Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called for the United States to drastically cut its nuclear arsenal to a level far below that which is allowed under current agreements. The U.S. signed a treaty with Russia in 2010 that requires both countries to reduce their deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 over a six-year period. That is down from the 2,200 allowed under previous agreements.According to the New York Times, Senator Levin thinks even that number is too high:
A grave concern today is that nuclear weapons or their fissile components may fall into the hands of terrorist organizations, Mr. Levin said. “The more weapons that exist out there, the less secure we are, rather than the more secure we are,” he added.
Senator Levin also cited a report by retired General James E. Cartwright. Gen. Cartwright, a former commander of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argued that an arsenal of 900 strategic warheads was large enough to provide the necessary deterrent.The senator’s proposal seems like a realistic alternative. The U.S. has many more nuclear warheads than we need, and maintaining the stockpile is expensive. In an era of tight budgets and ongoing threats, focusing our defense capabilities on current needs rather than legacy programs from the Cold War seems like a smart idea.If the military chiefs think we should cut back on nukes, Via Meadia is ready to go along.