Nuke Concerns

By Christopher J. Castelli / May 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Pentagon's top military officer acknowledged today that Pakistan is expanding its nuclear weapons program, a point that caused Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) to voice great concern. During this morning's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Webb noted recent media reports about such an expansion.

The senator asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michal Mullen whether he had any evidence that Pakistan is "adding on to weapons systems and warheads."

"Yes," Mullen replied, without elaborating.

"That strikes me as something that we should be approaching with enormous concern," Webb continued.

Earlier this year the Obama administration proposed a hefty package of new aid to Pakistan's government; Congress must decide whether to approve it.

"We're spending a lot of time talking about the potential that Iran might have nuclear weapon capability and this ((Pakistani government)) is a regime that is far less stable and it should be a part of our debate," said Webb.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged Pakistan has had a lot of freedom to spend billions of dollars in previous U.S. aid on things such as its military.

“That's one of the concerns that I have,” said Webb. “And we have begun focusing on Pakistan simply as the way that it would address the Afghani situation, when, as we all know, if you examine this from the Pakistani point of view, India is their greatest threat.”