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April 07, 2010

George Perkovich and Gen. Paul Eaton on the NPR
Posted by Jacob Stokes

Yesterday the National Security Network sponsored a press call on the release of the Nuclear Posture Review featuring George Perkvovich, vice president for studies and director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, Senior Advisor at NSN. These two national security experts addressed the political and strategic issues surrounding the release of the NPR. Click here to listen to the full audio of the call.

Gen. Eaton laid out the strategic implications of the NPR:

The idea of a conventional weakness that would demand a tactical nuclear weapon… we’ve pretty much patched that gap in our ability to prosecute foreign policy with the military. The NPR handily goes after the 21st nuclear threat construct as well. It addresses the extreme low probability of global thermonuclear war that carries an extreme high cost. It also addresses the moderate-but-increasing probability of nuclear terrorism that carries a modest-to-low cost—horrific in the employment point, but from a national threat, an existential threat, this gets after the threat of terrorist use of nuclear weaponry.

If you accept that the United States must lead to get any world program moving, this NPR—in an integrated fashioned with the new START treaty we’re going to see signed here shortly—these two documents will help the US lead with a Russian partner to achieve the intent of reduction and control of nuclear material and nuclear weaponry.

George Perkovich explained that the NPR was written with a finger on the political pulse:

This posture review is clearly thought-through and written in a way to be the best posture review that President Obama could do that would attract 67 votes to ratify the new START treaty – which is to say that it’s a politically informed document that understands that achieving any steps in nuclear arms reduction and disarmament requires ratification of treaties by the Senate. And to do that you need 67 votes, and to do that you better not be saying things in a posture review that’s going to send 34 Senators starkly into the opposition camp.


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Pretty great review.I would like to say according to Gen. Paul Eaton a lot of these pundits were reporting a story that varied either mildly or wildly from what I was seeing on the ground.

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