White House Revisiting Nuclear Policy

WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) — The White House is developing a U.S. nuclear strategy that would reduce the country’s arsenal and outline when nuclear weapons would be used, aides said

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was to present President Barack Obama with several options to address unresolved issues, The New York Times reported Monday.

Obama’s strategy will be in “Nuclear Posture Review,” a document all presidents develop.

Among the unresolved issues is the question of how — or whether — to narrow the circumstances under which the United States will declare it might use nuclear weapons. Aides said the administration rejected a proposal that the country state it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons.

White House officials said the new strategy commits the United States to developing no new nuclear weapons. Obama already announced he will seek funds to update U.S. weapons laboratories to ensure reliability of a nuclear arsenal anticipated to be much smaller.

“It will be clear in the document that there will be very dramatic reductions — in the thousands — as relates to the stockpile,” an administration official told the Times.

Much of the reduction would come from the retirement of of weapons now in storage, the official said.

The review also shows the United States moving toward more non-nuclear defenses, relying on missile defense, the Times said.

But how the administration describes the purpose of the country’s nuclear arsenal remains a looming issue, the Times said.

Some key Democrats, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, asked Obama to state that the “sole purpose” of the country’s nuclear arsenal is deterrence.

However, officials inside the Pentagon and the White House have urged Obama to be more ambiguous — stating deterrence is a primary but not sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

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