A Very Serious Strategic Challenge

Russia has no interest in reducing its nuclear forces beyond New START levels and is modernizing them as the Obama Administration prevents new US nuclear weapons and restricts delivery-vehicle improvements, asserted Mark Schneider, a senior analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy. Speaking on Capitol Hill on May 10, Schneider said while reducing the role of nuclear weapons in US security strategy is a US objective, Russia is pursuing new concepts and capabilities for expanding the role of nuclear weapons in its security strategy. The Air Force Association, National Defense Industrial Association, and Reserve Officers Association sponsored the talk. As the United States draws down its strategic nuclear inventory to abide by New START, “Russia continues to develop and field new nuclear weapons, including strategic and tactical nuclear weapons,” stated Schneider in his prepared remarks. Russia has increased its strategic delivery vehicles in the two years since New START has been in effect, while US levels have come down over that span, he said, citing State Department data released in April. (See also New START Decisions Eyed for Year’s End.)