United States - FOIA Documents
As the world's preeminent nuclear power, the nuclear policy and planning
of the United States have important implications for the status of
nuclear weapons in international relations.
The Bush administration's Nuclear Posture
Review (NPR) completed in December 2001 was portrayed as achieving unprecedented
cuts in the nation's nuclear arsenal, ending mutual assured destruction
vis-à-vis Russia, and reducing the role of nuclear weapons. If fact the NPR did
neither. Not a single of the "cuts" announced were by the Bush administration
but instead implement posture decisions already made in the Clinton
administration's NPR in 1994 and other measures as far back as the Washington
Summit between the first President Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in
The force level of 1,700-2,200 "operationally
deployed strategic nuclear warheads" was set by STRATCOM in 1996 in preparation
for the Helsinki Summit and the framework for START III. In essence, the NPR
force level is START III -- minus limits on non-strategic nuclear
weapons, minus transparency of stockpiles, minus irreversibility of reductions,
and minus verification. In addition to needlessly relinquishing these
achievements, the Bush administration also scuttled START II and its ban on
multiple warheads on ICBMs. Not an impressive achievement at all.
On this background, the evolution of U.S.
nuclear planning in the 1990s becomes very important for understanding the current
and future posture. That planning has set U.S. nuclear policy makers and planners "free" to develop options
and capabilities less constrained politically by relations with Russia and China
in pursuit of a more flexible and opportunistic deterrence posture. The 2001 NPR
guidance issued since 2001 strengthen this development. This collection of FOIA documents are intended to
assist the public in understanding and debating this evolution.