For Immediate Release: February 2, 2018
Media Contact: Tony Fleming, director for communications, (202) 463-8270 ext. 110; Daryl Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 104.
(Washington, D.C.)—Today, the Trump administration will formally release its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). According to a leaked draft of the 64-page document, the administration is seeking to expand the number of scenarios under which the United States might consider the use nuclear weapons—including in response to a major cyberattack—and it proposes the development of new nuclear weapons and capabilities to fill alleged "deterrence gaps."
The draft document also calls for replacing and upgrading all three legs of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which is estimated to cost more than $1.25 trillion over the next 30 years and walks back U.S. treaty commitments to pursue measures to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons and to halt nuclear weapons testing.
The new strategy veers sharply from previous U.S. efforts to narrow the role and reduce the number of nuclear weapons, according to top experts who spoke at Jan. 23 press briefing convened by the nonpartisan Arms Control Association.
The new NPR breaks with past U.S. policy and "aligns with President Trump’s more aggressive and impulsive nuclear notions,” argues Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction with the Arms Control Association.
"Unfortunately, this NPR does not argue for maintaining 'strategic stability' nor does it explain whether, how and why the call for new U.S. nuclear capabilities will reduce the threat of nuclear conflict," concluded Thomas Countryman, former acting Undersecretary of state for arms control, and the chairman of the Arms Control Association board of directors.
The transcript and audio of the press briefing are available on the Arms Control Association's website.
"[T]his Nuclear Posture Review makes no mention of a U.S. vision of a world without nuclear weapons, as the U.S. has previously stated for decades,” noted Joan Rohlfing, president of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
"The overall takeaway from this NPR is that we need more weapons and more roles for our nuclear weapons in our national security… [which] really undermines our nonproliferation objectives and it makes us less safe over time," she warned.
The following experts are available for comment:
- Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association. See his column: “Trump’s More Dangerous Nuclear Strategy”
- Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, Arms Control Association
- Thomas Countryman, former Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Chair of the Board of Directors, Arms Control Association
- Bonnie Jenkins, former Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, Bureau of Intl. Security and Nonproliferation, Department of State
- Laura Kennedy, former and former U.S. Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament
- Zia Mian, physicist and Co-Director, Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; co-chair of the International Panel on Fissile Materials.
- Greg Thielmann, former Senior Professional Staffer, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; former Foreign Service Officer; former Senior Fellow at the Arms Control Association
- Andrew Weber, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Belfer Center, Harvard University; former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs. See his op-ed: “Trump Wants New Nukes."
To schedule an interview or appearance by any of the experts, please contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, at [email protected] or (202) 463-8270 ext. 110.