How Mattis changed his mind on nuclear weapons

Posted February 07, 2018

In contrast to the president's address, the report issued Friday, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, focuses intensely on Russian Federation.

The Trump nuclear doctrine breaks with Obama's in ending his push to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in USA defense policy.

According to Buzhinsky, the United States needs tactical nuclear weapons "not to defend its national security and its territory but to use them at a distant theater of operations in the name of defending its interests or interests of its partners and allies".

Placing China and Russian Federation among the central reasons for its strategic move, the US' policy outline had argued it is necessary to strengthen its nuclear arsenal in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). "I'm afraid this Nuclear Posture Review will be used by other countries to ignore calls for nuclear arms reduction, and in doing so leave the world less safe".

In its newly released Nuclear Posture Review, the DOD has focused much of its multi-billion nuclear effort on an updated nuclear deterrence focused on Russian Federation.

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China's Defense Ministry said its military activities were defensive and its nuclear arsenal was the "minimum level" required for its security. "By any measure, the US arsenal is far superior", Gregory Kulacki, an expert at UCS said.

Moscow has called the new USA policy "bellicose" and "anti-Russian" and warned it might take responsive measures to boost its own security.

Iran accused the United States on Sunday of threatening Russian Federation with new atomic weapons, after the Trump administration published a document outlining plans to expand its nuclear capabilities in order to deter others.

"This is a very mainstream nuclear policy", Miller added.

Freeman, who served as assistant secretary of state for global security affairs under President Bill Clinton, said the review appeared to prepare to release the U.S. armed forces from weapons constraints they had kept for more than 30 years. For example, the policy calls for "the rapid development" of a cruise missile that would be fired from submarines, then become airborne before reaching its target. He stopped by a nuclear submarine base in Washington state.

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"In order to meet the central limits of the treaty, the United States developed and utilized conversion procedures in full compliance with its treaty obligations", it said.

One of the most controversial elements of the new strategy is a section that declares that the United States might use nuclear weapons to respond to a devastating, but non-nuclear, attack on critical infrastructure - the power grid or cellphone networks, for example.

The report says China has added new types of nuclear capabilities - ranging from a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile to a new ballistic missile submarine - "with little to no transparency into its intentions". Like Obama, Trump would consider using nuclear weapons only in "extreme circumstances", while maintaining a degree of ambiguity about what that means. They'll just increase the potential for their use and for miscalculation.

Alicia Sanders-Zakre of the Arms Control Association said she was anxious by "a president who repeatedly boasts about the size of his nuclear button on Twitter" and his "loose talk about nuclear weapons".

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