Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review Fails to Reduce the Nuclear Threat

Statement by Tara Drozdenko, Global Security Program Director, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Oct 27, 2022

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The Biden administration today released its de-classified Nuclear Posture Review, which lays out the administration’s nuclear weapons policy.

Below is a statement by Dr. Tara Drozdenko, director of the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“At a moment when fear of nuclear war is at levels not seen since the Cold War, President Biden could have used the Nuclear Posture Review to dramatically decrease the risk of nuclear war by declaring that the United States will never start a nuclear war and ending the president’s sole authority to launch a nuclear strike. These changes would immediately reduce the risk of a misunderstanding, miscalculation or flat-out mistake leading to a world-changing nuclear war.

“The Biden Nuclear Posture Review fails to meaningfully reduce the nuclear threat.

“Instead, it reinforces the status quo, barreling ahead with misguided plans to increase production of plutonium pits and replace the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal, and remaining wedded to an outdated and unnecessary nuclear triad that treats U.S. communities that house nuclear missiles as sponges to absorb potential nuclear attacks.

“The decision to cancel the sea-launched cruise missile and retire the B83 bomb are sound, responsible choices that will now need to be defended in Congress, which has retained some funding for the cruise missile.

“The Nuclear Posture Review is meant to be an opportunity to evaluate the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security. But the process has proved simply to be an exercise in rehashing and reaffirming the status quo. Dissent is not tolerated. Without meaningful debate that includes a variety of voices – including the voices of those directly impacted by the testing, production and use of nuclear weapons – the NPR functions as a rubber stamp for the nuclear weapons complex. This is the opposite of transparent, accessible and democratic government.

“In 28 years, no NPR has produced meaningful, positive policy change. We need a new approach to nuclear weapons policy in this country, one that reckons with the harm caused by nuclear weapons and what true security would look like.”