Feinstein, Markey Lead Call for Comprehensive Review by Trump Administration of Role of Nuclear Weapons in U.S. Security
Jul 19 2017
Broad interagency input, a publicly-available document, and continuation of U.S. commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons should be core components of Nuclear Posture Review say 22 Senators
Washington – Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today led 20 colleagues in a letter to the Trump administration to conduct an inclusive and transparent Nuclear Posture Review process. In the letter to the State Department, Defense Department, and Energy Department, the senators emphasized the importance of transparency and thoroughness throughout the ongoing process to evaluate and define the missions and requirements for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Specifically, the senators call for it to include broad interagency input, to produce a publicly-available document, and to reaffirm the nation’s longstanding commitment to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.
“The United States has a moral obligation to reduce the threat of nuclear war,” said Senator Feinstein. “The Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review reduced the role of nuclear weapons and reaffirmed our commitment to eventually eliminating nuclear weapons. I urge the Trump administration to reject calls for new nuclear weapons and maintain the course set by the previous administration.”
“We must continue moving toward a future free from the threat of nuclear war,” said Senator Markey. “U.S. nuclear policy should focus on reducing the role of nuclear weapons – relying on them only to deter nuclear attack on the United States and our partners and allies – and avoid any move that could lower the threshold for use of nuclear weapons or increase the risk of inadvertent nuclear war. Incorporating the recommendations outlined in this letter into the Nuclear Posture Review will help us achieve this vital objective and will reaffirm the position of the United States as the global leader in nuclear arms control and nonproliferation.”
The full text of the letter to Secretary Rex Tillerson, Secretary James Mattis, and Secretary Rick Perry can be found here.
In the letter the senators also urge the heads of the Departments of State, Defense, and Energy to adhere to longstanding, bipartisan principles regarding nuclear weapons policy during the current review process. For example, the senators call for maintaining U.S. obligations under existing Senate-ratified arms control treaties such as the limits on deployed strategic warheads and launchers agreed under the 2010 New START Treaty with Russia and article VI of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which obliges all parties to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” The senators also stress the importance of continuing the U.S. moratorium on nuclear weapons testing first put into place by President George H.W. Bush, instead continuing to rely on the Stockpile Stewardship Program to ensure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal as the directors of U.S. national labs have continuously certified that nuclear test explosions are not needed to maintain the reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons.
Other senators signing the letter include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).