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Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
June 1, 2018
The Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Weapons Complex and the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW)
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Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Thursday, April 19, 2007
9:00 – 10:30 A.M.

Old Ebbitt Grill, Cabinet Room (downstairs)
675 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC


For the first time in two decades, the Bush administration recently selected the prototype design of a new U.S. nuclear warhead. Managers of the U.S. nuclear complex say the program, the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW), will lead to safer warheads that are more reliable and easier to maintain than existing warheads. Yet, U.S. officials affirm that the current U.S. stockpile is safe and reliable. Critics of RRW assert the program is unnecessary and could lead to a resumption of nuclear testing, which the United States halted in 1992. They also contend that if the United States renewed nuclear testing or developed warheads designed for new military missions, other countries might follow suit. The panelists discussed ongoing efforts to maintain the existing stockpile and the potential pitfalls of pursuing new warheads, including the adverse impacts on global nonproliferation efforts.


Sidney D. Drell, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Stanford University’s Linear Accelerator Center and a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. A longtime technical advisor to the U.S. government, Dr. Drell previously served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and Science Advisory Committee. He has been honored with many awards, including the Enrico Fermi Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and election to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2005, Dr. Drell co-authored What Are Nuclear Weapons For? Recommendations for Restructuring U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces, and, most recently, published a collection of his writings, Nuclear Weapons, Scientists, and the Post-Cold War Challenge.

Steve Fetter, Dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. A fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Fetter previously was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy and received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He has served on several National Academy of Sciences committees, including as co-chair of the Monitoring Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Explosive Materials study. Dr. Fetter, an Arms Control Association Board Member, has contributed to numerous journals and authored Toward a Comprehensive Test Ban (August 1988).

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.