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Adm. Cecil E.D. Haney, currently head of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said during his Senate nomination hearing Tuesday that he would not support further cuts in the U.S. strategic arsenal unless they are carried out jointly with Russia.
The comments followed President Obama’s recent speech in Berlin promising a further one-third cut in deployed U.S. nuclear warheads. During the speech, the president made scant mention of the cuts as part of another arms agreement with Russia.
“My advice would be that we negotiate a bilateral agreement that also has verifiable components to it, so that we can ensure that the said reduction would work,” Adm. Haney said in response to questions from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Ms. Ayotte said “it wasn’t clear” from the president’s Berlin speech whether his proposal to cut deployed warheads to about 1,000 weapons would be made unilaterally or negotiated in tandem with the Russians.
“So, just to be clear, you would oppose a unilateral reduction?” Ms. Ayotte asked.
“Senator, that is correct,” the four-star admiral said.
However, full funding for nuclear modernization has not been carried out, members of Congress said.
Mr. Obama has said he hopes to eliminate all nuclear weapons, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was an outspoken advocate of total nuclear disarmament as a senior member of the anti-nuclear weapons group Global Zero.
Adm. Haney said nuclear modernization is “even more critical” for the aging U.S. arsenal as New START reductions are carried out. The treaty calls for cutting deployed strategic warheads to 1,550.
“It is so important that we have a secure and a safe and effective nuclear deterrent, and that the industrial base supports that,” Adm. Haney said.
Maintaining funds for nuclear modernization will be difficult as defense sequestration spending cuts are imposed, he added.
WARNING ON WOMEN IN COMBAT
Retired Army officer Robert L. Maginnis, a veteran of the culture wars as an analyst for the Family Research Council, has written a book on the Obama’s administration’s latest military social experiment: lifting the ban on women in ground combat.
The book, “Deadly Consequences: How Cowards Are Pushing Women Into Combat,” provides a devastating, point-by-point rebuttal to President Obama’s generals who argue that women are needed in the infantry, in tanks and with special operations forces.
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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.
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