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Fewer nukes make financial, strategic sense

Nuclear WeaponsBerlin Wall's Fall (1989)U.S. Congress

The recent editorial on arms control ("Avoiding Armageddon," Feb. 18) was exactly on point.

More than two decades have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and U.S. national security strategy has changed drastically. Yet many in Congress still refuse to heed the growing bipartisan chorus of former government officials and military leaders who argue that our current arsenal of approximately 5,000 nuclear weapons greatly exceeds U.S. security needs.

Our government plans to spend approximately $640 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs over the next decade. In an age of fiscal austerity, scarce dollars must address real threats like cyber-attack and terrorism, not programs with diminishing strategic relevance.

One nuclear weapon has the capacity to level an entire city, only a few — not thousands — are required for deterrence. Reducing the size of the arsenal makes both strategic and fiscal sense.

Kingston Reif, Washington

The writer is the director of non-proliferation programs at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

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