• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Russia’s Dreams Coming True in Administration’s Nuclear Policies

    President Obama is working hard to make a Russian dream of a superior nuclear weapons arsenal come true, writes Heritage’s James Carafano in his most recent op-ed. “The White House has made clear that its signature tool for combating nuclear proliferation is leading by example, and that example is disarmament,” he writes. The Administration, however, runs a risk of ending its path to disarmament in nuclear fallout.

    America’s arsenal of strong and reliable nuclear weapons has prevented countries around the world from developing or significantly expanding their own nuclear capabilities. It has been a more successful tool for nonproliferation than the Administration’s New Strategic Arms Control Treaty with the Russian Federation. Indeed, this treaty reduces the U.S. strategic arsenal while allowing Russia to build up and deploy more multiple independent reentry vehicles on fewer delivery systems—the most destabilizing option for the deployment of nuclear weapons. The treaty also fails to address nuclear warhead production disparity between the two countries. While Russia can produce as many as 600 nuclear pits per year, the United States can produce only about 60.

    North Korea, China, Russia, India, and Pakistan keep expanding and modernizing their nuclear weapons arsenals. Iran is ever closer to obtaining nuclear weapons capability, while the United States continues to deemphasize the role of nuclear weapons in its strategic posture. Under current policy, replacement systems will not enter the U.S. arsenal until 2030. By then, the U.S. will have 60-year-old intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), 40-year-old submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and 35- to 70-year-old bombers. There is currently no plan to develop a new nuclear warhead. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that, under sequestration, the U.S. would be forced to abandon ICBMs and delay other modernization plans.

    The Pentagon’s new strategic guidance says, “It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory, as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy.” The document does not offer any analysis explaining which U.S. deterrence goals changed to justify this shift. It does not appear to take into account shifts in other countries’ nuclear doctrines. As Carafano concludes, “The president is commander in chief. He can press for a smaller, less-capable military if he thinks that best. But he certainly can’t make the case with a straight face that he is giving us more defense. His policy is giving us far less.”

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×