Military Science Panel Urges Research on Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons

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March 13, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: March 13 on

A US Department of Defense scientific advisory board has called on the Trump administration to rebuild the country’s nuclear weapons infrastructure and modernize its nuclear arsenal. The recommendations, detailed in a December report, include the development of new, low-yield warheads to give the military the option of a limited nuclear strike.

The report, written by a 15-member committee of the Defense Science Board (DSB), warns that Russia and China are well ahead of the US in upgrading their nuclear stockpiles. And it urges the new administration to “re-establish the knowledge base in nuclear matters and the art of deterrence” among civilian and military leadership.

“Although the threat of nuclear Armageddon has subsided, the nation must still hedge against such an existential possibility, no matter how slim,” says the report, Seven Defense Priorities for the New Administration. “However, the threats of proliferation, the potential for the U.S. weakening assurance guarantees of its allies, and the emerging scenarios of limited use in regional conflicts or limited strike against the U.S. homeland—with the potential for escalation—introduce complexities not seen since the early days of the Cold War.”