10.13.16

Congresswoman Lee Leads Congressional Progressive Caucus Members in Calling for Greater Global Security by Advancing a No-First-Use Nuclear Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than twenty Members of Congress, led by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and CPC Peace and Security Task Force Chair, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), sent a letter to President Obama encouraging him to enhance global security by advancing a no-first-use nuclear policy.

The letter notes that “shifting to a no-first-use policy is the right thing for today’s 21st century security needs.”

“I’m proud to have led this letter because establishing a no-first-use policy will help make the world safer by reducing the real threat of total nuclear annihilation and indiscriminate death from nuclear weapons. This is simply the right policy to meet our current security needs,” said Rep. Lee. “As the President pledged in Hiroshima, this policy would ‘end the logic of fear’ while maintaining our unwavering commitment to our NATO allies, Japan, and South Korea.”

“Minimizing the threat of nuclear strikes benefits the entire world, not just one nation. The United States should move beyond a Cold War mentality and outline clear rules for the use of our most powerful weapons by adopting a no-first-use policy,” said Rep. Ellison, co-chair of the CPC. “By making our intentions clear and making it more difficult to use nuclear weapons, conflicts are less likely to escalate. In the 21st century, we should minimize paths to mutually assured destruction. A no-first-use policy will do just that.”

“It is time for our nation’s nuclear weapons policies to match modern security needs. The United States no longer needs a first-strike policy as a means of protecting ourselves and our allies,” Rep. Grijalva said, co-chair of the CPC. “Instead of holding onto a costly principle that underscores more nuclear weapons, we should adopt one that reflects our standing in the world and moves us closer to the goal of nuclear non-proliferation.”

In 2010, President Obama negotiated the New START treaty that dramatically reduced the number of nuclear weapons pointed at the U.S. Advancing a no-first-use policy would continue President Obama’s bold leadership in reducing the threat of nuclear war.

In the letter, Members outline the benefits of a no-first-use policy including:

  • “Reducing the risk of miscalculation by adversaries by alleviating concerns about U.S. intentions,
  • Raising the bar for nuclear weapons use by any nuclear-armed state, and
  • Minimizing the need for “first strike” weapons, including the next-generation nuclear-armed cruise missile and intercontinental ballistic missiles, which could generate significant cost savings and lead other nuclear-armed states to make similar calculations.”

Additionally, the establishment of a no-first-use policy is vital given the recent dangerous rhetoric around the use of nuclear weapons.

Read the full letter here.