GROUND TRUTH: What They Are Saying About Nuclear Policy

Mar 5, 2019
Defense Drumbeat

Nuclear Modernization Is Affordable And Critical


 “It's not an enormous part of our budget, but it is a critical part of our budget.”

Ash Carter, President Obama’s Secretary of Defense, March 2016


“[I]t is Essential to Recapitalize the Nuclear Triad” “I stated when I was Secretary of Defense and continue to maintain that it is essential to recapitalize the nuclear Triad, because it is the bedrock of deter­rence. During the past 25 years, the United States has made no major new investments in its nuclear forces, yet other countries have conducted vigor­ous buildups… My views are reflected in the latest Nuclear Posture Review.”

Ash Carter, President Obama’s Secretary of Defense, 2018


“Nuclear Weapons Remain the Most Important Mission We Have; This is Absolutely Critical” “So, anybody who looks at the way that the international environment is moving, especially the way that Russia has been describing its nuclear deterrent posture, has to say:  Nuclear weapons remain the most important mission we have; this is absolutely critical.  We can perform deterrence with a much smaller force than we did in the Cold War…—the peak of the replacement will be nowhere near the peak of the replacement costs that occurred in the 1960s and the 1980s…  And I would just say, just look at the international environment.  This is not a time for us to say that nuclear weapons are useless.”

Bob Work, President Obama’s Deputy Secretary of Defense, Hearing Before HASC, June 2015


Our Adversaries Are Developing New Weapons “[Adversaries] are developing these weapons not as a science experiment, but as a direct threat to the United States of America… We as a nation have long desired a world with no or at least fewer nuclear weapons… the world however has not followed that path.”

General John Hyten, US Strategic Command, National Defense University, February 16, 2019


Russia’s Nuclear Capabilities Will Be 100% Modernized by 2021 “During his state-of-the-nation address on March 1, Putin boasted of technological breakthroughs in Russia's nuclear-weapons capabilities, which have rendered NATO's U.S.-led missile defense ‘useless.’ Four years earlier, in 2014, Putin announced that Russia's nuclear capabilities would be 100% modernized by 2021. Meanwhile, America's nuclear upgrades -- including a new bomber, submarine and land-based missile -- will not go into the field until 2027 at the earliest, and will not be completed before 2042.”

Peter Huessy, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, January 14, 2019


NATO Supports INF Withdrawal


“NATO Fully Supports the US Suspension” “Russia is in material breach of the #INFTreaty & must use next 6 months to return to full & verifiable compliance or bear sole responsibility for its demise. #NATO fully supports the US suspension & notification of withdrawal from the Treaty.”

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, February 1, 2019

Germany Supported Withdrawal “For us in Europe, the cancellation of INF is very bad news after years of violations by Russia, that’s the reality. It probably wasn’t possible to do otherwise and we supported that US move.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel February 2, 2019

The Administration Built Consensus “[The Administration] did a good job consulting with allies and, step by step, building consensus.”

Former NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, Testimony to HASC, February 26, 2019


New Low Yield Capabilities Enhance Deterrence


“Recommended by the Obama Administration’s Defense Science Board”  “The NPR decision on Trident low-yield capability was recommended by the Obama administration’s Defense Science Board in December 2016. It plugs a major hole in our current deterrent capability at virtually no cost.”

Dr. Mark Schneider, National Institute for Public Policy, March 2018

“We Looked at the World As It Is, Not the World We Wish It Would Be.”  "So the Nuclear Posture Review, we went through a threat-based approach, and because of that we looked at the world as it is, not the world we wish it would be. And we say, we need a triad, we need all those capabilities, and we need some supplemental capabilities. Because of the Russian doctrine to escalate, to win a conflict on the battlefield, we think we need some more responsive options on the low-yield nuclear weapon side.We suggested the development of low yield nuclear weapons on our ballistic missile submarines again. We said we need sea-launched cruise missiles again.”

General John Hyten, US Strategic Command, The Mitchell Institute Triad Conference, July 17, 2018

116th Congress