The head of U.S. Strategic Command is calling for military and federal leaders to reimagine methods of deterring aggressive action from rivals such as China and Russia, including the “real possibility” of nuclear war.
In a stark assessment of the current geopolitical landscape, STRATCOM Commander Adm. Charles Richard warned that China and Russia have “begun to aggressively challenge international norms” in “ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.” Richard cited a rise in cyberattacks and “threats in space,” as well as their investment in advanced arms such as nuclear weapons.
STRATCOM is responsible for the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
“There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” Richard wrote in the February issue of “Proceedings,” the U.S. Naval Institute’s monthly magazine. “Consequently, the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from “nuclear employment is not possible” to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility,” and act to meet and deter that reality.”