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Eisenhower moves to expand US nuclear weapons, October 30, 1953

-October 30, 2013

Budget-conscious US President Dwight D Eisenhower formally approved top secret document National Security Council Paper No. 162/2 (NSC 162/2), on October 30, 1953, which stated that the US arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the Communist threat.

The document also made clear the connection between military spending and a sound American economy. NSC 162/2 was evidence of Eisenhower’s “New Look” policy, which sought a more long-haul approach to security planning aimed at maintaining a more or less constant level of military preparedness, consistent with the health of the US economy.

After the expensive Korean War and with no end to the Cold War in sight, Eisenhower was concerned that the Cold War period would drain US resources, leaving the country unprepared for other possible conflicts and security concerns.

While still keeping nuclear weapons available for use as other weapons against Communist forces, NSC 162/2 looked to balance massive military expenditures and the booming American economy and domestic standard of living of the time.

Eisenhower’s New Look and NSC 162/2 brought about significant spending on aero/military/defense electronics and components as they grew the number of atomic weapons from 1000 in 1953 to more than 18,000 by the time Eisenhower left office in 1961.

Budget cuts instead came through decreased troop levels. During the same period, America's military budget dropped from $50 billion to an average of $34 billion.

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Editor's note: This article was originally posted on October 30, 2012 and edited on October 30, 2013.

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