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Donald Trump Administration Plans to Develop More Usable Nuclear Weapons, Loosen Restrictions

Donald Trump Administration Plans to Develop More Usable Nuclear Weapons, Loosen Restrictions

The claim comes from Chatham House in its report "Cybersecurity of Nuclear Weapons Systems: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences", which details the history of nuclear weapons systems and the inherent risks built into them.

"As a result, the current nuclear strategy often overlooks the widespread use of digital technology in nuclear systems".

'Inadvertent nuclear launches could stem from an unwitting reliance on false information and data.

But the document also lays out the "bleak" turn that the world has taken since the last posture review in 2010, particularly highlighting North Korea's nuclear weapons program and a more aggressive Russian Federation after the annexation of Crimea.

Their report warned: "The potential impacts of a cyberattack on nuclear weapons systems are enormous". "Moreover, a system, that is compromised can not be trusted in decision-making". If it includes, as reports indicate, a plan to develop two new types of nuclear weapons - a low-yield version of the Trident D5 warhead and a sea-launched cruise missile - the weapons will be deemed more "usable" and nuclear war will be more likely.

It also urged governments to be open about their discussions, adding: 'After all, it is the public that will pay the ultimate price for complacency regarding cyber-security of nuclear weapons systems'. Elsewhere, the silos of U.S. nuclear-tipped Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles "are believed to be particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks".

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The report continued: "The likelihood of attempted cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems is relatively high and increasing from advanced persistent threats from states and non-state groups".

"At times of heightened tension, cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems could cause an escalation, which results in their use".

Cyber attacks could see nuclear powers deploy weapons against another country "inadvertently" based on false information, according to the Chatham House report.

"'In times of crisis, loss of confidence in nuclear weapons capabilities would factor into decision-making and could undermine beliefs in nuclear deterrence - particularly in extending nuclear deterrence to allied countries".

The researchers outlined a number of doomsday scenarios that could hit any nuclear arsenal in the world.

The research paper calls for nuclear weapons states to incorporate cyber risk reduction measures in nuclear command, control and communication systems. "The final draft drops proposals to develop a nuclear hyper-glide weapon, and to remove assurances to non-nuclear weapons states that the USA will not use its nuclear arsenal against them".