Continued from page 2

“Unfortunately, the NPR released today confuses this long-standing policy. The Obama administration must clarify that we will take no option off the table to deter attacks against the American people and our allies.”

Richard Perle, a defense strategist in the Reagan administration, said he is concerned about the decision not to build new nuclear arms but noted that a future administration could reverse the policy if nuclear threats emerge.

“It took the administration a year to essentially reaffirm existing policy with some minor tweaks,” Mr. Perle said. “It’s not a cliffhanger.”

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the review was mixed and opened the way for further arms cuts.

“This review moves in that direction. It is quite explicit on Page 26 explaining why they did not adopt that sole purpose declaratory policy. … Some of us would like for it to have been clearer, but c’est la vie,” he said.

Sharon Squassoni, a former Congressional Research Service staffer on weapons of mass destruction now with the Center for Strategic International Studies, said the review is a significant shift from the past but did not go far enough.

“People were hoping the review would rule out using nuclear weapons against anything except for another nuclear attack. But the review does not contain this categorical limit,” she said.

David Smith, a U.S. chief negotiator for defense in space from 1989 to 1992, said he is concerned about the stated goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

“The reality is we live in a world where the threat of using nuclear weapons is what has prevented major wars and keeps ourselves and our allies safe,” he said. “If we keep chipping away at our nuclear deterrence, by announcing ahead of time when we won’t use them, then we are making the world a more dangerous place.”