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New Trump nuke policy veers us into more dangerous territory

Posted by Martin Fleck on January 19, 2018

Last week, a HuffPost reporter leaked a draft of the Trump administration's new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The NPR, which officially defines the role of U.S. nuclear weapons, dangerously increases reliance on nuclear weapons rather than pursuing diplomacy to prevent conflict and move towards arms reductions. Help PSR hold our government accountable in calling this reckless policy unacceptable.

The near-final draft, leaked to HuffPost reporter Ashley Feinberg, highlights the core policy principles that will be embedded in the forthcoming official document. The official document is expected to be released on February 2, 2018. Here's what we learned from the leaked draft:

1. The United States will shift towards increased reliance on nuclear weapons. The 2018 NPR augments the role of nuclear weapons in military plans. The document also loosens current restraints on the use of nuclear weapons by expanding the list of situations that could trigger their use. This is a significant departure from the Obama administration's NPR, which included guidelines that the United States would pursue disarmament by working to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in military plans.

2. More usable "mini-nukes." The Trump administration's NPR calls for the production of additional "tactical" low-yield nuclear weapons to provide the president with new nuclear attack options. Specific proposals are to develop a new sea-launched cruise missile and to equip some of the extremely accurate D-5 ballistic missiles carried by Trident submarines with a single low-yield (Hiroshima-sized) nuclear weapon. During the presidential election campaign, Trump famously asked: "If you can't use nuclear weapons, why do we have them?" The devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki demonstrates that any use of nuclear weapons, no matter how small, could indiscriminately kill hundreds of thousands of civilians.

3. Unsurprisingly, a massive revamp of the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal. The United States plans to enhance and upgrade the arsenal with new missiles, aircraft and submarines. This plan is estimated to cost $1.2 trillion over 30 years. Clearly, the creators of the NPR didn't get the memo that a growing faction of the international community has declared nuclear weapons illegitimate and illegal. On July 7, 2017, 122 nations voted to adopt the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. PSR and our partners at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), and the International Red Cross have also risen up and called for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

What you can do

Ask your friends and colleagues to get involved. They can stay informed by signing up for PSR's e-activist list.

Use our NPR talking points to write an op-ed or letter to the editor. The State of the Union address on January 30 and anticipated release of the NPR on February 2 are both news opportunities that give us a chance to spread our message. (For tips on writing an effective letter to the editor, click here.)


Daniel Kerlinsky MD said ..

PSR will need a new set of allies to prevent Congressional approval of the resumption of nuclear weapons testing. In the 1980s and 1990s we had the assistance of retired nuclear weapons physicists and nuclear weapons engineers to fight the alleged need for further nuclear weapons test explosions to 'prove' warhead 'safety' and 'reliability' - - - the lies told to the American people by the nuclear weapons laboratories. Our allies have passed away now and there are no Manhattan Project survivors - no Dick Garwin and no Herb York to step in with Bill Perry and Ashton Carter from the DOD side.

February 19, 2018
D. Kerlinsky M.D. said ..

When we stopped nuclear weapons testing in 1995 with the zero-yield Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty the United States was about to go to mini-nuke and micro-nuke testing. We cannot go into production of a new US nuclear warhead without underground testing - - - and that would break the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and start new rounds of nuclear weapons testing by all nuclear weapons powers. The danger of smuggled nuclear weapons goes astronomical once many nations devise coffee thermos-sized mini-nukes of one to a thousand-ton TNT-equivalent bombs. These weapons could be walked into key infrastructure target buildings anywhere undetected. And they could be mass-produced in the hundreds of thousands per year ... cheaply and robotically. On the other end of the spectrum ... cargo-container-sized smuggled nuclear weapons could produce yields of 100 megatons and blow-up any coastal port city in the world. The resumption of nuclear weapons testing is not in the interests of the United States. PSR needs to make it clear that coffee-thermos mini-nukes and cargo-container 100 megaton nukes will become new sorts of threats in the 21st century. Smuggle weapons cannot be deterred. Nuclear retaliation against an unknown enemy would be abhorrent and a crime against humanity.

February 19, 2018
Karan M Founds said ..

I am a fourth stage cancer patient who will be on trial May 16th for a protest on nuke missile testing at Vandenberg Airforce base. I am eager to get good new statistics and other strong facts on lingering fallout and cancer (our children's and grandchildren's generation especially) to bring out at the trial. I am hoping other cancer patients will join me in protesting on behalf of our future generations, the legacy of cancer. Is there information I can access and those who are also protesting out of their cancer awareness?

February 1, 2018
Donna E. said ..

I have grandchildren and I want some promise that nukes won't be used in their lifetime, OR EVER! We need to reduce nukes, not build up the arsenal. I want world peace!

January 28, 2018
J V Stills said ..

We have all the nuclear weapons we need!

January 24, 2018
Paul Roden said ..

President Trump wants to use nuclear weapons and wants to build more of them in violation of nuclear disarmament treaties. He is emotionally and intellectually unfit to be Commander in Chief. He will destroy the whole planet with his belligerence and lack of diplomacy. He should be impeached under the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution.

January 24, 2018
Edward Brinton said ..

For the sake of survival of all mankind every effort should be made toward the abolition of nuclear weapons

January 24, 2018
Mark Muhich said ..

The Nuclear Policy Review NPR has always been based on "first-strike" use of nuclear weapons. see The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg.

January 24, 2018
Scott Baker said ..

One nuke is too many but at least we could show leadership by beginning to reduce the number of nukes. We have more than necessary for anyone's conception of deterrence. The fewer the nukes; the safer the world. Let's do it now.

January 23, 2018
Scott Baker said ..

The United States and Russia have way more nukes than can be justified by deterrence. The more nukes, the more chanc

January 23, 2018
Gar Smith said ..

Hiroshima was destroyed by a "mini-nuke." See the recent article: "Mini-Nukes" Would Promote, Not Deter, The Use Of Nuclear Bombs In Conflict.

January 23, 2018
D. Vandiver said ..

This policy is typical of Trump's "my way or no way" bullying mentality. In his mind, these weapons are like comic book vaporizers, with no lasting ramifications.

January 23, 2018
Rita Shamban said ..

Nukes are for genocide, diplomacy is for life.

January 23, 2018
Alex Cox said ..

I appreciate that you don't like Trump - who does - but it was Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama who approved the $1.2 trillion nuclear upgrade. The madness is entirely bipartisan.

January 23, 2018
Barbara K. said ..

Take away all his nuclear power. He is not competent enough to make any of these decisions. Don't wait until he takes irreversible action. Do it NOW !!

January 23, 2018
John Bernard said ..

What we really need is to get the nuclear button out of this clown's hands ASAP.

January 23, 2018
Clarence Morey said ..

Let us try more diplomacy. May we have Peace in our times!

January 23, 2018
Dean Sigler said ..

Don't we have more than enough nukes to kill us all many times over already? Like a responsible gun owner, we should do all we can to lock them up and keep them from irresponsible hands until we can disarm. We don't need more.

January 23, 2018

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