President Obama announced on June 19 in Berlin that a new review of U.S. nuclear deterrence requirements found that "we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third" below the limits established by the 2010 New START Treaty. "And," the President added, "I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures."
The U.S. president laid out his arms control agenda, prompting a cool reply from Russia and a partisan reaction from Capitol Hill.
In his June 19 address in Berlin, President Barack Obama sought to jump-start progress on his second-term nuclear risk reduction agenda. The president declared,”[S]o long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe. Peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without nuclear weapons, no matter how distant that dream may be. Complacency is not in the character of great nations.”
This week, House and Senate appropriators will vote on how much money to spend on the B61 gravity bomb, a $10 billion program to upgrade a weapon that President Obama said last week he wants to reduce. Given the high cost of this effort, the declining military justification, and the fact that less expensive alternatives exist, Congress should scale back this program dramatically.
President Barack Obama's proposals today in Berlin for cutting the oversized U.S. nuclear arsenal and reducing global nuclear weapons dangers are welcome and overdue.
This week, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives will debate and vote on its annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which, among other things, would provide up to $250 million to build a missile defense site on the U.S. East Coast by 2018. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons, and would ultimately lead to a rushed, ineffective system wasting billions of taxpayer dollars.
The U.S. Air Force acknowledged last month that 17 officers responsible for operating U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were decertified and relieved of their duties in April for poor performance during an inspection.
In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama reiterated that the United States will continue to seek to reduce the size of the still-bloated U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. Obama said the United States would "engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals."
If Congress and the White House are serious about reducing the growing federal deficit, they must seize the opportunity to scale back costly schemes for building a new generation of strategic nuclear delivery systems and rebuilding tactical nuclear bombs.