Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Nuclear Posture Review Addresses Reality of Current Threats, DoD Official Says

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2018 — The recently released Nuclear Posture Review is grounded in a “realistic assessment” of the current security environment, and tailored to deter threats and reassure allies, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy David J. Trachtenberg said here yesterday.

In a discussion at the Brookings Institution, Trachtenberg outlined the four key goals of the review, which was released Feb. 2: deterring nuclear and nonnuclear attack, assuring allies and partners, achieving U.S. objectives should deterrence fail, and hedging against an uncertain future.

“The 2018 NPR addresses the reality that while the Cold War has been over for decades, a much more challenging nuclear threat environment has developed since the previous 2010 nuclear posture review,” he explained.

The goal of recommendations contained in the 2018 NPR is to “deter war, not to fight one,” Trachtenberg said.

The Defense Department conducted the review along with the departments of State and Energy, in consultation with allies and experts from inside and outside the government, he explained.

The NPR emphasizes that U.S. nuclear policy will continue to contribute to U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals, he said, adding that those roles are consistent with past priorities of U.S. nuclear policy.

Recognizes Need for Nuclear Triad

“The new NPR recognizes the need for the nuclear triad,” he said, explaining it sustains the previous administration's plan for modernizing the aging U.S. nuclear triad of land-based, sea-based, and air delivery platforms, as well as its supporting nuclear infrastructure and command and control.

Trachtenberg pointed out the 2018 NPR, consistent with the previous NPR, declares that the United States would only consider using nuclear weapons in “extreme circumstances to defend U.S. vital interests.”

He noted that the 2018 NPR recommends two nuclear programs to strengthen U.S. capabilities to deter attacks and assure allies: the modification of a small number of existing submarine-launched ballistic missiles to include a low yield option, and the pursuit of a nuclear sea-launched cruise missile.

“We must recognize that effective deterrence is about tailoring our capabilities to a potential adversary’s calculations regarding the use of nuclear force to ensure that it can never appear to be a useful option,” he said.

The 2018 NPR, he said, is “grounded in a realistic assessment of the contemporary security environment – one that recognizes a return of great power competition and the increasing salience of nuclear weapons in the arsenals and doctrines of potential adversaries.”

Joint Training Develops K-9, Handler Skills

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Wynn A. Hoke, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii, Feb. 14, 2018 — For military working dogs and their handlers it is especially crucial for both to be able to work in any environment, any situation.

The 520th Military Working Dog Detachment seized the opportunity to work on urban combat tactics with the Honolulu Police Department K-9 unit Feb. 8 at the Combined Training Facility urban operations training site here.

“We have been working for a while to get joint training with HPD and their SWAT K-9 group as well as the [Transportation Security Agency] and special response teams,” said Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy D. Coleman, the 520th MWD Detachment kennel master. “Being able to implement our dogs for [special response teams] if the situation arises, having that training prior to execution is essential.”

Incorporating the MWD and handler into a stack formation or SWAT formation when entering a building for search and seizure or apprehension is a tactic new to the detachment. This training will allow the integration of a MWD and handler into Schofield Barracks Police SWAT situations.

“If the dog is never exposed to it, he may or may not freak out or may or may not search,” Coleman said. “The best time to find that out is here during the training rather than down range. Our takeaways are knowing what our dogs’ weakness are when getting in the stack and building on that.”

Becoming a Better Team

Army Sgt. Molly M. Montoya, a military working dog handler with the 520th MWD Detachment, learned firsthand what the Honolulu police could bring to the training.

“HPD is super experienced with implementing a dog team into their stack and all their SWAT teams have dogs,” Montoya said. “They taught the Schofield Barracks SWAT Team and the canine handlers how to incorporate our dogs into their stack so we can become a more efficient team here for Schofield [Barracks] and Fort Shafter.”

The second portion of the training had the HPD handlers and K-9’s honing their explosives search skills within several multistory buildings without combat simulated noises like explosions and small arms fire. Simulated combat noise was added later to continue training tactical explosive detector dogs and their handlers in the types of situations they might find themselves in.

“You come in and whether you run the scenarios really well [or not], there are always something to take from it,” Montoya said. “My dog and I are an experienced canine team but there is always room for improvement.”

Coleman explained that training has to adapt just like the enemy does. To implement this, he tied a dog toy that the handlers are often seen with to a simulated explosive to see if the dog and handler would recognize the threat. In some cases, the dog went straight to the toy, setting off the simulated explosion.
“The takeaway from the tactical downrange side is what the handlers need to focus on, more so than just finding explosives,” Coleman said. “If they are not checking their doorways or constantly watching their dog and where it is at, the dog could set off the device, in which case both dog and hander could perish.”