Emerging Consensus on Nuclear Weapons Reductions
Recent Quotes by World and Congressional Leaders
Sen. Carl Levin (MI)
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee
“The Cold War is over. I just think there’s a way over-reliance and cost that goes into our nuclear weapon system…. I’ve always believed that nuclear weapons are way overdone, we have way more than are needed to carry out their mission. Their mission can’t be to use them. They can only be to deter, or to achieve some form of deterrence.”
Paul Bedard, “Senator Puts U.S. Nuclear Arsenal in Doubt,” U.S. News & World Report, January 26, 2012.
“General [James] Cartwright has spoken recently on one area in the defense budget which surely is ripe for cuts, and that's the nuclear stockpile.”
Sen. Carl Levin, press conference, National Press Club, Washington, June 12, 2012.
Rep. Adam Smith (WA)
Ranking Democrat, House Armed Services Committee
“Do we need a nuclear stockpile of the size that we have in order to meet that deterrent mission? There’s some pretty compelling evidence that we don’t.… We have a lot [of nuclear weapons]. I think we have enough to meet that deterrent mission. How do you then right-size that force? Not much savings to be had. But when you’re looking at a way to meet what our strategy is in a post-Cold War world, if you will, I would think that our nuclear stockpile does not have to be as large as it was.”
Elaine M. Grossman, “Senior House Democrat Might Weigh Conventional-Only Bomber—But Not Yet,” Global Security Newswire, March 1, 2012.
“I also think that when you look at our nuclear policy, a nuclear policy that was built based on a premise of deterrence and mutually assured destruction with the then Soviet Union, I think there is clearly savings to be found in that area as well.”
Rep. Adam Smith, interview on Newsmakers, C-SPAN, July 22, 2012. Available at 4:57.
Rep. Ed Markey (MA)
Ranking Democrat, House Natural Resources Committee
“Our current nuclear arsenal has significant overkill that is built into it. Our country continues to spend more and more taxpayer money on nuclear weapons even though the President and the Senate have already agreed to reduce the number of deployed nuclear weapons, and even though there is a growing bipartisan consensus that the United States has an excessive number of nuclear weapons and that the United States spends far more than it needs to for a nuclear deterrent and defense.”
Congressional Record, July 18, 2012, p. H4988.
Rep. Rob Andrews (NJ)
Member, House Armed Services Committee
“I think that a nuclear arsenal that can blow up the world 24 times is quite sufficient and could be modernized and reduced in cost.”
Rep. Robert E. Andrews, speaking during the House Armed Services Committee, Hearing on Sequestration Implementation Options and the Effects on National Defense, August 1, 2012.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH)
Ranking Democrat, House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee
"We must reduce the threat of nuclear weapons, working together with our friends in the international community."
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Marcy Kaptur Agenda.
Former Rep. Norm Dicks (WA)
Ranking Democrat, House Appropriations Committee
“We simply don't need, and we can't afford to have and continue to produce all of these nuclear weapons that will, more than likely, never be used. They are a good deterrent and they have been an effective deterrent. Thank God for that. But the Cold War is over, and we are in a position today where we must reduce the size of our nuclear weapons force.”
Congressional Record, July 18, 2012, p. H 5041.
Current and Former World Leaders
President of the United States
"The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War . . . Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not . . . as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act . . . So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
President Barack Obama, 2009 Prague speech, April 5, 2009.
Former Secretary of State
"The consequence of a world full of nuclear powers to me is so incomprehensible in terms of the dangers that that implies. One nuclear war is going to be the last nuclear - the last war, frankly, if it really gets out of hand. And I just don't think we ought to be prepared to accept that sort of thing."
Lawrence Eagleburger, On the Record, FOX News, October 3, 2009.
Former Secretary of Defense
“The indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will lead to the destruction of nations.”
Robert McNamara, Fog of War documentary, 2004.
Grace Cason, David Culp, Rachel Kent FCNL
Revised April 24, 2013