“I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. And I will institute an independent “Defense Priorities Board” to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.
I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals”
Senator Barack Obama Running For President
But the president said in an interview that he was carving out an exception for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated or renounced the main treaty to halt nuclear proliferation.
Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.
Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China.
It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.
Those threats, Mr. Obama argued, could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and new conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure,” he said in the interview in the Oval Office.
White House officials said the new strategy would include the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reached a level that made the United States vulnerable to a devastating strike.
Mr. Obama’s new strategy is bound to be controversial, both among conservatives who have warned against diluting the United States’ most potent deterrent and among liberals who were hoping for a blanket statement that the country would never be the first to use nuclear weapons…
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Bush administration is issuing a reminder of its policy that warns any nation using weapons of mass destruction against the United States or its allies that it will face massive retaliation, perhaps with nuclear weapons.
That policy is not new, but senior administration officials say they are laying it out for the first time formally in a strategy document on combating weapons of mass destruction.
It’s a stern warning at a time when the prospect of war with Iraq has prompted fears that Saddam Hussein will unleash chemical or biological weapons on the United States or its allies.
“The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force — including through resort to all of our options — to the use of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies,” the statement reads, in part.
“In addition to our conventional and nuclear response and defense capabilities, our overall deterrent posture against WMD threats is reinforced by effective intelligence, surveillance, and interdiction, and domestic law enforcement capabilities,” the statement says.
A senior administration official says it is releasing this strategy statement Wednesday on Capitol Hill as part of a post-September 11 effort to deal with threats from rogue nations and terrorists alike.
“It’s the first time you’re seeing a complex strategy to deal with a complex threat,” said a senior administration official.
“What we are talking about now is a different kind of deterrence, we’re not deterring a single enemy,” said the official.
The six-page document, dubbed “National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction,” is a joint report from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge.
Although the report does not single out Iraq or any other country, it says some states that support terrorism already possess weapons of mass destruction.
“For them, these are not weapons of last resort, but militarily useful weapons of choice intended to overcome our nation’s advantages in conventional forces and to deter us from responding to aggression against our friends and allies in regions of vital interest.”
The strategy is comprised of three “pillars”: counterproliferation, which includes deterrence with the threat of nuclear weapons; nonproliferation, which encourages arms control and reduction; and consequence management, which seeks to prepare the United States in the event of an attack using weapons of mass destruction.
The last such statement of U.S. policy was issued in 1993 but did not include an emphasis on non-proliferation or preparedness at home.
The document calls for improved intelligence collection and analysis, extensive research and development to create protection against weapons of mass destruction, and targeted strategies for each regime posing a threat.
A senior administration official says a few months ago, key government agencies were assigned practical tasks to carry out some of the policies. But the official would not elaborate on the classified directives, except to say they were “substantial.”
Officials say President Bush will ask for money to fund the general recommendations in his 2004 budget request.
The Nuclear Posture Review will announce reductions in the number of warheads and further limit their use. It reportedly will not rule out their deployment for offensive purposes.
LA Times – By Paul Richter, April 5, 2010
The Obama administration is releasing a major statement on nuclear weapons policy that will herald a further shrinking of the U.S. arsenal, even as it rejects some sweeping steps advocated by arms control advocates.
The statement, to be released Tuesday, will announce that the arsenal will shrink by thousands of warheads, and it will further restrict when the weapons may be used, U.S. officials say. But the administration has rejected proposals to declare that the “sole purpose” of nuclear arms is deterrence, nor will it promise that the United States won’t be the first to use nuclear weapons in a war, say people who have been close to the discussions.
The document, called the Nuclear Posture Review, is an important part of President Obama’s program to reduce nuclear arms, which moves into a higher gear in the next few days. Obama will sign a U.S.-Russian arms treaty in Prague, the Czech capital, on Thursday and will host a nuclear security summit in Washington next week.
His review is expected to omit some of the more hawkish statements made in 2001 in President George W. Bush’s review.
The Bush document said the United States might in some circumstances use nuclear weapons against countries that didn’t have them. It said the United States should consider preemptive strikes against countries developing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
Monday night, the White House released an outline of the review, saying it “focuses on preventing nuclear terrorism and proliferation and reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, while sustaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.”
In his effort to persuade other nations to forswear nuclear arms, Obama must show that his administration is also moving away from them. Obama has said he will “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.”
Arms control advocates who have been following the discussion say they view the nuclear manifesto as a positive step but not as bold as they might have wished.
Tom Collina, research director of the Arms Control Assn., said other countries would be encouraged to hear that the administration had decided for now not to develop a new nuclear warhead. He said, however, that he thought some nations would be distressed that the U.S. was unwilling to declare that nuclear arms were solely meant to deter nuclear attacks.
The document will point to the new U.S.-Russian arms treaty to show progress in reducing the United States’ arsenal. The administration says the treaty will scale back the number of deployed long-range warheads by 30%, though some analysts believe the cuts may actually be much smaller.
The review is widely expected to announce additional reductions from the estimated 2,000 nuclear weapons held in reserve.
The document is expected to announce that the Pentagon will retire the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, a ship- and submarine-launched cruise missile that has been in storage. But it is expected to leave unresolved the issue of whether to retire the estimated 200 tactical, or battlefield, nuclear weapons that are based in Europe.
The Nuclear Posture Review to be released by the Obama administration on Tuesday will renounce the development of new nuclear warheads and the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that adhere to treaty commitments. The following are excerpts from the new strategy:
On the Use of Nuclear Weapons:
“The United States will continue to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks. To that end, the United States is now prepared to strengthen its long-standing ‘negative security assurance’ by declaring that the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations. This revised assurance is intended to underscore the security benefits of adhering to and fully complying with the NPT and persuade non-nuclear weapons states party to the Treaty to work with the United States and other interested parties to adopt effective measures to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
“In making this strengthened assurance, the United States affirms that any state eligible for the assurance that uses chemical or biological weapons against the United States or its allies and partners would face the prospect of a devastating conventional military response – and that any individuals responsible for the attack, whether national leaders or military commanders, would be held fully accountable.
“Given the catastrophic potential of biological weapons and the rapid pace of bio-technology development, the United States reserves the right to make any adjustment in the assurance that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation of the biological weapons threat and US capacities to counter that threat.”
On the Development of New Nuclear Weapons:
“The United States will not develop new nuclear warheads. Life Extension Programs will use only nuclear components based on previously tested designs, and will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities.”
Undermines America’s Deterrence Strategy
- START: After more than a year of negotiations on a follow-on to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev reached an agreement. While many arms control advocates are jubilant about a 30% reduction in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, larger questions linger.
- No Priority on Defense: President Obama has slashed the defense budget and pulled back on building a comprehensive missile defense system. Now he wants to destroy weapons in the name of diplomacy when Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear capabilities. The Administration’s claim that this treaty will induce Iran to discontinue developing nuclear weapons is, at best, misguided. Tehran wants these weapons to intimidate us and its neighbors.
- Times Are Different: When President Reagan originally proposed the predecessor treaty, the world was dominated by only two superpowers. But the world today is much different, with many nations having nuclear capabilities.
Opens Way for Russian Vetoes of U.S. Missile Defense
- Dangerously Links Offensive Weapons with Missile Defense: When President Obama abandoned missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic during early START negotiations, he unwisely played into Russia’s strategy to link these weapons.
- Misperceptions: While the Administration insists the text of the treaty imposes no constraints on testing, development, or deployment of current or planned U.S. missile defense programs, Russia has stated that there is indeed a “legally binding linkage between strategic offensive and strategic defensive weapons.”
Questions About Modernization, Verification, and Transparency
- Verification: Russia has a history of violating arms control agreements, and verifying the number of deployed warheads in its arsenal is difficult. The treaty will allow for warhead estimates based on the number of launchers, but it is unclear whether it will provide a method to ensure Russia doesn’t put more than the estimate on each launcher.
- Abandoned: When the START treaty expired in December, the U.S. had to abandon a monitoring station for Russian weapons in Votkinsk. The U.S. is now unable to monitor Russia’s production of the highly destabilizing RS-24 mobile multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Open sources indicate that this missile will be the mainstay of Russian strategic forces by 2016.
- Modernization: Some arms control advocates insist that the U.S. has a robust nuclear modernization program, which is simply inaccurate. America’s nuclear infrastructure is rapidly aging, is in deep atrophy, and is losing its reliability and effectiveness. The U.S. is not producing or testing nuclear weapons, and its aging ICBM force is shrinking.
- Others Are Modernizing: Russia and China are engaged in major modernization efforts. On December 16, 2009, 41 U.S. Senators voiced concern and sent the President a letter saying they will oppose the new treaty if it does not include specific plans for nuclear modernization as stipulated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.
The Road Ahead
- U.S. Conventional Forces Adversely Affected: The treaty also applies to bombers and launchers that could be used for conventional purposes, which will put more reliance on nuclear weapons.
- Bad Policy Should Be Rejected: Signing arms control treaties to score public relations points in pursuit of a “getting to zero” nuclear pipe dream is bad policy. The Senate should not be rushed into ratifying a treaty that would undermine national security.
© 2010, The Heritage Foundation
Yahoo News (AP): Russia reserves opt-out of arms treaty with US
American Thinker: Obama’s national security giveaway
Pajamas Media (Roger Kimball): Obama, Kipling, and the Bomb
Wash Times: EDITORIAL: Obama’s poor posture
Military-Technologies: Russia Compares Its Military Strength With Western Airspace Violations
Pajamas Media (Roger Simon): BREAKING: Obama Administration Denies Visas to Israeli Nuclear Scientists
Savage Nation: OBAMA THE DESTROYER
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