Inside the Arms Control Association
Earlier this month, the Biden administration outlined a viable pathway for moving back from the nuclear brink.
At ACA's annual meeting June 2, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan delivered a major policy address stating that the United States is ready to engage in nuclear arms control diplomacy with Russia, as well as the other nuclear-armed NPT states-parties "without preconditions."
Sullivan criticized Russia's suspension of its implementation of New START but he noted that "Russia has publicly committed to adhere to the Treaty's central limits, indicating a potential willingness to continue limiting strategic nuclear forces through 2026" when New START will expire.
“It is in neither [the United States' or Russia’s] interests to embark on an open-ended competition in strategic nuclear forces" and that the United States is "prepared to stick to the central limits as long as Russia does," Sullivan said.
"[R]ather than waiting to resolve all of our bilateral differences—the United States is ready to engage Russia now to manage nuclear risks and develop a post-2026 arms control framework."
At the ACA meeting, Sullivan also said the United States supports "new multilateral arms control efforts" involving the other nuclear-armed members of the NPT: China, France, and the UK.
"We’re under no illusions that reaching risk reduction and arms control measures in that setting will be easy. But we do believe it is possible," he said.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said June 5 that Russia remains open to dialogue with the United States on arms control. He described Sullivan's statement as "important and positive," but said Russia wants to learn more about the proposal through formal diplomatic channels.
Though the dramatic challenge to Putin’s authority from the leader of the Wagner Group shows Putin’s regime is fragile, Putin is still in charge of Russia’s nuclear policy and its deadly nuclear arsenal.
ACA continues its steadfast work to build domestic and international pressure for Washington and Moscow to re-engage on nuclear risk reduction and arms control and to encourage the other nuclear-armed NPT States to join the nuclear disarmament enterprise to prevent open-ended nuclear competition and reduce the danger of nuclear conflict. We are:
For more on the potential pathways for progress, see my new editorial in the July/August issue of Arms Control Today.
Highlights from ACA’s 2023 Annual Meeting
In addition to Jake Sullivan’s keynote speech, Austrian Ambassador for Disarmament Alexander Kmentt delivered a strong keynote address on the contradictions between disarmament and deterrence and the need for urgent action on disarmament. Joining them in the program were expert panelists discussing:
Our 2023 Annual Meeting was also featured in news reports published in Stars and Stripes, Euronews, Foreign Policy, Politico, Reuters, TASS, Republic World, Washington Examiner, NHK, New York Times, CNN, Breaking Defense, TIME, The Hill, Associated Press, Responsible Statecraft, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal, among other outlets.
New Report on Strategies to Mitigate the Risks of New and Emerging Tech
Our latest report by senior policy analyst Shannon Bugos provides an overview of the potentially destabilizing effects of several new and emerging technologies and their respective military applications, including:
The report is based on a series of workshops, involving dozens of experts in each technology area, that ACA conducted in 2021 and 2022. It identifies near-term risk mitigation measures that policymakers might pursue.
You can find all of the Arms Control Association’s resources, news reports, and resources on these issues on our new Emerging Technology webpage.
Take Action: Tell Congress to Say No to New Nuclear Weapons
Last week, the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee authorized $190 million in funding to develop a new nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM-N) that the Biden administration has rejected.
On June 2, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan bluntly said the United States does not need to deploy “ever-more dangerous nuclear weapons to maintain deterrence."
Adding a new type of tactical nuclear weapon to the U.S. arsenal would increase the risk of nuclear war, and prompt Russia and China to build up their forces in response. It would also cost U.S. taxpayers in excess of $30 billion.
Biden made the right call to cancel the weapon, and now we need to make sure Congress doesn’t reverse the decision. Write to your congressional representatives now and tell them to block attempts to approve funding for the SLCM-N.
CWC Coalition Engages at the 5th Review Conference
Paul Walker, chair of the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition (CWCC), and CWCC project coordinator Mina Rozei joined some 150 NGO representatives at the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague for the fifth review conference and the 25th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention from May 15-19.
Through the coordinating efforts of the CWCC, which is based at ACA, civil society experts addressed the governmental delegates on key issues and lobbied for a more effective system for NGO participation in the CWC meetings. The full set of presentations is online here: https://www.cwccoalition.org/revcon5-ngo-statements/
For more on the RevCon, see our news report in the current issue of Arms Control Today: “CWC Conference Fails to Achieve Consensus.”
ACA in the News