The Pentagon released a new nuclear arms policy Friday that calls for the introduction of two new types of weapons, effectively ending Obama-era efforts to reduce the size and scope of the U.S. arsenal and minimize the role of nuclear weapons in defense planning.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in an introductory note to the new policy — the first update to the military’s nuclear strategy since 2010 — that the changes reflect a need to “look reality in the eye” and “see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.”
The previous administration’s policy hinged on what President Barack Obama called a moral obligation for the United States to lead by example in ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Officials in the Trump administration and the U.S. military argue that Obama’s approach proved overly idealistic, particularly as relations with Moscow soured. Russia, China and North Korea, they say, all advanced their nuclear weapons capabilities instead of following suit.