It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.
From what I've read/been told, it can be worse trying to clean up after a chemical attack than after a small nuke; and after a serious biological attack... But hey, no worries! Even if we KNOW you set off a Sarin or VX attack in DC or NYC or Los Angelas, or popped a smallpox attack in Houston, if YOU don't have nukes, the worst we'll do is pop some cruise missiles and go to the UN to ask for sanctions. Wonder how well THAT'LL work?
Those threats, Mr. Obama argued, could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and new conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure,” he said in the interview in the Oval Office.
White House officials said the new strategy would include the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reached a level that made the United States vulnerable to a devastating strike.
So, assuming we KNOW someone is developing the chemical or biological, we'll RECONSIDER the use. Friggin' wonderful. Note he doesn't say he'll reconsider AFTER someone has used such a weapon on us.