April 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense will begin examining its nuclear weapon capabilities with its Nuclear Posture Review, the department announced this week.
President Donald Trump ordered the review on Jan. 27 shortly after assuming office with the stated goal of ensuring U.S. nuclear capabilities were still an effective deterrent to hostile forces. It was included in a memo regarding executive action on military readiness.
The Nuclear Posture Review formally began following orders from U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.
"Today, Secretary Mattis directed the commencement of the review, which will be led by the deputy secretary of defense and the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and include interagency partners," a statement from the Pentagon read. "The process will culminate in a final report to the president by the end of the year."
According to the Defense Department, the Nuclear Posture Review is a legislatively-mandated process which aims to establish the government's nuclear policy and strategy for the next five to ten years.
The review begins as tensions mount between the United States and Kim Jong Un's regime in North Korea. The communist state has continually been criticized by the U.S. and other western powers for its repeated nuclear weapon tests.
The U.S. military is reportedly considering shooting down the country's test missiles in the event of future tests. South Korea, a U.S. ally, received Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems to bolster its defenses against its northern enemy.