The Road to Nuclear Security

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Throughout the Nuclear Age there has been, and continues to be, a fundamental lack of understanding of what U.S. and NATO nuclear policy entails and how it will be implemented. Decision makers at the highest levels in the Pentagon and other relevant U.S. government departments and agencies have confirmed that they have never seen a piece of paper outlining a plan for initiating the use of nuclear weapon that benefits the initiator, and there is no evidence that any U.S. president since World War II was willing to order the use of nuclear weapons—even at the height of the Cold War. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress at present is being called on to authorize and appropriate spending on nuclear weapons even as its members are denied access to fundamental information about the nation’s nuclear strategy as set forth in the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). As Sen. Robert Kerrey (D-NE) observed in a letter to Secretary of Defense William Cohen in October 2000, if the Congress is deprived of such information, “which is the only way of knowing if the instructions of the Presidential Directive are being followed… we are not given the information we need to decide if our current course of action is the correct one.”

We are at a critical moment in human history with respect to both offensive and defensive nuclear forces. There is a willingness to continue the offensive strategies of the Cold War and add to them “mini-nukes” and “bunker buster” nuclear weapons and defensive deployments. These actions increase unacceptable risks to all nations across the globe and threaten nonproliferation efforts by undermining our longstanding and unequivocal treaty commitment to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.

This report will review the current U.S. nuclear posture, analyze crucial problem areas, and propose concrete solutions to them.

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Features from "The Road to Nuclear Security" event:
Audio: The Road to Nuclear Security
Video: Lawrence Korb | Joseph Cirincione | Robert McNamara | Q&A

More resources on Nuclear Security

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Lawrence J. Korb

Senior Fellow

Pete Ogden

Senior Fellow