The Obama administration continues to struggle to complete its review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The Nuclear Posture Review was originally scheduled for completion in December 2009, but disagreements within the administration between hardliners in the Pentagon and National Security Council and supporters of greater nuclear reductions, thought to include the President, have delayed completion of the document.
The Guardian reported on Sunday that Obama has ordered a draft of the policy document rewritten to more closely match his disarmament objectives (Peter Beaumont, “Barack Obama orders new nuclear review amid growing feud,” Guardian, 28 February 2010).
The New York Times has a somewhat different take on the story, however, reporting on Monday that a nearly complete version of the review, with options for resolving the remaining issues, would be presented to the President by Defense Secretary Robert Gates later that day (David E. Sanger & Thom Shanker, “White House is Rethinking Nuclear Policy,” New York Times, 1 March 2010).
The administration hopes to complete the review process this month or next.
Among the questions to be resolved in the review are the scale of reductions that the Obama administration will seek to implement and whether or not to make changes in the role ascribed to nuclear weapons, their level of alert, and the geographic deployment of the weapons. Quiet discussions are already underway with the NATO allies about possible changes to NATO nuclear policy, which could include an end to the NATO “nuclear-sharing” program and/or the withdrawal of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.