News Release

Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review “Pouring Gas on the Fire”


The Pentagon recently released the Nuclear Posture Review [PDF].

JACKIE CABASSO,, @jackiecabasso

Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation. See her piece on the August 2022 Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, “A Four-Week Festival of Double Standards: Hypocrisy; Outright Lying by Nuclear-armed States.”

See Twitter thread by Stephen Young of the Union of Concerned Scientists who called the Review “a terrifying document.” He states: “The NPR abandons the pledge Biden made on the campaign trail to support a ‘no first use’ policy.” The U.S. government has long had a nuclear stance that asserts it might initiate a nuclear war. Russia had a no first use policy until 1993.

Cabasso said today: With the Russian government’s alarming nuclear threats in Ukraine and the world closer to nuclear war than at any time since the darkest days of the Cold War, the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) could be read as pouring gas on the fire. Rather than issuing a clarion call for diplomacy, military restraint and new, non-nuclear global security arrangements, the new NPR doubles down on the centrality of nuclear deterrence — the threatened use of nuclear weapons — in U.S. national security policy. While giving lip service to ‘a renewed emphasis on arms control,’ it declares, ‘For the foreseeable future, nuclear weapons will continue to provide unique deterrence effects that no other element of U.S. military power can replace. …’ To this end, ‘The United States is committed to modernizing its nuclear forces, nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) system, and production and support infrastructure. …’

“The NPR retains all three legs of the ‘strategic triad’ of delivery systems — ground based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Sea Launched Ballistic Missile Submarines, and strategic bombers, and describes plans to replace them all with upgraded models, accompanied by a suite of modernized warheads. It also states: ‘As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.’

“Explicitly rejecting the options of a declaratory policy of No First Use or Sole Purpose, the NPR somewhat ambiguously declares, ‘The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or our Allies and partners.’

“The 2022 NPR is largely a recapitulation of previous NPRs. While it drops ‘hedge against an uncertain future’ as a formal role for nuclear weapons, it identifies with apparent certainty, Russia in the near term and China in the longer term as posing growing nuclear threats to the United States, its allies and partners. The NPR states: ‘By the 2030’s, the United States will, for the first time in history, face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries.’ It also identifies North Korea and Iran as lesser potential threats, warning that ‘Any nuclear attack by North Korea on the United States or its Allies and partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime,’ and stating that, ‘Iran will not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.’

“In fact, U.S. national security policy has been remarkably consistent in the post-World War II and post-Cold War eras — despite dramatically changed geopolitical conditions and very different Presidential styles. ‘Deterrence’ has been reaffirmed as the ‘cornerstone’ of U.S. national security by every President, Republican or Democrat, including Obama — since 1945, when when President Harry Truman, a Democrat, oversaw the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Russia and other would-be superpowers have increasingly modeled their own national security policies (and their economies) on the U.S.

“President Harry Truman, a Democrat, oversaw the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Russia and other would-be superpowers have increasingly modeled their own national security policies (and their economies) on the U.S. With festering nuclear flashpoints in Ukraine, Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, South Asia, and the Middle East, if we survive, the Biden administration’s NPR is a recipe for nuclear weapons forever and ever-present nuclear dangers. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. For starters we need a bold vision for a different kind of future, where human security takes precedence over ‘national’ security and where, as Gandhi said, nations ‘will want to live as much for other nations as for [themselves].’ There is no place in that future for nuclear weapons.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, David Zupan,

October 31, 2022

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@accuracy * ipaccuracy