The Biden administration has confirmed that it will cancel the submarine-launched nuclear cruise missile program initiated by Donald Trump as part of a nuclear policy review.
The administration will also retire the B63 gravity bomb from its arsenal as part of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), but arms control advocates argued that the change from the Trump era was not enough.
The administration retains another weapon variant introduced by Trump, a low-yield warhead called the W76-2, intended to deter enemies like Russia using low-yield weapons. The 2020 Democratic manifesto called W76-2 “unnecessary, wasteful, and indefensible.”
Biden NPR said, “The fundamental role of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attacks against the United States, its allies and partners.” That declaratory policy stops Biden from saying the sole purpose of the nuclear weapons he promised in his campaign is to deter nuclear attacks. Instead, NPR says the U.S. could counter “a narrow range of strategic-level attacks with other serious consequences.”
John Ulfstahl, who served as Barack Obama’s special adviser on arms control and non-proliferation issues, expressed disappointment at the Biden NPR.
“The world is a dangerous place, and our allies and we still rely on nuclear deterrence, but this document seeks to reduce the usability of nuclear weapons, and the United States to reduce their potential. ignoring the role it can play,” Wolfstahl said on Twitter.
The policy paper notes that arms control agreements offer “the most effective, durable, and responsible path to achieving the critical goal of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. strategy.” I’m here.
Supports the New Start Treaty, the last remaining arms control agreement with Russia, and commits to negotiate a successor agreement that expires in 2026, but says, “Negotiations require willing partners who act in good faith.” It is,” he adds.
The NPR says Russia has an active stockpile of up to 2,000 non-strategic or tactical warheads, as well as strategic weapons subject to fresh-start restrictions, and that Vladimir Putin and his officials It has been pointed out that it is alluding to the fact that Ukraine. The US only has a few hundred tactical weapons.
“Similarly, Russia is pursuing several new nuclear response systems designed to endanger the homeland of the United States or its allies and partners, some of which will not be held accountable under New Start. said NPR.
The document states that China will have 1,000 launchable warheads by the end of the 2030s, and that the United States will “for the first time in history, have two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries.” It reiterates the earlier US estimate that the ”
Introducing the National Defense Strategy of which NPR is a part, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin described China as America’s “pacing challenge” and Russia “has been unable to challenge America systematically for a long time.” It is an immediate and acute threat,” he said. semester”.
The NPR leaves the possibility that the US will have to build up its arsenal as a result of the dual threats from China and Russia. Ability to achieve deterrence. ”
Speaking to NPR, Jessica Slight, policy partner of disarmament advocacy group Global Zero, said: We cannot oppose unnecessary weapons programs and advance overdue reforms to policies and attitudes that will make America, its allies, and the world safer. ”