The US is more likely to use nuclear weapons, according to the new Nuclear Posture Review [NPR] just released by US President Donald Trump’s administration.
Washington’s new NPR recommends a hawkish approach to cooperation with Russia over nuclear proliferation, and further calls for the US to tackle “an unprecedented range and mix of threats” posed by foreign powers including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.
A key shift from existing nuclear weapons policy is the expansion of scenarios in which a nuclear threats would be considered. The document lists non-nuclear attacks that could constitute grounds for US nuclear retaliation.
Under the new NPR, a conventional attack which results in mass casualties or targets key infrastructure could trigger a nuclear response.
The review suggests a hawkish approach to cooperation with Russia over nuclear proliferation. It warns that Russia is “developing and deploying new nuclear warheads and launchers” and will “continue to increase its warhead delivery capacity” in the future.
Washington finds “troubling” Russia’s adoption of military strategies and capabilities that rely on nuclear escalation, according to the NPR.
“Russia has demonstrated its willingness to use force to alter the map of Europe and impose its will on its neighbors, backed by implicit and explicit nuclear first-use threats,” according to the report.
The review also calls for more integration between nuclear and non-nuclear forces, and upgrading F-35 fighter aircraft to carry nuclear bombs and missiles.
“The strategy develops capabilities aimed at making use of nuclear weapons less likely,” the White House said on a statement on Friday. “It enhances deterrence of strategic attacks against our Nation, and our allies and partners that may not come in the form of nuclear weapons.”