An unclassified version of the long-delayed & long awaited 2022 Nuclear Posture Review has just been published. In a bureaucratic first, it's an attachment to the "2022 National Defense Strategy of The United States of America" released earlier today.
No surprises. As expected, Biden has back-pedalled on his decades-long advocacy of "no-first-use" of nuclear weapons. In other words: Washington reserves its longstanding self-declared right to initiate nuclear strikes. This was almost inevitable because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin's murderous onslaught and reckless nuclear threats gave Biden no political room for his more progressive instincts. Nevertheless, POTUS has cancelled proposed new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles, so expect howls of outrage from Republicans. However, such outrage will be exaggerated because:
1. From an operational perspective, the proposed new cruise missiles were always questionable.
2. The US is proceeding with the modernisation of its (a) Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs, (b) ballistic missile-firing submarines, and (c) strategic bomber force. In fact, work is well advanced on new generations of these weapons. About US$600 billion is projected to be spent on these between now and 2030.
3. In addition to nuclear modernisation, overall US military spending remains vast -- about US$800 billion per year. While it's impossible to be precise with comparisons, even conservative estimates put this at about equivalent to the combined total for 2 x Russia plus China. Other estimates make the US advantage even wider. In addition, the next biggest spenders are nearly all US allies, none are enemies.
4. The US strategic edge is so significant that no American admiral or general would swap places with their Chinese or Russian equivalents.
Update: here's a good discussion by Tom Nichols in The Atlantic.