“I also want to thank Daryl Kimball and the Arms Control Association for allowing me to address all of you today and for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war.”

– Joseph Biden, Jr.
January 28, 2004
September 2009
Edition Date: 
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Cover Image: 

September 2009 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

Acton, James, Goldschmidt, Pierre and Perkovich, George, “Defending U.S. Leadership on Disarmament,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Proliferation Analysis, July 7, 2009.

Ban Ki-Moon, “My Plan to Stop the Bomb,” The Guardian, August 3, 2009.

Feinstein, Dianne, “Russian Nuclear Agreement a Good Start,” San Francisco Gate, July 10, 2009.

Feith, Douglas J. and Shulsky, Abram N, “Why Revive the Cold War?” The Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2009.

Gorbachev, Mikhail, “Reset Reviewed,” The New York Times, July 17, 2009.

Kimball, Daryl G. and Collina, Tom Z., “Obama and Medvedev Off to a Good Start,” The Moscow Times, July 8, 2009.

Lauria, Joe and Stecklow, Steve “Transcript: U.N.'s Ban Ki-moon On Nukes, Reform, His Image,” The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2009.

Simes, Dimitri K., “An Uncertain Reset,” Foreign Affairs, July 17, 2009.

I. Strategic Arms

Agence France-Presse, “NATO Urged to Drop Dependence On Nuclear Arms,” July 8, 2009.

Blitz, James and Parker, George, “Washington To Host Nuclear Talks,” The Financial Times, July 10, 2009.

Charbonneau, Louis, “Obama to Chair UN Council Meeting on Nuclear Arms,” Reuters, August 4, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Nuke-Free World ‘Unimaginable’ to Japanese Prime Minister,” August 6, 2009.

Hansen, Matthew, “Archbishop says U.S. Should Strive for Nuclear-Free World,” Omaha World-Herald, July 30, 2009.

Holmes, Kim R., “Defense Games and Arms Races,” The Washington Times, August 6, 2009.

Klussmann, Uwe and Schepp, Matthias, “Russian Mistrust Overshadows Obama's Moscow Visit,” Spiegel Online, July 1, 2009.

Krauthammer, Charles, “Plumage -- But at A Price,” The Washington Post, July 9, 2009.

Levy, Clifford J. and Baker, Peter, “U.S.-Russia Nuclear Agreement Is First Step in Broad Effort,” The New York Times, July 6, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, “Group Warns Obama Administration on Nuclear Deterrent,” Global Security Newswire, July 6, 2009.

Pace, Julie, “Obama Administration Expects to Make Progress in Nuclear Arms Treaty With Russia,” The Associated Press, July 5, 2009.

Pan, Philip P., “In Moscow, Obama to Focus on Arms Control,” The Washington Post, July 6, 2009.

Perkovich, George and Acton, James M., “Rebutting the Standard Arguments Against Disarmament, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 15, 2009.

Podvig, Pavel, “The Moscow Summit: A Positive First Step,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 22, 2009.

RIA Novosti, “Russia Sends Another Strategic Nuclear Submarine For Scrapping,” August 14, 2009.

RIA Novosti, “Russia to Have Balanced Nuclear Missile Navy by 2050 - Navy Chief,” August 26, 2009.

Taubman, Philip, “Obama’s Big Missile Test,” The New York Times, July 8, 2009.

Telegraph (UK) “Majority 'Want Trident Nuclear Missiles Scrapped',” July 14, 2009.

Wittner, Lawrence, “Disarmament Movement Lessons From Yesteryear,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 27, 2009.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Bayron, Heda, “U.S. Senator: Burma Denies Nuclear Plans,” Voice of America, August 17, 2009.

Gray, Denis D. “Is Myanmar Going Nuclear With North Korea's Help?” The Washington Post, July 21, 2009.

Landler, Mark, “Clinton Issues Warnings on North Korea and Iran,” The New York Times, July 22, 2009.


Adler, Michael, “Iran's Nuclear Program: Three Lessons for Obama,” The Christian Science Monitor, July 13, 2009.

Agence France-Presse, “Iran Nuclear Sanctions 'Counter-Productive': Medvedev,” July 4, 2009.

Albright, David, Brannan, Paul and Scheel, Andrea, “A Smuggler’s Procurement of Nuclear Dual-Use Pressure Transducers for Iran,” ISIS Report, Institute for Science and International Security, July 14, 2009.

Albright, David and Shire, Jacqueline, “Misconceptions about Iran’s Nuclear Program,” The Institute for Science and International Security, July 8, 2009.

Allen, JoAnne, “Biden: Israel Has Right to Deal With Nuclear Iran,” The Washington Post, July 6, 2009.

Arostegui, Martin, “Bolivians Resist Iran's Search For Uranium,” The Washington Times, July 27, 2009.

Barnes, Diane, “Iran Ducking Scrutiny of Alleged Nuclear-Weapon Studies, IAEA Says,” Global Security Newswire, August 28, 2009.

Bolton, John R., “Time for an Israeli Strike?” The Washington Post, July 2, 2009.

Bolton, John, “It’s Crunch Time for Israel on Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2009.

Borger, Julian, “Iran is Continuing Nuclear Activity Says UN Watchdog,” Guardian, August 28, 2009.

Broad, William J., Sanger, David E., “Nuclear Agency Says Iran Has Bolstered Ability to Make Fuel But Slowed Its Output,” New York Times, August 28, 2009.

Bumiller, Elisabeth, “Gates Says U.S. Overture to Iran Is ‘Not Open-Ended’”, The New York Times, July 27, 2009.

Charbonneau, Louis, “Iran 'Pragmatists' Proposed Nuclear Halt-Diplomats,” Reuters,  August 26, 2009.

Cummins, Chip, “Iran Drafts Plans for Nuclear Talks,” The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2009.

Dareni, Ali Akbar, “Ahmadinejad Appoints New Nuclear Chief,” The Associated Press, July 17, 2009.

Derakhshi, Reza, “Iran Says Cooperating With IAEA, West Skeptical,” Reuters, August 24, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “IAEA Accused of Withholding Iran Nuclear Evidence,” August 19, 2009.

Halpin, Tony, “Obama to Russia: Stop Iranian Nuclear Weapon and Us Will Scrap Missile Defence,” The Times (UK), July 7, 2009.

Heinrich, Mark, “IAEA to Report Iran Atom Slowdown Ahead of Talks,” Reuters, August 26, 2009.

IAEA Board of Governors, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), and 1835 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” August 28, 2009.

Jaffe, Greg, “Nonmilitary Actions Can Deter Iran, Gates Says,” The Washington Post, July 28, 2009.

Jahn, George, “Analysis: Hopes Fading for Iran Nuke Talks,” The Associated Press, July 1, 2009.

Jarry, Emmanuel and Mason, Jeff, “G8 Sets Iran Deadline for Nuclear Talks,” Reuters, July 8, 2009.

Javedanfar, Meir, “Iran's Crisis Has Nuclear Fallout,” The Guardian (UK), July 19, 2009.

Keinon, Herb, “PM to Push For Tougher Iran Sanctions,” The Jerusalem Post, August 24, 2009.

Klein, Joe, “Don't Worry So Much About Iran's Nukes,” Time, July 23, 2009.

Kralev, Nicholas, “Cohen: Middle East fearful of Iran,” The Washington Times, July 29 2009.

Landler, Mark and Sanger, David E., “Clinton Speaks of Shielding Mideast From Iran,” The New York Times, July 22, 2009.

Mahnaimi, Uzi and Baxter, Sarah, “Saudis Give Nod to Israeli Raid on Iran,” The Sunday Times (UK), July 5, 2009.

Meyer, Henry, “Iran Spurns Engagement on Nuclear, Thwarting Obama,” Bloomberg News, July 16, 2009.

Pessin, Al, “Top US Military Officer Sees 'Narrow Window' to Stop Iran's Nuclear Program,” Voice of America, July 7, 2009.

Radio Liberty, “Iran Official Denies He Made Nuclear Talks Statement”, August 18, 2009.

Reuters, “Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Body Resigns: Report,” July 16, 2009.

Sanger, David, “U.S. Weighs Iran Sanctions If Talks Are Rejected,” The New York Times, August 2, 2009.

Schirra, Bruno, “Germany's Spies Refuted the 2007 NIE Report,” The Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2009.

Shuster, Mike, “Could Deterrence Counter a Nuclear Iran?” National Public Radio, August 25, 2009.

Shuster, Mike, “Iran Prompts Debate Over Mideast Defense Umbrella,” National Public Radio, August 26, 2009.

Slackman, Michael, “Hints of Iranian Flexibility on Nuclear Issue,” New York Times, August 20, 2009.

Solomon, Jay, “Iran to Allow IAEA Greater Monitoring,” The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2009.

Tehran Times, “NAM Supports Iran’s Proposal to Ban Attacks on Nuclear Installations,” August 25, 2009.

Wald, Charles, “There Is a Military Option on Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2009.

Wolf, Jim, “Gates Reassures Israel on U.S.-Iran Strategy,” The Washington Post, July 27, 2009.

Zacharia, Janine, “Clinton Says U.S. Still Must Engage Iran on Nuclear Dispute,” Bloomberg News, July 15, 2009.

North Korea

AFP, “North Korea Says Was Punished Unfairly for Rocket Launch,” August 9, 2009.

Aversa, Jeannine, “Treasury Sanctions on Firm Linked to North Korea,” The Associated Press,” June 30, 2009.

Choe Sang-hun, “U.S. Condemns North Korean Missile Tests,” The New York Times, July 4, 2009.

Choe Sang-hun, “N. Korea Says It’s Open to New Nuclear Talks,” The New York Times, July 26, 2009.

Doo-hyong, Hwang, “U.S. Repeats Concerns Over N. Korea-Myanmar Military Cooperation,” Yonhap News Agency, August 3, 2009.

Easley, Leif-Eric, “Why China might turn on North Korea,” The Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 2009.

The Economist, “Working Together: A Capitalist Enclave in North Korea Belies The Country's Increasing Isolation,” July 20, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “U.N. Eyes Sanctions on North Korean Nuclear Officials,” July 15, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “U.S. Diplomats Invited for Nuclear Talks in North Korea,” August 25, 2009.

Hurst, Steven R., “Obama Lets NKorea's Kim Save Face,” The Associated Press, August 5, 2009.

Jeong-ho, Nam, “Hans Blix Says Security Assurances Are the Key,” JoongAng Daily, August 11, 2009.

Ji-hyun, Kim, “Hopes Raised for N.K. Nuclear Talks,” The Korea Herald, August 8, 2009.

Kessler, Glenn, “U.S. Targets Firms Tied To N. Korea Arms Trade,” The Washington Post, July 1, 2009.

The Korea Herald, “U.S. Contingency Plans After Kim Jong-il's Death,” July 23, 2009.

Kirk, Donald, “Nuclear Powers Revert To Playground Taunts,” The Asia Times, July 26, 2009.

Kristof, Nicholas D. “Rethinking North Korea, With Sticks,” The New York Times, August 5, 2009.

LaFranchi, Howard, “Direct Talks with N. Korea Ahead? Not Likely.” The Christian Science Monitor, August 5, 2009.

LaFranchi, Howard, “North Korea's Nuclear Overture: Honest Offer or Old Tricks?” The Christian Science Monitor, August 25, 2009.

Landler, Mark, “After Clinton Trip, U.S. Studies Signals From N. Korea,” The New York Times, August 5, 2009.

Lee Chi-dong, “China Lukewarm on 5-Way Meeting Without Pyongyang,” Yonhap News Agency, July 13, 2009.

Lynch, Colum, “U.N. Security Council Sanctions 10 in N. Korea,” The Washington Post, July 17, 2009.

Mcdonald, Kara C., “Bird in Hand: One of the Strongest Multilateral Sanctions Architectures Ever Created Already Exists to Pressure North Korea; It Just Needs to be Enforced,” Foreign Policy, July 22, 2009.

Nikitin, Mary Beth, et al. “North Korea’s Second Nuclear Test: Implications of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874,” Congressional Research Service, July 1, 2009.

Reuters, “N.Korea Says No Dialogue Without Respect For Sovereignty,” July 15, 2009.

Richter, Paul, “Doubts in White House on Approach to N. Korea,” The Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2009.

Roughneen, Simon, “Myanmar’s North Korean Ties Escape Scrutiny,” The Washington Times, August 9, 2009.

Roy, Sanjib Kumar, “India Inspects North Korea Ship for Nuclear Material,” Reuters, August 10, 2009.

Sanger, David E., “Second Thoughts on North Korea’s Inscrutable Ship,” The New York Times, June 30, 2009.

Sheridan, Mary Beth, “After Meeting, N.M. Governor Says N. Koreans Are Ready for 'Dialogue',” The Washington Post, August 20, 2009.

Strobel, Warren P., “Could Humanitarian Mission Pave Way for Nuclear Deal?” McClatchy Newspapers, August 5, 2009.

Wong, Gillian, “China Says it Seizes Metals Bound for NKorea,” The Associated Press, July 28, 2009.

Zhu, Zhiqun, “Should Obama Sign a Peace Treaty With North Korea?” The Christian Science Monitor, July 28, 2009.


Evans, Robert, “Pakistan Blocks Advance in Disarmament Talks,” Reuters, August 10, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Al-Qaeda Claims U.S. Intends to Seize Pakistani Nuclear Weapons,” July 16, 2009.

Hyder, Tariq Osman, “Pakistan Must Counter India's Growing Power,” Gulf News, August 02, 2009.

The International News, “Khan warns to unveil sensitive issues if maltreatment continues,” August 28, 2009.

Mackey, Robert, “Have Pakistani Nuclear Facilities Already Been Attacked?” New York Times, August 11, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, “State Department Confident in Pakistani Nuclear Arsenal,” Global Security Newswire, July 8, 2009.

New Kerala, “Threat to Pak Nukes ‘Real’ Due to Greedy, Incompetent Politicians: German Expert,” August 16, 2009.

Rajghatta, Chidanand, “Jihadis Thrice Attacked Pakistan Nuclear Sites,” The Times of India, August 9, 2009.

Rajghatta, Chidanand, “Pakistan Goes Ballistic About Report on Nuclear Complex Attacks,” The Times of India, August 12, 2009.

Reuters, “Pakistan, Seen Stalling, Says Wants Nukes Banned,” August 12, 2009.


IAEA, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic,” August 28, 2009.


Asian News International, “U.S. Nuclear Gurus See Signs of More Indian Nuclear Test,” August 28, 2009.

Herskovitz, Jon, “India Expands Uranium Mining, Receives Russian Nuclear Fuel,” Reuters, August 11, 2009.

Parashar, Sachin, “Pokhran II Not Fully Successful: Scientist,” The Times of India, August 27, 2009.

III. Nonproliferation

Aczel, Amir D., “The Nuclear Perils Of The 21st Century,” The Boston Globe, July 23, 2009.

Alabaster, Jay, “Japan Would Stay Nuke-Free Under Opposition Party,” Taiwan News, August 11, 2009.

Albright, David, Brannan, Paul and Scheel, Andrea, “Smugglers Assist North Korea-Directed Illicit Trade to Myanmar,” ISIS Report, Institute for Science and International Security, July 14, 2009.

Institute for Security Studies, “Africa Is Now Officially a Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons,” August 12, 2009.

The Associated Press, “Group Offers Plan to Eliminate Nukes by 2030,” The New York Times, June 29, 2009.

The Economist, “Struggling to Hold Up a Bank,” August 6, 2009.

Fukuyama, Shingo, Umebayashi, Hiromichi, “Japan Ready For ‘No Nukes’,” The Japan Times, August 25, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Japanese Diplomat Picked to Lead IAEA,” July 2, 2009.

Grice, Andrew, “Obama Plans Nuclear Talks To Lift Threat Of Proliferation,” The Independent, July 10, 2009.

Heinrich, Mark and Westall, Sylvia, “Nuclear Watchdog Image Hurts IAEA - Incoming Chief,” Reuters, July 11, 2009.

Heinrich, Mark, “Struggling UN Atom Watchdog Gets Rare Budget Boost,” August 3, 2009.

IAEA, “IAEA Safeguards Reporting Process”, August 28, 2009.

Kato, Issei, “Japan Opposition Backs Obama's Nuclear-Free Plan,” Reuters, August 6, 2009.

The Mainichi Daily News, “Incoming IAEA Chief Amano Seeks Progress on Iran, N. Korea; Lauds Obama's Nuclear Policy,” July 8, 2009.

McGrath, Keegan, “Issue Brief: Battle Lines Being Drawn in the CTBT Debate: an Analysis of the Strategic Posture Commission's Arguments against U.S. Ratification,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, July 8 2009.

Nine MSN, “‘Evidence Lacking’ of Burma’s Nuke Plans,” August 24, 2009.

Reuters, “Myanmar and North Korea Nuclear Ties: Smoke or Fire?” August 11, 2009.

Reuters, “UK to Set Out Strategy on Nuclear Non-proliferation,” July 14, 2009.

Warren, Barbara H. and Adams, John, “It's in US Interest to Sign Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,” The Arizona Daily, June 30, 2009.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Abrams, Jim, “Senate Warns Against Concessions on Nuclear Treaty,” The Associated Press, July 27, 2009.

AFP, “China Warns Against Missile Defence Systems,” August 12, 2009.

Coker, Margaret and Mitnick, Josh, “U.S., Israel Abort Missile Test,” The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2009.

Defense News, “General: Russia Shakes Up Production of Problem Missile,” August 26, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “European Missile Shield Plan Still Under Consideration, U.S. Says,”
August 28, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Russia Developing Missile-Defense Laser,” August 28, 2009.

Gormley, Dennis M. “Making the Hague Code of Conduct Relevant,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, Issue Brief, July 20, 2009.

Lockhead Martin, “Lockheed Martin Begins Testing on Australia’s First Aegis Weapon System,” August 13, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, “U.S. Considering Technological Alternatives for European Missile Shield, General Says,” Global Security Newswire, July 14, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, “U.S., Russia Unlikely to Cooperate on Missile Defense, Experts Say,” Global Security Newswire, August 26, 2009.

Kim Hyung-jin, “SKorea Says NKorean Missiles Can Hit Key Targets,” The Associated Press, July 5, 2009.

Pincus, Walter, “Missile Pact Based on Old Plan,” The Washington Post, July 13, 2009.

Radio Free Europe, “Ukrainian Police Intercept Russian Missile Convoy,” July 10, 2009.

Reuters, “North Korea Seeking Attention With Missiles: Biden,” July 5, 2009.

RIA Novosti, “Experts Doubt Russian Military Has Moved Bulava Production,” August 27, 2009.

RIA Novosti, “South Russia Missile Radar to be Fully Operation in October,” August 6, 2009.

Schwirtz, Michael, “Russian Weapon Is in Need of Rescue,” The New York Times, July 15, 2009.

Reuters, “Russia Fires Its Nuclear Missile Chief,” August 4, 2009.

Subramanian, T.S., “Nuclear-Powered Submarine to be Fitted with Ballistic Missiles,” The Hindu, July 27, 2009.

Teibel, Amy, “Israeli Missile-Defense Test Aborted,” The Washington Post, July 23, 2009.

Union of Concerned Scientists, “Scientists Urge Obama to Drop European Missile Defense,” July 2, 2009.

Xuerquan, Mu, “Czech Republic Not Against Russia’s Inclusion in Joint Missile Defense,” China View, August 7, 2009.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Blackwell, Tom, “Canada to Spend $30M Securing Bio-Warfare Labs,” National Post,
August 17, 2009.

Bruggers, James, “McConnell, Chandler Push to Destroy Chemical Weapons On Time,” Courrier Journal, August 25, 2009.

Graham, Bob and Talent, Jim, “Bioterrorism: Redefining Prevention,” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, Volume 7, Number 2, 2009.

Global Security Newswire
, “U.S. Considers Adding SARS Virus to List of Biological Threats,” July 20, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Anniston Depot Begins Final Chemical Weapons Disposal Campaign,” July 2, 2009.

ITAR-TASS News Agency, “Russia Destroys First Ton Of War Gas Sarin,” July 29, 2009.

Moodie, Michael, “Dangerous Weapons in Dangerous Hands: Responding to the Challenges of Chemical and Biological Terrorism,” Proliferation Papers, Security Studies Center, Summer 2009.

Schneidmiller, Chris, “Continued Commitment Needed on U.S. Chemical Disarmament, OPCW Chief Says,” Global Security Newswire, July 22, 2009.

Schneidmiller, Chris, “New Method Needed for Assessing Disease Dangers, Report Says,” August 28, 2009.

VI. Conventional Arms

Drew, Christopher, “Bowing to Veto Threat, Senate Blocks Money for Warplanes,” The New York Times, July 21, 2009.

Fisher Jr., Richard D., “F-22 Fighters for Japan,” The Washington Times, July 19, 2009.

Fulghum, David A., “Officials Make Case For More F-22s,” Aviation Week, July 10, 2009.

Georgian Daily, “Putin Says Russian Military Spending to Rise: Report,” August 7, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M., “U.S. Military Eyes Fielding "Prompt Global Strike" Weapon by 2015,” Global Security Newswire, July 1, 2009.

Gulf Times, “First Batch of Locally-Built Russian Tanks Rolls Out,” August 24, 2009.

Katz, Yaakov, “Israel Sends Sub Through Suez Canal,” The Jerusalem Post, July 3, 2009.

Krauss, Joseph, “Rights group slams Israeli drone strikes on Gaza,” Agence France-Presse, July 1, 2009.

Landler, Mark, “Clinton Cites Concerns of Arms Aid to Myanmar,” The New York Times, July 21, 2009.

Sood, Varun and Lamont, James,  “India to Launch First Nuclear Submarine,” The Financial Times, July 8 2009.

Taipei Times, “Taiwan Does Not Seek Arms Race,” July 20, 2009.

Teibel, Amy, “Britain Revokes 5 Arms Export Licenses to Israel,” The Associated Press, July 14, 2009.

VII. U.S. Policy

Bast, Andrew, “‘Indispensable And Imperfect’: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice Changes America's Diplomatic Approach,” Newsweek, July 15, 2009.

Cowell, Alan, “Finding the Limits of U.S. Power,” The New York Times, July 10, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M., “Inside Obama Administration, a Tug of War Over Nuclear Warheads,” Global Security Newswire, August 18, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M., “Nuclear Review to Make ‘Progress’ in Advancing Obama Disarmament Vision, Official Says,” Global Security Newswire, July 23, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M., “Pentagon Vetting Could Delay Warhead Modernization Plan,” Global Security Newswire, August 27, 2009.

Jihyun, Kim, “No Change on U.S. Policy on North Korea: Gregg,” The Korea Herald, August 13, 2009.

Kirkpatrick, Melanie, “Why We Don't Want a Nuclear-Free World,” The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2009.

Kimball, Daryl, “Transform U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy”, Defense News, August 24, 2009.

Mahdy, Fareed, “Egypt Rejects U.S. Nuclear Umbrella,” IPS, August 20, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, “Pentagon Looks to Finish Nuclear Security Plan by September,” Global Security Newswire, July 16, 2009.

Smith, R. Jeffrey, “House Seems To Be Set on Pork-Padded Defense Bill,” The Washington Post, July 30, 2009.

Spiegel, Peter, “Obama Puts Arms Control at Core of New Strategy,” The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2009.

VIII. Space

Kulacki, Gregory and Lewis, Jeffrey G., “A Place for One’s Mat: China’s Space Program, 1956–2003,” American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2009.

McDonald, Mark, “South Korea Cancels Launching a Satellite,” New York Times, August 19, 2009.

Ramstad, Evan, “South Korea Satellite Overshoots Its Orbit,” The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2009.

RIA Novosti, “Russia To Revamp Air, Space Defenses By 2020 – Air Force Chief,” August 11, 2009.

The World Tribune, “China's PLA Eyes 4th Branch of Military: Space,” July 7, 2009.

IX. Other

Advancing Science, Serving Society, “Experts Say New Sensing Tools Could Help Ease Concerns on Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty,” August 10, 2009.

AFP, “UN Chief Calls for Action on Weapons, Climate Change,” August 9, 2009.

CTBTO Preparatory Commission, “Liberia Ratifies CTBT,” August 19, 2009.

The Economic Times (India), “India to Build Four More Nuclear Power Reactors,” August 3, 2009.

Figueroa, Benjamin, “10 Questions for Mohamed ElBaradei,” Time August 17, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Jordan Powering Forward on Nuclear Energy,” July 28, 2009.

Hebert, H. Josef, “AP Interview: NRC to Press Ahead with Yucca Review,” The Associated Press, July 22, 2009.

IAEA, “Treaty’s Entry Into Force Makes Entire Southern Hemisphere Free of Nuclear Weapons,” August 14, 2009.

Jung Sung-ki, “S. Korea to Develop EMP Bomb by 2014,” The Korea Times, July 7, 2009.

Kim, Hyung-jin “Report: NKorean Army Suspected Over Cyberattacks,” The Associated Press, July 11, 2009.

Osipovich, Alexander, “Russia Admits Mystery Ship May Have Had Suspect Cargo,” AFP, August 26, 2009.

Parry, Lloyd, “North Korea 'Launches Massive Cyber Attack on Seoul',” The Times (UK), July 9, 2009.

Penny, Thomas, “U.K. Calls for Nuclear Deal With Developing Nations,” Bloomberg News, July 16, 2009.

Tauscher, Ellen, “Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Arab Emirates Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy,” Statement before the House Foreign Affairs Committee,
July 8, 2009.

July/August 2009 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

Ban Ki-moon, “Secretary-General's Statement on the Urgency of the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty,” Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations, June 15, 2009.

Carroll, James, “Nuclear Weapons Debate Takes New Form,” The Boston Globe, June 15, 2009.

Global Zero, “Global Zero Commission Releases Recommendations Before Obama/Medvedev Nuclear Weapons Summit,” Press Release, June 29, 2009.

Gorbachev, Mikhail, “Don’t Make It Worse,” The New York Times, June 4, 2009.

Gorbachev, Mikhail, and Pfirter, Rogelio, “Disarmament Lessons from the Chemical Weapons Convention,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 16, 2009.

Kissinger, Henry A., “Reining In Pyongyang,” The Washington Post, June 8, 2009.

Perry, William J., Scowcroft, Brent, and Ferguson, Charles D. “How to Reduce the Nuclear Threat: North Korea's Test is a Troubling Development,” The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2009.

Sokolski, Henry and Gilinsky, Victor, “Locking Down the NPT,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 17, 2009.

I. Strategic Arms

BBC News, “Trident Move ‘Prompts Confusion’,” June 13, 2009.

Erickson, Andrew S., and Chase, Michael S., “China’s SSBN Forces: Transitioning to the Next Generation,” China Brief, Volume: 9, Issue: 12, Jamestown Foundation, June 12, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Russia Requires 1,500 Nuclear Warheads, Military Official Says,” June 10, 2009.

Harden, Blaine, “S. Korea Seeks Assurances from U.S. of Nuclear Shield,” The Washington Post, June 16, 2009.

Isaacs, John and Reif, Kingston, “Will the Senate Support New Nuclear Arms Reductions?” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 23, 2009.

Koshy, Ninan, “Maximizing Minimum Nuclear Deterrence,” The Asia Times, June 3, 2009.

Levy, Clifford J., “As Arms Meeting Looms, Russia Offers Carrot of Sharp Cuts,” The New York Times, June 20, 2009.

Lynn, Jonathan, “Geneva Arms Forum About to Tackle Substantive Issues,” Reuters, June 19, 2009.

The New York Times, “No Nukes: Possibility or Pipe Dream?,” June 7, 2009.

RIA Novosti, “Shanghai Group Backs Arms Control in Urals Summit Declaration,” June 16, 2009.

Jung Sung-ki, “U.S. Nuclear Umbrella: Double-Edged Sword for S. Korea,” The Korea Times, June 24, 2009.

The Associated Press, “Putin Says Russia Might Abandon Nukes If Others Do,” June 10, 2009.

Troubnikoff, Alexandra, “U.S., Russia Drive for Summit in Nuclear Arms Reduction Talks,” Agence France-Presse, June 24, 2009.

Xinhua News Service, “Russia, U.S. Conclude Second Round of Nuclear Disarmament Talks,” June 4, 2009.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Ganapathy, Nirmala “Pak Pushes for FMCT to Nuke India’s Stockpile,” The India Times, June 17, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Syria Blocking U.N. Nuclear Probe, U.S. Says,” June 18, 2009.

Indo-Asian News Service, “India Says It’s a Responsible Nuclear Power, Seeks Global Disarmament,” June 3, 2009.

The Associated Press, “Syria Plays Down Uranium Find by UN Nuclear Agency,” June 16, 2009.


Agence France-Presse, “Iran Nuclear Showdown at 'Decisive Point': Obama” June 4, 2009.

Agence France-Presse, “Iran Not Interested in Bolivian Uranium: Tehran Envoy” June 4, 2009.

Allison, Graham, “A New Red Line for Iran,” The Washington Post, June 1, 2009.

Cirincione, Joe, “Iran Uprising Changes Nuclear Calculus,” The Huffington Post, June 17, 2009.

Cowell, Alan, “U.N. Atomic Energy Chief Says Iran Wants Bomb Technology,” New York Times, June 17, 2009.

Flynn, Daniel and Stewart, Phil, “G8 Deplores Iran Violence, Urges Nuclear Talks,” Reuters, June 26, 2009.

Frattini, Franco, “Rethinking Iran,” The New York Times, June 9, 2009.

Gearan, Anne, “Analysis: Iran Nuclear Concerns Weigh Heavy on U.S.,” The Associated Press, June 24, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Iran Rejects IAEA Request for New Monitoring Equipment at Enrichment Site, Diplomats Say,” June 11, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Obama Acknowledges Iran's Right to Nuclear Energy,” June 3, 2009.

Khaitous, Tariq, “Arab Reactions to a Nuclear-Armed Iran,” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Focus #94, June 2009.

Kralev, Nicholas, “Iran Being Undercut On Nukes, U.S. Says,” The Washington Times, June 23, 2009.

Reuters, “Exiled Group Says Race on in Iran To Build Bomb,” June 13, 2009.

Reuters, “Most Israelis Could Live With a Nuclear Iran: Poll,” June 14, 2009.

Reynolds, Paul “Election Row Hits Iran Nuclear Talks,” BBC News, June 29, 2009.

Schmitt, Eric, “Biden Questions Vote but Sticks to Policy on Iran,” The New York Times, June 14, 2009.

Slavin, Barbara, “Exclusive: U.S. Contacted Iran's Ayatollah Before Election,” The Washington Times, June 24, 2009.

United Press International, “Iran, France Hold Nuclear Talks,” The Middle East Times, June 3, 2009.

Zakaria, Fareed, “They May Not Want the Bomb,” Newsweek, May 23, 2009.

North Korea

Agence France-Presse, “N. Korea Accuses Obama of Nuclear War Plot,” June 21, 2009.

Chi-dong, Lee, “China's Role Vital in Arranging Five-Way Meeting: Official,” Yonhap News Agency, June 25, 2009.

Clark, Torrey and Alexander, Caroline, “Russia Says it has Information on New North Korea Missile Test,” Bloomberg News, June 10, 2009.

Doo-hyong, Hwang, “Obama Extends U.S. Sanctions on N. Korea,” Yonhap News Agency, June 25, 2009.

Duk-kun, Byun, “Lee-Obama Summit to Address N. Korean Nuclear and Missile Threats,” Yonhap News Agency, June 9, 2009.

Fackler, Martin, and Choe Sang-hun, , “Will Sanctions Ever Work on North Korea?” The New York Time, June 12, 2009.

Finn, Peter, “U.S. to Weigh Returning North Korea to Terror List,” The Washington Post, June 8, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “North Korea Announces Uranium Enrichment Program in Wake of Sanctions,” June 15, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “North Korean ICBM Delivery Train Makes Trip to Known Launch Site,” June 17, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “U.S. Forms Team to Help Coordinate Enforcement of North Korea Sanctions,” June 29, 2009.

Head, Jonathan, “Burma Denies Link to N Korea Ship,” BBC News, June 25, 2009.

Hess, Pamela, “N. Korea Readying Third Nuclear Test?” The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 2009.

Lee Jong-heon, , “Five-Way Talks May Exclude North Korea,” UPI Asia, June 23, 2009.

Joseph, Robert, “How to Deal with a Dictator,” The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2009.

Kirk, Donald, “North Korea Ratchets Up Nuclear Defiance,” The Christian Science Monitor, June 14, 2009.

Korean Central News Agency (North Korea), “DPRK Foreign Ministry Declares Strong Counter-Measures against UNSC's ‘Resolution 1874’,” June 13, 2009.

Morgan, David, and Herskovitz, Jon, “U.S. Navy Tracks North Korean Ship,” Reuters, June 18, 2009.

Peel, Quentin, “‘Useful Idiot’ Beware Beijing Anger,” The Financial Times, May 26, 2009.

Ramstad, Evan, “U.N. Sanctions Pyongyang as Seoul Seeks New Path,” The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2009.

Reuters, “N. Korea Atom Test Wastes Disarmament Potential: IAEA,” June 15, 2009.

Reuters, “North Korea's May Nuclear Test Few Kilotons: U.S.,” June 15, 2009.

Reuters, “North Korea Chemical Weapons Threaten Region: Report,” June 18, 2009.

Choe Sang-hun, , “Seoul Imposes Sanctions on N. Korea,” The New York Times, June 9, 2009.

The Associated Press, “North Korea Says it Will 'Weaponize' its Plutonium,” The Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2009.

United Nations Security Council, “Text of United Nations Draft Resolution on North Korean Sanctions,” The New York Times, June 10, 2009.

Xinhua News Service, “U.S. is to Blame for Nuclear Crisis: DPRK Newspaper,” June 23, 2009.


Global Security Newswire, “Pakistan Rules Out Test Ban Treaty Endorsement,” Friday, June 19, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M. “Talk of U.S. Plans to Secure Pakistani Nuclear Weapons Called ‘Wildly Hypothetical’,” Global Security Newswire, June 10, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M., “U.S. Should Intervene if Extremists Seize Pakistani Nuclear Weapons, Key Lawmaker Says,” Global Security Newswire, June 24, 2009.

India Express, “Pak Diverted Over $5 Bn Aid into Nuke Programme: Report,” June 29, 2009.

III. Nonproliferation

Bender, Bryan, “Obama Seeks Global Uranium Fuel Bank,” The Boston Globe, June 8, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Bill Would Permit $430M in New Nonproliferation Funds,” June 17, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Libya Not ‘Rewarded’ for Dropping WMD Programs, Leader Complains,” June 12, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Scientists Urge U.S. to Gather Nuclear Forensic Background Data,” Monday, June 15, 2009.

Grossman, Elaine M., “Boost in IAEA Intelligence Capability Looks Unlikely in Near Term,” Global Security Newswire, June 22, 2009.

Macinnis, Laura and Nebehay, Stephanie, “Disarmament Forum to Push Ahead on Fissile Deal,” Reuters, June 25, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, “Nuclear Test Ban Could Become Reality Without North Korea, Experts Say,” Global Security Newswire, June 4, 2009.

Choe Sang-hun, , “Test Looms as U.S. Tracks North Korean Ship,” The New York Times, June 21, 2009.

Wadlow, Rene, “Middle East Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone: A Role for Asian States,” Media For Freedom, June 15, 2009.

Westall, Sylvia “Obama-Backed Nuclear Fuel Bank Plan Stalls at IAEA,” June 18, 2009.

Yamada, Takao, “Japan, Australia Leading Push for Nuclear Disarmament,” The Mainichi Daily News, June 8, 2009.

Ziv, Guy, “Washington, Israel and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” The Jerusalem Post, June 15, 2009.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Agence France-Presse, “Poland Open to Part of U.S. Missile Shield in Russia: Report,” June 23, 2009.

Archibold, Randal C., “Hawaiians Shrug Off Missile Threat,” The New York Times, June 22, 2009.

Barnes, Julian E., “U.S. May Be Within N. Korea Missile Range in 3 Years, Official Warns,” The Los Angeles Times, June 17, 2009.

Kim Hyung-jin, “N. Korea Criticizes U.S. Missile Defense for Hawaii,” The Washington Post, June 29, 2009.

National Air and Space Intelligence Center, “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” NASIC Public Affairs Office, June 2009.

O’Hanlon, Michael, “Obama Administration’s Sound Thinking on Missile Defense,” The Washington Examiner, June 8, 2009.

Pessin, Al, “U.S. Deploys Defenses for Possible N. Korean Missile Launch,” Voice of America, June 18, 2009.

Reuters, “With Israel in Mind, Iran Starts Making New Anti-Aircraft Missile,” Haaretz, June 6, 2009.

Scully, Megan, “Republicans to Oppose Missile Defense Cuts in Authorization Markup
Monday,” Global Security Newswire June 15, 2009.

Spiegel, Peter and Ramstad, Evan “Pyongyang at Work on Missile, U.S. Says,” The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2009.

Sud, Hari, “India Needs A Missile Defense,” UPI Asia, June 12, 2009.

Sweeney, Conor, “Russia Snubs U.S. Call to Consider Hosting Radar,” Reuters, June 11, 2009.

Wolf, Jim, “North Korea, Iran Joined on Missile Work: U.S. General,” Reuters, June 11, 2009.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Global Security Newswire, “CTR Program Extracts Plague Samples from Kazakhstan,” June 8, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Judge Denies Injunction against Mustard Agent Incineration at Umatilla,” June 23, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Universities Receive $37 Million for Biodefense Research,” June 25, 2009.

Haglund, Noah, Hefley, Diana, and Holtz, Jackson, “FBI Searches Everett House for Deadly Ricin,” The Herald (Everett, Wa), June 5, 2009.

Haynes, Deborah, “Britain Came Close to Dropping Poisoned Darts on German Troops,” The Times (UK), June 26, 2009.

Hsu, Spencer S. “Bipartisan WMD Panel Criticizes Obama Plan to Fund Flu Vaccine, The Washington Post, June 8, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, “Thousands of Uncounted Disease Samples Found at Army Biodefense Lab,” June 18, 2009.

Mayes, Randall, “Openness and Biosecurity: Can They Co-exist?” Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology, June 7, 2009.

Panti, Llanesca T., “Asia-Pacific to Form Biosecurity Network,” The Manila Times, June 7, 2009.

Strohm, Chris, “House Panel Advances Chemical Security Bill,” Global Security Newswire, June 24, 2009.

Tri-City Herald (Washington State), “Leak: Trace Amount of Mustard Agent Detected in Depot Igloo,” June 23, 2009.

VI. Conventional Arms

Barnett, Thomas P.M., “The New Rules: Drones and the Re-Symmetricized Battlefield,” World Politics Review, June 15, 2009.

Baker, Luke, “Arms Trade - World Battles New Security Threats and Recession,” The Guardian, June 9 2009.

Casey, Michael, “Thais Put Off Alleged Arms Dealer's Extradition,” The Associated Press, May 19, 2009.

Dolan, Jack and Hussein, Jenan, “Deadly Remnants of Iraq's Wars Fuel Maimings, Deaths, Corruption,” The Miami Herald, June 3, 2009.

Editors, “A Nail in the Cluster Bomb Coffin,” The Japan Times, June 12, 2009.

Fuller, Thomas, “Russian in Extradition Battle Says U.S. Agents Violated Law,” The New York Times, June 29, 2009.

Johnson, Ian, “U.S., China Talk Defense,” The Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.

Kim, Sam, “S. Korea to Bolster Capabilities to Head Off N.K. Nuclear, Missile Attacks,” Yonhap New Agency, June 26, 2009.

Lowther, William, “Campbell Confirms Arms Talks,” The Taipei Times, June 12, 2009.

Lowther, William, “US, China to Discuss Taiwanese Arms,” The Taipei Times (Taiwan), June 24, 2009.

Lubold, Gordon, “MRAP trucks: Afghan Savior or Boondoggle?,” The Christian Science Monitor, June 25, 2009 edition

Matlack, Carol, “Defense on Center Stage at Paris Air Show,” Business Week, June 15, 2009.

Ndikumana, Esdras, “Burundi’s Hand Grenade Wave,” News24.com, June 11, 2009.

Pravda, “Russia Launches First Nuclear Submarine since USSR's Collapse,” June 23, 2009.

United Nations Development Program, “New Border Post Key to Ending Sierra Leone-Liberia Trafficking,” June 8, 2009.

Vanden Brook, Tom, “Air Force to Train More on Drones,” USA Today, June 16, 2009.

VII. U.S. Policy

Broad, William J., “U.S. Accidentally Releases List of Nuclear Sites,” The New York Times, June 2, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, “Louisiana Air Base to Host New U.S. Global Strike Command,” June 19, 2009.

Kyl, Jon and Perle, Richard, “Our Decaying Nuclear Deterrent,” The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2009.

Matishak, Martin, “NNSA Policy Chief Says Replacement Should be Part of Warhead Life Extension Strategy,” Global Security Newswire, June 24, 2009.

Rowell, Jenn, “Maxwell Air Force Base Helps Develop 'Nuke Ops',” The Montgomery Advisor, June 5, 2009.

VIII. Space

Asian News International, “Chinese Strategist Recommends Space Forces for the Future,” Sindh Today, June 16, 2009.

RIA Novosti, “New Arms Treaty Must Exclude Weapons in Space - Russian General,” June 6, 2009.

IX. Other

Bagchi, Indrani, “Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal Plays Out in Slow Motion,” The Times of India, June 11, 2009.

Gram, Dave, and Bass, Frank, “Funds to Shut Nuclear Plants Fall Short,” The Associated Press, June 17, 2009.

Harden, Blaine, “Global Insurance Fraud By North Korea Outlined,” The Washington Post, June 18, 2009.

Pavey, Rob, “TVA Might Use MOX Fuels from SRS,” The Augusta Chronicle, June 10, 2009.

Vasovic, Aleksandar, “Serbs Send Nuclear Fuel To Russia, Citing Security,” Reuters, June 23, 2009.

World Nuclear News, “Middle Eastern Countries Strengthen Nuclear Ties,”
June 23, 2009.

Robert McNamara’s Logical Legacy

J. Peter Scoblic

When Robert S. McNamara, the former secretary of defense and so-called architect of the Vietnam War, died this summer at the age of 93, he left behind a fraught legacy.

As a statistician, HarvardBusinessSchool professor, and Ford Motor executive, McNamara had developed a reputation by his early 40s for almost robotic efficiency and logic. Soon after he joined the Pentagon, Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) called him “an IBM machine with legs,” and he meant it as a compliment. Before long, however, that friendly caricature turned critical. Opponents argued that McNamara’s embrace of rationalism—his seeming fetish for numbers and charts—impeded rather than enhanced his ability to apprehend reality. Yet, if McNamara misunderstood Vietnam, and he certainly did, his rationalism was not the problem. In the final decades of his life, having never lost faith in his powers of analysis, he turned them to a singular and complex problem: the lessons of his own life.

To his credit, if not to the satisfaction of his critics, McNamara spent years wrestling with the mistakes he made in Vietnam. At times, however, it seemed that the harder he looked, the further his understanding receded. In 1995 he published In Retrospect, in which he famously acknowledged that he and his comrades in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations had been “wrong, terribly wrong.” He spent the next years probing deeper, traveling to Hanoi to meet with his erstwhile enemies in an attempt to shed light on the war and what could have been done differently. Yet, when he published a book about his investigations, it was tellingly titled Argument Without End, a reference not only to Vietnam but to the nature of history itself. And, when he agreed to be interviewed by filmmaker Errol Morris, the resulting documentary was titled (again tellingly) “The Fog of War” and it concluded by emphasizing incomprehensibility. Asked if he felt guilty about the war, McNamara demurred: “I don’t want to go any further with this discussion. It just opens up more controversy. I don’t want to add anything to Vietnam. It is so complex that anything I say will require additions and qualifications.”

McNamara’s record on arms control provides both further complication and welcome simplicity to this knotty history. As secretary of defense, McNamara played a key role in clarifying the nature of nuclear deterrence and codifying that understanding in international law. In his retirement, he went further, arguing for steps toward nuclear disarmament. Admittedly, many once-hawkish statesmen have gravitated toward abolitionism in their later years, for example, Paul Nitze. McNamara came by his nuclear philosophy not suddenly or in penance for earlier sins, as many suspected he had regarding his re-examination of Vietnam, but rather as the result of that quality for which he was so often derided: reason.

Shifts in Doctrine

When McNamara took over the Pentagon in 1961, U.S. military policy relied on the threat of an all-out nuclear strike to deter or respond to a Soviet attack of any kind. In concrete terms, this meant that if the Red Army were to attack West Germany, for instance, the United States would respond by launching 3,500 weapons at civilian and industrial targets not only in the Soviet Union, but also in the rest of the Communist bloc. The upshot was that hundreds of millions of Russians, Chinese, and Eastern Europeans would have died.

In essence, this was the nuclear extension of the strategic bombing campaigns that the United States had visited on Germany and Japan during World War II, campaigns in which McNamara had assisted. When Gen. Curtis LeMay was bombing and ultimately firebombing Japanese cities in an effort to eliminate that country’s industrial capacity, McNamara’s job as a young Army officer was to make the process more efficient. LeMay subsequently led the Strategic Air Command (SAC), but in 1961, when McNamara saw how SAC planned to use the nuclear arsenal, he was appalled. In addition to the strategy’s obvious moral defects, the problem was that enough Soviet nuclear weapons might survive the onslaught, leaving the U.S.S.R. able to cripple the United States in retaliation. Were the Soviets to invade Western Europe, McNamara wanted to be able to provide the president with options other than unimaginable nuclear holocaust that could lead to the United States’ own destruction.

Following the guidance of his rationalist brethren at the RAND Corp., the famed think tank brimming with mathematicians and game theorists, McNamara found an alternative in the doctrine of counterforce, whereby the United States would try to limit a nuclear exchange by initially targeting only enemy military forces. The idea was to hold Soviet cities hostage to a follow-on strike in an attempt to control escalation and prevent retaliation. As McNamara said on June 16, 1962, in his famous “No Cities” speech, “[Our] principal military objectives, in the event of a nuclear war stemming from a major attack on the [NATO] Alliance, should be the destruction of an enemy’s forces, not his civilian population.” Nuclear weapons, then, were to be used much like conventional weapons. The implication was that the United States could employ them to force an end to hostilities on its terms—that is, to win.

McNamara soon concluded, however, that counterforce was unlikely to control escalation; it would instead almost certainly provoke devastating retaliation. He reasoned that any attempt to build enough weapons such that the damage of a retaliatory strike would be acceptably limited would undoubtedly be met by a similar buildup from the Soviets, who would insist on maintaining the deterrent that comes from the ability to inflict unacceptable pain. The soundness of that logic was reinforced by a Pentagon study showing that no combination of civil defenses, missile defenses, and offensive superiority could limit damage in any meaningful sense against an adversary willing to build up its arsenal. Additionally, McNamara realized that efforts to gain advantage would simply destabilize the situation, encouraging futile attempts to “win” or self-defeating attempts to “not lose” by launching first. By 1967, he had lost faith in counterforce, and he gave a speech emphasizing deterrence via the maintenance of “a highly reliable ability to inflict unacceptable damage upon any single aggressor or combination of aggressors at any time during the course of a strategic nuclear exchange, even after absorbing a surprise first strike.”

McNamara did not reverse the course of U.S. nuclear policy. Counterforce continued to guide U.S. war plans because, in a conflict, it was still better to have options than to resort immediately to massive retaliation. Furthermore, McNamara increased the size of the U.S. strategic arsenal by more than 5,000 warheads, announced a limited national missile shield to defend against Chinese attack, and advocated the development of missiles with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles, whose accuracy and attractiveness as targets made them first-strike weapons. None of these moves comported with his emphasis on deterrence.

Nevertheless, McNamara’s recognition that the superpowers’ nuclear relationship was and would always be one of mutual assured destruction was crucial. It demonstrated the bankruptcy of “nuclear victory” and allowed for diplomatic efforts to increase nuclear stability. Although President Lyndon Johnson was unable to begin strategic arms control talks with Moscow before he left office, McNamara had laid the groundwork for President Richard Nixon’s pursuit and conclusion of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which codified mutual assured destruction.

McNamara also helped redirect U.S. nonproliferation policy. A few weeks after China’s first nuclear test in October 1964, Johnson appointed Roswell Gilpatric to lead a commission to study proliferation. Gilpatric, who had served as McNamara’s deputy at the Pentagon until that January, favored aggressive efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; but many of his fellow commissioners, as well as senior officials such as Secretary of State Dean Rusk, thought that the United States would benefit from allowing nuclear weapons to spread to certain friendly nations. McNamara, briefing the committee as secretary of defense, argued that the United States would not be able to control “selective proliferation” and that Soviet cooperation, which the United States needed, would not materialize if the United States allowed its allies to have nuclear weapons. He recommended a comprehensive test ban, a nonproliferation agreement, and security guarantees for non-nuclear-weapon states. McNamara’s briefing was persuasive, Gilpatric’s view carried the day, and ultimately the Johnson administration negotiated the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

After leaving the Pentagon in early 1968, McNamara joined the World Bank and, during his 13 years there, remained silent not only on Vietnam, to the chagrin of many, but also on nuclear policy. Not until he returned to private life in the early 1980s did he become vocal in his support for tighter restraints on nuclear weapons. He joined the board of the Arms Control Association and took part in other research and advocacy initiatives. In 1986, frustrated by the Reagan administration, he published Blundering Into Disaster, which reprised his argument that nuclear weapons could not provide military advantage. McNamara took particular aim at the Strategic Defense Initiative, which he saw as destabilizing and technologically far-fetched. He recommended talks with Moscow to reduce tensions and the size of the U.S. and Soviet arsenals. After the end of the Cold War, he continued to push for arms control; by the early 1990s, he was advocating steps toward nuclear abolition.

Working Out a Worldview

Combined with his advocacy of the Vietnam War, McNamara’s steady support for arms control makes for an unusual legacy, suggesting that he was pulled in two distinct ideological directions. His prosecution of the war implied a simplistic, Manichaean view of the Cold War, a view of communism as a monolithic enemy that had to be defeated lest it overwhelm the West. By contrast, his pursuit of strategic arms control implied a willingness to accept coexistence with the Soviet Union. The problem was not that McNamara’s rationalism took him in two different directions, but rather that reason alone was insufficient, and with Vietnam it took him much longer to arrive at an understanding that comported with the facts.

That calamitous delay was caused by a lack of expertise and the opportunity it provided for assumptions to flourish unchecked. To fight a war, especially a counterinsurgency, it is essential to understand the goals of one’s enemy, but by his own admission, McNamara knew almost nothing about Vietnam. Because he knew so little, he fell back on the pre-existing and widely shared assumption that the Vietnamese Communists were engaged not in a civil-war-cum-struggle-for-independence but rather an expansionist push on behalf of China and the Soviet Union. As ur-critic David Halberstam wrote in The Best and the Brightest, “The real problem was the failure to re-examine the assumptions of the era, particularly in Southeast Asia. There was no real attempt…to analyze Ho Chi Minh’s position in terms of the Vietnamese people and in terms of the larger Communist world, to establish what Diem represented, to determine whether the domino theory was in fact valid.” In this context, McNamara’s rationalism served not to reveal the truth but to wall it off, reinforcing previously held convictions until the United States was stuck in a quagmire.

When it came to the arms race, however, McNamara had few such convictions, for the simple reason that a nuclear orthodoxy had yet to solidify in 1961. True, many of McNamara’s contemporaries, especially conservatives such as Goldwater, applied their Manichaeism to the arms race, believing that victory in the Cold War required the ability to win a nuclear war. Yet, to his credit, McNamara immediately recognized that massive retaliation demanded re-examination. As more data came in about the Soviet ability to match U.S. forces, the offensive demands of counterforce, and the ineffectiveness of defenses, McNamara grew skeptical that escalation could be controlled and that a nuclear war could be won. In addition, during the Cuban missile crisis McNamara had seen that counterforce had offered no palatable options and that the threat of mutual destruction had done much to encourage a peaceful resolution. Unencumbered by rigid beliefs, McNamara’s reasoning and experience led him quickly to an understanding that has remained durable even as Vietnam has come to be seen as a mistake.

In his later years, McNamara refined his understanding of the nuclear balance through further dissection of the Cuban missile crisis, which showed how sane actors, behaving in what they believed to be their rational self-interest, could run headlong into irrational and potentially catastrophic predicaments. Ironically, McNamara’s emphasis on reason and analysis ultimately led him to an appreciation of the central role that irrationality played in international security. In 1993, he wrote, “It can be confidently predicted that the combination of human fallibility and nuclear arms will inevitably lead to nuclear destruction.” It was a sentence that seemed to encapsulate McNamara-ism perfectly, incorporating a hard-earned recognition of human weakness with an apparently undiminished assurance in his analytic acumen. It was an assurance that his critics would find grating and even offensive to the very end. One can only hope that he will be proven wrong.

J. Peter Scoblic is executive editor of The New Republic and author of U.S. vs. Them: Conservatism in the Age of Nuclear Terror. From 1999 to 2003, he was editor of Arms Control Today.


When Robert S. McNamara, the former secretary of defense and so-called architect of the Vietnam War, died this summer at the age of 93, he left behind a fraught legacy. (Continue)

Books of Note

In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age

Stephanie Cooke, Bloomsbury, 2009, 488 pp.

Stephanie Cooke, a writer and editor who has covered the nuclear industry for nearly three decades, provides a compelling history of the atomic age. A central theme of Cooke’s narrative is the uneasy balance between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. As one example, she points to the Eisenhower administration’s Operation Candor, “a yearlong media campaign designed to get Americans used to the permanent presence of nuclear weapons.” In its attempts to link that presence with the latent potential for nuclear power, the campaign “led to the conflation of two apparently contradictory messages (peace now, war later?)” and “an overselling of the supposed benefits,” she says. Tracing the tale from the Manhattan Project to the current debate around nuclear power, Cooke humanizes her story by drawing on personal accounts from key figures such as Joseph Rotblat and David Lilienthal. 

The U.S. Nuclear Arsenal: A History of Weapons and Delivery Systems Since 1945 

Norman Polmar and Robert S. Norris, Naval Institute Press, 2009, 274 pp.

In this comprehensive reference book, Norman Polmar and Robert S. Norris detail the technical and political developments in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, from its inception in the 1940s up to the present day. With more than 100 black-and-white photographs and numerous charts, Polmar, a defense analyst who has written for the U.S. Navy and the Defense Nuclear Agency, and Norris, senior research associate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, cover all aspects of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Chapters focus on nuclear warheads, strategic aircraft, tactical aircraft, strategic missiles, tactical missiles and rockets, artillery, and anti-submarine weapons. 

Unconventional Weapons and International Terrorism: Challenges and New Approaches 

Magnus Ranstorp and Magnus Normark, eds., Routledge, 2009, 210 pp.

Editors Magnus Ranstorp and Magnus Normark have assembled a useful collection of essays that resulted from a 2007 international workshop on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism, held at the Swedish National Defence College. (Ranstorp is research director of the college’s Center for Asymmetric Studies; Normark works on CBRN issues for the Swedish Defense Research Agency.) The principal goal of the conference and the book was to identify a set of critical indicators and early warning signs for possible acquisition and use of unconventional weapons by terrorists. To this end, the essays examine the current difficulties in the field of CBRN terrorism studies. One of the largest obstacles is the dearth of reliable data because there have been no cases of CRBN terrorism resulting in mass fatalities, one of the essays says. Another problem, Ranstorp and Normark say, has been the general failure to merge hard-science and social-science approaches to the issue. The essays attempt to build a new methodological framework encompassing both the technical factors contributing to a terrorist organization’s ability to use CRBN weapons and the factors that might motivate the group to carry out such attacks.


In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age, Stephanie Cooke, Bloomsbury, 2009, 488 pp.

The U.S. Nuclear Arsenal: A History of Weapons and Delivery Systems Since 1945, Norman Polmar and Robert S. Norris, Naval Institute Press, 2009, 274 pp.

Unconventional Weapons and International Terrorism: Challenges and New Approaches, Magnus Ranstorp and Magnus Normark, eds., Routledge, 2009, 210 pp.

Burnishing Reagan’s Disarmament Credentials

Reviewed by Paul Boyer

Reagan’s Secret War: The Untold Story of His Fight to Save the World From Nuclear Disaster

By Martin Anderson and Annelise Anderson

Crown Publishers, 2009, 450 pp.

The husband-and-wife team of Martin and Annelise Anderson has established a cottage industry of producing works enhancing Ronald Reagan’s image. The truly Herculean labors of the Andersons, who are based at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, have already given us Reagan in His Own Hand (2001), a selection of the future president’s radio talks; Reagan: A Life in Letters (2004); Reagan’s Path to Victory: The Shaping of Ronald Reagan’s Vision (2004); Stories in His Own Hand: The Everyday Wisdom of Ronald Reagan (2007); and Reagan in His Own Voice, a three-CD set of the radio talks.

Their latest effort, Reagan’s Secret War, welcomed with lavish praise by Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Ed Meese (“superb”), and George Shultz (“an immense contribution”), continues in the same admiring vein. For the Andersons, Reagan is a colossus who even in death still dominates America: “His spirit seems to stride the country, watching us like a warm and friendly ghost.”

Acknowledging Nancy Reagan’s help in giving them access to classified documents, the Andersons quote her plea to them: “I just want people to know who Ronnie is.” They conclude, “We hope this book has helped to accomplish that goal.” One may safely predict that this work will please the former first lady, to whom, along with Shultz, the Andersons dedicate the book. How the broader world of scholars, arms control insiders, and observers of the Reagan years will view it may be more problematic.

Much of the book consists of direct quotes from Reagan’s speeches, letters, pre-presidential radio talks, private communications with Soviet leaders, diaries (as edited and abridged by historian Douglas Brinkley), and comments at meetings of the National Security Council (NSC) and the smaller National Security Planning Group (NSPG). Like Bibles in which Jesus’ words are printed in red, every quote from Reagan is highlighted with an impressive gray background scrim.

The authors range widely over Reagan’s presidency, including the 1981 assassination attempt, the economic program, and the Iran-contra scandal. Yet, as the subtitle promises, the focus is on Reagan’s strategic thinking, particularly the 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The Andersons make a simple point: Above all else, Reagan was a man of peace whose unwavering objective, rooted in his personal history and reinforced by his brush with death in 1981, was a world free of nuclear weapons.

The Andersons quote Reagan’s repeated assertions of his peaceful intentions and wholly endorse his insistence that the massive military buildup and intensified nuclear weapons competition of his first term were only a means to his utopian goal: to force the Soviets to recognize the futility of competition and the inevitability of total nuclear disarmament as their best option.

With equal conviction, they embrace Reagan’s view that the missile defense system envisioned in his SDI proposal would advance the cause of peace. As the United States developed and deployed a foolproof anti-missile system, the Russians would realize that competition in this area too was futile and would gratefully welcome Reagan’s offer to share the new technology. Once the shimmering vision of universal nuclear disarmament was achieved, a global defensive shield would protect all the world’s peoples against any cheaters or rogue states tempted to nuclear adventurism. As the Andersons uncritically quote vast swaths of Reagan’s rhetoric and embrace his own assessment of his motives, they sometimes seem simply to be channeling him rather than offering a critical assessment of the implications, context, and contemporary resonance of his strategic thought.

The book certainly has its merits. The authors convincingly portray Reagan as an active shaper of strategic policy. Those who view him as merely a gifted actor who stumbled into the presidency and amiably occupied the office for eight years as a puppet-like figure manipulated by others will find little reinforcement for their view in this book. Edward Teller, Kenneth Adelman, Richard Perle, the far-right beer baron Joseph Coors, the Harvard Sovietologist Richard Pipes, and other influential figures are mentioned, but the Andersons’ account emphasizes Reagan’s prickly independence of mind, which clearly comes through. Working with Shultz, his secretary of state once the preening Alexander Haig had been dumped, Reagan forcefully pursued his objectives, clinging tenaciously to SDI despite resistance within his own administration. “I will make the decisions,” he informed the NSC after his inauguration, and he lived up to his word. (The hollow bravado of George W. Bush’s similar “I am the decider” comment, as he announced in 2006 that Donald Rumsfeld would remain as secretary of defense, offers yet another example of Bush’s somewhat forlorn effort to emulate Reagan.)

The extensive citations from Reagan’s diary offer convincing evidence that his public avowals of peaceful intentions were not merely boilerplate pieties, but sincere expressions of a firmly held conviction that all his military and strategic policies, however they struck others, would ultimately advance his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. Reagan’s Secret War challenges those who have argued that SDI was essentially a bargaining chip to extract arms control concessions from Moscow. Had this been the case, Reagan would have cashed in his chips at the 1986 Reykjavik summit, rather than clinging to SDI despite the breathtaking concessions dangled by the Russians in exchange. He really believed in SDI.

The authors underscore the depth of Reagan’s religious beliefs, contributing to our heightened awareness of the importance of religion in U.S. politics and foreign policy generally, an awareness driven home during the presidency of George W. Bush. In a diary entry after the assassination attempt, Reagan wrote, “Whatever happens now I owe my life to God, and will try to serve him in every way I can.” This sense of divine obligation, they argue, reinforced Reagan’s conviction that the quest for peace should be his guiding principle. (In this connection, the Andersons might profitably have explored Reagan’s well-documented belief that unfolding world events could be correlated with Bible prophecies of the end times.)

Flawed History

Ultimately, however, although Reagan’s Secret War does shed light on some important aspects of Reagan’s tenure, it is rather disappointing as a work of history. Even its principal contribution, the quotes from classified NSC and NSPG documents, exchanges with Soviet leaders, and summit conference transcripts, to which Martin Anderson gained access through the intervention of Nancy Reagan and Karl Rove, raises questions. Which documents were released or withheld, and why? The documents that are quoted contain many ellipses, inevitably raising cautionary flags. For example, here is the Andersons’ version of a key exchange at Reykjavik in which Reagan rejects Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s insistence that the United States limit SDI research to the laboratory only: “I can’t go along with that…. In my country…I have a lot of critics who wield great influence…. They will accuse me of breaking my promise to the people of the United States regarding SDI.” What additional material is represented by the ellipses? Were such deletions made before the documents were shown to the authors or after? As with all historical work based on privileged access to restricted sources, the Andersons’ use of these records, while of interest, involves troubling methodological issues.

Even the heavily redacted quotes that the Andersons provide contain some revelations that complicate their rose-tinted perspective. At a December 1981 NSC discussion of Moscow’s repression of the Polish Solidarity movement, Reagan mused, “Can we afford not to go all out? I’m talking about a total quarantine of the Soviet Union.” This stunning idea dismayed even Haig, not usually given to dovish hesitations. A total economic quarantine would be “a matter of life and death” for Moscow, he warned: “They would go to war over this.” Reagan passed off the incident with a joke. “[E]veryone stock up on vodka,” he advised as the meeting ended.

The Andersons’ narrow range of sources further weakens the book’s scholarly value. They note their access to classified documents and their interviews with some surviving members of Reagan’s inner circle. Beyond this, however, their notes are striking for the total absence of the large body of work by historians, strategic thinkers, scientists, ethicists, public intellectuals, and journalists that bears directly on the book’s topic.[1] The authors draw a chapter epigraph from Paul Lettow’s Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (2005) but do not otherwise cite Lettow’s useful and generally pro-Reagan study.

Deterrence and Defense

Any reader relying solely on Reagan’s Secret War will gain little understanding of strategic thinking as it had evolved by the 1980s. Not only the Russians, but most U.S. strategists, including some of the most hawkish, understood that, in the world of nuclear strategy, even “defensive” moves such as SDI had offensive implications. If the airtight missile defense system envisioned by Reagan actually had proven feasible and been deployed, it would have radically altered the strategic balance. The United States would have been able to launch a nuclear first strike with no fear of a devastating counterblow.

Reagan simply shrugged off such criticism. His goal was peace, and in his fantasy scenario, missile defense technology generously shared with the Russians would go hand in hand with total nuclear disarmament. Yet, Cold War nuclear strategy, as elaborated by game theorists and think-tank intellectuals, did not rely on wishful thinking or protestations of goodwill, but on calculations of different outcomes rendered more or less likely, at least theoretically, by different weapons systems, deployment patterns, and targeting configurations, irrespective of particular leaders temporarily in power or their assurances of peaceful intentions. The radical disconnect between Reagan’s visionary scenario and the foundational principles of deterrence theory contributed significantly to the drumfire of criticism directed at his missile defense proposal.

Reagan’s Secret War does not begin to address the radical way SDI challenged deterrence theory, as formalized in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Under that treaty, the two superpowers pledged not to develop national missile defense systems and allowed themselves only two local missile defense systems each: one for their capitals and the other to protect one offensive launch site apiece. They thereby laid themselves open to nuclear attack, on the principle that the best safeguard against all-out nuclear war was the certainty that any nuclear attack would trigger a devastating retaliatory response.

The Andersons quote Reagan’s ritualistic expressions of revulsion against deterrence theory, a revulsion widely shared by theologians, moral philosophers, and anti-nuclear activists because the theory did assume a capability and willingness to commit mass slaughter if deterrence failed. Nevertheless, for more than 30 years, neither Cold War adversary had exercised the nuclear option despite each side’s ever more lethal strategic arsenals. It seemed plausible to conclude that fear of retaliation, whether or not formulated theoretically or codified by treaty, had played a role in this restraint.

This history suggested that the principle of deterrence and the ABM Treaty embodying it should be abandoned only after the most careful strategic analysis. Yet, nothing in Reagan’s Secret War suggests that Reagan, for all his alleged strategic sophistication, ever engaged SDI’s profound implications at a deep level or really grasped the point the Russians and his domestic critics were making.

The Andersons share Reagan’s puzzlement that Gorbachev and his team proved unwilling to accept the president’s peace-loving protestations at face value and instead treated SDI as a grave escalation of the nuclear arms race, a potentially fatal blow to the concept and reality of deterrence, and an insuperable barrier to the dramatic strategic arms cuts the two leaders were considering. (The Andersons’ blow-by-blow account of Reykjavik, although familiar in outline, is deeply depressing, as Gorbachev repeatedly presses for concessions on SDI in exchange for major strategic arms reductions and Reagan simply digs in his heels ever more stubbornly.) The authors are equally mystified that not only the Russians but also many domestic commentators, including powerful media voices such as Time magazine, blamed Reagan for the Reykjavik failure. Reagan’s hawkish reputation, they insist, was a canard promulgated by “political enemies.”

The book’s tunnel-vision focus on Reagan obscures the intense behind-the-scenes battles that SDI triggered within the administration and precludes attention to the larger political, economic, and cultural factors influencing events—Congress, the media, churches, the popular culture, military contractors profiting from the Reagan military buildup, and universities and think tanks that stood to gain from SDI research appropriations. The deep skepticism about SDI’s technical feasibility that arose within the scientific and technological communities and, more cautiously, in the Pentagon—a skepticism amply borne out by years of failed tests—receives minimal attention.

Apart from an annoyed January 1983 reference by Reagan to “the placard carriers,” one gets little inkling of the groundswell of support for the Nuclear Weapons Freeze campaign that swept America in 1981-1982, a grassroots uprising viewed by many historians as a major factor behind Reagan’s March 1983 SDI speech. (Among the protesters was Columbia University senior Barack Obama, who in 1983 published a plea in a campus newsmagazine for “a nuclear free world” despite the “military-industrial interests” with their “billion-dollar erector sets.”)

Contemporary Resonances

The authors do not reflect much on Reagan’s arms control legacy. A less reverential observer might have noted not only Reagan’s doubtless sincere longing for a nuclear-free world and the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty removing intermediate-range missiles from Europe, but also features of the Reagan years such as the continued destabilizing deployment of ICBMs equipped with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles and the bloated military budgets with their dizzying array of weapons systems.

These elements were not unique to the Reagan presidency, but many observers found them particularly worrisome because of other aspects of his time in office. During the Reagan years, there was insistent talk by administration officials about surviving nuclear war through civil defense. In addition, Reagan articulated a particularly Manichaean worldview, famously calling Moscow “the focus of evil in the modern world.” Although the “us versus them” construction was a staple of Cold War rhetoric, Reagan reinforced and escalated it in a way that arguably still colors much U.S. thinking, even though the adversary has changed. Notably, in prosecuting his “global war on terror,” Bush pledged to “rid the world of evil.”

Among the other longer-term impacts, Reagan’s attachment to the concept of missile defense has resulted, in the two decades since he left office, in a multibillion-dollar research program that has produced meager results while leading to continued wrangling with Moscow over installations in eastern Europe.

Complicating any assessment of Reagan’s relevance to the contemporary arms control discourse is the fact that the present situation is both more complex and more promising than that of the early 1980s. The Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, the hostility of nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, the continued provocation of Israel’s nuclear weapons, cyberthreats to weapons-control systems, risks of nuclear materials falling into terrorists’ hands, the difficulty of distinguishing nuclear power from nuclear weapons programs—all this presents complexities hardly imaginable as Reagan and Gorbachev haggled at Geneva and Reykjavik.

In other ways, however, the situation is more hopeful than it has been in years. Total nuclear disarmament is again being seriously discussed at the highest levels. In his Prague speech last April, President Obama not only called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, but proposed steps toward that goal considerably more concrete than anything in Reagan’s earnest but vague rhetoric. Even more interesting has been the emergence of Shultz, Reagan’s old comrade in arms, now nearing 90, as one of the authors of a proposal outlining a series of specfic steps leading to the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. In a January 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, a Hoover Institution conference, and a follow-up Journal piece in January 2008, the group, which also includes former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), urged redoubled efforts to reduce the nuclear threats confronting humankind, with the long-term aim of eliminating nuclear weapons. The proposal is backed by a larger bipartisan group of politicians, diplomats, scientists, and others, including Martin Anderson.

Although it invokes Reagan’s vision, the four statesmen’s approach is quite different. It proposes a series of immediate and intermediate measures, it avoids the ideological rhetoric that so compromised Reagan’s credibility, and, while recognizing that the United States and Russia still possess 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, it defines the threat as a complex global issue. Above all, Shultz and his colleagues are not hamstrung by having to insist, as Reagan did, that progress toward comprehensive nuclear disarmament must be hostage to U.S. missile defense plans. Their action agenda still speaks of missile defense research as a “cooperative multilateral” effort, pursued through negotiations, not U.S. fiat, and even including a JointDataExchangeCenter based in Moscow.

To what extent this initiative will prevail within a Republican party riven by ideological conflict remains unknown. In a June 30 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Richard Perle, assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan years, and Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have denounced Obama’s call for further U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons reductions as “dangerous wishful thinking.” Kenneth Adelman, head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the Reagan years, warns that to envision a world free of nuclear weapons is “to lose all grip on reality.” Reagan’s arms control legacy seems, at best, a mixed one, and it is not yet clear how urgently a Department of State with much on its plate and a Democratic Congress grappling with a recession, health care, and environmental issues will address the goal articulated by Obama in Prague. Nevertheless, the present moment is clearly one of considerable promise for those committed to nuclear abolition, Reagan’s oft-stated goal.

A critical assessment of how Reagan’s strategic views and policies relate to these developments might have added a timely contemporary dimension to Reagan’s Secret War. The authors’ boundless admiration for their hero and their determination to laud his every decision and utterance have resulted in a book that will be welcomed by true believers but contributes less to our historical understanding and, ironically, to Reagan’s reputation than a more objective, comprehensive, and intellectually probing work might have done.

Paul Boyer, professor of history emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is author of By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age (1985) and Fallout: A Historian Reflects on America’s Half-Century Encounter With Nuclear Weapons (1998). He edited Reagan as President: Contemporary Views of the Man, His Politics, and His Policies (1990) and is author of the forthcoming “Selling Star Wars: Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative” in Selling War in the Media Age: The Presidency and Public Opinion in the American Century (2010).


1. See, for example, John Tirman, ed., The Fallacy of Star Wars (New York: Vintage Books, 1984); Keith B. Payne, Strategic Defense: “Star Wars” in Perspective (Lanham, MD: Hamilton Press, 1986); Joseph S. Nye Jr., Nuclear Ethics (New York: Free Press, 1986); Michael Charlton, From Deterrence to Defense: The Inside Story of Strategic Policy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987); Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, 2nd ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989); Erik K. Pratt, Selling Strategic Defense: Interests, Ideologies, and the Arms Race (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1990); William J. Broad, Teller’s War: The Top-Secret Story Behind the Star Wars Deception (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992); Frances FitzGerald, Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars, and the End of the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000).


A Review of Reagan’s Secret War: The Untold Story of His Fight to Save the World From Nuclear Disaster by Martin Anderson and Annelise Anderson (Continue)

UK Revokes Arms Export Licenses to Israel

Rachel A. Weise

Following public outcry from British citizens and members of Parliament, the United Kingdom in July revoked five licenses for the export of arms components to Israel. The British decision could encourage other European Union (EU) members to review their current Israel export policy, a European Commission (EC) official said. According to a British government official, an EU working group will meet in Brussels Sept. 4 to discuss exports to Israel.

The July 13 British decision came after a lengthy review of all arms-related exports to Israel, following what the United Kingdom has called Israel’s “disproportionate” actions in Gaza in January. The licenses are widely believed to be related to Israel’s Saar-class Navy missile boats that fired on the Gaza coastline to support ground activities during Operation Cast Lead, the code name for Israel’s Gaza offensive to stop Hamas rocket fire. But the British official simply said that this was “speculation” and added that the government has not released information regarding the specific export licenses revoked.

Palestinian officials say that more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the conflict and that most of them were noncombatants. Israel estimates that fewer than 1,200 were killed and claims that most were affiliated with Hamas, an organization that Israel and the United States have labeled a terrorist movement.

Following Israel’s 22-day campaign in Gaza, the British Parliament, particularly the Committees on Arms Export Control (CAEC), demanded that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office review export licenses to Israel to ensure that no British components were used in Gaza. The review led the British government to revoke five of its 182 extant licenses to export arms to Israel.

Under EU policy, a member state that revokes an export license must circulate its reasons for doing so among the other 26 members. That requirement raises the possibility that other EU members will follow the United Kingdom’s lead. According to the EC official, although the United Kingdom’s action does not create a legal obligation on the other countries to follow suit, it is now “incumbent on EU members to actively consider this” as they evaluate their own export licenses. The purpose of the EU Code of Conduct, which regulates export policy, is to “harmonize” export practices across member states, the official said in an Aug. 8 interview. He said, “We take the Code of Conduct very seriously. That’s why we want to harmonize our [trade] practices…. Unless people want to challenge the U.K., probably, the EU will adopt those measures.” But because the specific exports in question were unique to the United Kingdom, there could be questions about the applicability of the British precedent, he said.

Israel has issued statements saying that the British decision will not have an effect on its military. The United Kingdom is not one of Israel’s major arms suppliers. Israel receives the vast majority of its arms imports from the United States, according to an Amnesty International report released in February.

Prior to the decision and in response to the CAEC’s sustained calls for a review of export licenses, Foreign Secretary David Miliband released a written ministerial statement to Parliament. In the April 21 statement, Miliband said all export licenses are assessed against British and EU criteria, which include the EU Code of Conduct and other relevant export policies. Criteria 2, 3, 4, and 7 of the code apply to the Israeli case, Miliband said. Criterion 2 prohibits exports where there is a “clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression,” while Criterion 3 limits exports that would “provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts in the country of final destination.” Criterion 4 is related to the “preservation of regional peace, security and stability,” and Criterion 7 requires that exports have a low risk of being “diverted within the buyer country or re-exported under undesirable conditions.” The licenses and the review process are not public, which makes it difficult to assess the vigor with which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office evaluates export licenses, said Roy Isbister, an arms transfer analyst at Saferworld, a London-based nongovernmental organization.

Miliband’s statement addressed a variety of claims made about Israel’s use of British exports in Gaza, saying that all existing licenses would be reviewed. He said that most of the claims were unsupported but also said “there are credible reports” about Israel using British components for a 76 mm gun outfitted on Saar 4.5-class vessels, fueling speculation that these components were exported under the recently revoked licenses.

Immediately following the decision, the British Embassy in Israel issued a statement saying that termination of these licenses was not a partial arms embargo, but part of the United Kingdom’s standard export review process. According to the July 13 statement, the United Kingdom also revoked a number of licenses to Russia and Georgia after last year’s conflict in Georgia.

Although the United Kingdom frequently reviews its export licenses, the CAEC’s continued call for a license review and the general outcry from British citizens about Operation Cast Lead contributed to the unusual level of publicity surrounding the license termination, Isbister said.

A similar situation occurred in 2002, when the United Kingdom reviewed its exports to Israel after Israel seized the town of Jenin in the West Bank in response to the second intifada, a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000. The British Parliament and citizenry strongly protested British arms exports to Israel when they learned that Israel had sent into the Palestinian territories armored personnel carriers that had been built on the chassis of old British Centurion tanks. In a letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Nov. 29, 2000, Israel had pledged that “no UK originated equipment nor any UK originated systems/sub-systems/components are used as part of the Israel Defence Force’s activities in the Territories.” After the 2002 events, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary at the time, said the United Kingdom would no longer accept Israeli assurances and that the United Kingdom would evaluate each export against EU and British licensing criteria. This resulted in a number of refusals to export items to Israel based on Criteria 2, 3, 4, and 7, the British official said. This period of increased scrutiny apparently ended after a few months, in July 2002, when the United Kingdom allowed the export of F-16 components to the United States although the United States exports F-16s to Israel.

This page was corrected on January 13, 2010. The original article failed to note that the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports was replaced on December 8, 2008, by the EU Common Position (2008/944/CFSP) defining rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment.

Following public outcry from British citizens and members of Parliament, the United Kingdom in July revoked five licenses for the export of arms components to Israel. The British decision could encourage other European Union (EU) members to review their current Israel export policy, a European Commission (EC) official said. According to a British government official, an EU working group will meet in Brussels Sept. 4 to discuss exports to Israel. (Continue)

Process for Nuclear Pacts Flawed, GAO Says

Daniel Horner

The process of preparing the government’s nonproliferation assessment for proposed nuclear cooperation agreements is flawed and should be improved through better interagency coordination and the adoption of written procedures, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report released in late July.

The report came in response to a request by senior Democratic lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who were concerned about a proposed civilian nuclear agreement with Russia. The members also asked the GAO substantive questions about the assessment, but the answers to those questions were not part of the public version of the report.

According to the report, there was a “breakdown of communication” between the Department of State and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The report focuses on the classified attachment, or annex, to the Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement (NPAS), which is part of the supporting material that the president is required to provide to Congress when submitting a nuclear cooperation agreement. President George W. Bush sent the Russia agreement to Congress in May 2008 and withdrew it in September, after Russia’s war with Georgia.

According to the GAO, when the NRC commissioners voted to approve the Russia agreement, they were working from a draft version of the classified NPAS annex. The differences between the draft and final versions “were not merely editorial in nature,” the GAO said. “In some instances, the final version of the classified annex updated certain points with new information, while in other sections significant amounts of new text and further substantive information were added and other information was deleted,” the report said.

When they received the updated version, the NRC commissioners decided the differences did not warrant a new vote, the GAO said. But some NRC officials said they were “not previously aware of certain sensitive issues raised in the classified NPAS annex that they believed NRC should have been made aware of earlier as a matter of basic information sharing between government agencies involved in nuclear proliferation matters,” the report said.

On another aspect of interagency coordination, the GAO said officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said their review of the classified annex “would have benefited from additional time.”

The State Department said it agreed with the GAO’s recommendations for improving the process but did not believe that “the deficiencies identified in the interagency consultative process prevented the State Department from carrying out its responsibilities with regard to the NPAS and the classified annex.”

The original request, from Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) in May 2008, cited specific concerns about Russian nuclear assistance and the broader “history of [Russia’s] support for Iran’s nuclear, missile, and advanced conventional weapons programs.” It asked for a detailed review of the process of preparing the NPAS.

The representatives asked the GAO to determine “whether all relevant information from classified and unclassified sources was considered and fairly assessed” and “whether the NPAS conclusions are fully supported and whether there is contradictory information that was omitted which could invalidate, modify, or impair the conclusions for recommendation to approve the [nuclear cooperation] agreement.”

Sources involved with the GAO report said the GAO’s response to those questions was presented in classified oral briefings to congressional staff.

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) later joined the request for the report. Markey, Stupak, and Waxman issued a July 29 press release in which Waxman said, “It was irresponsible of the Bush Administration to submit this agreement to Congress before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission saw the final assessment and before our intelligence agencies had sufficient time to review this critical classified [NPAS annex].”

President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have endorsed the cooperation agreement and said they will work to bring it into force, but Capitol Hill observers interviewed in recent weeks said they have not seen indications that Obama is about to resubmit it to Congress.

The process of preparing the government’s nonproliferation assessment for proposed nuclear cooperation agreements is flawed and should be improved through better interagency coordination and the adoption of written procedures, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report released in late July.

Export Control Review Launched

Jeff Abramson

The White House last month announced it was launching a major review of the U.S. export control system, and the chairman of a key congressional committee said he hoped to introduce new legislation at the beginning of next year that would replace a central component of that system.

The announcement by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of his plan to introduce a new Export Administration Act (EAA) in early 2010 came Aug. 13, the same day the White House issued its statement. The EAA, which was enacted in 1979, expired in 1989 and has been renewed by interim congressional and executive branch measures since then.

As initially outlined, the administration’s review will be broader than the congressional effort. Both will consider dual-use goods, many of which are covered by the EAA. Dual-use goods are items, technology, and information that have both military and civilian uses. But the administration also is seeking to tackle trade in weapons.

President Barack Obama directed the National Security Council and National Economic Council to open an interagency process “to consider reforms…to enhance the national security, foreign policy, and economic interests of the United States,” according to the White House statement. No specific list has yet been developed to accomplish this broad mandate, a congressional source said in an Aug. 20 interview. Such a comprehensive review would involve at least the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and State, all of which hold major responsibilities within the export control system. According to the source, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met with Obama earlier this summer to convince him of the need for the review. The source also indicated that the review has the backing of national security adviser James Jones and Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher.

The Defense and State Departments lead implementation of the 1976 Arms Export Control Act (AECA). That statute defines the purposes for which weapons may be transferred to other countries and establishes reporting and notification requirements for proposed and completed arms sales. In implementing the AECA, the State Department maintains the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which contains a munitions list of all weapons regulated by the department.

The Commerce Department is the lead agency in regulating dual-use items under the EAA, using a control list found in Export Administration Regulations. Numerous efforts have been made to reform the EAA. Since it first expired in 1989, the act has been reauthorized by Congress for short periods, the last one ending in 2001, or extended by presidential authority. In the Aug. 13 statement, the White House announced the use of presidential powers to extend the Commerce Department’s export control authority for another year.

One frequent criticism of the U.S. export system is that many of the lists are outdated; another is that it does not adequately protect national security. The White House statement called the U.S. system “one of the most robust…in the world” but criticized it as “rooted in the Cold Ear era of over 50 years ago.”

Berman, in his statement, cited a need for export controls to be “responsive to the challenges of the modern globalized world.”

According to the congressional source, the foreign affairs panel will hold hearings in the fall and winter in an effort to meet Berman’s goal of introducing a bill in early 2010. The source also said that the White House and congressional efforts would be conducted “in parallel and coordination.”

Although expansive, the reviews are not expected to take on broader conventional arms transfer policies, according to the source. Those policies were last set in 1995 by President Bill Clinton and establish the goals for U.S. conventional arms transfers. (See ACT, January/February 2008.)

The White House last month announced it was launching a major review of the U.S. export control system, and the chairman of a key congressional committee said he hoped to introduce new legislation at the beginning of next year that would replace a central component of that system. (Continue)

Air Force Creates New Global Strike Command

Rachel A. Weise

Citing a lack of “clear lines of authority and responsibility” in its organizational structure, the U.S. Air Force last month announced it was establishing a new Global Strike Command to oversee all of its nuclear forces.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley announced the change at an Aug. 5 Pentagon briefing, saying the shortcomings had been revealed in “multiple studies.”

The new command, located at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, will combine B-52 and B-2 nuclear bombers, which are part of Air Combat Command, with the U.S. ICBM force, which was previously under Air Force Space Command in Colorado. The bombers and ICBMs make up two legs of the U.S. nuclear triad; the Navy will continue commanding its nuclear-armed submarines.

The Air Force released a “nuclear roadmap” last October that reviewed the organization of its nuclear mission. The road map was the latest element of the Air Force’s response to a series of widely publicized lapses in nuclear security. Multiple independent commissions found that the Air Force gave low priority to its nuclear mission, leading to the mishandling of components of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. (See ACT, December 2008.)

In March 2008, the Pentagon admitted that it had inadvertently shipped four nuclear nosecones, instead of helicopter replacement batteries, to Taiwan in 2006. (See ACT, May 2008.) Additionally, a B-52 bomber flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale in August 2007 armed with nuclear warheads when it was not supposed to be. Shortly after, the 5th Bomb Wing in North Dakota received an “unsatisfactory” grade during a week-long nuclear security inspection by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. (See ACT, July/August 2008.)

At the Aug. 5 briefing, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said, “Our expectation is high for the command’s focus on precision, reliability, and compliance in all matters nuclear.” He told the audience that he and his colleagues had “made a special effort to make the inspections more demanding, more invasive, more challenging” to ensure that “commanders in the field get good feedback” on the health of their organizations.

Nuclear forces are stationed at 10 Air Force bases and six different logistics centers. The lack of centralized control over nuclear weapons has been cited as one of the factors contributing to the nuclear security lapses.

Non-nuclear B-1 bombers will remain under Air Combat Command. The Global Strike Command nuclear bombers will also be capable of participating in conventional missions.

Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz will lead the new command and its 23,000 personnel. In December, the ICBMs from the 20th Air Force, part of Air Force Space Command, are scheduled to shift to Global Strike Command. The bombers from the 8th Air Force are due to move in February 2012. Schwartz said that the transition will be done deliberately so there are “no hiccups along the way.”

Although the Pentagon briefing was held Aug. 5, no statements were authorized for release until Aug. 7. Donley and Schwartz said this was out of respect for the 64th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, which was Aug. 6.

Citing a lack of “clear lines of authority and responsibility” in its organizational structure, the U.S. Air Force last month announced it was establishing a new Global Strike Command to oversee all of its nuclear forces.

Veto Threat Spurs F-22 Cuts

Emma Ensign

Under a threat by President Barack Obama to use his veto power for the first time, Congress has taken steps to cut spending for additional F-22 fighter jets.

Obama issued the veto threat as part of the administration’s declared intent to shift defense spending away from certain major weapons programs and toward support for systems that meet current U.S. war-fighting needs.

The June 24 threat came one day before the House passed the $680 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2010. The bill allocates money for the production of seven additional F-22s to supplement the 187 for which Congress has already approved funding. Forty-four of the purchased planes are still being built.

In an April 6 speech, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates vowed to terminate appropriations for programs he said no longer reflected “contemporary wartime needs.” He emphasized instead the need to “enhance our capabilities to fight the wars we are in today” and those that the United States is most likely to face in the future, “while at the same time providing a hedge against other risks and contingencies.” Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has publicly stated that 187 planes would be sufficient to meet operational requirements.

Obama made it clear in a statement of administration policy released in June that he would veto any defense spending legislation that included provisions for more F-22s, which he called an “inexcusable waste of money.”

During debate on the Senate version of the defense authorization bill, Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and others argued that the loss of planes would hurt U.S. defense capabilities and negatively affect jobs in the defense sector. On its Web site, Lockheed Martin, the lead contractor for the F-22, says that subcontractors and suppliers in 44 states manufacture parts and subsystems for the plane.

In late July, the Senate voted 58-40 in favor of an amendment offered by Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and the panel’s ranking Republican, John McCain (Ariz.), stripping $1.75 billion in funding for the aircraft. During committee markup, Chambliss had offered an amendment, which was approved by a 13-11 vote, to add $1.75 billion for seven additional planes. The Levin-McCain amendment reversed the committee vote, bringing the funding back down to the level the administration requested. The House and Senate have yet to reconcile their authorization bills.

In the defense appropriations bill, the House voted 269-165 for an amendment to remove a provision calling for $369 million for 12 additional F-22s. The House approved the full appropriations bill July 30. The Senate is expected to take up appropriations when it returns from recess in September.

The F-22, widely considered to be the world’s most advanced fighter jet, was originally designed to win dogfights against possible Soviet air-defense fighters and is not well suited to support ground troops or other counterinsurgency missions. It can perform high-altitude tactical operations and is encased in a radar-absorbing skin. It has never been used in combat.

It has also suffered increasing maintenance costs. According to the Air Force, each hour of F-22 flight costs more than $44,000 and requires more than 30 hours of repair.

Proponents of the F-22 have pointed to the possibility of developing an export model of the fighter jet, a plan complicated by the current U.S. export ban on the plane. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) is one of several legislators expressing interest in reversing an amendment to the fiscal year 1998 defense appropriations bill prohibiting the sale of the F-22 to other countries. The provision was intended to protect the technology from falling into the hands of countries hostile to U.S. interests.

U.S. allies such as Japan and Australia have expressed an interest in buying the F-22. Japan in particular has been looking at the F-22 as a possible replacement for its fleet of F-43Js. The U.S. Air Force estimates that it would cost Japan around $250 million per plane to buy the F-22, according to a letter from Inouye to Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese ambassador to the United States.

Under a threat by President Barack Obama to use his veto power for the first time, Congress has taken steps to cut spending for additional F-22 fighter jets.


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