Trump and the Nuclear Triad

Why He's Right to Modernize ICBMs

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, February 2016.  Kyla Gifford / REUTERS

In a national security presidential memorandum signed on January 27, U.S. President Donald Trump promised “a new Nuclear Posture Review to ensure that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.” This statement on nuclear policy marks a drastic change from President Barack Obama’s call to “reduce reliance” on nuclear weapons while maintaining a “safe, secure, and effective,” nuclear force. 

The move will be contentious. As Amy Woolf of the Congressional Research Service writes, this may be the first post–Cold War U.S. administration not to seek a reduced role for nuclear weapons as an explicit policy objective. Among the most highly debated aspects will be the decision, also articulated in Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ confirmation hearings earlier this month, to upgrade all three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad: bombers, submarines,

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.