LUC MICHEL (ЛЮК МИШЕЛЬ) & EODE/
Luc MICHEL for EODE/
Quotidien géopolitique – Geopolitical Daily/
2018 02 05/
“The Secretary shall initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review to ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.”
- President Donald Trump, 2017.
The United States wants to develop tactical nuclear weapons « in response to Moscow, » according to the Pentagon. The US Department of Defense has released this Friday, Feb. 2, a document called « Nuclear Posture Review » on the US atomic situation that determines the new US Nuclear Doctrine of Trump administration.
In its new Nuclear Doctrine, Washington announced its intention to acquire new nuclear weapons on the pretext of “countering a nuclear escalation that might provoke Russian military strategy.” The new American Doctrine provides for increased military spending for the modernization of the arsenal and the development of elements of the American « nuclear triad » (ballistic missiles, strategic submarines and bombers). Trump’s new Nuclear Doctrine does not exclude the use of nuclear weapons in the case of a non-nuclear attack on the United States …
But what exactly does this Pentagon document say?
* See (in French) on LUC MICHEL’S GEOPOLITICAL DAILY/
LA NOUVELLE DOCTRINE NUCLEAIRE DES USA QUI CIBLE DIRECTEMENT MOSCOU ET PEKIN
* Résumé français :
La nouvelle Doctrine nucleaire des usa: Que dit réellement le « US Nuclear Posture Review » ?
Les États-Unis veulent développer des armes nucléaires tactiques « en réponse à Moscou », selon le Pentagone. Le Département américain à la Défense vient de publier, ce vendredi 2 février, un document baptisé « Posture nucléaire » (US Nuclear Posture Review) sur la situation atomique américaine qui détermine la nouvelle Doctrine nucléaire des États-Unis de Trump.
Dans sa nouvelle Doctrine nucléaire, Washington a annoncé son intention de se doter de nouvelles armes nucléaires sous prétexte de contrer une escalade nucléaire que risquait de provoquer la stratégie militaire russe. La nouvelle Doctrine américaine prévoit l’augmentation des dépenses militaires pour la modernisation de l’arsenal et le développement des éléments de la «triade nucléaire» américaine (missiles balistiques, sous-marins stratégiques et bombardiers). La nouvelle Doctrine nucléaire de Trump n’exclut pas le recours à l’arme atomique dans le cas d’une attaque non nucléaire contre les Etats-Unis …
Mais que dit exactement ce document du Pentagone ?
# “NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW”
(FEBRUARY 2018, OFFICE OF THE US SECRETARY OF DEFENSE)
INTRODUCTION TO U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY AND STRATEGY
“On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump directed Secretary of Defense James Mattis to initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The President made clear that his first priority is to protect the United States, allies and partners. He emphasized both the long-term goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and the requirement that the United States have modern, flexible, and resilient nuclear capabilities that are safe, secure, and effective until such a time as nuclear weapons can prudently be eliminated from the world.
The United States remains committed to its efforts in support of the ultimate global elimination of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. It has negotiated multiple arms control treaties and has fully abided by its treaty commitments. In addition, for over two decades the United States has deployed no new nuclear capabilities, advanced nuclear reduction and non-proliferation initiatives to Russia and others, and strengthened alliance commitments and capabilities to safeguard international order and prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless, global threat conditions have worsened markedly since the most recent, 2010 NPR. There now exist an unprecedented range and mix of threats, including major conventional, chemical, biological, nuclear, space, and cyber threats, and violent non-state actors. International relations are volatile. Russia and China are contesting the international norms and order we have worked with our allies, partners, and members of the international community to build and sustain. Some regions are marked by persistent disorder that appears likely to continue and possibly intensify. These developments have produced increased uncertainty and risk, demanding a renewed seriousness of purpose in deterring threats and assuring allies and partners.
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. Russia has expanded and improved its strategic and non-strategic nuclear forces. China’s military modernization has resulted in an expanded nuclear force, with little to no transparency into its intentions. North Korea continues its illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile capabilities in direct violation of United Nations (U.N.) Security Council resolutions. Russia and North Korea have increased the salience of nuclear forces in their strategies and plans and have engaged in increasingly explicit nuclear threats. Along with China, they have also engaged in increasingly aggressive behavior in outer space and cyber space.
As a result, the 2018 NPR assesses recent nuclear policies and requirements that were established amid a more benign nuclear environment and more amicable Great Power relations. It focuses on identifying the nuclear policies, strategy, and corresponding capabilities needed to protect America, its allies, and partners in a deteriorating threat environment. It is strategy driven and provides guidance for the nuclear force structure and policy requirements needed now and in the future to maintain peace and stability in a rapidly shifting environment with significant future uncertainty.
The current threat environment and future uncertainties now necessitate a national commitment to maintain modern and effective nuclear forces, as well as the infrastructure needed to support them. Consequently, the United States has initiated a series of programs to sustain and replace existing nuclear capabilities before they reach the end of their service lives. These programs are critical to preserving our ability to deter threats to the Nation.”
GEN. JIM MATTIS SECRETARY’S PREFACE
“On January 27, 2017, the President directed the Department of Defense to conduct a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) to ensure a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent that protects the homeland, assures allies and above all, deters adversaries. This review comes at a critical moment in our nation’s history, for America confronts an international security situation that is more complex and demanding than any since the end of the Cold War. In this environment, it is not possible to delay modernization of our nuclear forces if we are to preserve a credible nuclear deterrent—ensuring that our diplomats continue to speak from a position of strength on matters of war and peace.
For decades, the United States led the world in efforts to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons. The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) set a ceiling of 6,000 accountable strategic nuclear warheads – a deep reduction from Cold War highs. Shorter-range nuclear weapons were almost entirely eliminated from America’s nuclear arsenal in the early 1990s. The 2002 Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty and the 2010 New START Treaty further lowered strategic nuclear force levels to 1,550 accountable warheads. During this time, the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile drew down by more than 85 percent from its Cold War high. Many hoped conditions had been set for even deeper reductions in global nuclear arsenals, and, ultimately, for their elimination.
While Russia initially followed America’s lead and made similarly sharp reductions in its strategic nuclear forces, it retained large numbers of non-strategic nuclear weapons. Today, Russia is modernizing these weapons as well as its other strategic systems. Even more troubling has been Russia’s adoption of military strategies and capabilities that rely on nuclear escalation for their success. These developments, coupled with Russia’s seizure of Crimea and nuclear threats against our allies, mark Moscow’s decided return to Great Power competition.
China, too, is modernizing and expanding its already considerable nuclear forces. Like Russia, China is pursuing entirely new nuclear capabilities tailored to achieve particular national security objectives while also modernizing its conventional military, challenging traditional U.S. military superiority in the Western Pacific.
Elsewhere, the strategic picture brings similar concerns. North Korea’s nuclear provocations threaten regional and global peace, despite universal condemnation in the United Nations. Iran’s nuclear ambitions remain an unresolved concern. Globally, nuclear terrorism remains a real danger.
We must look reality in the eye and see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. This NPR reflects the current, pragmatic assessment of the threats we face and the uncertainties regarding the future security environment.
Given the range of potential adversaries, their capabilities and strategic objectives, this review calls for a flexible, tailored nuclear deterrent strategy. This review calls for the diverse set of nuclear capabilities that provides an American President flexibility to tailor the approach to deterring one or more potential adversaries in different circumstances.
For any President, the use of nuclear weapons is contemplated only in the most extreme circumstances to protect our vital interests and those of our allies.
Nuclear forces, along with our conventional forces and other instruments of national power, are therefore first and foremost directed towards deterring aggression and preserving peace. Our goal is to convince adversaries they have nothing to gain and everything to lose from the use of nuclear weapons.
In no way does this approach lower the nuclear threshold. Rather, by convincing adversaries that even limited use of nuclear weapons will be more costly than they can tolerate, it in fact raises that threshold.
To this end, this review confirms the findings of previous NPRs that the nuclear triad—supported by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) dual-capable aircraft and a robust nuclear command, control, and communications system—is the most cost-effective and strategically sound means of ensuring nuclear deterrence. The triad provides the President flexibility while guarding against technological surprise or sudden changes in the geopolitical environment. To remain effective, however, we must recapitalize our Cold War legacy nuclear forces.
By the time we complete the necessary modernization of these forces, they will have served decades beyond their initial life expectancy. This review affirms the modernization programs initiated during the previous Administration to replace our nuclear ballistic missile submarines, strategic bombers, nuclear air-launched cruise missiles, ICBMs, and associated nuclear command and control. Modernizing our dual-capable fighter bombers with next-generation F-35 fighter aircraft will maintain the strength of NATO’s deterrence posture and maintain our ability to forward deploy nuclear weapons, should the security situation demand it.
Recapitalizing the nuclear weapons complex of laboratories and plants is also long past due; it is vital we ensure the capability to design, produce, assess, and maintain these weapons for as long as they are required. Due to consistent underfunding, significant and sustained investments will be required over the coming decade to ensure that National Nuclear Security Administration will be able to deliver the nuclear weapons at the needed rate to support the nuclear deterrent into the 2030s and beyond.
Maintaining an effective nuclear deterrent is much less expensive than fighting a war that we were unable to deter. Maintenance costs for today’s nuclear deterrent are approximately three percent of the annual defense budget. Additional funding of another three to four percent, over more than a decade, will be required to replace these aging systems. This is a top priority of the Department of Defense. We are mindful of the sustained financial commitment and gratefully recognize the ongoing support of the American people and the United States Congress for this important mission.
While we will be relentless in ensuring our nuclear capabilities are effective, the United States is not turning away from its long-held arms control, non-proliferation, and nuclear security objectives. Our commitment to the goals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) remains strong. Yet we must recognize that the current environment makes further progress toward nuclear arms reductions in the near term extremely challenging. Ensuring our nuclear deterrent remains strong will provide the best opportunity for convincing other nuclear powers to engage in meaningful arms control initiatives.
This review rests on a bedrock truth: nuclear weapons have and will continue to play a critical role in deterring nuclear attack and in preventing large-scale conventional warfare between nuclear-armed states for the foreseeable future. U.S. nuclear weapons not only defend our allies against conventional and nuclear threats, they also help them avoid the need to develop their own nuclear arsenals. This, in turn, furthers global security.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the vital role our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians play in maintaining a safe, secure, and ready nuclear force. Without their ceaseless and often unheralded efforts, America would not possess a nuclear deterrent. At the end of the day, deterrence comes down to the men and women in uniform – in silos, in the air, and beneath the sea.”
THE STRATEGIC NUCLEAR TRIAD: PRESENT AND FUTURE.
“Today’s strategic nuclear triad, largely deployed in the 1980s or earlier, consists of: submarines (SSBNs) armed with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM); land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM); and strategic bombers carrying gravity bombs and air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs). The triad and non-strategic nuclear forces, with supporting NC3, provides diversity and flexibility as needed to tailor U.S. strategies for deterrence, assurance, achieving objectives should deterrence fail, and hedging.
The increasing need for this diversity and flexibility, in turn, is one of the primary reasons why sustaining and replacing the nuclear triad and non-strategic nuclear capabilities, and modernizing NC3, is necessary now. The triad’s synergy and overlapping attributes help ensure the enduring survivability of our deterrence capabilities against attack and our capacity to hold at risk a range of adversary targets throughout a crisis or conflict. Eliminating any leg of the triad would greatly ease adversary attack planning and allow an adversary to concentrate resources and attention on defeating the remaining two legs. Therefore, we will sustain our legacy triad systems until the planned replacement programs are deployed.
The United States currently operates 14 OHIO-class SSBNs and will continue to take the steps needed to ensure that OHIO SSBNs remain operationally effective and survivable until replaced by the COLUMBIA-class SSBN. The COLUMBIA program will deliver a minimum of 12 SSBNs to replace the current OHIO fleet and is designed to provide required deterrence capabilities for decades.
The ICBM force consists of 400 single-warhead Minuteman III missiles deployed in underground silos and dispersed across several states. The United States has initiated the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program to begin the replacement of Minuteman III in 2029. The GBSD program will also modernize the 450 ICBM launch facilities that will support the fielding of 400 ICBMs.
The bomber leg of the triad consists of 46 nuclear-capable B-52H and 20 nuclear-capable B-2A “stealth” strategic bombers. The United States has initiated a program to develop and deploy the next-generation bomber, the B-21 Raider. It will first supplement, and eventually replace elements of the conventional and nuclear-capable bomber force beginning in the mid-2020s.
The B83-1 and B61-11 gravity bombs can hold at risk a variety of protected targets. As a result, both will be retained in the stockpile, at least until there is sufficient confidence in the B61-12 gravity bomb that will be available in 2020.
Beginning in 1982, B-52H bombers were equipped with ALCMs. Armed with ALCMs, the B-52H can stay outside adversary air defenses and remain effective. The ALCM, however, is now more than 25 years past its design life and faces continuously improving adversary air defense systems. The Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) cruise missile replacement program will maintain into the future the bomber force capability to deliver stand-off weapons that can penetrate and survive advanced integrated air defense systems, thus supporting the long-term effectiveness of the bomber leg.
The current non-strategic nuclear force consists exclusively of a relatively small number of B61 gravity bombs carried by F-15E and allied dual capable aircraft (DCA). The United States is incorporating nuclear capability onto the forward-deployable, nuclear-capable F-35 as a replacement for the current aging DCA. In conjunction with the
ongoing life extension program for the B61 bomb, it will be a key contributor to continued regional deterrence stability and the assurance of allies.”
(Source: Office Of The US Secretary Of Defense – EODE Think-Tank)
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