PNND Co-President Markey leads call on U.S. Nuclear Posture Review

Senators Markey and Feinstein lead the call for an open, inclusive and progressive review by the Trump Administration of the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy.

Broad interagency input, a publicly-available document, and continuation of U.S. commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons should be core components of Nuclear Posture Review say 22 Senators

Washington (July 19, 2017) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today led 20 colleagues in a letter to the Trump administration to conduct an inclusive, transparent and comprehensive Nuclear Posture Review process.

In the letter to the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defence James Mattis, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, the senators emphasized the importance of transparency and thoroughness throughout the ongoing process to evaluate and define the missions and requirements for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. 

Specifically, the senators call for it to include broad interagency input, to produce a publicly-available document, and to reaffirm the nation’s longstanding commitment to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. 

“We must continue moving toward a future free from the threat of nuclear war,” said PNND Co-President Senator Markey. “U.S. nuclear policy should focus on reducing the role of nuclear weapons – relying on them only to deter nuclear attack on the United States and our partners and allies – and avoid any move that could lower the threshold for use of nuclear weapons or increase the risk of inadvertent nuclear war.

The United States has a moral obligation to reduce the threat of nuclear war,” said Senator Feinstein. The Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review reduced the role of nuclear weapons and reaffirmed our commitment to eventually eliminating nuclear weapons. I urge the Trump administration to reject calls for new nuclear weapons and maintain the course set by the previous administration.

In the letter the senators also urge the heads of the Departments of State, Defense, and Energy to adhere to longstanding, bipartisan principles regarding nuclear weapons policy during the current review process. 

For example, the senators call for maintaining U.S. obligations under existing Senate-ratified arms control treaties such as the limits on deployed strategic warheads and launchers agreed under the 2010 New START Treaty with Russia and article VI of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which obliges all parties to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.

The senators also stress the importance of continuing the U.S. moratorium on nuclear weapons testing first put into place by President George H.W. Bush. They argue that the Stockpile Stewardship Program can ensure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and that the directors of U.S. national labs have continuously certified that nuclear test explosions are not needed to maintain the reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons.

Other senators signing the letter include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).