Okay folks. It is that time of the year.
The sun is low in the northern hemisphere; holiday-driven shopping is in full swing; Congress has finally left Washington DC at peace; you are drinking more eggnog than you should; NORAD is working to put a shine on its image by tracking Santa (while still looking out for Russian nuclear-armed ICBMs); the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded; holiday cards are arriving; and ... the Arms Control Association's Arms Control Person of the Year balloting is open!
Every year since 2007, ACA's staff has nominated several individuals and institutions that best exemplify leadership and action in pursuing effective arms control solutions.
It started out as a fun project for our staff--now it is an annual event that we hope will highlight some of the good works of the past year to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons: nuclear; chemical; biological; and certain conventional weapons.
We invite you to cast your vote (one per person) for the 2013 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year.
Lobbying via Twitter, Facebook, and even door-to-door get out the vote efforts, etc. is encouraged ...
Click here to vote and enter "aca2013" as the password. The vote will be closed at midnight on January 7 and the results announced January 9.
The nominees are:
- EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for leading their respective diplomatic teams to reach the November 24 framework agreement and first-phase confidence-building steps that open the way for negotiations on a comprehensive final-phase agreement to resolve concerns about Iran's nuclear program.
- Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo of Costa Rica and the foreign ministers of 63 other states for their co-sponsorship of the resolution presenting the Arms Trade Treaty for approval by the UN General Assembly in April, which was necessary to overcome the opposition of Iran, Syria, and North Korea to the treaty and opened the way for signature of the treaty in June.
- Ake Sellstrom and his UN investigation team for their reports on the August 21 chemical attack outside Damascus and other chemical weapons attacks, which documented that rockets armed with sarin nerve gas were used to kill more than 1,000 people, prompting actions leading to the removal of Syria's chemical arsenal under supervision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
- Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission on eliminating Syria's chemical weapons program and her team, for their work to verify the accuracy of Syria's declaration of its arsenal and oversee the destruction of its weaponization and production equipment and the removal of the remaining bulk and precursor chemical agents from Syria for verified neutralization outside of Syria.
- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for the March 15 decision to cancel Phase IV of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe and to deploy 14 more ground-based mid-course interceptors in Alaska, which simultaneously removed a potential obstacle to further U.S.-Russian strategic nuclear arms reductions and reassured allies in Asia regarding North Korea.
- Amb. Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament, for his leadership in starting a discussion among the states-parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons on the issues raised by lethal autonomous weapons systems.
Click here to vote and enter "aca2013" as the password.
Past winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" are: Gen. James Cartwright (2012); reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011); Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010); Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009 ), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008); and U.S. Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).
And if you rely on www.ArmsControlNow.org, the Arms Control Association, and/or Arms Control Today, consider making a contribution online to help sustain our work. Thanks!