What Obama’s NPR Tells Us About New START

Conn Carroll /

Obama and Medvedev

Retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral and former Defense Nuclear Agency Director Robert Monroe writes in today’s Wall Street Journal: “The Obama administration’s nuclear policy is set out in the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which was released in April, two days before the signing of New Start. The NPR is joined at the hip with New Start, and together they take this country down a dangerous path.”

Monroe continues:

Mr. Obama’s NPR treats nuclear weapons as an evil to be eliminated, rather than as the ultimate foundation of America’s security in a dangerous world. The review opens with Mr. Obama’s pledge to “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” and “to take concrete steps toward that goal, including by reducing the number of nuclear weapons and their role in national security policy.”

Yet nuclear weapons have been our most effective means of avoiding and limiting conflicts, and of achieving our foreign policy goals, since World War II. Nuclear weapons ended the most destructive war in history. For a half-century thereafter they prevented a vastly more devastating war and were a huge factor in deterring proliferation.

By pledging not to develop new nuclear capabilities—including earth-penetration weapons and any new warheads—the new NPR also promises to let our deterrence atrophy. This ignores that threats and technology are changing, and our weapons must keep pace with them.

The abandonment of our nuclear deterrence is just the beginning of New START’s problems. The verification provisions are completely inadequate and the treaty also limits our missile defense capabilities.

You can read Heritage’s full New START analysis here.