USA — Review Reduces Weapons, Maintains Deterrence, Obama Says

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)