For Immediate Release
Administration Slated to Finalize Major Nuclear Weapons Policy Review
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is expected to make final decisions as
early as today about the Nuclear Posture Review, the official policy
document that will define U.S. nuclear weapons policy for the next five
to 10 years. This will take place at what is called a "principals
meeting" attended by Cabinet members whose departments are involved in
The congressionally mandated review will set the role nuclear
weapons will play in overall U.S. security policy, how many nuclear
weapons the United States needs to fulfill those roles, and whether the
United States should produce new nuclear warheads.
"The administration's decisions on the Nuclear Posture Review will
not only set U.S. policy, they will shape the future of nuclear weapons
globally," said Lisbeth Gronlund, senior scientist and co-director of
the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
"President Obama, who has the final word, can choose to make the
transformational changes needed to address the real threats of the 21st
century, or can allow bureaucratic inertia and the parochial interests
of the federal nuclear weapons labs to hold sway."
In Prague last April, President Obama outlined an ambitious agenda
to transform U.S. nuclear weapons policy. He called for "an end to Cold
War thinking," declared "we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in
our national security strategy," and pledged to pursue "the peace and
security of a world without nuclear weapons."
The Nuclear Posture Review was originally slated for release on
December 1. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International
Security Ellen Tauscher said today that the administration plans to
send the review to Congress in early March, which suggests that the
administration may miss its revised March 1 deadline.
The Department of Defense, in consultation with officials from the
departments of State and Energy as well as the National Security
Council, oversaw the review-drafting process.
A group of experts and former government officials sent the president a letter
earlier this month offering recommendations for the Nuclear Posture
Review. They called on the president to narrow the purpose of nuclear
weapons to deterring nuclear attacks on the United States and its
allies, reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile to hundreds from thousands,
and rule out the production of new warheads.
"We've been told to expect a modest document," said Stephen Young, a
senior analyst with UCS's Global Security Program. "It would be a great
disappointment if this opportunity for meaningful change is squandered.
The president has recognized that nuclear weapons are now a liability
rather than an asset. They create more problems than they solve. He can
make us more secure by changing how the United States and the rest of
the world think about nuclear weapons."
The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.