U.S. to update nuclear arsenal in bid to match Russian Federation

Katrina Barker
February 4, 2018

When crisis stability is high, leaders in Russia, America or Europe have confidence that they have the time to assess a situation and evaluate options before having to respond, or determine if a response is even necessary.

For the first time publicly, the review also says that Russian Federation is developing a hypersonic, nuclear-powered undersea torpedo.

Trump's strategy likewise calls for using nuclear weapons only "in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies and partners".

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

The new Pentagon policy also outlines longer-term plans to reintroduce a nuclear submarine-launched cruise missile called an SLCM ("slick-em"), which the administration of President George H.W. Bush stopped deploying and the Obama administration ordered removed from the stockpile.

In a special section on nuclear terrorism, the report said the U.S. strategy to combat nuclear terrorism encompasses a wide range of activities that comprise a defence-in-depth against current and emerging dangers.

President Donald Trump highlighted the importance of the review's conclusions Friday in a written statement.

"In a broader context, Russian Federation is either rejecting or avoiding its obligations and commitments under numerous agreements, and has rebuffed US efforts to follow the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with another round of negotiated reductions and to pursue reductions in non-strategic nuclear forces", it added. This postulates that Russian Federation would threaten the use of tactical nuclear weapons to bring to an end a military confrontation with the West it feared eventually losing.

The Pentagon's nuclear review concluded that while arms control can advance American interests, "further progress is hard to envision", in light of what the US considers Russia's aggression in Ukraine and violations of existing arms deals.

Moscow has repeatedly denied claims that its recent deployment of a land-based missile system breaks the treaty.

She added the administration was blurring the line between nuclear and conventional war-fighting.

"President Trump is embarking on a reckless path, one that will reduce USA security", said Lisbeth Gronlund, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Both China and Russian Federation are also developing new missile-defense systems, the report concludes.

Officials issued dire warnings that Russia's undersea nuclear torpedo could create widespread radioactive contamination, with some experts calling it a "doomsday weapon". Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, has labeled the concept "destabilizing".

"The concept is a horror of the Cold War", according to Adam Mount, a senior fellow and the director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists. "It is clearly inspired by overblown Russian worries that United States missile defenses will make their missile forces obsolete".

"There is no scenario in which the Kim regime could employ nuclear weapons and survive", the NPR said.

Under the NPR, the USA would pursue "modernization of our nuclear command, control, and communications, all three legs of our triad, our dual capable aircraft, and our nuclear infrastructure", Trump said. "They break no treaty".

During his campaign, Trump promised to expand and strengthen the United States' nuclear arsenal.

"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 programs would crowd out other military priorities, alarm allies, and have huge diplomatic cost - for minimal deterrence benefit", he said.

In other words, the United States could respond to a tactical nuclear strike with a low-yield weapon instead of escalating to World War III.

Low-yield ballistic missiles could be fielded within just a few years.

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters Friday that the changes provide a "deterrent that is modern and credible".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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