Pentagon Announces Major Shift In US Nuclear Policy

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For the first time publicly, the review also says that Russian Federation is developing a hypersonic, nuclear-powered undersea torpedo.

The proposals stem from concerns that Russian Federation may see current United States nuclear weapons as too big to be used.

People walk through a portal of the Kremlin wall on a sunny winter day in downtown Moscow on January 10, 2018. It calls for the introduction of "low-yield nukes" on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and the resumption of the nuclear-submarine-launched cruise missile (SLC-M) whose production stopped during the George W. Bush era and which Obama removed from the nuclear arsenal. "Clearly, the USA new nuclear strategy is a reaction to the changing global situation, which undermines the very domination of one country".

President Donald Trump highlighted the importance of the review's conclusions Friday in a written statement.

Rob Soofer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, said the introduction of new capabilities should in fact raise the threshold by making Russian Federation less likely to think it can get away with a limited nuclear attack against the United States or its allies.

A unsafe disconnect is emerging between the horrific impacts of even the limited use of nuclear weapons and leaders and policymakers who seem intent on threatening nuclear use in an ever-expanding range of scenarios. The Pentagon worries that Putin's army could take control of a US ally and detonate a small nuclear weapon to prevent USA troops from responding.

Speaking about the US Nuclear Posture Review released on February 2, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that accusations against Moscow of aggressive behavior, interventions, breaches of arms control agreements, written in the document, have nothing to do with reality.

The policy update was meant to "look reality in the eye" and "see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be", said Defense Secretary James Mattis. Worse still, these new weapons could heighten the risk of conflict by feeding into a unsafe ongoing action-reaction cycle: For some time, new US conventional weapons that are faster, stealthier and/or more precise than before, combined with growing missile defense deployments, have stoked Russian fears that, in a conflict, America could wipe out its forces before they have a chance to inflict any damage.

Upon detonation, the device is created to cause large zones of radioactive contamination. Politicians have called the torpedo a "doomsday" weapon. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, has labeled the concept "destabilizing".

"The concept is a horror of the Cold War", Adam Mount, a senior fellow and the director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists told CNN.

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And the White House said Russian Federation would face "unacceptably dire costs" if it threatened even a limited nuclear attack in Europe.

It is described as a "new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo", which could be deployed from beneath a submarine.

Each submarine would only carry a few of these new missiles, armed primarily with strategic longer-range missiles.

"Neither recommendation requires developing new nuclear warheads", Shanahan said. "They break no treaty".

The report follows promises made by President Trump to strengthen the nation's nuclear arsenal.

The Pentagon led review of the US nuclear arsenal and strategy was commissioned by Trump after he took office a year ago. "The programs would crowd out other military priorities, alarm allies, and have huge diplomatic cost - for minimal deterrence benefit", he said.

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.

Despite being called low-yield, the weapons are extremely deadly.

He said it was also long-standing USA policy to "maintain some ambiguity" on when the US would use nuclear weapons.