Gates, Bodman call for nuclear updates

Oct. 7, 2008 at 4:56 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The United States should replace its current inventory of nuclear warheads in order to maintain its nuclear deterrent capabilities, government officials say.

A nuclear policy paper released last month by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says Congress must move forward with the currently delayed Reliable Replacement Warhead program to keep U.S. nuclear bombs in readiness, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Without the moves, Gates and Bodman said the United States would have to keep an inventory of older, non-deployed nuclear warheads in addition to the 1,700 to 2,200 Cold War-era warheads now spread out among its strategic bombers and intercontinental missiles.

The Post said the paper is a final attempt by the Bush administration to sway future U.S. nuclear weapons policy, and emerges as a mandated by Congress study co-chaired by former defense secretaries William Perry and James Schlesinger is about to be completed.

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