Increases possibility of nuclear conflict by building new nuclear weapons, lowering threshold for use


Washington (February 2, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Congressional leader on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation issues, released the following statement today on the Trump administration’s finalized Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The NPR is the Trump administration’s comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear weapons policies.


“In the Trump administration, NPR stands for Nuclear Proliferation Roadmap” said Senator Markey. “Trump’s policies needlessly expand America’s nuclear warfighting capabilities by developing new ‘low yield’ nuclear weapons and re-introducing Cold War era nuclear weapons systems. This isn’t deterrence – it’s an invitation for America’s adversaries to expand and diversify their nuclear arsenals too. These policies also would divert resources away from maintaining America’s conventional military superiority, especially after years of uncertainty from running our Defense Department on short-term budget agreements. And expanding the scenarios under which America might use its nuclear weapons only causes ambiguity for both adversaries and allies, creating the very fog of war that can lead to miscalculation and disaster.  We must reject the picture the Trump NPR paints of a dangerous world that requires America to threaten a nuclear response to conventional scenarios.


“We cannot preach nuclear temperance from a barstool,” continued Senator Markey. “But President Trump’s NPR sidelines these responsibilities and pays scant attention to the very real threats posed by nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Instead of leading global efforts to reintroduce nuclear weapons into warfighting, America should, as it has done for decades, continue to lead global efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons in their entirety.”


Earlier this week, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led a dozen of their Senate colleagues in calling on President Trump to reconsider the policies outlined in the leaked draft of the NPR. The Senators also expressed concern that the new weapons and missions would require additional funding beyond the $1.7 trillion the Congressional Budget Office estimates it would cost just to modernize existing U.S. nuclear forces.