FPI / November 3, 2022Geostrategy-Direct
By Richard Fisher
Released on Oct. 27 with much fanfare in Washington, the Biden Administration’s new 80-page National Defense Strategy report, which contains an unclassified version of the February Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and a new Missile Defense Review (MDR), provides for no increases in the United States’ nuclear forces and provides no national missile defenses against a possible combined China-Russia nuclear threat.
In 2020, presidential candidate Joe Biden campaigned against nuclear weapons, calling for new Trump Administration tactical nuclear weapons not to be built and calling for a limitation of the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. strategy, with a campaign web page endorsing the “sole purpose” strategy for U.S. nuclear weapons.
As explained on a Biden campaign website, “the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal should be deterring — and if necessary, retaliating against — a nuclear attack. As president, he will work to put that belief into practice, in consultation with our allies and military.”
Such a strategy was roundly criticized at the time as denying the President the option to use nuclear weapons first, which is the basis of the “extended nuclear deterrent” which ensures the security of U.S. allies.
But Biden’s intention to reduce the role of nuclear weapons was rejected by an unnamed Defense Department official who, in explaining increased nuclear threats in an Oct. 27 press briefing, said:
“In the coming years, for the first time, we will have to deter two major nuclear-armed competitors, both Russia and China. And this presents new dilemmas for both strategic deterrence and for regional war-fighting. At the same time, both North Korea and Iran continue to present their own deterrence challenges. So, against this backdrop the NPR concluded that the fundamental role of nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack.”
But nowhere in the National Defense Strategy Report or the Nuclear Posture Review is there any acknowledgement that the U.S. may need more than its current 1,550 deployed strategic missile warheads or more theater nuclear weapons.
While there is mention that China is increasing its nuclear arsenal, by how much is not explained.
While previous Biden Administration statements have revealed a U.S. Intelligence Community assessment that China may have 1,000 nuclear weapons by 2030, this is an underestimate as the People’s Liberation Army Rocket force could equip its 370 or new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos with 10-warhead ICBMs — possibly meaning almost 4,000 warheads.
There is also a threat that China and Russia could cooperate in nuclear targeting or in waging nuclear war against the U.S. and its allies.
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