Trump rolls out new policy to modernise nuclear arsenal

Posted February 04, 2018

Just as the White House is caught in a political minefield over the Russian Federation investigation, the Pentagon is taking its toughest line yet against Russia's resurgent nuclear forces.

The latest thinking was revealed in a Pentagon policy statement known as the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

The United States is concerned about Moscow's growing tactical nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.

People walk through a portal of the Kremlin wall on a sunny winter day in downtown Moscow on January 10, 2018.

The Pentagon document, which is largely in line with the previous review in 2010, said the United States will modify a small number of submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads with low-yield options.

State Department official Anita Fried said at the briefing that "I would not call this a Russia-centric NPR", but the summary underlined the need to convince Russian Federation that it would face "unacceptably dire costs" if it were to threaten a limited nuclear attack in Europe against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. The report also stated that Russian Federation has over 2,000 "non-strategic" nuclear weapons, including missiles, "gravity bombs", anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes.

The Pentagon denies this, saying the new policy reiterates that the US would only use nuclear weapons in "extreme circumstances".

The NPR is used to determine the role of nuclear weapons in the security strategy of the US.

The nation's nuclear arsenal and triad had kept the USA safe 70 years for nuclear attack, and "We can not afford to let it become obsolete", Shanahan said.

Russian Federation is developing a new underwater torpedo with a nuclear warhead described as a "doomsday weapon", according to a new Defense Department report.

Upon detonation, the device is created to cause large zones of radioactive contamination.

Some analysts have branded it a "doomsday weapon". Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, has labeled the concept "destabilizing".

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, raised concerns about the map in a tweet.

A major breakthrough in the Cold War that radically reduced the chances of nuclear conflict came with the recognition by American and Russian leaders that our countries could not out-arms-race each other.

Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the USA will keep a close watch on nuclear proliferation activities.

The new policy "calls for more usable nuclear weapons with low yields, and for their first use in response to cyber and conventional strikes on civilian infrastructure such as financial, transportation, energy and communications networks", said Bruce Blair, co-founder of the antinuclear weapons advocacy group Global Zero.

But, under the Obama administration, the Pentagon had already planned to modernize the nation's nuclear weaponry, which consists of missiles fired from land and sea and bombs from warplanes.

Those recommendations, Shanahan noted, do not require developing new nuclear warheads and do not increase the size of the nation's nuclear stockpile. "They break no treaty".

Mattis told reporters the United States should not put all of its focus into defending attacks because it also needs better offensive options that match other countries' nuclear abilities.

Sen. John Hoeven on Friday issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Defense released its Nuclear Posture Review, which establishes U.S. nuclear policy and strategy, and outlines the nation's capabilities and force for the coming years.

"Programs for new nuclear weapons would follow our adversaries into a world where nuclear competition is commonplace". The US has a few hundred active low-yield weapons deployed in Europe.