A former US official says the administration of President Donald Trump plans to adopt a hawkish position on the use of nuclear weapons.
Jon Wolfsthal, special assistant to former President Barack Obama on arms control and nonproliferation, said the Trump administration is seeking to loosen constraints on the use of nuclear weapons and develop a new low-yield nuclear warhead for US Trident missiles.
Wolfsthal, who saw the draft of the plans, said the US wants to use a modified version of the Trident D5 submarine-launched missiles with only part of its normal warhead.
The plans had been prepared by the Pentagon by order of the White House.
“What I’ve been told by the people who wrote the thing was what they were trying to do was to send a clear deterrent message to Russians, the North Korean and the Chinese,” Wolfsthal told The Guardian.
“And there is pretty good, moderate but strong language that makes clear that any attempt by Russia or North Korea to use nuclear weapons would result in a massive consequence for them and I think that’s actually moderate, centrist and probably very much needed.”
Security experts have expressed concern about the policy, saying that constructing more “usable” nuclear weapons will increase the possibility of a nuclear war.
They argue that President Trump’s volatility, along with his recent hostile stance toward North Korea, presents an unpredictable element in the nuclear equation.
Pyongyang has vowed “under no circumstances” it will put its nuclear and missile program on the negotiating table.
Since taking office, Trump has been vocal in his support for nuclear weapons and an increase in the US stockpile.