Fourteen former high-ranking officials from the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, and intelligence agencies delivered a report to the Joe Biden administration recommending that “preliminary discussions to redeploy nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula should be initiated.” As South Korea's trust in the U.S. extended deterrence is weakening, it should send a warning that tactical nuclear weapons could be redeployed on the Korean Peninsula if North Korea continues to escalate its level of aggression.
On Wednesday (local time), the Korean Peninsula Commission of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a U.S. think tank, published a report titled “Recommendations on North Korea Policy and Extended Deterrence.” The Korean Peninsula Commission is co-chaired by Harvard University professor Joseph Nye, who served as Assistant Secretary of State, and CSIS Director John Hamre, who served as Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Their report recommended "preparation of pre-decisional groundwork for the redeployment of potential low-yield nuclear weapons." It was pointed out that this planning should include tabletop exercises on identifying candidate storage sites for tactical nuclear weapons, preparation of storage facilities, security training related to nuclear weapons, and nuclear certification procedures for USFK F-16 or F-35 fighter jets necessary for the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons. “This could put new pressure on North Korea without crossing the threshold of non-proliferation,” the report suggested. This means that the necessary work must be reviewed before deciding whether to redeploy nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.
However, the committee said, “At this point, the US should not redeploy tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula or allow South Korea to possess its nuclear weapons. The actual (redeployment) phase should be pursued only when North Korea raises the level of brinkmanship even after all other measures to strengthen extended deterrence have been exhausted.” It was reported that this recommendation was also delivered to the Biden administration earlier.