Historic Bi-Partisan Coalition of Military and National Security Leaders Calls for Strong Approach to Nuclear Security

July 19, 2010

‘Consensus for American Security’ members Sec. George Shultz, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Gen. Arlen “Dirk” Jameson (U.S. Air Force, RET), Sen. Gary Hart and Adm. William Owens (U.S. Navy, RET) look to New START Treaty as Initial Test of American Policy

Washington, July 19, 2010 – Today, more than 30 senior former military and national security leaders launched the ‘Consensus for American Security’ to support a national security strategy that will keep the country safe from 21st century threats. These threats include the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack on an American city and the increasing global insecurity created by new, hostile countries acquiring nuclear weapons. Members of the Consensus looked to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) currently before the Senate as any early indicator of how seriously Congress views these challenges, and highlighted the overwhelming support for New START by those who have made a career out of keeping our country safe.

“The Consensus believes the new START Treaty fundamentally represents the U.S. national interest. It is the only option that allows us to invest in the nuclear security priorities necessary to confront the threats of today and tomorrow. Building on the successes of President Reagan, the Treaty allows us to control old weapons while supporting our forces and the development of advanced capabilities. Without this Treaty, we will not be able to move forward with new strategic issues that are vital to protecting America,” said Senator Gary Hart, member of The Consensus.

“For more than 30 years, I oversaw the training, testing, security and readiness of our country’s nuclear arsenal. I saw our nation face evolving security challenges, and what our country needs to prevent a nuclear terrorist catastrophe or our enemies acquiring and using nuclear weapons is a comprehensive nuclear security strategy that responds to today’s threats,” continued Gen. Arlen “Dirk” Jameson (U.S. Air Force, RET). “When the U.S. signed the New START agreement, we advanced further down a common sense path of national security. It’s time for the Senate to ensure that we have all the tools we need to keep America safe and to pass New START.”

The Consensus is made up of a group of influential former military leaders and national security officials from both sides of the political aisle, including former Senators Chuck Hagel and Gary Hart, and senior retired military officials Adm. Lee Gunn, Gen. Jameson, Gen. Don Kerrick, Adm. Owens, among others.

The Consensus was formed to raise awareness of a broad sweep of nuclear security issues, including the value of the New START treaty and other arms control agreements.

“Consensus members, people with real boots-on-the-ground experience in this arena, believe that the New START agreement is the critical first step in moving us on a sustainable path towards nuclear security. In addition to verifiably reducing Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the agreement provides a modern framework to allow us to monitor Russia’s nuclear reductions and keep track of their compliance with the treaty’s mandate,” said Jim Ludes, of the American Security Project.

“New START is important because we need to face the threats of today, rather than keep the outdated weapons of yesterday. A broad and growing non-partisan consensus of military and national security leaders supports New START because they know this treaty is a critical tool for keeping our country safe,” said Lieutenant General Robert Gard, USA (Ret).

In addition to today’s launch call featuring Sen. Chuck Hagel, Sen. Gary Hart, Lt. General Jameson, and Adm. William Owens, a series of paid advertisements is starting today to further raise awareness, as well. More information, including a complete list of members of the Consensus for American Security, is available at securityconsensus.org, on Facebook and Twitter.


About the Consensus for American Security: The Consensus for American Security is a non-partisan group of individuals committed to protecting the United States and its allies from nuclear catastrophe. The Consensus’s work is supported through by the Ploughshares Fund, a non-partisan, 501©(3) organization dedicated to reducing the role of nuclear weapons and fundamentally changing nuclear weapons policy.