US Military considering ‘mini-nukes’ for 21st-century deterrence

US Military considering ‘mini-nukes’ for 21st-century deterrence

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The United States is planning to develop Mini-Nukes as future weapons of war

The U.S. Air Force is planning to develop ‘mini nukes’ that can target everything from a small neighbourhood to an entire city.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Paul Selva has confirmed that Pentagon is looking at a new generation of low-yield “mini-nukes” as part of its ongoing nuclear posture review, in order to ensure that the threat from America’s nuclear arsenal remains credible.

The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that have or can be set to low yields of less than 20 kilotons which mean an explosion wouldn’t touch an area a mile or so from the location of the detonation.

The new ‘mini nukes’ would offer the United States a new option for 21st-century natural deterrence.

The future of nuclear deterrence lies, to some extent, in smaller nuclear weapons that the United States might actually use, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva said at a Mitchell Institute event in Washington D.C.

“The future of nuclear weapons might not be huge and mega destructive but smaller, tactical, and frighteningly, more common” Patrick Tucker, Defense One editor, noted in his article.

Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, argues that for nuclear deterrence to work in the 21st century, the U.S. may need a little less bang for the buck.

“If the only options we have now are to go with high-yield weapons that create a level of indiscriminate killing that the president can’t accept, we haven’t provided him with an option,” Selva said.

“As horrible as nuclear war is, we do still apply some of the rules of war to it. So, a proportional reaction to an enemy’s attack is actually a righteous and reasonable thing to do.”

However, arms control advocates say the logic is flawed.

“We have had ‘mini’ nuclear weapons since the beginning of the atomic age, including bombs with a fraction of the yields that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki — and those 15-kiloton bombs are considered small by today’s standards,” according to Joe Cirincione, of the anti-proliferation Ploughshares Fun

“Big or small, there has not been a military mission that justified the use of any nuclear weapon in over 72 years,” Cirincione said. “The truth is that we can accomplish any military mission with conventional weapons without suffering the negative consequences of nuclear use and running the risk of escalation to a global nuclear war. If you have to use a nuclear weapon, you have already lost.”

Some of the US military’s current bombs could be converted into this type of weapon, according to Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

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