A change in nuclear target strategy is under study in the United States. This was?
A change in nuclear target strategy is under study in the United States. This was confirmed by the Defence Secretary James Schlesinger on Thursday (January 10) in answer to questions at a press conference in Washington.
Dr. Schlesinger said that in the past few months the United States had shifted from the principle of retaliating against Soviet cities to a new combination of civilian and military targets. The Nixon administration, he said, was seeking an alternative to what he called suicidal nuclear strikes against populated cities.
Dr. Schlesipger said the new concept evolved last summer as the result of discussions with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It also followed what he described as vigorous Soviet research and development efforts which could give Moscow an eventual nuclear advantage.
Both the United States and the Soviet Union now had and would continue to have the capability of absorbing an initial strike at the other's cities and still retaliate, he said.
Because many of the new targets in the Soviet Union and other East European countries are in remote areas, they are harder to hit than the cities. The Pentagon now wants to improve the accuracy of its missiles to accommodate this change but government critics in Congress argue that this will be a waste of money. They also argue that by improving the accuracy of its weapons, the United States will force the Soviet Union ??? the same thing - which would escalate the arms race.