The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has formally requested approval from Congress to begin work on a nuclear weapon significantly more powerful than anything used in World War II. In order to protect the United States from growing international threats, military leaders say these weapons are needed.
Last Monday, military commanders announced that they were considering making the B61-13 nuclear gravity bomb, a weapon 24 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan, in World War II.
The “Little Boy” atomic bomb unleashed on Hiroshima is a good analogy for the destructive potential of the new weapon. Between 135,000 and 140,000 people are thought to have lost their lives as a direct result of this single bomb. The detonation burst with the equivalent of nearly 15,000 tons of dynamite. Multiplying that by 24 provides a clear picture of the destructive power of this weapon.
John Plumb, the Department of Defense’s Assistant Secretary for Space Policy, recently defended the nuke by saying it is necessary because of “a changing security environment and growing threats from potential adversaries.”
Senate Republican Leader from Mississippi stated, “This is as serious of a topic as we will hear about this year.”
On Capitol Hill earlier this month, the Senate Armed Services Committee drew attention to the nation’s nuclear strategy. Political leaders on all sides of the aisle have expressed worry about ongoing dangers posed by countries like Russia, which has withdrawn from a deal meant to eliminate nuclear weapons, and North Korea, which has repeatedly tested nuclear weapons.
Just two weeks ago, the National Nuclear Security Administration disclosed that a crew at a test site in Nevada had performed an underground chemical explosion to improve America’s ability to detect nuclear explosions around the world. Some legislators are pushing for the country to be well-prepared amid the ongoing push to modernize US weaponry.
According to the Department of Defense, President Biden will have another option for achieving difficult and extensive military objectives with this innovative weapon, and it will also serve to dissuade potential enemies from aiming their sights at the United States.