i24NEWS February 03, 2021, 09:10 AM latest revision February 03, 2021, 03:38 PM
US military must shift its principal assumption from “nuclear employment is not possible” said Adm. Richard
The head of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) warned in an article published in the February edition of the US Naval Institute that there was a “real possibility” the United States could end up in a nuclear conflict with China or Russia.
In a stark assessment of the current geopolitical landscape, STRATCOM Commander Adm. Charles Richard called on military and federal leaders to reimagine the United States’ methods of deterring aggressive action from its rivals, reported FOX News.
Richard wrote that while the prospect of nuclear war was currently “low,” it is not “impossible, particularly in a crisis,” he maintained.
The admiral warned that China and Russia have “begun to aggressively challenge international norms” in “ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.” Richard cited a rise in cyberattacks and “threats in space,” as well as their investment in advanced arms such as nuclear weapons.
STRATCOM is the body responsible for the United States nuclear deterrent.
He added that the acceleration of Russia and China’s strategic capabilities and witnessing the progress the have been able to make were “sobering.”
“China continues to make technological leaps in capabilities in every domain,” Richard wrote. “Across its conventional weapons systems, it continues to invest significant resources in hypersonic and advanced missile systems, as well as to expand its space and counter-space capabilities.”
The commander further explained that although the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has maintained a No First Use policy with regard to nuclear weapons since the 1960s, it has, however, pursued a buildup of advanced capabilities.
“There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” he continued.
“Consequently, the US military must shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’ and act to meet and deter that reality. We cannot approach nuclear deterrence the same way. It must be tailored and evolved for the dynamic environment we face.”