Nearly 30 years after the end of the Cold War, nuclear deterrence and defense are now in the spotlight. The Pentagon presented its new nuclear plan this month that will modernize nuclear defenses on land, sea and air; or known as the "nuclear triad," while seeking changes to its nuclear weapons.
All components of the American nuclear arsenal on land, sea and air are expected to expire in the next ten years. Experts say that if America does not take action to modernize from now on, then the nuclear arsenal goal – that is to deter other countries from using their nuclear weapons – could be threatened.
Michaela Dodge at the Heritage Foundation says, "There is a presumption that American action will cause nuclear arms rivalry, but I think it's already going on, it's just that America is not taking part in the fight. "
Some analysts say Russia and China have started to update their nuclear weapons program twenty years ago. It is also overshadowed by North Korea's nuclear threat and the development of Iran's nuclear weapons.
To address this change, the Pentagon called for two additional nuclear weapons of America. First, restoring the ability to launch sea-based missiles, a capability possessed by Americans during the Cold War.
Second, is to add low-capacity ballistic missiles – or whose strengths are not too large – to be launched from submarines. This addition will be able to dampen the ambitions of America's strongest enemy, namely Russia, which is likely to use low-capacity weapons to impose its will in small conflicts.
Michael O'Hanlon at the Brookings Institution says, "I tend to get back on track. last year where both sides reduced the role of nuclear weapons in their foreign policy. I think Russia is not giving us that option now, so for the moment I think we should be more assertive than my earlier expectations. "
The Obama administration's posture review of 2010 produced a delicate balance between the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons maintaining safe and effective nuclear weapons. The Trump government version focuses on the second point of maintaining American weapons, and making the issue of arms control an option that is not prioritized. [em/jm]