Why It Needs 2 New Types Of Nuclear Weapons
China, Iran, Russia Lash Out At US Nuclear Policy Plan
04 February, 2018, 01:26
Steven Andreasen was the National Security Council's staff director for defense policy and arms control from 1993 to 2001 and teaches at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Friday called for "flexible" nuclear capabilities without ruling out the use of nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks against the United States and its allies.
The review largely confirms the wide-ranging modernisation programme that Barack Obama approved in exchange for Senate ratification of the New START strategic arms-control treaty with Russian Federation. "Clearly, the US new nuclear strategy is a reaction to the changing global situation, which undermines the very domination of one country". Relations between Washington and Moscow are bad and could get worse.
The Pentagon says it will focus on developing low-yield ballistic missile warheads in the short term and develop nuclear-tipped submarine-launched cruise missiles in the long term.
This is the first time since 2010 that the United States military has outlined its perception of future nuclear threats, the BBCreported.
It was just one weapon highlighted in Friday's report, which focused heavily on current and future capabilities of USA weapons, along with the advancements made in countries like Russian, China, North Korea and Iran. Furthermore, the United States has had low-yield nuclear weapons in its inventory for decades, he said.
"The US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation require a wider range of credible low-yield nuclear options to do a very specific thing: to convince the Russian leadership that if they initiate limited nuclear use, in a war with the alliance, our response will deny them the objective they seek and impose costs that far outweigh those benefits they can achieve", he added.
The Nuclear Posture Review takes into account downward trends in the post-Cold War global environment, particularly the frustration of efforts to help Russian Federation become a responsible member of the worldwide system. "I take seriously my responsibility to work through the Senate Appropriations Committee to identify the funds necessary to ensure our nuclear deterrent retains the power, credibility and flexibility to deter attacks on the United States and our allies". Root also said there was no "automaticity" to what the US would do in undefined "extreme circumstances".
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The report also publicly acknowledges, for the first time, that Russian Federation is "developing" a "new intercontinental, nuclear armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo". To this end, the NPR proposes not only replacing an aging nuclear arsenal but further "supplement [ing]" it with two new missiles.
He said "the United States does not want to use nuclear weapons", but "we do want to maintain an effective deterrent to keep Americans and our allies and partners safe and secure".
And the White House said Russian Federation would face "unacceptably dire costs" if it threatened even a limited nuclear attack in Europe.
President Obama had made nuclear disarmament a goal of his administration and said the USA had a "moral obligation" to lead the world by example.
Crisis stability, though always in flux, has a clearer definition, even if it lacks an objective metric.
Shanahan maintained that "this clarification is stabilizing" and would "lower the risk of nuclear use by anyone". The U.S. has mostly gotten rid of these weapons and the Pentagon worries this could be viewed as an "exploitable gap" because the choice would be between a much-larger nuclear attack or a less-lethal attack with smaller weapons.
But critics warn that such low-yield weapons would actually increase the likeliness of a nuclear war because they blur the line between acceptable and non-acceptable weapons to use, increasing the risk of miscalculation. Thus, while these systems may be meant to enhance deterrence, they may instead make conflict and the use of nuclear weapons more, not less, likely.
Russian Federation possesses a large arsenal of small nuclear weapons that the United States mostly lacks.
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