White House Revising Executive Summary of Nuclear Document

The long-awaited review of the United States nuclear posture has reached its final stage, with the White House taking ownership of an executive summary and preparing for a public release in several weeks' time.

Two senior administration officials, Derek Chollet of the State Department's Office of Policy Planning and Jim Miller, the Defense Department's principal deputy undersecretary for policy, submitted an executive summary of the Nuclear Posture Review after a meeting last Friday.


President Obama has seen a draft of the summary, and his National Security Staff is working through the document. Administration officials said that most of the critical issues had been settled, and that broad consensus about topics like the overall aims of the government's "declaratory policy' on nuclear weapons had been reached, but the angels are in the details, and Obama's own imprint -- and ultimately the degree to which the document is seen as a radical statement of principles -- will matter most.

Officials declined to give specifics, and a National Security Staff spokesman declined to comment. 

The administration intends to release an unclassified version of the N.P.R. by early April, before a nuclear non proliferation summit in Washington.

It also hopes to have finally completed a revision of the START follow-on treaty with Russia. A final sticking point: Russia has mobile missile launchers, and the U.S. wants regular data exchanges to determine where they are; Russia doesn't want to give the U.S. this data (which they assume the U.S. would intercept via technical collection methods anyway).

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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