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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Edward Warner
Assistant Secretary of Defense
Strategy and Threat Reduction

Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on
Strategic Forces,

March 31, 1998

During the Cold War, nuclear deterrence occupied center stage, and our
strategy was focused on deterring the significant nuclear and
conventional threat from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. Now that
the Cold War is over, the role of nuclear deterrence has been reduced,
but the need for deterrence in today's world is still critical. Our
nuclear posture contributes substantially to our ability to deter any
future hostile political leadership with access to nuclear weapons or
other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from aggression against the
United States, its forces abroad, and its allies and friends. Although
the prominence of nuclear weapons in our defense strategy has
decreased since the end of the Cold War, nuclear weapons remain
important as one of a range of responses available to deal with
threats or use of weapons of mass destruction against U.S. interests,
and as an important disincentive to nuclear, biological, and chemical
proliferation. They also provide a hedge against the uncertain futures
of potentially hostile nuclear powers, and serve as a means to uphold
existing U.S. security commitments to our allies.
Nuclear deterrence has always been a controversial subject, fostering
much debate over the years. While the end of the Cold War has
fortunately decreased the intensity of this debate, the issues of
nuclear force posture and nuclear deterrence continue to be debated by
individuals and groups who question the need for nuclear weapons in
today's world, and, in some cases, call for the complete elimination
of these weapons.
Such calls are indicative of the continuing American and global
interest in a deliberate process to further reduce, and ultimately
eliminate, nuclear weapons. I emphasize the word deliberate, which is
a prudent strategy in today's changing world where the dangers and
risks of coercion and aggression, many potentially involving the use
of weapons of mass destruction, are very real. We disagree with the
nuclear abolitionists on timing, not ultimate goal; the United States
has embraced the commitment to ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons
for many years. When we signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
(NPT) in 1968, we subscribed to Article VI, which calls for the
Parties to undertake "to pursue negotiations in good faith relating to
cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear
disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under
strict and effective international control." In 1995, when the NPT was
indefinitely extended, we reiterated this pledge to work toward the
complete elimination of nuclear weapons in the context of general and
complete disarmament.
The United States has made substantial progress in fulfilling our NPT
commitment. The nuclear arms race has been halted, and in fact has
been reversed. We have reduced our nuclear stockpile, through both the
START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) I cuts and reciprocal
unilateral initiatives, while fully preserving U.S. security
interests. We have also made steady progress in pursuing and achieving
stabilizing, agreed nuclear force reductions through the arms control
process. START I has entered into force; we are hopeful that the
Russian Duma will ratify START II so it can enter into force; and we
are committed to negotiating START III as soon as Russia ratifies
START II. Thus, lifting the threat of nuclear destruction and limiting
the spread of nuclear weapons has been and remains an essential
element of the President's foreign policy agenda.
However, we are not yet at the point where we can eliminate our
nuclear weapons. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to need
a reliable and flexible nuclear deterrent -- survivable against the
most aggressive attack, under highly confident, constitutional command
and control, safeguarded against both accidental and unauthorized use,
and capable of inflicting a devastating retaliatory response should
deterrence fail. We will need such a force because nuclear deterrence
remains an essential element to deal with the gravest threats. As
stated in the Secretary's 1998 Report to Congress, the United States
must retain sufficient strategic nuclear forces and theater nuclear
systems to help deter any hostile foreign leadership with access to
nuclear weapons from acting against U.S. vital interests, and to
convince such a leadership that seeking a nuclear advantage would be
futile. We believe that these goals can be achieved at lower force
levels and are accordingly taking the lead in additional strategic
arms reductions.
To summarize the topics I will develop in more detail:
-- Since the end of the Cold War, we have already made dramatic
progress in reducing U.S., Russian, and other countries' nuclear
arsenals and potentials. We have also taken important steps to ensure
safety, security, and non-diversion of nuclear weapons and fissile
-- While some reductions have been unilateral, we have vigorously
pursued stabilizing, agreed nuclear force reductions with Russia in
the arms control process, and have made great progress in this regard
in recent years.
-- The President has recently promulgated a new policy directive on
nuclear weapons employment, which is the first revision in
Presidential guidance since 1981.
-- While eventual elimination of nuclear weapons is an ultimate goal,
we will continue to need a reliable, flexible, and effective nuclear
deterrent for the foreseeable future.
-- Assuring the safety and reliability of our nuclear forces and the
nuclear stockpile remains a supreme national interest of the United
Let me now turn to how we have transformed our nuclear deterrent, both
qualitatively and quantitatively; what our future strategy involves;
and why nuclear deterrence remains an important element of our
national security.
Transformation of the Nuclear Deterrent
Since the end of the Cold War, our nuclear deterrent posture has
dramatically changed. Under the 1991 Presidential Nuclear Initiative
(PNI), we decided to:
-- Eliminate our entire inventory of ground-launched non-strategic
nuclear weapons (nuclear artillery and LANCE surface-to-surface
-- Remove all non-strategic nuclear weapons on a day-to-day basis from
surface ships, attack submarines, and land-based naval aircraft bases;
-- Remove our strategic bombers from alert;
-- Stand down the Minuteman II ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic
missiles) scheduled for deactivation under START I;
-- Terminate the mobile Peacekeeper and mobile small ICBM programs;
-- Terminate the SRAM-II nuclear short-range attack missile.
In January 1992, the second Presidential Nuclear Initiative (PNI II)
took further steps which included: limiting B-2 production to 20
bombers; canceling the entire small ICBM program; ceasing production
of W-88 Trident SLBM (submarine launched ballistic missile) warheads;
halting purchases of advanced cruise missiles; and stopping new
production of Peacekeeper missiles.
The 1994 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which was the first
comprehensive post-Cold War review of U.S. nuclear policy and force
posture, eliminated even the capability to deploy nuclear weapons
(bombs and cruise missiles) on Navy surface ships. The NPR also
established the strategic nuclear force structure which the United
States will deploy under START II. Also in 1994, further reflecting
the changed international situation, the U.S. and Russia agreed to no
longer target their strategic ballistic missiles against one another
on a day-to-day basis.
As a result of these significant changes, the U.S. nuclear stockpile
has decreased by more than 50% since 1991. The most dramatic
transformation in the U.S. nuclear deterrent has been in non-strategic
nuclear forces, or NSNF, which have unilaterally been reduced to
one-tenth of Cold War levels. As a result, the only nuclear weapons
remaining in the U.S. stockpile are those carried by our strategic
triad of ICBMs, SLBMs, and bombers equipped with gravity bombs and
air-launched cruise missiles, as well as our non-strategic bombs and
nuclear-tipped sea-launched cruise missiles.
There has been a significant associated financial benefit. U.S.
spending on strategic nuclear forces has declined from 7% of the total
DOD budget in 1991 to less than 3% today. We have no development or
procurement programs for a next-generation bomber, ICBM, SLBM, or
strategic submarine. The programs we do have are designed to sustain
the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of our remaining forces,
and to ensure the continued high quality of our strategic forces.
In response to unilateral nuclear reductions made by the United
States, Russia made similar pledges in 1991-1992 to reduce its
non-strategic nuclear forces. However, while it has reduced its
operational NSNF substantially, it has made far less progress on these
eliminations than the U.S. Consequently, the Russian non-strategic
arsenal (deployed and non-deployed) is probably about 10 times as
large as ours. However, Russian officials recently stated that the
1991-1992 NSNF pledges would be fully implemented by the year 2000,
which would reduce the Russian advantage to about three or four to
Russian spending on strategic forces has also declined substantially
since the end of the Cold War. Russia does have some new strategic
systems under development -- for example, a new single-warhead ICBM
(the SS-X-27), a new SLBM (the SS-NX-28) and a new strategic ballistic
missile submarine -- but Russian development programs are much fewer
in number and their pace is slower than in the past. While these new
systems are intended to replace currently deployed systems that will
reach the end of their service lives over the next decade, or that
will be eliminated under START II, fiscal realities suggest that, even
with these replacement programs, significant declines in Russia's
strategic forces are still to come.
In addition to the unilateral nuclear reductions we have made, the
United States places great emphasis on achieving stabilizing
verifiable, agreed reductions in nuclear forces through arms control
treaties and agreements. The U.S. and Russia have made great progress
in this regard in recent years. START I, which entered into force in
December 1994, will reduce each side's deployed strategic weapons from
well over 10,000 to 6,000 accountable weapons by December 2001. The
START II Treaty, signed in January 1993, was ratified by the U.S.
Senate in January 1996, but has not yet been ratified by the Russian
Duma. When START II enters into force, it will further reduce each
side's deployed strategic weapons from 6,000 to 3,000 to 3,500. More
importantly, START II will bring about more stabilizing strategic
force structures by requiring elimination of MIRVed ICBM launchers and
elimination of heavy ICBMs (i.e., the Russian SS-18).
As mandated by Congress, the U.S. is maintaining its strategic forces
at START I levels until Russia ratifies START II. Accordingly, DOD is
taking steps to maintain this option through FY 1999. The FY99 budget
request contains an additional $57 million beyond what would have been
previously anticipated in order to sustain our forces at START I
levels. This force structure consists of:
-- 500 Minuteman III and 50 Peacekeeper ICBMs with multiple warheads;
-- 18 Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines, each carrying 24
Trident SLBMs;
-- At least 71 B-52 bombers, each equipped to carry up to 20
nuclear-armed cruise missiles; and
-- 21 B-2 bombers, each equipped to carry up to 16 nuclear gravity
In accordance with direction included in the FY 1998 Defense
Authorization Act, we are examining a number of options for
maintaining START I levels beyond FY 1999 if necessary.
At the March 1997 Helsinki summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin made
commitments to promote START II ratification and to set a course for
further strategic arms reductions once START II enters into force.
First, although the original START II Treaty called for these
reductions to be completed no later than January 1, 2003, the
Presidents agreed to extend the START II reductions deadline to
December 2007, allowing five more years to accomplish required
eliminations and thus reducing the near-term costs of treaty
implementation. Second, the Presidents agreed to deactivate by
December 2003 those systems slated to be eliminated under START II, by
means of warhead removal or other jointly agreed measures, thus
enabling the sides to gain security benefits from the treaty in
roughly the same time frame that was originally envisioned. The
Presidents also agreed to commence negotiations shortly after START II
ratification to conclude a START III Treaty that would set a limit of
2,000 to -2,500 deployed warheads to be reached by December 2007.
Finally, they agreed that START III would be the first strategic arms
control treaty which includes measures relating to the transparency of
strategic nuclear warhead inventories and destruction of strategic
nuclear warheads. However, President Clinton made clear that the
United States will not negotiate START III until Russia ratifies START
In September 1997, Secretary Albright and Russian Foreign Minister
Primakov signed several legally binding documents which codify the
Helsinki commitments on START II: a Protocol extending the deadline to
December 2007 for achieving treaty limits, and letters stipulating
each side's agreement to deactivate by December 2003 the systems
slated for elimination under START II. In addition, a Joint Agreed
Statement was issued which records the agreement that downloading
Minuteman III ICBMs from three re-entry vehicles to one can occur any
time before the revised START II deadline of December 2007. After
Russia ratifies START II, these documents will be submitted to the
Senate for advice and consent.
If START II and its Protocol are adopted, the U.S. strategic arsenal
will be modified by the end of 2007 as follows:
-- The 50 Peacekeeper ICBMs will be eliminated, and each Minuteman III
missile will be armed with only one rather than three warheads;
-- The SSBN force will be reduced from 18 to 14 boats, all equipped
with the D-5 missile;
-- The number of strategic bombers will not change, but the
cruise-missile capacity of the B-52 fleet will be reduced to stay
within treaty limits.
Assuming Russia ratifies START II and we successfully negotiate a
START III Treaty, once the START I, II, and III reductions are
completed, the United States and Russia will have reduced their
strategic arsenals by roughly 80 percent from Cold War levels and, of
even greater importance, greatly enhanced strategic stability by
eliminating multiple-warhead ICBMs.
The Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction "Nunn-Lugar" (CTR)
program is a key component of our nuclear arms control and
non-proliferation strategy. Through the CTR program, the U.S. is
providing assistance in the form of equipment, services, and technical
advice to Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan,
Ukraine and Uzbekistan. This assistance is based on hard-nosed
considerations of national and international security. Through CTR
assistance, we attack the threat of unsecured nuclear weapons and WMD
proliferation at its root -- by helping to dismantle and consolidate
former Soviet weapons -- and we thus ensure that the requirements of
the hard-won treaties negotiated in recent years are met. The CTR
program is working in these countries to reduce the threat of theft
and/or diversion of WMD and associated materials through support for
safe and secure removal of nuclear warheads to Russia, destruction of
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and related infrastructure,
safe storage of warheads destined for destruction and of the fissile
material removed from them.
The CTR program is not motivated by altruism. These activities are
undertaken to reduce real threats to U.S. security: the threat of
excess offensive weaponry, the threat of unsecured nuclear weapons and
materials, and the threat of CW (chemical weapons) and BW (biological
weapons) capabilities.
The CTR program has notified $1.9B ($1,900 million) to Congress. The
FY98 notification, currently being staffed, will bring that total to
$2.2B ($2,200 million). Over $1.6B ($1,600 million) has been obligate
for this program, and our spending rates have increased steadily since
the program's inception in FY92. Early in the program, there was
criticism of CTR for its slow obligation rates. Indeed, it took time
for the U.S. and Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Kazakhstan
governments to define the assistance, sign the necessary agreements,
and begin the work. It is a complicated process, but we have learned a
great deal from our experience. We better understand the challenges of
doing business in countries undergoing a transition on from communism
to capitalism. The projects funded by CTR are, for the most part, now
moving smoothly.
Progress does not equal victory, however -- not yet. CTR has much work
left to do, and this work remains just as important today as it was
when first conceived, seven years ago. Our projects can be categorized
by our five program objectives:
-- Assist Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus to become non-nuclear weapon
states, and eliminate Strategic Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty (START)
limited systems and weapons of mass destruction infrastructure.
-- Assist Russia in accelerating strategic arms reductions to START
-- Enhance safety, security, control, accounting, and centralization
of nuclear weapons in Russia and fissile material in the states of the
former Soviet Union to prevent their proliferation and encourage their
-- Assist the former Soviet Union to eliminate and prevent
proliferation of chemical and biological weapons capabilities.
-- Encourage military reductions and reforms and reduce proliferation
threats in the former Soviet Union.
We have achieved important goals under each of these objectives, and
have ambitious plans for future activities in each case.
CTR's bottom line is impressive. In 1991, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and
Belarus together had 3,300 strategic and roughly 2,600 tactical
nuclear warheads on their soil. They would have been respectively --
by far -- the third, fourth and seventh largest nuclear powers in the
world. Today, in what is probably the greatest non-proliferation
achievement the world has seen, these three states are completely free
of nuclear warheads. In addition, START I eliminations are well ahead
of schedule. CTR assistance has specifically helped deactivate 4,700
warheads, and destroyed 252 ICBMs, 252 ICBM silos, 37 bombers, 80 SLBM
launchers, and 114 nuclear test tunnels.
Much more is still to be done. We must continue to encourage the
dismantlement of excess nuclear warheads in Russia and the reduction
of its weapons-grade material, and to help ensure the safety and
security of the warheads and fissile material that remain. We must
continue to help the states of the former Soviet Union fully implement
their START I reductions, and look forward to doing the same with
START II. While the CTR program assists the recipient states, it is
fundamental to U.S. national security, ensuring the reduction in
weapons of mass destruction that would otherwise be arrayed against us
or pose a serious proliferation threat.
In view of all of the reductions we have already made and the steady
progress of arms control, the question of why we need a nuclear
deterrent at all following the Cold War is relevant.
The Clinton Administration answered this question in the Nuclear
Posture Review. The NPR recognized that with the demise of the Soviet
Union, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the embarkation of
Russia on the road to democracy, the strategic environment has been
fundamentally transformed. Conventional forces can and should play a
larger share of the deterrent role. Nevertheless, nuclear weapons
continue to play a critical role in deterring aggression against the
U.S., its overseas forces, and its Allies and friends. This is the
case because the positive changes in the international environment are
far from irreversible, and the threat posed by weapons of mass
destruction in the hands of rogue states has grown.
The NPR reaffirmed that we need not only a strategic nuclear
deterrent, but also flexible, responsive non-strategic nuclear forces.
Maintaining the capability to deploy nuclear forces to meet various
regional contingencies continues to be an important means for
deterring aggression, protecting and promoting U.S. interests, and
reassuring Allies and friends. As stated in the NATO Strategic
Concept, the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe provide an
essential political link between the European and North American
members of the Alliance.
Russia has made great progress toward the creation of stable market
democracy, and we do not regard it as a potential military threat
under its present or any reasonably foreseeable government. We have
made wise investments in the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and
we share with the current Russian leadership (and most other Russian
centers of influence) a determination not to let our relations return
to a state of hostility in which these weapons would again be a
Nevertheless, Russia still possess substantial nuclear forces and an
even larger non-strategic nuclear stockpile. Because of significant
degradation in its conventional military capabilities, Russia appears
to be placing even more reliance on its nuclear forces. Russia's new
national security concept, promulgated in December 1997, states that
"Russia retains the right to use all available forces and means,
including nuclear weapons, if armed aggression launched against it
threatens the very existence of the Russian Federation as an
independent, sovereign state." It also states that "the main task of
the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is to insure nuclear
deterrence, which is to prevent both nuclear and conventional
large-scale or regional war, and also to meet its allied commitments.
To accomplish this task, the Russian Federation should have a
potential of nuclear forces which can guarantee that planned damage
will be caused to any aggressor, state or a coalition of states."
We cannot be so certain of future Russian politics as to ignore the
possibility that we may once again need to deter the nuclear forces of
a hostile Russia should the current policy of democratic reform be
replaced by a return to aggressive authoritarianism. We do not believe
that such a reversal is likely and we are working hard to avoid it.
Nevertheless, it is prudent to maintain a secure and capable nuclear
force as a hedge against it happening.
Even if we could ignore a future threat from Russia, there is a range
of other potential threats to which nuclear weapons are a deterrent.
China has a significant nuclear capability, and its future political
orientation is far from certain. In addition, the number of rogue
states with actual and potential WMD programs is considerable. We do
not regard these states as undeterrable, either in their incentives to
acquire WMD capability or to use it. We believe that the knowledge
that the United States has a powerful and ready nuclear capability
poses a significant deterrent to proliferators. If any nation were
foolish enough to attack the U.S., its allies or friends with chemical
or biological weapons our response would be swift, devastating and
overwhelming. As (Defense) Secretary Perry said in 1996, we are able
to mount a devastating response without using nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless, we do not rule out in advance any capability available
to us.
The U.S. nuclear deterrent also helps to discourage the spread of
nuclear weapons among our allies and friends. The extension of our
deterrent to those nations has removed any incentives they might have
to develop and deploy their own nuclear forces, as many are
technically capable of doing.
The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), completed last spring, examined
U.S. nuclear strategy and force posture and reaffirmed the continuing
need for a robust and flexible nuclear deterrent. In the QDR, nuclear
forces were examined as an integral part of an overall review of
defense issues. This review followed a path which led from the threat,
to strategy, to force structure considerations, and finally to
resource issues.
Last November, the President signed a new Decision Directive on
nuclear weapons employment policy guidance. This directive was the
first revision of such guidance in over 15 years, although U.S.
nuclear plans have been updated regularly to changes to subordinate
documents and through Presidential Decisions such as the Presidential
Nuclear Initiatives and the Nuclear Posture Review. The directive
takes account of the changes in our policy and force posture brought
on by the end of the Cold War and builds on the conclusions of
previous policy reviews, such as the NPR and QDR, to lead us where we
are today.
The directive describes, in general terms, the purposes of U.S.
nuclear weapons and provides broad Presidential guidance for
developing operational plans. It also provides guidelines for
maintaining nuclear deterrence and U.S. nuclear forces.
The directive indicates that the United States must maintain the
assured response capability to inflict "unacceptable damage" against
those assets a potential enemy values most. It also posits that we
must continue to plan a range of options to insure that the U.S. can
respond to aggression in a manner appropriate to the provocation,
rather than being left with an "all or nothing" response. The new
guidance also continues our policy that the U.S. will not rely on
"launch on warning," but will maintain the capability to respond
promptly to any attack, thus complicating an adversary's calculations.
However, the new guidance eliminates previous Cold War rhetoric
including references to "winning a protracted nuclear war."
The directive reaffirms that the United States should have a triad of
strategic deterrent forces to complicate an adversary's attack and
defense planning. It also notes that our deterrent forces and their
associated command and control should be flexible and survivable, to
insure that the U.S. will be able to make an adequate and appropriate
While the directive does not address arms control issues, per se,
analysis undertaken in accordance with the new guidance shows that the
U.S. strategic deterrent can be maintained at the 2,000 to 2,500
strategic weapon level envisioned for START III as agreed in the 1997
Helsinki accord.
Because nuclear deterrence will remain an indispensable part of our
national security policy for the foreseeable future, the U.S. nuclear
deterrent must remain credible; its weapons systems and nuclear
warheads must be safe, reliable and effective.
Currently, our nuclear weapons are safe, secure and under responsible
custodianship. Moreover, we place high priority on maintaining and
improving safety and security. Our nuclear safety record is
extraordinary; although a few accidents have occurred over the past 50
years, no accident has ever resulted in a nuclear detonation, and the
last accident of any kind occurred almost 20 years ago.
Because of changes in our posture and technical improvements made
since the end of the Cold War, the likelihood of a nuclear accident
has decreased significantly. Our strategic bombers are no longer on
day-to-day alert; our surface ships and attack submarines no longer
carry nuclear weapons. The Army and Marines have eliminated their
nuclear weapons. Older weapons with less modern safety features have
been removed from the stockpiles; technical safety mechanisms have
been improved. And detargeting means that our nuclear-tipped missiles
are no longer aimed at targets in any country. The number of nuclear
storage sites has decreased by 75 percent and weapons have been
consolidated. As a result of all these changes our nuclear weapons are
much less exposed to accident environments.
In recent years, several defense observers, including some in
Congress, have expressed concerns that the deterioration in Russia's
early warning and nuclear command and control systems raises the risk
of inadvertent nuclear war resulting from ballistic missile launch
based on faulty warning information. Although the degree to which this
is viewed as a significant problem varies, these same experts, in
response, have called for reducing the alert status of U.S. and
Russian nuclear forces. While we continue to believe that the most
direct means to achieving increased stability and security is via the
negotiated, verifiable reductions of START II, an Interagency Working
Group has been examining a range of measures that the U.S. and Russia
might take cooperatively or in parallel to address such concerns. A
number of options have been studied and we are continuing our
examination, but we have made no decisions yet on proposing to proceed
with specific approaches.
The Department places top priority on maintaining the high quality,
reliability, and effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent forces
(including their communications and command systems), and the people
who operate them. In conjunction with President Clinton's decision to
conclude a "zero-yield" Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT),
the President stated that he is pledged to maintain a high confidence
in the safety, reliability and performance of the nation's nuclear
stockpile as a matter of supreme national interest of the United
States. He also established a new annual process for certifying
whether the stockpile is safe and reliable, and six concrete, specific
safeguards that define the conditions under which the United States
could enter a CTBT. One of these safeguards calls for a science-based
program utilizing modern experimental facilities and computer
simulations to insure a high level of confidence in the safety,
reliability and performance of nuclear weapons in the enduring
stockpile. Consequently, the Department of Energy has established an
aggressive, well-funded Stockpile Stewardship Program designed to
insure that our weapons remain safe, reliable, and effective in the
absence of nuclear testing. The Department of Defense fully supports
this program. Today, we have high confidence in the safety and
reliability of our nuclear deterrent, and the Stockpile Stewardship
Program is designed to provide the tools to assure this is the future.
Our objective is a safe, stable world. While successive U.S.
administrations have embraced the objective of nuclear disarmament as
our ultimate goal, the path to this goal is not clearly marked in a
still uncertain security environment. What is clear is that the
ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament will be reached only through
realistic, methodical moves forward, as genuine security permits, with
each step building on those before it.
We have made dramatic reductions in our nuclear deterrent forces and
weapons, as a result of unilateral initiatives and formal arms control
treaties. Such stabilizing, verifiable agreed reductions will continue
to be a primary objective of the United States. However, for the
foreseeable future, we will continue to need a reliable and flexible
nuclear deterrent -- albeit at lower force levels -- to provide our
ultimate guarantee against the gravest threats.
Because nuclear deterrence will remain an indispensable part of our
national security policy, the U.S. nuclear deterrent must remain safe,
reliable, and effective. Today, we have high confidence that this is
so. In connection with the CTBT, the President established concrete
safeguards to insure the continued safety, reliability, and
effectiveness of our nuclear forces and weapons in the future. We are
committed to full implementation of these safeguards.
(end text)

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