A sequel to the last post on the Nuclear Industries site (Feb.1)
Defense One, part of the Atlantic Media Group (mission: to inform, elevate and challenge the national discourse) reports the Defense Department’s comment that the threshold hasn’t changed since the Obama administration’s own nuclear posture review in 2010, but the draft of the new review that was leaked online has caused ‘a bit of drama’ in its attempts to dispel ‘ambiguity’.
The new review gives examples of “non-nuclear strategic attacks,” Robert Soofer, deputy assistant secretary for nuclear and missile defense policy, told reporters on Thursday. “It could be catastrophic attacks against civilian populations, against infrastructure. It could be an attack using a non-nuclear weapon against our nuclear command-and-control [or] early-warning satellites. But we don’t talk about cyber.”
In his own conversation with reporters, Gen. Paul Selva (left), vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, broadened “early warning” systems to include ones that provide “indications of warning that are important to our detection of an attack.”
No matter how ambiguous language in the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review may seem, a cyber attack on U.S. infrastructure would not warrant a nuclear strike on an adversary, he said on Tuesday: “The idea that we would resort to a nuclear attack based on cyber is actually not supported by the document.”
He also emphasized, “We never said ‘cyber.’ The Defense One account interprets: “There’s a reason for that. While cyber attacks on physical infrastructure can be very dangerous, they are unlikely to kill enough people to provoke a U.S. nuclear response”.