Brights Spots in a Difficult Year

Inside the Arms Control Association      
December 2023

Bright Spots in a Difficult Year

Overall, 2023 was another difficult year for arms control and international security.

In fact, it has been a difficult decade as relations among the states with the world’s largest nuclear arsenals have deteriorated and progress on disarmament has stalled.

The result is that nuclear risks are on the rise, and we are now on the brink of a dangerous and costly era of nuclear competition – unless we act now.

Through the challenges of the past year, we have persisted and made some headway that may provide openings for more dramatic progress in the years ahead.

For example:

We’ll keep looking forward because the coming year is critical. In 2024, our modest but hardworking, dedicated, and effective team will be focused on:

Leveraging opportunities for nuclear arms control talks. ACA is at the forefront of civil society efforts to build support in Congress and in key capitals for disarmament diplomacy and to push back against calls for a U.S. nuclear arms buildup. With the 2010 New START pact expiring in less than 775 days, this is our top priority.

Countering threats of nuclear use and challenging dangerous nuclear deterrence policies. As Russia’s war in Ukraine rages on and North Korea’s nuclear program expands, we can expect more nuclear threat rhetoric and tensions involving these states. Not only will we push for renewed dialogue and diplomacy, but we’ll continue to foster better understanding of the catastrophic consequences of any conflict between nuclear-armed adversaries.

Addressing the Iranian nuclear challenge. Our expert team remains on the cutting edge of efforts to monitor Iran nuclear activitiesand encourage reciprocal actions to de-escalate tensions and prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear weapons threshold.

Identifying solutions to deal with new and disruptive technologies. Hypersonic missiles, new space weapons, cyberattacks, lethal autonomous weapons, and the application of AI in the nuclear and military arena create new escalatory dangers that require new arms control solutions. We’ll build on the findings in our two most recent research reports to advocate for effective policies to mitigate the risks particularly in the nuclear sphere.

We can only make progress with the help of loyal, committed, and well-informed advocates for common sense solutions to the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

You Can Help ACA Make a Difference

We need your help to ensure that ACA stays on the frontlines of the nuclear weapons policy debate where we provide our hallmark leadership, information, and pragmatic solutions to jumpstart arms control diplomacy and reduce the risks of arms racing and nuclear war.

Please consider donating or renewing at a higher level. Make a commitment to effective arms control solutions. Get access to the flagship monthly journal Arms Control Today, invitations to briefings and events, and other benefits. Make your gift at

Stay informed and engaged. Sign up for timely news and updates on the issues of interest to you and/or become part of our growing network to learn how you can write, call, and meet with key policymakers. Sign up at

Other ways to give. Our staff can help you make a bequest of charitable assets to ACA to support our work in the years to come. We also accept gifts of cash, stocks, or other assets through donor-advised funds, and if you are eligible through a qualified charitable distribution from an IRA.      

Visit to learn more.

EVENT: “Reinforcing the Beleaguered Nuclear Nonproliferation and Arms Control System”

At a Dec. 12 event co-hosted by the Arms Control Association and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, we held a high-level discussion at the National Press Club on the challenges facing the global system designed to reduce the risk, spread, and number of nuclear weapons and to prohibit nuclear testing.

Our panelists were Ambassador Elayne White, president of the negotiating conference for the 2017 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons; Nomsa Ndongwe, research fellow, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and former diplomat at the Zimbabwe Permanent Mission in Geneva; and Tom Countryman, chair of ACA’s board of directors.

Voting is Underway for the 2023 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year!

Since 2007, the Arms Control Association has nominated individuals and institutions that have advanced effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions in the previous 12 months.

The 2023 contest is already off to a competitive start with over 1,000 supporters, advocates, and practitioners in arms control from more than 50 countries having already cast their vote.

The list of of this year's remarkable and inspiring nominees, their accomplishments, and your ballot are available at

In Case You Missed It…

In Memoriam

We’ll miss our friends and leaders for a safer world who we lost in the past year, including:

Jo Husbands (Nov. 30, 2022)      
Thomas Hughes (Jan 2, 2023)      
Catherine Kelleher (Feb 15, 2023)      
David Hafemeister (March 31, 2023)      
Daniel Ellsberg (June 16, 2023)