"I think that the role of nuclear weapons, unfortunately, will increase in the short term until we find a path ahead to accomplish some of these goals you are talking about here today," Breedlove stated on Thursday.
Breedlove also noted that nuclear weapons "in the next five to ten years" will become "the weapons of the weak, the poor and the radical."
The growing intensity of international competition "will only further some nations’ desires to be nuclear or to use the nuclear capability that they have in a more drastic way," Breedlove warned.
In May, Breedlove stepped down from his post as the head of US European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. During his tenure he oversaw the alliance’s enhanced deterrence position toward Russia.