Pentagon reveals new nuclear weapons strategy, reversing Obama-era policy

04 February, 2018, 00:47 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Pentagon reveals new nuclear weapons strategy, reversing Obama-era policy

Known in English as the "Status-6" system, the program is described by United States officials as essentially a drone-type device fired underwater that can potentially travel thousands of miles and strike U.S. coastal targets such as military bases or cities.

But that weapon isn't just a work of fiction.

"Our strategy will ensure Russian Federation understands that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is unacceptable", a policy document, "Nuclear Posture Review", by the US Department of Defense said. The two systems-including lower-yield nuclear weapons deployed on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles-are, the NPR argues, more usable and therefore seen as a more credible deterrent. The weapon could trigger a tsunami wave of radioactive water that would blanket a coastal city.

In the long term, the United States military will also develop a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile.

North Korea was also blasted for continuing its nuclear program, and officials warned that any attack by Kim's army would result "in the end of that regime". While the West got rid of most of its tactical nuclear weapons, regarding them as no longer militarily necessary and potentially destabilising, Russian Federation went in the opposite direction, seeing them as a way to offset the weakness of its conventional forces.

Japan will continue to promote "realistic and tangible nuclear disarmament" with the United States as "a leading state toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons".

Mount said that the review's outline for low-yield nuclear weapons "relies on the assumption that Russian Federation would invade North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, and glosses over important arguments about where and why these weapons would ever be necessary".

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The Pentagon worries Russian Federation assumes America's regular, large-yield weapons are essentially too big to ever be detonated, as their use would likely result in large-scale retaliation and wipe much of humanity off the map.

The lower-yield weapons would enhance the credibility of the US arsenal, the review claims. These low-yield weapons address the capabilities gap perceived by our adversaries. Low-yield nukes would provide a proportionate method of response, forestalling a larger nuclear conflict or one with weaker weapons. What's equally troubling is that the new NPR treats regular, high-level engagement and diplomacy as an afterthought rather than an integral part of US nuclear-security strategy. The Pentagon worries that Putin's army could take control of a US ally and detonate a small nuclear weapon to prevent USA troops from responding.

"It is important that we not let a button-measuring contest devolve into a button-pushing contest", he said.

But according to some experts, the plan translates Trump's urge to "greatly expand and strengthen" the arsenal into policy. He repeated that promise Tuesday during his State of the Union speech.

At a Pentagon briefing, DoD, Energy Department and State Department officials declined to give cost estimates on the NPR's proposals for modernizing the nation's nuclear triad of land-based missiles, long-range bombers and submarines, but the Congressional Budget Office has put the price tag at $1.2 trillion through 2040.

Also on Friday, Trump's critics revived accusations of collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, in response to the House Intelligence Committee's release of a memo alleging that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice used partisan sources improperly to obtain surveillance warrants on a Trump associate.

"It reaffirms that the fundamental role of USA nuclear policy is deterrence and continues our clear commitment to nonproliferation and arms control", said Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. If each state is confident in the other's behavior and capabilities, and in the reliability of its own retaliatory nuclear forces, then stability can be maintained-a state that can be further enhanced by sustained dialogue and transparency, aided by verifiable nuclear limits codified in legal agreements.


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