In this February 20, 2016 file photo provided by US Air Force, an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. (AP Photo)
The US Air Force has warned President Barack Obama against formally declaring a "no-first-use" policy for the country’s nuclear weapons.
According to reports, Obama has recently been planning a revision of America’s longstanding nuclear policy, including a pledge to never carry out the first strike in a nuclear confrontation.
Obama’s opponents have described a "no-first-use" policy as a disaster for the United States and its allies.
But on Thursday the head of the US Air Force also expressed concerns about the president’s plans which he is likely to actualize in his final months in office.
"I would be concerned about such a policy," Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said, speaking at the New America think tank in Washington, DC.
"Having a certain degree of ambiguity is not necessarily a bad thing,” she added. “You certainly want to communicate certain things to allies and to your potential adversaries around the world, but you don't necessarily want to show all your cards all the time."
US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James
The Pentagon is engaged in a major overhaul of its nuclear "triad" -- nuclear-armed submarines, a next-generation long-range bomber, and replacement of the current intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) stockpile.
The US Air Force is responsible for two legs of America's nuclear defense "triad".
The United States and its allies started a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, which continued for more than four decades and cost trillions of dollars.
During this period, not only the US and Soviet Union increased their nuclear stockpiles incredibly, but some other countries also amassed hundreds of nuclear weapons.
Since taking office in January 2009, Obama has espoused a world free of nuclear weapons. He is reportedly weighing a range of measures that he could implement before his second and last term ends.
Why US maintains nuclear triad
US nuclear ICBMs Peacekeeper, Minuteman I and Minuteman III on display near F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, the US. (file photo)
According to American academic and political analyst Dennis Etler, the US military’s “plans to invest untold sums of money and national wealth in its triad of strategic long range bombers, nuclear-armed submarines and ICBMs is not for self-defense or out of national security concerns.”
“Its sole purpose is to continue to subsidize the war-mongers of the military-industrial complex, line the pockets of congressional districts which have military installations and impose its rule over the rest of the world,” he told Press TV in December of last year.
“In addition the US hopes to provoke an arms race with its rivals, Russia and China, so as to divert them from their rise as challengers to US hegemony and a unipolar world,” he noted.