The U.S. is facing a more complex strategic deterrence problem as both China and Russia continue to modernize their nuclear and conventional weapons, the head of U.S. Strategic Command said on Thursday.
“This is the first time we’re going to face two-nuclear capable adversaries,” Adm. Charles Richard said during remarks at the Mitchell Institute.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the U.S. has “not had to consider a near-peer adversary in close to 30 years,” he said.
The Kremlin has reached 70 percent of its across-the-board modernization objectives that it set 15 years ago. This build-up “includes several thousand, non-treaty nuclear weapons,” Richard said, referring to short-range cruise and ballistic missiles that are not covered by existing strategic arms control treaties. He noted later that Moscow expanded its nuclear forces unilaterally as the United States reduced its own nuclear weapons stockpile.