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As a new presidential term and a new Congress begin, the Center for American Progress has launched the Progressive Priorities Project to provide policymakers and the public with a positive vision for progressive policymaking supported by a series of new and bold policy ideas in priority areas identified by American Progress. Agenda for Security: Controlling the Nuclear Threat is the eigth of more than a dozen papers in the series that American Progress will issue over the course of the coming weeks. In addition to providing broad policy recommendations, each of the papers in the series proposes specific steps that policymakers can take to achieve the broader policy goals. All of the papers in the series will be compiled and published as a book early this year.
So it’s correct to say . . . that both of you agree, if you’re reelected, Mr. President, and if you are elected, [Senator Kerry], the single most serious threat . . . is nuclear proliferation?
—Question posed by Jim Lehrer to President Bush and Senator Kerry during the first Presidential debate
During his second term, George W. Bush will face unprecedented nuclear challenges. The greatest threat facing Americans is a terrorist or rogue regime armed with a nuclear weapon. No weapon combines such singularly massive destructive force with the potential to destabilize entire regions and undermine the United States’ unmatched strength. Today, the United States faces undeterrable potential nuclear adversaries in the form of al Qaeda and other terrorists with a global reach just as the world is witnessing a resurgence of nuclear proliferation in East Asia and the Middle East.
To overcome these challenges, President Bush must make nuclear nonproliferation his chief national security priority, devoting to it all the authority of his office. In this chapter, the Center for American Progress identifies an invigorated strategy for preventing the spread of these deadliest of weapons must: strengthen and accelerate efforts to secure nuclear weapons, expertise, and weapons-grade nuclear materials; maximize the prospects for peaceful, sustainable solutions to the North Korean and Iranian nuclear crises; align the U.S. nuclear posture with our broader nonproliferation goals, including ending research and development of new nuclear weapons; and reposition the United States to exercise essential leadership in updating the nuclear nonproliferation regime to deal with 21st century threats.
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.