President Barack Obama is set to announce a sharp reduction in US’s deployed nuclear weapons by up to a third below the level achieved under the “New Start” treaty with Russia,
The White House stated that Obama is scheduled to make the announcement on Wednesday in a major foreign policy speech in the German city of Berlin, though he is not expected to set a timeline for reduction measures. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Obama met on Monday on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland to outline plans for nuclear non-proliferation and a deal to replace the already-expired joint agreement struck in 1992. The new nuclear security agreement calls for a reduction in the world’s nuclear stockpiles, including a one-third cut in US and Russian arsenals. During Obama’s first run in office, the two countries agreed to reduce their nuclear stockpiles to 1,550 as part of the New START Treaty. The US president’s 2014 economic plan seeks a half-billion-dollar increase above the current level of USD 7.227 billion in additional spending to accelerate and expand the nuclear explosives program. The newly allocated resources will expand modernization efforts for bomber-based and missile-based warheads, and help fund construction of a new facility in Tennessee for processing uranium - the material used in nuclear warheads. Meanwhile, the budget for nonproliferation programs will be cut by about 20 percent or USD 460 million below the current level of USD 2.45 billion. The prospective shift flies in the face of the country’s persisting economic woes and international calls for a nuclear-weapon-free world. The US was the first country to create atomic weapons, while being the only nation to drop nuclear bombs on civilians during separate attacks on Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.