The Obama Administration today published its Nuclear Posture Review, sold as an indication of the reduced but continuing US reliance on nuclear forces for global deterrence and assurance. Paul Ingram, BASIC's Executive Director described the document as "an unconvincing balancing act."
"The Review is a step in the right direction to reducing the role of nuclear weapons in US security, but stops far short of transformational policy. It was not going to be enough to reaffirm the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. What flesh was put on the bones, such as strengthened security guarantees to non-nuclear weapon states, commitments not to test or produce new nuclear weapons, and reduced numbers of warheads in reserve was weakened by the attachment to nuclear deterrence. There's no real indication of the deep shifts in thinking necessary to begin giving up the nuclear fix."
Concerning the future of the estimated 200 US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, which are Cold War relics with no military purpose, Paul Ingram said that the Nuclear Posture Review was "disappointing." "It is difficult to see from the text what incentive NATO has to pursue alliance-wide consultations to seek their removal, although the administration does leave the door open slightly by saying that all options are open," he said.
He also noted that the United States intends to pursue negotiations on these weapons in bilateral talks with Russia — but only after ratification of the New START treaty which is unlikely to happen before the end of the year. "So it is to be hoped that NATO shows the leadership which the Obama administration apparently lacked for its own nuclear review," he said.
The US Nuclear Posture Review is available online: http://www.defense.gov/npr/docs/2010%20Nuclear%20 Posture%20Review%20Report.pdf
Paul Ingram, Executive Director
+44 (0)7908 708175
pingram (at) basicint.org
Anne Penketh, Program Director
apenketh (at) basicint.org