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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Editor's Note
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Daniel Horner

President Barack Obama's April 5 speech in Prague listed a host of nuclear challenges and sketched out plans for meeting them. In this month's issue, three experts provide detailed analyses that fill out and go beyond the broad agenda that Obama articulated in his speech.

Obama announced a new international effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years, vowing to expand cooperation with Russia and "pursue new partnerships" in that effort. In our cover story, Kenneth N. Luongo argues for an effort that continues to give the proper attention to "the old neighborhood" of Russia and the other former Soviet states but broadens the geographical and conceptual focus. A key element, Luongo says, is to include biological as well as nuclear threats.

Lewis A. Dunn also emphasizes cooperation and partnership, but his focus is on U.S. opportunities in two countries, Russia and China. Dunn proposes a series of "cooperative security activities" the United States could pursue with those countries. Among his list of suggestions is information sharing by the United States on its ongoing Nuclear Posture Review.

Obama's Prague speech emphasized the need to punish violators of global nonproliferation rules. But it is difficult to press for punishment if there is no consensus on what constitutes a violation of the rules. In a closely argued analysis, John Carlson delves into the issue of safeguards noncompliance.

Meanwhile, William Lanouette looks back at the question of "civilian control" of nuclear weapons, a question that has surfaced in different forms at various points in the nuclear age.

In the news section, Peter Crail reports on the newly expanded field in the race to succeed International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei. Oliver Meier provides details on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's call for the removal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany and the potential repercussions of that policy for NATO. Cole Harvey reports on Obama's Prague speech and the reactions to it, as well as the launching of U.S.-Russian negotiations on a follow-on to START.

This issue of Arms Control Today is the first for me and Managing Editor Elisabeth Erickson. It would be difficult to imagine a more fascinating time to be coming into this job. For me, that was one of the great attractions of it.

Another was the magazine's reputation. When I told my friends and colleagues that I was taking the job, many of them said how much they enjoyed and relied on Arms Control Today and how they admired the work of my predecessor, Miles Pomper. Those comments were inspiring, but also daunting.

Elisabeth and I, along with all our colleagues at Arms Control Today, are committed to maintaining the high quality of the magazine. Now that our first deadline has passed, we are trying to think of ways to make it even better. Please share your thoughts with us at [email protected].