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Project on Government Oversight

Transforming the U.S. Strategic Posture and Nuclear Weapons Complex

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April 7, 2009

As President Barack Obama returns from his European tour where he announced negotiations with Russia for a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and made a historic speech on the U.S. role in moving towards a “a world without nuclear weapons,” the Nuclear Weapons Complex Consolidation Policy Network will release a major study that provides a step-by-step plan for how the Administration can carry out that vision. The release will be on Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

This major study, Transforming the U.S. Strategic Posture and Weapons Complex for Transition to a Nuclear Weapons-Free World, by the Policy Network—a collaboration of six national and regional groups of which POGO is a part—advocates a nuclear weapons stockpile of 500 warheads and a nuclear weapons complex downsized from eight to ultimately only three sites by 2025.

The study is unique in that it takes a comprehensive look at deterrence, nuclear doctrine, force structure, and the supporting complex, and how they inter-relate. The study's lead author, Dr. Robert Civiak, a physicist and former White House OMB budget examiner for Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs, commented, "As a matter of overriding policy, the United States should view its strategic force as having one purpose and one purpose only—to deter the use of nuclear weapons by others until the world is free of nuclear weapons. The Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration should structure U.S. nuclear forces and the weapons complex accordingly."

As an alternative to the Complex Transformation plan developed by the NNSA during the Bush Administration, the study outlines for the Obama Administration and Congress how to shrink the nuclear weapons complex to support a smaller stockpile in a safer, more secure, and less costly manner.

"Our plan would cut spending on nuclear weapons by $2.3 billion in 2010, while retaining a credible deterrent," explains Peter Stockton, POGO's Senior Investigator.

"As our national budget is strained by an economic crisis, and major arms control promises are made, it makes no sense to continue investing in the development and preservation of thousands of nuclear weapons, which actually detract from, rather than enhance our security," says POGO Investigator Ingrid Drake.

In addition to POGO, the Policy Network includes the Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Tri-Valley CAREs, Physicians for Social Responsibility PSR - Greater Kansas City Chapter, and JustPeace of Texas.

A copy of the report  including the breakout of Chapter 7 authored by POGO will also be available here.

**Post Press Conference

Highlights of the Transforming the U.S. Strategic Posture and Weapons Complex for Transition to a Nuclear Weapons-Free World report presented by Christopher Paine from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Lead Report Author Dr. Robert Civiak, Jay Coghlan from Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Marylia Kelley from the Livermore-based Tri-Valley CAREs, and POGO’s Ingrid Drake. Click here for the audio highlights.  Running time: 01:19:57

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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