The Pentagon is reassessing the country’s military capabilities in the event of a nuclear attack against Russia and China.
US intelligence agencies working under the Pentagon’s Strategic Command are studying whether the Russian and Chinese governments could survive a nuclear strike.
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Championed by Republican Representative Michael Turner, the study drew bipartisan support in Congress and was passed before the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has expressed willingness to reshape ties with both China and Russia.
The findings of the study, which was one of the little-noticed provisions of the 2017 Pentagon budget, would provide a complete evaluation of Moscow and Beijing’s “leadership survivability, command and control and continuity of government programs” in case of an attack.
The information is critical for the US Strategic Command, which is tasked with planning and carrying out such strikes.
The study is also aimed at finding “the location and description of above and underground facilities important to the political and military” leadership and the facilities they “operate out of during crisis and wartime.”
Navy Captain Brook DeWalt, a spokesman for the Strategic Command, confirmed that the study was ongoing but said it was “premature” to release any details.
Trump says he would expand ties with Moscow and might even lift US sanctions against Russia if the country agrees to dramatically cut the size of its nuclear arsenal.
This is while the Republican head of state has also shown great interest in “rebuilding” the US military and upgrading the country’s vast nuclear arsenal.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he said in a tweet in December.
Unlike Russia, the Trump administration has spared no effort in attacking China over a range of issues.
After talking to Taiwanese leaders and undermining the “One China” policy, the Trump administration further angered China by pledging to stop its “island-building” in the South China Sea.
The claim stirred much outrage, to the point that Chinese media said the only way Washington could achieve that objective was through war.
Washington has been planning a reported modernization of its nuclear weapons which is expected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars over 30 years.