Former nuclear launch officers call Trump a "clear and present danger"

Trump administration set for more hawkish position on nuclear weapons

A leaked draft of the Pentagon's forthcoming nuclear weapons review shows that senior defence officials are keen to not only modernise the ageing U.S. arsenal, but add new ways to wage nuclear war as Russia, China and other adversaries bolster their own arsenals.

"Russia possesses significant advantages in its nuclear weapons production capacity and non-strategic nuclear forces over the USA and its allies", the document says. "They have added new types of nuclear capabilities to their arsenals ... and engage in increasingly aggressive behavior, including in outer space and cyberspace", stated the Pentagon in its draft 64-page NPR, obtained and first reported by the Huffington Post.

The new tactical weapon would violate the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty reached between Washington and Moscow in 1987.

The Trump administration plans to loosen constraints on the use of nuclear weapons and develop a more "usable", low-yield nuclear warhead for US Trident missiles, according a report in the Guardian.

Nuclear weapons are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks that could have "catastrophic" consequences due to their reliance on new technology, a report warns today.

In an open letter to Congress on Thursday, a group of 17 former nuclear launch officers argued that President Trump "poses a clear and present danger to the country and the world" and warned that "there are no reliable safeguards" to prevent Trump from deciding to launch a nuclear missile on his own.

"Our discussion has been robust and several draft have been written", the statement said. "However, the Nuclear Posture Review has not been completed and will ultimately be reviewed and approved by the President and the Secretary of defence". "As a general practice, we do not discuss pre-decisional, draft copies of strategies and reviews", the statement read.

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"North Korea continues its illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile capabilities in direct violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution".

'Where (the administration) go overboard, is where they say... the USA needs to develop two new types of nuclear weapons, ' Wolfsthal said.

'And there is pretty good, moderate but strong language that makes clear that any attempt by Russian Federation or North Korea to use nuclear weapons would result in a massive outcome for them and I think that's actually moderate, centrist and probably very much needed'. "Make no mistake, we are in an arms race still today".

"At best, cyber insecurity in nuclear weapons systems is likely to undermine trust and confidence in military capabilities and in the nuclear weapons infrastructure".

First, it would modify "a small number" of existing long-range ballistic missiles carried by Trident strategic submarines to fit them with smaller-yield nuclear warheads.

Potential weaknesses include rudimentary components, the report said. "It's just that the United States is not racing". It will be up to Congress, U.S. allies, the worldwide community, and ultimately the U.S. public to ensure that Trump's radical nuclear plans do not become the tipping point toward a new and more unsafe Cold War 2.0.

This could "hijack decision-making with potentially devastating consequences", it found.

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