USA nuclear review calls for development of low-yield weapons

Putin Missile

Mr. Obama outlined his nuclear policy in a landmark speech in 2009 in Prague, proclaiming he would seek a "world without nuclear weapons".

One of the weapons is a warhead that could be used in conjunction with a Trident missile, a rocket deployed on U.S. Navy submarines. "These efforts include multiple upgrades for every leg of the Russian nuclear triad of strategic bombers, sea-based missiles and land-based missiles", officials wrote in the draft, published by the Huffington Post.

The Pentagon and the National Nuclear Security Agency must develop a sea-ground ballistic missile for this objective, the document says.

The report contends that developing the weapons will also help the US deter North Korea's nuclear aggression, which has ramped up at a far faster rate than experts had predicted. "Answering that with a conventional weapon is likely not going to have the kind of deterrent value as saying, 'Even if you use a low-yield weapon, we have options to respond, '" he said.

"Expanding flexible U.S. nuclear options now, to include low-yield options, is important for the preservation of credible deterrence against regional aggression", the document states. The final version is expected on February 2nd.

Russian status 6 nuclear torpedo dirty bomb
A briefing slide of the alleged Status-6 nuclear torpedo captured from Russian TV. BBC

Barry Blechman, co-founder of the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan anti-nuclear proliferation think tank in Washington, warned that the review contains major steps backward from the goals of previous administrations - to reduce the risk of nuclear war and prevent nuclear weapons spreading to additional nations. "This opinion has no empirical basis but is widely shared by civilians appointed to government positions by President Donald Trump".

"If all you have is high-yield weapons to answer a low-yield attack, it's still a nuclear attack".

In 2016, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva noted at an event in Washington that the US military needs smaller nuclear weapons that wouldn't cause massive casualties, reported Defense One.

These include "attacks on the USA, allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities", the document states.

But, it goes on, "the current environment makes further progress toward nuclear arms reductions in the near term extremely challenging". However, the Nuclear Posture Review has not been completed and will ultimately be reviewed and approved by the President and the Secretary of Defence.

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