WASHINGTON -- The US should develop a new and modern arsenal of nuclear weapons as it reduces the warheads at hand, a high-level military officer said on Tuesday.
"So long as there are other countries in the world that possess enough nuclear weapons to destroy the United States of America and our way of life, we will have to deter those types of countries," said Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, head of the military's Strategic Command.
As a deterrent to attacks from other nations in the 21st century, the US defense department should develop an improved nuclear weapon, he told reporters.
Chilton also noted that the US existing warheads inventory is "too big, bigger than they need to be," although the number of the nuclear weapons has been significantly reduced.
He estimated that the number would be continue to decline to 25 percent of the total during the Cold War by 2012.
However, some critics raised their concern that if US develops a new arsenal of nuclear weapons, other countries would also follow the move. They also warned that the US should be very careful about the signal it sends to other nuclear powers in the world.