The Trump Administration’s Nuclear Weapons Policy: First Steps

Nuclear weapons continue to be essential for U.S. national security and will continue to play an irreplaceable role in deterring a large-scale attack against the U.S. homeland. Nuclear weapons in the hands of U.S. adversaries and potential adversaries are the only weapons that pose an existential threat to the nation. The Trump Administration will have a unique opportunity to reverse President Barack Obama’s ill-founded nuclear weapons policies, strengthen deterrence, assure allies, and ensure that U.S. nuclear modernization programs continue, including maintaining a triad of U.S. delivery systems: bombers, intercontinental-range ballistic missiles, and submarines.

While the executive plays a pivotal role in guiding U.S. nuclear weapons policy, Congress plays an important role as well. To ensure that U.S. nuclear weapons policy is on a sound footing in the future, Congress should fund the U.S. nuclear weapons modernization program, and work with the Administration to modernize aging nuclear platforms, maintain and extend the life of nuclear warheads, and revitalize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

These steps will ensure that the United States continues to maintain safe, secure, and reliable nuclear weapons that credibly deter a whole range of potential adversaries in the decades ahead.

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