The U.S. will have the option of responding with nuclear weapons to a devastating non-nuclear attack - an attack from biological or chemical weapons, for example - officials said Friday in releasing the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).
The review calls for more focus on U.S. "low yield" nuclear weapons to try to convince Russia that the U.S. has a credible deterrent against the potential Russian threat.
It also cast China as a potential nuclear adversary, saying the USA arsenal is tailored to "prevent Beijing from mistakenly concluding" that it could gain advantage by using its nuclear weapons in Asia, or that "any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is acceptable". If each state is confident in the other's behavior and capabilities, and in the reliability of its own retaliatory nuclear forces, then stability can be maintained-a state that can be further enhanced by sustained dialogue and transparency, aided by verifiable nuclear limits codified in legal agreements. Root also said there was no "automaticity" to what the US would do in undefined "extreme circumstances".
The report calls for the introduction of both "low yield nukes" on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and the reintroduction of submarine-launched cruise missiles, or SLCMs.
A risky disconnect is emerging between the horrific impacts of even the limited use of nuclear weapons and leaders and policymakers who seem intent on threatening nuclear use in an ever-expanding range of scenarios.
In addition, a new nuclear-armed cruise missile launched from naval vessels would be developed, a process likely to take years.
Details of the new "Status 6" weapon were included in Friday's Nuclear Posture Review. United States officials also argue that since the last NPR in 2010 Russian Federation has expanded and modernised its non-strategic nuclear weapons and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
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".
"There is no indication from public information that Russian Federation is actively developing the system, but it is alarming to see it in a Pentagon document", Mount said, adding that while the program is referenced in the Nuclear Posture Review, it is not mentioned in other government reports. Unfortunately, instead of using tried and trusted tools like arms control and engagement to manage the high-risk frictions between Washington and Moscow, the United States appears poised to pursue the one thing that failed to make America and its allies safer in the Cold War: a nuclear arms race more likely to stoke conflict than deter it.
Some arms control groups were not happy with the review's findings.
This version of Trump's report on nuclear weapons has one glaring error in it...
She added the administration was blurring the line between nuclear and conventional war-fighting.
What this NPR says is, we're going to increase the role of nuclear weapons.
The US says Russian Federation has developed, tested and deployed an intermediate-range missile system that breaks its commitments under a 1987 treaty between Washington and the Soviet Union.
US President Donald Trump's administration said the US will expand its nuclear capabilities.
Robert Soofer, a senior nuclear policy official at the Pentagon who helped direct the policy review, said Moscow is likely to push back on the US plan for fielding those two additional weapons.