World Bulletin / News Desk
The US military wants to revamp its nuclear arsenal and develop new low-yield atomic weapons, largely in response to Russian actions in recent years, the Pentagon said in a policy statement released Friday.
"The strategy develops capabilities aimed at making use of nuclear weapons less likely," Trump said in a statement. "It enhances deterrence of strategic attacks against our Nation, and our allies and partners, that may not come in the form of nuclear weapons."
"And, importantly, it reaffirms our commitment to arms control and nuclear non-proliferation, maintains the moratorium on nuclear testing, and commits to improving efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism," he said.
The document marks a sobering break from the vision for America's atomic future under Barack Obama, who during a famous speech in Prague in 2009 called for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
While it underscores the administration's concerns about North Korea, Iran and China, the focus falls largely on Russia.
"This is a response to Russian expansion of their capability and the nature of their strategy and doctrine," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wrote in the introduction to the 75-page document.
"These developments, coupled with Russia's seizure of Crimea and nuclear threats against our allies, mark Moscow's decided return to Great Power competition," he also wrote.
The Pentagon worries Russia assumes America's regular, large-yield weapons are essentially too big to ever be detonated, as their use would likely result in large-scale retaliation and wipe much of humanity off the map.
"There are strong indications that our current strategy posture and capabilities are perceived by the Russians as potentially inadequate to deter them," Greg Weaver, the deputy director of strategic capabilities for the military's Joint Staff, told reporters.
"The US and NATO require a wider range of credible low-yield nuclear options to do a very specific thing: to convince the Russian leadership that if they initiate limited nuclear use, in a war with the alliance, our response will deny them the objective they seek and impose costs that far outweigh those benefits they can achieve," he added.
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