US nuclear commander warns of Russia and China — RT World News

STRATCOM chief tells lawmakers Washington has a ‘deterrence and assurance gap’ with rivals

The head of US nuclear forces has sounded the alarm to Congress, suggesting that Washington’s ability to deter attacks by rivals may be lacking amid threats from Russia and a rapid buildup of strategic weaponry from the United States. China.

“We are currently facing a dynamic of crisis deterrence that we have only seen a few times in the history of our country,” U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Chief Admiral Admiral Charles Richard said Wednesday during a Senate hearing. He reiterated his concerns about “Dynamics of tripartite deterrence”, of which he warned lawmakers in March, citing the Ukraine crisis.

“The nation and our allies have not faced a crisis like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for over 30 years,” said Richard. “President [Vladimir] Putin simultaneously invaded a sovereign nation while using thinly veiled nuclear threats to deter US and NATO intervention.

Meanwhile, Chinese leaders are “are watching the war in Ukraine closely and will likely use nuclear coercion to their advantage in the future”, said the Admiral. “Their intention is to achieve military capability to reunify Taiwan by 2027, if not sooner.”

Richard has repeatedly warned against China’s nuclear buildup and called on US President Joe Biden’s administration to reconsider funding the development of a low-yield, nuclear-capable cruise missile project that could be launched from submarines. He reiterated that request on Wednesday, saying the Ukraine crisis heightens the urgency to strengthen nuclear deterrence.

“The war in Ukraine and China’s nuclear trajectory – their strategic breakthrough – demonstrate that we lack deterrence and confidence in the face of the threat of limited nuclear employment,” said Richard. He added that nuclear forces are the “foundation” the ability of the United States to deter attacks.

Biden has proposed a $30 billion increase in U.S. defense spending to $813 billion, despite Washington already surpassing the rest of the world’s 10 largest military budgets combined. The proposal includes a 92% increase in funding for the European Deterrence Initiative, to $6.9 billion.

The STRATCOM Commander stated that budget shortfalls or further development delays would have “operational consequences”. He added, “Weapons program delays have taken us beyond the point where it is possible to fully mitigate operational risk. In some cases, all we have left to do is assess the damage to our deterrent.


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