Trump rolls out new policy to modernise nuclear arsenal

Lucy Bush
February 4, 2018

President Donald Trump issued a statement in support of the Defense Department efforts, claiming nuclear programs in other countries had grown in recent years.

Creating options for the president to be able to appropriately address what adversaries say is an exploitable gap in USA capability is not lowering the threshold for nuclear weapons use, it's good national security policy.

The review was publicly released on Friday.

Unlike Russia, the United States has adopted a very broad and vague definition of situations which allow Washington to use its nuclear arsenal, the ministry warned.

Under these definitions, the desire to pursue two new US nuclear systems-low-yield penetrating SLBMs and nuclear-tipped SLCMs-could further undermine strategic and crisis stability. "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".

By expanding its own low-yield nuclear capability, the United States would deter Russian Federation from using nuclear weapons, USA officials argue. American deployment of the missile would violate an existing arms-control treaty between Moscow and Washington.

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Trump's perceived volatility has raised more concerns among Americans about the president's exclusive authority to order a nuclear attack.

It calls for a "lower-yield" options for ballistic and cruise missiles launched at sea.

Russian Federation possesses a large arsenal of small nuclear weapons that the United States mostly lacks.

Greg Weaver, the Pentagon's deputy director of strategic capabilities, cautioned that the U.S.is not in an arms race with Russia, but argued instead that the Trump administration is "responding to Russian initiative".

Another expert said there was no evidence that Russian Federation was actively developing the system. The Pentagon says it wants a proportionate weapon to match.

"The Defense Intelligence Agency now estimates Russian Federation has a stockpile of 2,000 "non-strategic" nuclear weapons including short-range ballistic missiles, gravity bombs and depth charges that can go on medium range bomber aircraft", the report added.

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Longer-range missiles could come over the next decade, and the U.S. would plan to develop and field sea-launched cruise missiles also with lower-yield warheads.

America is neither increasing the number of its nuclear weapons, nor is it increasing the odds of a nuclear conflict, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood said at a Friday news briefing.

"In no way does this approach lower the nuclear threshold", Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said in a statement accompanying the report.

The report calls for the U.S.to add new low-yield weapons, which would allow for a limited nuclear strike.

"There are no good nukes and no such thing as a limited nuclear war". In a written statement, Trump said USA strategy is created to make use of nuclear weapons less likely.

Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the review was consistent with US policy dating back decades. He said the idea that the United States would revert to a nuclear attack in response to a simple cyber attack was inaccurate.

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