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"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Arms Control NOW

Obama's Prague Agenda Two Years On

President Obama in 2009 at Hradcany Square Prague, Czech Republic (Image Source Christian Science Monitor) By Daryl G. Kimball In a stirring speech delivered two years ago in Prague's Hradcany Square, President Barack Obama outlined his vision for strengthening the global effort to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, moving forward on long-overdue disarmament measures, and preventing nuclear terrorism. He reiterated "clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." To move forward, Obama pledged that he will pursue "concrete...

Whither Strategic Arms Control: Clues from Carnegie

By Greg Thielmann Last week's 2011 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. provided some revealing perspectives on the challenges and opportunities ahead for future strategic arms control agreements between the United States and Russia. The dynamics of strategic force planning described by Carnegie's panel participants suggests a way to enhance prospects for successful negotiations. The United States can easily achieve the modest reductions required by New START in half the seven-year timeframe allowed under the treaty with probable cost savings and no risk. As...

Arab Spring: A Wake Up Call on U.S. Arms Policy

By Jeff Abramson As President Obama openly ponders whether to arm rebels in Libya and the media is reporting that the CIA is already on the ground to potentially support that cause, attention is now focused on Libya. But one take away from the broader Arab spring is that it's past time for a comprehensive review of U.S. arms transfer policy. Admittedly, the United States was not the major arms supplier to Libya , but it certainly has not shied away from supplying arms to other repressive regimes. As highlighted in an earlier post and in ACA fact sheets , last year's $100+ billion in potential...

Obama Still Committed to Nuclear Test Ban Ratification

By Tom Z. Collina and Daryl G. Kimball The Obama administration is "committed" to working with Senators of both parties to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said March 29, "just as we did for New START." This was one of the most significant, high-level statements from a senior administration official on the test ban since April 2009, when President Obama called on the Senate to reconsider the treaty. Donilon said the administration would stress three essential points as it makes its case to the Senate and the American people. "First," he...

Update: Cluster Munitions, Obama Administration, Global Activities

By Jeff Abramson As the year progresses, we'll revisit the mid-term grades given the Obama administration on their conventional weapons policies. For the moment, the D grade on cluster munitions remains unchanged because U.S. policy is unchanged, but there is much happening: Libya President Obama, March 27, 2011, in Address to the Nation on Libya Earlier this month as air strikes against Libyan forces became increasingly likely, so did concerns that we'd see a new round of cluster munitions use, especially by the United States. The pro-Qaddafi forces to be attacked sounded very similar to...

Emerging into the Light

RS-24 Yars ICBM, Associated Press By Greg Thielmann For more than a year, U.S. analysts responsible for monitoring Russia's nuclear arsenal have been traveling through a long and increasingly dark tunnel. The sensitive information that had flowed out of Russia for years on strategic forces under terms of the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was abruptly stanched when the treaty expired on December 5, 2009. By that time, U.S. inspectors who had been monitoring Russian strategic weapons "up close and personal" at bases and other facilities for years had to leave. In losing the...

How does the Middle East Crisis Affect the 2012 WMDFZ Conference?

By Alfred Nurja Image Source: CNS This month's issue of Arms Control Today carries an insightful article by Anne Penketh that reports on the potential impact that unrest in the Middle East may have on international efforts to host a 2012 regional conference on a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East. At the 2010 NPT Review Conference , the sponsors of 1995 Middle East resolution, the United States, Russia and Great Britain committed to work together with the UN Secretary General to convene a conference in 2012 in the region , appoint a facilitator and identify a host...

Examining the Impact of Iran Sanctions: Highlights from Today's ACA Event

Robert J. Einhorn, Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, Department of State The Arms Control Association organized a briefing today on " The Impact of Sanctions on Iran's Nuclear Program , which is the third in our Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle Briefing Series . The session included a keynote presentation by Robert J. Einhorn , Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, Department of State, in which he provided a detailed overview of the Obama administration's approach to Iran's nuclear activities. Einhorn's address was followed by full panel of experts who...

Are Sanctions Contributing to or Impeding a Diplomatic Solution to the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle?

Image Source: Wall Street Journal By Alfred Nurja Hossein Mousavian , Iran's former Ambassador to Germany, nuclear negotiator and current Princeton visiting research scholar , has just released an article on Iran's Nuclear Crises and the Way Out, an edited version of which appears here . As noted elsewhere , the Mousavian's articles bear watching not only for their material substance, coming from a former senior Iranian official intimately involved in nuclear negotiations, but also for the " insights into Tehran's decision making " that can be gleaned from it. Here are some of the points that...

Update: U.S.-Libya Arms Trade

In a February 3 post, Arms Exporters React to Middle East Unrest , Arms Control Now noted that the United States had not sold military goods to Libya and had maintained a unilateral embargo on arms sales to Col. Gaddafi's regime which was last updated in 2007. This picture of the U.S.-Libyan trade relationship is overly simplistic. Beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2009, the United States began to relax direct commercial sales rules for transfers to Libya of controlled items on the U.S. Munitions List. The 2007 changes to the embargo included an exemption for "non-lethal defense...

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