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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

American Forces Press Service

Chairman's Corner: Nuclear Posture Review

By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2010 – As announced during an April 6 news conference, the chiefs and I fully support the findings of this Nuclear Posture Review.

We believe it provides us and our field commanders the opportunity to better shape our nuclear weapons posture, policies, and force structure to meet an ever-changing security environment. We appreciated the opportunity to inform it and to be informed by it, as a very collaborative interagency process went forward.

While it reduces the role played by nuclear weapons, a reduction I wholly endorse, this Nuclear Posture Review reaffirms our commitment to defend the vital interests of the United States and those of our partners and allies with a more balanced mix of nuclear and non-nuclear means than we have at our disposal today.

The review also retains the strategic triad of bombers, submarines and missiles that have served us so well, the review further strengthens us. It improves the United States command and control, works to prevent nuclear terrorism and proliferation, and suggests new dialogues through which to improve transparency with Russia and China.

While it precludes nuclear testing and the development of new warheads, the review bolsters regional deterrence by fielding new missile defenses, improving counter-WMD capabilities and revitalizing our nuclear support infrastructure.

As Secretary Gates made quite clear, we must invest more wisely and more generously to preserve the life span and the effectiveness of our existing arsenal. We must hold ourselves accountable to unimpeachably high standards of nuclear training, leadership, and management. Finally, we must recruit and then retain the scientific expertise to advance our technological edge in nuclear weaponry.

I’m encouraged to see these requirements so prominently addressed in the Nuclear Posture Review, but I’m also mindful of the challenge. Without such improvements, an aging nuclear force supported by a neglected infrastructure only invites enemy misbehavior and miscalculation.

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