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DoD's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) Rollout Briefing

FPC Briefing
Dr. James N. Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Thomas P. D'Agostino, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security & Administrator, NNSA; and Robert J. Einhorn, Special Advisor, Nonproliferation & Arms Control, U.S. Dept. of State
Foreign Press Center
Washington, DC
April 7, 2010


Date: 04/07/2010 Location: Washington, DC. Description: Dr. James N. Miller, DoD; Thomas P. D'Agostino, NNSA; and Robert J. Einhorn, U.S. Department of State, Briefing at the Washington FPC on "DoD's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) Rollout." - State Dept Image

Video

10:00 A.M. EDT

MODERATOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center. Today, we have Dr. James Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Mr. Thomas D’Agostino, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration; and Mr. Robert Einhorn, Special Advisor in the Nonproliferation and Arms Control Bureau at the Department of State.

They will collectively deliver a Nuclear Posture Review rollout briefing. I would ask also when we move to the Q&A portion after opening statements, that you please address your question to a particular official, and please don’t ask multipart questions so that everyone has a chance to ask a question.

Now, without further ado, here are the briefers.

DR. MILLER: Thank you and good morning. I’m going to speak for a couple of minutes about the Nuclear Posture Review, and then I will turn it over to Tom D’Agostino and Bob Einhorn for some brief remarks as well.

As you all know, yesterday, the Secretary of Defense, joined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff released the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review. This is the latest element of the Administration’s comprehensive approach to advancing the President’s Prague agenda for reducing nuclear dangers and pursuing the peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Its release marks the beginning of a pivotal period for this Administration and for this agenda. As you know, President Obama will meet with President Medvedev in Prague tomorrow to sign the new START treaty. Early next week, he will host 47 nations here in D.C. at the Nuclear Security Summit. Then throughout May, we will work to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at the review conference in New York.

This NPR builds directly on the Quadrennial Defense Review and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review conducted by the Department of Defense and completed in February. Let me just outline a few of the report’s highlights and then look forward to your questions.

This NPR elevates preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism to the top of the U.S. policy agenda. It aligns U.S. nuclear weapons policies and posture to address these most pressing security threats. The NPR outlines concrete steps for reducing the role and numbers of nuclear weapons in U.S. security strategy. The new START treaty with Russia is the first step in the process, the next step in this process. And the NPR, as I said, reaffirms the U.S. objective to seek a world free of nuclear weapons.

The NPR changes U.S. declaratory policy to strengthen nonproliferation, and I’ll state it very carefully here. It makes a clear statement that the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear weapons states in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations. This is a change to our so-called negative security assurance under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

And as the Secretary of Defense said yesterday, this declaratory policy also has a strong message for states like Iran and North Korea that are not in compliance with their nonproliferation obligations. As the Secretary said, and I’ll quote, “If you’re not going to play by the rules, if you’re going to be a proliferator, then all options are on the table in terms of how we deal with you.”

On the other hand, for the vast majority of nations in the world who are in compliance with their nonproliferation obligations, this NPR makes clear that the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them. The NPR also makes clear that the United States will not develop new nuclear warheads. Life extension programs for warheads will be based on existing designs and previously tested designs, and there will be no nuclear testing, no new military capabilities, or no new military missions associated with these warheads.

The NPR directs a number of steps to strengthen strategic stability and to reinforce regional security architectures to enhance extended deterrence and reassurance of U.S. allies, strengthening the security of the United States and of our allies and partners as well.

Finally, the NPR makes clear that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal to deter attacks on the United States and on our allies and partners. It directs significant increases in spending for the Department of Energy to improve infrastructure, strengthen science and technology, and to retain the human capital that we need. This Administration consulted closely with Congress and with our allies and partners in developing this NPR, and we will work closely with them in its implementation.

And with that, I’d like to turn it over to Tom D’Agostino.

MR. D’AGOSTINO: Thank you, Jim, and thanks to all of you. While the Defense Department led this effort, it truly was an interagency activity. As you can see, Department of Energy, Department of State, along with the Department of Defense, but frankly, the whole nation’s infrastructure dealing with national security issues participated in this review. So it was very important to have that, to bring the whole of government together to address these problems.

As you know, the National Nuclear Security Administration – I’m the administrator for the NNSA – but our job is essentially to take care of nuclear security for the United States, and that involves taking care of our stockpile, doing the nonproliferation work around the world with many of you all from partner countries, and essentially playing a significant role in implementing the vision that the President put out in his speech in Prague.

The President’s FY2011 budget request includes more than $2.7 billion to secure vulnerable materials around the world, install radiation portal monitors at ports and land border crossings, and invest in the research and development necessary to improve our ability to detect material transfer, and particularly illicit material transfer. And it elevates those priorities, as Jim said, to the top. It’s the first step. That’s why you see it right up front in the Nuclear Posture Review.

The Nuclear Posture Review is based on several key principles that will guide our decisions now and into the future. As Jim said, we’re not going to conduct nuclear testing. We’ll seek ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We will not develop new nuclear warheads. Our laboratory directors and a host of outside technical reviews have been very clear that life extension programs can maintain the safety, security, and effectiveness of our stockpile without underground testing.

To accomplish this goal, the NPR makes clear that the United States will study options for ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of the warheads and do so on a case-by-case basis consistent with the congressionally mandated Stockpile Management Program. We’ll study the full range of life extension approaches, which includes refurbishment of existing warheads, reuse of nuclear components from other warheads, from different warheads, and replacement of nuclear components if necessary.

But it also makes clear that the U.S. will only use nuclear components based on previously tested designs and will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities. And we would only proceed on this replacement approach upon specific authorization by the President. He gets certainly the final say before we go forward and make a proposal to the U.S. Congress.

Finally, as I said, finally, any decision to proceed to engineering development will give strong preference for options that are more along the refurbishment or reuse approach. These are the principles ultimately that will decide how we move forward in maintaining our stockpile, but the NPR does more. It also takes care of the people. It makes investments in the infrastructure that are so important to not just taking care of the stockpile, but for dealing with the whole spectrum of nuclear security missions.

It’s the spectrum that includes nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear counterterrorism, nuclear forensics and intelligence analysis, nuclear emergency management. All those skills that you need to do all of those important things that we want to do well out into the future, with all of our allies, also are the same types of skills that are originally developed into helping and maintaining a stockpile.

Thank you very much. I’ll turn it over to Bob Einhorn.

MR. EINHORN: Good morning. As Secretary Clinton mentioned yesterday at the press conference, the State Department is very grateful to Secretary Gates and to the Department of Defense for including us in this interagency review of U.S. nuclear weapons policies and force posture.

From a State Department perspective, we were especially conscious of the interests of countries all around the world in this review – U.S. allies and other security partners around the world, as well as a large number of states party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. We were conscious that this review was a follow-up to President Obama’s speech a year ago in Prague in which he talked about moving toward a world without nuclear weapons. But he carefully balanced two objectives – on the one hand reducing the role and the number of nuclear weapons; on the other hand, insuring that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States will have a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal both to ensure stability with other major powers, to deter potential adversaries, as well as to reassure U.S. allies and security partners that U.S. security commitments to them remain sound.

And I believe that this NPR struck exactly the right balance. One example of that is the new negative security assurance that Dr. Miller mentioned in which the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear weapons states party to the nonproliferation treaty that are in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.

This is a very important pledge. It will reduce the role of U.S. nuclear weapons and, I think, address concerns of a large number of nonnuclear weapons states party to the NPT, and hopefully will be recognized and help ensure the success of the May – the upcoming May NPT review conference. At the same time, our approach to the role of nuclear weapons doesn’t go as far as some other countries or nongovernmental groups would have liked, saying that deterring nuclear attack will be the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons.

In our discussions with allies and friends around the world – and we had many frequent contacts with those friends – they indicated to us that such a radical shift in U.S. approach could be unsettling to them. And so we went with this negative security assurance and I think it strikes the right balance. And both the vast number of NPT parties as well as U.S. allies around the world, I think believe that this strikes exactly the right balance and I think will be appreciated. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Okay. We are now moving to the Q&A portion of the event. Please wait for the microphone which could be coming from either side of you and identify yourself by your publication, and please do not ask multipart questions so that we have time to get everybody in.

We’ll go there.

QUESTION: Hello. Good morning. Welcome to the Foreign Press Center. This is Lalit Jha from Press Trust of India. As you know, India has been – India is opponent to NPT and CTBT which President is now pushing for at this occasion. What’s your – can you tell us what’s your view about India’s stand on NPT and CTBT, and are you pushing India to sign NPT and also ratify CTBT in coming years?

MODERATOR: Do you address your question to a particular person?

QUESTION: All three of them.

MR. EINHORN: Okay. The U.S. and India have increasingly become partners in this area of dealing with the global proliferation threat with the threat of nuclear terrorism. We talk about these issues on a bilateral and on a multilateral basis with India quite frequently. We appreciate and understand India’s attitude toward the nonproliferation treaty. It’s a longstanding attitude, a position of principle. What’s especially important to us is that India behave in a responsible manner. And it has behaved in a responsible manner. India’s not going to join the NPT for quite some time, if at all. We understand that. But we want India to work with us in strengthening the nonproliferation regime.

In terms of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Obama Administration will press hard for Senate ratification of the treaty, and then we will work with other countries to bring it into force. And bringing it into force means that the United States and India and Pakistan and China and a number of other countries must ratify. And we will be in discussions with India. Once we have ratified, we’ll be in discussions with India about how to bring this important treaty into force.

MODERATOR: Okay. We’ll go to the green shirt.

QUESTION: Good morning. My name is Fengfeng Wang. I’m from China’s Xinhua News Agency. My question is directed to Dr. Miller, and it’s – we all know that the Nuclear Posture Review lays out a roadmap, if you will, to the new U.S. nuclear strategy. And how will the Defense Department implement this? I mean, what’s the next step you will be taking on, let’s say, a department level? Thank you.

DR. MILLER: Let me speak first to the interagency level of activity and then talk about how the Department of Defense’s work fits within that. The President has directed us to conduct analysis to consider future arms control objectives specifically after the ratification and entry into force of the new START treaty. That will include an assessment of deterrence requirements. It will include an assessment of a number of other factors. That’s a process that, again, will need to be an interagency effort. The Department of Defense, in addition to that, is looking at revisions to all forms of its guidance, including guidance for its plans and including guidance for what we’ve called in the past guidance for the development of the force or defense planning guidance. That’s about the capabilities that we need in the future.

So as we move forward from this Nuclear Posture Review, we’ll be conducting a broad interagency effort to look at next steps. That will include not just the arms control elements I mentioned before, but also what the infrastructure is, and we’ll be presenting a plan to Congress and to the Senate associated with ratification that talks – that will explain what our intended force structure is under new START and what the warhead sustainment program is led by NNSA at the Department of Energy. And with that as a base, we’ll then go forward from that, again, on the interagency level to consider future steps.

The new START treaty has a seven-year implementation period. And we do expect that we will take a little bit of time after the ratification and entry into force of the treaty to think through these issues, to conduct analysis, and to have conversations with our allies and partners, and indeed, as we note in the NPR, to have conversations also on strategic stability with Russia and China. We view both of those sets of conversations to be extremely important in setting a path for the way forward.

MODERATOR: We’re going to break away now and take a question from New York. Please go ahead, New York.

QUESTION: Hi. This is Mercedes Gallego from El Correo Vocento, Spain. First question is regarding the countries that haven’t signed the nonproliferation treaty. I’m not quite sure why India and Pakistan are exempt from pressure to sign it since the fact that they have behaved responsibly in the past doesn’t mean that they will do it in the future and why they are not supposed to play by the rules like the others. But in the case of Israel, it’s worry – it’s more worrisome since it has a very long history of attacking their neighbors. And also I’d like to know what do you expect – what kind of concrete steps do you expect from the countries attending the security summit in Washington next week? Thank you.

MR. EINHORN: As far as the Nuclear Security Summit is concerned, as many of you know, there will be over 40 heads of state and government joining President Obama. It was his initiative to convene this Nuclear Security Summit. The purpose will be to raise international consciousness about the threat of nuclear terrorism and to encourage all countries to accept responsibility for taking practical steps to reduce the likelihood that terrorists will get their hands on nuclear materials and be able to build a bomb.

So they will be talking about a variety of nuclear security measures that each of them can take within their own countries to prevent theft or seizure of nuclear materials and prevent transit – smuggling of nuclear materials -- through their territories. I think there’s likely to be very strong international consensus to prevent nuclear terrorism and to make sure that physical security measures throughout the world are very strong. President Obama set the goal of securing all potentially vulnerable nuclear materials for four years. And we’re hoping that this summit meeting will endorse that approach.

Now, in terms of the other countries, countries that have not joined the NPT, and countries like China which have joined the NPT, we call on all countries, whether they have chosen to join the NPT or not, to work together to limit, to prevent, the threat of further nuclear proliferation. Whether you’re an NPT party or not, there’s a common interest in ensuring that this regime does not unravel. The regime is under considerable threat these days especially because of the noncompliance of North Korea and Iran.

At the NPT Review Conference coming up in May, it’s important that we work together on a strong consensus to strengthen this regime. And that requires not just countries that have signed the treaty, but countries that haven’t signed the treaty.

MODERATOR: We’ll go to the gentleman in the blue coat.

QUESTION: Thank you for this opportunity. My name Yushin Sugita. I’m from Kyoto News, the Japanese news agency. The NPR mentioned the retirement of the sea-launch Tomahawk. So my question is about that. What is the timeline of that? And I’m sure that the allies like Japan and South Korea have some concerns about the retirement. So how did you persuade them in terms of the nuclear umbrella? Thank you.

DR. MILLER: We had extensive consultations with all allies and partners over the course of the Nuclear Posture Review, including with both Japan and South Korea. And the conversation with them with respect to the TLAM-N, the nuclear-armed sea-launch cruise missile, included a consideration of the broad range of capabilities for extended deterrence, both nuclear and nonnuclear, that the United States have and that we have within – for the nonnuclear side within the alliance. As we looked at the options for extending the nuclear umbrella, those include our ICBMs and SLBMs. If we think about systems that are potentially forward deployable, they also include our tactical aircraft and they include our heavy bombers as well that are potentially forward deployable. And so as we had these discussions over the course of the review, we reached a point of, I think, mutual confidence that the TLAM-N was a redundant system not necessary for effective extended deterrence for Northeast Asia.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

DR. MILLER: Oh, I’m sorry, yes. The timeline for its retirement will be over the next two to three years.

MODERATOR: Okay, we’ll go in back to the woman in pink.

QUESTION: Thank you. Mina Al-Oraibi, Asharq Al Awsat newspaper. I had two questions, Dr. Miller, if I can ask you, regarding missile defense systems. The NPR mentions this. If you could tell us a little bit more how important this is in terms of strategic defense for the U.S. and also allies specifically looking at the Middle East area.

And Mr. Einhorn, if I could just ask you to follow up a little more detail on the nuclear summit for next week. What is the best possible outcome for the U.S. you’d like to see come out of this? Is it a communiqué showing international consensus, specific steps forward? If you could just highlight a little bit of that. Thank you.

DR. MILLER: The Nuclear Posture Review distinguishes very carefully following our Ballistic Missile Defense Review between the important defenses that we have for the homeland of the United States which are oriented against limited attacks, and then the regional missile defenses that we have for – both for the protection of U.S. forces overseas and for our allies and partners. And we see the development of strengthened regional security architectures in key regions, including the Middle East, as including – as one important element -- theater ballistic missile defenses. Other elements include strengthened conventional capabilities, strengthened counter WMD capabilities – in other words, our capabilities to defeat weapons of mass destruction. All of these come together in a broader context of partnership and of working together in order to -- at the political level, in order to provide effective capabilities.

MR. EINHORN: In terms of the concrete results we would hope to achieve next week at the nuclear security summit, the so-called Sherpas, the assistants helping to organize the summit, have been working very hard on a joint statement as well as a more specific work plan. The joint statement will express the commitment of the leaders to do whatever they can to strengthen nuclear security. The work program will go into greater detail on the specific steps that can be taken. We’re working hard to get consensus on both documents.

QUESTION: Thank you. Georgian television station, David Nikuradze. I understand this is a little bit different topic, but I would like to ask you about the cooperation with Russia on another security issues – I mean condition in Eastern European region, Russia’s plan to remain its sphere of influence in post-Soviet area and Russia’s policy towards its neighbors. How Pentagon will cooperate with Russia on these issues? Thank you, sir.

DR. MILLER: Are we going to answer non-NPR the other questions today?

MODERATOR: That’s your decision, sir. (Laughter.)

DR. MILLER: To be frank, I’m not sure I understood the exact intent of your question. You asked how the United States intended to cooperate with Russia, and we intend to do so on the strategic issues we’re addressing today. And I’m not – frankly, I’m not sure what the rest – what the focus of your question was.

MODERATOR: If we could move on then? Let’s go. Yes.

QUESTION: [Alexander Pakhomov, ITAR-TASS, Russia.] A follow-up on talking about engaging Russia for Dr. Miller. How are you going to engage Russia? Can you be a little specific about that? Any specific measures? For example, are you going to revive the old idea of creation of a joint early warning center in Moscow which was discussed 10 years ago?

DR. MILLER: Let me answer it in two parts. The first is the set of activities that are associated with new START and with reductions that could follow that. And the second is – relates to strategic stability in the talks that we say that we would like to conduct in that area which could include discussions of early warning as well as the ongoing discussions on missile defense that we’ve begun with Russia. Our intention with respect to reductions it to first work to get the treaty up to our Senate, get it ratified and entered into force. And then, as I said before, to look toward future reductions. Our concept is that it would be sensible to bring together reductions not just on strategic systems, but also look at nonstrategic and to consider both deployed and non-deployed warheads. We are currently looking at the sort of details on how to do that. We see the next stage after new START is being bilateral in that regard.

With respect to other activities including the strategic stability, we will be discussing with Russia a range of options that include ways to reduce any future risks of accidental or unauthorized launch, as you suggest, and to boost confidence in each other’s understanding of policies to avoid any prospect of misunderstandings. That will include the range of activities we have underway today including where we’re seeking to see if there’s room for missile defense cooperation. It will include thinking about strategic forces as well. And so we see it as a broad agenda for strategic stability and we’ll look forward to working with Russia to define the precise terms of that.

MODERATOR: Down here.

QUESTION: Jordi Zamora, Agence France Presse. A question for Mr. Einhorn. I wonder how was the choice made for the nuclear – the summit next week, the fact that there are 47 countries? Did you open an invitation for everyone and just 47 answered? Did you choose? I just wanted to follow on that issue. What is the main threat that you consider on nonproliferation issues or nuclear issues in Latin America in the region?

MR. EINHORN: First, let me just clarify that the summit next week will not be about nuclear nonproliferation or nuclear disarmament. Those subjects will be covered in May at the NPT Review Conference. Next week, the summit will focus on nuclear security, the threat of a nuclear terrorism and how to secure materials on one’s territory, in transit, to prevent terrorists from getting hold of those materials or those weapons. So that’s the focus, really, of it.

In terms of the invitation list, the White House looked at – couldn’t invite everyone. This is – as it is, it’s going to be a large group of leaders. We would like all the leaders to be able to express themselves. This is not the General Assembly of the UN. There simply isn’t the time. It’s going to be essentially a one-day conference. And we chose countries and leaders that have a particular stake, whether it’s because they have substantial nuclear materials or nuclear reactors on their territory, but it’s those who have a real stake and can make a major contribution to addressing the threat.

MODERATOR: Okay, down here.

QUESTION: Thank you. Silvia Ayuso, German Press Agency, on the same subject. I was wondering, in the case of Latin America, how it would not be wise, even though there are tensions, to invite – try to invite Venezuela, who poses, according to the U.S., a major – might pose a major threat, than countries like Chile or Argentina, who haven’t got big issues with nuclear threat so far – as far as I know. Thank you.

MR. EINHORN: Obviously, there wasn’t a standard list that you had to have three nuclear reactors at a minimum to be invited – so there was certain subjectivity. But a judgment was made about which countries are going to make the most constructive contributions to the success of the event.

MODERATOR: Okay, come down here.

QUESTION: Hello, my name is Martin Klingst from the German weekly Die Zeit. I have a question concerning next week’s summit. And because you were saying that you tried to ensure that countries make commitments, you know how to secure individually loose nukes. But will there be also the idea that Obama is in favor of creating something like a nuke bank that could internationally seize this material and take care of it? And could you also say something about the remaining stockpile – nuke stockpile in the United States, because there is quite an amount of money put aside to just modernize this stockpile, and what does modernization mean?

MR. EINHORN: The second is clearly in his lane. (Laughter.) Just to give me – what was the first element of it? Oh, yeah. Fuel banks and stuff like that.

QUESTION: The nuke summit and, like, a fuel bank.

MR. EINHORN: Yeah. The Obama --

QUESTION: Which also goes to the NPT treaty later on.

MR. EINHORN: The Obama Administration has favored a new international civil nuclear energy architecture, an architecture that allows countries around the world to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy without increasing proliferation risks. And so ideas have been put forward, like fuel supply assurances, international fuel banks. These are designed to give countries more options, to give them more access to the nuclear fuels they need to run a nuclear energy program, a nuclear power program. And so we have supported these international fuel banks to do that. But this will not be the focus of next week. This issue will come up again at the May NPT Review Conference, but this is not the focus of next week.

QUESTION: A bank cannot secure the material – or will there be international, like, engagement how to secure it if countries individually are not capable of doing it?

MR. EINHORN: There will be extensive discussions on how to secure facilities and materials on one’s territory. Whether it’s an international fuel bank or a national storage facility or a national reactor, there will be that discussion. But setting up the fuel bank, that’s a different story. But in terms of domestic –

MR. D’AGOSTINO: I might want to just add a little bit on that, if I could. It’s important to realize we find it always better to work cooperatively and we do actually work cooperatively with over a hundred countries around the world: in assistance – we’ll buy the radiation detectors and provide them and offer some assistance; in operational protocols on how to put these radiation detectors in sea ports and airports and land border crossings as well. But it’s always better, obviously, to work cooperatively in that area, and I think we find that’s probably going to be a mechanism that will continue on out into the future.

You asked a question about kind of this – what’s happening in the United States on this area. There’s absolutely been an increase in the program. The President recognizes that in order to achieve his vision of having a – getting – moving the prominence and role of nuclear weapons down – he wants to shrink the size of the nuclear weapons stockpile. What that means is that we have to bolster our efforts in taking care of that smaller stockpile as it gets smaller. And at the same time, we have a fairly aggressive plan to dismantle warheads that we don’t need. So it’s this combination of shrinking the size of the overall stockpile. That moves warheads into a different category – those that are going to be taken apart – and then making sure that we take those weapons apart safely and securely.

As an engineer, somebody that worries about the technical difficulty of taking apart a nuclear weapon, it’s important to remember some of these devices have been assembled for many decades – many, many decades. And if you’ve ever worked on an old automobile engine, you want to – some parts get – we have to make sure it’s – we want to make sure we take them apart safely, so we establish procedures and we do it in a very methodical manner. It’s not that you can just go after these with a screwdriver and a crescent wrench. You have to have the right procedures. And so the most important thing in taking apart a nuclear weapon is doing so safely and doing it in a way that it comes apart. We provide Congress a classified plan on how we do that, how many we’re going to take apart every year. And we’re seeking to take all of these things apart in a very expeditious but safe manner.

MODERATOR: Down here.

QUESTION: Thank you. Yes, Yasmeen Alamiri from the Saudi Press Agency. My question is actually a follow-up to that, if I can ask for more specifics. So if you’re working on a plan to detail – I mean, it does come down to the logistics. If you do something wrong, well, that’s a complete disaster. So if the U.S. is working on implementing a specific strategy for our nuclear stockpile or what we’re going to get rid of, what are other countries going to do? I mean, we have to – are we going to create our plan and try to implement it on their dismantling, or how are we going to make sure that it goes through properly?

MR. D’AGOSTINO: Sure. I don’t want to comment on what other countries will do to their stockpiles. We’re very familiar – we’re somewhat familiar with my counterparts in other nations. We have been taking apart nuclear warheads in the United States for decades. We clearly have been on a ramp. The size of the U.S. stockpile is 80 percent of what it was during the height of the Cold War and it’s --

MR. EINHORN: It’s lower.

MR. D’AGOSTINO: Eighty percent lower, thank you. Yes, 80 percent lower than what it was at the height of the Cold War and it’s continuing down in that direction. We have our hands full, but it’s a good – it’s good kind of work. It’s the kind of work that’s important. Because what we’re going to be doing is not just taking the warheads apart, but consolidating the material in the United States to fewer locations so we can ensure that the security in those fewer locations are as strong as they can ever possibly be. And the techniques that we do security in the United States, where it’s appropriate to share, we share those approaches and techniques and let other nations take from that. Obviously, we – there’s national sovereignty rights, of course, as it relates to how each nation protects its material. We just want to make sure that we all raise the bar together.

QUESTION: But has there been any – has any of the countries voiced their concern that they may not be capable of dismantling their stockpile?

MR. D’AGOSTINO: No, no, I have not heard that concern at all.

Yeah.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) to the U.S. for any consultation?

MR. D’AGOSTINO: We don’t have any concerns with our items either. We just do so in a methodical manner.

MODERATOR: Back there.

QUESTION: Thank you. Sonia Schott with Globovision, Venezuela. I was wondering if the Iran issue will really come up in the conversations. And by Iran issue, I mean the increasing presence of Iran in Latin America, specifically the relations with Brazil and Venezuela. And I am asking you that because Venezuela announced a few days his intention – its intentions to build a nuclear plant for specific purpose. But I was wondering does this will have an impact in Venezuelan plans because of Iran – I mean, because of the close ties to Iran? Thank you.

MR. EINHORN: The policy for the Obama Administration is to support countries all over the world benefitting from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. So, in principle, we don’t try to discourage international cooperation in nuclear energy areas. However, I think we have to be careful about the international nuclear activities of Iran, given its own record of noncompliance with its international nonproliferation obligations.

MODERATOR: Okay, we have time for one or two more questions. We’ll go there.

QUESTION: Thank you. Li Zengxin from Caijin Media, China. Secretary Gates was talking about bringing China and Russia to serious talks yesterday when this NPR was released. I was wondering, can you elaborate a little bit more on what kind of talks do you hope to bring China to besides Iran and North Korea? Maybe to China’s own stockpile and capacity of nuclear weapons, please?

DR. MILLER: Yes, Secretary Gates’s comments reflects the fact that we would like to see more transparency with respect to Chinese modernization plans, including its plans with respect to nuclear weapons. And also that we think it would be helpful to have discussions about doctrine and to have an understanding of the approaches each party takes to thinking about nuclear weapons today and to thinking about the future of nuclear weapons as well. These types of conversations are intended to increase transparency, to support stability so that neither side has misperceptions that causes it to do things either with its programs or with the way it operates its forces that are of unnecessary concern to the other side.

MODERATOR: My apologies; I misspoke before. We will take additional questions, but Mr. Einhorn has to leave momentarily. Do you want to take off now, sir, or do you want to take one more question?

MR. EINHORN: If there are any questions directed to me, I’ll take that right away.

MODERATOR: Yes, one final question for Mr. Einhorn. Right there.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you. My name is Sungwon Yang with the Radio Free Asia – [Korea Service]. Do you have any concern that North Korea could use this NPR as a pretext to develop more nuclear capability? Thank you.

MR. EINHORN: We don’t believe there would be any justification for using this NPR for such a reason. What we did, what the President did in issuing this new negative security assurance, is to make assurances to NPT-compliant nonnuclear weapons states, countries that are playing by the rules. And so this is a new assurance issued to them, but – and there are a number of countries not affected by this assurance. They’re not covered by this assurance.

That doesn’t mean that the threat has increased vis-à-vis those other countries. U.S. nuclear policies toward them are simply unaffected by this assurance to nonnuclear weapons states party to the NPT that are in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations. It doesn’t affect North Korea. It doesn’t affect France. It doesn’t affect any of the countries not covered. So there would be no reason for North Korea to make such a statement.

DR. MILLER: If I could just add very briefly to that, part of the rationale for the negative security assurance and its change was, in fact, to encourage North Korea to go the opposite direction and to desire to be one of those states that are compliant with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations. It’s implicit in what Bob said, but I wanted to be explicit about that.

MODERATOR: If we have additional questions for the Pentagon or the Nuclear National – NNSA, please feel free to ask them now, and particularly if you’ve not asked a question already.

Okay. We’ll go down there.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Raghubir Goyal for India Globe & Asia Today. My quick question is that let’s say after this review, some countries may have gone back and thought that they will dismantle or stop their nuclear program, and if U.S. is going to help them? And second, upcoming nuclear conference in Washington – how this is going to affect those who has – or are working on their nuclear programs?

DR. MILLER: Let me take that. If you’re asking about the Nuclear Security Summit, I think that Bob Einhorn sort of answered the question of what is the scope of the activities for that. Some of the issues associated with nuclear weapons will apply, to some degree, both for the security summit and for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But the real focus for the Nuclear Security Summit is just on that, the types of issues that he talked about, including detection at borders and the security of facilities and so forth.

And I’m sorry; there was another element to your question. It was about potential cooperation and dismantlement, and I think that Tom answered that question earlier and said that to his knowledge anyway and to mine, we --

QUESTION: If U.S. –

DR. MILLER: Other countries have their capacities to do that and – while – let me let you speak, but I think we don’t see any need for cooperation on the technical elements of those questions.

MR. D’AGOSTINO: Yeah. To my knowledge, no one’s asked us for help. I think if a country asks us for help, I think we would take those on a case-by-case basis and see where we could. But I don’t believe, if Bob was here, he would say, well, the State Department’s received a request for help. I think we take those on a case-by-case basis. Where it advances the global concerns on wanting to move forward on nonproliferation, I think we certainly are part of that community and would seriously consider it. But I don’t believe we have a request at this point.

MODERATOR: Thank you all for your questions. This event is now concluded.

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