(NBC) - President Barack Obama is in Prague Thursday, signing a new arms reduction treaty as a first step toward the President's goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
The President admits that's unlikely is his lifetime, but he hopes that this shows a United States leading by example, and working with Russia to keep nuclear material out of the wrong hands.
"It includes significant reductions in the nuclear weapons that we will deploy, it cuts our delivery vehicles by roughly half," said the President.
The so-called new Start Treaty shrinks both countries' arsenals by about one third. Backers say it shrinks the role of remaining warheads in U.S. strategy
"The President will say look we need nuclear weapons, just to deter a nuclear attack on the united states, not for a whole range of other threats," said Sharon Squassoni with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The treaty does need Senate approval.
Some Republicans say it sends the wrong message that the U.S. is backing off a key tool in its defense.
"They want more money for nuclear weapons modernization for example, big issue Senator Kyl has raised. They would like a pledge not to put restrictions on future missile defense deployments," said Joseph Cirincione of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The White House hopes that the U.S.-Russian cooperation helps to unify nations in preventing Iran from building its own nuclear arsenal. That message will carry over to next week.
The President will host 46 nations including Russia and china for a nuclear summit, aimed at agreement on how to stop the spread of nuclear material.