April 6th, 2010
01:22 PM ET

U.S. announces nuclear weapon restrictions

The United States will swear off the development of new generations of nuclear weapons and will not use its existing arsenal to attack non-nuclear states that are in compliance with non-proliferation agreements, the Obama administration declared Tuesday.

The shift, a consequence of the government's Nuclear Posture Review, reflects the administration's changing view of the role of nuclear weapons in a post-Cold War world struggling to control the spread of potential devastating military technology.

Among other things, the new American stance is meant to provide an incentive for countries to stay within the rules of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a senior administration official told CNN.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen announced the change two days before President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia that reduces both countries' missile stockpiles.

The new American stance "represents a milestone in the transformation of our nuclear forces," Clinton said. It is the result of a recalibration "to prevent nuclear proliferation" and "nuclear terrorism."

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