Will the Nuclear Posture Review echo President Obama's goal of eliminating the world's nuclear weapons? A pair of Pentagon leaders offered no clear answer yesterday, but it seems the department is more focused on deterrence.
“In the president's Prague speech, he referenced ((eliminating nuclear weapons)) as an ultimate goal,” a senior defense official recalled at a background briefing. “He also said that until that time, as long as adversaries possess nuclear weapons, we will maintain a robust and credible nuclear deterrent.”
The NPR is “being taken in the context that he lays out in that speech, which is a desire to really strengthen non-proliferation progress, if you will; explore the possibility of further reductions in our own arsenal, while also ensuring that we take the steps necessary, both in terms of the infrastructure and the forces, to ensure that we have a safe and secure and reliable deterrent,” the official told Pentagon reporters.
This three-pronged approach is “really the conceptual frame, the starting point for the NPR,” the official added. Asked whether the NPR would be akin to a "place holder” on the way to “eventual global zero,” the official replied, “Well, I think that we are certainly looking to, in the post-START negotiations, go towards further reductions.”
A senior military official, however, questioned whether the NPR would aim to do away with nuclear weapons.
“But I don't know that I would speculate to say that that would be a goal. Right?” the senior military official said, noting the NPR is about deterrence, which involves more than just nuclear weapons. “So there are other aspects of what the department does that need to be brought to bear to deter, you know, a potential adversary from using nuclear capability."
-- Chris Castelli