Trump administration wants new ‘low-yield’ nukes: leaked report
The Trump administration wants more to develop new “low-yield” nuclear weapons to add on to the American arsenal, according to a leaked draft report.
A version of the Nuclear Posture Review obtained by the Huffington Post shows that beyond the planned replacement of U.S. nuclear capabilities, the President and his advisers want “supplemental” attack methods.
The introduction to the report confirms that the U.S. seeks the ”ultimate global elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons,” something it has been bound to do since the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1970.
But the document also lays out the “bleak” turn that the world has taken since the last posture review in 2010, particularly highlighting North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and a more aggressive Russia after the annexation of Crimea.
It lays out updates to the nuclear “Triad” of submarine, bomber and land-based missiles, but also declares plans to modify some submarine-based missiles to be “low yield” and to bring back a “nuclear armed sea launched cruise missile” that had been retired.
The move will not increase the number of deployed warheads, according to the report, which adds that the availability of “low-yield” weapons will prevent the perception of any gap in the U.S.’s ability to deter an attack.
More than 1,000 of the 6,800 warheads in the U.S. arsenal are “low-yield,” which have the force of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
An activist with a mask of Kim Jong Un and another with a mask of Trump, march with a model of a nuclear rocket in Berlin.
(Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Anthony Wier, a former deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs, told the Huffington Post that the idea behind the weapons is that the U.S. is itself deterred from using its more powerful bombs because they are too deadly.
He said, however that the new review seemed to create redundancies and that it had “a lot of solutions in search of problems.”
Jon Wolfsthal, an assistant on arms control to Barack Obama, told the Guardian that a final draft he saw significantly walked back from a more “extreme” set of proposals.
Trump reportedly responded to a chart about the reduction in U.S. nuclear weapons since the Cold War by hoping for a ten-fold increase in the stockpile, though he called the reporting from NBC “pure fiction.”
His repeated references to his nuclear capability while lobbing insults at North Korea’s Kim Jong Un are believed to have spurred the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
The finished nuclear review will likely be released after Trump’s State of the Union address this month.