Judging from the numbers collected by FAS, the US reduced our nuclear weapons stockpile at a much faster pace under George W Bush than under President Obama, where the US cut its active weapons from over 10,000 in 2000 to just over 5,000 by the time Bush left office.
So when Obama says, “I’ve reduced the number and role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy,” like he did in the Washington Post, he’s referring to a drop in the ocean.
It’s also curious that he’s claiming he reduced the “role” of nuclear weapons in the United States’s national security strategy, considering the administration has indicated that the US government would spend over $1tn over the next few decades to “modernize” our nuclear weapons program. Instead of retiring or destroying weapons that are out of date, they will be spending a huge amount of money to make sure the mass killing machines survive decades longer and that they are easier to use.
…there is one facet of national security — arguably the most important one — where President Obama is turning out to be a real hardliner. That area is nuclear weapons. Obama has backed investment in new nuclear delivery systems, upgraded warheads, resilient command networks, and industrial sites for fabricating nuclear hardware that, when added to the expense of maintaining the existing arsenal, will cost $348 billion between 2015 and 2024. At least, that’s what the Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this year.
President Obama has proposed a frighteningly wrongheaded plan to “modernize” our nuclear arsenal at the unfathomable cost of about $1 trillion over the next 30 years…William Perry, who during the 1970s and ’80s directed the development of air-launched nuclear cruise missiles and later became secretary of defense. Now Perry is campaigning against Obama’s plan to develop and buy 1,000 new missiles with adjustable nuclear capacity, 100 new long-range bombers, and a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines. He warns that if the plan becomes real, disputes among nations will be “more likely to erupt in nuclear conflict than during the Cold War.”
IMAGE: Taylor Callery for the Boston Globe