WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden, urging the President to consider a number of critical issues as his administration begins their Nuclear Posture Review. In the letter, Chairman Smith stressed the importance of maintaining a credible deterrent while right-sizing requirements to reduce the role nuclear weapons play in our national security strategy.
“As your Administration begins its nuclear posture review, rightfully in the context of the overall national defense and national security strategies, I urge you to consider a series of vital issues related to the modernization our nuclear deterrent, the infrastructure of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the nuclear command, control, and communications enterprise,” Chairman Smith wrote. “This requires the close attention of you and your national security leadership to ensure the nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable, affordable, and is balanced across the full spectrum of integrated deterrence. I urge you to ensure this review directly influences your next budget request, in line with your Interim National Security Strategy, which notes the importance of taking steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.”
Chairman Smith continued, “With regard to our own nuclear enterprise, the affordability and executability of our modernization program is central to the viability of our nuclear deterrent. We currently possess, and must continue to have, a strong nuclear deterrent. However, I urge you to take a hard look at whether every ongoing and planned effort is necessary. This includes considering whether its requirement is being driven to dominate our adversaries, or if it is instead focused to provide a credible and reliable deterrent – those statements are not synonymous and often are confused as such. In particular, across the Navy and Air Force programs, we are advancing not only an unprecedented number of new weapons under development, but also maintaining costly systems, such as the B-83 gravity bomb, that have questionable operational relevance in today’s environment. When asked about the requirements for all of these systems, the Department of Defense quickly points to Russian and Chinese investment in nuclear weapons, which I fear leads us down the path to a newly invigorated and very dangerous arms race.”
Read the full letter here.