Military Review

Pentagon upgrades nuclear strategy

Pentagon upgrades nuclear strategyIn accordance with the key recommendations of the Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) (hereinafter referred to as the 2010 Nuclear Review) released in April 2010, the Obama administration announced in May of 2011 that “the audit process guidelines of the Bush administration regarding nuclear operations weapons (NW) and deterrence policies. ”

As noted by the Pentagon, the revision of the nuclear policy will “assess the requirements for containment, including an analysis of the potential changes necessary in the requirements for the selection of targets and the structure of forces”. This analysis is intended to inform the administration about possible future strategic offensive arms reductions (START) below the levels of the new START-3 and will provide the president with options to choose such reductions, but the final decisions cannot be published until the United States reaches a similar agreement. politics on her part.

But, obviously, having made sure of Russia's harshly negative position towards further reductions in strategic offensive arms due to the impossibility of reaching an acceptable compromise, primarily on the global mobile missile defense system and its European segment (European missile defense system), President Obama ordered the Pentagon to develop US strategy of nuclear weapons (NW).


The directive gave the Department of Defense, the State Department, the Department of Energy and the intelligence community new guidelines that should form the basis of the strategy for applying United States nuclear weapons in a 21st century security environment. These new guidelines are aimed at developing and specifying the provisions of the Nuclear Review of 2010, without changing its pivotal position on maintaining the possibility of the United States delivering a counter-force preemptive nuclear strike. The Nuclear Review of 2010 emphasized: “The United States will not and will not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries that are parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that fulfill their non-proliferation obligations.”

Having taken at face value the statements of President Obama, "consecrated" by the Nobel Peace Prize, about his determination to radically change American nuclear policy, among the expert nuclear communities, primarily in the United States, as well as on a wide international scale, the “Nuclear 2010 review, which retained the ability for the United States to launch a preemptive nuclear strike - a fundamental relic of the Cold War era.

For example, a fairly objective analysis of the US nuclear doctrine position on the possibility of proactive nuclear strikes is given in the article by the analyst at the Center for Naval Analysis (Alexandria, Va.) Mitchell Garson (NO FIRST USE.) “A constant feature in the US nuclear policy is that the United States constantly retains the choice to use nuclear weapons in conflict first. Using nuclear weapons first also played a key role in NATO’s military strategy during the Cold War and even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, following the US administration, to preserve — implicitly or unconditionally — the choice to use first. ”

Garson further notes: “This 2010 Nuclear Survey deliberately opens up the possibility for the United States to launch a preemptive, or, less likely, preventive nuclear strike against Russia, China, North Korea, and (possibly) in the future against Iran’s nuclear forces. The 2010 Nuclear Overview retains many inaccuracies and uncertainties, which was a hallmark of a previous declarative policy, commonly known as “calculating ambiguity.” In this sense, the policy declared in the Nuclear Review of 2010 is nothing more than a calculated ambiguity under a different name. ”

The presidential directives on developing and specifying the provisions of the 2010 Nuclear Review were embodied in the “Nuclear Weapons Strategy” document defining the United States nuclear strategy for the next years of the 21st century. This document, in comparison with the 2010 Nuclear Survey, provides some definite confirmation that planning to use nuclear weapons will include the possibility of delivering counter-force strikes against potential adversaries: “New guidelines require the United States to maintain significant counter-force capabilities against potential adversaries. These new guidelines do not rely on a “value strategy” or “minimum deterrence”. However, the explanation of the necessary specific emergency circumstances for the decision to implement this provision is not given in the document. There is no need to prove that counter-strike within the framework of nuclear deterrence cannot be a retaliatory strike, and the more so a retaliatory strike. Such a nuclear strike can only be proactive.

The refusal of reliance on "minimum deterrence" further emphasizes the possibility of the United States proactively using nuclear weapons and returning to some other rarities of the Cold War. The doctrine of minimum deterrence is a doctrine that precludes the use of nuclear weapons first, ensuring containment by secondary use. By adopting this approach, we could put an end to aggressive nuclear planning, put up a barrier to endless modernization, and ensure a stable intermediate mode of movement towards nuclear disarmament.

Naturally, the rejection of the "minimum deterrence" is logical in terms of the doctrine that relies on the counter-force use of nuclear weapons. Counter-force use of nuclear weapons is the most active and ambitious form of nuclear planning, with the aim, of course, to ensure a high degree of risk for difficult targets, such as ICBM mine launchers. In turn, providing such capabilities for US strategic nuclear forces requires the continuous improvement of the entire infrastructure of the US nuclear defense complex. The Obama Administration’s request to the Defense Budget Congress on the 2014 fiscal year proposes an increase in 9% funding for weapons-based nuclear programs from the Department of Energy. And this is against the background of a significant reduction in funding for a wide range of other military programs. Only for the modernization of the nuclear bomb B61 requested 10 billion dollars.

All these decisions of President Obama and the actions of his administration have caused a new wave of sharp criticism from experts and researchers from various independent expert and research communities in the United States and other countries. The leitmotif of this criticism was the incompatibility of President Obama’s appeal in his 2009 Prague speech “to put an end to the cold war mindset” and his subsequent decisions, one way or another confirming the pivotal principles and characteristics of the United States Cold War strategy.

It seems that an assessment of the latest US nuclear strategy can be objective only within the framework of an expanded deterrence strategy — the joint use of nuclear and strategically significant conventional weapons. The US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002 created real conditions for the practical implementation of the extended deterrence strategy, based on the deployment of a global mobile missile defense system by the United States. The global nature and mobility of this ABM system are ensured by using the ability of the presence of the US Navy anywhere in the oceans.

Officially, the missile defense task for the US Navy was assigned to the “Naval Joint Strategy for the 21st Century” (MS-21), published by the Bush administration in October of the 2007 year. The document noted that sea-based missile defense would strengthen deterrence by creating an “umbrella” to cover the forward-based forces, as well as friends and allies, helping to create the main structure planned for the defense of the United States.

In support of the implementation of the MC-21, the Obama administration has already developed the “Concept of Naval Operations” (CWTO-10), published in the 2010 year. In accordance with the KVMO-10, the Navy will use the extended containment architecture, which includes a wide range of reliable containment tools, including a new capability - sea-based missile defense. Thus, President Obama’s decision to deploy an adaptive, phased European missile defense system (European missile defense system) is a continuation of the implementation of the decision of the previous Bush administration to impose a missile defense task on the US Navy as well. And therefore, European missile defense should be viewed as a segment of the global mobile missile defense system, and not as a separate regional NATO missile defense system. NATO’s symbolic participation in the creation of a European missile defense system was quite clearly defined by Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov in his interview to the Independent Military Review (see 27 No. 22.07.11): “There is no NATO missile defense. I always emphasize this: we must speak honestly. There is an American segment of European missile defense. There is nothing else.

Thus, there are no sufficient grounds to conclude that the outcome of the “revision of the guiding provisions of the Bush administration by the Obama administration indicates a significant departure of this administration from the Bush junior strategy“ in part of nuclear weapon operations and deterrence policy ”.


After the end of the Cold War, Russian-American military-political relations are still based on military-strategic atavism of its times - nuclear deterrence on the basis of mutual assured destruction, which, obviously, is reasonably believed to have prevented a nuclear war between the USSR and the USA. Nuclear deterrence based on mutual assured destruction is based on the conviction for each of the parties that the other side, in the event of a counter-force nuclear strike on its SNF, will retain the ability to destroy the side that struck. Such ability, separately or in aggregate, can, not exhaustively, be provided:

- a high degree of engineering protection of individual placement points for nuclear weapons;
- individual mobility of carriers of nuclear weapons, ensuring the secrecy of their location;
- a retaliatory strike, that is, the ability to launch nuclear weapons carriers until they are hit by nuclear warheads of the side that deals a nuclear strike;
- a highly effective missile defense system capable, in the face of countering it, to preserve the potential of the SNF sufficient to destroy the side that deals the blow.

After the collapse of the USSR, Russia experienced (and to some extent continues to experience) an unprecedented period of transition from an unprecedented social and political system to a capitalist one. Naturally, such a unique process, carried out though quite a peaceful way, was accompanied by the collapse and plunder of the previous economy, the collapse of the life support infrastructure of the new state and the significant loss of combat capability of the Armed Forces. Under these conditions, a huge nuclear arsenal, inherited by Russia from the USSR and preserved in the state adequate to its strategic mission, became (and remains) the only guarantor of sovereignty and national security, as well as the international significance of the Russian Federation. Therefore, the painfully sensitive attitude of the military-political leadership of Russia and Russian society as a whole to any threats (real and imaginary) to its nuclear potential is completely explicable. Naturally, the US transition to an expanded deterrence strategy is perceived by Russia as a threat to the ability of its SNF in the context of an American counter-force strike to carry out a retaliatory strike, adequate to the concept of nuclear deterrence based on mutual assured destruction.

Russia's nuclear doctrine, included in the 2010 Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, reads: “The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) and its allies aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is threatened. ” Consequently, the officially announced Russian military doctrine does not indicate Russia's intention to use nuclear weapons first in understanding the possibility of a preemptive nuclear strike, which confirms the retention of its commitment to the first to abandon the use of nuclear weapons declared by the Soviet Union in 1982. Under the terms of the ABM Treaty and with the availability of the EWS system, the Soviet Union could be confident enough in its ability to provide an unacceptable retaliatory strike for the United States.

At the moment, there is a threatening Russian disparity in its ability to maintain equal nuclear deterrence potential with the United States. Russia's attempts to compensate for this disparity by its participation, in various ways, in European missile defense, are rejected by the United States. Russia's extremely heightened concern about preserving its nuclear deterrent potential was not weakened either by the US’s decision not to deploy the fourth stage of the European missile defense system, which was intended to “partially” early intercept the ICBM as the most effective way of implementing missile defense.

The sharply negative attitude, which later became permanent, to American anti-missile efforts was stimulated by the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and subsequent plans to create a third missile defense area by deploying Poland’s GBI (doubtful reputation) mine-based interceptors and the ABM radar in Poland. President Obama, in the light of the “revision” of these Bush plans, most likely bluffed, has begun the actual deployment of the now well-known global mobile missile defense system, including the European missile defense system. As a result of this development of the situation and the unsuccessful efforts of Russia to reach a compromise on missile defense, on conditions acceptable to it, the missile defense issue laid down “verega” on Russian-American relations.

An analysis of the current tense situation in Russian-American relations, primarily in the military-political field, and some suggestions for resolving it are presented in a highly qualified and informative article by the Quartet of the staff of the USA and Canada Institute with the participation of the Director of the Institute Academician Sergei Rogov at the fork ”(Sergey Rogov, Victor Esin, Pavel Zolotarev, Valentin Kuznetsov.“ NVO ”No. 27 from 02.08.13). In particular, it is noted: “If the Republicans win the 2016 presidential elections of the year, then even in this case, at the beginning of the 2020-ies, the Americans will not have such a strategic missile defense system that could thwart our retaliatory strike, not to mention retaliatory hit. The state of the US missile defense system is clearly inconsistent with the panic speculations that the United States can neutralize 90% of the Russian nuclear potential in a few hours. ”

It seems that the only, rather indisputable argument of the validity of Russia's perception of the orientation of the European missile defense system against it, supposedly is the need to protect NATO countries from the Iranian nuclear missile attack. How can a country like Iran resolve to a nuclear conflict, even just with NATO without the US? Only one France within ten minutes will erase Iran from the face of the earth. Thus, the absurdity of justifying the deployment of the EuroPRO system gives grounds for perceiving this system as it is possible directed against Russia.

As for legally binding guarantees for Russia by the United States on non-directionality of the European missile defense system against it, they can be drawn up only in the form of the provisions of the relevant agreement developed during bilateral negotiations. Of course, the United States does not and will not go to such negotiations. And the American constant verbal assurances of the non-directionality of the European missile defense system against Russia, the latter, of course, does not want to “sew” the case. The situation is a dead end, sinking in constant barren negotiations. But it seems that the initiative of Russia is possible, which can highlight the true meaning of the newest US force strategy to the world community.


On the international scale, the position about the possibility of using nuclear weapons first (delivering a preemptive strike, which can only be a counter-force) was and remains the subject of the most categorical condemnation by the world community. The requirement to satisfy this attitude of the world community to the possibility of using nuclear weapons first was reflected (not for the first time) and in the latest report of the International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament in the form of a requirement for nuclear powers to adopt the no First Use (NFU) provisions for 2025 year.

In 2004, the well-known Russian researcher in the field of nuclear disarmament and former plenipotentiary ambassador of Russia to the IAEA Roland Timerbaev made the following proposal: “We should reconsider (perhaps at a meeting at the highest level) the expediency of a joint or separate statement from the United States, Russia, Great Britain and France on the non-use of nuclear weapons first and on refusing the threat of their use first (as is known, China made a similar statement earlier). ”

The content of the Nuclear Weapons Strategy Report, which is in its essence the manifesto of the latest US nuclear strategy, clearly highlighted the threat that the United States could use a counter-force nuclear strike first. Undoubtedly, such certainty will further aggravate Russian-American contradictions in resolving the missile defense problem.

On the other hand, these contradictions would be, if not completely resolved, then they would be significantly weakened under this, naturally, hypothetical scenario. President Obama publicly declares the United States abandoning United States first to use nuclear weapons. Such a move by the United States automatically makes the perception of the European missile defense system clearly defined - European missile defense is really directed only against Iran, since Russia does not have the threat of an American counter-force strike, the question of retaliatory strikes disappears and, consequently, the probability of using European missile defense facilities against the Russian strategic nuclear forces disappears. If we talk about the level of confidence on the part of Russia in such a hypothetical statement by the President of the United States, then it is exactly the same as the level of trust on the part of the United States in the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation regarding the non-use of nuclear weapons first. At the same time, the widespread awareness of the international community of this current decision by the United States should serve as a guarantor of the subsequent presidents refusing this decision. And what can be unique is the transition of the United States and Russia to containment on the basis of parity in the potentials of only reciprocal capabilities.

It seems that such a hypothetical, objectively significant scenario could be the basis for considering the possibility of Russia's proposal to hold the summit of the heads of the five official nuclear powers to adopt a declaration on refusing to use nuclear weapons as the first to undermine the basic principles of ensuring international security.

Of course, the consent of the United States to participate in such a summit has almost zero probability. Perhaps a slightly higher probability of consent to the participation of Great Britain and France. China would obviously support such a proposal to Russia, since its nuclear doctrine rules out its use of nuclear weapons first. However, an important result of Russia's proposal to hold such a summit would be a fatal need for otkazniks to justify before the world community the reasons for not participating in such a summit. And, undoubtedly, this would be an unpleasant task for them. Wait and see.
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  1. Maximus-xnumx
    Maximus-xnumx 23 November 2013 09: 35
    “The United States will not use and will not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries - parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). And who is left? Russia, China, North Korea.
    1. Lesnik
      Lesnik 23 November 2013 10: 02
      Quote: Maximus-22
      "The US will not use and will not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states - parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

      I .... cried
      1. Maximus-xnumx
        Maximus-xnumx 23 November 2013 10: 06
        And please remind me, when did the US threaten non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons? It is true that once without warning, it was all over Japan. But when it was :))
        1. Boa kaa
          Boa kaa 23 November 2013 12: 07
          Quote: Maximus-22
          And please remind me when the United States threatened non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons?

          During the Vietnam War, USAA at the highest level considered the use of tactical nuclear weapons against the DRV. It was planned to explode nuclear mines to suppress the supply of weapons along the Ho Chi Minh trail. The shout of the USSR did not allow them to do this, as it was in Japan at one time.
        2. Rus2012
          Rus2012 23 November 2013 12: 12
          Quote: Maximus-22
          And please remind me when the United States threatened non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons?

          Korea, Vietnam ... Moreover, it was ready to apply.
          Is it enough?
      2. Interface
        Interface 24 November 2013 11: 08
        We have only one way out - to increase the nuclear arsenal and restore the BRSD. Only in this way will we protect ourselves from the blow until we restore the power of the ground forces and the fleet.
    2. Army1
      Army1 23 November 2013 23: 25
      We, too, cannot rely only on nuclear weapons. To build powerful air forces and not only with defensive potential, you cannot win a war alone.
    3. AVV
      AVV 24 November 2013 00: 03
      And can you really believe that? The United States is the only country that has used nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state !!! And it also used low-enriched uranium ammunition against Yugoslavia and Iraq. And they also flooded Vietnam with chemicals. And who will believe them ??? Especially if another president comes to power, like McCain for example !!!
      1. clidon
        clidon 24 November 2013 09: 12
        The United States used nuclear weapons at a time when there were no treaties restricting its use or obligations. Just a new weapon and it was used.
        Ammunition with low enriched uranium is not a nuclear weapon. Just like chemicals spilled by the USA in Vietnam were not weapons of mass destruction. So far, the White House has not been caught violating its own obligations with regard to WMD.
        1. Boa kaa
          Boa kaa 24 November 2013 22: 43
          Quote: clidon
          So far, the White House has not been caught violating its own obligations with regard to WMD.

          Songmy The name of this Vietnamese village does not mean anything to you? Stripes were caught on violation of the laws of traditions and the rules of warfare. Napalm, white phosphorus, defoliants, cluster bombs, bullets with a displaced center of gravity - these are all the sins of the American military, for which only Mr. Collie formally answered. But not one of those who gave such cannibalistic orders. Nazi bonzes - at the Nuremberg trials answered. It is up to the peddlers of democracy, who kill with impunity the presidents of sovereign states, who change their regimes at their discretion. Back in the course of the war, 15.11.1966, the Constituent Session of the Russell Tribunal for the investigation of war crimes committed in Vietnam took place in London.
          "... The Tribunal considers that the United States, which has carried out the bombing of civilian targets and civilians, is guilty of war crimes. The actions of the United States in Vietnam should be qualified as a whole as a crime against humanity (under Article 6 of the Nuremberg Statute)."
          From the Verdict of the first session of the Tribunal of 10 on May 1967.
          1. clidon
            clidon 25 November 2013 18: 56
            Is Songmy somehow connected with weapons of mass destruction? Napalm, white phosphorus, defoliants, cluster bombs are not prohibited methods of warfare.
            By the way, we ourselves quite used incendiary weapons, cluster munitions in Afghanistan and Chechnya. And we also ignore international accusations, because their foundations are very shaky - human rights defenders blame, the military are doing their job.
  2. Ddhal
    Ddhal 23 November 2013 09: 58
    Unfortunately, historically, the international status and, as a consequence, the security of our country depend on specific people at the helm.
    We conclude that at the moment, competent experts are opposing external threats, which cannot be said about the internal state of affairs, where we have an openly weak link in the person of the Prime Minister and his cabinet.
  3. Enot-poloskun
    Enot-poloskun 23 November 2013 10: 00
    The blue dream of the Americans: it would be more likely that Russia and other countries would be left without nuclear weapons.

    After all, only nuclear weapons can hold back the impudent Yankees.
  4. AK-47
    AK-47 23 November 2013 11: 23
    What is the conversation about, it is necessary to include the phrase in the nuclear doctrine of Russia:
    "The US will not use and will not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states - parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which are fulfilling their non-proliferation obligations" replacing the USA with the Russian Federation. angry
  5. 222222
    222222 23 November 2013 11: 54
    On November 22, 2013, the US Department of Defense adopts the "Arctic strategy"
    Speech by Secretary of Defense Hagel, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Friday, November 22, 2013 and the strategy itself is here ..http: // Releaseid = 16389
  6. Rus2012
    Rus2012 23 November 2013 12: 14
    Article - "minus". For it is trying to substantiate the legality of the European missile defense system ...
  7. Boa kaa
    Boa kaa 23 November 2013 12: 28
    The author convincingly showed the true thrust of the US military doctrine. The counter-force (by the nuclear deterrence forces of the Russian Federation) preemptive strike lies at its core. Therefore, it is necessary to have such strategic nuclear forces, the location of which at a particular moment in time would be extremely difficult to determine with accuracy that would allow a WTO disarming strike. And this is primarily the PGRK ICBM, rpkSN, YES. Therefore, all means are directed to their development and improvement. And the second one.
    The site has repeatedly expressed the idea that under the guise of anti-missiles in Poland (instead of "heavy mine-based GBI interceptors (of dubious reputation)"), a new generation of Pershing-type ICBMs can be shoved. Well, since now everything is transported and used from the TPK, the threat is increasing significantly.
    “However, it’s hard to think hard,” said a Chukchi reindeer herder.
    1. 222222
      222222 23 November 2013 13: 03
      1.Under the guise of anti-missile missiles, the US will not deploy OTR of the Pershing type (especially ICBMs ????) .. this is the Cuban missile crisis. In response, the Russian Federation may place near their borders. This has already passed ... And the types of funds to be placed in Romania and Poland have long been known ...
      2. The deployment of missile defense positions in Poland and Romania is more likely to be political in nature:
      -American presence in these regions of Europe (from their concept of "presence" in vital regions for their national security)
      - "nervousness" of Russia and directing it to the costs of countermeasures
      - getting allies from the new NATO members to support American positions in the bloc at odds with the old monster members ..
      contracts for his defense industry ..
  8. uzer 13
    uzer 13 23 November 2013 18: 03
    Russia should adopt the exact same policy — forget about all these treaties of restriction and prohibition. Anyway, no one is going to fulfill them, so you don’t have to be fools.
  9. Ivanovich47
    Ivanovich47 23 November 2013 18: 56
    Gorbachev, caused great harm to our country, when he looked in the mouth of the Americans and thoughtlessly destroyed the nuclear potential of the USSR, which was built at the cost of tremendous efforts of the whole people. Yeltsin also tried "please" overseas "friends". Knowing this, the Yankees try to twist their arms impose their will on Russian diplomacy. Americans explain the deployment of missile defense in Europe with threats from Iran. These overseas strategists don't even botherthink of a plausible reason EuroPRO construction. This is how super-impudent, unprincipled bandits behave.
    1. clidon
      clidon 24 November 2013 09: 18
      Gorbachev also brought great benefits, starting a nuclear detente and a reduction in the nuclear potentials of countries. In this way, we reduced the chance of the outbreak of World War III and it was definitely good. Another thing is that the process of degradation of the Russian armed forces has led to an imbalance with the United States in the field of conventional weapons and missile defense, and this can lead to a new nuclear arms race, which is bad for everyone.
  10. july
    july 23 November 2013 20: 06
    As far as I understand this concept at the very grandfather is a complex and multifaceted instrument, almost a constitution, and we are shown only its headings. All sorts of such structures are to some extent controlled or monitored by the countries and parties concerned. And as I understand it, you won’t create such a document from the bulldozer, especially to Amers, whose military structure is very blurry around the world, tied to various blocks and agreements. After all, they should be accountable to some extent to their partners and to our side under the agreements. That is why they won’t be able to solve all this with a little quote, and most likely they are hasty, and there cannot be others, the construction of these structures will make the United States vulnerable in the field of international relations. In general, it’s like a sheep’s mask under which a wolf hides and through the holes in it a wolf’s face is visible.
  11. JackTheRipper
    JackTheRipper 24 November 2013 18: 21
    Quote: Boa constrictor KAA
    During the Vietnam War, USAA at the highest level considered the use of tactical nuclear weapons against the DRV. It was planned to explode nuclear mines to suppress the supply of weapons along the Ho Chi Minh trail.

    Now there would be several such explosions to prevent the supply of heroin from Afghanistan ...