A truculent military and national security apparatus has bogged down President Obama’s push to reconsider the size and mission of the US nuclear arsenal, just as it did during the Clinton administration. Insiders tell the Los Angeles Times that there are multiple areas of concern, including how much of US strategy regarding the use of nuclear weapons to disclose to the world. Also at issue is how to reduce stockpiles while still providing security to non-nuclear allies.
The US promise of protection is widely seen as a deterrent to other nations developing nuclear weapons on their own. And though some believe elucidating the nation’s guidelines for their use would assuage other powers, the current ambiguity is also a deterrent. Many agree as well that having missiles, subs, and bombers to deliver the weapons is superfluous, but each branch has a powerful lobby and friends in Congress. Despite the hurdles, a DoD official is confident that the review will go forward. “We are not looking at whether” to cut numbers, he says. “We’re looking at how.”