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Pentagon unveils policy focused on deterring Russian Federation with smaller nukes


The Pentagon-led review of the US nuclear arsenal and the policies that govern it was ordered by Trump a year ago.

In making the case for modernizing the triad, the NPR stated that the USA for decades led efforts at eat nuclear arms reduction worldwide and the efforts accelerated with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Such a posture marked a departure from the nuclear policy advocated by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama who pledged in 2009 to pursue a "world without nuclear weapons".

In recent years, the United States has reduced its number of nuclear weapons as others, such as Russian Federation and China, have added new nuclear capabilities.

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.

"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", according to the report.

The NPR, which was overseen by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, stated that the United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies and partners. NBC News reported that in a July meeting at the Pentagon, he asked for the nuclear stockpile to be increased tenfold; it was after this meeting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson allegedly called the president a "moron".

"Most of these warheads are of the type that can destroy entire cities, but the USA also deploys bombers in Europe that are capable of dropping bombs with lower explosive yields", Fleming said, warning that any US nuclear buildup may lead to "a renewed arms race and a more risky world".

The decision to go ahead with the new cruise missile is just one of the policy changes outlined in a Nuclear Posture Review ordered by President Donald Trump in one of his first actions as president.

The lower-yield weapons would enhance the credibility of the US arsenal, the review claims.

Despite being called low-yield, the weapons are extremely deadly.


Combined, these "supplements" to the nuclear arsenal will, according to the authors of the NPR, "provide a more diverse set of characteristics greatly enhancing our ability to tailor deterrence and assurance; expand the range of credible United States options for responding to nuclear or non-nuclear strategic attack; and, enhance deterrence by signaling to potential adversaries that their concepts of coercive, limited nuclear escalation offer no exploitable advantage".

"Meanwhile, successive United States administrations deferred much-needed modernization of our nuclear weapons, infrastructure, and delivery systems".

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

Pentagon officials said Friday that the U.S. is developing a ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile to counter a similar Russian weapon.

USA nuclear weapons have made the world safer and more peaceful.

The report follows promises made by President Trump to strengthen the nation's nuclear arsenal.

America's nuclear build-up was key point of Trump's first State of the Union address earlier this week.

The United States has also initiated the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program to begin the replacement of Minuteman III in 2029. About $34 billion was slated to replace aging submarine-based weapons, intercontinental missiles, cruise missiles, bombers and bombs.

"Expanding flexible USA nuclear options now, to include low-yield options, is important for the preservation of credible deterrence against regional aggression", according to the Nuclear Posture Review.

"We have not, which means the capability of Russian and Chinese nuclear arsenals is actually getting better against ours, " Selva said. ".This, in turn, furthers global security".

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