WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today raised his concerns and questioned U.S. Air Force General C. Robert Kehler, Commander of U. S. Strategic Command, about the reduction in funding under President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) proposed budget and apparent shift by President Obama in the nuclear defense strategy of the nation.
Inhofe voiced his opposition to President Obama’s presumptions that he will “have more flexibility” to make a missile defense deal with the Russians after he is re-elected. Inhofe provided the panel with an opportunity to make statements about the President’s statement to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that was caught on an open microphone, but they declined to offer any comments.
Inhofe requested that U.S. Strategic Command provide an update on the current status of our nuclear weapons and platforms to include forecast service life.
“Our nuclear arsenal is as much about deterrence as it is about strike capability,” said Inhofe. “Under the New START deliberations, Congress was assured by President Obama that our remaining nuclear assets would continue to be modernized. Based on the cuts and delays to our nuclear arsenal and facilities in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget, President Obama is once again going back on his word.”
Inhofe continued, “Another key concern is the reduction of our assets below the New START approved level of 1550. It seems that President Obama is looking at unilateral reductions even further below the agreed upon limits under the treaty. I remember back in 2008 when Secretary Gates said that we must maintain some level of these weapons ourselves to deter potential adversaries and to reassure over 30 allies and partners who rely on our nuclear umbrella for their security.”
When questioned about the 10:1 superiority the Russians have over the U.S. in tactical nuclear weapons, General Kehler agreed with Inhofe that further reductions in our nuclear arsenal should include a reduction in Soviet tactical nuclear weapons.