O'Malley Wants to Modernize and Reduce Nuclear Weapons

John and Lily on January 25, 2016
Martin O'Malley wants to reduce the number of nuclear weapons through multilateral negotiations. But at the same time, he supports "modernizing" the nuclear arsenal to "strengthen triad deterrence" and make nuclear weapons less vulnerable to cyber attacks.

"I have a question about wasteful nuclear weapons spending," John from Global Zero asked Martin O'Malley.  "I know in the past you’ve said on this issue we should pay more attention to our military experts than our politicians and I agree. I want to point out that a four-star military general Colin Powell said that nuclear weapons are useless. And I guess as President my question for you would be how would you build on the legacy started by Reagan, endorsed by many military experts and continued by President Obama to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons?"

O’Malley responded, "It’s going to require constant work and constant dialing up our diplomatic efforts. It’s going to require presidential commitment and it’s going to require us oftentimes leading with action rather than waiting until the perfect confluence of goodwill exists in the hearts of all our opponents and other nations of this world. So I believe we can modernize our force and also reduce nuclear weapons. I believe we have an urgent responsibility to take actions to make sure nuclear weapons don’t fall into the hands of non-state actors and both of those interests point to the United States taking the lead in reducing the size of this world’s nuclear warheads and that’s what I intend to do."

Lilly, another Global Zero activist, was able to ask a follow-up question later in the meeting. "Governor O’Malley, thank you for your time today," she began.  "Always a pleasure seeing you. I also want to thank you on your leadership on seeking a world without nuclear weapons and your commitment to reducing global nuclear stockpiles. I just have a quick follow up question. I totally agree with you that we need to address the crumbling infrastructure surrounding our nuclear forces here in the United States but I feel a little bit confused when you talk about modernizing and overhauling the US nuclear arsenal. Not only is in incredibly expensive, but it’s planned and estimated to cost over $1 trillion over the next 30 years. But I strongly believe that it sends the wrong message to the rest of the world that the United States is not serious about multilateral or global nuclear arms reduction when we’re investing such a significant amount of money in overhauling and modernizing our own. So I just wanted to hear a little bit more about why you support modernizing our nuclear arsenal."

O'Malley responded, "I support modernizing our nuclear arsenal in an effort to not only strengthen the triad deterrence but also to protect it from possible cyber incursions and those types of attacks as well. And I think at the end of the day if we can reduce the number of nuclear warheads, that does send a strong signal rather than a counter signal. I think to modernize to reduce should be the goal, and that’s what I believe."

Find out more about Global Zero's campaigns to improve nuclear safety and abolish nuclear weapons by clicking here.

Video of second question to O'Malley

Lilly follow up question:

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