Nuclear Reality Check

Although the United States is committed to reducing its nuclear arsenal to meet New START obligations, maintaining a “strong nuclear deterrent” remains “critical” to national security, said Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work. Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee on June 25, Work said Russia and China continue to modernize “already capable nuclear arsenals, and North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them against the continental United States.” However, Russia’s provocative statements regarding its nuclear force have “failed” to intimidate the US and its allies as intended. “If anything, they have really strengthened the NATO Alliance solidarity,” he added. The US will not be allow Russia to “gain significant military advantage through INF violations,” said Work. “We are developing and analyzing response options for the President and we’re consulting with our allies on the best way forward here.” Work said he believes China’s nuclear modernization program is “designed to ensure they have a second strike capability, and not to seek quantitative nuclear parity with the United States or Russia.” As for North Korea, Work predicted efforts to expand national missile defenses and conventional counterforce options will keep the US ahead of North Korean capabilities.