WASHINGTON, April 6, 2010 — The Nuclear Posture Review recognizes that nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation to more states – not a nuclear exchange between nations – pose the greatest threat to U.S. and global security, President Barack Obama noted in a statement issued today.
Obama called the review, released today, a major step toward fulfilling his pledge to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy while sustaining a safe, secure and effective deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist.
While acknowledging the threat of nuclear weapons getting into the wrong hands, the review recognizes that the national security of the United States and its allies and partners “can be increasingly defended by America’s unsurpassed conventional military capabilities and strong missile defenses,” the president said.
He noted concrete steps the United States has taken to reduce the role of nuclear weapons, while preserving its military superiority, deterring aggression and safeguarding U.S. security:
— Moving the prevention of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism to the top of its nuclear agenda for the first time, and aligning its policies and funding for programs to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and encourage international cooperation toward that goal.
— Promoting international responsibility in meeting nonproliferation treaty obligations, and promising not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are parties to the treaty and comply with their nonproliferation obligations.
— Pledging not to conduct nuclear tests, develop new nuclear warheads or pursue new missions or capabilities for nuclear weapons, and pressing for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
While reducing the role of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal, Obama said, the Nuclear Posture Review also recognizes their important deterrent value as the United States works to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, prevent nuclear terrorism and pursue the day when these weapons no longer exist.
Meanwhile, he vowed to press for substantial investments to improve the safety and effectiveness of the existing nuclear stockpile while also strengthening conventional capabilities.
“So long as nuclear weapons exist, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal that guarantees the defense of the United States, reassures allies and partners, and deters potential adversaries,” he said.
Obama called these measures important steps toward the comprehensive agenda he laid out in Prague last year to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to pursue world peace and security without them.
He said he looks forward to advancing this agenda in Prague on April 8, when he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the new strategic arms reduction treaty that commits both countries to substantial nuclear arms reductions.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)