Note to Congress: Twenty Experts Ask President Obama to Reverse Course on Nuclear Cuts

This Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces is scheduled to convene a hearing, The U.S. Nuclear Deterrent: What Are the Requirements for A Strong Deterrent In an Era of Defense Sequester? 

In addition to the wise counsel the Subcommittee is sure to receive from Dr. Keith Payne of the Graduate Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Missouri State University, the Subcommittee should also consider the judgment of twenty eminent national security experts who recently sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to reconsider his ill-advised goal of “ridding the world of nuclear weapons”, especially in light of North Korea’s recent nuclear test.

Click the title above for the full letter, with signatures:

22 February 2013

Hon. Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The latest North Korean underground nuclear test represents both a danger and an opportunity. The danger is obvious: One of the most unstable regimes on the planet is continuing to amass the skills and the capabilities to produce, weaponize and perhaps use the most dangerous weapons known to man. The fact that Pyongyang is doing so together with other nations hostile to us and our allies – notably, Iran – raises the possibility that the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons technologies will soon metastasize around the globe.

The opportunity this ominous turn of events offers is the chance to reconsider your pursuit of the goal of “ridding the world of nuclear weapons.” It is now clear that, as a practical matter under present and foreseeable circumstances, this agenda will only result in the unilateral disarmament of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. That will make the world more dangerous, not less.

In our professional judgment, born of decades of experience with national security policy and practice, America’s “Triad” of nuclear-armed land-based and submarine-launched missiles and bomber-delivered nuclear weapons has promoted strategic stability and discouraged proliferation. Steps that raise uncertainty about the viability, reliability and effectiveness of our deterrent will have the opposite effect.

According to published reports, you are considering further, draconian and perhaps unilateral cuts in the numbers of nuclear weapons in our arsenal. We respectfully recommend that this plan be abandoned in favor of the fulfillment of commitments you made at the time of the New START Treaty to: modernize all three legs of the Triad; ensure the safety and deterrent effectiveness of the weapons with which they are equipped; and restore the critical industrial base that supports these forces.

Doing otherwise will put our country, its allies and our peoples at ever- greater risk in a world that is, far from nuclear-free, awash with such weapons – with increasing numbers of them in the hands of freedom’s enemies. It is unimaginable that that is your intention. It must not be the unintended result of your actions, either.


  • Adm. Thomas B. Hayward, USN (Ret.), Former Chief of Naval Operations
  • Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr., USMC (Ret.), Former Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Adm. Jerry Johnson, USN (Ret.), Former Vice Chief of Naval Operations
  • Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, USN (Ret.), Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet
  • Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, USN (Ret.), Former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency
  • Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, USAF (Ret.), Former Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
  • Hon. R. James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence
  • Hon. John R. Bolton, Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
  • Hon. Douglas J. Feith, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
  • Dr. William R. Graham, Chairman, General Advisory Committee on Arms Control, 1981-1985; Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, 1986-1989
  • Lt. Gen. E.G. “Buck” Shuler, USAF (Ret.), Former Commander of the Eighth Air Force (Strategic Air Command)
  • Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, USA (Ret.), Former Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army, Pacific
  • Rear Adm. Robert H. Gormley, USN (Ret.), Former Chief of Studies, Analysis and War Gaming, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Hon. Kathleen Bailey, Former Assistant Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • Hon. Fred Celec, former Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs
  • Hon. Henry F. “Hank” Cooper, Former Director of the Defense Strategic Initiative (SDI); Former U.S. Representative to the Defense and Space Talks
  • Hon. Samantha Ravich, Former Deputy National Security Advisor, Office of the Vice President
  • Hon. Troy Wade, Former Director, Defense Programs, Department of Energy
  • Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Former Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy
  • David J. Trachtenberg, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy


About Ben Lerner

Ben Lerner is the Vice President for Government Relations at the Center for Security Policy, where he manages the Center's educational efforts and interactions with the federal government. His articles have appeared in The American Spectator, The Washington Times, Townhall, The Washington Examiner, and inFocus Quarterly. He holds a law degree from Georgetown University, and received his bachelor's degree in political science, with highest distinction, from the University of Michigan.