Pentagon Announces Major Shift In US Nuclear Policy

Trump's Troubling Nuclear Plan

In its newly released Nuclear Posture Review, the Defense Department has focused much of its multibillion nuclear effort on an updated nuclear deterrence focused on Russian Federation.

"Russia is modernising an active stockpile of up to 2,000 non-strategic nuclear weapons, including those employable by ships, planes, and ground forces", the summary on the Pentagon website reads.

Although the nuclear posture review states that the U.S. would only consider such an attack in the case of "extreme circumstances", these could include "significant non-nuclear strategic attacks". He repeated that promise Tuesday during his State of the Union speech.

North Korea was also mentioned in the review, with the U.S. describing it as a "clear and grave threat".

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".

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

"Our strategy will ensure Russian Federation understands that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is unacceptable", the document states.

The report drew blistering criticism from arms control groups for mentioning cyberattacks as an incident that might provoke a US nuclear strike.

"President Trump is embarking on a reckless path, one that will reduce United States security", said Lisbeth Gronlund, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"The concept is a horror of the Cold War", said Adam Mount, a senior fellow and director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, adding it was created due to "overblown Russian worries that USA missile defenses will make their missile forces obsolete". "Like Russia, China is pursuing entirely new nuclear capabilities tailored to achieve particular national security objectives while also modernizing its conventional military, challenging traditional US military superiority in the Western Pacific".

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has addressed the recently released US Nuclear Posture Review, which designates Iran, China, Russia and North Korea as potential threats to US national security.

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The treaty, negotiated under President Barack Obama, entered into force on February 5, 2011, and its weapons limits must be met by Monday.

Fried said that both Russian Federation and China were given advance copies of the NPR to make clear US policy and avoid the "risk of miscalculation". "Moscow has repeatedly stated its intention to meet those limits on time, and we have no reason to believe that that won't be the case", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday.

Based on a leaked draft of the nuclear posture, 16 Democratic U.S. senators, including senators from Washington, California and IL, wrote to President Donald Trump on Monday that his nuclear policy would "increase the risk of a nuclear arms race and raise the real possibility of a nuclear conflict". (The officials who refused to step over that line may be regretting their caution now.) However, while this review shares some similarities with the Bush Administration's review of 2002, it goes a few steps further.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said: "What we have is a nuclear deterrent, so keep those two words always together and then look at the efforts to push forward on nonproliferation and arms control, and you have to do that when you're in a position of persuasion not of hope".

"That's the strongest reason for not getting into a situation where someone needs to think about using nuclear weapons", Saunders said. But Trump sees a fuller deterrent role for these weapons, as reflected in the plan to develop new capabilities to counter Russian Federation in Europe.

The lower-yield warhead for Trident missiles would "ensure a prompt response option" and would help counter any "mistaken perception" by Russia, North Korea or other adversaries that the USA might hesitate to respond with nuclear weapons to a limited nuclear strike by one of them, the report said. He noted the NPR says the nation would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in "extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies and partners".

The review recommends a two-step solution.

One difference is a plan to modify a small amount of submarine-launched nuclear warheads with less powerful options. John Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy, declined to provide an estimate of the cost, saying it would be partially included in the 2019 budget that will be submitted to Congress later this month.

Being more specific does not mean the threshold for nuclear usage is lowered.

The U.S. has begun to replace aging components in each part of the triad: the Ohio-class nuclear submarine is being replaced by Columbia-class nuclear submarines, land-based Minuteman III missiles will start being replaced in 2029 and a new B-21 Raider bomber jet will start replacing old bombers in the mid-2020s, according to the review.

"We'll face greater dangers of nuclear weapons". I am only focusing on Russian Federation - what is said about Russian Federation?

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