The U.S. nuclear posture review (NPR) and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, the main U.S. policy guidance for nuclear deterrence and defense, are scheduled to be released in a few weeks. According to the pre-decisional version of the NPR, unexpectedly leaked to the U.S. media in mid-January, it will most likely emphasize flexible, adaptable and resilient nuclear capability for the defense of the United States and allies given the dramatic deterioration of the strategic environment since the previous NPR took place in 2010.

While the report retains the long-term goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and importance of nuclear arms control, the main thrust of the NPR will be a departure from the major draw-down projection of strategic nuclear arms in the previous NPR, and bring the salience of nuclear domain back in the U.S. security strategy.

The key decisions of the new NPR will include sustaining and replacing the nuclear triad and nonstrategic nuclear capability, including a low-yield nuclear option. As for the declaratory policy, the new NPR will identify the role of U.S. nuclear forces to deter nuclear attacks of any scale by potential adversaries and also extend to the deterrence of potential adversaries' non-nuclear strategic aggression, and to limit damage if deterrence fails. To achieve such goals, the U.S. will apply "a tailored and flexible approach to effectively deter across a spectrum of adversaries, threats and contexts."