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"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Professor of History, Montgomery College
July 1, 2020
Press Releases

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and the Government of Mexico Voted 2021 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year

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Recognized for Novel Initiative to Combat Illicit Arms Trafficking

For Immediate Release: Jan. 14, 2022

Media Contacts: Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext. 110; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext 107

(Washington, D.C.)—Mexico’s foreign minister, Mr. Marcelo Ebrard, and the government of Mexico were selected as the 2021 Arms Control Persons of the Year through an online poll that drew thousands of participants from dozens of countries. The annual contest is organized by the independent, nongovernmental Arms Control Association.

Mr. Ebrard and the government were nominated for their lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors that takes a novel approach to combat illicit weapons trafficking from the United States into Mexico that is fueling violence and criminal activity.

The lawsuit, filed in a Massachusetts federal district court, alleges that several major firearms manufacturers and wholesalers “design, market, distribute, and sell guns in ways they know routinely arm the drug cartels in Mexico,” and that contributes to a decline of life expectancy in Mexico. It said the named companies sell about 340,000 of an estimated half-million guns that illegally flow each year from “Massachusetts and other U.S. states to criminals south of the [U.S.-Mexico] border.”

“The Mexican Foreign Ministry’s lawsuit against the U.S. firearms companies represents an important new way to hold rogue actors accountable for their role in the violence caused by small arms trafficking across international borders,” according to Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

“The Arms Control Person(s) of the Year contest is a reminder of the diverse and creative ways that dedicated individuals and organizations from around the globe can contribute to meeting the difficult arms control challenges of today and the coming decades,” he said.

This year, eight individuals and groups were nominated by the Arms Control Association staff and board of directors. “All of the nominees demonstrated extraordinary leadership in raising awareness of and advancing effective arms control solutions for the threats posed by mass casualty weapons during the course of 2021,” Kimball said.

The runners-up in this year’s contest were Sébastien Philippe, an associate research scholar of the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security, and French journalist Tomas Statius, for their groundbreaking investigation that challenges the French government’s official public story of the health consequences of French atmospheric nuclear tests in the South Pacific. Their new findings suggest more than 100,000 people in Polynesia may be eligible to claim compensation from France for harm caused by the tests, which is about 10 times more than estimated by the existing French government.

Online voting was open from Dec. 8, 2021, until Jan. 12, 2022. A list of all of this year's nominees is available at https://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2021-12/2021-arms-control-persons-year-nominees-announced

Previous winners of the Arms Control Person of the Year are:

  • Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security for catalyzing support and action from leaders and practitioners in the national security and foreign policy communities to increase diversity into their ranks (2020);
  • Areg Danagoulian and colleagues at MIT for development of an innovative new nuclear disarmament verification process using neutron beams (2019);
  • 4,000 Anonymous Google Employees whose open letter to company leadership led to Google ending its work on “Project Maven” with the Pentagon (2018);
  • Diplomats from Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Costa Rica who secured the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017) ;
  • Tony de Brum and the government of the Marshall Islands (2016);
  • Setsuko Thurlow and the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, (2015);
  • Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (2014);
  • Executive-Secretary of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo (2013);
  • General James Cartwright (2012);
  • Reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011);
  • Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010);
  • Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009);
  • Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008); and
  • Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).
Description: 

Mr. Ebrard and the government were nominated for their lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors that takes a novel approach to combat illicit weapons trafficking from the United States into Mexico that is fueling violence and criminal activity.

    10th Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference: Background and Resources

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    For Immediate Release: Dec. 15, 2021

    Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 x107; Shannon Bugos, senior policy analyst, 202-463-8270 x113

    In less than a month, hundreds of diplomats representing the states parties to the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), along with representatives from civil society, will convene Jan. 4-28 for talks that will shape the future of the international nuclear arms control regime at a time when the risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear competition are growing.

    The conference caps a five-year cycle of meetings in which states-parties review compliance with the NPT and seek agreement on steps to advance the treaty’s main goals: preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons and sensitive nuclear technology and halting and reversing the nuclear arms race and advancing nuclear disarmament. This review conference occurs a quarter-century after state parties agreed on the indefinite extension of the NPT at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.

    The conference, which was been delayed due to the pandemic, arrives as tensions between the United States and Russia and between the United States and China are worsening and as they are each accelerating programs to modernize and upgrade their deadly arsenals.

    As a result, a central issue at this Review Conference, the treaty’s 10th, will likely be the failure of the nuclear-armed states parties to meet their NPT Article VI disarmament obligations and the many of the specific disarmament-related goals outlined in the action plan that was adopted at the 2010 Review Conference.

    Although the United States and Russia agreed earlier this year to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) until early 2026, negotiations on a follow-on agreement or agreements have yet to begin. This week, a group of U.S., Russian, and European experts outlined a set of recommendations on how the two counties can achieve progress. Whether the five NPT nuclear-armed states will agree to commit to specific action steps to address this “disarmament deficit” is not clear.

    Other issues could prove to be contentious. These include how to advance the goal of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Divisions on that issue led the United States to block consensus on a final conference outcome at the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

    While there will likely be strong support from NPT states parties for the ongoing talks to restore U.S. and Iranian compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran’s failure to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s efforts to maintain adequate monitoring of its sensitive nuclear activities could not only complicate talks on the JCPOA, but it could become a flashpoint at the NPT conference.

    To make progress, the NPT Conference will need to recognize but also avoid unnecessary debate over the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force earlier this year. Supporters of the TPNW, which include some of the strongest backers of the NPT, note that the new treaty complements the NPT and is a good-faith contribution to their disarmament commitments. The NPT nuclear-weapon states unsurprisingly oppose the TPNW, which calls into question their continued reliance on the threat of using weapons of mass destruction in the name of their national security interests.

    As of now, it is not clear who will represent the United States at the conference. President Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. delegation to the NPT meeting, Adam Scheinman, has not yet been confirmed by the U.S. Senate due to opposition from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

    Another open question is whether, as with past NPT Conferences, is whether the president or secretary of state will address the opening of the NPT conference to describe in more detail the United States’ vision for reducing the existential threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

    RESOURCES

    News and Analysis

    Interviews 

    Fact Sheets

    Official Conference Documentation and Speeches  

    Twitter

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    The 10th Review Conference by states parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty will take place Jan.4-28. It is expected to shape the future of the international nuclear arms control regime at a time when the risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear competition are growing. The following resources are provided to journalists covering the event. 

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    2021 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year Nominees Announced

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    For Immediate Release: Dec. 8, 2021

    Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Tony Fleming, director for communications, (202) 463-8270 ext. 110

    (Washington, D.C.)—Since 2007, the independent, nongovernmental 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 grave threats and negative developments, our Arms Control Person(s) of the Year contest aims to highlight several positive initiatives—some large, some small—designed to advance international peace, security, and justice," noted Daryl G. Kimball, executive director.

    This year's nominees are listed below. All of the nominees have, in their own way, provided important leadership that helped reduce weapons-related security dangers during the past year.

    The ballot and list of 2021 nominees are available at ArmsControl.org/ACPOY.

    Voting will take place between Dec. 8, 2021 and Jan. 12, 2022. The results will be announced on Jan. 14, 2022. Follow the discussion on Twitter using hashtag #ACPOY2021.

    A full list of previous winners is available at ArmsControl.org/ACPOY/previous.

    The 2021 nominees are:

    • James Cleverly, minister for Middle East and North Africa at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, on behalf of the United Kingdom and the 163 associated countries, for introducing and winning approval in the UN First Committee for a resolution mandating the creation of a new working group focused on developing possible norms, rules, and principles (including legally-binding measures) of responsible military behaviors in space and aimed at preventing an arms race in outer space.
    • Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Oreg.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who established the bicameral Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group in early 2021, for their energetic efforts to build support for action by the Biden administration to pursue New START follow-on arms control negotiations with Russia, to reduce the role and the number of nuclear weapons in U.S. nuclear policy, and to seek nuclear risk reduction talks with China.
    • Decker Eveleth from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen from the Federation of American Scientists for utilizing open-source satellite imagery to reveal construction activity in central China for the possible deployment of at least 250 additional land-based, nuclear-armed, long-range ballistic missiles. Their work has prompted a public debate about how the United States and China can avoid an arms race driven by mutual concerns about vulnerability to nuclear attack.
    • Avinashpall Singh and Rooj Ali, two high school students from Winnipeg, Canada, for their successful effort to win the city council’s unanimous support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), one of the dozens of such initiatives around the globe to encourage city governments to call for their national governments to join the TPNW.
    • Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Agency's team of inspectors, for their steadfast efforts to sustain effective, intrusive monitoring of Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities under the terms of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the Agency, as the United States and Iran struggle to find a political formula that brings both countries back into compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
    • Sébastien Philippe, Associate Research Scholar of the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security, and French journalist Tomas Statius, for their groundbreaking investigation that challenges the French government’s official public story of the health consequences of French atmospheric nuclear tests in the South Pacific and has stirred international debate about how Paris should respond. Their new findings suggest more than 100,000 people in Polynesia may be eligible to claim compensation from France for harm caused by the tests, which is about 10 times more than estimated by the existing French government.
    • Steve Kostas, a senior lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative; Hadi al Khatib, founder of the Syrian Archive; and Mazen Darwish, founder of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, for filing legal complaints in France and Germany against Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad and other Syrian officials for their role in chemical weapons attacks against civilians in Douma, Ghouta, and Khan Shaykhun, Syria. The complaints request criminal investigations and prosecutions of Mr. al-Assad and a number of Syrian government officials and chains of command responsible for the attacks.
    • Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and the Government of Mexico for its lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors in a Massachusetts federal district court that takes a novel approach to combat illicit weapons trafficking. The lawsuit alleges that several major firearms manufacturers and wholesalers “design, market, distribute, and sell guns in ways they know routinely arm the drug cartels in Mexico,” and that contributes to a decline of life expectancy in Mexico. It said the named companies sell about 340,000 of an estimated half-million guns that illegally flow each year from “Massachusetts and other U.S. states to criminals south of the border.”
    Description: 

    All of the nominees have, in their own way, provided important leadership that helped reduce weapons-related security dangers during the past year. Voting will take place between Dec. 8, 2021 and Jan. 12, 2022. The results will be announced on Jan. 14, 2022. 

    Arms Control Association Says China’s Nuclear Buildup Deeply Troubling

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    Calls for Start of Talks on Arms Control and Risk Reduction
    to Head Off Dangerous Arms Race

    Statement by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director

    For Immediate Release: Nov. 3, 2021

    Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, 202-463-8270, ext. 107; Shannon Bugos, 202-463-8270, ext. 113

    (Washington, D.C.)—The Defense Department’s annual China Military Power report released today confirms what statements from department officials and revelations from nongovernmental organizations this year had already suggested: China appears be on the cusp of a significant and very concerning nuclear weapons buildup that exceeds the department’s earlier projections.

    In our view, China’s nuclear advances and the increasingly competitive relationship with the United States make it more important than ever that Beijing agrees to engage in a meaningful dialogue on arms control and risk reduction. There are no winners in a nuclear war and there are no winners in a nuclear arms race. It is in the mutual interest of the United States and China to head off unconstrained nuclear weapons competition in the years ahead.

    Last year, the Pentagon said that China could, over the next decade, at least double an operational nuclear warhead stockpile numbering in the low-200s. This year’s report projects that Beijing “may … have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027,” an estimate which appears contingent on the construction by China of new fast breeder reactors and reprocessing facilities. The report adds that China “likely intends to have at least 1,000 warheads by 2030.”

    The report also highlights China’s apparent plans to expand the size and diversity of its nuclear delivery platforms (including through the construction of hundreds of new land-based intercontinental ballistic missile silos) and enhance the readiness of is nuclear forces.

    China’s deeply troubling pursuit of a larger and more capable nuclear arsenal and complete lack of transparency about its nuclear force plans calls into question China’s longstanding minimum nuclear deterrence policy and is likely to exacerbate tensions with the United States and undermine stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Beijing cannot credibly claim that its nuclear weapons buildup comports with its legal obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” The failure of the five nuclear-armed nuclear weapon states-parties of the NPT to follow through on their disarmament commitments in recent years will be a major sticking point at the January 2022 NPT Review Conference.

    The United States and China in particular need to start a regular and meaningful arms control and risk reduction dialogue to help avoid a dangerous arms race and a crisis that could lead to a catastrophic war and even the possible use of nuclear weapons.

    The Biden administration has repeatedly expressed its desire to commence a dialogue on strategic stability and nuclear risk reduction with Beijing. But thus far, China has stubbornly and illogically rebuffed the proposal. As a nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT, China needs to engage in the nuclear risk reduction and disarmament enterprise sooner rather than later.

    Meanwhile, as the Biden administration continues to conduct a review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy scheduled to be completed in early 2022, it must keep the growing Chinese nuclear threat in perspective and resist alarmist calls by some to augment the United States own planned nuclear weapons spending spree.

    Even if China were to decide to increase its nuclear stockpile to roughly 1,000 warheads, it would still be smaller than the current U.S. stockpile of about 3,750 active nuclear warheads. Claims that China could soon achieve nuclear overmatch against the United States are wildly overstated.

    The longstanding U.S. position of nuclear superiority over China and unwillingness to acknowledge mutual vulnerability to nuclear attack has not brought Beijing to the negotiating table nor dissuaded it from modernizing its arsenal.

    To make matters worse, the Trump administration’s proposed expansion of the capability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, its one-sided demand for Chinese nuclear restraint, and threats to “spend China into oblivion” have been met by an accelerated pace of Chinese nuclear expansion.

    The United States cannot “arms race its way out” of the challenge China’s nuclear arsenal poses.

    In fact, the United States already maintains a nuclear arsenal in excess to what is necessary to deter a nuclear attack and extend deterrence to allies. Planned U.S. spending on nuclear weapons poses a major threat to security priorities more relevant to countering Beijing and assuring allies, such as pandemic defense and response as well as pacing China’s advancing conventional military capabilities.

    The factors driving China’s pursuit of a nuclear buildup are unclear but likely multifaceted. Whether China implements the projected buildup over the next several years remains to be seen and is likely to be influenced by the trajectory of the overall U.S.-China strategic relationship, U.S. and allied regional military deployments, and advances in U.S. long-range conventional strike and missile defense capabilities.

    Indeed, the Pentagon has repeatedly noted that U.S. missile defense capabilities contribute to China’s nuclear threat perceptions. The November 2020 U.S. test of a sea-based missile interceptor against an ICBM-class target has likely deepened China’s concerns about the potential future vulnerability of its strategic nuclear forces.

    The Biden administration, and Congress, must avoid taking steps that would compound nuclear tensions with China and give Beijing a cynical excuse to expand its arsenal.

    Description: 

    The executive director is calling for the start of talks on arms control and risk reduction to head off a dangerous arms race.

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    Nuclear Weapons Policy Experts Praise Biden for Transparency on Nuclear Arsenal

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    Statement by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director

    For Immediate Release: October 6, 2021

    Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext.107; Shannon Bugos, research associate, (202) 463-8270 ext. 113

    The Biden administration’s decision to declassify updated information on the number of nuclear warheads in the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal is a welcome step that reverses an unwise decision by the Trump administration to classify this information. It also puts pressure on other nuclear armed states that maintain excessive secrecy about their arsenals, and highlights the need for further steps to reduce the number, role, and risk of nuclear weapons in the United States and world’s other eight nuclear-armed states.

    The October 5 declassification announcement indicates that the total number of “active” and “inactive” warheads is 3,750 as of September 2020. The stockpile figures do not include retired warheads and those awaiting dismantlement. The updated stockpile number is only 72 warheads fewer than the figure announced in September 2017, after which the Trump administration decided as a matter of policy not to provide any further updates on the size of the U.S. stockpile.

    Interestingly, the detailed figures released yesterday show, Donald Trump as the first post-Cold War  that for the first time in 25 years, the United States increased the size of the nuclear arsenal between the years 2018 and 2019. As our colleagues at the Federation of Scientists suggest, this may be due to the deployment of the a new, low-yield warhead on the D-5 sub-based strategic ballistic missile by the Trump administration.

    In a democratic society, it is essential that the public and our elected leaders have the information necessary to engage in a fact-based discussion of key issues affecting national and international security—nuclear weapons being among the most consequential.

    By being more transparent about the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile size, the United States is on much firmer ground to put pressure on other nuclear-armed states, particularly Russia and China to be more responsible nuclear possessors by providing basic information on the number and types of nuclear weapons in their arsenals. This is essential to understanding whether and how they world’s nuclear-armed states are—or are not—meeting their obligations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and elsewhere to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament ….”

    Agreement on enhanced nuclear stockpile transparency is also necessary if there is to be further progress on arms control and disarmament measures between the United States and Russia beyond the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and with China in the future.

    The updated U.S. nuclear stockpile figures do, however, underscore several troubling realities:

    • progress toward serious nuclear weapons stockpile reductions have stalled in recent years, and some states, particularly China and Russia, appear to be increasing the size and/or diversity of their arsenals.
    • an arsenal of 3,750 nuclear warheads, including approximately 1,389 strategic deployed warheads on 665 land-based and sea-based missiles and bombers accountable under New START, is more than enough to deliver a devastating nuclear blow to any nuclear-armed adversary. It would take just a few hundred U.S. nuclear weapons to destroy Russian and Chinese military capacity, kill hundreds of millions of innocent people, and produce a planetary climate catastrophe. And according to previous Pentagon assessments, the United States could further reduce its deployed strategic arsenal even further and still deter a nuclear weapons attack by any nuclear-armed adversary against the United States or our treaty allies. 

    The Biden administration has pledged to “take steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy” and to seek to “head off costly arms races and re-establish our credibility as a leader in arms control.”

    As the administration continue to work on its Nuclear Posture Review, we hope and expect it will take further tangible steps to provide the leadership necessary to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons worldwide.

    Description: 

    The Biden administration’s decision to declassify information on the number of U.S. nuclear warheads is a welcome step that reverses an unwise decision by the Trump administration.

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    25 Years After Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Testing Is Taboo

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    For Immediate Release: Sept. 20, 2021

    Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Tony Fleming, communications director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 110

    (Washington, D.C.)—Today, the Washington-based Arms Control Association hailed the success of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which opened for signature 25 years ago this week, and called for bolder action by UN member states and the UN Security Council to bolster international support for the global norm against nuclear weapons testing and to push the remaining eight CTBT hold-out states to ratify the treaty.

    In events later this week at the United Nations in New York, the international community will mark the 25th anniversary of the treaty, the successful creation and operation the international monitoring system to verify compliance, and the value of a testing halt. A high-level conference will be convened September 23 at UN headquarters, and a special UN Security Council session will convened September 27 by Ireland, which holds the presidency of the Council.

    The treaty, which opened for signature Sept. 24, 1996, has near-universal support with 185 signatories, including the five original nuclear testing states. All CTBT states agree that the treaty prohibits “any nuclear weapons test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion” no matter what the explosive yield.

    “A quarter century after it was concluded, the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has achieved its core goal: halting nuclear test explosions,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

    Most of the 2,000-plus nuclear test blasts conducted by the world’s nine nuclear-armed states were used to confirm new warhead designs and develop more deadly weapons systems, which in turn fueled a dangerous spiral of global nuclear competition.

    Without the option to conduct nuclear tests, it is more difficult, although not impossible, for even the most advanced nuclear states to develop, prove, and field new warhead designs. The CTBT is a powerful brake on vertical and horizontal nuclear proliferation.

    “The CTBT has effectively put an end to militarily significant nuclear test blasts. Today, even those nuclear-armed states that have not signed or not ratified the CTBT, including India, Israel, and Pakistan, observe nuclear testing moratoriums. Only one country has conducted nuclear test explosions in this century, and even that country—North Korea—halted nuclear testing in 2017,” noted Kimball, who has campaigned for a global testing halt for more than 30 years.

    However, because of the treaty's onerous entry-into-force requirement and the failure of eight key states, including the United States and China, to ratify, the treaty has not entered into force. Among other challenges, this means the treaty’s short-notice on-site inspection tools cannot yet be used.

    "President Joe Biden, a longtime CTBT advocate, should clearly reaffirm U.S. support for the treaty and its entry into force," Kimball said.

    In 2020, then-candidate Biden said: “We have not tested a [nuclear] device since 1992, we don’t need to do so now. A resumption of testing is more likely to prompt other countries to resume militarily significant nuclear testing and undermine our nuclear nonproliferation goals.”

    “We cannot afford to take the non-testing norm for granted. To keep a de facto global nuclear test moratorium intact and make headway toward the formal entry into force of the treaty, friends of the CTBT will need to do more than make speeches. Key states will need to rejuvenate their efforts to achieve its entry into force and reinforce the taboo against nuclear testing,” Kimball urged.

    “We call on:

    • all UN Security Council Members, including India, to reaffirm their support for a halt to all nuclear testing and pledge to act against violators. Those that have not yet ratified, should explain the status of their ratification efforts.
    • States-parties to the upcoming nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference should agree to demand that any state that has conducted a nuclear test explosion should seek to initiate their ratification process by 2025.
    • the United States, Russia, and China, each of which continue activities at their test sites, to agree to adopt additional voluntary measures designed to detect and deter possible low-level, clandestine nuclear testing prior to entry into force.”

    The last time the Security Council most addressed the issue of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was on Sept. 22, 2016, marking the 20th anniversary of the Treaty, adopting Security Council Resolution (2310).

    “Keeping the door shut on nuclear testing requires leadership and action on the CTBT. It is in every country’s interest to take action to bring the treaty into force, to strengthen the taboo against nuclear testing, and to fully support the work of the CTBT Organization in Vienna,” Kimball said.

     

    Description: 

    The Arms Control Association hails the success of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which opened for signature 25 years ago this week, and calls for bolder action by UN member states and the UN Security Council to bolster international support for the global norm.

    New Report Released on the Allure and Risks of Hypersonic Weapons

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    For Immediate Release: Sept. 14, 2021

    Media Contacts: Shannon Bugos, research associate, [email protected], and Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, [email protected]

    (WASHINGTON, DC)—A new report from the Arms Control Association details the growing allure but also the risks of the aggressive pursuit of hypersonic weapons by the United States amid a renewed emphasis on military competition with China and Russia. The report also proposes action items for Congress to better understand the Defense Department’s plans for the weapons and mitigate strategic stability risks.

    The debate concerning hypersonic weapons has gained increased attention in recent years as the United States has poured billions of dollars—and plans to pour billions more—into accelerating the development of hypersonic weapons and as China and Russia make headway in developing and deploying their own such weapons. The Pentagon is funding no less than eight prototype hypersonic weapons programs with the aim of fielding an initial capability of at least some of those by 2022.

    “[T]he U.S. rush to field hypersonic weapons merits a more critical examination by the Biden administration and Congress given the many unanswered questions about their rationale, technical viability, cost-effectiveness, and escalatory risks,” write Shannon Bugos, a research associate, and Kingston Reif, the director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association.

    “It is time—in fact, past time—for Congress to demand these answers before the military begins fielding the weapons in great numbers,” they say.

    The report, Understanding Hypersonic Weapons: Managing the Allure and the Risks, outlines the scope of the unanswered questions about the case for hypersonic weapons, details the underappreciated risks to stability posed by the weapons, assesses the viability of arms control as a tool to reduce these risks, and suggests recommended action items for Congress to better its understanding about the Pentagon’s plans for the weapons, eliminate potential redundancies in weapons capabilities, and mitigate stability risks.

    The full report is available for download at ArmsControl.org/Reports.

    Description: 

    This new report details the growing allure—and risks—of hypersonic weapons being pursued by the United States amid a renewed emphasis on military competition with China and Russia. The report also proposes action items for Congress to better understand the Defense Department’s plans for the weapons and mitigate strategic stability risks.

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    New Report on Congressional Perspectives on U.S. Policy toward North Korea

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    For Immediate Release: August 9, 2021

    Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 102; and Julia Masterson, research associate, (202) 463-8270 ext. 103

    (WASHINGTON, D.C)—Addressing the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons is one of the most significant and complex challenges facing the United States. Developing, implementing, and sustaining a verifiable diplomatic process that reduces risk and rolls back Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program requires a whole of government approach, including constructive contributions from members of the U.S. Congress.

    While crafting and implementing such an approach will be the prerogative of the Executive Branch, the role that Congress can play in supporting or hindering such a process should not be overlooked. Congress has used an array of tools to put in place conditions for negotiations, express its support or opposition to administration policy, and implement coercive measures toward North Korea designed to punish Pyongyang for its violations of international law and stymie its weapons development efforts.

    Using survey data and in-depth interviews from the late months of 2020, this report provides insight into how Congress views the North Korean nuclear threat and U.S. approaches to engaging with Pyongyang. More clarity into Congressional views and attitudes may lead to more effective policymaking.

    The full report is available for download at ArmsControl.org/Reports.

    Description: 

    Using survey data and in-depth interviews, this report provides insight into how Congress views the North Korean nuclear threat and U.S. approaches to engaging with Pyongyang.

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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

    Description: 

    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.”

    Description: 

    Background for Reporters Covering the Geneva Summit

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