CBRN Assessment

Incoming US president hints at potential new nuclear arms race

27 December 2016

Ahead of the Christmas holiday US president-elect Donald Trump tweeted about his desire to "expand" US nuclear capability, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin discussed defeating missile shields, as fears of a potential nuclear arms race arose.

Trump tweeted on 22 December that the United States needed to "strengthen and expand its nuclear capability", wording that left experts puzzling over whether the president-elect wanted to increase the number of nuclear warheads, increase the capability of nuclear weapons, or simply continue the existing plan to recapitalise the US' ageing nuclear triad.

Shortly before Trump's tweet on 20 December Putin had said that Russia needed to "enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems".

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