Corker says nuclear modernization and disarmament must go hand-in-hand

To avoid unilateral disarmament, the U.S. must fulfill its commitments to modernization of existing forces prior to further reducing its nuclear arsenal, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Wednesday.

Corker, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the remarks in response to President Barack Obama's speech in Berlin that signaled a further reduction of U.S. nuclear forces. Corker said that added limitations to the nuclear arsenal without first modernizing existing forces could lead to one-sided disarmament.

"Maintaining a strong nuclear deterrent is vital for our nation's security and that of our allies around the world," Corker said. "While the administration has assured me that no further reductions will occur outside of treaty negotiations and the advice and consent of the Senate, the president's announcement without first fulfilling commitments on modernization could amount to unilateral disarmament."

Secretary of State John Kerry called Corker on Tuesday to assure him that reductions would only occur as part of bilateral treaty negotiations that were subject to the consent and advice of the Senate.

In April, Corker and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) wrote a joint commentary published in Foreign Policy that pointed out the Obama administration's unmet obligations on modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal. A previous op-ed written by Corker and Inhofe and published in the Wall Street Journal argued that unilateral disarmament by the U.S. could result in the instability the nation is seeking to avoid.

"The president should follow through on full modernization of the remaining arsenal and pledges to provide extended nuclear deterrence before engaging in any additional discussions," Corker said.