I think people often discount or misunderstand the intent and what it means for the W76-2 to provide a credible nuclear threat. Through the decades, US norms have constantly moved towards more discriminate and precise attacks to limit casualties. The W76-2 follows that trend. 1/4
Because it follows US norms, it is a more credible threat and therefore an adversary is more likely to believe that the US would use the W76-2 in response to a limited nuclear attack. If the US is more likely to use it, then the perceived benefits will not outweigh the risks. 2/4
Without the W76-2, the only other prompt/survivable options for a limited strike are higher yield weapons that are less discriminate & cause more casualties. Now an adversary could plausibly perceive that the US would be hesitant to respond & the benefits outweigh the risks. 3/4
In sum, since responding to a limited enemy strike with the W76-2 could be seen as likely to happen, it’s a more credible threat & therefore the adversary has no incentive to launch a limited strike. The whole point is to prevent contemplation of an attack in the first place. 4/4

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