President Biden used an emergency meeting with NATO Heads of State to announce that he would soon issue a revised “declaratory policy” as part of his Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Declaratory policy is, in essence, the stated conditions in which the President – the sole authority for the employment of the U.S. nuclear deterrent – would use this force.
Unfortunately, the policy announced by the President will not lead to any reciprocal action by America’s arms racing adversaries – namely, Russia and China, with aspiring nuclear weapons states like North Korea and Iran waiting in the wings – while it will create unnecessary confusion and doubt in America’s network of allies.
Nuclear Weapons Declaratory Policy and the Biden NPR
Anticipating the Consequences
As Russian, North Korean, and Chinese nuclear threats are growing, the Biden Administration should be asking what more should we do to strengthen deterrence, not what cuts can be made. The United States and its allies can’t afford for Russia to think it can continue its aggressive nuclear rhetoric and modernization programs without U.S. response, nor can China and North Korea be allowed to believe that even amidst a sea change in nuclear threats, the United States is willing to cast aside legitimate allied concerns to pursue high-minded rhetoric to supposedly reduce nuclear dangers.
The Biden Administration is considering a proposal to abandon pacing U.S. homeland ballistic missile defenses against even the rogue state threat from North Korea. This is especially risky and should be rejected in favor of the longstanding bipartisan missile defense policy, a realistic policy regarding denuclearization of North Korea, and U.S. alliance commitments. Read more.
The NSS should guide policies and investments that protect and sustain the American experiment of republican liberty, and a world in which it can flourish, from the despotic, threatening intentions and efforts of adversarial powers, principally the People’s Republic of China. Read more.
In its Missile Defense Review (MDR), the Biden Administration should be careful to avoid a repeat of its predecessors’ mistakes by issuing a missile defense strategy and policy that can last beyond the next Presidential election and continue policies and programs that will strengthen U.S. national security.