The Pentagon’s official outline for its use of nuclear force was denounced as “radical” and “extreme” by prominent anti-nuclear weapons groups when it was released Friday afternoon—confirming peace advocates’ worst fears that the Trump administration would seek to expand the use of nuclear force.
“Who in their right mind thinks we should expand the list of scenarios in which we might launch nuclear weapons?” asked Peace Action in a statement. “Who let Dr. Strangelove write the Nuclear Posture Review?”
The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) calls for the development of smaller warheads that the military believes would be seen as more “usable” against other nations.
“In support of a strong and credible nuclear deterrent, the United States must…maintain a nuclear force with a diverse, flexible range of nuclear yield and delivery modes that are ready, capable, and credible,” reads the report, which serves as the first updated document the U.S. has released regarding its perceived nuclear threats since 2010.
In addition to “diversifying” its nuclear arsenal, the Pentagon notes that it will seek to “expand the range of credible U.S. options for responding to nuclear or non-nuclear strategic attack,” raising concerns that President Donald Trump will argue for the use of nuclear force as a deterrent—a significant departure from previous administrations which saw nuclear weapons as an option only for retaliation.
“The risk of use for nuclear weapons has always been unacceptably high,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). “The new Trump Nuclear Doctrine is to deliberately increase that risk. It is an all-out attempt to take nuclear…