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ScrapTrident


Commission on US strategic posture

left The interim report from a new commission into US nuclear weapons policy, chaired by former Defence Secretary William Perry, was published on 15 December 

Overall the report is mixed and cautious.  It reaffirms the importance of Russia in determining the size of US nuclear forces, although it states that there is no nuclear threat from Russia or China.  It advocates bilateral negotiations with Russia. Ratification of the CTBT could be considered if there were assurances from the nuclear laboratories.  Nuclear terrorism is seen as a growing threat, particularly if the dangers of proliferation are not tackled.

A paper was sent to the Commission on the relationship between US and British nuclear weapons programmes. In 2007 the US Congress rejected the Bush administration�s request for funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW).  Some of the money was diverted to pay for a new study into the future of the US nuclear weapons programme. The interim report of the Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States policy, chaired by former Defence Secretary William Perry, was published on 15 December.Overall the report is mixed and cautious.  It reaffirms the importance of Russia in determining the size of US nuclear forces, although it states that there is no nuclear threat from Russia or China.  It advocates bilateral negotiations with Russia. Ratification of the CTBT could be considered if there were assurances from the nuclear laboratories.  Nuclear terrorism is seen as a growing threat, particularly if the dangers of proliferation are not tackled.The says that we are at a tipping point in proliferation and that Iran and North Korea could trigger a cascade of other nations developing nuclear weapons. There are two conflicting requirements that emerge from this danger. On the one hand the report recognises that international cooperation is needed to tackle proliferation and that such cooperation would be more forthcoming if the US shows it is serious about reducing the importance of its own nuclear weapons. On the other hand, the danger of proliferation is also used to justify America�s nuclear stockpile. The report argues that allies of the US would be more likely to develop their own weapons if America withdrew its nuclear umbrella.Although not mentioned in the report, this points to the importance of the discussions within NATO in 2009 on the wording of a new strategic concept. The US argument could be undermined if European members of NATO state clearly that they would not rush to develop their own nuclear weapons if the US withdrew its nuclear umbrella. The Commission postponed making a recommendation for or against the development of RRW.  It notes that work is being carried out into a new third way, somewhere between the current Life Extension Programs (LEPs) and RRW � �DoD and NNSA are exploring opportunities to make more significant changes in the weapons than has occurred in previous refurbishment programs. These changes include �mining� existing components from non-deployed weapons to assure long-term reliability and increased safety and security of weapons kept in the force�.

This new approach was outlined in April 2008 in a paper on Stewarding a Reduced Stockpile by Bruce Goodwin (Lawrence Livermore) and Glenn Mara (Los Alamos).[1]  This described the proposal as Extensive Reuse Life Extension Program (erLEP). 

A paper was sent to the Commission on the relationship between US and British nuclear weapons programmes.