Today, we are discussing the nuclear deterrent.
We have heard some curious arguments tonight. We have heard an argument that this is all about cost, but security is not about cost; security is the foundation of everything we hold dear. Without security, there is nothing. Without security, the costs are incalculable.
Nuclear deterrence has preserved the security and stability of this country for half a century. When I was a teenager, our national response to what appeared to be the end of the Soviet menace in the 1990s was to plan for a reduction in the size of our nuclear arsenal, without abandoning our commitment to an independent deterrent capability. That was then a sensible way to hedge against unpredictable future threats to this country’s vital interests. It was the right approach then and it is the right approach again today.