China is rapidly becoming more capable and assertive and concerns regarding its nuclear modernization and expansion are increasing. Russia’s comprehensive modernization of its nuclear capabilities, over 80% complete, includes the addition of new dual-capable systems that threaten the United States and its allies and partners, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities said.
Melissa Dalton spoke yesterday at a House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on “FY22 Budget Request for Nuclear Forces and Atomic Energy Defense Activities.”
“We are confronted with multifaceted deterrence challenges across domains from both competitors, which add increased escalation risks, all making deterrence more challenging. Strategic risks, emanating from both North Korea and Iran, add significant complications to the strategic threat picture,” she said.
For these reasons, nuclear deterrence remains the department’s highest priority mission, Dalton noted, adding that more is needed to confront these growing, multifaceted threats.