Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us.
I am joined today by my esteemed colleague, Jill Hruby, the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The United States has long been committed to achieving a world without nuclear weapons. President Biden renewed that commitment when he said that we have a national security imperative and a moral responsibility to manage and eventually eliminate the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction as an achievable long-term objective. The extension of New START and our work to resume a leadership role on arms control and nonproliferation is just the beginning.
Since its inception over 50 years ago, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has made irreplaceable contributions to international security. It is the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime and has been the foundation for progress on nuclear disarmament and international cooperation to share the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear technology. However, we cannot take the NPT’s enduring success for granted. Its continued success requires constant vigilance and effort. As such, we reaffirm our commitment to the NPT and to preserving and strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
The three pillars of the NPT regime – nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy – are each vital in their own right, but together they create a powerful synergy. All States benefit from each of them. All States can contribute to each of them.
We are fully aware of the fact that progress on disarmament and nonproliferation faces significant obstacles. We must acknowledge that geopolitical tension and competition has increased. Some nations are pursuing policies that endanger and undermine the international rules-based order that has sustained us over the past seven decades. Yet even as we adapt to an increasingly complex global security environment, arms control remains a powerful positive force to mitigate these security challenges.
Let us not forget how much progress we have already made toward nuclear disarmament. In 1967 the United States had 31,255 nuclear weapons in our active stockpile. By 2017 this number was just under 4,000, a more than an eightfold decrease in our nuclear arsenals. This historic success was achieved through our commitment to easing tensions, reducing risk, and negotiating in good faith towards nuclear disarmament.
One essential precondition for building on these prior successes is transparency. Earlier this year, the Biden-Harris Administration included our recommitment to the highest standards of transparency when it announced the key principles that lie at the core of American foreign policy. Transparency helps to build trust and confidence in arms control regimes and reduces the risk of nuclear miscalculation.
Today, as an act of good faith, and a tangible, public demonstration of the U.S. commitment to transparency, we will present data which documents our own record of continued progress toward the achievement of the goals of the NPT. As we, along with the United Kingdom and France, demonstrate transparency about our nuclear stockpiles, we call on other states with nuclear weapons to do likewise.