The 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review released on February 2 states that the world has seen "the return of Great Power competition" and again puts Russian Federation at the core of U.S. nuclear strategy.
The review clarifies the US will use nuclear weapons only in "extreme circumstances", but those circumstances could include "significant non-nuclear strategic attacks".
In his own statement, Trump said the updated strategy develops capabilities so that use of a nuclear weapon is less likely.
Shanahan argued the clarification was "stabilizing" because he said having a nuclear response option to extreme non-nuclear attacks "lowers the risk of nuclear use by anyone".
But it specifies that extreme circumstances also could include "non-nuclear strategic attacks" including those on the "U.S., allied or partner civilian population or infrastructure", as well as "on USA or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities".
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South Korea is a major USA ally with the two countries forging strong military and economic ties. The report calls for the U.S.to develop two new additional nuclear weapons to keep other world powers at bay. "Rather, by convincing adversaries that even limited use of nuclear weapons will be more costly than they can tolerate, it in fact raises that threshold".
The Nuclear Posture Review calls for modernizing the nuclear triad - land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft - and command-and-control system.
US planners and security officials are anxious by the idea that Russian official policy reserves the right to use nuclear weapons first in a failing conventional conflict where the survival or territorial integrity of the Russia state is at stake, and by Russia's development of multiple nuclear systems with low yield.
According to the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review, published on Friday, the country will maintain and enhance the capability to deploy nuclear bombers and dual-capable aircraft around the world, and it is committed to working with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to ensure the readiness and operational effectiveness of such aircraft based in Europe. The Russian Foreign Ministry denied the accusations in the report and said that Moscow was ready to work constructively with Washington over arms stockpiles.
The document is filled "with all sorts of anti-Russian cliches" and "ends with unfounded allegations" that Russia has breached agreements on arms control.
United States officials argue that since the last nuclear review, Russian Federation has expanded and modernized its non-strategic nuclear weapons, annexed Crimea in 2014, and deployed a ground-launched cruise missile that breaches the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
This version of Trump's report on nuclear weapons has one glaring error in it... "I will review this NPR, but I believe the world would be safer with fewer nuclear weapons and that our focus should be on negotiating treaties to reduce the number of weapons and prevent nuclear proliferation". In an apparent reference to the threat of catastrophic cyberattack, he said the US aims to strengthen deterrence of major attacks against the USA and its allies, including those that "may not come in the form of nuclear weapons". "To be clear, this is not meant to, nor does it enable, "nuclear war-fighting". Russian Federation says it would only resort to nuclear weapons if the homeland faced an existential threat. Unlike during the Cold War, the United States now must deter several nuclear adversaries that each possess unique capabilities and pose unique potential threats both to the United States and our allies.
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