U.S. seeking to cut arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons by one-third

by Tomomitsu Miyazaki, Senor Staff Writer

On June 19, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a speech in Berlin, Germany in which he proposed a new doctrine for the nation’s nuclear arms policy. From its current agreement with Russia, the New START Treaty, in which the two countries have pledged to reduce their nuclear arsenals to 1,550 warheads, Mr. Obama is seeking to cut the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third, to a benchmark of 1,000. Mr. Obama also proposes reducing short-range tactical nuclear weapons, deployed in Europe, which fall outside of the New START Treaty.

In his speech, the president stressed, “So long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe.” He vowed to advance the vision of realizing “a world without nuclear weapons,” which he had first declared in an address made in Prague, the Czech Republic in April 2009. At the same time, Mr. Obama has made clear that, as long as nuclear arms remain on the earth, he believes they should continue to be held, and modernized, to constitute a deterrent that will protect the United States and its allies.

The principles of this new doctrine include:

*The United States is poised to reduce its deployed strategic nuclear weapons from the 1,550 warheads agreed upon in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START Treaty) to 1,000.
*The United States will work to reduce tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Europe. It seeks to realize the goal of reducing strategic nuclear weapons and tactical nuclear weapons through negotiations with Russia.
* The United States will maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent to prevent other nations from attacking the United States and its allies.
*The United States will impose pressure on Iran and North Korea to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
*The United States will work to maintain and improve “strategic stability” with Russia and China.
*The United States will host a nuclear security summit in 2016.
*The United States will continue working to build support in the U.S. Congress to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).


New START Treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)
The New START Treaty is a nuclear disarmament pact signed in April 2010 between the United States and Russia which focuses on long-range strategic nuclear weapons. The agreement took effect in February 2011, succeeding the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1), the first treaty in history to restrict the number of deployed strategic nuclear arms. (START 1 expired at the end of 2009.) The New START Treaty stipulates that within a period of seven years the two nations will reduce the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 and the total number of launchers of delivery systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to 800, the lowest level in the history of nuclear disarmament efforts involving the United States and Russia. But the treaty does not cover strategic nuclear weapons that have not been deployed and short-range tactical nuclear weapons.

(Originally published on June 20, 2013)