Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says President Barack Obama’s call to reduce the country’s nuclear arsenal by a third comes after two years of study.
Hagel tells an audience at the University of Nebraska-Omaha that STRATCOM at Offutt Air Force Base participated in the study of the size and mission of the country’s nuclear forces.“It found that in a world with nuclear weapons, a credible nuclear deterrent remains essential to peace and security as it has since the end of World War II,” Hagel says. “But it also found that we can sustain the credibility of our deterrent with fewer deployed, strategic nuclear weapons.”
Hagel says the president used the guidance of the two-year study to conclude that America could reduce its nuclear stockpile without endangering its national security.
“This guidance has my strong support as well as the strong support of General (Robert) Kehler and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
Hagel says he would talk with Gen. Kehler, Commander of the United States Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, during his visit to Nebraska. STRATCOM participated in the study.
Hagel seeks to reassure the audience that though the president proposes a reduction in nuclear arms, the country remains well defended. Hagel says three things will never change.
“First, the U.S. will maintain a ready and credible deterrent. Second, we will retain a triad of bombers, ICBMs and ballistic missile submarines. Third, we will make sure that our nuclear weapons remain safe, secure, ready and effective.”
President Obama outlined the proposal to reduce nuclear weapons during a speech in Germany, in which the president stated he would begin negotiations with Russia for each country to reduce its nuclear stockpile by a third.
AUDIO: Secretary of State Chuck Hagel discusses President Obama’s proposal to cut the country’s nuclear arsenal by a third. [1 min.]