NUCLEAR weapons could still create “decisive results” and break stalemates during a war, Pentagon top brass have claimed.
The ominous new document – since deleted – is called ‘Nuclear Operations’ and suggests military chiefs could once again use the weapons of mass destruction to “restore strategic stability.”
Source: The Sun
Arms control experts say the doctrine marks a dangerous shift towards the idea of actually fighting and winning a full-scale nuclear conflict.
“Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the joint chiefs’ document states.
“Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.”
The US is the only country to have used the weapons in combat, with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.
The controversial paper comes after the Trump administration withdrew from two nuclear agreements – a 2015 deal with Iran and the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia.
NUKE ARMS RACE
At the same time the US, Chinese and Russian militaries are engaged in multi-billion pound nuclear weapon modernisation programmes.
The US is even developing a low-yield ballistic missile which some fear is a move towards using nukes in future wars.
The new weapon – the W76-2 – is a modification of the existing Trident warhead but with a much smaller blast range.
The thinking is that, as the smaller W76-2 is likely to less devastating consequences, it is more likely to be used in anger.
The White House has insisted the precision ‘low-field’ nukes will be a true deterrent, however.
America’s mighty nuclear arsenal
In total, the US has about 6,550 nuclear warheads and bombs, according to stats compiled by military experts.
About 300 bombs and air-launched cruise missiles are deployed on air bases in the United States.
Another 400 nuclear-tipped missiles are stationed underground in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota.
They’re primed ready to launch if and when they receive orders from the president
Another 150 bombs are scattered at bases in Europe.
A single nuclear-armed submarine carries the TNT equivalent of roughly seven World War 2s.
The US now plans to spend a trillion dollars updating all of its nukes and land, sea and air delivery systems.
The Pentagon document quotes the cold war theorist Herman Kahn as saying: “My guess is that nuclear weapons will be used sometime in the next hundred years, but that their use is much more likely to be small and limited than widespread and unconstrained.”
Kahn was a controversial figure who once argued a nuclear war could be “winnable” and is reported to have provided some inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove.
The top level document was taken down from the Pentagon online site after just a week and is now only available through a restricted access electronic library.
However, before it was removed it was downloaded by Steven Aftergood, who directs the project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.
He said it “is very much conceived as a war-fighting doctrine – not simply a deterrence doctrine, and that is unsettling”.