The Spirit of Prague: America's Commitment To Seek the Peace and Security of a World Without Nuclear Weapons

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
April 28, 2010


“By upholding our own commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we strengthen our global efforts to stop the spread of these weapons, and to ensure that other nations meet their own responsibilities.” — President Barack Obama

  • New START’s verifiable reduction of deployed strategic nuclear warheads by the world’s two largest nuclear powers reflects the U.S. commitment to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament.

  • The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) reduces the role of U.S. nuclear weapons, provides a strategy for a reduction in their number, and provides negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.

  • The Nuclear Security Summit highlighted agreement among 47 governments on the critical importance of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Elements of U.S. Strategy

The United States supports the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its underlying bargain consisting of three basic pillars: countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; countries with nuclear weapons will pursue negotiations in good faith toward nuclear disarmament; and every nation can access peaceful nuclear energy under appropriate safeguards. Our objective: bolstering the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime, including its verification and compliance mechanisms.

The U.S. is also engaging in a global effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials and enhance nuclear security to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The 47 governments at the Nuclear Security Summit promised to increase nuclear security domestically and/or to improve security globally through bilateral or multilateral mechanisms. Our objective: securing all weapons and materials, and the technology to make and use them.

While we seek to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons, we will continue to maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent for as long as nuclear weapons exist in the world. However, the United States will not test nuclear weapons, not develop new nuclear weapons, and not seek new missions or capabilities for existing nuclear weapons. The fact that we are maintaining this arsenal does not increase the likelihood that it will be used. We are determined to see that nuclear weapons are never used again. Our objective: maintaining a credible deterrent as we pursue a world free of nuclear weapons.


The New START treaty with Russia advances the goal of bolstering the nuclear nonproliferation regime through further reductions in deployed strategic nuclear warheads by both nations.

Mutual, Verifiable Weapons Limits:

  • Warheads Deployed on ICBMs and SLBMs and Counted for Deployed Heavy Bombers – 1,550
  • Deployed and Non-Deployed ICBM and SLBM Launchers and Heavy Bombers – 800
  • Deployed Strategic Ballistic Missiles and Heavy Bombers – 700

Nuclear Posture Review Objectives

  • Prevent nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism
  • Reduce the role of nuclear weapons
  • Maintain effective strategic deterrence and stability at lower nuclear force levels
  • Strengthen reassurance of U.S. allies and partners
  • Sustain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal

Nuclear Security Summit

  • The leaders of 47 nations advanced a common approach and commitment to nuclear security.
  • The Summit reinforced the principle that all states are responsible for ensuring the best security of their materials.
  • The Summit Communiqué strengthened nuclear security and reduced the threat of nuclear terrorism.

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