The U.S. Department of Defense recently announced plans to acquire a W76-2 low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead.
“In the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, the department identified the requirement to ‘modify a small number of submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads’ to address the conclusion that potential adversaries, like Russia, believe that employment of low-yield nuclear weapons will give them an advantage over the United States and its allies and partners,” John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy at the DoD, said. “This supplemental capability strengthens deterrence and provides the United States a prompt, more survivable low-yield strategic weapon; supports our commitment to extended deterrence; and demonstrates to potential adversaries that there is no advantage to limited nuclear employment because the United States can credibly and decisively respond to any threat scenario.”
U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, applauded the decision.
“The greatest national security imperative is to deter any adversary from using a nuclear weapon in any circumstance,” Thornberry said. “This deployment enhances U.S. deterrence and tells Russia that any attempt to use nuclear weapons as part of an ‘escalate to deescalate’ approach will not be successful. This action, which was called for in the latest Nuclear Posture Review and was also recommended by President Obama’s Defense Science Board, is a needed, prudent step to strengthen the security of the U.S. and our allies.”