"So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. This goal will not be reached quickly—perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence." — President Barack Obama
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) rests on three interrelated and mutually reinforcing pillars: nonproliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and disarmament.
The NPT is critical to sustaining progress toward disarmament. It is the principal legal barrier to the spread of nuclear weapons, and its Parties undertake in Article VI "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective control."
The United States has made significant progress on disarmament. The Cold War era nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union ended two decades ago. Treaties banning chemical and biological weapons are now in force. At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the five NPT nuclear weapon states reiterated an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament.
The obstacles to achieving a world without nuclear weapons are great. Despite massive reductions in nuclear arsenals since the height of the Cold War, thousands of these weapons remain in stockpiles. After decades of discussion, there remains no international ban on nuclear explosive testing or the production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons. The United States remains committed to meeting these challenges and moving forward on an ambitious disarmament agenda.
U.S. Actions in Support of the NPT’s Disarmament Pillar
For more information about the NPT, please visit http://www.state.gov/t/isn/npt/index.htm.