Incoming Chair of House Armed Services Committee Calls for Reducing Role, Size, and Cost of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

For Immediate Release: Nov. 27, 2018

Media Contacts: Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 104

(Washington, D.C.)—In January 2019, control of the U.S. House of Representatives will shift to the Democratic Party and Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is in line to become Chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee.

In an in-depth interview with Arms Control Today, Smith signals that he will take a closer look at the Trump administration’s nuclear weapons policies and spending plans. He hints that he will seek to block plans for new, lower-yield warheads, questions the need for a “triad” of nuclear delivery platforms, and says he wants the U.S. to shift to a policy of nuclear no first use.

“Nuclear weapons are a great example of where we could save money and still maintain our national security interests,” Smith told Arms Control Today, the monthly journal of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association. “We could meet our needs from a national security standpoint with a lot fewer nuclear weapons. The path we are going down now is certainly unsustainable from a fiscal standpoint and it doesn’t make us safer,” Smith says.

On dealing with tensions with China and Russia, Smith says, “It is our responsibility as global powers to make sure that nuclear weapons are never used, and we need to have a consistent dialogue to avoid that.”

When asked about what he thinks the impact of a U.S. withdrawal or failure to extend New START would be, Smith said: “An escalating arms race which gets us into dangerous territory. I think it would be problematic to let that treaty expire."

The full interview with Rep. Smith will appear in the December 2018 issue of Arms Control Today. An advance copy is available online.