Last week, the Trump administration formally released its review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. Judging by reactions over what amounts to the longest rollout in Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) history, there is something in it for everyone. That means almost no one is happy.
The United States has upheld a moratorium on nuclear testing since 1992, but numerous voices have emerged in recent years to urge a resumption of nuclear tests. William Caplan argues the U.S. should not forfeit its nonproliferation credibility and risk starting a string of nuclear tests that threatens the nuclear order.
Some legislators have pushed to restrict the president from launching preemptive nuclear strikes without the authorization of Congress. While proponents of congressional authorization hope that it will reduce tensions, it will only serve to increase the risks of accidental or inadvertent escalation.
New and more accessible forms of dialogue will be critical to the conversation on nuclear policy. Social media and other personalized communication tools, which have thus far remained mostly outside the nuclear policy toolbox, are an important part of outreach. President-elect Trump’s administration must use these new tools wisely and with discretion to share a message that speaks to allies, adversaries, and Americans at home.
United States nuclear deterrent forces has been the bedrock of U.S. national security. The U.S. needs a modern, flexible, and adaptable nuclear enterprise suited to the deterrence challenges of the 21st century and yet current forces are outdated. This paper provides several changes to consider as the new administration conducts a nuclear review.