6 April 2010: Statement on the release of the US Nuclear Posture Review

(Stockholm, 6 April) In a statement issued today on the release of the United States Nuclear Posture Review, SIPRI Director Dr Bates Gill said:

I welcome the release of the Nuclear Posture Review and its core message: that the United States is taking steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in its overall national security policy. This diminution in the role of nuclear weapons has both short-term and longer-term effects. Effective immediately, the USA has formally narrowed the circumstances under which it is prepared to use nuclear weapons. Over the longer term, by deciding not to pursue new nuclear weapons, the USA will forgo next-generation weapons and the expansion of missions which such new weapons might fill. The Nuclear Posture Review fell short of a 'no first use' declaration, but it signals the most significant policy shift of any of the three Nuclear Posture Reviews since 1994 toward reductions in the role of nuclear weapons.

The Nuclear Posture Review, the new bilateral arms control agreement with Russia, and the Nuclear Security Summit to take place next week in Washington together create a new political momentum that can enable states to take further steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the coming years.

All in all, President Obama is making good on his commitment to work towards a world without nuclear weapons. However, it is also clear the complete elimination of nuclear weapons is in no way an easy task and will require a long series of judiciously orchestrated steps to steadily build up the conditions that allow progressive reductions in the role and importance of nuclear weapons in parallel with reductions in the arsenals themselves. The Nuclear Posture Review is an important step in this process.

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