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21st Century Deterrence Challenges


Rose Gottemoeller, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (file)

"Anticipating and preparing for changes in deterrence will be necessary for the continued security of our nation."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller spoke recently at the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska on nuclear deterrence challenges in the 21st Century.

"We have seen an evolution in nuclear policy thinking over the past 65 years, from policies of massive retaliation, to strategies of nuclear war-fighting, to our current conversations on strategic stability and predictability," Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller said. "Anticipating and preparing for changes in deterrence will be necessary for the continued security of our nation."

The New START Treaty between Russia and the United States entered into force on February 5, 2011, and its implementation is going well. "It’s been a bright spot in the U.S.-Russian relationship, and we see it continuing to be an area for positive cooperation," Secretary Gottemoeller said.

The United States is committed to continuing a step-by-step process in U.S.-Russian arms reductions regarding the overall number of nuclear weapons, including the pursuit of a future agreement with Russia for broad reductions in all categories of nuclear weapons – strategic, non-strategic, deployed and non-deployed.

The United States, along with Britain, France, Russia, and China are known as the P5 because they make up the five countries that have permanent seats in the United Nations' Security Council. They are also the five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller has called for a sustained and broad multilateral dialogue within the P5.

"I travelled to Paris last month for a conference where the P5 discussed transparency, verification, and confidence-building measures," she said. "The conference was a constructive step in the process of nuclear-weapons states’ engagement on disarmament and related issues, and demonstrated the P5’s commitment to the implementation of the Action Plan that was adopted by consensus at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference."

The United States is at the leading edge of transparency efforts – publically declaring its nuclear stockpile numbers; participating in voluntary and treaty-based inspections measures; and working with other nations on military-to-military, scientific and lab exchanges, and site visits.

"We hope," Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller concluded, "that all countries will join in the common effort to increase transparency and build mutual confidence. Confidence-building, at its very core, is a shared effort."

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