The Department of Defense has disclosed plans to change U.S. nuclear policy and to further reduce the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal. Revealed earlier this year by Defense officials, the policy reflects recommendations of the recently completed Nuclear Posture Review.
The new policy is part of the George W. Bush administration's defense policy goals, articulated in the current Quadrennial Defense Review:
- Assure allies and friends
- Dissuade competitors
- Deter aggressors
- Defeat enemies
The change marks a shift from Cold War nuclear policies, including the infamous concept of a U.S. nuclear forces "triad," a term apparently coined about 1970 by Major General Glenn Kent, a leading Air Force strategic planner, and quickly encouraged "throughout the Air Force to help explain the continuing need for a manned strategic bomber." A new concept is being proposed in which nuclear forces—intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and manned bombers—form a mini-triad within a broader structure.