By: Rep. Mac Thornberry - Defense News
The United States’ nuclear deterrent has been the cornerstone of our national defense and of international stability since World War II. Today, operating, sustaining, and recapitalizing our nuclear deterrent accounts for only about 4 percent of our overall defense budget, yet its value to America’s security is incalculable.
For more than 70 years, presidents from both political parties have shepherded this enormous responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the American people and our allies. While each administration has adapted our nuclear posture to evolving threats, the story of U.S. nuclear policy is more about steady consistency than dramatic change.
The recently-released Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is in line with this tradition and reflects the central conclusion of the broader National Defense Strategy released in January: the U.S. must recognize the reality of a return to great power competition and posture itself accordingly. After a thorough review of current U.S. nuclear posture and plans, coupled with a comprehensive assessment of how the security environment has changed since the Obama Administration’s 2010 NPR, Secretary of Defense James Mattis has reaffirmed the central elements of our nuclear posture and suggested several tweaks to account for today’s threats...
Three successive secretaries of Defense have called our nuclear deterrent the nation’s number one priority defense mission. That mission will comprise no more than 7 percent of the defense budget during the peak of the coming modernization program. As Secretary Mattis has said, “America can afford survival.” Congress now has the responsibility to take necessary steps to ensure our nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure, and credible. Our national security and world stability depend on it.
Rep. MacThornberry, serves as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
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