Obama Set To Unilaterally Cut Nuclear Arsenal By One-Third

Barack Obama has indicated that he is willing to sign off on a new internal review of the United States’ nuclear weapons strategy and is set to reduce our nuclear arsenal by one-third, which he claims would save billions to both the Pentagon and the Energy Department. According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, which was issued last Friday, the recommended reductions were included in a draft version of a classified decision compiled by top defense and national security officials in the White House.

CPI reports,

Senior Obama administration officials have agreed that the number of nuclear warheads the U.S. military deploys could be cut by at least a third without harming national security, according to sources involved in the deliberations.

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They said the officials’ consensus agreement, not yet announced, opens the door to billions of dollars in military savings that might ease the federal deficit and improve prospects for a new arms deal with Russia before the president leaves office. But it is likely to draw fire from conservatives, if previous debate on the issue is any guide.

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The results of the internal review are reflected in a draft of a classified decision directive prepared for Obama’s signature that guides how U.S. nuclear weapons should be targeted in the future against potential foes, according to four sources with direct knowledge of it. The sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to a reporter about the review, described the president as fully on board, but said he has not signed the document.

While efforts were to finalize the new directive late last year, the administration didn’t go along with it.

The Hill chimes in claiming that,

The Obama White House has adopted a nuclear defense strategy that eschews maintaining a large ballistic arsenal in favor of using a smaller arsenal to target a limited number of threats, such as China, North Korea and Iran.

Due to that smaller, more tailored target set adopted by the White House, the Pentagon can afford to slash the arsenal by at least one-third while still maintaining a viable nuclear deterrence strategy, according to the directive.

It remains unclear exactly how many nuclear weapons that one-third cut would come out to, because the actual total amount of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal is classified.

All of this comes as Chuck Hagel looks to confirmation as the new Defense Secretary.

Last week, Senate Armed Services ranking member James Inhofe (R-OK) grilled Hagel on his work with Global Zero, a group that supports the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Hagel responded by saying he and the organization never supported unilateral disarmament, and quoted former President Reagan’s support for eliminating nuclear weapons.

“The position of Global Zero … has never been unilateral disarmament ever. Never,” Hagel said at the time.

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