- Catholic League slams Obama: ‘Do Christian lives mean so little to you?’
- National laboratory cancels ‘Southern Accent Reduction’ classes after outcry
- U.S. woman with Ebola is stable, improving, son says
- Belgium pushes for clear labeling of goods from Israeli settlements
- ‘Queen of Mean’ Leona Helmsley’s former home hits market for $65M
- Florida beach-goers told to beware flesh-eating bacteria in water
- Lundergan Grimes uses ‘war on women’ strategy to attack McConnell
- Rep. Jeff Miller: ‘Ain’t no leash for VA’
- Al Qaeda nets $125M from ransom payoffs from Europe since 2008
- Ohio Gov. John Kasich cruising to re-election: survey
Nuclear weapons review put off
Question of the Day
The Pentagon has notified Congress that it is delaying a required report on the future of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal because of the "complexity" of issues being addressed.
James N. Miller, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense, stated in a letter to senior House and Senate leaders that the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), required under 2008 legislation, will not be completed in time by the Feb. 1 deadline and instead will be completed by March 1.
The strategic review is being held up amid differences among President Obama's key White House advisers and national security officials at the Pentagon, and the state and energy departments, according to U.S. officials familiar with the process.
"There isn't even a draft of the NPR, that's really the problem," said one of the officials. "We're in the first week of January and we don't have a draft."
Mr. Miller, in his letters to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, Missouri Democrat, stated only that the delay is the result of "the complexity of issues" and he offered classified briefings on "analysis and conclusions" by early February.
It is the second delay for the review. A Pentagon fact sheet made public in June stated that the review would be submitted to Congress in December 2009.
The official said nuclear weapons opponents in the Obama administration are seeking to use the NPR to try to advance the president's goal of making radical cuts in nuclear weapons.
Defense and national security officials are advocating a review that will "defend the country," the official said.
"The problem has been getting the principals to focus on this," the official said.
The review will set U.S. nuclear deterrence policy, strategy and force structure for the next five to 10 years.
Asked about the latest delay, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington said the review is nearing completion and "we require additional time to appropriately address the range of issues under consideration in the NPR."
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is heading up the review and officials said he has taken a position that U.S. nuclear weapons and support infrastructure are aging and in need of modernization.
Other officials, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., are said to be opposing the review's expected call for major investments in the nuclear arsenal.
According to the officials, one concept being examined in the review is whether to abandon U.S. strategic plans for a nuclear first strike as a way to deter would-be nuclear aggressors.
A no-first-use declaration is thought by some arms control specialists as one way to safely reduce the numbers of deployed nuclear weapons.
However, other national security specialists think adopting a "no-first-use" policy is destabilizing because it undermines the decades-old policy of deterring attacks with a large arsenal.
The New York Times, quoting senior Pentagon officials, reported Dec. 19 that the strategic review is expected to shift the focus of strategic nuclear policy toward stopping nuclear terrorism.
That goal is said to be more in line with Mr. Obama's announced goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons. The president also said nuclear weapons will be needed as long as other states pose a threat of nuclear attack.
About the Author
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.
TWT Video Picks
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell's wife had 'crush' on CEO
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of politicizing business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world