US Defense Secretary Mark Esper participated in a war exercise late last week at the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) HQ in Omaha, Nebraska, which featured how the Pentagon would respond to a Russian nuclear attack on Europe, reported Defense One.
"We conducted a mini-exercise," a senior defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "The scenario included a European contingency where you are conducting a war with Russia and Russia decides to use a low-yield limited nuclear weapon against the site on NATO territory, and then you go through the conversation that you would have with the secretary of defense and then with the president ultimately to decide how to respond."
"During the exercise, we simulated responding with a nuclear weapon," the official said.
News of the "mini-exercise" immediately traveled to Moscow. Russian lawmakers called the Pentagon's nuclear war simulation completely outrageous:
Senator Sergei Tsekov called organizers and participants of the exercise "sick people," telling RBC News on Saturday, that he was "very surprised, frankly, very much, that they are doing this and also declare it. Although, on the other hand, judging by their current state and current actions, why be surprised?"
Alexander Sherin, the deputy head of the Duma's defense committee, told HCH news on Saturday that the US' nuclear war simulation with Russia has several objectives:
"Firstly, the population is getting used to such an incredible scenario for resolving the conflict as a nuclear strike between the Russian Federation and the NATO bloc. Secondly, an attempt to intimidate the population of Europe and justify the presence of American bases in European countries as guarantors of security and defenders in the event of a nuclear attack from Russia," Sherin said.
He said it would be foolish for Moscow to launch nuclear strikes on European countries because the fallout would flow back into Russia.
Sherin says the reason the US nonchalantly leaks its nuclear war exercises to the media is because it has never had a major war on its soil, unlike Europe and Russia.