(Source: Alicia Torbush/AFP)

U.S. nuclear warhead stockpiles peaked in the 60s and were greatly reduced in the 1990s.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Obama is not expected to make a radical change in U.S. nuclear policy, though

President Obama is trying to change some of the policies that have been in place under previous presidents. Obama is also working to cut military spending and reduce the stockpiles of some ordinance that the military has on standby in case they are needed.

Defense News reports that Obama is planning to dramatically reduce the number of nuclear weapons that the U.S. possesses. A senior U.S. official call Obama's plan a "dramatic reduction" but the official points out that it is still not clear at this point if Obama will break from past policy. A full review of the U.S. nuclear policy is set to be completed this month.

A report titled "Nuclear Posture Review" was reportedly set to be released in December. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is supposed to meet with Obama on Monday to present the president with final options on the review. Among the radical breaks from past nuclear policy some think Obama might be considering is whether or not the U.S. will openly declare when nuclear arms will be used against enemies or if Obama will stick with more vague language that has been used in past nuclear policy.

Some in Congress are wanting Obama to change parts of the U.S. nuclear policy that allow the U.S. to use nuclear weapons in response to a biological or chemical attack against enemies that have nuclear weapons and those that don't. The hope by the lawmakers is that Obama will declare the U.S. nuclear arsenals sole purpose is to deter nuclear attack. This declaration would allow the nuclear stockpile America holds to be reduced to less numbers than current plans will allow.

Such a sweeping change in U.S. policy is not expected to happen. Jeffery Lewis from the New America Foundation said he expects a "very status-quo document" and goes on to say, "[Obama will offer] a very conventional document that will fall far short of the president's rhetoric." Lewis is referring to a promise that Obama made during a speech in Prague last month promising to end "Cold War thinking."

The push to reduce nuclear arms around the world is reportedly due in part to the growing number of nuclear arms available in Iran and North Korea. North Korea first declared its nuclear weapons in June of 2008. The U.S. and Russia are also reported to be close to a new deal to further reduce the nuclear stockpile held by each country. Obama and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev have already agreed to reduce nuclear warheads on each side to 1,500 to 1,675. America currently has a stockpile of 2,200 operational nuclear warheads and an additional 2,500 warheads that could be activated and are held in reserve reports Defense News.

A senior official told the AFP that the new Nuclear Posture Review "will point to dramatic reductions in the stockpile, while maintaining a strong and reliable deterrent through the investments that have been made in the budget. [And it will] Point to a greater role for conventional weapons in deterrence." The review will also reportedly eliminate the need for so-called bunker-buster nuclear weapons. The Pentagon announced in October 2009 that it was seeking the development of a 15-ton conventional bunker buster bomb that would be the biggest non-nuclear weapon the military has.

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