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I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them. -

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004
Arms Control NOW

Iran’s Ballistic Missile Test: Troubling But Not Cause for Provoking Confrontation

Without question, Iran’s decision to continue testing ballistic missiles is unhelpful and inconsistent with the spirit of a key 2015 UN Security Council resolution. But the Trump administration and the Congress should measure their response to Iran’s missile test and refrain from actions that will provoke escalation or unnecessarily endanger the nuclear deal. Implementation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) and Iran blocks Tehran from building nuclear weapons for more than a decade. Keeping the deal...

What Mattis and Perry Said About Nuclear Policy

During his campaign for the presidency, President Donald Trump made a number of statements about nuclear weapons that were characterized by both Republicans and Democrats as deeply concerning and ill-informed about the unique dangers the weapons pose. Trump’s statements since the election have done little to clear up this concern or bring greater clarity to what his administration’s nuclear nonproliferation and risk reduction strategy will be. However, the recent confirmation hearings for three of the president’s top cabinet choices–Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State, James Mattis for...

Copenhagen: a Play about the Science, Politics, and Morality of Atomic Weapons

On a calm and cool January evening, we found ourselves attending a stimulating showing of Michael Frayn’s 1998 Tony award-winning play, Copenhagen , at Theater J in Washington D.C. Before going any further, perhaps we should start with some personal background (and humility). We are not nuclear weapons experts. Or physicists. Or historians, really. Rather, our recollection and understanding of World War II and the race to the atomic bomb is, shall we say, rusty. We’re both young professionals working more on conventional weapons issues–from examining the global arms trade to analyzing defense...

The P5+1 And Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, January 17

Iran Deal Hits One Year Milestone Jan. 16 marked one year of full implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal. Around the anniversary, key U.S. and Iranian figures issued contrasting comments about the future of the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On ABC News’ This Week program, President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus did not directly answer a question about whether Trump was still committed to tearing up the deal. Priebus said the deal is on “life support,” but that he is “not here to declare one way or the other...

What Tillerson Said, And Didn’t Say, About Nuclear Policy

If Rex Tillerson is confirmed as Secretary of State, he will face a difficult and complex array of nuclear policy challenges. Tillerson provided some clarity on where he stands on several critical nuclear issues during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 11. While some of his answers reinforced longstanding, bipartisan nuclear risk reduction goals, significant questions remain about how the Trump administration’s plans to address critical issues—ranging from curtailing North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, to reducing the risk of conflict with...

Trump Tweet Could Signal Dangerous Nuclear Policy Shift

Today president-elect Donald Trump used his ever-active Twitter feed to say: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” As with most 140-character Trump pronouncements, deciphering its actual meaning and intent can be a difficult task. Trump’s comments today might simply be an expression of support for current U.S. efforts to maintain, upgrade, and replace U.S. nuclear forces, the price of which is likely to exceed $1 trillion over the next 30 years. On the campaign trail, Trump expressed...

The P5+1 And Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, December 22

The Iran Deal Under Trump President-elect Donald Trump has yet to clarify his administration’s policy toward Iran and the July 2015 multilateral nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But he will need to move quickly as Iranian news outlets are reporting that the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said a meeting of the nuclear deal's Joint Commission will take place in early January and include members of the Trump team. Trump’s advisors, however, have voiced conflicting views about the agreement. The presumptive National Security Advisor,...

NSG Membership Proposal Would Undermine Nonproliferation

Six years ago, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged his support for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the nuclear technology control organization established in 1975 in response to India’s first nuclear weapon test blast, which used plutonium produced with nuclear technology from Canada and the United States. According the official NSG website , India’s 1974 test explosion “demonstrated that peaceful nuclear technology transferred for peaceful purposes could be misused.” NSG membership currently requires that the state is a member in good standing with the nuclear...

NNSA Sponsors Test Monitoring Symposium

U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz and Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization Dr. Lassina Zerbo headlined a November 30 National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) symposium on Capitol Hill, which displayed the increasingly sophisticated array of United States and international nuclear test monitoring equipment and technology. The event also included remarks from a bipartisan collection of congressmen—Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.)—and the Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and...

Drones: A Challenge to the Law of Armed Conflict

This op-ed originally appeared in The Cipher Brief . Over the last eight years, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism policy has in large part been defined by drone strikes against a number of terrorist targets around the world. Indeed, the U.S. drone program is a global enterprise, with bases in at least 10 countries, lethal operations in at least seven countries, and coordination of drone operations with numerous partners and allies. But even as the U.S. drone program has become a cornerstone of counterterrorism policy, its implementation has raised a number of questions, particularly...

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