President Trump campaigned on increasing the capabilities of the United States military and combat readiness. Besides hiring more personnel and increasing funding for the various branches of the military, the Trump administration is gearing up their nuclear arsenal.
The move is considered controversial by some lawmakers in Washington, who are looking to hold debates over the matter in the coming week.
Per Washington Examiner:
The Trump administration’s plan to add two new varieties of nuclear weapons into the U.S. arsenal will face one of its first legislative tests this month.
The House Armed Services Committee is teeing up a debate on the proposed sea-based cruise missiles and lower-yield ballistic missiles launched from submarines on May 9. The focus: whether these weapons will make nuclear war with Russia more or less likely.
Lawmakers will consider adding language regarding the weapons into the annual National Defense Authorization Act during a marathon amendment session on the bill.
“That is going to be dealt with at full committee,” said Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, who is chairman of an Armed Services subcommittee. “They’ll be debated, I am certain, at length at full committee.”
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the Armed Services chairman, and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., decided the nuclear weapons along with other more controversial issues should be openly debated by all members, according to a committee aide.
Rogers and others have argued for authorizing and funding the new weapons, especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed to have developed a new nuclear cruise missile and underwater nuclear drone last month.
The Pentagon proposed developing the missiles in February via the Nuclear Posture Review as a response to what it says is Russia’s growing belief that it could use such weapons in a first strike and gain a strategic advantage over the U.S.
The review claims U.S. development of the low-yield weapons will thwart the Russian strategy and actually make a nuclear war less likely. The military had fielded sea-based cruise missiles before, but they were discontinued under the Obama administration.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently commented on the nation’s nuclear capabilities saying, “It is a continuity of our nuclear-deterrent framework that you see, but it’s also an adaptation so that that deterrent is fit for anyone who thinks that they’ve created something that they could then give us the option of either surrender or suicide. We want to make certain the deterrent works against any attempted use of these weapons.”
“Adding mini-nukes to the U.S. arsenal would create a more credible threat, and therefore, serve as a better deterrent,” Washington Examiner writes.
But Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee are likely to push back.
Smith has called development of a lower-yield warhead for ballistic missiles and the resurrection of the cruise missile “ill-advised and dangerous” as well as an unnecessary drain on resources.
“It would lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons, feed a nuclear arms race, increase the risk of miscalculation that could precipitate a nuclear war, and could potentially undermine our most survivable nuclear forces,” Smith said when the Nuclear Posture Review was released.