A group of 18 former military and national security officials wrote to President Barack Obama on Friday urging the administration to cancel plans for further cuts in United States nuclear warheads, warning that new arms reductions would undermine U.S. security.
The ex-officials, including two former members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated in the letter to Obama that North Korea's recent underground nuclear test, and concerns about growing Pyongyang-Tehran nuclear arms cooperation, undermines any further disarmament sought by the president.
"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 have promoted strategic stability and discouraged proliferation," the former officials stated.
"Steps that raise uncertainty about the viability, reliability and effectiveness of our deterrent will have the opposite effect."
The letter followed a report this week that the new strategic arms cuts with Russia will be announced soon. U.S. officials said the president is preparing for a new round of arms reduction talks with Russia that will seek a one-third cut in U.S. nuclear warheads, beyond the levels set in the 2010 New START arms treaty. The treaty requires cutting the U.S. arsenal to 1,550 warheads.