Kirtland AFB, N.M. The US military will not move to adopt a “no first use” policy of nuclear weapons, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday, in a message to comfort allies increasingly concerned over North Korea’s increasing public tests of missiles and nuclear weapons. “It has been the policy of the United States for a long time to extend its nuclear umbrella to friends and allies and thereby contribute to the deterrence of conflict and the deterrence of war and many of our friends and allies have benefited from that over time,” Carter told reporters at Kirtland AFB, N.M., the home of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. “And our future plans will retain for the United States the capability to meet those alliance commitments in the future.” There’s been increasing debate about keeping the current policy of only using nuclear weapons in the event of an attack, with a group of senators this summer sending a letter to President Obama urging him to adopt a policy of not using nuclear weapons first. On Tuesday, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced a bill to adopt a no first use policy. (Transcript of Carter’s media gaggle.)
Air Force Global Strike Command has finished collecting a second round of test samples looking for hazardous chemicals at its three intercontinental ballistic missile bases and plans to expand testing to Vandenberg Space Force Base early next year, officials said Dec. 1.