A nuclear doctrine consists of a set of principles and instructions for the employment or non-employment of nuclear weapons and other associated matters with these nuclear weapons. Nuclear doctrine dimensions are based on stable deterrence, cost, global arms control, and disarmament agenda. Doctrine means a set of principles formulated and applied for a specific purpose working towards desired goals or aims.
United States starts nuclear weapons program in 1939 and this program transfer to the US army in 1942 named Manhattan project. The United States worked on nuclear weapons very fast and usable nuclear weapons are ready in 1945. The first nuclear test by the U.S. held in 1945 the project name Trinity.
At the end of Second World War, the U.S. dropped atom bombs on two Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Due to this attack ten of thousand Japanese died and a large number of people handicapped and these two cities totally destroyed. There are some diminutions of nuclear doctrine a nuclear program recurred focus on doctrine establishment and program linkage with global arms control and disarmament, a nuclear doctrine always flexible.
In the period of President Truman U.S. nuclear doctrine focus on containment of communism its clear policy and U.S. policy is to support the economy of the Turkey and Greek to prevent them from the falling of communism. According to the United States, the policy of Massive Tolerance this document says U.S. will hit 70 cities of USSR if the attack on the U.S. and destroy its industry and hydropower installation and if war prolongs to Eastern Europe or war longer than 7 days. The next development in the USA nuclear doctrine is the event of USSR nuclear development if USSR made weapons we also made more and more. This development increases nuclear capacity of United States. And further that in case of war long strike on USSR cities, U.S. develop striking first policy in case of war.
In the period of President Jonson and Kennedy, the sectary of defense Mcnamamara developed assured distraction and damage limitations that the U.S. is not hit the cities of USSR if they do not hit cities of United States. In the period of President Nixon, limited nuclear options and counter recovery targeting were made between 1974 and 1980. This doctrine was made after examining the previous doctrines of U.S., in the light of this nuclear doctrine United States and USSR reduced arms race and made SALT-I, SALT-II and START agreements and due to these agreements war and threats minimize to the U.S. national security. In 1997 in the era of President Bill Clinton, the policy of United States was deterrence and declares that we do not want aggression against any state with atomic weapons
In the nuclear doctrine of Obama the policy of USA that the rule of nuclear weapons is as a defense strategy and reduction of the rule of nuclear weapons while making assumption for states such as Iran and North Korea.
President Donald Trump’s Nuclear Doctrine:
Pentagon’s new nuclear arms policy’s two new types of weapons that changed the President Barack Obama era approach to reduce the size and scope of arsenal and minimize the role of nuclear weapons. Military officials and President Trump’s administration argued that Obama’s approach is excessively idealistic in the dealings with Russia, China, and North Korea they all are effectively advanced their nuclear capabilities while the U.S. did not so that in response to her potential adversaries. The new policy warned Russia that it would face unacceptably dire costs if Russia provoked conflict in Europe.
The Pentagon introduced low yield nukes on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, while Russia already has a variety of small nuclear weapons and U.S. policymakers think that Russia can use small battlefield nuclear weapons against her allies. The new policy also reintroduced long-term plan for nuclear submarine launched cruise missile (SLCM). President George H.W. Bush stopped the deployment of SLCM and President Barak Obama removed SLCM from the arsenal.
President Donald Trump made commitments before he took office and on his first State of the Union address that he will greatly strengthen and expand the nuclear capabilities of United States that will effectively deter acts of aggression.
The Trump policy largely follows President Obama’s policies for modernizing nuclear arsenal that includes submarines, bomber aircrafts, and land-based missiles. However, the Trump’s nuclear doctrine does not plan for the net increase in nuclear weapons. The new policy also adhering to existing arms control treaties and New START treaty between Russian and the U.S. that limits the strategic nuclear warheads to 1550 with maximum 700 deployed launchers for the both United States and Russia. President Donald Trump ordered the review of the nuclear arsenal and policies that was named as nuclear posture review.
After the concerns raised by many experts about the President Trump’s fitness the senate foreign relations committee held a meeting to discuss the authority of the president of United States to order the use of nuclear weapons this was a rare and single meeting in past four decades which was held in November 2017. There is no legislative hard barrier that can prevent the president of U.S. to order the use of nuclear weapons in extreme condition without undermining deterrence. But the president needs the help of his national security team and military officials to order the fire of a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.
Waseem Akhtar is a researcher and editor at The World Politics. His research focuses on cyberpolitics, international governance, emerging technologies, and global security.