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Historic Steps for Nuclear Security
April 2010

President Obama seems to be celebrating the one-year anniversary of his speech in Prague, in which he laid out his nuclear agenda, with some major efforts to push the agenda forward. April comes with a number of new developments in nuclear security.

First, President Obama unveiled a new US nuclear posture this week. The new posture is important because it moves the policy from one that addresses Cold War-era threats to one that confronts the immediate dangers of the world we live in today—nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.

Also this week, the US and Russia signed a new treaty to reduce the number of nuclear warheads each possesses. This bilateral agreement is important because it is an indicator to the rest of the world that President Obama is serious about his commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In his own words, “Finally, this day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia—the two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons—to pursue responsible global leadership.”

Finally, on Tuesday next week, an unprecedented meeting of more than 40 nations will take place in Washington, DC. This Nuclear Security Summit is historic as no US president or any other world leader has ever before brought together this many heads of state to address nuclear materials security. It is also a vital first step to developing a long-term strategy for countering nuclear terrorism.

The merits of each of these developments can, and certainly will, be argued ad nauseam. But one thing we should all be in agreement on is that all of these developments are concrete, actionable steps that will lead to a safer, more secure world.

— Jennifer Smyser
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