In October, the Department of Defense released an unclassified version of the National Defense Strategy, the Nuclear Posture Review, and the Missile Defense Review, outlining four main defense priorities to strengthen deterrence.
Latest in Nuclear Posture Review
Location, Location, Location: Evaluating Risks to Submarines from Low-Yield Warhead and Submarine Missile Launch Detection
Editor’s Note: How vulnerable are U.S. submarines in the event of a nuclear war? Some analysts have argued that, after firing their missiles, submarines would be sitting ducks for adversaries to target. RAND's Austin Long takes a hard look at this argument. He finds submarines are tough to target and highly likely to survive.
The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) describes China as a hostile great power pursuing “assertive military initiatives” and new “ways and means to counter U.S. conventional military capabilities.” It says these pursuits are “a major challenge to U.S. interests in Asia” that “increase the potential for military confrontation with the United States and its allies and partners.” The document claims to have prepared a new nuclear strategy specially tailored for such a confrontation.
The Nuclear Posture Review is a legislative-mandated review undertaken by the Department of Defense that outlines U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to 10 years. Below is a summary of key takeaways from the 2018 document, which can be read in full here.
1. Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons
The review calls for low-yield nuclear weapons, also known as tactical nuclear weapons, as a “flexible” nuclear option.