Stoltenberg: NATO Is ‘Adapting’ Its Nuclear Arsenal to ‘Current Security Environment’

One step he mentioned was the Netherlands obtaining a fleet of F-35 fighter jets that could be used to drop US nuclear bombs stored in the country

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that the alliance was discussing the “adaption” of its nuclear arsenal to the “current security environment” amid soaring tensions with Russia.

He listed two examples of NATO’s “adaptation,” the Netherlands acquiring F-35 fighter jets that could drop US nuclear weapons stored in the country and the US modernizing its nuclear warheads that are deployed across Europe.

Stoltenberg’s comments mark a rare public discussion of NATO’s nuclear arsenal from a top NATO official. Under NATO’s nuclear sharing program, US nuclear weapons are deployed in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, and Italy.

Poland has repeatedly said it’s willing to also host US nuclear weapons as a response to Russia deploying tactical nukes to Belarus, but it’s unclear if the US is seriously considering the move.

At least two of the countries that host US nukes, Germany and the Netherlands, maintain fleets of planes that could drop the bombs. France and the UK also have their own nuclear arsenals. Earlier this year, The Telegraph reported that the US was planning to deploy nuclear weapons to the UK for the first time since 2008.

“There is not a new policy. This is a well-established procedure, where the US has nuclear bombs deployed in Europe, and where some allies take part in what we call a cold nuclear sharing, having planes that can deliver these weapons,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

Stoltenberg called NATO’s nuclear arsenal the “ultimate security guarantee.” He also condemned Russia’s deployment of nuclear weapons to Belarus, which Russia compared to NATO nuclear sharing, and claimed NATO also faces a nuclear threat from China. “We also have to bear in mind that we don’t only face nuclear challenges from Russia, but also from China, which is now heavily modernizing their nuclear capabilities,” he said.

Stoltenberg’s comments come amid Russian military drills that are simulating the use of tactical nuclear weapons, which Russian officials said were launched in direct response to provocative rhetoric from Western officials and escalations in Ukraine. Stoltenberg has brushed off Russian warnings against NATO allowing its missiles to be used to strike Russian territory.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.