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U.S. Pentagon toys with a plan to win a “limited nuclear war” against Russia

US staged ‘limited’ nuclear battle against Russia in war game

The Pentagon has briefed about the simulated exchange in a move that could signal readiness to fight and win nuclear conflict,  Guardian,  Julian Borger in Washington, Tue 25 Feb 2020 The US conducted a military exercise last week which simulated a “limited” nuclear exchange with Russia, a senior Pentagon official has confirmed.The war game is notable because of the defence department’s highly unusual decision to brief journalists about the details and because it embodied the controversial notion that it might be possible to fight, and win, a battle with nuclear weapons, without the exchange leading to an all-out world-ending conflict.

The exercise comes just weeks after the US deployed a new low-yield submarine-launched warhead commissioned by Donald Trump, as a counter to Russian tactical weapons and intended to deter their use.

According to a transcript of a background briefing by senior Pentagon officials, the defence secretary, Mark Esper, took part in what was described as a “mini-exercise” at US Strategic Command in Nebraska. Esper played himself in the simulated crisis, in which Russia launched an attack on a US target in Europe……

The official said that “in the course of [the] exercise, we simulated responding with a nuclear weapon”, but described it as a “limited response”.

The limited response could suggest the use of a small number of nuclear weapons, or an existing low-yield weapon, or the new W76-2 low-yield submarine-launched missile which was deployed in the Atlantic for the first time at the end of last year. The deployment only became public at the end of January……

The briefing was first reported by National Defense, a trade magazine of the National Defense Industrial Association.

Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, pointed out that it was extremely rare for the Pentagon to give such detailed briefings about nuclear exercises and suggested it could have been a marketing exercise for the new weapons being added to the US arsenal.

“Remember, it’s only a few weeks ago that we had the official confirmation that this new low-yield warhead had been deployed,” Kristensen said. “And we’re now moving into a new budget phase where they have to go to Congress and try to justify the next new nuclear weapon that has a low-yield capability which is a sea-launched cruise missile. So all of this has been played up to serve that process.”……

Arms control advocates are concerned that the leadership in both the US and Russia are developing a mindset in which their vast nuclear arsenals are not just the ultimate deterrent but weapons that could be used to win “limited” conflicts.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/24/limited-nuclear-war-game-us-russia

February 25, 2020 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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