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A top US official has warned that the United States may need to increase deployments of strategic nuclear weapons to deter growing threats from adversaries.

Pranay Vaddi, a senior national security official at the White House, highlighted this possibility during a speech to the Arms Control Association, signaling a shift towards a “more competitive approach” in the Biden administration’s arms control strategy. Vaddi said, “We may reach a point in the coming years where an increase from current deployed numbers is required. We need to be fully prepared to execute if the president makes that decision. If that day comes, it will result in a determination that more nuclear weapons are required to deter our adversaries and protect the American people and our allies and partners.”


Vaddi emphasized that while the US remains committed to international arms control and non-proliferation agreements, emerging threats necessitate a readiness to adjust its nuclear posture.

The warning comes amid heightened tensions with Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s statement about potentially deploying conventional missiles near the US and its European allies if Ukraine were to receive long-range Western weapons. Although Putin appeared to soften his stance later, the underlying threat remains a concern for US strategic planners.

Vaddi also pointed out that Russia’s reluctance to discuss a successor to the New START treaty, which is set to expire in 2026, complicates arms control efforts. This, coupled with China’s refusal to enter into talks regarding its growing nuclear arsenal, adds to the challenge.


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