A top National Security Council administration official on June 2 reaffirmed the Trump administration’s commitment to nonproliferation, defending the president’s nuclear policy approach at the Arms Control Association annual meeting.
Christopher Ford, special assistant to the president and senior director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counterproliferation for the National Security Council, said that despite media reports to the contrary, President Trump is committed to pursuing activities to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
These include “supporting international nonproliferation regimes, securing or eliminating vulnerable nuclear material worldwide, preventing the spread of dual use and other enabling technologies and capabilities; ensuring effective safeguards on peaceful nuclear activities, and interdicting proliferation shipments and otherwise doing what we can to slow the development of threat programs,” Ford said.
“Opportunistic anti-administration hype aside, I would argue that this at its core is a gobsmackingly simple and commonsensical point,” he said in defense of Trump’s approach, which many in the arms control community have characterized as cavalier.
Ford said he would not address specific nuclear and arms control policy questions until the administration’s Nuclear Posture Review is complete. That is scheduled to happen by the end of 2017. Asked about the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, he said the United States intends to meet the treaty limits and “we are on track to do so,” but could not speculate on the possibility of extending the treaty past its expiration until the review is completed.
Ford also said the administration continues to consider potential responses to Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty as it develops its Nuclear Posture Review, and that despite the tensions in the bilateral relationship stemming from these compliance concerns, “there is agreement in principle about some kind of strategic stability dialogue” between the two countries.