As the presidential debates continue, I hope that a world free of nuclear weapons will be discussed.

With our large federal deficit, consideration should be given to whether we wish to continue spending billions of dollars a year to maintain our 5,000 nuclear warheads and the systems to launch those weapons against unknown enemies.

Ploughshares Fund -- a foundation focused on nuclear policy -- suggests that the United States will spend $700 billion over the next 10 years on "nuclear weapons and related programs."

To be clear, I am a nuclear weapons pacifist. I believe there is no provocation or occasion for my country to launch nuclear weapons against other human beings. None.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has effectively established a near global moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. This has been a step in the right direction. The United States Senate needs to get on board by ratifying the CTBT.

I don't want my tax dollars spent on nuclear weapons. Security can be achieved only by investing in peaceful solutions to war, helping to rid the world of unsecured nuclear weapons, pursuing diplomacy with countries attempting to weaponize nuclear materials and ultimately bringing to reality a nuclear-weapons-free-world.

David A. Highfield