Early in his first Presidential term, President Barack Obama outlined his vision for advancing a world without nuclear weapons, including though nuclear disarmament, preventing nuclear terrorism and curbing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Since then, the United States and its partners have taken a number of significant steps towards realizing these goals.
“Most critically . . . . North Korea, Iran and Syria have failed to live up to their NPT obligations."
Nonetheless, “Despite our past successes, there are very pressing challenges all around us and on the horizon,” said Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller.
“Most critically . . . North Korea, Iran and Syria have failed to live up to their NPT obligations and have failed to take the steps necessary to rectify these violations, she said. "These transgressions threaten international security and undermine confidence in the nonproliferation regime. These cases also stand directly in the way of our shared disarmament goals."
So what is on President Obama’s agenda for the next four years?
Non-proliferation is a top priority for the United States. Thus, we will work with our partners to ensure that Non-Proliferation Treaty rules are binding, and that all parties stay in compliance, or face serious consequences. We are also working to create a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and continuing our mission to secure, remove and eliminate vulnerable nuclear materials, thus keeping them out of the hands of terrorists.
On the disarmament front, the United States continues the process of reducing the overall numbers of nuclear weapons. “We are now exploring what a future agreement with Russia might look like – and how to include all categories of nuclear weapons,” said Acting Under Secretary Gottemoeller.
In the near future, the United States hopes to start negotiating a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which is an essential step toward global nuclear disarmament. And of course, ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty remain priorities, said Acting Under Secretary Gottemoeller.
“The United States is and has always been committed to innovation and the arms control and nonproliferation arenas are no exception. To respond to the challenges we face, we are thinking about creative ways to use technologies… to tackle long-standing verification and monitoring problems. We hope that other states will join us in this endeavor.”