Top General Urges Officials To Trim, Re-Think U.S. Nuclear Arsenal [View all]
By David Ferguson
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 16:50 EDT
The U.S. nuclear arsenal is too big, too expensive, out of date and desperately needs to be re-thought, according to retired Marine General James Cartwright and retired U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering.
Pickering and Cartwright met with the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development on Wednesday in a hearing about our nuclear arsenal, which was built decades ago to protect this country from a range of threats it no longer faces. Now, the antiquated system is costing the country money and placing it at risk, said the two men, and a time has come to take steps to modernize the weapons system.
Cartwright, who is a chairman of the nuclear disarmament commission Global Zero, was presenting the Global Zero U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission’s report, which calls upon the U.S. and Russia to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals by 80 percent to 900 nuclear weapons each. The proposal outlined in the report calls for a “reduced and de-alerted” nuclear force, one with modernized technology and shortened response times, but which ultimately spends $120 billion less over the next decade.
Joel Rubin of the global security firm The Ploughshares Fund agrees with Cartwright and Pickering that the U.S. arsenal is “out of date, out of synch with our times and out of step with our national budget.” Rubin told Raw Story that our current nuclear arsenal was built in response to the rise of the Soviet Union during the Cold War and is still operating in that mindset. Seeing the retired general and ambassador, he said, was a sign of a major shift in what he considers the right direction.