The chilling paper was obtained and then subsequently shared by the Federation of American Scientists this past Tuesday (6 July), and is part of the latest manual offering updates on the state of armed forces activity around the globe, and how the good ol' US of A should react to that.
It's fair to say, it doesn't make for easy reading.
In fact, if you're really worried or in the midst of an existential crisis, maybe give this one a miss, because it's not exactly jolly.
The Pentagon document states that there is 'increased potential' for nuclear war between the United Dates and countries such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.
Of those potential antagonists, Russia and China are the most well-armed.
However, as we know, North Korea has been firing off missiles recently, so that's worrying too.
Iran has the technology, should the country decide to use it, and could do so within a year.
The document claims that the US has tried to de-escalate the potential for nuclear conflict, but admits that 'no potential adversary has reduced either the role of nuclear weapons in its national security strategy or the number of nuclear weapons it fields'.
It continues: "Rather, they have moved decidedly in the opposite direction."
The document adds: "As a result, there is an increased potential for regional conflicts involving nuclear-armed adversaries in several parts of the world and the potential for adversary nuclear escalation in crisis or conflict."
Despite that fact that the main focus is clearly Russia and China, North Korea gets special mention in the document for having 'accelerated' its pursuit of nuclear weapons, as well as testing out missile flight capacities.
The report states: "North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities poses the most immediate and dire proliferation threat to international security and stability."
On the subject of Iran, the Pentagon talks of how an 'aggressive strategy and activities to destabilise neighbouring governments, raises questions about its long-term commitment to forgoing nuclear weapons capability'.
However, if you're looking for a crumb of comfort, remember that the 2020 report into such matters stated that the US nuclear weapons program is meant to be a deterrent and should only be used in 'extreme circumstances' to defend the country and allies.
They even removed language that mentioned using nukes to 'prevail in conflict' last year.
Does that help at all? No, probably not.
Let's all just hope it never comes to that.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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