• Strengthening regional deterrence efforts to protect U.S. allies like South Korea, Japan and Europe.
• Sustaining an aging nuclear arsenal and related infrastructure with upgrades, but blocking development of new nuclear warheads and bombs.
Cuts in current strategic forces are being carried out because the threat from Russian nuclear attack has diminished and China’s nuclear forces, while being modernized and expanded in secret, remain smaller in number than current U.S. forces, the report said.
U.S. missile defenses and advances in precision-guided conventional missiles and weapons are another reason nuclear forces can be reduced, the report noted.
Nuclear-weapons infrastructure, such as storage and maintenance facilities and the technicians who work at them, also are being modernized, the report said.
A blue-ribbon panel found last year that the nuclear complex is in serious disrepair after being neglected for the past decade.
Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain, Arizona Republicans, said in a statement that they are concerned the review could make it more difficult to modernize the nuclear-weapons complex.
“The NPR appears to make it more difficult to use the ‘spectrum of options’ (i.e., refurbishment, reuse, and replacement) recommended by the Perry-Schlesinger Commission to enhance the reliability of the U.S. nuclear-weapons stockpile,” they said.
The administration’s current nuclear budget calls for spending $7 billion for modernization, an increase of 10 percent from the previous year.
“By modernizing our aging nuclear facilities and investing in human capital, we can substantially reduce the number of nuclear weapons we retain as a hedge against technical or geopolitical surprise, accelerate dismantlement of retired warheads, and improve our understanding of foreign nuclear weapons activities,” the report said.
According to the report, U.S. nuclear forces will continue to include silo-based missiles, hard-to-track submarine-launched missiles and nuclear bombers as the main elements of a strategic triad in place since the arms were perfected and deployed in large number beginning in the 1950s.
One minor revision to the deterrence policy outlined in the report is the announcement that U.S. nuclear retaliation will not be used against non-nuclear states that sign and adhere to the provisions of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The last U.S. nuclear posture review conducted in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks stated that U.S. nuclear weapons could be used in retaliation against chemical- or biological-weapons attacks carried out by non-nuclear states.
In keeping with the president’s pledge to eventually seek the elimination of all nuclear weapons, a goal he has said may not be reached in his lifetime, the U.S. government will forgo building new nuclear weapons.
Mr. Kyl and Mr. McCain questioned the policy of limiting options for responding to chemical or biological attack. “In fact, one reason that we got rid of chemical and biological weapons is that we were told that we would always have the nuclear deterrent available,” the senators said.View Entire Story
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
How does our 50th state view D.C. politics?
Political centrist who tells it like it is
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc