President Obama’s recent call for the United States to reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons has met its share of skeptics concerned about national security, given unstable political and military conditions around the world. But there’s at least one group of scientists and environmental activists adamant about the country moving toward nuclear disarmament.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have released a report titled “From Counterforce to Minimal Deterrence – A New Nuclear Policy on the Path toward Eliminating Nuclear Weapons.” The report calls for the U.S. to abandon its five-decade-long central mission for nuclear forces based on counterforce – the capability for U.S. forces to destroy an enemy’s military forces, its weapons, command, and control facilities.
According to the report , the nation’s current nuclear doctrine reflects Cold War-era global conditions and should be replaced with a less ambitious doctrine. It calls for the U.S. to adopt a minimal deterrence mission, which essentially means the U.S. would have the capability to retaliate if any nation uses nuclear weapons against us or its allies.
The report said adopting a less ambitious nuclear weapons strategy would be implementable with the nation’s current weapons arsenal. There would be no need to build new weapons or an extensive new nuclear complex.
Reducing the nation’s nuclear arsenal has many implications, not the least of it being the country’s defense and research spending and labor picture. A recent New York Times article said nuclear weapons accounted for one-third of the Department of Energy’s budget. Reducing the nuclear stockpile could mean less funding for the nation’s scientific research labs. That in turn could threaten the jobs of many scientists and engineers employed in these facilities – not a good prospect given the nation’s already dim employment picture.
The report also comes on the heels of North Korea and Iran conducting controversial missile tests, only adding to the concern some legislators and policymakers have regarding the new administration’s global defense policy.
The debate over nuclear disarmament is just beginning.............