By Maggie Tennis
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has initiated the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) to be completed by the end of the year, according to an April 17 Defense Department press release. The NPR will affect defense policy and planning. (See ACT, March 2017.) The review will also influence how the White House proceeds on arms control issues, such as whether to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Trump has expressed an intention to “greatly strengthen and expand” the U.S. nuclear arsenal and an ambition to be at “the top of the pack” of nuclear-armed countries. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, urged that the NPR prioritize strategic stability and nuclear nonproliferation. “It is time to rethink what the priorities should be for a strong yet affordable nuclear arsenal, rather than embarking on a trillion-dollar modernization plan that will drag us into perilous nuclear competition,” he said in an April 17 statement.