Senator Cantwell Calls for Inclusive, Transparent, and Comprehensive Review by Trump Administration of Role of Nuclear Weapons in U.S. Security

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, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today joined 21 colleagues in a letter to the Trump Administration calling for an inclusive and transparent Nuclear Posture Review process. In the letter to the State Department, Defense Department, and Energy Department, 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. 

“As the world’s foremost nuclear power and the only nation to have ever used nuclear weapons in war, the United States has a unique responsibility to reduce the risk of their use. By conducting a transparent and inclusive Nuclear Posture Review process that adheres to longstanding bipartisan principles, you will fulfill that duty while preserving U.S. national security interests,” wrote the Senators.

The full text of the letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry can be found HERE.

In the letter, the senators also urged 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, and continuing to rely on the Stockpile Stewardship Program to ensure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Directors of the U.S. national security labs have continuously certified that nuclear test explosions are not needed to maintain the reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons.

Led by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).