Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL), a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, revealed on Wednesday that Russia is posing a new strategic nuclear threat to the US – and not enough is being done about it.
Rogers, who is the chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces, made the revelation in a speech at the Air Force Association, reports the Washington Times.
"On the nuclear deterrence front, we likely have more cause for concern today than at any point since the Soviet Union collapsed – with a swift kick from the policies of Ronald Reagan," said Rogers.
He noted that Russia never went from enemy to ally after World War II like Germany and Japan did, and listed several troubling actions taken by the Russians in recent times.
Those acts include direct nuclear threats to neighbors and NATO states, the illegal occupation and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and military action in eastern Ukraine, the violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty as well as breaches of eight other arms control treaties.
Likewise, Rogers noted that Moscow has been openly discussing a new military doctrine viewing NATO as a military threat, which will stipulate using nuclear weapons early in any conflict that involves NATO or the US.
Criticizing US President Barack Obama's "reset" policy vis-a-vis Russia, he said, "some of us have been saying the reset was flawed from the beginning because it failed to recognize the reality of (Vladimir) Putin’s Russia. Now, this blindness has become dangerous."
The "reset" policy is largely the legacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who most probably will be confronted with it during her presidential campaign.
Russia breached the INF treaty by developing a new cruise missile, but according to Rogers the Obama administration has yet to respond.
He said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has assessed potential US military responses to the violation, without elaborating what the responses are, but said they apparently are "tied up in the White House."
Rogers revealed that US nuclear capabilities remain stalled at 1990s levels and require modernization.
He also criticized the US administration for opposing the extension of US missile defense systems to space, which Obama has criticized as a "weaponization" of space.
"So, while we sat back and tried to show leadership on this issue, Russia and China weaponized it for us,” Rogers said. “For less than our current systems, we could deploy a missile defense system in space that’s more capable than what we have in today’s (Ground-based Missile Defense) system.”