The United States government insists that the under-development B61-12 nuclear bomb isn’t a new weapon, that it’s just an update to an aging arsenal that already exists.
That’s not a view shared by some American experts.
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the nonpartisan Federation of American Scientists in Washington, is resolute that the bomb violates a 2010 Obama administration pledge not to produce nuclear weapons with new military capabilities.
“We do not have a nuclear guided bomb in our arsenal today,” Kristensen said. “It is a new weapon.”
Kristensen’s organization was formed in 1945 by nuclear scientists who wanted to prevent nuclear war. And it’s not the maximum force of the B61-12 that worries him the most on that front.
Instead, he says he fears that the bomb’s greater accuracy, thanks to an added tail assembly, coupled with the way its explosive force can be reduced electronically through a “dial-a-yield” system accessed by a hatch on the bomb’s body, increases the risk that a president might consider it tame enough for a future conflict.
To read Len and Burt’s report for Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, please click here.