For Immediate Release: December 12, 2019
Media Contacts: Kathy Crandall-Robinson, chief operations director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 101; Tony Fleming, director for communications, (202) 463-8270 ext. 110
(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Since 2007, the Arms Control Association has nominated individuals and institutions that have, in the previous 12 months, advanced effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions and raised awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons.
In a field that is often focused on threats and challenges, our Arms Control Person(s) of the Year contest aims to highlight the many positive initiatives that help improve international peace and security.
This year's nominees are listed below. All of the nominees have, in their own way, provided leadership to help reduce weapons-related security threats during the past year.
The ballot and list of 2019 nominees is available at armscontrol.org/acpoy. Voting will take place between December 12, 2019 and January 8, 2020. The results will be announced on January 10, 2020.
The 2019 nominees are:
- Oregon State Senator Michael Dembrow and State Reps. Alissa Keny-Guyer and Tawna Sanchez for sponsoring the Oregon State Legislature’s Joint Memorial 5, “Urging Congress to Lead Global Effort to Reduce the Threat of Nuclear War.” The bill was introduced on May 20 in the Senate and on June 24, 2019, in the House. The Joint Memorial makes Oregon the second state in the nation (after California) to pass such legislation in both chambers. The legislation urges Congress to lead the global effort to reduce the threat of nuclear war.
- Afghanistan’s first all-female demining team for this year completing landmine work in Bamyan province, the first of Afghanistan's 34 provinces to be declared free of landmines. These women were trained by the Danish Demining Group as part of a United Nations Mine Action Service pilot program working with Afghanistan’s Directorate of Mine Action Coordination (DMAC). Their tenacious efforts are significant examples of empowerment in the country and underscore the importance of humanitarian disarmament.
- Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) for introducing the "Richard G. Lugar and Ellen O. Tauscher Act to Maintain Limits on Russian Nuclear Forces" (H.R. 2529, S. 2394) bills expressing the Sense of Congress that the United States should seek to extend the New START so long as Russia remains in compliance. The House provision H.R. 2529, was adopted as part of the House version of the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. In the Senate, Sens. Van Hollen and Young introduced an identical companion bill, S. 2394.
- The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Sweden’s leadership in launching the “Stepping Stones Approach” initiative with several other foreign ministries. The aim is to jump-start support for nuclear disarmament in the context of the 2020 NPT Review Conference process. The strategy calls for the “step-by-step” approach to nuclear disarmament that breaks down stalled major goals into smaller, more manageable stepping-stones “that can be taken when trust is at its lowest.”
- President Emmanuel Macron for his efforts in 2019 to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Macron sought to broker an agreement between Washington and Tehran to return both states to full compliance with their obligations under the JCPOA and commence multilateral negotiations on a long-term framework for Iran's nuclear program.
- Areg Danagoulian and Colleagues at MIT for developing an innovative new nuclear disarmament verification process using neutron beams. This process addresses the fact that parties to arms control treaties more often destroy delivery systems than warheads (e.g., the U.S. dismantling B-52 bombers for compliance with START). The neutron beam test identifies the warhead's isotopic composition.
- The Green Century Fund and Zevin Asset Management for excluding nuclear weapon producers from their investment portfolios. According to research by PAX, these are the only two U.S. institutions to have implemented and published a policy that comprehensively prevents financial involvement in nuclear weapon producing companies. Green Century excludes investments in companies involved in military weapons in their portfolios, which are valued at more than $600 million. Zevin was established for the exclusive purpose of managing socially responsible investment portfolios for individuals, families, and nonprofits. As of early 2019, it holds approximately US $500 million in assets under management.
- The U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA) for carrying out chemical weapons destruction operations at the two remaining U.S. chemical weapons storage facilities: The Blue Grass Chemical-Agent Destruction Plant in Richmond, Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical-Agent Destruction Plant in Pueblo, Colorado. These operations will help the United States finally meet its Chemical Weapons Convention destruction schedule, and safely eliminate 475 metric tons (MTs) of deadly chemical agents at Blue Grass, and 2,369 MT’s at Pueblo. The United States has already safely eliminated over 93% of its declared 28,600 MTs of chemical agents since 1990. The Defense Department estimates that destruction will be complete at both facilities by the end of 2023.
- Tina Cordova of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium for her steadfast advocacy to include downwinders in New Mexico near the July 15, 1945 Trinity nuclear test explosion to be eligible for compensation and recognition under Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). As we mark the 75th anniversary of the nuclear test explosion that ignited the nuclear age, we want to recognize this effort along with the broader campaign to include other exposed downwinder and uranium worker communities seeking compensation and recognition under RECA.
- Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) for writing legislation for fiscal year 2020 that sought to counter efforts by the Trump administration to expand the role of U.S. nuclear weapons and to prevent the unraveling of key arms control agreements. These leaders of the House defense authorizing and appropriations committees authored legislation that would have prohibited fielding of and denied funding for the low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead proposed in the Trump administration's 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, eliminated funding to develop land-based, intermediate-range missiles banned by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, prohibited funding to withdraw from the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, expressed support for extending the life of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for five years, and reduced funding to build a new fleet of intercontinental ballistic missiles and associated W87-1 warheads and expand production of plutonium pits.
The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.