Washington (CNN) - Americans are split on President Obama's goal of eliminating all of the world's nuclear weapons, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday. But the survey also indicates the public overwhelmingly agrees with the mission of the president's nuclear summit this week to keep those weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
Seventy-seven percent of people questioned in the poll say that preventing terrorists from getting nuclear weapons is more important than reducing the number of nuclear weapons controlled by government that are unfriendly to the U.S. According to the survey, 55 percent say that it is likely that terrorists will attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons within the next decade, but less than four in ten think that an all-out nuclear is likely.
"Most Americans are worried about terrorists with nuclear weapons and they see 'loose nukes' as the top priority for the government's nuclear policy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
TOPICS: Nuclear weapons
In advance of this week's nuclear security summit, President Obama held a series of bilateral meetings with other world leaders, including this one with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama hosts leaders from 46 countries for a two-day nuclear security summit starting Monday that will focus on how to better safeguard weapons materials, both old and new, to keep them out of the hands of terrorists.
The gathering at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation's capital is considered an unprecedented effort to rally global action on securing vulnerable nuclear materials.
It also is the centerpiece of a major Obama objective aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and technology.
As the summit begins, the United States is negotiating with the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
"The central focus ofthis nuclear summit is the fact that the single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short term, medium term and long term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon," Obama said Sunday, appearing with South African President Jacob Zuma in Washington.
"This is something that could change the security landscape in this country and around the world for years to come. If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications - economicially, politically and from a security perspective - would be devastating. We know that organizations like al Qaeda are in the process of trying to secure nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction and would have no compunction at using them."
Obama signed a new treaty with Russia last week to reduce the nuclear stockpiles of both nations, and his administration issued a revised U.S. nuclear arms strategy intended to reinforce the nation's nuclear deterrent while isolating terrorists and rogue states that fail to comply with international regulations.
It all fits together as an ambitious effort to mobilize a unified global effort against nuclear proliferation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in interviews broadcast Sunday.
President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the START Treaty Thursday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Prague, Czech Republic (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday signed the START treaty, a major arms control agreement that reduces the nuclear stockpiles of both nations.
The treaty, whose full name is the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, builds on a previous agreement that expired in December.
The agreement cuts the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States and Russia by about a third.
"This day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia - the two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons - to pursue responsible global leadership," Obama said after the signing. "Together, we are keeping our commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which must be the foundation for global non-proliferation."
Medvedev called START a "win-win situation" for the two countries.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The United States will swear off the development of new generations of nuclear weapons and reduce its reliance on them in a sweeping overhaul of its nuclear strategy due out Tuesday.
The Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review will alter decades of American policy to provide an incentive for countries to stay within the rules of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, a senior administration official told CNN. The focus of U.S. nuclear policy will be on isolating countries that are flouting their obligations under that pact, the official said.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to announce the new strategy on Tuesday, two days before he plans to sign a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia that reduces both countries' missile stockpiles. The president is expected to be joined by several Cabinet members, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Washington (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden staked out a middle ground on nuclear weapons policy Thursday, trying to reassure critics claiming the administration's disarmament efforts are either too fast or too slow.
"The spread of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat facing the country - and I would argue facing humanity - and that is why we are working both to stop their proliferation and eventually to eliminate them," Biden said in a 23-minute speech at the National Defense University in Washington.
"But until that day comes, we have to do everything in our power to maintain our arsenal and make sure it is reliable."
The vice president said U.S. nuclear laboratories that monitor the weapons' reliability had been neglected and underfunded in recent years.
"That's why earlier this month we announced a new budget that reverses the last decade of dangerous decline," he said. "It devotes $7 billion to maintaining our nuclear stockpile and modernizing our nuclear infrastructure. To put that in perspective, that's $624 million more than Congress approved last year and an increase of $5 billion over the next five years."