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Report: Russia Loading Up on Nukes, Skirting Arms Treaties

Image: Report: Russia Loading Up on Nukes, Skirting Arms Treaties
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 17 December 2017 10:29 AM

Russia is bolstering its nuclear arsenal to a total of 8,000 warheads by 2026 and fortifying underground nuclear command facilities, an alarming sign it is preparing to break from arms treaties, as an official told The Washington Free Beacon.

The prospects of abandoned arms agreements weigh heavily against any potential U.S. campaign to use nuclear arms as a warfare deterrent amid the Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review, according to the report.

Russia's nuclear buildup is reportedly going to focus on innovative "low-yield" weapons to stay under arms treaty standards and support an expressed doctrine of using nukes early in conflict as a show of power and war deterrent.

"If all you have is high-yield weapons to answer a low-yield attack, it's still a nuclear attack," Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva said in an August speech, according to the Free Beacon.

"Answering that with a conventional weapon is likely not going to have the kind of deterrent value as saying, 'Even if you use a low-yield weapon, we have options to respond.'"

The United States has an aging nuclear weapon supply and President Donald Trump has called for "modernization and rehabilitation . . . It's got to be in tip top shape" after years of former President Barack Obama's military and nuclear reductions, which were based on notions the U.S. and Russia were lessened as enemies and U.S. reductions will lead other nations to follow.

The Pentagon's Defense Science Board reported to Trump last January, suggesting an expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to low-yield, precision missiles, which would require Congress to lift its ban on new nuclear weapons.

"[Defense Department] leadership is renewing its commitment to the nation's nuclear deterrent, given the relatively recent recognition of the pervasive threat of adversaries' nuclear capabilities and doctrines," last January's report read, per the Free Beacon. "In short, 'nuclear' still matters, nuclear is in a class of its own, and nuclear cannot be wished away."

The conclusions of the Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review are expected to be revealed around the time of President Trump's next State of the Union address in January.

"My estimate is that Russia will increase its strategic nuclear forces to over three thousand warheads by 2030," former Pentagon nuclear weapons policymaker Mark Schneider told the Free Beacon. "By my count they have announced 22 strategic nuclear modernization programs."

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Russia is bolstering its nuclear arsenal to a total of 8,000 warheads by 2026 and fortifying underground nuclear command facilities, an alarming sign it is preparing to break from arms treaties, as an official told The Washington Free Beacon.The prospects of abandoned arms...
russia, expands, nuclear, warheads, skirt arms treaty, us, aging supply
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2017-29-17
Sunday, 17 December 2017 10:29 AM
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