While the focus of President Obama’s first State of the Union address was overwhelmingly centered on job creation and reviving the economy, his remarks regarding nuclear weapons reiterated the Administration’s commitment to leading a bipartisan nuclear security agenda that addresses the grave threat posed by nuclear weapons.
As he identified in the speech, the President has adopted the visions of former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in pursuing meaningful steps to reverse the proliferation of nuclear weapons and seek a world without them.
• Significant progress is being made in negotiations for a follow-on to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, a key agreement for reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles in the U.S. and Russia, which expired on December 5th. (In fact, just hours before giving the State of the Union, the President spoke with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and the leaders agreed that the negotiations for “the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades” are nearly complete.)
• U.S. leadership in strengthening the non-proliferation and disarmament regime is essential to garnering international support to halt the North Korean and Iranian programs.
• He established a clear goal for the April Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC of “securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists.”
As the chairman of our sister organization, Lt. Gen. Robert Gard identifies, “Nearly every national security expert agrees that terrorist use of nuclear weapons against the United States is our gravest security threat. The best way to address the threat of nuclear terrorism is by securing vulnerable nuclear materials and verifiably reducing nuclear stockpiles.”
While there is still much work to be done, last night’s State of the Union reaffirmed President Obama’s commitment to the bipartisan efforts to do just that.