Pentagon makes case for sea-launched nuclear cruise missile

Aug. 4 (UPI) — The Pentagon is making a public case for the adoption of a sea-launched nuclear cruise missile, which it says would more effectively deter Russia in the Baltic region.

The Department of Defense posted a press release Tuesday arguing the need for the missile.

It cites a State Department paper, dated July 23, arguing that adoption of the weapon would fill a gap identified in the Pentagon’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

According to the Department of Defense, the United States retired its last nuclear sea-launched cruise missile in 2010 — one of just two remaining theater or tactical nuclear weapons — where Russia continued a comprehensive program to modernize and expand its theater and tactical nukes.

Defense officials also believe Russian military strategy “actually contemplates the use of these nuclear capabilities in conflict.”

“Russia may have pursued this strategy because the United States, unlike Russia, retired most of its non-strategic nuclear systems,” said a press release from the Pentagon arguing for adoption of the weapon.

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review calls for adjustments to U.S. nuclear forces to close this perceived gap on the escalation ladder and reinforce deterrence against low-yield nuclear use, DOD officials said.

In February, Defense News reported that the Pentagon plans to create a program of record for a new nuclear-armed, submarine-launched cruise missile when it submits its next budget request. At that point, DoD had not yet determined how much the program would cost.

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