They advocated for "the development of new nuclear weapons of very low yields, with destructive power proportional to the risks we will face in the new world environment," and they specifically called for the development and deployment of "micro-nukes" (with explosive yield of 10 tons), "mini-nukes" (100 tons), and "tiny-nukes" (1 kiloton).
Their justification for the smaller nuclear weapons was their contention that no President would authorize the use of the nuclear weapons in our present arsenal against Third World nations. "It is precisely this doubt that leads us to argue for the development of sub-kiloton weapons," they wrote.
In a White House document created in April 2000, "The United States of America Meeting its Commitment to Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," the administration stated that, "as the United States reduces the numbers of its nuclear weapons, it is also transforming the means to build them."
Over the past decade, the United States has dramatically changed the role and mission of its nuclear-weapon complex from weapon research, development, testing, and production to weapon dismantlement, conversion for commercial use, and stockpile stewardship.
That was his father's nuclear program. George II wants bombs.
"The Bush administration has directed the military to prepare contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against at least seven countries, and to build new, smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations," according to a Pentagon report uncovered by the Los Angeles Times.
The report, which was provided to Congress on Jan. 8, 2003 says the Pentagon needs to be prepared to use nuclear weapons against China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Iran and Libya.
It says the weapons could be used in three types of situations: against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack, in retaliation for attack with nuclear biological or chemical weapons, or in the event of 'surprising military developments.' The new report, signed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, is being used by the U.S. Strategic Command in the preparation of a nuclear war plan.
As reported by the World Policy Institute, the National Institute for Public Policy's, January 2001 report on the "rationale and requirements" for U.S. nuclear forces, was used as the model for the Bush administration's Nuclear Posture Review, which advocated an expansion of the U.S. nuclear "hit list" and the development of a new generation of "usable," lower-yield nuclear weapons.
Three members of the study group that produced the NIPP report - National Security Council members Stephen Hadley, Robert Joseph (undersecretary of Defense), and Stephen Cambone (Pentagon Intelligence director) - are now directly involved in implementing the Bush nuclear policy. Stephen Hadley, who replaced Rice as National Security Advisor, co-wrote a National institute for Public Policy paper portraying a nuclear bunker-buster bomb as an ideal weapon against the nuclear, chemical or biological weapons stockpiles of rouge nations such as Iraq. "Under certain circumstances," the report said, "very severe nuclear threats may be needed to deter any of these potential adversaries."
Reuters reported on the Bush administration plans to promote and push for the expansion of the nation's nuclear arsenal with the unveiling of an initiative produced by the 'Defense Science Board'. The supporting document, named the "Future Strategic Strike Force ", outlines a reconfigured nuclear arsenal made up of smaller-scale missiles which could be targeted at smaller countries and other lower-scale targets. The report is a retreat from decades of understanding that these destructive weapons were to be used as a deterrent only; as a last resort.
In September 2004 the Senate went along with a White House push to reduce the preparation time required for nuclear testing in Nevada; clearing the way for a resumption of nuclear test explosions which have been banned since 1992. It seeks to cut the time it would take to restart testing nuclear weapons in the Nevada desert from three years to two years. The Bush administration wants the period cut to 18 months.
Congress plans to build the first permanent U.S. nuclear waste repository in the desert northwest of Las Vegas, scheduled to open in 2010 and would hold up to 77,000 tons of radioactive waste.
The Energy bill that has emerged from the recent Congress would provide $580 million for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal project in 2004 -- around $11 million less than Bush had requested but far above a $425 million limit earlier endorsed by the Senate.
The bill would also provide $11 million for a new factory to make plutonium "pits" for the next generation of nuclear weapons. The last U.S. facility for manufacturing nuclear triggers closed in 1989.