Dirk Jameson: A new approach to nuclearweapons
April 27, 2012
By DIRK JAMESON
WASHINGTONThe Obama administration is preparing to review the size of America's nuclear force, anddevelop a plan for its future.The Defense Department will present the president with three options for the size of our arsenal:high, medium and low. The current stock of 1,550 deployed weapons mandated by the recentlyratified New START Treaty is the highest option.It's time for the U.S. to scale down its stock of nuclear weapons. A new and effective strategy fordeterring a nuclear attack can be achieved with a substantial cut in our nuclear force.Our present nuclear-war-fighting strategy is outdated and geared against an enemy that hasn'texisted for more than 20 years -- the Soviet Union.Today, the greatest threats to our security are weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, biologicalor chemical -- in the hands of terrorist organizations or rogue states.These threats are not deterred by America's massive arsenal of 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons,or the thousands more we have in reserve. Indeed, these weapon systems are of limited practicaluse and pose tremendous costs that we can ill afford.Some in Washington continue to hold on to the idea that America needs a massive nuclear force.But such thinking is outdated and no longer addresses today's strategic reality. Times havemoved on, and so should we. The U.S. can still maintain a strong, effective nuclear deterrentwith a dramatic reduction in deployed and non-deployed weapons.Combined, America and Russia control 90 percent of nuclear weapons. But Russia is not ourenemy today. We must work together to reduce the nuclear threat to both our nations and to theworld.So how do we arrive at an appropriate level for our nuclear deterrent?