U.S. presidents and Congress have long worked together in a bipartisan fashion to prevent the use and spread of nuclear weapons and materials. In fact, Republican presidents have cut the arsenal far more aggressively than have their Democratic counterparts. Please join us in urging the Trump administration to build on this tradition, as it writes its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), and to pursue the following core, bipartisan principles:
Reaffirm U.S. leadership for reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons globally.
Continue to support U.S.-led efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and materials.
Pursue a more cost-effective approach to sustaining and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
The letter also asks the administration to keep with longstanding practice of including all relevant voices in the NPR process, including the interagency and outside experts.
For decades, American presidents and members of Congress from both parties have worked together to prevent the use and spread of nuclear weapons and materials. Starting with President Reagan’s leadership, American presidents have steadily reduced the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, as well as the size of our nuclear arsenal. We urge you to build on this tradition.
Specifically, as your Administration writes its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), we would encourage you to pursue the following core, bipartisan principles;
1. Reaffirm U.S. leadership for reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons globally.
The American people deserve to know that, contrary to positions outlined in some of your tweets and statements, you would not use nuclear weapons first in a conflict or against non-nuclear adversaries, and that you do not seek to launch a new nuclear arms race, which would undermine American security. With regard to specific policies, we ask the following:
New START: We urge you to extend the 2010 New START Treaty. Seven former U.S. nuclear commanders agree: the treaty’s transparency and verification measures provide insight into Russian nuclear forces that intelligence alone cannot provide – while allowing the United States to maintain a robust nuclear deterrent. New START provides stability and predictability that we don’t want to lose.
INF: We are deeply concerned about Russia’s continued noncompliance with the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Treaty. We urge you to identify ways to get the Russians back in compliance in order to preserve this important Treaty. We also ask that you coordinate with NATO Allies and other relevant partners as the process moves forward.
Iran: We encourage you to vigorously enforce the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and six world powers, as it is the best chance we have of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.
North Korea: We also urge you to pursue a multilateral diplomatic approach to rolling back North Korea’s nuclear program.
2. Continue to support U.S.-led efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and materials.
Bipartisan programs, like the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, have significantly reduced the risk of nuclear materials falling into the wrong hands. We note, however, that for several years, the budget to prevent nuclear weapons and fissile materials proliferation has steadily decreased. For instance, the budget for core nonproliferation funding was cut in Fiscal Year 2017 by $118 million, despite the continued pressing need to secure weapons-usable materials around the globe. American global leadership on nuclear security has helped stem the spread of nuclear weapons. In light of this, we urge you to fully fund the programs and international institutions, like the International Atomic Energy Agency, that are critical in these efforts.
3. Pursue a more cost-effective approach to sustaining and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
In the current challenging fiscal environment, it is possible and necessary to revise the $1 trillion-over-30-years plan to replace the U.S. nuclear arsenal while maintaining a force capable of deterring nuclear attack against the United States and its allies. In 2013, the Pentagon determined that the United States could reduce its deployed strategic nuclear force by one-third below current levels and still meet U.S. security requirements. Before spending these taxpayer dollars, we must ensure that the mission for each system in the arsenal is justified.
Instead of a one-for-one replacement of each existing nuclear weapons system, we encourage you to prioritize finite defense dollars on securing and hardening command and control systems. Moreover, we believe that Secretary of Defense James Mattis was prudent when he described the need to review the new nuclear-armed cruise missile, known as the Long Range Stand-Off weapon, a weapon the former Defense Secretary William Perry has called “destabilizing.” We also question the need for a new generation of land-based missiles that Secretary Mattis has raised doubts about in the past.As nuclear weapons have little bearing on immediate threats – like fighting extremism and combating cyberwarfare – we believe current Department of Defense and Department of Energy plans must be reconsidered.
4. Keep with longstanding practice of including all relevant voices in the NPR process, including the interagency and outside experts.
We respectfully request a response by no later than June 5, 2017 that describes your Administration’s general approach to nuclear policy and provides a preview of the principles guiding the Nuclear Posture Review process.
 For example: Your tweet from December 22, 2016: “The United states must greatly expand and strengthen its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes;”
 For example, your statements (1) in a January 16, 2017 Times of Londoninterview that, “nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially,” perhaps through a deal that lifts sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine; and (2) as a candidate that you would not rule out using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear threats.