US Military Doctrine: Nuclear Weapons, Cyber Attacks, Fifth Columns

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AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

On March 14, US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chair, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on President Donald Trump’s 2020 defense budget request.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came out with several important remarks regarding the current US military doctrine and its expected actions in the event of conflict with some “adversary”.

Dunford warned against changing the current US military policy which allows the country to be the first to use nuclear weapons during a possible conflict. The general emphasized that he “absolutely” believes that “the current policy is the right policy”.

“I wouldn’t make any decisions to simplify an adversary’s decision-making calculus. I can also imagine a few situations where we wouldn’t want to remove that option from the president”, he stressed.

Dunford added that cyber weapons will unlikely replace nuclear forces, but stressed that the US should be ready to carry out offensive cyber operations. Describing the need for cybyer operations, he mentioned China and Russia as well as cyber attacks allegedly conducted by these two states as the reason behind this need.

These remarks come in crouse of the newly appearing US miltiary doctrine, which actively employs nuclear threats, cyber attacks and ‘fifth columns’ in order to contain and defeat supposed US ‘adversaries’. This doctrine was in details described by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia General Valeriy Gerasimov earlier in March.

“Pentagon started to develop a qualitatively new strategy of military operations which has already been dubbed the “Trojan horse”.

It amounts to active use of the “protest potential of a potential fifth column” in the interests of destabilizing situation while simultaneously precision-guided munition (PGM) strikes are launched at key targets,” General Gerasimov sated describing a part of it.

Most likely, this new US doctrine is currently being employed in Venezuela. However, in the event of conflict with Russia the success of this strategy of agression will hardly be possible without the employment of nuclear forces, at least precision tactical nuclear strikes.

This is the real reason of Dunford’s remarks in favor of the first-strike nuclear policy. The rest is mostly a formal justification for such an approach. Speculations that Russia may employ tactical nuclear weapons in some conflict in order to achieve a victory before the intervention of US or NATO forces are ridiculous. There are two main reasons:

  • The political and military doctrine of Russia does not include such provisions. The Russian leadership does not have levers to conduct such a step.
  • All possible local conflicts in which Russia may participate in the coming decades could appear in regions near Russian borders only. These are Ukraine, Belarus, the Caucasus and Central Asia. If one supposes that Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons in these regions, the same person should believe that Russia is ready to strike with nuclear weapons itself. This seems too much even for the “bloody Putin regime”.

Additionally, the Russian leadership considers a major part of Ukrainian population and especially Belarus population as an important external resource. This resource could be used as a demographic impulse in order to develop the strong Russian state.

Regarding the situation in Belarus, there is no secret that the US establishment and intelligence are actively working in this field. The main goals are to undermine the Russian-Belarus relations and to stage another color revolution in Belarus. So, when Dunford ad other US officials talk about some possible local conflcts involving Russia, they mean Belarus rather than Ukraine.

This is why when Dunford mentioned in his testimony that there are cases in which the US will need the first-strike nuclear policy as a employed tool or an option in order to “deter adversaries”, he highly likely meant the Belarus area. As it was mentioned above, such a behavior is unacceptable for Russia.

Therefore, Dunford’s claims made during the testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee allow to make at least one straight conclusion. The US military political leadership intends to continue to employ its aggressive, expansionist, neo-imperialist policy towards Eurasia in general and Russia in particular. It will work to instigate local conflicts around Russian borders and, when its possible, influence the Russian internal political situation. This is why it seeks to keep its maximum threat tools, like the first-strike nuclear policy.




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