A Pentagon think tank that reports directly to the secretary of Defense has hired a longtime advocate of a large nuclear weapons arsenal to review the Obama administration’s move to reduce the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, military contract records show.
In a June speech in Berlin, President Obama proposed reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal by one third, saying “after a comprehensive review, I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third.”
The Office of Net Assessment, which has been run since its inception in 1973 by Andrew Marshall, 92, has hired the National Institute of Public Policy to conduct a study called “Identifying the Fundamental Assumptions and Logic of Minimum Deterrence, and Examining Them Against Empirical Evidence.” The contract is worth $184,183.
The study, according to a contract document released Tuesday, will examine “proposals for a Minimum Deterrence policy [that has] a long history in the United States. The common theme in such proposals is that given the great lethality of nuclear weapons, few are needed to ensure the reliable, predictable functioning of deterrence. These proposals typically conclude that a relatively small number of survivable U.S, nuclear weapons and their launchers, measured in single digits to hundreds, is and will be adequate for all pertinent U.S. deterrence missions, including extended deterrence. These weapons are intended to hold at risk a small number of an opponent’s soft and non-military targets. Minimum Deterrence proposals call for the United States to reduce its arsenal of nuclear weapons to such levels unilaterally or as part of an arms control process.
However, the proposal warns, “U.S. nuclear deterrence strategies have never fully adopted notions of Minimum Deterrence. Indeed, a consistent theme in U.S. policy for four decades has been the explicit rejection of Minimum Deterrence.”
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