U.S. says deterrence "sole purpose" of nuclear weapons, reaffirms extended deterrence commitments

08:38, April 07, 2010      

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The United States declared on Tuesday in its new nuclear strategy that the "sole purpose" of its nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack on the United States or its allies and partners.

According to the just completed Nuclear Posture Review posted on the Pentagon website, the United States says it's still fully committed to extended nuclear deterrence covering its allies.

The document says the United States will strengthen bilateral and regional security ties and work with allies and partners to adapt those relationships to the present day challenges.

"The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners," said the document.

This explicit announcement eliminates the "calculated ambiguity " in U.S. nuclear posture since the beginning of the Cold War.

The report, which establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to ten years, has been long anticipated and delayed several times for its release.

"The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations," said the document.

However, this conditional assurance means that Iran or North Korea would remain on the potential target list of U.S. nuclear forces.

In addition, the Obama administration promised not to develop new nuclear warheads.

It also said the United States will not conduct nuclear testing and will pursue ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The United States will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities in the nuclear domain.

The document said the United States will study options for ensuring the safety, security and reliability of nuclear warheads on a case-by-case basis. The country is to increase investments in the nuclear weapons complex of facilities and personnel required to ensure the long term safety, security and effectiveness of its nuclear arsenal.



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