**Escalate to De-escalate**
**By Mark B. Schneider, U.S. Naval Institute, February 2017**
**Russia is modernizing extensively its nuclear forces to be able to “de-escalate a conflict” using a small number of strikes and, if necessary, launch a massive nuclear strike. Ongoing force modernization includes over a dozen new types of strategic delivery vehicles, and new precision low-yield nuclear weapons....**
**In June 2015, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and then-Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefeld observed, “Russian military doctrine includes what some have called an ‘escalate to de-escalate’ strategy—a strategy that purportedly seeks to de-escalate a conventional conflict through coercive threats, including limited nuclear use.”...** [end quote]
I was surprised to read this morning that the U.S. has quickly developed a submarine-based nuclear weapon with a range of over 7,450 miles and a yield of 5-8 kiloton (compared with the Hiroshima atom bomb, 30 kiloton). These warheads make Washington state host to the globe’s third-largest arsenal of deployed nuclear weapons — an estimated 1,120 — behind only Russia and the United States as a whole, whose stockpiles still number in the thousands. The subs are based at Bangor, which I drive past when going to the Kitsap Peninsula for shopping. Subs based at Kings Bay, Georgia, are part of the Atlantic fleet which covers the current conflict zone in Ukraine.
Putin has already threatened to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict. Many analysts say, “Nah, Putin isn’t crazy,” but I’m not so sure. I’m also not sure that a few “low yield” nukes wouldn’t blow up into a full-blown nuclear exchange.
I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s with a fear of nuclear war since my father was active Air Force Reserve. Nice to know that a nuclear base is practically in my back yard. NOT!