Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) introduced the legislation responsible for these provisions on the
grounds that “[w]e need to act now, to codify the promised ‘To
List’ for modernizing our nuclear forces.”
This is not the case. They are unnecessary, and run counter to the interests of American nationalsecurity.The global strategic environment is changing rapidly, and the American military needs the abilityto shift its resources to meet emerging threats. If the military decides it needs more troops, betterweapons, different types of infrastructure and fewer nuclear bomb within our New START treatyobligations, why should Congress impose arbitrary limitations on its ability to make thesechoices?The House bill locks in the status quo at a time when the status quo is evaporating. TheAmerican military needs the flexibility to determine which nuclear systems it wants or does notwant. The controversial portions of the NDAA reduce that flexibility, and hamstring Americanmilitary planners.The Resolution of Advice and Consent to Ratification for the New START treaty expresses a
“commitment to providing the resources” to maintain and modernize the Ame
rican nuclearweapons complex. The country is therefore already obligated to make the necessary investmentsin our nuclear arsenal, and there is bipartisan support for doing so.The United States needs to move quickly to meet the threats of the modern age. We mustmodernize our nuclear deterrent, maintain the nuclear weapons complex, and restructure andappropriately size our nuclear forces all at once. The country does not need political roadblocksto impede these critical tasks.Because of the troubling f
laws with the bill passed in the House, the president’s senior advisors
have recommended vetoing the final bill if they are included.The United States possesses a large and capable nuclear deterrent, and the New START treaty isconsistent with the maintenance of that deterrent. The Senate did its job admirably in giving itsadvice and consent for the ratification of the treaty, and attempts to revisit the treaty for partisangain are dangerous and unnecessary.American policymakers need flexibility in structuring U.S. nuclear forces and responding toemerging threats around the world. The Senate should strip unnecessary limitations on ourstrategic flexibility from its version of the bill.
Lt. Gen. John Castellaw is a member of the Consensus for American Security. During his 36- year career he held several commands, including Chief of Staff of U.S. Central Command. Hislast assignments on active duty were in the Pentagon where he oversaw Marine Aviation and the Marine Corps budget creation and execution.