L to R – Joseph Cirincione, Lawrence Korb and Robert McNamara
The Road to Nuclear Security
December 16, 2004
While there is broad consensus that the greatest threat facing America today is the possibility of a terrorist group acquiring nuclear weapons, there has been far too little attention paid to the risks of our own nuclear policy and posture. In the Road to Nuclear Security, Lawrence J. Korb makes an important contribution to this discussion by providing a comprehensive assessment of these dire risks.
|Joseph Cirincione, Senior Associate and Director of the Non-Proliferation Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “Most countries in the world do not share the U.S. perception that nuclear terrorism is a serious and growing danger. I think that’s changing somewhat. Colleagues who have recently come back from Russia report that after the Chechen terrorist attacks in Beslan there’s a new appreciation of the threat. The Chechen terrorists have done things that in some ways are more horrible than what al Qaeda has done to us. My number one terrorist risk right now is actually the Chechens. They’re closer to the materials. They clearly are intent on causing large casualties.”||Lawrence Korb Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress and Senior Advisor, Center for Defense Information, “Right now, the United States has 10,000 strategic nuclear weapons, each of which has 20 times the explosive power of the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima. And as we point out in the report, 140,000 people died instantly that day, and over the years the toll has gone up to about 250,000 people. We’re spending in the 2005 budget $6.8 billion on our strategic nuclear program. We still have 2,000 targets in Russia and recently, as I was working on this paper, I saw that the number of targets for our land-based missiles had increased from 5(00) to 800.”|
|Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense, 1961-1968, “What is insurmountable is the present risk. There is, I would say, 100 percent certainty that the indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will lead to their use. This was the unanimous statement of the members of the Canberra Commission. I’ve believed that for years. I think Bill Perry believes it. That is insurmountable unless we change our policies, and we’ve got to get that out in front of the public and then it needs to be debated in the Congress.”|