Are United States starting new round of arms race?
The Trump Administration's newly-released Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) lays out plans to modernize the US nuclear triad by integrating nuclear capability on the F-35 fighter jet, deploying low-yield warheads at sea, and developing new silo-based strategic weapons, among other initiatives, Sputnik reports.
On Friday, senior State and Defense Department officials held a press conference to rollout the NPR, a 100-page document that was the result of a January 27, 2017 directive from US President Donald Trump which called on Defense Secretary James Mattis to conduct a review to "ensure a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent that protects the homeland, assures allies and above all, deters adversaries."
Trump in a statement on Friday after the rollout said that after a year of "thorough analysis and careful deliberations across our government," the administration was announcing the conclusions of its findings.
"These conclusions are grounded in a realistic assessment of the global security environment, the need to deter the use of the most destructive weapons on earth, and our nation’s long-standing commitment to nuclear non-proliferation," Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
Meanwhile, the United States is using the alleged Russian threat to justify a hike in military spending and nuclear buildup, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov told reporters in a comment on the new US Nuclear Posture Review.
"The problem is that the Americans are again using the Russian scare to justify the rise in military spending and the nuclear buildup," he said Friday. "We realize this comes from their desire to inject more money into the military industry sector, we know the price tag is enormous, trillions of dollars."
Antonov told reporters that Russian specialists hope to discuss with American specialists the new US Nuclear Posture Review in the near future, Antonov told reporters.
However, the newly released 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review raises questions and does not promise practical work, Russian Ambassador to the United States noted. "We were able to get acquainted only with the publicly released part of the document, with the remarks made by [US Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis, but even these remarks raise questions," Antonov said Friday. "I think that the remarks, at least those I have seen, do not really encourage practical work."
Meanwhile, James Mattis explained in the preface that the review affirms efforts initiated under former President Barack Obama to modernize US nuclear ballistic missile submarines, strategic bombers, nuclear air-launched cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and command and control.
US Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan echoed this sentiment to reporters at a press conference unveiling the NPR. "The 2018 NPR calls for modernizing the nuclear triad and command and control system — which is necessary, affordable and long overdue," Shanahan said on Friday.
The review claims a stronger US nuclear deterrent is needed to discourage Russia, China, Iran and North Korea from either developing new weapons or expanding existing arsenals.
In the NPR's preface, Mattis said that Russian doctrine and its actions in Crimea, Ukraine and elsewhere have signaled Moscow’s intent to return to Great Power competition.