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former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
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National Security Experts, Former Officials, Diplomats Urge Senate Approval of Key Biden Nominee

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For Immediate Release: June 21, 2021

Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association (202-463-8270 ext. 107).

(Washington, D.C.)—Earlier today a distinguished, bipartisan group of more than 65 international security experts and former officials delivered an open letter to all 100 U.S. Senate offices in support of a key Biden administration nominee, Amb. Bonnie Jenkins for the position of Undersecretary of State for Intl. Security and Arms Control.

The letter says, in part:

"As arms control, international security, and foreign policy experts with years of experience in and out of government, we believe President Joe Biden — or any president — needs a strong and experienced team in place to address issues of international security, particularly the difficult and urgent challenges posed by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the countries that possess them or that could develop them.

Five months since inauguration day, the president’s nominee for one of the most important positions in this area — Amb. Bonnie Jenkins for Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security — has yet to be confirmed. Further delays of this nomination will hamper our nation’s ability to put its best diplomatic foot forward at a critical time."

The Jenkins nomination was announced Feb. 1. Her nomination hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was held April 28 and her nomination was voted out of the committee favorably May 19.

Among the signers of the letter of support for Amb. Jenkins' nomination are several senior officials who have served in Democratic and Republican administrations. Jenkins, the signers write, “ … has a comprehensive understanding of weapons-related security issues and is a very experienced international diplomat. We respectfully urge the swift confirmation by the Senate of the Jenkins nomination.”

As President Biden's Interim National Security Strategy notes: "Global dynamics have shifted. New crises demand our attention.” It is a "moment of accelerating global challenges — from the pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation.” The signatories on the letter note

"This means that our nation has no time to lose when it comes to putting in place the leadership team in government that can harness America's diplomatic power, which is essential to advancing effective solutions to address the most difficult security and foreign policy challenges.”

The full text of the open letter and the complete list of signers is attached below. It is also available in PDF format.


Open Letter in Support of Amb. Bonnie Jenkins to Help Lead
U.S. Efforts on Arms Control and International Security

June 21, 2021

As President Biden's Interim National Security Strategy notes: "Global dynamics have shifted. New crises demand our attention.” It is a "moment of accelerating global challenges—from the pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation .…"

This means that our nation has no time to lose when it comes to putting in place the leadership team in government that can harness America's diplomatic power, which is essential to advancing effective solutions to address the most difficult security and foreign policy challenges.

As arms control, international security, and foreign policy experts with years of experience in and out of government, we believe President Joe Biden—or any president—needs a strong and experienced team in place to address issues of international security, particularly the difficult and urgent challenges posed by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the countries that possess them or that could develop them.

Five months since inauguration day, the president’s nominee for one of the most important positions in this area—Amb. Bonnie Jenkins for Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security—has yet to be confirmed. Further delays of this nomination will hamper our nation’s ability to put its best diplomatic foot forward at a critical time.

In the coming weeks and months, her leadership will be important to help the State Department and the White House:

  • follow up on the June 16 Biden-Putin summit by launching strategic stability talks with Russia to put the relationship on a more predictable footing and to reduce the risk of conflict,
  • open new diplomatic channels that bring China and its nuclear arsenal into the arms control process,
  • backstop talks designed to rein-in North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear ambitions,
  • strengthen international support for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at the pivotal 10th Review Conference,
  • build international nuclear security cooperation to prevent terrorist groups from acquiring or using fissile and radiological materials,
  • bolster international biosecurity cooperation through the G7 Global Partnership and the November Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference to reduce the risk of illicit bioweapons use and to reduce the risk that dangerous pathogens escape biolabs, among other challenges and,
  • strengthen both U.S. and multilateral efforts to further strengthen the norms against the use of chemical weapons.

We also recognize the important role Amb. Jenkins will play on positions the U.S government is developing in other areas of international security, including arms sales and the effort to put human rights at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy.

We have known and worked with Amb. Jenkins, in some cases for decades. She has a comprehensive understanding of weapons-related security issues and is a very experienced international diplomat. She served as Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, was the State Department lead on the Nuclear Security Summits, the U.S. Representative to G7 Global Partnership, helped lead diplomatic efforts on the Global Health Security Agenda, and was nominated for the 2016 Secretary of State's Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs.

Amb. Jenkins’ experience ranges from government service where she helped negotiate, seek advice and consent, and implement arms control and nonproliferation agreements as an international treaty lawyer, to the non-governmental sector, including establishing and leading a groundbreaking non-governmental organization, Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security and its many related initiatives, to military service as a retired Naval Reserve officer called up to Active Duty on the Global War on Terrorism, to Congressional Commissions, including the 9/11 Commission.

With a Ph.D. in international relations, Amb. Jenkins has a strong record of scholarship and engagement with the academic and policy communities and has shown exemplary leadership in advancing new voices and diverse leadership in the fields of international security.

We respectfully urge the swift confirmation by the Senate of the Jenkins nomination.

Sincerely,

James Acton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for Intl. Peace*
Andrew Albertson, Executive Director, Foreign Policy for America*
Daniel Baer, former U.S. Amb. to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
Frederick Beinecke, Vice President & Chair, Nuclear Disarmament & Nonproliferation Program, Prospect Hill Foundation
Emma Belcher, President, Ploughshares Fund
John Beyrle, U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2008-12), Chairman, U.S.-Russia Foundation*
Jeremy Ben-Ami, President, J Street*
Reuben Brigety, former U.S. Amb. to the U.S. Mission to the African Union
Kenneth Brill, former U.S. Amb. to the IAEA (2001-04), founding Director of the U.S. National Counterproliferation Center (2005-09), and Board Member of the American Academy of Diplomacy
Rachel Bronson, President and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists*
Lauren Buitta, Founder and CEO, Girl Security
Matthew Bunn, James R. Schlesinger Professor of the Practice of Energy, National Security, and Foreign Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government*
Susan F. Burk, former Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, and head of the U.S. delegation for the 2010 NPT Review Conference
Johnnie Carson, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Jeff Carter, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility*
Rebecca Bill Chavez, Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue*
Joseph Cirincione, Distinguished Fellow, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft*
James F. Collins, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, (1997-2001), and Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
Pierce Corden, Expert Adviser, Holy See Mission to the United Nations
Peter Crail, former senior advisor to the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Business Executives for International Security*
Madelyn Creedon, President, Green Marble Group, former principal deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (2014-17), and assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs from (2011-14)
Richard Cupitt, Senior Fellow, Henry L. Stimson Center,* and former U.S. Special Coordinator for UN Security Resolution 1540 (2004)
Mary Curtin, Diplomat in Residence, Humphrey School of Public Affairs*
Toby Dalton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for Intl. Peace*
Ruth Davis, Amb. (ret.), Association of Black American Ambassadors, and former Director-General of the United States Foreign Service
Edwin Dorn, Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas*
Jill Dougherty, Adjunct Fellow, Georgetown University*
Tara Drozdenko, physical scientist formerly with the Arms Control Verification and Compliance Bureau, U.S. Department of State
Stephanie Foster, Co-Founder and Partner, Smash Strategies,* and former senior advisor, Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State
Robert Gelbard, President, Gelbard International Consulting*
Rose Gottemoeller, former Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, U.S. Department of State
Thomas Graham, Jr., Amb. (ret.) and former U.S. nonproliferation and arms control diplomat, and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors Lightbridge Corporation*
Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute*
Morton Halperin, Director of U.S. advocacy at the Open Society Institute, and former senior director for democracy at the National Security Council, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Johnson administration, and as a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Nixon and Clinton administrations
Anne Harrington, former Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, National Nuclear Security Administration (2010-17)
Mark Harris, Co-founder, Inclusive America*
Newell Highsmith, former Deputy Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State
James Jeffrey, Amb. (ret.), with assignments including U.S. Amb. to Iraq (2010–12); Amb. to Turkey (2008–10); Deputy National Security Advisor (2007–08); and Amb. to (2002–04)
Lionel C. Johnson, Chairman, Foreign Policy for America
Laura Kennedy, former U.S. Amb. to Turkmenistan (2001-03), former U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, and Special Representative for Biological Weapons Convention Issues (2010-13)
Duyeon Kim, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security*
Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association, publisher and editorial contributor, Arms Control Today
Susan Koch, former Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Arms Control, 2005-07; NSC Staff Director for Proliferation Strategy, 2001-05; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction Policy, 1994-2001; Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, NSC Staff, 1991-93; and Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Assistant Director, Strategic and Nuclear Affairs, 1990-91
Sara Kutchesfahani, Director, N Square DC Hub
Valerie Lincy, Executive Director, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control
Alexandria Maloney, Board Member, Black Professionals in International Affairs*
David Mathews, President and CEO, Kettering Foundation*
Kenneth Meyers, President, CRDF Global*
Steven Miller, International Security Program, Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School*
Silvia Mishra, New Tech Officer, European Leadership Network*
J.P. Natkin, Managing Director, Macro-Advisory Ltd.
Nancy Parrish, Executive Director, Women’s Action for New Directions
William Potter, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*
Matthew Rojansky, U.S. Executive Secretary, U.S.-Russia Dartmouth Conference*
Amy Sands, Emerita Staff, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*
Theodore Sedgwick, former U.S. Ambassador to the Slovak Republic (2010-15)
Andrew Semmel, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nuclear Nonproliferation (2003-07), Partnership for a Secure America*
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State (2009-11), CEO of New America
Shalonda Spencer, Executive Director, Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security*
Donald Steinberg, Board Co-Chair, Women’s Refugee Commission*
Philip Stewart, Senior Associate, Kettering Foundation,* and Director of the U.S.-Russia Dartmouth Conference*
Alexandra Toma, Executive Director, Peace and Security Funders Group*
Jenny Town, Senior Fellow, Henry L. Stimson Center*
David Wade, U.S. State Department, Chief of Staff (2013-15), and Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*
Paul Walker, Coordinator, Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition,* and former professional staff member, House Armed Services Committee
Taylor Winkleman, International Affairs Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations*
Alexander Vershbow, former Deputy Secretary-General of NATO, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea (2005-08), U.S. Amb. to the Russian Federation (2001-05), and U.S. Amb. to NATO (1997-2001)
Peter Zwack, Brigadier Gen. (ret.), Wilson Center Global Fellow at the Kennan Institute*


*Institution listed for identification purposes only

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A bipartisan group of international security experts and former officials delivered an open letter to all U.S. Senate offices in support of a key Biden administration nominee.

Will Biden and Putin Restart Talks on Strategic Stability & Arms Control?

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For Immediate Release: June 14, 2021

Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext. 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 104; Shannon Bugos, research associate, 202-463-8270 ext 113

The June 16 summit in Geneva between President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin is a pivotal opportunity to begin to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict, enhance stability, and get back on track to reduce their bloated and very dangerous nuclear stockpiles.

Amid rising tensions and growing nuclear competition between the world’s two largest nuclear-weapon states, nuclear risk reduction and disarmament discussions have been pushed to the back burner. Both countries are spending tens of billions a year modernizing and upgrading their massive nuclear stockpiles. Russia has wantonly violated several arms control and nonproliferation agreements, is developing new nuclear weapons delivery systems that echo some of the worst excesses of the Cold War, and may be increasing its total warhead stockpile for the first time in decades.

The strategic relationship has been further complicated by the development and fielding by each side of emerging technologies, such as offensive cyber and hypersonic weapons, and new advances in U.S. missile defense systems.

In February, Biden and Putin wisely agreed to extend for five years the only remaining treaty limiting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals: the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). But unless Washington and Moscow make progress in the next few years on new nuclear arms control agreements, there will be no agreed-upon limits on U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons for the first time since 1972.

Mutual Interest in "Strategic Stability"

While there are many areas of disagreement between the two governments, both sides have expressed a common interest in renewing a serious dialogue on maintaining “strategic stability.”

As established in earlier bilateral agreements and previous summit communiques, such dialogue aims to ensure that neither side has an incentive to use nuclear weapons first or has an incentive to build up its nuclear forces.

Today, however, each side has a different view on what threatens strategic stability and what issues should be the focus of such talks and future potential arms control arrangements.

On June 10 National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said: “We believe the starting point for strategic stability talks should be the very complex set of nuclear arms issues that face our two countries….Whether additional elements get added to strategic stability talks in the realm of space or cyber or other areas, that’s something to be determined as we go forward.”

Conversely, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated this month Russia’s support for “a comprehensive approach and taking into account all, without exception, factors influencing strategic stability in our dialogue with the United States. I mean nuclear and non-nuclear, and offensive and defensive weapons.”

To be effective, the discussions need to amount to more than brief exchanges of grievances, as was the case during the Trump years. Instead, as many nuclear security and disarmament experts and organizations, including the Arms Control Association, have suggested, the dialogue needs to be regular, frequent, and comprehensive. It should set the stage for actions and agreements that meaningfully reduce the nuclear risk.

As a tangible step to help defuse tensions and provide some positive momentum, a wide range of experts and former senior officials are also calling on the two presidents to reaffirm the common-sense statement issued by Gorbachev and Reagan at their 1985 summit that: “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Next Steps on Arms Control

Initiating strategic stability talks is overdue and essential. Achieving new agreements to reduce nuclear excess will be even more challenging.

To make progress before New START expires in 2026, they will need to pursue solutions that:

  • achieve deeper, verifiable reductions in the total number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems;
  • address nonstrategic (i.e., tactical) nuclear weapons;
  • put in place constraints on non-nuclear weapons that impact the strategic balance, such as long-range missile defenses; attempt to mitigate the negative impacts on stability that could ensue from the collapse of the INF Treaty; and
  • seek to broaden the arms control and disarmament dialogue to include other nuclear-armed states, particularly China, France, and the United Kingdom.

In 1979, during the depths of the Cold War, then-Senator Joe Biden told an Arms Control Association gathering that “pursuing arms control is not a luxury or a sign of weakness, but an international responsibility and a national necessity.”

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Background for Reporters Covering the Geneva Summit

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High-Level Group Issues Appeal to Biden and Putin to Reduce Nuclear Weapons Dangers

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For Immediate Release: June 8, 2021

Media Contacts: Ira Helfand, past president, IPPNW (1-413-320-7829); Sergey Batsanov, Pugwash Conferences (+41-791-554-610); Rachel Bronson, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1-312-404-3071); Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association (1-202-463-8270 ext. 107).

(Washington, D.C./Moscow)—In advance of the first summit between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joseph R. Biden in Geneva on June 16, a group of more than 30 American and Russian organizations, international nuclear policy experts, and former senior officials have issued an appeal to the two Presidents calling upon them to launch a regular dialogue on strategic stability, to take meaningful steps to reduce the risk of nuclear war, and to make further progress on nuclear arms control and disarmament.

The statement was organized by leaders of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Pugwash Conference on Science and Global Affairs, the recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Peace, and the Arms Control Association.

In the statement, which was delivered to the two governments on June 7, the signatories urge the two presidents to: "Commit to a bilateral strategic dialogue that is regular, frequent, comprehensive and result-oriented leading to further reduction of the nuclear risk hanging over the world and to the re-discovery of the road to a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Sergey Batsanov of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs emphasized that the summit "could be a launching point for talks on strategic stability in all its aspects. Stability is being eroded by multiple factors—geopolitical, technological, military, doctrinal, and others—raising the threat of nuclear war and undermining the security of all states. Addressing this issue would also facilitate new nuclear arms control and disarmament negotiations.”

Ira Helfand, past president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, said: “It is urgent that President Biden and President Putin reaffirm the ground-breaking statement issued by Gorbachev and Reagan in 1985 that 'a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.’”

“U.S. and Russia are still armed with thousands of nuclear weapons. It is by no means certain that the two sides will continue to have enough good luck, responsible leadership, and managerial competence to avoid catastrophe,” warned Rachel Bronson, president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “We urge the two presidents to seize the opportunity their summit provides to put us back on the road toward a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Among the other signatories of the Appeal are: Peter Buijs, M.D., chair of the Netherlands IPPNW, who initiated the Appeal; Igor Ivanov, former Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation; Academician Alexandre Dynkin, Chair, Russian Pugwash Committee; William J. Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense; Amb. Sergio Duarte, president of the Pugwash Conferences; General Vyacheslav Trubnikov, IMEMO (Institute of World Economy and International Relations); Joan Rohlfing, president of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; Edmund G. Brown Jr., former Governor of California Executive Chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; and Colonel General Victor Esin, former chief of staff, Russian Strategic Missile Forces.

The full text of the appeal and the complete list of signers is available online at the websites of the Arms Control Association, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and the Pugwash Conference.

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In advance of the June 16 summit between Presidents Biden and Putin, more than 30 American and Russian organizations, international nuclear policy experts, and former senior officials have issued an appeal to the two Presidents calling upon them to launch a regular dialogue to reduce the risk of nuclear war.

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Biden Budget Should Support More Cost-Effective, Stabilizing, Saner Nuclear Strategy

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Experts Available for Comment on Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request

For Immediate Release: May 27, 2021

Media ContactsKingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 104; Shannon Bugos, research associate, 202-463-8270 ext. 113

(Washington, D.C.)—The Biden administration is set to release its fiscal year 2022 national defense budget request May 28. The request is expected to continue forward with most, if not all, of the Trump administration’s excessive plans to sustain and modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Failure to adjust the existing approach would be a disappointing missed opportunity to put the modernization effort on a more cost-effective and stable footing while ensuring a strong deterrent.

The United States is planning to spend $634 billion over the next decade to sustain and modernize its arsenal, according to a Congressional Budget Office report published Monday. This is an increase of $140 billion, or 28 percent, from the previous 10-year projection. The major uptick in spending will compete with other national security priorities, such as strengthening pandemic defense and response and augmenting U.S. conventional military capabilities, amid what most experts believe will be a flat defense budget over the next several years.

During the campaign, President Biden said the United States “does not need new nuclear weapons” and that his “administration will work to maintain a strong, credible deterrent while reducing our reliance and excessive expenditure on nuclear weapons.” Biden is right. Current U.S. nuclear weapons policies exceed what is necessary for a credible nuclear deterrent, and the financial and opportunity costs of the current modernization plan are rising fast.

The Biden administration’s topline discretionary budget request released in April said that “While the Administration is reviewing the U.S. nuclear posture, the discretionary request supports ongoing nuclear modernization programs while ensuring that these efforts are sustainable.” But several current U.S. nuclear modernization efforts do not meet the “sustainable” criterion.

As the Government Accountability Office noted in a report published May 6, “every nuclear triad replacement program—including the B21, LRSO, GBSD, and Columbia class submarine, and every ongoing bomb and warhead modernization program—faces the prospect of delays due to program-specific and DOD- and DOE-wide risk factors.”

Meanwhile, projected spending on nuclear warheads and infrastructure at the Energy Department’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration has ballooned to $505 billion, according to the agency’s 25-year plan published in December. That represents a staggering increase of $113 billion from the 2020 version of the plan.

The Trump administration’s nuclear weapons policies and spending plans demand a fundamental rethinking.

The Biden administration had little time to prepare the fiscal year 2022 budget request. A forthcoming review of U.S. nuclear policy and posture will evaluate existing policies and spending plans in more detail. In keeping with President Biden’s views, the review should pursue a nuclear posture that is more stabilizing, supports the pursuit of additional arms control and reduction measures designed to enhance stability and reduce the chance of nuclear conflict, and frees up taxpayer dollars for higher priority national and health security needs.

Experts Available:

  • Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, [email protected], 202-463-8270 ext. 104
  • Shannon Bugos, research associate, [email protected], 202-463-8270 ext. 113

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Experts Available for Comment on Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request

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Arms Control Experts on the Incident at Iran’s Natanz Nuclear Facility

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For Immediate Release: April 11, 2021

Media ContactsKelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 102; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext. 107

Israel allegedly sabotaged the power supply for Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility April 11 causing a blackout at the main uranium enrichment plant. While the extent of the damage from the power outage remains unclear, this act of sabotage comes during a critical phase in the ongoing diplomatic efforts to bring the United States and Iran back into compliance with the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The United States and Iran engaged in indirect discussions in Vienna last week and are scheduled to resume indirect talks with the other parties to the JCPOA on April 13.

QUICK QUOTES:

  • “This act of sabotage damaged not only Natanz but also the Biden administration’s plan to return to compliance with the nuclear deal. Restoring the 2015 agreement and building on is the best way to address the risk posed by Iran’s nuclear program. The United States and Iran mustn't let this attack derail the progress being made in Vienna.”—Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, Arms Control Association
     
  • “In the wake of the attacks on the Natanz nuclear facility, all International Atomic Energy Agency member states should support a thorough investigation of this incident and condemn this attack, and any other future attack, on nuclear facilities in any country. Just as it is essential that the international community must address any violations of nuclear nonproliferation commitments, it must respond to attacks involving physical sabotage of nuclear facilities as threats to international peace and security.” —Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association

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The alleged sabotage of Iran's Natanz nuclear facility comes during a critical phase in the ongoing diplomatic efforts to bring the United States and Iran back into compliance with the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal.

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New UK Defense Strategy A Troubling Step Back on Nuclear Policy

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For Immediate Release: March 15, 2021

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, (202) 463-8270 ext 104

The United Kingdom announced today that it will move to increase its total nuclear warhead stockpile ceiling by over 40 percent and reduce transparency about its nuclear arsenal. This is a needless and alarming reversal of the longstanding British policy to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons.

These changes, which are outlined in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, are also inconsistent with the British government’s prior pledges on nuclear disarmament under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The United Kingdom now joins China and perhaps Russia as the permanent members of the UN Security Council that are planning to increase the size of their warhead stockpiles. Open source estimates put the current size of the British arsenal at 195 warheads.

The review attributes the need to increase the total stockpile ceiling from the goal of 180 warheads (which was reaffirmed in 2015) to 260 warheads to “the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats,” but it does not explain how raising the number of warheads will enhance deterrence against these threats.

The United Kingdom’s decision to increase its warhead stockpile will contribute to the growing competition and distrust between nuclear-armed states. There is no compelling military or strategic rationale that justifies such an increase.

The review also states that the United Kingdom, which fields its warheads on sea-based ballistic missiles, will “no longer give public figures for our operational stockpile, deployed warhead or deployed missile numbers.” Like the United States, the United Kingdom’s past commitment to transparency about its nuclear forces has set it apart from other nuclear powers. Both governments have rightly criticized China for its excessive nuclear secrecy, for example. Such opacity is irresponsible and undemocratic.

The next NPT Review Conference slated for this summer was already poised to be a difficult and contentious one given the Trump administration’s efforts to expand the role and capability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Russia’s development of grotesque new nuclear delivery systems (such as a nuclear-armed torpedo), and China’s continued modernization and expansion of its nuclear forces. The United Kingdom’s decision to increase its arsenal and clamp down on transparency will further worsen the atmosphere.

In addition, the United Kingdom’s new direction will complicate the Biden administration’s efforts to pursue further bilateral arms control and reduction measures with Russia. Russia has been adamant that any future nuclear cuts beyond the limits contained in the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) should take into account the arsenals of the other nuclear-armed states, especially the United Kingdom and France. Moscow can be expected to make this argument even more forcefully after the United Kingdom’s announcement today.

President Biden and has pledged to “take steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.”

With the United Kingdom headed in the opposite direction, the Biden administration should cast an even more critical eye on the Trump administration’s weak rationale for accelerating the development of a newly designed third submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead (known as the W93) - and London’s lobbying of the U.S. Congress for support of U.S. funding for this new weapon.

The Trump administration justified the W93 in part on the grounds that it is vital to continuing U.S. support of the United Kingdom’s nuclear arsenal. But the United States can continue to support its ally without rushing forward with this new and unnecessary new nuclear warhead program.

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Statement from the Arms Control Association 

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Carol Giacomo Joins ACA as Chief Editor of Arms Control Today

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For Immediate Release: March 11, 2021

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Kathy Crandall Robinson, chief operating officer, (202) 463-8270 ext 101

(Washington, DC)—The Arms Control Association is pleased to announce that Carol Giacomo, an award-winning diplomatic and national security correspondent, will become the chief editor of Arms Control Today as of April 1.

Carol Giacomo was a member of The New York Times editorial board from 2007-2020 writing opinion pieces about all major national security issues, including nuclear weapons. Her work involved regular overseas travel, including trips to North Korea, Iran, and Myanmar. She met a half dozen times with President Obama at the White House and interviewed scores of other world leaders.

A former diplomatic correspondent for Reuters in Washington, she covered foreign policy for the international wire service for more than two decades and traveled over 1 million miles to more than 100 countries with eight secretaries of state and other senior U.S. officials.

In 2018, she won an award from The American Academy of Diplomacy, an organization of retired career diplomats, for outstanding diplomatic commentary. In 2009, she won the Georgetown University Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting. She has also won two publisher’s awards from The New York Times.

"We are very excited and honored to have Carol join our team," noted executive director Daryl Kimball. "She will bring a great deal of energy and professionalism, along with creative and insightful ideas, that will make Arms Control Today even better."

Published by the Arms Control Association since 1972, Arms Control Today (ACT) is printed 10 times each year and reaches over 50,000 readers monthly through print and online editions. ACT has a highly targeted circulation, including U.S. and foreign government officials and diplomats, scientists, university educators, students, consultants, contractors, active and retired military personnel, news media, and concerned citizens.

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The Arms Control Association is pleased to announce that Carol Giacomo, an award-winning diplomatic and national security correspondent, will become the chief editor of Arms Control Today as of April 1.

Nonproliferation Experts Call for Faster Action to Restore U.S. and Iranian Compliance with 2015 Nuclear Deal

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For Immediate Release: Feb 22, 2021

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 103; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107

(Washington, DC)—Nonproliferation experts are calling on the European Union, the United States, and Iran to immediately begin technical talks on the steps necessary to restore compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"We support European Union efforts to immediately convene discussions involving the current parties of the agreement, plus the United States, on the sequencing of the actions that the U.S. and Iranian sides will each need to take to properly implement and restore compliance with the nuclear deal,” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy.

"The EU should make clear that these talks are about coordinating the sequencing of the return to compliance and addressing any technical issues that might need to be resolved—such as the future of Iran’s advanced centrifuges not mentioned in the JCPOA—and that this not a renegotiation of the original agreement," she suggested.

"We urge Iran and the other JCPOA parties to respond positively to EU-brokered discussions,” Davenport added.

In a Feb. 1 interview with CNN, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif suggested that Josep Borrell, the EU’s top foreign policy official, could “synchronize” or “choreograph” the moves that the U.S. and Iranian sides will each need to implement to restore compliance with the JCPOA.

The State Department announced Feb. 18 that "the United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward."

But Daryl Kimball, executive director at the Arms Control Association, cautioned that “the IAEA-Iran temporary arrangement on nuclear monitoring keeps open the diplomatic window of opportunity to salvage the nuclear deal, but the opportunity will not last."

“To accelerate progress and signal his intentions, we also urge President Biden to state clearly that the United States will remove the sanctions reimposed by former president Donald Trump in violation of U.S. commitments under the JCPOA when the IAEA verifies Iran is reversing its breaches of JCPOA limits,” Kimball suggested.

“It is also in the United States interest to immediately waive sanctions on multilateral nonproliferation activities mandated by the JCPOA to convert Iran Arak heavy water reactor. This move would further signal the Biden administration’s intentions to meet U.S. commitments under the JCPOA,” he added.

"A return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal by both sides would provide a solid foundation for potential follow-on negotiations on a longer-term framework to address Iran's nuclear program as well as on new, win-win solutions on other areas of concern, such as regional tensions and the ballistic missile programs of Iran and other states in the Middle East,” Kimball said.

Additional Resources

To help explain what is at stake and what needs to happen to restore compliance with the JCPOA and create conditions for follow-on talks, the ACA policy staff has produced three new factsheets:

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Nonproliferation experts are calling on the European Union, the United States, and Iran to begin talks on restoring compliance with the JCPOA

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New Resources on the Iran Nuclear Deal and Steps to Restore Iranian and U.S. Compliance

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For Immediate Release: Feb. 12, 2021

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 102; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107

The comprehensive 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 verifiably blocked Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons and provided incentives for Tehran to maintain a peaceful nuclear program.

Following the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 and Iranian retaliatory measures that began in 2019, however, the agreement is in jeopardy and Iran’s nuclear capacity is increasing.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani continue to say they would like to see all parties return to full compliance with the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But the two sides have not yet worked out an agreement on the sequencing for doing so.

To help explain what’s at stake and what needs to happen to restore compliance with the JCPOA and create conditions for follow-on talks, the ACA policy staff has produced three new factsheets:

For a more in-depth analysis of how the Biden administration can stabilize the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, see the January 2021 Arms Control Association report, Nuclear Challenges for the New U.S. Presidential Administration: The First 100 Days and Beyond.

Promptly and simultaneously restoring U.S. and Iranian compliance with the JCPOA would help stabilize the current situation and preventing a new nuclear crisis in the region.

A return to full compliance with the nuclear deal would provide a platform for further negotiations on a long-term framework to address Iran's nuclear program and create space to engage with Iran on other areas of concern, such as regional tensions and the ballistic missile program of Iran and other states in the Middle East.

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To help explain what’s at stake and what needs to happen to restore compliance with the JCPOA and create conditions for follow-on talks, the ACA policy staff has produced three new factsheets.

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    Agreement to Extend New START a Win for Global Security

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    Statement from Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

    For Immediate Release: Jan. 26, 2021

    Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 104

    We applaud the businesslike, no-nonsense decision by President Biden and President Putin to extend the New START agreement by five years—the maximum allowed under the 2010 treaty.

    Maintaining New START and its verification system will enhance U.S. and global security, curtail dangerous nuclear arms racing, and create the potential for more ambitious steps to reduce the nuclear danger and move us closer to a world without nuclear weapons.

    New START extension should be just the beginning and not the end of U.S. and Russian nuclear disarmament diplomacy. Both countries have a special responsibility and a national interest in reducing and eventually eliminating their bloated, costly, and deadly nuclear stockpiles, which are by far the largest among the world’s nine nuclear-armed actors.

    We urge President Biden and President Putin to go further by directing their diplomats to quickly—within the next 200 days—begin negotiations on a follow-on agreement to achieve deeper mutual reductions in their stockpiles, and seek ways to engage other nuclear-armed states, which possess far smaller but still deadly arsenals, in the nuclear disarmament enterprise.

    A key objective of the next round of bilateral talks should be, in part, deeper verifiable cuts in deployed strategic nuclear weapons. In 2013 the Obama administration determined that the United States could reduce its nuclear force by one-third below New START levels and still meet deterrence requirements. Unfortunately, President Putin rejected the proposal at that time.

    U.S.-Russian follow-on negotiations should also address nonstrategic nuclear weapons; the interrelationship between offensive nuclear weapons and strategic missile defenses; and long-range, dual-capable conventional missiles, including those formerly banned by the INF Treaty.

    Within the first 100 days, the Biden administration should also take steps that could allow the United States to rejoin the Open Skies Treaty so long as Russia continues to remain a party. The Trump administration’s announcement that it would withdraw from the agreement violated Sec. 1234 of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which required the administration to notify Congress 120 days ahead of a U.S. notification of an intent to withdraw from the treaty. The Trump administration did not do so.

    The Biden administration clearly understands the value of effective nuclear arms control for U.S. and international security. As Joe Biden said in the past: “pursuing arms control is not a luxury or a sign of weakness, but an international responsibility and a national necessity."

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    A Statement from Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

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