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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Transcript

Presenter: PDUSD for Policy Jim Miller; JCS Vice Chairman Marine Corp General James Cartwright; Administrator National Nuclear Security Administration Thomas D'Agostino; UnderSecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher April 06, 2010

Special Briefing on New Nuclear Posture Review from the Pentagon

STAFF: As our principals indicated and as advertised to you, we have a number of policy and subject-matter experts that are here to address some of your questions in greater detail.

The format for this would be that we start off with a brief presentation by Jim Miller, who is the principal deputy undersecretary for Policy here in the Defense Department. And he will share that briefing with General Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And then we'll invite their colleagues to address any questions that you might have from the other departments. So with that, Jim, the floor is yours.

MR. MILLER: Could we pull up the charts, please. We'll go through these charts relatively quickly. I know people want to get to the questions and hear the answers. I'll go ahead and start as it's coming up.

This is the third comprehensive review of nuclear posture conducted by an administration, and as Secretary Clinton noted, this is the first one to have entirely unclassified product -- previous reviews in 1994 and 2001.

You've heard about the collaboration that went on between the departments -- in addition to State and Energy, extensive involvement of the intelligence community and of all the other members of the National Security Council as well.

This review did build on the Quadrennial Defense Review and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review. When General Cartwright talks about regional security architectures and our approach to regional deterrence, you'll see the closest link is to both of those.

And close consultation throughout with Congress and allies -- something over 80 meetings that took place from beginning to end of the Nuclear Posture Review [NPR].

Next chart, please.

Started with an assessment of the strategic security environment and noted that it was really substantially changed from the Cold War and from prior years. From the outset, this review focused extensively on the challenges of nuclear proliferation and the possibility of nuclear terrorism. And we do see transnational terrorist groups continuing to try to seek weapons of mass destruction, including trying to seek nuclear weapons or nuclear materials. And as was referred to before with respect to Iran and North Korea, in particular, we see states pursuing nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community.

Understood also the requirement to continue to reinforce and enhance regional security architectures, to strengthen deterrence of regional aggression. This includes not just the nuclear umbrella that the NPR focused on principally, but also considering how to strengthen our missile defenses, conventional capabilities and combatting weapons of mass destruction capabilities as well. The purpose is both to effectively deter and to reassure our allies of our commitment.

And third, understanding that with the U.S. and Russia continuing to have 90 percent-plus of the nuclear weapons in the world, that reinforcing strategic stability with Russia was essential, and that with China we also need to begin discussions on strategic stability and think about -- and think about the future. New START is a key next step in this effort, and General Cartwright will talk about more.

Next chart, please.

I'll just flash this chart briefly -- it goes through the list of five different areas of the NPR, the policy framework that we used -- and will go and then say a few words about each of them very quickly.

Next chart, please.

The first priority and the first topic to address today is preventing nuclear terrorism and nuclear -- and nuclear proliferation. This NPR lays out additional steps that we'll take to lead international efforts to bolster the regime, to strengthen IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards, and as we look forward to enforcing compliance, the NPT[Non-Proliferation Treaty] review conference in May is a critical next step in this process.

As we conducted the review, we also looked to what kind of budgetary steps were appropriate and necessary, and we've just shown one of the examples on the chart, and that is an increase in nonproliferation programs from DOE. Other agencies have also increased their funding in this area as well.

The president had committed to a global lockdown, secure all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years, and this review confirmed that and also looked at how to implement that. We will see further progress on that at the nuclear security summit next week.

Part of the review -- and this is an area where it overlapped with the Quadrennial Defense Review -- part of the review looked at what kinds of investments are needed to have better capabilities to detect and, if necessary, to interdict smuggled nuclear materials. And we have increased investments in those areas as well. And as we reported during the rollout of the QDR, we'll also be standing up a standing joint task force for WMD [weapons of mass destruction] elimination in the Department of Defense.

Reaffirming U.S. commitment to fulfill NPT obligations, including the obligation for disarmament, was a fundamental principle. And this review started with and looked at how to implement the president's goal of a world free of nuclear weapons in the long term.

Some of the steps that we intend to take are listed there, including the treaty negotiations but also a comprehensive program on verification, including contributions from Department of Energy, Department of State and DOD as well. And the secretary spoke about renewing the U.S. commitment to hold accountable, as you see, as you see in the chart there.

Next chart, please. And this is -- this is one where I want to -- I want to take the bulk of my time before I turn it over to General Cartwright, and that's to talk about U.S. declaratory policy.

You can think about two different categories of states. The first is non-nuclear weapon states that are compliant with their nonproliferation obligations. This comprises the vast majority of countries in the world.

And what we look to do in the declaratory policy here is to strengthen the U.S. negative security assurance that's associated with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and it is as stated -- I won't -- I won't repeat it, but we have it quoted, if you -- if you have a look at it, and then remind you that these states -- if any of these states that are compliant with the NPT use chemical or biological weapons, we state very clearly that they face the prospect of a devastating conventional military response if they use CBW [chemical and biological warfare] against the United States or our partners or allies.

And as the secretary of Defense noted, we explicitly reserve the right to adjust this assurance in the future if the biological weapons threat grows significantly and if our capability to cope with it doesn't grow correspondingly.

This combination of policies is intended to both give incentives to states to join and adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but also to take steps to reduce the threat and not increase the threat associated with biological weapons.

For nuclear weapon states and states that are not compliant with their nonproliferation obligations, a different rule set. We still say that the U.S. would not use nuclear weapons -- I'm sorry -- would use nuclear weapons only in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or our allies and partners, and we specify that for these states, there does remain a narrow range of contingencies in which U.S. nuclear weapons may play a role in deterring conventional or CBW attack.

And then, as was discussed by the secretary of Defense and secretary of State, as long as nuclear weapons exist, we see the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear weapons to be to deter nuclear attack on ourselves or our forces or allies and partners.

We will look to continue to strengthen conventional capabilities, including missile defense, including counter-WMD capabilities, in order to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks, with the objective of making sole purpose of nuclear -- of U.S. nuclear weapons being to deter nuclear attack on the United States or our allies and partners.

And with that, I'd like to turn it over to General Cartwright.

GEN. CARTWRIGHT: Slide. As I understand the rules, I'm going to give you a couple more slides here, try not to requote things that have already been said, and then you'll ask all questions of anybody else. (Laughter.) Okay?

So on -- this page reflects START. START -- we expect the president to on -- in the next two days sign, with President Medvedev, the START treaty. And when you look at START and look at the numbers that are associated with the reductions that will occur in START, put together, they represent 65 percent reduction of operationally deployed strategic nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War. It's a 75 percent reduction of deployed and non-deployed -- combination of the two -- nuclear weapons, and an 80 percent reduction in the operationally deployed strategic launch vehicles.

So pretty substantial reductions since the end of the Cold War are continued here in the current START.

Fifteen hundred and fifty is the floor for deployed strategic nuclear warheads, 700 for the strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. Now, that's a combination of launchers and vehicles. So for instance, a submarine which has multiple tubes counts as multiple vehicles -- 24. A bomber counts as one. An ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] with one warhead counts as one, just to give a sense of this.

We have seven years to get to these targets that are deployed up here. The 800 number for deployed -- or for strategic nuclear delivery vehicles is an additional hundred that are nondeployed. So for instance, a submarine that is in refueling or a submarine that has come back, had the missiles removed, and has gone through maintenance does not count actively. That allows you to have the spares.

It also allows you to make transitions. The Russians are in a period of modernization, so -- and we will enter a period of modernization during this 10 years. So as -- say a new bomber comes on and a new bomber goes out. Having both of them, you have a period of time that allows you to get the old bombers out of the fleet and bring the new ones in without a period of vulnerabilities, so to speak. So it was -- it was in that construct that we added this additional number of 800.

We will retain, throughout the life of the treaty, the nuclear triad. So that's the bombers, the submarines and the ICBMs. We will, in fact, reduce the number of warheads associated with our ICBMs to a single warhead each over the life of the treaty. There are no constraints in this treaty associated with our missile defenses or our prompt global strike capabilities, read conventional.

We do make substantial new investments and study efforts associated with command and control and decision times.

If you have followed this activity over the years, one of the issues has been a concern about hair-trigger alert statuses, and the secretary kind of walked through what we've done with the bombers. We've done about as much as we can do with the physical capabilities and architectures of the existing weapons and platforms.

So as we go into modernization, what we're studying is what can we do in that area to ensure that, first, we have the maximum amount of decision time for national leaders before they would enter any decision to use a nuclear weapon. That can happen in better sensors, better command-and-control nets, and also in the architecture of the weapons themselves, how we would keep them safe and how we would, in fact, architect them so that they would be safe. Today the secretary described one of the activities was what's called open-ocean targeting.

And so what else can we do? That study begins -- actually, for the command and control, began about three years ago for the architecture of the next-generation weapons for us. Over the life of the 10 years, we will be looking at -- at what we can do. The studies will start in FY '11 to look at the actual vehicles themselves and what might be done.

We also, in this one, talk significantly about high-level dialogues and establishing them with the Russians and the Chinese. And this is an effort to get more transparency, more confidence, understand the intent of each other, understand where modernization programs are going to reduce the potential for instability or misinterpretation. And we'll endeavor in the case both of the Russians and the Chinese to have these high-level dialogues.

Next slide, please.

Strengthening regional deterrence. We've done an awful lot of work here. A lot of the work is in its early stages. The ballistic missile defense review talked about the phased adaptive approach.

But it is the missile-defense capabilities at the theater level, to allow us to have that be an element of our deterrence; in addition to that, our general-purpose forces which are -- prejudiced, but second to none.

That capability -- improving it, maintaining it, having a posture that's consistent with the threat out there, to deter but not to overwhelm in its presence -- working those and tailoring those for the regions around the world -- these are critical activities that we must be able to do.

We will in fact continue to have a capability on the tactical side. Whether that's applied with a bomber or with a next-generation aircraft would be the F-35 or our current dual-capable aircraft.

But having that capability out there, to ensure that we can in fact move forward and base forward in a tactical sense, for those cases where it is appropriate to do that.

We're going to retire one of our weapons that's been in the arsenal for a long time. This is the Tomahawk, the nuclear variant of the Tomahawk. That will in fact be retired. It has really been on the sidelines and not deployed for several years. But we are going to officially retire that weapon.

And we'll also spend time, as I said in the previous slide, at the regional level working with our allies, to have discussions about the credibility and effectiveness of what has been called the extended deterrent.

The secretary talked extensively, both secretaries did, about our NATO responsibilities. But those also extend into the Pacific and working with our allies there and into the Middle East and our allies there. Next chart, please.

Sustaining the safe, secure and effective arsenal. This has been an area of a lot of discussion. And I'm sure we'll have several questions here, but principally no new testing, no new warheads -- the secretary went through the criteria associated with that -- no new missions or capabilities.

We'll -- our life-extension programs will, in fact, focus on existing tested designs.

There are three principal -- or categories of weapons: those that we refurbish, those that we reuse, and those that we replace. In the case of refurbishment, these are nuclear designs that previously were produced for the warhead type undergoing an extension. So in other words, you haven't changed anything associated with what we would call the physics package, the primary and the secondary, the nuclear part of this thing. That won't be touched. In a refurbishment, you're just working around, at the components that either have aged out and become obsolete over time or those that, by replacing them, would substantially improve the stockpile or that weapon's safety, security or effectiveness, okay?

In the case of reuse, those are nuclear designs currently or previously in the stockpile but from different warhead types. So we might take one from one warhead type, match it with another in order to be able to preserve that weapon. No new capability, no new mission, but that would allow us to take known, tested designs, keep them in the stockpile without having to retest or establish a test program, and allow us to keep the stockpile fresh.

And then the third one, which is the one that gets probably the most discussion, is replace. And again here, we're utilizing designs not in the stockpile but based on previously tested designs. So this one, we're allowing the space, for instance, to make changes to the -- to the primary components that would be consistent with improving safety and security, okay? You might do any number of things associated with those components, but as long as it's aligned that way, we would do that.

It still requires a presidential approval, and then the Congress would also get a look at this. They'd get a look at it at the -- at the transition. As you go to engineering phase, they would in fact have a review of that -- those types of weapons that are put in the category of replace.

Key: We talked about the over $5 billion over the next several years that we would put into the complex from the Department of Defense to the Department of Energy, to address both the aging infrastructure, updated support to our science and technology capabilities, the recruitment and the retention of the physicists and scientists that are associated with this capability, and then a promise to renew and refresh our continued leadership focus on the nuclear mission within the department, those who lead this enterprise.

Last slide. This kind of goes back and restates everything that we have talked about up until now. I think that one point that I would bring out is that the reality of the world that we live in today and the world that we anticipate living in, we have to expand the spectrum that we watch and guard against in this area -- so everything from nuclear weapons being used to influence, through terrorism, all the way up to ICBMs that would be coming over the poles towards the United States.

Our defensive capabilities, our deterrent capabilities, must be able to address that entire span. And so a substantial amount of the work in this Nuclear Posture Review goes to the one end of this discussion that has heretofore probably not been emphasized as much as it should be; that is the area of terrorism-influenced non-state actors, and making sure that we have the capabilities to address those types of threats as we go forward, and that we develop those capabilities and we keep them robust and credible, which is a key attribute of deterrence.

And with that, I'll ask my colleagues to join me. They'll take all of the questions. Thank you.

STAFF: Just as we get under way here, I do want to explicitly introduce Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, who is -- here she is -- and Undersecretary of Energy Tom D'Agostino.

Let's go ahead.

Q Could you walk us through a little bit the changes that are going to be made to allow the president more time to make a decision on a nuclear strike? And also, in the report, it talks a lot about the lack of transparency on China's nuclear program. Could you elaborate a bit about what specifically China's not being transparent enough about when it comes to its programs?

GEN. CARTWRIGHT: I'll start with the command-and-control side of the equation. Again, it's a study to look for those types of capabilities. But if we have sensors -- modern sensors, the type that we're capable of employing today, the type that, in many cases, are associated with missile defense today -- we can know sooner that weapons are being postured for launch, that weapons actually have been launched, where they're going precisely.

And what we're trying to do is increase the understanding both of the knowns. And then the one that's most difficult is a better understanding of intent. Was this one weapon? Was it a flush of a large number of weapons? Were other forces postured at the same time? Are there other objectives -- but having both the sensors and the command and control to ensure that the president, in our case, has the maximum amount of knowledge necessary to make a -- make a decision and that that decision is not artificially rushed because of a lack of information that could have been attained.

MR. MILLER: Okay, and I'll just say a word about China, and that is, we want to avoid situations in which we have either the -- a misunderstanding about the programs that are under way and their intent, the modernization programs -- and China is modernizing its nuclear arsenal at this time -- or misunderstanding its -- in -- with respect to the type of doctrine -- what would be done in the event, in the event of a crisis. So we'd like to have conversations both about where the -- where the capabilities are going over time, and what is the Chinese thinking about the purpose of these capabilities as well.


Q Hi, Mr. Miller.


Q Thank you. And Mary Beth Sheridan from the Washington Post. The Nuclear Posture Review talks about reducing the role and the numbers of weapons. But I didn't see much about the numbers of weapons, other than the START figures, which a lot of people consider fairly modest. So where does the numbers -- where do you see the reduction in numbers?

MR. MILLER: Yeah, I'd -- I think it was actually addressed in the -- a little bit in the last chart. What we are -- and I'll invite Ellen to come in, if you'd like to -- but what we're looking to do is after ratification and entry into force of the new START treaty, then engage with Russia in a follow-on discussion that would address the full range of nuclear weapons, strategic and nonstrategic, deployed and nondeployed. After this treaty, we'll still have the vast majority of the nuclear weapons in the world, and we think it's appropriate to take that step next.


Q General Cartwright, my question is for you. What is the uniformed military's view after all of this about no new nuclear warhead, no replacement nuclear warhead? Do you -- are you concerned that the door has been shut too much on that? And could you just review this concept of ocean targeting for us? What is exactly involved in that?

GEN. CARTWRIGHT: First, on the no new and the caveats associated with replacement. No, I don't feel constrained in the least, really. I think we have more than enough capacity and capability for any threat that we see today or might emerge in the foreseeable future. The capabilities that have been brought onboard with our missile defenses and other general purpose forces have been pretty substantial. The capabilities that we have in our existing nuclear fleet are more than adequate for the threats that we know of and that we are -- we believe we could face. So both for myself, as a previous commander at STRATCOM, and also for General Shelton, we both feel very comfortable with these numbers and with these descriptions of reuse, replace, refurbishment, so to speak.

So we're very comfortable there.

The second part? I'm sorry.

Q Ocean target.

GEN. CARTWRIGHT: Ocean targeting. It is to say that for a weapon that has a target associated with it that is on alert, there is a specific target. That target is the ocean. It is the center of the ocean. And we have specific areas that we keep available for that type of work. And that is done to ensure, God forbid, that if there were an inadvertent launch, that the guidance systems would take you to a known place, and that known place would not be inhabited.

We do everything possible to ensure that never occurs. But when we did the work associated with taking the bombers off of alert, we also -- this was another activity that we undertook to ensure both that the weapons themselves were not artificially targeted on something without a scenario and without a set of circumstances to be associated with why they were targeted there, and that no mistakes or errors in a launch system could put them in a place where we wouldn't want them to be.

Q (Off mike.)

GEN. CARTWRIGHT: That's correct. That's correct.

Q A question for Secretary Tauscher?

MR. MILLER: Yes, go ahead. Ellen?


Q Madame Secretary, given your just-completed experience with the Russians in Geneva, which you may still be recovering from, for all I know --

MS. TAUSCHER: (Chuckles.) I'm fully recovered.

Q -- what's your sense of their inclination to engage in broader, deeper nuclear negotiations in the near term, or even in the distant future?

MS. TAUSCHER: Well, I think both of us have to get our teams back, get them some rest. There was a heavy investment on both sides from the interagency team. We had approximately 50 people in Geneva for many, many months. And the Russians, led by their Ambassador Antonov, had the same kind of interagency team, away from home, away from family.

And these are the key experts in our case certainly that have the most experience, either in the previous START but now have the pedigree of the new START agreement.

So you know, we have a ratification process. That's very important. We need to have those teams both in the United States and Russia work on that. But I will say that this administration took advantage of the reset in two ways. First was to move forward on the negotiations for the new START agreement but also to improve the relationship.

And as I said the last time you and I talked, as a small child, I was an investment banker. And the test is never the negotiation you're doing. It's whether someone is willing to do a new negotiation with you, after they've survived the existing negotiation.

And what I can say is that I'm very impressed by the Russian willingness to, in the post-ratification time, talk about new reductions and new things. We have a very large agenda. There are many different areas where we are engaging. So I think we're hopeful that once we get through the ratification process, we can begin on a new effort.

Q Just a quick follow-up: So they did in some sense indicate to you during the process that they would be willing, when the time comes, to go further?

MS. TAUSCHER: We understand our responsibilities, not only as NPT depositories but also the holders of the most nuclear weapons in the world. We know that this is a path and a journey. We are not near the end.

We still hold more than 90 percent of the weapons. So I think it's clear to everyone that there will be future engagement but through the ratification process.

Thank you.

STAFF: General, we've got a question.

MR. MILLER: I'm sorry, let me just get one question at the back, the woman in the back.

Q Do you expect any pushback from Congress, on the NPR and also on the ratification of the new START agreement, based on what the NPR is laying out here?

MR. MILLER: We expect to have an extensive dialogue with the Congress, on the NPR, and I'm sure with the Senate as well.

On the new START treaty, that dialogue really began months ago -- well over a year ago -- when we initiated this review. And we've had extensive consultations with Congress, as well as the -- as the new START negotiations have been under way.

I don't know if you want to add to that.

MS. TAUSCHER: I will just say that Jim is right. From the very beginning, our lead negotiator, Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of State, has been going to the Hill, briefing members on both sides of the aisle and their staff. We actually had Senator Kyl and Senator Feinstein come to Geneva late last year as observers. Then the Duma brought some people to observe, too, so there was a sense of bilateral legislative interest in what's going on.

So I think that, once again, this is -- this is important; a new effort, because we have not ratified anything like this in a while. But I think that certainly we're very anxious to engage the Senate and get their advice and consent for ratification.

STAFF: Go ahead.

Q Thanks. General, in an October 2008 speech, Secretary Gates said there's -- quote, "There's absolutely no way we can maintain a credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without either --" without either testing -- resorting to testing our stockpile, or pursuing a modernization program. So this report says there will be no new testing -- no testing. What's changed here? Why is it okay not to test now? And can we maintain an effective deterrent without now testing?

GEN. CARTWRIGHT: Well, I always agree with my boss, but -- (laughter) -- you know, the context here is one of that for the foreseeable future both -- there are numerous people in the government that every year certify that the stockpile in fact is safe, secure, and that the test -- no requirement for additional testing.

And we continue to certify that. But we also continue to caveat that with what -- we don't know what five years from now might bring.

And this was in the context of there is always the potential, and nobody has ever removed from the commander or anyone else in that chain the ability to stand up and say, "I'm uncomfortable; I believe that we're going to have to test, or I believe that we're going to have to build something new." That's not been removed here.

What has been done, though, is to say, in the realities of what we know today, we see no requirement for any additional testing; and we feel very comfortable staying in an environment and in a protocol of not doing nuclear testing as it's described, or as it's defined; and that we see no need for additional nuclear weapons of a new type, either in capability or in capacity.

So this is a reflection of where we are now, looking forward, versus a reflection of -- I always have the responsibility as a commander to come in and stand up and say if I feel like there's any reason in that protocol that I must say that for some reason a particular weapon isn't going to make it and just refurbishing it or doing reuse or replacement is going to be insufficient. And all of the commanders will always have that ability.

Q So there's no scientific need to test what you have now, to make sure it's effective?

GEN. CARTWRIGHT: That's correct.

MR. MILLER: As we transition to the next question, I just want to add that Secretary Gates said explicitly that he sees the investment program that we put forward to Congress as a credible modernization plan to deal with -- to deal with these issues.


Q I don't completely understand the replacement category and -- a design that's not in the stockpile, I think was said. Is that a -- is that a new nuclear weapon?

And also, when -- one of the arguments for the Reliable Replacement Warhead was that we need to keep our sort of nuclear experts -- we need to give opportunity to design a new weapon. Is this the kind of activity that keeps our scientists fresh -- for lack of a better way?

MR. D'AGOSTINO: Certainly. Replacement category I think was your question. General Cartwright described the definition that we have, which is a design that uses nuclear components; designs that have not been in the stockpile, but that we've tested before.

The United States over a period of many years, as you know, has conducted many, many hundreds of nuclear tests. Most of those or a good number of those designs are not in the stockpile, have never been in the stockpile. But we learned something from those. And the idea is, what did we learn?

How do we take that learning from those tests that we've done, in the past, and apply it to the standards that the Congress has put forward, in the stockpile management program -- this idea of advancing the safety and security of the stockpile, the idea of no underground testing, the idea of being able to facilitate the reduction in the total numbers of weapons that we might have, reducing the total number of types?

So what we want to do is provide the flexibility particularly in the very early stages, in the conceptual and design stages, to try to advance as much as possible what Congress asked us to do -- safety, security, reliability of the stockpile, out of the future, so we don't have to test -- and then create a position or a point in time where we say, if we have to go to that replacement category whereby -- because we think it's the only way or one of the best ways, to achieve the aims that we have -- safety, security, reliability and no underground testing -- then we have the flexibility to do that.

But we want to make sure, and the president will have an opportunity to specifically take a look at that, to ensure that it doesn't -- that it meets all of those objectives and it doesn't get us closer to one of these touchpoints that we said we weren't going to do, which is no new warheads for new military capabilities.

So that flexibility in my view provides exactly what our scientists need. They need to be able to do that. And that's in essence the path forward on that, from that approach.


Q I'd like you to talk a bit about the -- what appears to be this new emphasis on conventional response. Beyond the conversion of the boomers to carrying conventional warheads, what else is being planned to make U.S. conventional response more robust?

And given the fact that the United States is -- got such a lead in terms of its conventional response and ability to hit and target points around the globe, why would a country that's thinking about nuclear weapons not continue to develop those nuclear weapons, given the fact that it does not have the ability to develop the kind of conventional strike that the United States has?

MR. MILLER: We are currently looking at the potential future mix of long-range strike systems, both coming out of both the Quadrennial Defense Review and the NPR, and in that study, which is now well under way, looking at the mix of penetrating bombers, stand-off bombers, cruise missiles, potential -- conventional prompt global strike capabilities, as well as the supporting electronic warfare and other capabilities that are -- that would be necessary.

We decided, after having a hard look at the issues associated with the next-generation bomber, frankly, that we wanted to pull back and have a look at -- have a look at the broader portfolio or the family of systems. That work's now under way, and we expect that to inform the FY '12 budget submission in all these programs. And we do have R&D under way and money set aside for these -- for these sets of capabilities that we will then propose the specific allocation FY '12.

What we -- from a policy perspective, it was -- if you think about the perspective of a potential proliferator, what we're trying to do in this -- in this NPR is give incentives for them to move away from nuclear capability.

And the caveat that we talked about earlier with respect to biological weapons is to at the same time ensure that they don't have incentive to go that direction.

I don't see any prospect that any of the countries that we've talked about will have the ability to compete with the United States with respect to conventional military power. As General Cartwright said, the capabilities that we have today and that we have committed to sustaining for the future are second to none and there's just no question about the commitment to sustain that.

Q And a follow-on. For that reason, given that there's no prospect that they can compete on conventional weapons, why would they not be -- have an inducement to continue developing nuclear weapons?

MR. MILLER: Well, the inducement that we're trying to give is obviously in the other direction. That if you're a country considering proliferation, that, as the secretary of Defense said, you put yourself in a different category with respect to our nuclear capabilities. And in addition to that, as we continue to develop both our conventional capabilities, including, but not limited to, strike, our missile defense capabilities and our abilities to combat WMD, our counterproliferation capabilities, that these states will see less and less of an advantage to going down that path.


STAFF: One or two more, and then we'll bring it to a close. We've been going for about an hour.

Q A two-parter on the NPR and terrorism, if I could. With the elevation of terrorism for the first time to a core theme of the NPR, what new programs are needed and required? And I guess I also have to ask, if it's not Russia and China as the major risk, but terrorism and the proliferation, how do you still defend 1,550 warheads? That seems like a very high number.

MR. MILLER: Okay. Let me start with the 1,550 warheads. That number was a product of negotiations with another sovereign power, with the Russian Federation. And the NPR did extensive analysis of the requirements with respect to -- with respect to the United States with respect to both warheads and delivery vehicles.

So that number is one that is associated with product of a negotiation and as the NPR says, while parity is not -- well, approximate parity with respect to overall numbers is certainly not as important as it appeared in the Cold War, we still believe that approximate parity is appropriate with respect to, in particular, deployed strategic systems as we think about the balance on both sides to make sure there aren't misperceptions, misunderstandings on either side, any sense of advantage or disadvantage.

So that's the sense as that we go down in new START and as we take next steps, the next step beyond that following ratification entry into force, that we ought to do it by working together.

Do you want to speak to any of the specific programs in DOE and we can add some other --

MR. D'AGOSTINO: Abolsutely, yeah. The NPR makes clear that this is not just about warheads, but it's taking the totality of the work that we have in the administration, in the executive branch to move forward on non-proliferation programs -- as you heard earlier up $2.7 billion is the largest non-proliferation program in the world that this country is putting forth. We've got significant increases in our work on bringing nuclear materials, securing materials at the sites themselves where they're located, installing radiation detector equipment at land border crossings and at seaports, to make sure that we're there. And as we talked about earlier, the gentleman asked a question about exercising our scientific capability.

That scientific capability just doesn't take care of the nuclear weapons stockpile or the deterrent itself; it's absolutely essential. That's the capability that does non-proliferation, nuclear counterterrorism, nuclear intelligence analysis, forensics, emergency management and on downstream.

So it's that broad spectrum of nuclear security activities that are, indeed, supported by the foundational work on the stockpile itself.

That's why we have that capability. That's why you see such a tremendous investment on the part of the administration to bring up overall in the Department of Energy or in the National Nuclear Security Administration, a very significant 13.4 percent growth from FY '10 to FY '11. It's a significant growth, but it's a clear demonstration that the administration really understands this problem. It's about exercising the people.

MR. MILLER: Thank you. Let me go in the back here.

Q Yes. Will you say more about what follow-on studies you have to do and how that will impact the future force structure.

MR. MILLER: Yeah. Of course. The president has directed that we study the potential next steps in arms control following, again, ratification and entry into force of the new START treaty and that will include a number of steps, including an assessment of future deterrence requirements, a consideration of the overall balance between deployed and non-deployed forces. We've talked before about the strategic systems, those that are deployed, those that are non- deployed and then thinking about the hedge force that we have as well where we could bring additional weapons in.

It will depend, in part, also on our success in getting congressional approval for infrastructure investments so that we can shift from a -- as we think about how to hedge for possible technical problems for warheads to shift -- from one that keeps a warhead offline that could that could be brought back in if there is a problem, to thinking -- that we have confidence in the ability to -- in an infrastructure that's able to do work on a warhead to make sure that it's sustainable over time.

All of those factors have to be addressed as we go forward. We've begun the work associated with that. We have a number of related studies underway as well, including future of conventional long-range strike.

The Air Force is looking at their proposal for a future ALCM, air launch cruise missile, and we really need to bring these together. And this is analysis that's underway, but really is going to be -- going to take a period of time to complete.

STAFF: Let's do one more. Perhaps there's somebody that hasn't had a chance.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MILLER: Go ahead. Please go ahead.

Q I have a question for General Cartwright. Can you walk us through a little bit on the practical steps that need to be taken at Strategic Command to operationalize these new policy changes? How is our operational plan for nuclear war fighting being changed such that General Chilton can meet his requirements with fewer warheads on hand deployed?

GEN. CARTWRIGHT: There will be -- once we have this distributed and everybody gets a chance to read it, once we have START signed and we have all the annexes and all of the pieces so that we have an understanding of what the guidance is in some level of detail, then we'll go into a review from a policy perspective on guidance that would be appropriate under these new regimes, so to speak.

That will then manifest itself in direction of attributes that STRATCOM would be asked to ensure our part of the deterrence strategy and consistent with the deterrence strategy when you start talking about proportionality and about targets and things like that. That will then lead us into an evolution associated with what we're going to do with these weapons and these delivery platforms and how they will be, in fact, used.

I would expect that that will take us somewhere in the neighborhood of one to two years; note that also as I said before, seven years to come into compliance with the numbers side of this equation.

So I expect that each year we'll revisit and it'll be a set of milestones that is a journey towards either the number of vehicles or the number of weapons and having that be consistent both with the policy and with the attributes associated with realizing that policy.

STAFF: I'd like to thank our briefers for the time of day and you for your interest in this topic. And we'll bring it to a close now.

Thank you very much.

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