Defense News reports:
A new nuclear warhead requested, designed and produced under the Trump administration, has been deployed aboard a nuclear submarine, the Pentagon confirmed.
The deployment of the W76-2, a low-yield variant of the nuclear warhead traditionally used on the Trident missile, was first reported Jan. 29 by the Federation of American Scientists. The first to move out with the new weapon was the USS Tennessee (SSBN-734), deploying from Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia at the end of 2019, FAS reported.
Asked about the reported deployment, a Pentagon spokesman stated that it is U.S. policy to neither “confirm nor deny” the presence of nuclear weapons abroad and declined to comment on the specific details of the FAS report. However undersecretary of defense for policy John Rood confirmed that the Navy has fielded the weapon.
The US military deployed a new submarine-launched low-yield nuclear weapon, something the Pentagon sees as critical to countering the threat posed by Russia’s arsenal of smaller tactical nukes. Several former high-ranking administration officials, however, have said the weapons increase the potential for nuclear conflict.
“Expanding flexible US nuclear options now, to include low-yield options, is important for the preservation of credible deterrence against regional aggression. It will raise the nuclear threshold and help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely,” the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review said.
SecDef @EsperDoD: “Low-yield nuclear weapons give the President, the commander in chief, options. We always want to give options. Options allow us to deter conflict…we want to deter conflict but if necessary we want to be able to fight and win.“ https://t.co/3jDlM1P57q
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) February 7, 2020
We cannot underestimate how little Trump understands/cares about the consequences of using a nuclear weapon.
He wants to nuke something/anything with the same eager anticipation as a 10 year old with their first pack of fire crackers.
— John M Bennett (@JMB1122AZ) February 7, 2020
— Truth will set you free (@Stand2getherAll) February 8, 2020