The greatest nuclear threat is that terrorists could acquire nuclear materials or, worse, a nuclear weapon
“The traditional concept of nuclear deterrence - the idea that a country would not initiate a nuclear war for fear of nuclear retaliation - does not apply to terrorists,” said U.S. Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller.
“Our greatest nuclear threat is no longer a large-scale nuclear exchange, but the danger that terrorists could acquire nuclear materials or, worse, a nuclear weapon.”
Concerted action by the United States, Russia, and all other nuclear weapon states to reduce their arsenals can assist in garnering support from partners around the world for strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime, and securing nuclear materials worldwide to make it harder for terrorists to acquire them.
“The United States has made it clear that we are committed to continuing a step-by-step process to reduce the overall number of nuclear weapons, including the pursuit of future agreements with Russia to address all categories of nuclear weapons – strategic, non-strategic, deployed and non-deployed,” said Under Secretary Gottemoeller.
“We have taken steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy . . . We have committed not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states that are party to the Nonproliferation Treaty, and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations. We have clearly stated that it is in the U.S. interest and that of all other nations that the nearly 68-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons be extended forever.”
Another priority is beginning negotiations on a new international treaty to verifiably ban the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. A Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty would complement U.S.-Russian bilateral reductions and is the next multilateral nuclear disarmament step to take.
“By maintaining and supporting a safe, secure and effective stockpile - sufficient to deter any adversary and guarantee the defense of our allies- at the same time that we pursue responsible reductions through arms control, we will make this world a safer place,” said Under Secretary Gottemoeller. “We will succeed by moving forward step by step, confident and unafraid.”