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If the 2010 nuclear posture review (NPR) reflected a left-of-center compromise, probably to the right of President Obama’s preferences, the 2018 NPR is right-of-center, yet falls to the left of many of President Trump’s statements. While staying within the policy mainstream and containing considerable continuity with its predecessor, Trump's review does make a few notable departures.

Some key changes:

  • Consideration of additional sea-launched capabilities with lower-yield warheads
  • Inclusion of more than 30 references to nuclear weapons deterring non-nuclear attacks
  • Decreased emphasis on U.S. global leadership of the nuclear nonproliferation regime

Yes, but: The most important difference may not be in the report’s pages, but in Trump's increasing emphasis on nuclear weapons as an instrument of national power, particularly in a more complicated international threat environment.

Why it matters: Trump’s heated rhetoric bears little resemblance to the more measured declaratory policies in the formal documents. The president commands the nuclear forces and bears the sole burden of authorizing their use should deterrence fail. In communicating U.S. policy, it's his words that matter most.

Go deeper: An extended take at Defense360.

Rebecca Hersman is the director of the Project on Nuclear Issues and a senior adviser in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.