Document: Nuclear Posture Review 2018

Department of Defense, February 2018

Ähnliches Foto„While the United States has continued to reduce the number and salience of nuclear weapons, others, including Russia and China, have moved in the opposite direction. They have added new types of nuclear capabilities to their arsenals, increased the salience of nuclear forces in their strategies and plans, and engaged in increasingly aggressive behavior, including in outer space and cyber space. North Korea continues its illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile capabilities in direct violation of United Nations (U.N.) Security Council resolutions. Iran has agreed to constraints on its nuclear program in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Nevertheless, it retains the technological capability and much of the capacity necessary to develop a nuclear weapon within one year of a decision to do so.“

„Nevertheless, this review candidly addresses the challenges posed by Russian, Chinese, and other states’ strategic policies, programs, and capabilities, particularly nuclear. It presents the flexible, adaptable, and resilient U.S. nuclear capabilities now required to protect the United States, allies, and partners, and promote strategic stability. “

„The highest U.S. nuclear policy and strategy priority is to deter potential adversaries from nuclear attack of any scale. However, deterring nuclear attack is not the sole purpose of nuclear weapons. Given the diverse threats and profound uncertainties of the current and future threat environment, U.S. nuclear forces play the following  critical roles in U.S. national security strategy. They contribute to the:
› Deterrence of nuclear and non-nuclear attack;
› Assurance of allies and partners;
› Achievement of U.S. objectives if deterrence fails; and
› Capacity to hedge against an uncertain future.“

„Potential adversaries must recognize that across the emerging range of threats and contexts: 1) the United States is able to identify them and hold them accountable for acts of aggression, including new forms of aggression; 2) we will defeat non-nuclear strategic attacks; and, 3) any nuclear escalation will fail to achieve their objectives, and will instead result in unacceptable consequences for them.“

„U.S. nuclear capabilities, and nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3), must be increasingly flexible to tailor deterrence strategies across a range of potential adversaries and threats, and enable adjustments over time. Accordingly, the United States will maintain the range of flexible nuclear capabilities needed to ensure that nuclear or non-nuclear aggression against the United States, allies, and partners will fail to achieve its objectives and carry with it the credible risk of intolerable consequences for potential adversaries now and in the future.

To do so, the United States will sustain and replace its nuclear capabilities, modernize NC3, and strengthen the integration of nuclear and non-nuclear military planning. Combatant Commands and Service components will be organized and resourced for this mission, and will plan, train, and exercise to integrate U.S. nuclear and non-nuclear forces to operate in the face of adversary nuclear threats and employment. The United States will coordinate integration activities with allies facing nuclear threats and examine opportunities for additional allied burden sharing of the nuclear deterrence mission. “

Flexible and Secure Nuclear Capabilities: An Affordable Priority

„While cost estimates for the program to sustain and replace U.S. nuclear capabilities vary, even the highest of these projections place the highpoint of the future cost at approximately 6.4 percent of the current DoD budget. Maintaining and operating our current aging nuclear forces now requires between two and three percent of the DoD budget. “

Enhancing Deterrence with Non-strategic Nuclear Capabilities

„To address these types of challenges and preserve deterrence stability, the United States will enhance the flexibility and range of its tailored deterrence options. To be clear, this is not intended to, nor does it enable, “nuclear war-fighting.” Expanding flexible U.S. nuclear options now, to include low-yield options, is important for the preservation of credible deterrence against regional aggression. It will raise the nuclear threshold and help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely.“

Read the complete document or the executive summary of the Nuclear Posture Review 2018 on the Department of Defense Website.

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