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"[Arms Control Today] has become indispensable! I think it is the combination of the critical period we are in and the quality of the product. I found myself reading the May issue from cover to cover."

– Frank von Hippel
Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
Arms Control NOW

The New U.S. Defense Strategy: Toward A Smaller, Less Costly Nuclear Force

By Daryl G. Kimball and Tom Z. Collina This morning, President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta unveiled their new defense strategy that is designed to yield some $450 billion plus in budget savings that must be achieved over the next decade. Their presentations did not detail specific programs that will be cut or trimmed, but instead they outlined a general vision that will guide the administration's defense budget decisions. Panetta said that the plan will maintain a "safe and effective nuclear deterrent," but did not explain how many nuclear weapons will be required for deterrence or...

Who Is Your Pick for the "Arms Control Person" of the Year?

By the Arms Control Association Staff The business of tracking and combating the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons is often filled with grim news and frustrating setbacks. Often lost in the mix are the good deeds that lead to arms control successes. We believe it is important to recognize key individuals and institutions that best exemplify leadership and action in pursuing effective arms control solutions. This year, we've identified ten worthy nominees. Each, in their own way, has provided the leadership necessary to help reduce the threats posed by some of the world's...

Senate Approach on Iran Sanctions May Prove Counterproductive

By Benjamin Seel The different approaches to Iran sanctions of the Senate and President Obama's administration were on full display in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room on Dec. 1. The Senate approach, articulated in the form of an amendment to the FY 2012 Defense Authorization Act sponsored by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), will "require sanctions on financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran," and will cover both foreign commercial and state owned banks. Central banks will be targeted only after the Obama administration has...

Clinton Stresses Transparency in Address to BWC Review Conference

By Daniel Horner On Dec. 5, the parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) began a review conference in Geneva that is scheduled to end Dec. 22. The BWC members meet every five years to assess the functioning of the treaty, which came into force in 1975 and has 165 parties. Clinton at the BWC review conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal (Image Source: AP) One noteworthy element of the meeting's opening days was the Dec. 7 address by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first time a U.S. secretary of state has spoken at a BWC review conference, according to the...

Indonesian CTBT Ratification Should Prompt Action by Eight Remaining Hold-Outs States

By Daryl G. Kimball Today, the Indonesian parliament approved the ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, bringing the number ratifications necessary for entry into force down from 9 to 8. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa We hope to "create new momentum so that the other countries in a similar position to Indonesia can also follow suit in beginning their ratification process," Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in September 2011. "We want our country to be at the vanguard of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," said Hemly Fauzy, the...

Australia: Part of the Nonproliferation Solution? Or Part of the Problem?

By Daryl G. Kimball Australia has for many years been a leader in establishing more robust barriers against nuclear proliferation, including its key role in the negotiation of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and negotiation of the 1985 South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (SPNFZ). Article 4 of the SPNFZ bars nuclear trade by members of the zone with states that do not accept comprehensive or "full-scope" safeguards on their nuclear facilities. The standard was established in order to prevent the use of nuclear technology and material supplied by SPNFZ states to be used for...

CCW Review Conference Fails to Reach Consensus on Weak Cluster Munitions Protocol

By Daryl G. Kimball Today in Geneva, delegations from over 100 nations ended a two week-long Review Conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) without reaching agreement on a controversial proposal backed by the United States that would have legitimized the continued use of cluster munitions and undermined the existing 2008 Convention on Cluster Cluster Munitions (CCM). According to early reports on the tense final day of the meeting, the CCW did not adopt a mandate for further work on cluster munitions. For nearly a decade, the body has discussed how to regulate...

Whither the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty?

By Daryl G. Kimball Today, the Obama administration announced it "would cease carrying out certain obligations under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty with regard to Russia." The announcement is a symptom of the long-running disputes that have emerged over CFE implementation over the years and the inability of key parties to reach common ground, despite the Obama administration's recent diplomatic overtures on the issue. The CFE Treaty led to the elimination of thousands of Soviet-era weapons. Today's U.S. announcement is a response to Russia's 2007 announcement that it...

How Many Nuclear-Armed Subs Do We Really Need?

By Tom Z. Collina If you need proof that outdated, Cold War thinking is blocking smart budget decisions and progress to trim nuclear excess, read on. Open warfare has broken out between the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Navy over how many nuclear-armed submarines the nation needs for the future. As reported at defense.aol.com , OMB is challenging the Navy's claim that it needs 12 new subs to carry more than 1,000 nuclear weapons into the 2080s. Over its 50 year lifetime, a 12 sub fleet is expected to costs about $350 billion, a hefty price tag even in good economic...

Too Little, Too Late: U.S. Pushing Weak Cluster Munitions Protocol in Geneva

De-miners working to eradicate an agricultural area in Lebanon of cluster munitions deployed by Israel in 2006. By Daryl G. Kimball This week, diplomats from 114 countries will gather in Geneva for the Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). The focus of the November 14-25 meeting will be a controversial draft protocol that would regulate the use of cluster munitions, a weapon already banned by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). Cluster munitions are bombs, rockets, and artillery shells that disperse smaller submunitions over broad areas that...

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