Yesterday the Biden administration released a fact sheet on the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), a day after briefing Congress on the classified version of the document. The publicly available unclassified NPR, which lays out Biden’s views on U.S. nuclear weapons policy, may not be available for some weeks. As described by officials who have provided briefings on it, the NPR can only be seen as a disappointment, a far cry from the sensible goals Biden set out over his long career in public service.
Below is a statement from Stephen Young, senior Washington representative for the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“This Nuclear Posture Review is a failure. It nudges the needle back to the Obama administration but does almost nothing to reduce the continuing risks of nuclear war.
“The U.S. faces two choices: Spending $1 trillion rebuilding our entire nuclear arsenal and continuing Cold War-era policies that make nuclear war easier to start, or deciding it is time to change, and beginning to move posture and policy back from the brink.
“This NPR chooses the first path. If maintained, it will mean decades more of nuclear brinkmanship and clear nuclear risk. The chances of catastrophic failure are higher than ever.
“Many have argued it would take a nuclear crisis to break the stranglehold that Cold War hawks have held on nuclear policy. Right now, in Ukraine, we are witnessing just such a crisis: A nuclear-armed aggressor, empowered by its arsenal, acts with impunity. Nuclear weapons no longer ‘keep the peace,’ they enable war. We live in a new era and sticking to the status quo is not going to make us safer.
“We have to get rid of nuclear weapons. It won't be quick or easy. But everything we do should be directed toward that end, or we risk facing the end of humanity as we know it.”