The nuclear posture review, which was ordered by Trump a year ago, also seemingly referred to cyber-attacks when it stated it would confront major attacks that 'may not come in the form of nuclear weapons'.
"Expanding flexible USA nuclear options now, to include low-yield options, is important for the preservation of credible deterrence against regional aggression", the report says.
At the same time, the Pentagon noted that they do not rule out the use of nuclear weapons if the USA is attacked by using conventional weapons.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said: "What we have is a nuclear deterrent, so keep those two words always together and then look at the efforts to push forward on nonproliferation and arms control, and you have to do that when you're in a position of persuasion not of hope". The U.S. has mostly gotten rid of these weapons and the Pentagon worries this could be viewed as an "exploitable gap" because the choice would be between a much-larger nuclear attack or a less-lethal attack with smaller weapons.
In reality, the review is a balanced document carefully weighing the impact of risky global trends like a resurgent Russian Federation and an aggressive China on US nuclear posture. For the long term, the Defense and Energy Departments will also study how to develop new submarine-launched cruise missiles that can also be fitted with low-yield warheads. Washington uses its traditional anti-Russian rhetoric to justify its own "large-scale nuclear weapons buildup", it added.
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The policy unveiled Friday envisions the introduction of so-called "low-yield nukes" on submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
"The new NPR recognizes that in order to deter these potential threats, we must maintain a variety of nuclear capabilities".
The administration of US President Donald Trump released the new Nuclear Posture Review on Friday.
I am only focusing on Russian Federation - what is said about Russian Federation? The US has a few hundred active low-yield weapons deployed in Europe. "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 added.
The report warns of the scale of the nuclear threat posed by Russian Federation. With three nuclearized member states - the United States, Britain and France - NATO has a robust nuclear deterrent capable of being employed anywhere in defense of NATO interests. Memories of a smoldering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the stark fear generated by the Cuban missile crisis or the massive protests sparked in the early 1980s by the deployment of US and Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe no longer drive or even inform policy.
But critics warn that such low-yield weapons would actually increase the likeliness of a nuclear war because they blur the line between acceptable and non-acceptable weapons to use, increasing the risk of miscalculation.
In addition, the NPR stated that the USA had no intention of resuming nuclear testing to enhance the arsenal, "unless we find it necessary". That is why the Trump administration must modernize the US nuclear arsenal and warheads.