Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:20AM
US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry has emphasized the importance of nuclear weapons in the defense doctrine of the United States. “It ensures that a strong nuclear deterrent remains the cornerstone of US national security and that of our allies and our partners,” he said during his speech at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Monday. He also talked about the importance of decreasing the threat of nuclear weapons. He said the United States will not compromise on its principle to protect its friends and allies against what he described as “adversaries.” The top US diplomat also reiterated Washington’s commitment to the New Start Treaty with Russia that was signed in 2011. The treaty gives Washington much visibility into Moscow’s nuclear activities, according to Kerry. The treaty is a nuclear arms reduction agreement that commits the former Cold War rivals to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 each by 2018. The United States is thought to have as many as 2,650 non-deployed warheads, plus about 3,000 waiting to be dismantled, according to The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. The US government plans to spend $60 billion over the next 25 years to modernize the US nuclear arsenal. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, says that the nuclear modernization plan is misguided and violates international agreements to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. The massive spending comes despite the Obama administration’s endorsement of a world without nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported earlier this month that the US military’s nuclear force faces a set of serious problems amid the recent firing of two high-ranking nuclear commanders for alleged bad behavior. AHT/AGB
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