"I greatly appreciate your very swift response, and your organization's work in general. It's a terrific source of authoritative information."

– Lisa Beyer
Bloomberg News
August 27, 2018
June 2009
Edition Date: 
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Cover Image: 

June 2009 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

EastWest Institute, "Iran's Nuclear and Missile Potential: A Joint Threat Assessment by U.S. and Russian Technical Experts," May 19, 2009.

Mathews, Jessica T. and Lavrov, Sergey, "Foreign Minister Lavrov on Russia-U.S. Relations: Perspectives and Prospects for the New Agenda," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 7, 2009.

Editorial, "The Test Ban Treaty," The New York Times, May 24, 2009.

Perry, William J., and Schlesinger, James R., America's Strategic Posture: The Final Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States. May 6, 2009.

Perry, William J. and Scowcroft, Brent, Independent Task Force Report No. 63: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy, Council on Foreign Relations, May 2009.

Sheridan, Mary Beth, "Obama Administration is Bringing Nuclear Arms Control Back," The Washington Post, May 8, 2009.

I. Strategic Arms

The Associated Press, "Obama: Reducing Spread of Nukes a High Priority," The New York Times, May 19, 2009.

Barry, Ellen, "U.S. Negotiator Signals Flexibility Toward Moscow Over New Round of Arms Talks," The New York Times, May 4, 2009.

Boian, Christopher, "Russia, U.S. Set for Nuke Meeting," Associated France-Presse, May 18, 2009.

Bolton, John R., "A Fast Way to Lose the Arms Race," The New York Times, May 25, 2009.

Charbonneau, Louis, "Nuclear Talks Get First Breakthrough in 10 years," Reuters, May 6 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "China Seen Continuing Nuclear Arsenal Upgrades," May 22, 2009.

Eisler, Peter, "U.S. Warhead Disposal in 15-Year Backlog," USA Today, May 12, 2009.

Eisler, Peter, "U.S. Nuke-Disposal Logjam to Grow: Obama's Plan to Cut Arsenal Will Add to 15-Year Backlog," USA Today, May 13, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "Russia to Address Nuke Usage Policy in New Military Doctrine," May 21, 2009.

RIA Novosti, "Russia Waits for U.S. Proposals on Stored Nuclear Warheads - Lavrov," May 12, 2009.

Van Den Bergh, Godfried Van Benthem, "The Taming of the Great Nuclear Powers," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Policy Outlook, No. 46, May 2009.

UN News Centre, "World Cannot Afford to Put Disarmament on Backburner, Ban Tells States," May 4, 2009.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Agence France-Presse, "Egypt Rejects Reports of Nuclear Probe," May 7, 2009

Cohen, Avner, "Nuclear Ban Benefits for Israel," The Washington Times, May 6 2009.

Haas, Richard N., "Defining 'Success' Down," The Washington Post, May 14, 2009.

Jahn, George, "IAEA: Weapons Grade Uranium Traces Found in Egypt," The Associated Press, May 6, 2009.


Global Security Newswire, "Iranian Nuclear Work Unhindered by Sanctions, CIA Report Says," May 8, 2009.

Gray, Andrew, "Gates says U.S. to persist with Iran Overtures" Reuters, May 5, 2009.

Guha, Krishna, "US Military Chief Hints at Softer Iran Stance," The Financial Times, May 24 2009.

Gur, Haviv Rettig and Katz, Yaakov, "Gates: Military Option in Iran Ineffective," The Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2009.

Hafezi, Parisa, "Iran's Ahmadinejad Rejects Western Nuclear Proposal," Reuters, May 25, 2009.

The Jerusalem Post, "Arad: 'We reserve operational freedom on Iran'," May 21, 2009.

Keyes, Charley, "Report: Iran Could Have Enough Material for Nuke in Months," CNN.com, May 7, 2009.

Leverett, Flynt and Leverett, Hillary Mann, "Have We Already Lost Iran?," The New York Times, May 23, 2009.

Reuters, "Iran Says U.S. Sanctions Will Not Halt Nuclear Work," May 4, 2009.

Ravid, Barak, "U.S. Puts October Deadline on Iran Talks," Haaretz, May 10, 2009.

Sheppard, David and Pachymuthu, Luke, "U.S. Gasoline Sanctions on Iran Seen as Last Resort," Reuters, May 19, 2009.

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, "Obama Tells Netanyahu He Has an Iran Timetable," The New York Times, May 18, 2009.

North Korea

Agence France-Presse, "NKorea Increases Activity Around Plutonium Plant," May 13, 2009.

Capaccio, Tony, "Spread of Weapons Technology Is 'Imminent Threat,' Jones Says," Bloomberg, May 28, 2009.

Charbonneau, Louis, "N. Korea Cool to Resuming Nuclear Talks," Reuters, May 4, 2009.

Charbonneau, Louis, "Draft U.N. Resolution Condemns North Korea Nuclear Test," Reuters, May 28, 2009.

Ford, Peter, "With Second Test, North Korea Asserts Nuclear-Power Ambitions," The Christian Science Monitor, May 25, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M., "More North Korean Nuclear Tests 'Quite Possible,' Says Senior U.S. Official," Global Security Newswire, May 29, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "North Korea Restarts Plutonium Production; U.N. Plans Response to Nuke Test," May 27, 2009.

Gopalaswamy, Bharath, "Infrasound Detection of North Korea's Launch," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 5, 2009.

Harden, Blaine, "N. Korea Conducts 'Successful' Underground Nuclear Test," The Washington Post, May 25, 2009.

Hecker, Sigfried S., "The Risks of North Korea's Nuclear Restart," The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 12, 2009.

Klingner, Bruce "How Should the U.S. Handle North Korea?," The Washington Times, May 3, 2009.

Korean Central News Agency, "KCNA Report on One More Successful Underground Nuclear Test," May 25, 2009.

Kim, Jack, "North Korea Seen Readying for New Nuclear Test: Report," Reuters, May 7, 2009.

Lakshmanan, Indira A.R., and Koo, Heejin, "Obama N. Korea Options May Be Limited by Regime Shift," Bloomberg, May 27, 2009.

Landler, Mark, "Leadership Mystery Amid North Korea's Nuclear Work," The New York Times, May 26, 2009.

Lubold, Gordon, "A Military Answer to North Korea? Not likely." The Christian Science Monitor, May 29, 2009.

Choe Sang-hun, ,"North Korea Calls U.S. Policy 'Unchanged' Under Obama," The New York Times, May 8, 2009.

Yuan, Jing-dong, "Beijing Weighs its Options," The Asia Times, May 28, 2009.


Albright, David, et al, Pakistan Expanding Dera Ghazi Khan Nuclear Site: Time for U.S. to Call for Limits, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) Report, May 19, 2009.

Dombey, Daniel and Bokhari, Farhan, "Pakistan Defends Nuclear Weapons," The Financial Times, May 19, 2009.

Institute for Science and International Security, "ISIS Statement on Washington Post Report from May 28, 2009," May 28, 2009.

Khan, Zarar, "Pakistan Denies it is Expanding Nuclear Arsenal," The Associated Press, May 18, 2009.

Mohammed, Arshad and Cornwell, Susan, "U.S. Says Aid Won't Go to Pakistan Nuclear Program," Reuters, May 20, 2009.

Omestad, Thomas, "Taliban's Gains in Pakistan Have Washington Worried About Nuclear Security," US News and World Report, May 8, 2009.

Sanger, David E., "Strife in Pakistan Raises U.S. Doubts Over Nuclear Arms," The New York Times, May 3, 2009.

Shanker, Thom and Sanger, David E., "Pakistan is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says," The New York Times, May 17, 2009.

Smith, Jeffrey R., "Nuclear Aims By Pakistan, India Prompt U.S. Concern," The Washington Post, May 28, 2009.

The Daily Telegraph, "CIA: US Does Not Know Location of All Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons," May 19, 2009.

III. Nonproliferation

Agence France-Presse, "'Long Road' To Nuke-Free World: Gates," May 3, 2009.

Bender, Bryan, "Pakistan, US in Talks on Nuclear Security," The Boston Globe, May 5, 2009.

Cohen, Avner and Perkovich, George, "The Obama-Netanyahu Meeting: Nuclear Issues," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Proliferation Analysis, May 14, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, " 'Virtual' Nuclear Powers a Looming Threat, ElBaradei Warns," May 15, 2009.

Gilani, Iftikhar, "US May Press India to Sign CTBT: Blackwill," The Daily Times (Pakistan), May 6, 2009.

Kelly, Ian "P-5 Non-Proliferation Treaty," United States Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, May 15, 2009.

Lederer, Edith M., "Obama Pledge on Nuclear Weapons Wins Praise at UN," The Associated Press, May 4, 2009.

Magee, Seana K., "Hiraoka Calls for Nuke-Free Zones," The Japan Times, May 21, 2009.

Morris, Harvey, "Nuclear Powers Agree on Treaty Agenda," The Financial Times, May 17, 2009.

Murphy, Francois, "France Backs India-Style Nuclear Deal for Pakistan," Reuters, May 15, 2009.

Nebehay, Stephanie, "U.N. Chief Seeks Global Talks to Curb Nuclear Arms," Reuters, May 19, 2009.

Pomper, Miles A., "Report from the NPT Preparatory Committee 2009," James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, May 26, 2009.

Squassoni, Sharon, "Grading Progress on 13 Steps Toward Nuclear Disarmament,", Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Policy Outlook No. 45, May 2009.

UN News Centre, "Agenda set for UN-backed 2010 review of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty." May 15, 2009.

Xinhua News Service, "China Reiterates Support For Ban On Nuclear Weapons, Complete Nuclear Disarmament," May 19, 2009.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

The Associated Press, "Gates: No Decision Yet on European Missile Plan," The Washington Post, May 20, 2009.

Agence France-Presse, "India Tests Nuclear-Capable Missile: Sources," May 19, 2009.

The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, "Report of the Independent Working Group on Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-first Century," May 2009.

Jakes, Lara, "Gates Supports Missile Defense Despite Budget Cuts," Associated Press, May 14, 2009.

Katz, Yaakov, "Iran to Mass Produce Long-Range Missiles," The Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2009.

Kralev, Nicholas, "Iran's Test Could Alter Europe's Missile Balance," The Washington Times, May 21, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, "Deployment of U.S.-Based Missile Interceptors Cut Off at 30," Global Security Newswire, May 22, 2009.

The Media Line News Agency, "Report: Iran Deploys Missiles in Persian Gulf," The Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2009.

Navy News, "Air and Missile Defense Command Established," April 30, 2009.

Raghuvanshi, Vivek, "India Prepares To Induct Air Version of BrahMos Missile," Defense News May 11, 2009.

Reuters, "Pentagon Scales Back Lockheed Missile Program, No Decision to Cancel," May 7, 2009.

RIA Novosti, "Russia's Medvedev Welcomes New U.S. Stance on Missile Defense," May 5, 2009.

RIA Novosti, "Putin Says Russia Needs New Rockets to Increase Launch Market Share," May 18, 2009.

Solovyov, Dmitry, "Russia Could Deploy Missiles Near Poland: Officer," Reuters, May 21, 2009.

Jung Sung-ki, , "3-Way Race for Ballistic Missile Warning Radars," The Korea Times, May 19, 2009.

Warrick, Joby, and Smith, Jeffrey R., "U.S.-Russian Team Deems Missile Shield in Europe Ineffective" The Washington Post, May 19, 2009.

Wolf, Jim, "Pentagon Eyes New Anti-Missile Technology," Reuters, May 7, 2008.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Eisler, Peter, "Chemical Weapons Disposal on Fast Track," USA Today, May 5, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "Money Needed for Russian Chemical Weapons Disposal Site, Official Says," May 5, 2008.

Levy, Clifford J., "In Siberia, the Death Knell of a Complex Holding a Deadly Stockpile," The New York Times, May 26, 2009.

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Visits the OPCW," April 27, 2009.

Straziuso, Jason, "US Military: 44 Afghan Cases of White Phosphorus," The Associated Press, May 11, 2009.

Jung Sung-Ki, , "Asian Training on Chemical Weapons Underway," May 11, 2009.

Whalen, Jeanne, "In Attics and Closets, 'Biohackers' Discover Their Inner Frankenstein," The Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2009.

VI. Conventional Arms

Agence France-Presse, "Japan to Give 40 Mln Dlrs to Dismantle Russian Submarines: Report," May 1, 2009.

Almeida, Henrique, "Angola Asks for Help in Clearing Landmines," Reuters, May 14, 2009.

Bennett, John T., "Chambliss: Hill Leaders 'Realize 187 F-22s Is Not Enough'," Defense News, May 20, 2009.

Chang, Andrei and Wu, John, "China Pushes J-10A Fighter for Export to Pakistan, Egypt," United Press International, May 19, 2009.

Chivers, C.J., "Arms Sent by U.S. May Be Falling Into Taliban Hands," The New York Times, May 19, 2009.

Cox, Matthew, "Soldiers to Test Shoulder-Fired Airburst Weapon," Army Times, May 21, 2009.

The Mainichi Daily News, "Cluster Bomb Treaty Ratification Moves Step Closer," May 8, 2009.

Manning, Stephen, "Lawmakers Say Air Force Plane Cuts May Be Too Deep," The Washington Post/AP, May 19, 2009.

Perry, Tom, "Israel Hands Over Lebanon Cluster Bomb Maps," Reuters, May 12, 2009.

Jung Sung-ki, "S. Korea Seeks to Build Semi-Stealth Fighter," The Korea Times, May 12, 2009.

VII. U.S. Policy

Grossman, Elaine M., "U.S. General Reserves Right to Use Force, Even Nuclear, in Response to Cyber Attack," Global Security Newswire, May 12, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M., "U.S. Nuclear Commander Stands By "Vacuum Tube" Rationale for Updating Arsenal," Global Security Newswire, May 14, 2009.

United Press International, "Gates Outlines 2010 Defense Spending," May 20, 2009.

Vartabedian, Ralph, "Program to Refurbish Aging Nuclear Warheads Faces Setbacks," The Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2009.

VIII. Space

Tellis, Ashley J., "China's Space Capabilities and Their Impact on U.S. National Security: Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 20, 2009.

IX. Other

The Associated Press, "Big Names and Bucks Back Nuclear 'Bank'," The New York Times, May 19, 2009.

Baldor, Lolita C., "Pentagon Wants to Beef Up for Cyber Warfare," The Associated Press, May 7, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "IAEA Governors to Consider Nuclear Fuel Bank Proposals," May 20, 2009.

Bolton, John R., "The Taliban's Atomic Threat," The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2009.

Doggett, Tom, "Obama Budget Seeks End to Yucca Nuclear Waste Dump," Reuters, May 7, 2009.

RIA Novosti, "Russia, Japan Sign Civilian Nuclear Deal," May 12, 2009.

Solomon, Jay, "U.S. Backs U.A.E. Nuclear Bill," The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2009

Facing the Reality of the Bomb

Reviewed by Barclay Ward

Better Safe Than Sorry: The Ironies of Living with the Bomb

By Michael Krepon

Stanford University Press, 2009, 270 pp.

President Barack Obama's enlightened statement April 5 in Prague on the future of nuclear weapons raised the possibility that we are at a turning point in our long life with the atomic bomb. What we do now will depend a great deal on how much we have learned over these years. One of the uniquely important aspects of Michael Krepon's excellent book is that, among other things, it is a book about learning and forgetting.

Paul Nitze exemplifies the many decades we have spent on the learning curve. As Krepon notes, Nitze gave us NSC-68, the 1950 policy document that called for a long-term military buildup as a major component of the containment policy directed against the Soviet bloc. As a member of the Committee on the Present Danger, he was most critical of President Jimmy Carter's arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union. In the end, however, Nitze came to favor abolition of nuclear weapons because he saw that a nuclear world is not in the national security interest of the United States. He was not alone, of course, as George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and Sam Nunn have come to a similar conclusion in their well-known Wall Street Journal articles of 2007 and 2008.

Krepon reminds us that even before the nuclear age had gathered steam, Henry Stimson anticipated the dangers of a nuclear world and pushed for weapons controls. Our collective learning at that time lacked consensus and conviction. In 1946 the United States made a stab at trying to establish international control over nuclear energy through the Baruch Plan. The proposal called for a UN agency to oversee all development and use of nuclear energy. The United States would dispose of its stockpile and stop producing nuclear weapons, and there would be punishment that could not be thwarted by a Security Council veto for states that violated the plan's provisions. After the Soviets rejected the Baruch Plan, the United States and the world veered onto a different path.

Changes in thinking often have been propelled by specific, unsettling events. The 1949 Soviet test undoubtedly strengthened the hand of those who saw the need for large numbers of nuclear weapons, although a specific theory of deterrence was not publicly articulated until 1954. As our thinking evolved after the 1950s, our elaborate theorizing about nuclear doctrines became a type of intriguing parlor game, based not on experience but rather on an abstract, somewhat antiseptic logic that belonged more comfortably in the world of think tanks than in the real world. This is not a criticism because good and bright people did the best they could with imperfect knowledge, which always seemed to lead them to a strategy of "better safe than sorry." Consequently, this strategy led to the production of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons that, by luck, doctrinal design, and, in several instances, timely presidential restraint, have never been used.

The Cuban missile crisis in 1962 strengthened the hand of those who saw the value of moving in the direction of arms control. Even while the Cold War was beginning to melt in the second half of the 1980s and early 1990s, the United States and the Soviet Union were reaching some sweeping agreements. In particular, START I, which was signed in 1991, was the first treaty actually to reduce strategic weapons, and the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty eliminated an entire class of delivery vehicles. In the story Krepon tells of our life with nuclear weapons, it is fitting that success in concluding the INF Treaty was due in large measure to Nitze's role as negotiator in the early stage. So, at that point in time, we were learning the right lessons.

In 2001 the United States seemed to stop learning and to start forgetting. Much is often made of the impact of the September 11 attacks on our thinking, but it is good to keep in mind that the decisive shift away from arms control and nonproliferation started before September 11, 2001. For example, the refusal by the Bush administration to resubmit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the Senate for advice and consent, the clearly stated intention to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the scuttling of the Biological Weapons Convention review conference all indicated the beginning of our forgetting. Krepon is right to highlight President George W. Bush's 2002 National Security Strategy as the clearest statement of the new direction, which emphasized military force over diplomacy and pushed the concept of preemptive war into the category of preventive war. Fifty-one paragraphs of the paper dealt with military issues, with only a few sentences devoted to diplomatic capabilities.

As an example of this worldview, Krepon cites the columnist Charles Krauthammer, a "gifted polemicist," who called for a rejection of "pseudo-multilateralism" in which a great power essentially acts alone while seeking the blessings of others. In this fantasy world, the thing that counted most was a muscular pursuit of U.S. objectives that were often narrowly defined and sometimes illusory. Any restraint on U.S. actions was regarded as unacceptable. Treaties were suspect. Multilateral treaties were considered the most disagreeable because, in negotiating and implementing them, the United States might have to take into account many points of view different from its own. The unipolar moment had apparently arrived. American exceptionalism had reached new heights.

Many areas of U.S. foreign policy suffered, but probably none more than nuclear nonproliferation. Fundamental principles of the nonproliferation regime were undermined by an acceptance of selective proliferation. The nuclear cooperation agreement with India, which awarded India all the benefits but none of the duties of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), was concluded without any evident concern by the Bush administration that global and well-established nonproliferation principles were being contradicted. The irony of this absurd situation was that the United States had taken the lead in the early 1990s in working hard to persuade the other members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group that full-scope safeguards, under which a country opens all its nuclear facilities to international inspections, should be required for significant, new nuclear exports to non-nuclear-weapon states. For the first time since 1978, there was no presidential affirmation of U.S. negative security assurances, the commitment not to attack or threaten to attack with nuclear weapons any non-nuclear-weapon state bound by treaty not to acquire nuclear weapons. The train wreck of the 2005 NPT Review Conference was due partly to the Egyptians' obstructive behavior, but also to anemic U.S. diplomacy preceding the conference and underpowered U.S. leadership during the meeting. (The U.S. delegation in 2005 was headed by an assistant secretary, the lowest-ranking official to lead any U.S. delegation in the history of the NPT.) U.S. support for the NPT had reached the level of indifference.

To be fair, the Bush administration launched a few good counterproliferation initiatives. For example, the Proliferation Security Initiative began under Bush; and more importantly, his administration pushed through UN Security Council Resolution 1540. That resolution, by invoking the UN Charter's Chapter VII, which deals with threats to international peace and security, requires states to take measures to prevent illegal trafficking of materials related to weapons of mass destruction. The principal problem was that counterproliferation tended to be seen in the Bush administration largely as a substitute for, not a complement to, nonproliferation. After Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regained some of her realist principles, the United States belatedly took up serious diplomacy with North Korea in the six-party talks and, as Krepon points out, made considerably more progress than it did by trying to isolate and rhetorically rough up the North Koreans. On balance, though, the mixed bag of actions from 2001 to 2009 or, in some cases, the absence of them was decidedly negative. The result was a weakening of the "load bearing walls" of the nonproliferation regime, to use Krepon's term.

Now we have another chance to get it right-more than a chance, a compelling need.

Krepon defines the post-Cold War period as the "second nuclear age." His nightmare list of threats in the second nuclear age, with Iran's nuclear program at the top, is as good as any. Regardless of how one ranks them, though, the world undoubtedly is facing a host of multidimensional threats that includes both states and nonstate actors.

Krepon effectively dismisses the naive notion that the United States can achieve real nuclear security through dominance and argues persuasively for a comprehensive approach to vertical as well as horizontal proliferation. (Vertical proliferation refers to the arms race among nuclear-weapon states; horizontal proliferation refers to the spread of nuclear weapons to formerly non-nuclear-weapon states.) Krepon is quite right to use the two terms together because doing so focuses attention on the central issue of increasing numbers of nuclear weapons, whether in the hands of declared nuclear-weapon states or others.

The comprehensive approach to proliferation he recommends has five principal components: deterrence, military strength, containment, diplomatic engagement, and what he sees as a new form of arms control that stresses cooperative threat reduction. None of these components is new, and although diplomatic engagement from 2001 to 2009 was spotty at best, none entirely disappeared during the Bush years. For example, although initially underfunded in the Bush administration, cooperative threat reduction continued in the states of the former Soviet Union. The key is balance, and in this regard, Krepon's comprehensive approach differs markedly from the one the United States followed during the last eight years.

It would be difficult to disagree with Krepon's argument for a broadly construed concept of arms control that emphasizes cooperative efforts, but one should not at the same time discount the importance, even urgency, of traditional disarmament negotiations. The Bush administration's nonchalant approach to strategic arms control will, if a new agreement is not negotiated before START I expires in December, leave us with one weak agreement on the books, the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, and no verification. Moreover, with 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons in U.S. and Russian hands, the United States and Russia have a big task ahead of them. On April 1, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev committed themselves to a strong, forward-looking agenda. Notwithstanding the desirability of a broad approach to arms control, old-fashioned negotiations on reductions are still very much needed. Also worthy of serious attention is the question of how, at an appropriate time, the other declared and de facto nuclear-weapon states can be brought into negotiations. Given the widely divergent structures of nuclear forces and strategies among the other nuclear states, this objective could be extremely challenging.

Nonproliferation is an area badly in need of repair. When the NPT parties agreed in 1995 to extend the duration of the treaty indefinitely, they also committed themselves to conclude a comprehensive test ban and negotiate a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). Obama has made clear that he will seek CTBT ratification. If common sense prevails, the Senate will do what it failed to do in 1999 by voting for CTBT ratification, but the fight will probably be bruising. Now that the Obama administration has given up the laughable position adopted in 2004 by the Bush administration that an FMCT cannot and, indeed, need not be verified, there is a new opportunity to press ahead with realistic negotiations. Negotiating an FMCT, however, is likely to be a long, tough slog through the arcane complexities of the 65-state Conference on Disarmament. The final preparatory committee meeting for the 2010 NPT Review Conference recently concluded in a relatively positive atmosphere and with an agenda adopted for the review conference, a sharp contrast to 2004. Nonetheless, it will be necessary to launch a major campaign of diplomatic consultations with other NPT parties over the next year if there is to be a realistic hope of a successful review conference next May. The NPT cannot afford a repeat of 2005. Such a campaign would fit neatly with Krepon's call for diplomatic engagement. With the Obama administration's appointment of superb arms control and nonproliferation leadership in the White House and Department of State, the United States is well positioned to initiate sustained, robust diplomacy.

The agenda is daunting. There is an overflowing basket of new and old nonproliferation issues. The list includes strengthening International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards; preventing or dismantling proliferation networks, represented lately by Pakistan's Abdul Qadeer Khan; securing fissile material; ending illicit trafficking of nuclear material; and establishing international controls on the nuclear fuel cycle. Some of these issues surfaced in the Cold War, but they are more serious today because access to sensitive technology has grown, and some of the structural characteristics of the first nuclear age that provided a degree of control are gone. As Raymond Aron once observed, the United States and the Soviet Union, "les grandes freres," generally took decisive if sometimes heavy-handed steps to keep troublesome allies in line.[1] The second nuclear age generally lacks such structures, which means that order can best come through multilateral cooperative measures advanced by patient, effective diplomacy.

There are two cautionary comments to be made on future diplomatic engagement. First, as Krepon argues persuasively, diplomatic engagement is strengthened when the actions of the United States conform to rules. During the Bush administration, rules were promoted selectively. For example, with righteous (and largely justified) fervor, the United States proclaimed a "crisis of compliance" with the NPT, focused principally on Iran's questionable commitment to nonproliferation. At the same time, the other two pillars of the NPT-peaceful uses and disarmament-were downgraded by the Bush administration as areas of treaty obligation. It will be necessary for the United States to re-establish its commitment to all the rules of the nonproliferation regime, and the U.S. plenary statement at the recent NPT preparatory committee indicates that the U.S. government has returned to a more balanced view of treaty obligations.[2] The three pillars are back. As best it can, the United States will have to navigate around the damaging impact on the nonproliferation regime of the U.S.-Indian agreement.

Second, marshaling bureaucratic and diplomatic resources in the State Department will be a stiff challenge as a result of the ruinous 2005 reorganization of the nonproliferation and arms control bureaus. A cadre of experts, including, most importantly, physical scientists, must be built to compensate for the hemorrhaging of experienced personnel that followed reorganization.

In terms of stated intentions, the Obama presidency has redirected U.S. policy toward Krepon's prescriptions. The president has offered vision and commitment, both of which are welcome and necessary. The opening of strategic arms negotiations with the Russians and the positive NPT preparatory committee in May together represent a good start, but it is still early to assess whether good intentions will become workable undertakings.

In brief, the arms control and nonproliferation tasks ahead are extremely difficult, and success is far from certain. Krepon rightly calls for the United States to reclaim leadership, for without it the probability of a proliferating world will surely increase. While making certain to remain on the path to a nuclear weapons-free world, the United States must also work toward realistic goals. One way to sustain progress is to heed Krepon's advice to avoid timelines. Whether negotiating reductions of strategic nuclear weapons or strengthening a complex nonproliferation regime, it is essential to recognize that commitment, tenacity, and patience are all virtues. Krepon also relates Nitze's wise advice: "Try to reduce the dangers of nuclear war within the relevant future time period as best you can; you just get depressed if you worry about the long-term future." Let us not get depressed. Let us get busy making real, concrete progress.

Barclay Ward is the Alfred Negley Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at the University of the South.


1. Raymond Aron, Peace and War: A Theory of International Relations, trans. Richard Howard and Annette Baker Fox (New York: Praeger, 1968), ch. 15.

2. Rose Gottemoeller, Statement at the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee 2010 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, May 5, 2009.


A Review of Better Safe Than Sorry: The Ironies of Living with the Bomb, by Michael Krepon.

Books of Note

The Tradition of Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons

T.V. Paul, Stanford University Press, 2009, 319 pp.

Professor T. V. Paul of McGill University examines the tradition of nonuse of nuclear weapons that has been the informal global norm since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Paul ponders why nuclear-weapon states have refrained from using their strategic arsenals in conflicts with non-nuclear-weapon states, even when the nuclear power is faced with losing the war. He concludes that nuclear-weapon states are constrained by "reputational interests" that arise from the "destabilizing and absolute character of nuclear weapons." Paul traces the development of the tradition of nonuse, or "self-deterrence," in the strategic policy of the five recognized nuclear powers, as well as India, Israel, and Pakistan. In the final chapter of the book, Paul considers possible threats to the tradition in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, in an era of asymmetric warfare and nonstate actors.

International Law and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Daniel H. Joyner, Oxford University Press, 2009, 378 pp.

Daniel H. Joyner, an associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, examines the legal basis for and dynamics behind global arms control and nonproliferation efforts from international treaty regimes to the Bush doctrine of pre-emption and the use of force. He begins with an analysis of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which he characterizes as a contract between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states in which a violation by one set of parties could void the obligations of the other set. Joyner compares such a framework with the more universal obligations under the biological weapons and chemical weapons regimes. He then considers the UN disarmament machinery and the role of the Security Council in nonproliferation efforts, tackling the question of whether the council overstepped its bounds by setting domestic legal requirements under Resolution 1540. Finally, Joyner argues that there is a crisis in international law on the use of force law. This problem stems from the security prerogatives of powerful states to address weapons of mass destruction proliferation and is exemplified by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he says.

The Future of Biological Disarmament: Strengthening the Treaty Ban on Weapons

Nicholas A. Sims, Routledge, 2009, 216 pp.

Nicholas A. Sims provides an in-depth examination of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and describes the events of the Sixth Review Conference of the BWC, which took place Nov. 20-Dec. 8, 2006. Sims says that the conference did not address the important issue of verification and compliance, and argues that to strengthen the regime in the near term, the BWC should take incremental steps to address "institutional deficits." One such measure would be to establish an accountability framework for state compliance, Sims says. In the long term, the BWC needs an implementation body similar to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, he says. He concludes by examining the alternative futures of the treaty:convergence or reinforcement. Under convergence, Sims sees a potential merging of the BWC with the Geneva Protocol, the Chemical Weapons Convention, or a more comprehensive disarmament treaty. But Sims sees BWC reinforcement-characterized by the steps he outlines-as the more likely scenario, at least in the near term.


Are you interested in purchasing these books? You can help support the Arms Control Association by visiting one of our partners.





The Tradition of Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons, T.V. Paul, Stanford University Press, 2009, 319 pp.
International Law and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Daniel H. Joyner, Oxford University Press, 2009, 378 pp.
The Future of Biological Disarmament: Strengthening the Treaty Ban on Weapons, Nicholas A. Sims, Routledge, 2009, 216 pp.

Herbert York (1921-2009)

Katherine Magraw

Herbert York, who began his career as a Manhattan Project nuclear physicist and later became a champion of arms control, died May 19. He was 87.

Recruited for the Manhattan Project before he was 21, York's career in weapons research and technology advanced rapidly. He was the first director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, holding that post from 1952 to 1958. He also was the co-founder and first chief scientist of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in 1958 and a member of the first President's Science Advisory Committee from 1958 to 1961.

These early experiences convinced him that there was no technological fix to the United States' dilemma "of steadily increasing military power and steadily decreasing national security." As he would later write in his seminal book Race to Oblivion: A Participant's View of the Arms Race (1970), "If we continue to look for solutions in the area of military science and technology only, the result will be a steady and inexorable worsening of this situation."

York subsequently devoted himself in and out of government to the pursuit of arms control. He was particularly associated with efforts to ban nuclear weapons testing and was named by President Jimmy Carter to be ambassador and chief negotiator for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations from 1979 to 1981. The talks made considerable progress until they were scuttled by opposition from the United States and Soviet Union. York later wrote that the CTBT engendered more opposition from the nuclear weapons establishment than any other nuclear weapons issue.

York argued that the opposition to arms control and a test ban was rooted in an "over belief in technology" and a personal attachment to nuclear weapons, not the proxy issues of the day, such as verification. As the proponents of the CTBT prepare to urge U.S. Senate ratification of the treaty, negotiated and signed during the Clinton administration, then rejected by the Senate, York's analysis is still relevant.

Neither financial interests nor strategic reasoning explained the views of proponents of the arms race, York argued, although he noted that most did derive some of their income from their involvement with nuclear weapons. Rather, "psychic and spiritual needs" motivated them because they derived "a very large part of their self-esteem from their participation in what they believe to be an essential-even a holy-cause."

In 1961, York became the first chancellor of the University of California at San Diego. He soon found that he preferred working with students to the administrative duties of the chancellor. He taught physics, chaired the department, and in 1983 founded and directed the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, which conducts research and seminars on conflict resolution and promotes international efforts to avoid war. In 1989 he became director emeritus. He also served as adviser to the president of the University of California and to the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories on the future of the nuclear labs.

York was involved with the Pugwash movement, meeting several times with Soviet counterparts to discuss arms control issues, and served on the boards of the Federation of American Scientists and the Council for a Livable World.

York's writings about the history and nature of the nuclear arms race are perhaps his most enduring legacy. In his six books, he fashioned such compelling concepts as the "fallacies of the last move," in which politicians unthinkingly assumed their measures would produce no countermeasures, and the "ultimate absurdity" of relying on computers and automated steps to initiate a nuclear attack.

A man with broad interests, York will be remembered by family and friends for his conversational skills, his easy and affable manner, and a love of learning that knew no bounds.

Katherine Magraw is director of the Peace and Security Funders Group. She has held positions in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and Department of State, where she was responsible for the test ban negotiations during the Clinton administration. She met Herbert York when she was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student studying the history of efforts to ban testing.


CD Breaks Deadlock on Work Plan

Cole Harvey

The Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD) agreed on a program of work May 29, ending 12 years of deadlock. The 65-member conference, which operates by consensus, agreed to negotiate a verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons, or a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). The CD also agreed to enter into substantive discussions on nuclear disarmament, the prevention of an arms race in outer space, and assurances that non-nuclear-weapon states will not be attacked with nuclear weapons. The CD agreed to establish working groups to consider all four issues.

Dozens of delegations hailed the agreement. The U.S. representative, Garold Larson, said the United States looks forward to "challenging" work after "a decade of stalemate." The Russian delegate, Victor Vasiliev, expressed hope that the agreement "would open up a new chapter for new agreements in international peace and security."

Some delegates, while saying they were pleased that the CD had reached consensus, expressed disappointment that the program of work was not more ambitious. India's representative, Hamid Ali Rao, said that the negotiation of an FMCT would be "a step forward" but faulted the conference for failing to agree to multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament. Similarly, Zamir Akram of Pakistan said the agreement was "not perfect" but joined the consensus in order to end the years of deadlock in the conference.

Idriss Jazairy of Algeria, who held the rotating presidency of the CD during the negotiation of the work program, said that the current international climate was "propitious" for agreement in the CD. He cited a growing chorus of high-level voices for nuclear arms control, including a March speech on disarmament and nonproliferation by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the April 1 joint declaration by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. He also counted an EU action plan on disarmament and China's support for a nuclear-free world among "many encouraging factors to resume the work" of the CD.

The Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD) agreed on a program of work May 29, ending 12 years of deadlock. The 65-member conference, which operates by consensus, agreed to negotiate a verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons, or a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). The CD also agreed to enter into substantive discussions on nuclear disarmament, the prevention of an arms race in outer space, and assurances that non-nuclear-weapon states will not be attacked with nuclear weapons. The CD agreed to establish working groups to consider all four issues. (Continue)

U.S., Russia Continue Talks on START

Cole Harvey

U.S. and Russian delegations met in Moscow May 18-20 for the first full-fledged negotiations on a successor to START and said the talks went well.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State called the talks in Moscow "positive" but declined to provide any substantive details on the ongoing negotiations.

The Russian Foreign Ministry similarly described the atmosphere at the negotiations as "constructive and businesslike." During a May 20 press briefing in Moscow, ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said that the two sides "discussed a broad range of issues relating to the preparation of a future agreement."

START, which limits U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons and established extensive monitoring and verification procedures between the two countries, expires Dec. 5. At their April 1 meeting in London, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev committed to negotiating a successor agreement by the end of the year.

Speaking to reporters May 20, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listed some of the issues that Russia wants on the table. "The overall principle of the agreement must be equal security for the [two] sides," Lavrov said. "Undoubtedly this cannot be ensured without taking into account the situation in the sphere of missile defense, the placement of strike systems in outer space, [and] plans to develop non-nuclear-tipped warheads."

The three issues mentioned by Lavrov are familiar points of contention between the United States and Russia. Moscow has long objected to the Bush administration's plan to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and a high-powered radar in the Czech Republic and also opposes a Bush-era plan to develop long-range missiles with conventional warheads. Russia is a leading proponent of a treaty that would ban the use or deployment of weapons in space. The Bush administration rejected the possibility of such an agreement.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed Russian concerns about missile defense in a May 19 interview with a Russian television network, saying that the system "was never intended to be used against Russia." Clinton added, "We want to do research with the Russians. We want to look for sites that we can both agree on and maybe mutually construct and monitor. That has been the offer we've put on the table."

The two negotiating teams are scheduled to meet during the first week of June in Geneva and report on their progress to Obama and Medvedev in July.

U.S. and Russian delegations met in Moscow May 18-20 for the first full-fledged negotiations on a successor to START and said the talks went well.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State called the talks in Moscow "positive" but declined to provide any substantive details on the ongoing negotiations. (Continue)

Missile Defense Programs in Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010 Budgets

Cole Harvey

The fiscal year 2010 Department of Defense budget request, released in May, provides additional detail on the Obama administration's refocusing of U.S. missile defense efforts. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates outlined the reorientation at an April 6 press conference. (See ACT, May 2009.) The revised approach emphasizes terminal-phase missile defense programs over midcourse and boost-phase ones. The following table compares major missile defense programs in the fiscal year 2010 request with requests and appropriations from fiscal year 2009.

FY 2009 Request

FY 2009 Appropriation

FY 2010 Request

Percent Change in Requests

thousand dollars

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense





Terminal High Altitude Area Defense





Ground-Based Midcourse Defense





Airborne Laser





Kinetic Energy Interceptor





Multiple Kill Vehicle





Sources: Fiscal years 2009 and 2010 Missile Defense Agency budget justifications, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Web site.

The fiscal year 2010 Department of Defense budget request, released in May, provides additional detail on the Obama administration's refocusing of U.S. missile defense efforts. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates outlined the reorientation at an April 6 press conference. (See ACT, May 2009.) The revised approach emphasizes terminal-phase missile defense programs over midcourse and boost-phase ones. The following table compares major missile defense programs in the fiscal year 2010 request with requests and appropriations from fiscal year 2009. (Continue)

Obama Budget Seeks Rise in Tritium Capacity

Daniel Horner

The Obama administration's fiscal year 2010 budget request includes funds to increase production capacity for tritium, a radioactive gas used to boost the explosive power of U.S. nuclear weapons, even as the U.S. government is taking steps to scale back the amount of tritium it produces.

Part of the reason is that the plans for tritium production have to be put in place more than a year ahead of time, officials from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which is responsible for tritium production, said in interviews last month. Because tritium decays relatively rapidly, supplies of it have to be replenished periodically to maintain a nuclear arsenal of a given size.

The tritium for the U.S. arsenal is being produced by irradiating special fuel rods, known as Tritium-Producing Burnable Absorber Rods (TPBARs), in a nuclear power reactor owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federal corporation. Tritium is then extracted from the TPBARs in a facility at the Energy Department's Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

The fiscal year 2010 request of $68.2 million for "Tritium Readiness" actually represents a slight decline from the $71.8 million that Congress appropriated for fiscal year 2009. But according to the NNSA budget justification-the detailed budget document that federal agencies submit to Congress-"Plans are being initiated to bring additional production capacity on line using TVA's Sequoyah Unit #1 and #2 reactors to meet tritium production requirements, specified in the Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Plan signed annually by the President." TPBARs were first irradiated in TVA's Watts Bar reactor in 2003.

In a May 21 interview, Douglas Dearolph, manager of the NNSA's Savannah River Site office, said the program had always planned to use three reactors. Adding the two Sequoyah units will not affect the "operational strategy" for the extraction facility, he said. Also, he said, although the two additional reactors will increase production capacity, they also simply provide more "flexibility."

The TVA has successfully applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to increase the maximum allowable number of TPBARs. That also is a step that the NNSA is taking to meet program requirements that had been previously "established and planned for," Dearolph said.

According to the budget request, Watts Bar is experiencing "greater than expected tritium permeation into the reactor coolant." But that is not having any significant effect on the amount of tritium generated, Dearolph said. The issue, he said, is the permeation's potential effect on reactor operation. The TVA is "evaluating" the situation and "being responsive," he said.

Meanwhile, the NNSA has reduced staff at the Savannah River Site facilities involved in extracting the tritium and packaging it for use by the Department of Defense. In the past, both facilities had been fully staffed, but now staff is being shared between them, James Giusti, an NNSA spokesman at the Savannah River Site, said May 15. That arrangement, which has been in place since November 2008, saves more than $5 million a year, he said.

The extraction facility does not need to operate around the clock, he said. Because the NNSA does not have to extract as much tritium as it had originally planned, the facility can operate on an "as-needed basis," he said.

Everet Beckner, a former senior NNSA official, suggested going further. In testimony earlier this year to the House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee on options for reducing costs at the NNSA, he suggested putting the extraction facility into cold standby, "with the expectation to restart it when it becomes necessary to generate new tritium, in perhaps 10 years."

The move would be feasible, Beckner said, because reductions in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, including those anticipated to be recommended in the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), mean that the NNSA "has adequate quantities of tritium for many years to come."

But Dearolph and Giusti said the NNSA is not currently considering that option.

Beckner's suggestion was predicated on a scenario that has not yet materialized, Dearolph said. Implementation of such an idea typically would follow the completion of the NPR and the establishment of new tritium requirements corresponding to any changes to the nuclear stockpile, he said.

The Obama administration's fiscal year 2010 budget request includes funds to increase production capacity for tritium, a radioactive gas used to boost the explosive power of U.S. nuclear weapons, even as the U.S. government is taking steps to scale back the amount of tritium it produces. (Continue)

Obama Shifts U.S. Stance on CTBTO Funding

Meri Lugo and Daniel Horner

The Obama administration's fiscal year 2010 budget request for the Department of State includes $26 million for the U.S. contribution to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the first request to meet or exceed the CTBTO's assessed contribution since the Clinton administration.

But the $26 million would cover only the United States' 2009 assessed dues and would not be adequate to meet the country's 2010 assessment, diplomatic sources in Vienna said. Delay in the U.S. payments could create a shortfall in the CTBTO budget that could deprive the United States of its voting rights within the organization and adversely affect the monitoring and verification system, according to CTBTO officials.

In February, the United States paid $20.5 million to cover all of its outstanding arrears but still owes $24 million for its 2009 assessment. Its 2010 assessment of approximately $24 million will soon become due.

For several years in a row, the United States has had its voting rights suspended at the beginning of the calendar year because it has not fully paid its outstanding dues. Each suspension lasted a few months before the United States made a payment and had its voting rights reinstated.

Under Article II of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a CTBTO member that is in arrears in paying its assessed contribution "shall have no vote in the Organization if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contribution due from it for the preceding two years."

The CTBTO budget for 2009 is $113 million, and the United States is expected to pay approximately 22 percent of the total budget. According to a 2008 Congressional Research Service report, almost 70 percent of the CTBTO budget is directed toward the annual cost of the International Monitoring System (IMS) and its accompanying infrastructure, such as the International Data Center and the Global Communications Infrastructure.

During his April 5 speech in Prague, President Barack Obama expressed his support for the CTBT's entry into force and said his administration would pursue ratification "aggressively and immediately." Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the Obama administration "will fully support" the IMS. That system "gives the United States better capability to detect and identify very low-yield tests than we would on our own," she said in written responses to questions from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January.

In its request for another international organization that has a key role in Obama's nonproliferation policy, the State Department is asking for $65 million for the United States' voluntary contribution to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The U.S. contribution for fiscal year 2009 is $62.5 million; that figure includes $1.5 million in a pending suplemental appropriations bill, according to State Department budget documents.

The fiscal year 2010 request "initiates the effort to eventually double U.S. voluntary contributions" to the IAEA, the State Department said in one of the budget documents.

The U.S. contribution supports programs in nuclear safeguards, safety, and security, as well as nuclear energy and the peaceful use of nuclear science technologies, the document said. Voluntary contributions allow the U.S. government "to target programs of specific interest," as the document put it. That is a key difference between voluntary and assessed contributions.

For the assessed contribution to the IAEA, the Obama administration is requesting $100.2 million for fiscal year 2010. That is an increase from the fiscal year 2008 expenditure of $98.0 million and the estimated fiscal year 2009 figure of $94.1 million, according to the State Department budget documents.

The increase "reflects additional verification activities the [IAEA] is undertaking in India and recosting for updated economic factors," the State Department said.

Last year, under an initiative led by the United States, an international ban on major nuclear exports to India was lifted in return for a set of nonproliferation commitments by New Delhi. One of the main Indian commitments was to allow IAEA inspectors into some of the country's currently unsafeguarded nuclear reactors.

The Obama administration's fiscal year 2010 budget request for the Department of State includes $26 million for the U.S. contribution to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the first request to meet or exceed the CTBTO's assessed contribution since the Clinton administration. (Continue)

Nonproliferation Budget Sees Some Hikes

Cole Harvey and Daniel Horner

The Obama administration is asking Congress for significant funding increases in programs designed to secure nuclear material in Russia and detect radioactive material passing through the world's busiest ports, according to budget documents released in May.

But the proposed budget would also reduce funding for some other nonproliferation initiatives, including the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. The request partially reflects President Barack Obama's pledge, made during his April 5 speech in Prague, to "set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia, [and] pursue new partnerships" in order to "secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years." However, Thomas D'Agostino, who heads the Department of Energy's semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), said in congressional testimony that the fiscal year 2010 budget request is not fully representative of the president's four-year plan because budget planning for that fiscal year already was well under way when Obama took office and spelled out his goals to the NNSA. Fiscal year 2010 begins Oct. 1, 2009.

Increases for Nonproliferation Security

The administration is asking for funding increases of 20 to 50 percent for various programs that aim to bolster nuclear security in Russia. The funds would be used to tighten security for warheads and weapons-usable material held by the Russian navy and Strategic Rocket Forces, by the state-controlled Rosatom weapons complex, and at civilian nuclear sites. The NNSA, which oversees the programs, intends to upgrade outdated security equipment at those facilities and help train Russian security personnel, according to the budget documents. All told, the programs working in Russia would have their budgets raised to a combined $279.6 million, an increase of more than $54 million.

The program that would get the largest boost under the heading of international nuclear materials protection is known as Second Line of Defense (SLD). Through the SLD program, the United States helps install radiation detection equipment at border crossings, airports, and strategic seaports around the world. The Obama administration is requesting $272.7 million for the program in fiscal year 2010, up from the $174.8 million appropriated in 2009. Most of this money would be used to install detection equipment at 15 additional seaports and to maintain existing installations elsewhere.

The proposed NNSA budget would more than triple funding for verifying declared nuclear activities and detecting clandestine nuclear programs in "countries of proliferation concern." In fiscal year 2010, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Verification program would use part of a $56.9 million budget to assist with the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program. It is unclear whether these activities will take place, given Pyongyang's April 14 repudiation of the 2007 denuclearization agreements reached through the six-party negotiations and its announced resumption of spent fuel reprocessing. (See ACT, May 2009.)

According to D'Agostino's May 13 testimony before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, the proposed budget would also add $15 million to the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative, which aims to "strengthen the international safeguards system and the International Atomic Energy Agency." According to the NNSA budget, the initiative is supposed to develop "advanced safeguards approaches, technologies, and equipment" and to cultivate a new generation of safeguards specialists.

Reductions in Other Programs

Not all nonproliferation programs would get a boost under the president's budget. In total, the administration's request would trim the budget for nonproliferation and verification research and development by $66 million and the budget for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) by $42 million, a drop of 18 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The GTRI is responsible for securing and eliminating nuclear material around the world.

The largest budgetary reductions in the NNSA's nonproliferation efforts are due to the completion of projects. The NNSA requested only $24.5 million for a program to shut down Russian reactors that generate weapons-grade plutonium and replace them with fossil-fuel power plants. The program received $141.3 million in fiscal year 2009. Fiscal year 2010 will be the final year of funding for the program, although the last of the three reactors-the only one currently operating-will shut down in fiscal year 2011, according to NNSA budget documents.

Similarly, a program to move 13,000 kilograms of weapons-usable fissile material to secure storage from a reactor in Kazakhstan is expected to be completed this year. The program is requesting $9 million for fiscal year 2010, less than 20 percent of its fiscal year 2009 appropriation of $52.8 million.

Some ongoing nonproliferation efforts would also have their budgets trimmed. The proposed budget would cut funds for converting civilian non-power nuclear reactors to use low-enriched uranium (LEU) rather than highly enriched uranium (HEU). HEU can be used as fissile material in nuclear weapons, while LEU is suitable only for use in reactors. The administration budget would provide $71.5 million for the reactor conversion program, an $11.8 million drop. The administration would similarly allocate $97 million to a program that returns spent HEU to Russia from neighboring countries, a reduction of $33 million from fiscal year 2009 funding.

At a May 21 House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee hearing, D'Agostino was asked to explain the proposed reductions, given Obama's stated commitment to nuclear nonproliferation. "We recognize that President Obama has laid out a fairly aggressive goal," D'Agostino said. "What we're doing right now...is developing the detailed four-year plan on what it would actually take to achieve that goal," he said, referring to the timetable Obama cited in his Prague speech.

Obama's priorities were transmitted to the NNSA around the time of the president's inauguration, D'Agostino said. "By then, we were [already] working the budget," he said.

D'Agostino went on to say that subsequent budgets will more accurately reflect the president's priorities. "My expectation is that the program that...we're going to send to the White House in September, just a few months away from now, will be significantly different" from the current request, D'Agostino said.

Under the U.S. budget process, government agencies draft their budgets and send them to the White House's Office of Management and Budget to vet them before the requests are submitted to Congress.

NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Kenneth Baker told the appropriations panel that accomplishing Obama's goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material within four years "will take a lot more money...[and] a lot more people." D'Agostino similarly called the plan "a huge challenge." He added that the NNSA is "in the position now of trying to knock down the details of this four-year plan and be ready to...make sure the White House is aware of the kind of work that has to happen."

Increase Requested for MOX Plant

Overall, the NNSA is requesting $2.14 billion for its nonproliferation programs for fiscal year 2010, up from $1.48 billion in 2009. The bulk of the increase comes from the transfer back to the NNSA of the roughly $500 million in funding for construction of a mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication plant at the Energy Department's Savannah River site in South Carolina. The program had historically been in the NNSA but, on the initiative of the energy subcommittee, was transferred to the Office of Nuclear Energy because the panel questioned its nonproliferation value. The Bush administration's Energy Department resisted the move, sparking a long-running battle with the subcommittee.

It is not clear whether the subcommittee will continue to insist that the MOX program remain in the nuclear energy office. The two main advocates of that step were Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), who chairs the subcommittee, and Rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio). Hobson, who was the panel's top Republican, has retired from Congress. Visclosky's office did not respond to a request for comment, and neither he nor other members of the panel raised the point at the May 21 hearing.

The fiscal year 2010 request for MOX construction is $504 million, up from the fiscal year 2009 appropriation of $468 million. The request also includes funds for other activities related to the MOX facility.

The MOX plant, which is being built by Energy Department contractor Shaw Areva MOX Services, is the centerpiece of the NNSA's plutonium-disposition program. Under that program, surplus U.S. weapons plutonium is to be fabricated into MOX fuel for U.S. reactors. MOX fuel is a mix of plutonium and uranium oxides. All U.S. reactors now run on fuel made from uranium oxide.

The only U.S. utility to sign up for the MOX fuel was Duke Energy, but it allowed its contract with Shaw Areva MOX Services to lapse Dec. 1, 2008. At that time and since, the two sides have said they are in negotiations to reinstate the contract.

At the May 21 hearing, the NNSA's Baker said there are candidates besides Duke Energy to take the fuel. Areva spokesman Jarret Adams said May 26 that there have been discussions with Duke Energy and three other companies, but he declined to name the three.

The MOX program has always envisioned contracts with more than one utility. An October letter by Shaw Areva MOX Services seeking an "expression of interest" from U.S. utilities with nuclear reactors said the Duke commitment would account for 950 of the 1,700 MOX fuel assemblies that the plant is expected to produce.

According to the letter, construction is expected to be finished in April 2014, and the plant is scheduled to start producing MOX fuel in 2018.

Cooperative Threat Reduction Cut

At the Department of Defense, the Obama administration is requesting $404.1 million for its CTR program, which assists foreign governments in destroying or securing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, as well as associated materials and delivery vehicles. That figure is $30 million less than the appropriation in fiscal year 2009. Decreases in funding for biological threat reduction and strategic offensive arms dismantlement programs account for most of the $30 million drop.

The administration is requesting $152.1 million to secure stocks of dangerous pathogens and develop disease monitoring networks in eastern Europe and Central Asia, down $33.4 million from fiscal year 2009. The Strategic Offensive Arms Elimination program would similarly be cut by $13.6 million to $66.4 million in 2010. The latter program assists Russia in destroying some of its ICBMs and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, as well as associated launchers. In fiscal year 2010, the administration expects to dismantle roughly half as many strategic missiles as it planned for in 2009.

Some CTR programs are slated for funding increases. The Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation Prevention Initiative would see its budget raised to $90.9 million from $59.3 million in the current fiscal year. Much of this increase is intended to enhance security at the former testing site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

A nuclear weapons transportation security program would get a boost under the president's budget, up $5.6 million to $46.4 million. The money would be used to transport deactivated Russian warheads from deployed locations to storage and to purchase modified railcars for that purpose.

The Obama administration is asking Congress for significant funding increases in programs designed to secure nuclear material in Russia and detect radioactive material passing through the world's busiest ports, according to budget documents released in May. (Continue)


Subscribe to RSS - June 2009