U.S. President Barack Obama says the new U.S. nuclear strategy is a "significant step forward" in reducing the role of nuclear weapons in the U.S. national security strategy.
In a statement, the president says the Nuclear Posture Review focuses on reducing nuclear dangers while maintaining an effective nuclear deterrent. He says, for the first time, preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism are at the top of the U.S. nuclear agenda.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its obligations.
But he says if any of those states attacked the United States or its allies with chemical or biological weapons, it would face the prospect of a "devastating conventional military response." He notes the U.S. reserves the right to make adjustments to the policy.
The defense chief says the policy document has a strong message for North Korea and Iran -- that all options are under consideration in dealing with them.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the document represents a "milestone" (a significant point) in the transformation of U.S. nuclear forces and how the country approaches nuclear issues.
The review says the massive U.S. nuclear arsenal from the Cold War-era is "poorly suited" to address the current global challenges of terrorists and unfriendly regimes that seek nuclear weapons. It says it is essential the U.S. better align itself to address those priorities.
It says the changes in the international climate in recent years allow the United States to fulfill national security objectives with significantly lower nuclear force levels and reduced reliance on nuclear weapons.
It says that with the reduction of its nuclear weapons, the United States will be in a stronger position to persuade other countries to join efforts in non-proliferation and securing nuclear weapons.
The U.S. Congress requires each new administration to release a plan for use of nuclear weapons.
It says the United States will lead expanded efforts on global nuclear non-proliferation and seek to reverse the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.
It also calls for the modernization of the aging U.S. nuclear facilities. Secretary Gates has requested $5 billion to be transferred from his agency to the Department of Energy over the next several years for that purpose.
President Obama will be in Prague Thursday to sign a new arms control agreement with Russia. It reduces by about one-third the number of nuclear weapons either country could deploy.
The signing would come one year after President Obama gave a speech in the Czech capital laying out his vision of a nuclear-free world.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Tuesday that Moscow reserves the right to withdraw from that treaty, if future U.S. anti-missile shields were to threaten its security.
Next week, Mr. Obama hosts a two-day global nuclear security summit in Washington. A White House spokesman says the president will focus on "locking down loose nuclear material," so it does not fall into the hands of terrorists or dangerous states.