As a new administration promising change takes office, the future of nuclear weapons and of the weapons design and production complex are arguably less certain than at any time since the end of World War II. Thousands of nuclear warheads have been or are being dismantled or mothballed. Such authorities as defense secretary William Perry, former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, and former senator Sam Nunn have proposed the goal of global nuclear disarmament. Even Linton Brooks, the former head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), acknowledged last month that the number of nuclear weapons required for deterring a nuclear attack on the US and its allies is “almost certainly” fewer than 1700—the low-end estimate of the range of warheads that President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin established under the Moscow Treaty of 2002.

President-elect Barack Obama has enumerated a 12-point action plan to prevent...

You do not currently have access to this content.