Trump Wants ‘Low Yield’ Nuclear Weapons

Picture of an atomic bomb explosion. From FEMA (U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency) publicity poster. The caption read: "Disasters are devastating to the natural and man-made environment. FEMA provides federal aid and assistance to those who have been affected by all types of disaster. FEMA News Photo"FEMA/via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Of the 6,800 nuclear warheads currently possessed by the U.S., more than 1,000 are "low-yield".

President Donald Trump has seemed enamored with the idea of nuclear weapons since the days of his presidential campaigning, and more recently indicating via the National Security Strategy that his administration is more amiable toward considering nuclear options than past administrations.

Now, a version of the Nuclear Posture Review - the final draft of which should be public after Trump delivers the State of the Union address - signals that the president wants to have more "low-yield" nuclear weapons.

To be clear, "low-yield" nuclear warheads are in line with the force of those dropped during World War II.

The introduction to the report confirms that the U.S. seeks the ”ultimate global elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons,” something it has been bound to do since the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1970.

But the document also lays out the “bleak” turn that the world has taken since the last posture review in 2010, particularly highlighting North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and a more aggressive Russia after the annexation of Crimea.

The report indicates such an upgrade to the nuclear arsenal is necessary to make known that the U.S. can handle or deter any type of military attack.

It lays out updates to the nuclear “Triad” of submarine, bomber and land-based missiles, but also declares plans to modify some submarine-based missiles to be “low yield” and to bring back a “nuclear armed sea launched cruise missile” that had been retired.

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