U.S. working on "next step" in nuclear strategy

08:54, April 08, 2010      

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A Senior U.S. defense official said Wednesday the government has started devising future arms control objectives, requirements in capability and infrastructure under the just released Nuclear Posture Review.

James Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who co-wrote the final draft of the Nuclear Posture Review, told a Washington briefing that President Barack Obama has directed various departments to "conduct analysis to consider future arms control objectives" specifically after the ratification and entry into force of a new arms control treaty to be signed with Russia on Thursday.

The treaty, a successor to the expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, reduces deployed U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons by a third, to 1,550 each. It is scheduled to be signed by Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev Thursday in Czech capital Prague. It needs to be ratified by both the U.S. and Russian legislatures to enter into force.

Miller said the analysis will include an assessment of deterrence requirements and a number of other factors. The Department of Defense is looking at revisions to guidance for its planning and force structure.

"That's about the capabilities that we need in the future," he said.

In the Nuclear Posture Review released Tuesday, the United States said it is to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons in its national security strategy, and also promises not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons on states that are party to and in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"As we move forward from this Nuclear Posture Review, we'll be conducting a broad interagency effort to look at next steps," Miller said.

The administration will present a plan to Congress that will " explain what our intended force structure is under new START" and what the warhead sustainment program is led by National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy.

Miller said the administration expect to have conversations with allies and partners, and also on strategic stability with Russia and China, and views from both of those sets of conversations are considered to be "extremely important in setting a path for the way forward."



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