On April 12-13, 2010, President Obama is hosting a Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, to enhance international cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism. President Obama has invited over 40 nations to participate. The goals of the Nuclear Security Summit are to come to a common understanding of the threat posed by nuclear terrorism, to agree to effective measures to secure nuclear material, and to prevent nuclear smuggling and terrorism. The Summit will focus on the security of nuclear materials, leaving other broad topics such as nonproliferation, disarmament, and peaceful nuclear energy to different forums. The work of the summit began yesterday with a number of bilateral meetings, with more scheduled today. The President will welcome each head of delegation this afternoon, and the summit will commence with a working dinner tonight.
On April 8, 2010, President Obama and Russian President Medvedev signed the New START Treaty, reducing the number of strategic nuclear warheads in our arsenals to levels not seen since the first decade of the nuclear age. Secretary Clinton said, "This verifiable reduction by the world's two largest nuclear powers reflects our commitment to the basic bargain of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) -- all nations have the right to seek the peaceful use of nuclear energy, but they all also have the responsibility to prevent nuclear proliferation, and those that do possess these weapons must work toward disarmament. This agreement is just one of several concrete steps the United States is taking to make good on President Obama's pledge to make America and the world safer by reducing the threat of nuclear weapons, proliferation and terrorism." Read more about the New START Treaty here.
Two days prior to the signing of the New START Treaty, the Department of Defense released the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), a legislatively-mandated review that establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to ten years. Secretary of Defense Gates said, "The NPR provides a road map for implementing President Obama's agenda for reducing nuclear risks to the United States, our allies and partners and the international community. This review describes how the United States will reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons with a long-term goal of a nuclear-free world." Read more about the Nuclear Posture Review here.
The new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was released almost exactly a year after President Obama gave a major speech in Prague outlining his vision for decreasing the threat of nuclear arms to the world. In that speech, President Obama said:
"[W]e must ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon. This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with one nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction. Al Qaeda has said it seeks a bomb and that it would have no problem with using it. And we know that there is unsecured nuclear material across the globe. To protect our people, we must act with a sense of purpose without delay.... We will set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia, pursue new partnerships to lock down these sensitive materials. We must also build on our efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade. Because this threat will be lasting, we should come together to turn efforts such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism into durable international institutions. And we should start by having a Global Summit on Nuclear Security that the United States will host within the next year.
"Now, I know that there are some who will question whether we can act on such a broad agenda. There are those who doubt whether true international cooperation is possible, given inevitable differences among nations. And there are those who hear talk of a world without nuclear weapons and doubt whether it's worth setting a goal that seems impossible to achieve. But make no mistake: We know where that road leads. When nations and peoples allow themselves to be defined by their differences, the gulf between them widens. When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. We know the path when we choose fear over hope. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy but also a cowardly thing to do. That's how wars begin. That's where human progress ends. There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it not by splitting apart but by standing together as free nations, as free people. I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together."Related Entry:President Obama Addresses Nuclear Security Summit Opening Plenary