The possibility that nuclear weapons will be used in a regional or global conflict has increased over the past decade, according to a newly released report from the Pentagon.
The 67-page report, titled simply “Joint Nuclear Operations,” is billed as a statement of “fundamental principles and guidance to plan, execute, and assess nuclear operations.” It was originally completed in April 2020, but was released to the Federation of American Scientists last week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
In an eye-catching introduction to the first chapter, the report states that while the US has tried to “reduce the number and salience of nuclear weapons, others, including Russia and China, have moved in the opposite direction.
“They have added new types of nuclear capabilities to their arsenal, increased the salience of nuclear forces in their strategies and plans, and engaged in increasingly aggressive behavior,” the report continues. “There now exists an unprecedented range and mix of threats,