U.S nuclear weapon policy
The reasons for retaining a triad, a product of very conservative estimates of what would be required to cope with a disarming Soviet first strike, are not discussed officially. The assumption is that a floor exists beneath which U.S. forces cannot be allowed to fall, but this minimum level is not necessarily determined by targeting doctrine or the political goals that the doctrine is meant to uphold.
The question of which countries the United States will target with nuclear weapons in the future and under what circumstances is simply not articulated and certainly not clearly understood. According to some officials, this question does not require an a priori answer. The preponderance of U.S. strategic forces remains targeted at the former Soviet nuclear arsenal, considered an immutable imperative. Despite an agreement reached for the two sides to retarget their forces away from one another's territories a symbolic step it is emphasized repeatedly by defense officials that weapons could be rapidly retargeted if necessary. The targeting review conducted by the Bush administration purportedly generated plans that provided for flexible options for global application, including the ability to retarget weapons quickly to meet any contingency. More recently, plans have been discussed to target third world countries with highly accurate conventional forces as well. ...Show more