The Biden administration released the 2022 National Defense Strategy Thursday and it includes an intent to cancel a Trump-era sea- based nuclear cruise missile program. Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin said the United States does not need that capability. Photo courtesy of NATO | License Photo
Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The Biden administration wants to cancel a Trump-era nuclear armed sea-launched cruise missile program, according to a 2022 National Defense Strategy released Thursday.
The intent to cancel the weapon program was listed in the document's "Nuclear Posture Review" section. The United States would still have submarine-launched nuclear weapons.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the weapon isn't needed.
"We determined, as we looked at our inventory, that we did not need that capability. We have a lot of capability in our nuclear inventory," Austin told reporters at the Pentagon.
At the press briefing Thursday, Austin focused on the release of the unclassified National Defense Strategy that bluntly describes Russia as "an acute threat."
"Unlike China, Russia cannot systemically challenge the United States over the long term," Austin said during the briefing. "But Russian aggression does pose an immediate and sharp threat to our interests and values."
Austin said Putin's "reckless war of choice against Ukraine" is the worst threat to European security since World War II.
But Russia is far from the only threat, Austin said. He cited North Korea's expanding and increasing nuclear and missile capabilities and Iranian actions exporting drones that Russia is using to terrorize Ukrainian civilians as additional serious threats.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley had supported the Trump-era nuclear sea-launched cruise missile program during his 2019 Senate confirmation process.
In April, Milley told the House Armed Services committee, "My position on SLCM-N has not changed. My general view is that this president or any president deserves to have multiple options to deal with national security situations," The Hill reported.