New US security policy prioritizes China, Russia | Techno Glob


November 2022
By Shannon Bugos

Faced with growing Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals, the US will need to deter two major nuclear powers simultaneously for the first time, thus requiring modernization of its own nuclear triad and infrastructure, according to the Biden administration’s national security strategy released in October.

“By the 2030s, the United States will for the first time need to deter two major nuclear powers, each of which will create a modern and diverse global and regional nuclear force,” the long-awaited, congressionally mandated document said. “To ensure our nuclear deterrent is responsive to threats, we are modernizing the nuclear triad, nuclear command, control and communications and our nuclear infrastructure, while strengthening our extended deterrence commitment to our allies.”

The Biden administration officially announced the strategy on Oct. 12, nearly two years into his tenure, and then, according to media reports, at least part of it was rewritten by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. The Pentagon released several related security documents—the National Defense Policy, the Nuclear Posture Review and the Missile Defense Review—on Oct. 27 after delivering classified versions to Congress in March. (See ACTApril 2022.)

Along with nuclear modernization efforts, the policy emphasized that the United States is “equally committed to reducing the dangers of nuclear war.”[including by] Taking further steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our strategy and to pursue realistic goals for mutual, verifiable arms control. According to a May 2021 estimate by the Congressional Budget Office, US nuclear modernization efforts will cost $634 billion over the next 10 years. (See ACTJune 2021.)

The Biden administration “remains interested” in developing a new US-Russian nuclear arms control framework to replace the 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in 2026, the document said.

Overall, the strategy prioritizes maintaining a competitive edge over China, but at the same time emphasizes the need to deter Russia.

China is rapidly expanding and diversifying its nuclear forces. US researchers using satellite imagery last year discovered at least 250 new long-range missiles on Chinese soil, and the Pentagon estimates that Beijing aims to stockpile 1,000 strategic nuclear weapons by 2030. (See ACTSeptember and December 2021.)

“China is developing nuclear capabilities at a moderate and appropriate level,” Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Feng said in June. “It means being able to protect our nation’s security so we can avoid the catastrophe of war, especially the catastrophe of nuclear war.”

Regarding Russia, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on October 12 that Moscow’s threats to use nuclear weapons during the war in Ukraine reminded the administration “how important and seriously dangerous Russia is, not only to United States but also to the world seeking peace and stability.”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin commented on the release of the strategy, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats “reckless and irresponsible”.



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