Within his first 100 days in office, President Barack Obama delivered a stirring address in Prague on the steps necessary to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons. On April 5, 2009, he pledged to “put an end to Cold War thinking” by “reduc[ing] the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.”
Volume 3, Issue 1, February 24, 2012
Last week, the press reported on Defense Department options for Presidential guidance that were being prepared as part of the Nuclear Policy Review implementation study. The notion that the President might consider deep cuts in U.S. nuclear forces unleashed some intemperate reactions that brought to mind Shakespeare's most famous stage direction (in "The Winter's Tale"): "Exit, pursued by a bear."
In the 20 years since the end of the Cold War, successive U.S. and Russian presidents have gradually reduced the size and salience of their enormous nuclear stockpiles, which remain by far the largest of any country. Nevertheless, the size of each country's arsenal far exceeds what is necessary to deter nuclear attack by the other or by one of the world's other nuclear-armed states.
(Washington, D.C.) At 2 p.m. today, the Pentagon is scheduled to release major budget decisions stemming from its Jan. 5 strategic guidance review, which states that: "It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy."
The Pentagon's new strategic guidance released on Jan. 5 by President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta said: "It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy."
Congress should reconsider proposed cuts to U.S. nuclear weapons spending in light of uncertainties about China’s nuclear weapons program, some lawmakers and security analysts are arguing.
Volume 2, Issue 16, December 2, 2011
The supercommittee’s Nov. 21 failure to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan has triggered deep, automatic reductions in future U.S. defense spending. At the same time, some in Congress are finally beginning to examine how much the United States plans to spend on nuclear weapons in the years ahead.
Volume 2, Issue 13, October 13, 2011
Next month the congressional “super committee” is expected to propose major reductions in federal spending. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Oct. 11 that the Pentagon will reduce projected spending by more than $450 billion over the next ten years as a result of Congress’ debt agreement, and that "every program, every contract and every facility will be scrutinized for savings.”
By Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association
The following piece was originally posted online at The Des Moines Register on August 4, 2011.
Washington is obsessed these days with reducing the deficit. The GOP presidential contenders crisscrossing Iowa give prominence to the issue as well. But even as they call for ever deeper budget cuts, they have been reluctant to look at trimming the $27 billion annual cost of operating and maintaining our bloated Cold War nuclear arsenal and the $125 billion planned for building new weapons in the decade ahead.
The Pentagon will provide options to President Barack Obama for future nuclear reductions below New START levels and for policy changes in areas such as targeting, prompt-launch alert posture, and retention of the nuclear “triad.”