U.S. Defense Department proposing plan to deter nuclear Russia, North Korea

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing a $348 billion plan to upgrade a nuclear arsenal that includes bombers, missiles and subs.

According to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who was meeting with airmen at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., on Monday, the plan would deter against Russia’s “nuclear saber-rattling and building of new nuclear weapons systems,” in addition to North Korea‘s nuclear provocations, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“In today’s security environment – one that’s dramatically different from the last generation, and certainly the generation before that – we face a nuclear landscape that continues to pose challenges, and that continues to evolve…in some ways less predictably than during the Cold War,” Carter said.

The defense secretary also said that the Pentagon is “beginning the process of correcting decades of underinvestment in nuclear deterrence,” referring to problems that have beset the country’s nuclear force.

Minot in particular was singled out as a “special case” for attention after widespread drug abuse and test cheating led to the firing of dozens of launch officers.

Minot retains B-52 bombers and nuclear-tipped Minuteman III missiles.

During his visit, Carter said the purpose of nuclear preparedness was to stand ready to deter the enemy who intends to use nuclear weapons against the United States and its allies, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

North Korea has become increasingly belligerent in the past few months, conducting two nuclear tests in 2016 and dozens of missile test launches.

The provocations have increased concerns internationally, but North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho defended the tests and also said Pyongyang has no plans to be compliant with United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions, Japanese news network NHK reported on Tuesday.

Ri allegedly said he “does not even care” after the U.N. Security Council requested North Korea, as well as the United States, to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was formed 20 years ago.

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