Sen. Inhofe: Obama’s nuclear plan breaks his word

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and outspoken opponent of the New START treaty, today said that President Obama’s announcement to unilaterally disarm up to 80 percent of our nation’s nuclear arsenal is breaking his word to Congress in order to fulfill campaign promises to his liberal base.

“President Obama is breaking his word to Congress that paved the way for Senate ratification of the New START treaty,” said Inhofe.  “In order to get New START, President Obama committed to a 10-year plan to rebuild our aging nuclear weapons complex and modernize delivery systems.  His written commitment to pursue those programs and capabilities is what prompted many Senators to support ratification of New START.  Now we find out it was a hollow commitment to Congress that is trumped by election year politics.

“He campaigned in 2008 on dramatically reducing our nuclear arsenal and even won a Nobel Peace Prize for those promises.  Now that he is campaigning for re-election, he is once again catering to his liberal base that believes that if we unilaterally disarm, the rest of the world will follow suit and threats to our national security will just go away.  

“At the very same time that President Obama is announcing his proposal to disarm America, Iran is preparing to make a major announcement on their own efforts to achieve nuclear weapons.  The idea that making ourselves weaker will somehow lead to increased global security and stability is ridiculous.  The reality is, if we follow this plan, our allies will soon realize that we can no longer protect them under our nuclear umbrella, which will lead to greater nuclear proliferation.”

Inhofe pointed out that any reduction in our nuclear deterrent should be based on all countries, especially Russia and China, agreeing to reduce their nuclear stockpiles, including rail based launchers and tactical nuclear weapons.  Reductions should also be accompanied by a robust modernization program to ensure viability of the remaining assets in the nuclear triad, and deterrence should be bolstered by a robust and tested missile defense system that can protect not only the United States, but our allies around the world.

Nuclear Facts:

  • Obama weighing options for sharp new cuts to our nuclear arsenal unilaterally, potentially up to 80 percent.
  • In 2008, he campaigned to provide "verifiable reductions in all U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons — whether deployed or non-deployed, whether strategic or non-strategic — and work with other nuclear powers to reduce global stockpiles dramatically."
  • Under the recently negotiated New START Treaty, the U.S. nuclear arsenal is currently at 1,550 warheads.  Obama’s proposed plans could reduce the number of warheads as low as 300.
  • New START does not address tactical nuclear weapons even though these weapons remain one of the most significant threats to national security
  • Russia has approximately 4,000 tactical nukes.  That is a 10 to 1 superiority in tactical nuclear weapons over U.S. tactical capabilities.  Under New START, Russia’s nuclear weapons will outnumber ours by at least 2 to 1.
  • The U.S. is the only major nuclear power not modernizing its weapons.  Most are 15 years older than they were designed to last.
  • Enhanced safety, security, and reliability of nuclear weapons stockpile, modernization of the nuclear weapons complex, and maintenance of the nuclear delivery systems are key to enabling further reductions.
  • To garner support for New START, the Obama Administration committed to a 10-year plan (i.e. the Section 1251 Plan) to rebuild our aging nuclear weapons complex and modernize the triad of strategic delivery systems.  
  • Obama pledged in a Dec 2010 letter to several senators, “I recognize that nuclear modernization requires investment for the long-term…that is my commitment to the Congress – that my administration will pursue these programs and capabilities for as long as I am president.”   
  • The President’s support for the revised 1251 plan was the basis upon which many senators voted in favor of New START ratification.  
  • The President’s just released FY13 budget cuts and delays modernization of our nuclear enterprise.
  • New START reduces US nuclear stockpile without ensuring modernization of its nuclear triad and supporting infrastructure, contains language limiting U.S. missile defense development and deployment, lacks verification procedures that would ensure compliance and deter cheating, and fails to deter proliferation.
  • President Obama canceled the “third” site in Poland that would have provided a missile defense capability against a nuclear armed Iran.  Instead, he changed course and adopted a phased adaptive approach which has resulted in gaps in capability and protection for the east coast.
  • President Obama has also cut funding and testing for Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) that are an integral portion of our nuclear defense system.