US Considers Mini-Nukes for Future Weapons of War

Friday, August 4, 2017
By Paul Martin

As North Korea, India, China and others expand their nuclear arsenals, the vice chair of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff is gunning for the US to build up its caches of small-yield nuclear deterrents.

Speaking Thursday in Washington at a Mitchell Institute event, US Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva said “if all you have is high-yield weapons to answer a low-yield attack, it’s still a nuclear attack.”

Were the US to be targeted by a limited or targeted nuclear strike, “answering that with a conventional weapon is likely not going to have the kind of deterrent value as saying, ‘Even if you use a low-yield weapon, we have options to respond.'”

As recently as June, China tested medium-range Dongfeng missiles capable of striking strategic US and Japanese bases, Sputnik reported. China “continues to have the most active and diverse ballistic missile program in the world,” the National Air and Space Intelligence Center reported June 26, adding that Moscow is expected “to retain the largest force of strategic ballistic missiles outside the United States.”

Stanford University professor Siegfried Hecker estimates there are around 25 nuclear warheads in North Korea’s arsenal and that Pyongyang’s military can produce between six and seven more nukes annually. India has between 120 and 130 nuclear weapons, yet experts suggest the Asian nation has enough plutonium for a 150- to 200-weapon nuclear force.

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