WASHINGTON, DC - Yesterday, Chairman Thornberry delivered remarks on the Nuclear Posture Review at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. To watch his remarks in full as well as the conversation that followed, click here. Following are excerpts from his speech as prepared for delivery:
On the importance of a robust nuclear deterrent: “For 70 years, the most serious existential threat to the United States has been a nuclear attack against our homeland. Deterring that attack has been the essential foundation upon which the rest of our defense efforts depend. If we don't do that, not much else matters.”
On debating the need to modernize our deterrent today: “And, for more than 70 years, our nuclear deterrent has been the target of some opposition based largely on ideology or maybe a discomfort with the tremendous power of such weapons.
“That is part of the reason there is an understandable longing just to make them go away – to un-invent them, to treaty them out of existence. However understandable that sentiment is, it is a fantasy, and it also makes it harder to dispassionately consider the state of our deterrent over time and how well it is able to perform its mission.”
… “We have to be alert to the danger of delay or neglect of the cornerstone of our national security because it's hard to think about or unpleasant or a target of political controversy.”
On Russia’s Approach to America’s nuclear debate: “One other historical note of considerable relevance today - In his memoir of his time at the CIA, Robert Gates talks about
the Soviets' "massive covert action operation" aimed at thwarting NATO deployment of Ground Launched Cruise missiles and Pershing IIs.
“Those "active measures" included providing propaganda themes to peace movement groups, as well as organizational expertise, financial resources, forged U.S. military documents, etc.
“And according to declassified CIA documents, that campaign was built upon a similar campaign they carried out against the neutron bomb of 1977-78.
It's part of the standard playbook, and we should expect more of the same against the decisions called for in the Nuclear Posture Review - only given their recent success, a more sophisticated version.”