“This supplemental capability strengthens deterrence and provides the United States a prompt, more survivable low-yield strategic weapon,” John Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said in a statement.
He says the weapon, known as W76-2, lowers the risk of nuclear war.
Critics say low-yield nuclear weapons lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons, increasing the risk of nuclear war. And while W76-2’s strength is classified, experts say it likely has around one-third the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The warhead is the first major addition to the U.S. nuclear arsenal in decides and shows a departure from the Obama administration’s policy of lessening dependence of nukes for deterrence.
Details about where and when the weapon was deployed are classified, Rood said.