Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he's become convinced that the U.S. must keep all three parts of its nuclear force — rather than eliminate one of them, as he once suggested.
That force consists of land-based missiles — known as intercontinental ballistic missiles — as well as missiles launched from submarines and from planes.
Before Mattis became President Donald Trump's Pentagon chief in January, he'd suggested ICBMs might be expendable.
But he says his view has changed.
Mattis says the key to avoiding nuclear war is maintaining a nuclear arsenal sufficient to convince a potential enemy that attacking the United States with a nuclear weapon would be suicidal. He says he's has been persuaded that the current framework "is the right way to go."
Mattis spoke to reporters as he flew to a nuclear base in North Dakota.
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