By Jürgen Wagner
Nukewatch Spring Quarterly 2019
NOTE: This piece is excerpted from an article in 360⁰-NATO: Mobilization on All Fronts, edited by Sabine Lösing.
The 2010 Strategic Concept of the Alliance* clearly addresses “the hierarchy of NATO’s nuclear powers”: “The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States…”
Neither NATO nor its non-nuclear member countries hold any competence over the nuclear weapons of the United States—not even over the nuclear weapon stockpile deployed in Europe within the scope of nuclear sharing…. [Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists reported in 2015:] “NATO itself has no authority over the nuclear weapons use decision. The decision to employ nuclear weapons in support of NATO can only be made in Washington, London and Paris by the state leaders of those nuclear-weapon states. NATO … cannot block use.” …[Otfried Nassauer reports that] “In its 1999 Strategic Concept … NATO went without depicting the use of nuclear weapons as a ‘last resort’ as it had … the no-first-use policy was not issued either, because the US reserve[s] a right to nuclear first use…”
Thus, Claudia Major of the German Institute for International & Security Affairs writes: “Nuclear deterrence offers protection, too—but only if Russia believes that NATO would actually apply nuclear weapons.”…[Wikipedia reports,] “In peacetime, the nuclear weapons stored in non-nuclear countries are guarded by US Air Force personnel… codes required for arming them remain under [USAF] control. In case of war, the weapons are to be mounted on the participating countries’ warplanes. The weapons are under custody and control of USAF Munitions Support Squadrons.”…
The B61-12 [bomb] is now expected to replace older types 3, 4, 7, and 10 as well as the bunker busting B61-11 and B83 strategic nuclear bombs. …[German] Tornados [fighter jets] are not compatible with the B61-12 without modifications. For this reason, they are candidates for “modernization” as is the associated airport at Büchel…. [According to N-TV, Sept. 22, 2015]: “German Tornados should be able to attack with the newest US nuclear weapons within the scope of nuclear sharing.… Not only American, but also German sources plow money into the modernization of the airbase in Büchel.
While the US pays for the weapons’ integration into German Tornados, the German Ministry of Defense invests [$127 million] into the modernization of the runway and the instrumental approach system in Büchel. Other US nuclear bases in Europe, like Incerlik, Turkey, or Aviano, Italy, are candidates for modernization, too.” …
The fact that they are focusing on more accuracy and penetrating power suggests that they are really aspiring to a first-strike capability. In 2006, a much-discussed report in Foreign Affairs revealingly entitled “The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy,” arrived at the same result: “…The current and future US nuclear force, in other words, seems designed to carry out a preemptive disarming strike against Russia or China.”…
An analysis by the US Congressional Research Service reads: “A prompt strike against an adversary’s ballistic missiles or caches of weapons of mass destruction might allow the US to destroy these weapons before an adversary could use them.” …
Until now they have been too inaccurate and without enough penetrating power to be used as strategic weapons…. Thus they could become integral parts of US first-strike plans… The German television program Frontal 21 reported in September 2015: “Armament experts confirm that the new B61-12 tactical nuclear weapons are much more accurate than the nuclear bombs that have been stored in Büchel so far. In case of war, German Tornado pilots are supposed to fly attacks with US bombs within the scope of nuclear sharing.”…
Hans Kristensen … in Washington, DC criticizes: “The differences between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons are obliterated with the new [B61] bombs.”…[The Associated Press reported in 2015] “that the Obama administration was weighing options to deploy new land-based missiles in Europe to be able to pre-emptively destroy Russian nuclear weapons under certain conditions.” [As Foreign Affairs reported]: “[T]he sort of missile defenses that the US might plausibly deploy would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one—as an adjunct to a US first-strike capability, not as a stand-alone shield. If the US launched a nuclear attack against Russia (or China), the targeted country would be left with a tiny surviving arsenal—if any at all…. Washington’s continued refusal to eschew a first strike and the country’s development of a limited missile defense capability take on a new, and possibly more menacing look.”…
In a footnote, Mr. Wagner writes, “In January 2008, several high-ranking NATO strategists published the report ‘Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World’… [and] explicitly emphasized their readiness for first use once again: ‘Regrettably, nuclear weapons—and with them the option of first use—are indispensable, since there is simply no prospect of a nuclear free world.’”
*The Strategic Concept is NATO’s official periodic document that outlines its purpose, nature and tasks.
On April 4, 2019, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will celebrate its 70th anniversary in Washington, D.C. In view of NATO’s post-Cold War crime spree in Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, peace activists are organizing
“Unwelcome” events between March 30 and April 4. For info on scheduled events in D.C., see:
Arn H. Specter says
Since Congress is mandated to be the only U.S. authority to call for WAR ,
then it would logical and safer, that congress-and only congress- would be
the authority to call for any nuclear weapons fired in an attack on a foreign
nation… The current power, in the hands of the president of the U.S., is far
too extensive for the safety and security of the nation and the world.
In order to create more oversight and safety a panel of members of congress and the Military and those in the state department need to be placed in control of all nuclear positions of responsibility.