The Ninth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) opens in New York on April 27. Representatives of NPT signatory countries meet every five years to discuss ways to advance the NPT and disarmament goals.
Two decades after the Cold War ended, President Obama reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to global nuclear disarmament.
Disarmament is the third pillar of the NPT, alongside nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. For 45 years, the NPT has been the foundation for strong international cooperation to reduce nuclear dangers.
The United States is abiding by the disarmament obligations set out in Article VI of the NPT, and continues to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and their role in national security.
By 2014, the United States had cut its stockpile of nuclear warheads by 85 percent — to 4,717 from its peak of 31,255 in 1967. It also dismantled 10,251 nuclear warheads between 1994 and 2014. Some 2,500 additional warheads have been retired and are awaiting dismantlement.
The ongoing implementation of the New START treaty with Russia will reduce strategic nuclear arsenals by early 2018 to their lowest levels since the NPT came into effect. But the United States is ready to go even further.
“President Obama offered nearly two years ago to pursue further negotiated reductions with Russia with the goal of cutting our deployed nuclear weapons by another one third. That offer is still on the table,” Thomas Countryman, the State Department’s assistant secretary for international security and nonproliferation, said recently.
The United States set high standards for transparency in nuclear disarmament by releasing comprehensive data on the size and history of its nuclear stockpile. It also works with partners to address technical challenges related to disarmament verification.
The United States fully understands the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use. The only path to a world without nuclear weapons is through practical, responsible and verifiable step-by-step disarmament. There are no shortcuts to lasting progress.