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Bloomberg News
August 27, 2018

The Case for Extending New START



Tuesday, January 28, 2020
2:00 - 4:00pm
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045

On February 5, 2021, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) will expire unless the U.S. and Russian presidents choose to extend it by up to five years.

New START, which has been in force since February 5, 2011, verifiably limits U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals to 1,550 deployed warheads, 700 deployed missiles and heavy bombers, and 800 deployed and nondeployed missile launchers and bombers. Since February 2018, the United States and Russia have met and maintained their obligations under the treaty. Although Russia has indicated its support for a clean, unconditional extension, the Trump administration has yet to officially decide on the future of the treaty. Administration officials have said President Trump is seeking a “new era of arms control” that includes more types of Russian weapons as well as China. 

If New START expires without an extension or replacement, there will be no legally binding constraints on the world's two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time in half a century. The treaty’s rigorous monitoring and verification regime, which includes on-site inspections and the exchange of thousands of notifications, would also disappear.

Speakers outlined the case for extending New START and address frequently asked questions about the treaty and the future of arms control.

Key quotes from the speakers are listed here, with a full transcript below.

  • “Without New START extension, the two countries could be locked into a nuclear arms race that would exceed in expense and risk the arms race we saw at the height of the Cold War. Both sides would be able to quickly upload hundreds of additional warheads into existing missiles, which might preserve the important principle of numerical parity, but at the expense of stability.” —Thomas Countryman, chairman of the board of the Arms Control Association and former acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security
  • “[New START] is a treaty that does what it does very well: It limits strategic nuclear arms in a verifiable way so as to provide clarity and certainty in the respected strategic arms of each party, thereby preventing an uncontrolled strategic arms race fueled by uncertainty and instability. It allows each side to see the other side as it is, not 20 feet tall and not 2 feet tall.” —Madelyn Creedon, former principal deputy administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy
  • “It's significant that the Russians are in compliance with New START, and we ought to hang onto it…It's inherently valuable to have restrictions on the Russian stockpile, whether or not we are able to put restrictions on Chinese forces…I wouldn't want to pay the price of losing the restrictions on Russian forces in order to get restrictions on a Chinese force that's much smaller and less significant in the composition of its war fighting.” —Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies, American Enterprise Institute
  • “Global security would be greatly enhanced by extending the New START agreement for another five years. Extension would preserve the last effective and verifiable agreement to limit strategic arms competition with Russia and make it easier to maintain deterrence and strategic stability. It would ensure a high degree of predictability, thanks to the intrusive verification and transparency regime in New START, by reducing uncertainty about Russia's future force size structure extension and would diminish the worst case assumptions that could drive up the cost of U.S. force modernization and create a lot of high anxiety in many of our allies. ” —Amb. Alexander Vershbow, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, and NATO deputy secretary general


THOMAS COUNTRYMAN: Good afternoon. If everybody would have a seat, we'll get started. Thank you very much for coming out on this brisk afternoon. I'm Tom Countryman. I'm the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association.

And the Association wants to welcome you today to our briefing on the case for extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Before we hear from our guest panelists who have extensive national security experience about their perspectives of the stakes in extension, I'm going to give you a little background -- and many of you already familiar with it -- about New START and outline the Arms Control Association's perspective.

New START limits the world's two largest and most deadly nuclear arsenals, the U.S. and Russian strategic arsenals, to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems, which includes as you know, missiles, bombers, and submarines.

Since it entered into force in 2011, the treaty has been working and both sides are in compliance. But just 12 months from now, on February 5th, 2021, New START is set to expire. Fortunately, New START is popular in both Washington and Moscow, and it contains a clause fairly unique among treaties in that it can be extended for an additional five years with only the signatures of President Trump and President Putin. That is without going back to either the Senate or the Duma.

From ACA's perspective, extending New START should be the easiest foreign policy decision that President Trump can make. And conversely, failure to extend the treaty would be one of the most dangerous decisions the president could make.

Without New START extension, the two countries could be locked into a nuclear arms race that would exceed in expense and risk the arms race we saw at the height of the Cold War.

Both sides would be able to quickly upload hundreds of additional warheads into existing missiles, which might preserve the important principle of numerical parity but at the expense of stability.

Military and intelligence officials have said they greatly value the monitoring and verification provisions of New START, which provide predictability and transparency and help promote a stable nuclear deterrence posture vis-a-vis Russia, and which cannot be easily or cheaply substituted by national technical means.

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, testified about New START to the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently. He said, "It contributes substantially to U.S. national security by providing limits, robust verification, and predictability about Russia's strategic forces."

He said, "We have high confidence that Russia is in compliance, and without the treaty and its verification provisions we would be flying blind. It's strongly in the U.S. national interest," Mullen concluded, "to extend New START for five years so that the United States and Russia can continue to realize the mutual benefits and stability that it provides."

Now, as we'll hear in more detail from our panel, all U.S. allies -- in NATO and in East Asia -- support the treaty's extension. Members of Congress of both parties support extending it, as do 80 percent of the American public based on recent polls.

There is no other step that the President can make in foreign policy and certainly not with regard to Russia that would draw such strong bipartisan support as the extension of New START.

Unfortunately, this administration has failed to open discussions with Moscow on the extension. The president says he wants more. A bigger deal that covers not just U.S. and Russian strategic weapons but also tactical nuclear weapons, and more ambitiously he wants to bring China into a new trilateral treaty.

These are praiseworthy goals and I support them, but they are long-term goals that do not take account of the fact that concluding such an ambitious and expansive new agreement within the next year and before New START expires is virtually impossible.

As our panel will discuss, there is a better solution that is staring the administration right in the face: simply extending New START, lock in the current limits on the U.S. and Russian arsenals and build from that to more ambitious restraints, not only on Russia and the United States, but potentially on China as well.

So, that's just where the Arms Control Association stands -- the basics about it. We have a great panel to talk to you. We have a smaller panel than we anticipated. As you know, in Washington, circumstances don't always allow the schedule to go through.

So, we're missing General Weinstein and Congressman Fortenberry. But I think you'll hear some of the points they would have made. I especially regret not having Congressman Fortenberry here. He has been a genuine leader in the House of Representatives in raising awareness of all nuclear issues both arms control and nonproliferation. And I was really looking forward to having him here today.

But we -- it means we have enough time, not only for our speakers to go in-depth but to take all of your questions. So, with that let me hand it over to the executive director of ACA, Daryl Kimball.

DARYL KIMBALL: Well, thank you very much, Tom. And thanks to all of you for being here this afternoon. There are -- I hear from my staff a few competing news items up there. So it's very good to see so many of you here this afternoon.

But we believe that this is one of the most important foreign policy issues of 2020. And we hope that your work after this meeting, your presence will help elevate this issue and help inform the discussion in the weeks to come.

And to -- for our discussions today, we've got three very experienced thoughtful folks to dive into some of the issues that Tom had just touched upon. So we're going to hear it from each of them for about 10 minutes or so, and then we're going to take your questions, again, through discussion about some of the issues that they've raised and some of the others that they may not have raised.

And first we're going to hear from Ambassador Sandy Vershbow who, as his bio says, has extensive experience in the U.S. diplomatic corps, working in government since 1977. He has served at NATO as our ambassador and has a depth of experience and knowledge about the views of our allies on these issues. He's going to be talking about that as well the implications of the New START and our arms control breakdown with Russia on U.S.-Russian relations.

Then we're going to hear from Kori Schake who just 10 days ago came to Washington, D.C. for our lovely climate here from California to take over as the lead Defense Policy Director -- Foreign and Defense Policy Director at the American Enterprise Institute. She's going to share her perspectives on New START and the U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control situation from her perspective and experience as a veteran of the Defense Department and the National Security Council.

And then last but not least we're going to here from Madelyn Creedon who is currently a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings Institution, but perhaps more importantly before that she served as the deputy administrator at the National Nuclear Security Administration and was also the assistant secretary at the Defense Department for Global Strategic Affairs.

So she has extensive knowledge and experience about New START itself, about how it affects the U.S. planning for maintaining and structuring our nuclear forces in the years ahead. And Madelyn is going to discuss in more granularity some of the issues and concerns that have come up about extension of the treaty, what weapons systems it does and does not cover, the triangle, and perhaps some other things.

So with that, let me turn it over to Ambassador Vershbow to start us off. Thanks for being here.

AMB. ALEXANDER VERSHBOW: Thanks very much, Daryl. Thanks to all of you for coming. It's nice to see some former U.S. government colleagues out there because I appreciate the convergence. But first of all, let me start by echoing what we've already heard.

I think -- our allies think -- that global security will be greatly enhanced by extending the New START agreement for another five years. Extension would preserve the last effective and verifiable agreement to limit strategic arms competition with Russia and make it easier to maintain deterrence and strategic stability. As was said, it would ensure a high degree of predictability, thanks to the intrusive verification and transparency regime in New START, by reducing uncertainty about Russia's future force size structure extension and would diminish the worst case assumptions that could drive up the cost of U.S. force modernization and create a lot of high anxiety in many of our allies.

In fact, I think extending New START would actually help to strengthen the domestic and the allied political consensus in favor of both strategic force modernization and NATO's nuclear strategy and force posture.

We all remember the debate on the ratification of New START 10 years ago: the ratification was a precondition for Democrats for modernization and modernization was a precondition for some Republicans for New START. I think that remains the political reality today. Like many members of Congress, our NATO allies are also wedded to dual-track approaches to nuclear weapons and force modernization more generally, in which deterrence and dialogue with Russia go hand in hand. The force improvements -- the conventional force improvements that NATO has made since the Russian aggression against Ukraine -- those decisions were based on the consensus in favor of continuing dialogue with Russia as we develop our conventional forces. So a dialogue between NATO and Russia may not be very productive, but it's politically important nevertheless.

And I think the need for a dual-track approach is even more evident when it comes to the decision our allies might be asked to take in coming years to modernize and increase the readiness of NATO's nuclear deterrence capabilities, the allies have reaffirmed on numerous occasions that as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance, but it's no secret that there is significant opposition in several basing countries to continue reliance on nuclear deterrence in maintaining NATO's longstanding nuclear sharing arrangements.

As you may have noticed, the Belgian parliament came close to ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons just two weeks ago. There is still considerable support for the Nuclear Ban Treaty in the Netherlands and other allied countries, Germany repeatedly postponed a decision on whether to incorporate a nuclear capability in the replacement for its Tornado dual-capable aircraft, and there are growing strains within the German coalition on this issue. So U.S. unwillingness to extend New START could strengthen anti-nuclear sentiments in these and other countries, jeopardizing the NATO consensus.

The same way as I think applies with respect to decisions that will be needed on measures the U.S. will be proposing to counter Russia's violation of the INF treaty -- decisions that I think will need to be based on consultations and agreement by potential basing countries. Allies would be more reluctant to endorse U.S. recommendations particularly, if they involve additional nuclear capabilities that are targeted on Russia, and will also be sensitive about reorganizing NATO missile defense away from Iran and Port Russia if these steps are being taken in the context of an unraveling New START regime and a new arms race.

Now, in saying this, I'm not suggesting New START is perfect or is of timeless value -- the strategic environment has changed in the past decade and the Trump administration has raised valid criticisms about the treaty's shortcomings that will need to be addressed in the future. The first is that New START doesn't cover all of Russia’s nuclear capabilities that threaten the U.S. and the allies, including not only strategic nuclear weapons, new intermediate-range systems as well as these exotic systems, which, I think Madelyn will tell us more about.

And the second concern is the treaty doesn't constrain any of China's growing nuclear capabilities, both strategic and intermediate-range that already threaten the U.S. forces and the U.S. mainland along with our Pacific allies. So the allies don't dispute any of these concerns, but I think they would agree that these are not as urgent as tending to the extension of New START. An extension would give us additional time to negotiate long term solutions to both sets of concerns the administration has raised, while preventing the Russians from launching a rapid build up of warheads and delivery systems in excess of the New START treaty.

While we can do some building up ourselves, I think given the asymmetry in the U.S. and Russian modernization cycles, Russia might be better positioned to break out of the treaty by uploading warheads or activating non-deployed systems to the United States. So as Rose Gottemoeller argued in her New York Times piece last year, we shouldn't give Russia the opportunity to outrun us.

Now, some of these new guidance systems are covered by the treaty, the Russians have said that, and the more exotic ones aren't going to be ready to be deployed in the next five years. So there's plenty of time to devise new ways to address these, figure out how to limit some of these new technologies and ensure sufficient verification. As that time develops, we need to develop an approach to dealing with non-strategic nuclear weapons, which in the past has been considered in the "too hard" category, and perhaps we can even come up with a successor to the INF treaty, although that might be too hopeful to complete.

Now on China, including China in future arms control agreements is certainly a worthwhile goal, but as I said, I don't think this is as urgent as extension to the New START treaty. China right now has a minimum strategic nuclear deterrent of about 300 warheads, which is roughly 5 percent of the numbers possessed by the United States and Russia with close to 700 INF range missiles. These forces don’t at the present time affect strategic stability or undermine the benefits of the bilateral New START treaty.

The question shouldn't be if China (inaudible). I think we should actually enlist the Russians in trying to engage with Beijing in some kind of strategic stability dialog to educate the Chinese about nuclear deterrence and show them that it's in their own interest to work with the other nuclear powers to strengthen stability and predictability.

We certainly shouldn't make New START extension hostage to Chinese agreements to join in trilateral negotiations. That may take years to accomplish and I think that if we were to forego five more years in New START just because of China, this could be seen by allies as a smoke screen for abandoning arms control altogether and certainly opening us to risk (inaudible) jeopardize force modernization.

Before I finish, let me just say a couple of words about the importance of New START in managing the increasingly nasty political relationship between the West and Putin's Russia that we've been dealing with especially since the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. I would say today's competition with Russia is in many ways riskier and less stable than the U.S.-Soviet relationship was in the last decades of the Cold War when we were able to kind of lower tensions through détente and actually agree on some rules of the road and the agreements like the Helsinki Final Act (inaudible) just to further reference to limit strategic and conventional arms and stabilize the potential military competition. We pushed it even further in the days of Gorbachev and Yeltsin but also in the early Putin administration and under Medvedev in agreeing on a more elaborate set of agreements and rules of the road to limit the competition.

As late as 2013 we were talking about potentially game-changing cooperation with Russia on missile defense against rogue states. But I think, to put it bluntly, today Russia has joined the ranks of rogue states, no longer special rules of the game I just mentioned, it's working to undermine the rules-based order, it's trying to block its neighbors' path toward NATO and the EU, working to destabilize Western societies, to discredit our democratic institutions. So this is a far more difficult environment than the period when we negotiated New START, and I think there's a real risk that a military incident could spiral out of control, that concern can no longer be dismissed. Maintaining stability through extension of New START could help reduce the chances that such an accidental conflict could go nuclear.

So this (inaudible) New START may be somewhat a more important politically than it was 10 years ago when it was (inaudible) in terms of keeping the competition with Russia within bounds. There's a lot of other areas where we need to compete with Russia. We should focus our resources and mobilize the allies on those fronts, such as strengthening conventional deterrence, strengthening resilience against cyber and hybrid threats, figuring out what is the right counter to the INF Treaty with our mission of supporting Ukraine and Georgia and the other neighboring states of Russia as to defend their sovereignty and opposing Putin’s ambitious agenda, and of course we should try to develop a coherent strategy to counter Putin’s growing influence in the Middle East and around the world. What we allowed (inaudible) managing relations with Russia, we focus our resources and political strength on these areas of competition rather than triggering an accelerated, costly arms competition with Russia (inaudible) collapse of New Start.

So looking at 2020, extend without preconditions. Russia has complied with New START. Its upheld its side of the verification and transparency regime. It is in a better place to break out of the treaty than we are, and so it would be wise to pocket Putin's offer and keep our allies with us and use the additional time to address the long-term challenges. Thanks.

KIMBALL: Thanks, Sandy. This is a very good and in-depth introduction. Kori, thanks for being with us, good to see you.

KORI SCHAKE: It's my pleasure. I mostly agree with everything Sandy just said, and so [inaudible] by reviewing and outlining for the (inaudible). But it seems to me that the value, for me, of this START treaty is first to limit the (inaudible) strategic warheads and that really matters and exactly for the reasons Sandy said because our -- well, New START was negotiated at a time when we were hopeful about the relationship with Russia. We're not hopeful about our relationship with Russia anymore for lots of good reasons.

And I favor sustaining the INF treaty, but I couldn't come up with a good answer of how to bring the Russians back into compliance. So it's significant that the Russians are in compliance with New START, and we ought to hang onto it (inaudible) keeping restraints on Russian strategic nuclear forces. Actually, I don't think the argument's any harder than that for New START, but two other reasons I favor the treaty, the second is that the counting rules in New START prejudice slow delivery systems, right? The return to the Reagan administration's bomber counting rules where the bomber counts as a single unit, not the weapons on the bomber.

And I think one of the real challenges that we have at hypersonic and a lot of the new innovations in conventional and nuclear delivery systems and suspicion are that they are going to speed up the pace of warfare such that it collapses decision time and that increases the likelihood of sloppy, dangerous, damaging mistakes.

And so, I think that counting rules are actually advantageous because they prejudice slow delivery platforms. And the third reason that I favor the treaty is that the onsite verification provisions that we don't have in any other medium to understand what's going on in Russia's strategic forces. I think that was hugely valuable.

For me, those three reasons are compelling about why to remain in the treaty. I take Sandy's point and Tom's point, I think it's a very valuable one that there is also reputational benefit to staying in the treaty, especially before we start to have a NATO conversation about modernizing NATO's nuclear forces. It’s well-nigh impossible to have a policy discussion among the NATO allies if we have just withdrawn from the START treaty. We are going to end up with a really bad outcome in NATO if that (inaudible) that kind of study.

And it may not be -- it may not advantage us much in the conversation about nuclear modernization to stay in the treaty, but leaving it will surely do some damage. And the administration I think is right in both of its complaints about the treaty. First, that it only captures strategic forces when the United States and its NATO allies have reduced our non-strategic nuclear forces by over 90 percent since the end of the Cold War and Russia has expanded theirs.

But that's not cheating on the treaty. That's smart work of the rule set, and so they are right that it would be wonderful to get the Russians engaged in meaningful non-strategic nuclear force restrictions. I personally favor the proposal that Ambassador Eric Edelman and Frank Miller made in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago, which is to have an oath to negotiate a treaty in the future that has an overall limit of nuclear weapons so that you can trade off between strategic and non-strategic, you get a limit on all of them and the parties to the treaty can determine what the balance of forces that they want. That strikes to me as a reasonable point.

But the administration is right that the Russians have expanded their non-strategic nuclear forces, that has increased the threat to America's NATO allies in Europe and it has created the potential for a widening the Atlantic in a crisis. So they're not wrong to be worried about that, it would be wonderful to capture that in the future. And the second thing they're not wrong about is that Chinese nuclear forces become increasingly important as the US and Russia stockpiles get drawn down.

But we're about a factor of four away from where that balance (inaudible) and we shouldn't lose perspective that it's inherently valuable to have restrictions on the Russian stockpile, whether or not we are able to put restrictions on Chinese forces. And so I agree with Sandy that I too would like to see restrictions on the Chinese forces. I wouldn't want to pay the price of losing the restrictions on Russian forces in order to get restrictions on a Chinese force that's much smaller and less significant in the composition of its war fighting.

Moreover, I agree with Sandy that time matters and I didn't know, Tom, until you said it but it was a simple signature from both the US and Russia heads of state that extended it for five years and I, again, I like the notion, I'm basically the poor man's Frank Miller. I like the notion that Frank and Eric pointed out that making the extension contingent on having an agreement that captures both non-strategic and strategic, but that part, that's five years for that conversation. And so extending the treaty while creating the expectation that within five years, we will want an overall nuclear limit seems to me a great direction to go.

And I'm not sure I agree with Sandy that Russia is better positioned to break out from the treaty, and the two data points I would offer to substantiate that are first, this is the only arms control treaty the Russians weren't cheating on, and there's a reason they're not cheating on it, because it's in their interest for it to remain in force, and it may even be asymmetrically in their interest for it to remain in force. The second thing is that Russia has nearly completed its cycle of nuclear modernization and the United States is just commencing ours, as Sandy said, it was part of the bargain to get Republican votes for ratification of the New START treaty, and it’s only just coming into being. Meanwhile, the Russians have increased and modernized their force and, as Sandy said, effected a lot of exotic new delivery systems.

Again, that's smart playing the rules in the way that the United States did their aircraft carrier development in the 1930s when we were signatories to the Washington Naval Accords. But that tells you how important it is to keep the rules in play so that you can, as my AEI colleague John Maurer argued, that arms control agreements should be worked to limit the things we're most scared of and to drive the competition into areas of either less importance or your greater asymmetric advantage, and we have lots of opportunities to do that and we should, but not as a substitute to keeping these valuable restrictions in place.

The last thing I'd like to mention is the effect on the national defense spending. I don't share with you, or at least I don’t share to the extent that Tom laid out, that if New START isn't extended, it would be an unlimited arms race between the U.S. and the Russians. I think the strategic balance is more stable than that, but we have a lot of big fish to fry, and even though 700 billion dollars and the eye popping size of the American defense budget, it nonetheless isn't exorbitant for the number of things we're trying to do with that budget. And limiting what we spend on our nuclear forces in order to enable, for example, our own development of exotic delivery systems is a judicious use of the taxpayer's money. And I think I will close with that.

KIMBALL: Great, thank you, and I'm not disagreeing with that last point, but I think, as I heard Tom say, the door would be opened to an unconstrained arms race -- that is the risk, it's not a certainty, but without the limits established by New START, the temptation will be there by both sides to upload, to increase...

SCHAKE: (inaudible) the temptation and tempering it.

KIMBALL: Okay, it may not be as enticing (inaudible). Madelyn, on to you.

MADELYN CREEDON: Okay. Thanks Daryl. And thanks to Kori and Sandy for laying out really most of the arguments on the treaty, but I want to reflect just for a moment on what we haven't talked about today, and that's about a strategic arms reduction treaty. So the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, which was signed in April of 2010 and entered into force on February 5th of 2011 and expires in February 5 of 2021. It's a treaty with which both Russia and the U.S. are complying and that point has been made, but that is an extraordinarily important point, and both met the central limits of the treaty on a friendly basis in February of 2018.

So New START replaced the previous 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which of course expired in December 2009. Like its predecessor treaties, START 1, START 2, the strategic arms limitation treaties, the SALT treaties, some of these of course entered into force and some didn't, but New START limits strategic nuclear arms of the U.S. and Russia. There's a decade in our history of strategic nuclear arms agreement between Russia and U.S. These treaties play with New START and played historically a large role in reducing the nuclear arsenals of the two countries from their peaks.

The U.S. peaked at 31,255 weapons in 1965, and Russia peaked in 1985 at about 38,000 weapons. Strategic nuclear arms of course include ICBMs, SLBMs and their launchers, ballistic missile submarines, long-range bombers and the nuclear warheads that all these systems carry. So did I mention that the New START treaty is a bilateral between the U.S. and Russia, strategic nuclear arms control treaty, designed to limit strategic nuclear arms. It is not a treaty that limits ballistic missiles, ballistic missile defense systems. It's not a treaty that limits non-strategic nuclear systems. It doesn't limit short to intermediate range ballistic missiles. It doesn't limit micro (inaudible). It doesn't cover anything except strategic nuclear arms, and it wasn't designed to.

It is what it is: it's an effective bilateral, verifiable strategic nuclear arms control treaty that is essential to our ability to provide an effective deterrent. Now the last words outlined, they actually belong to General John Hyten when he was commander of the U.S. Strategic Command. The treaty is a bilateral, verifiable agreement that gives us some predictability on what our potential adversaries look like. And those aren’t my words either, those are General Paul Selva’s when he was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The New START treaty contains verification and transparency measures such as data exchanges, periodic data updates, notifications, unique identifiers on strategic systems, some access to its monitoring and on-site inspections. That will give us important insights into Russian strategic nuclear forces and how they operate their forces.

We will understand Russian strategic forces much better with the treaty than would be the case without it. Now, so you might get the theme here, but it's not my words either, right? But the combined thoughts and views of seven former commanders of the U.S. Strategic Command expressed in a letter of support for the New START Treaty in July of 2010.

So when New START was signed, the idea was that the treaty would carry on the long heritage of mutually working to reduce strategic nuclear arms. The Obama administration certainly realized that non-strategic arms are also important and that their importance is in fact growing, but this treaty was a treaty covering and limiting strategic arms, and the next treaty would deal with non-strategic arms or even the whole nuclear stockpile and their delivery systems.

So Russia wasn't interested in pursuing a follow-on treaty as we all know during the Obama administration. In fact, they made it very clear that they were not interested in talking about a follow-on treaty until the central limits were met. Of course, those central limits were met as I mentioned in February of 2018 after the Obama administration had come to a close. And by then there was very little interest on either side working on a new treaty. Clearly the geo-politics had changed substantially.

And as both Kori and Sandy mentioned, the situation is probably even worse now than it was when the central of limits came into force.

Such a comprehensive treaty, a treaty that's covers non-strategics for all nuclear warheads and their delivery systems would be a much more difficult treaty to negotiate then, and it will be more difficult going forward. Among other things, such a treaty would have to cover a wide range of dual-use systems. It would be very challenging to verify, and it would ironically force Russia to admit that it had cheated on the INF Treaty in advance of the U.S. strategic withdrawal because you couldn't have a comprehensive treaty without bringing those systems in as well.

So the critics have complained as we all know that New START does not limit these Russian short-range nuclear systems and other non-strategic systems. And it's true, it doesn't, and the treaty wasn't designed to do that. So as we noted, the Russians have far too many short-range nuclear weapons for their own good, as well as instability along their borders, but this needs to be addressed in a separate negotiation. No single treaty provides a silver bullet to mitigate all the threats we face. And New START is no exception. Those words were actually penned by Brent Scowcroft, the former National Security Advisor to George H.W. Bush and Jake Garn, the former Republican senator from Utah in September of 2010 in an op-ed in the Washington Times.

So New START is not and was not intended to be a silver bullet. So it doesn't cover China, it doesn't cover other countries, and it doesn't cover nonstrategic nuclear weapons. These omissions do not make it a fatally flawed treaty, it is a treaty that does what it does very well: It limits strategic nuclear arms in a verifiable way so as to provide clarity and certainty in the respected strategic arms of each party, thereby preventing an uncontrolled strategic arms race fueled by uncertainty and instability. It allows each side to see the other side as it is, not 20 feet tall and not 2 feet tall.

Without the transparency provided by this treaty, there's no predictability, no transparency, no certainty, no stability, and distrust and suspicion will only grow over time as a result. So my advice to this administration or the next one, work on the treaty with China, find the incentive to get China to the table, they clearly are not interested now, but figure out what that is, work on a bilateral treaty with Russia that covers non-strategic arms for full stockpile size, work on a multi-lateral treaty that covers short to intermediate range missiles, work on a treaty that covers dual use systems, work on any treaty that provides benefit to the U.S. and ensures stability, predictability, transparency, and reduces threats of war be they direct, inadvertent, or accidental.

Work on agreements short of treaties, work on transparency agreements, work on ways to basically have baby steps in some instances where you might eventually get a treaty that would provide some sort of transparency and understanding and stability. This could include China. This could include India and Pakistan and the DPRK. The point is, continue to work on these things, but don't throw out a perfectly good treaty that is working well in the process. Extend the New START Treaty and use its flexibility to cover those new types of Russian strategic arms, Sarmat and Avangard.

KIMBALL: Thank you, everyone. And I would just note that New START doesn't cover migratory birds, but there is the Migratory Bird Act, so, start it off with migratory birds, there is a law at least on that.

We have some time for questions and discussion to explore these issues even further, and I just wanted to kick us off as you all contemplate your questions with a question for each of you, if you would like to address it.

And Madelyn, you started touching upon this at the very end, but the Trump administration has made a big issue of the importance of engaging China. It was about nine months ago that the president brought this up. In some form or other, there was reporting about this, and yet the Administration has not yet put forward any specifics of how it would like to engage China. Rumor has it that they may lay out some ideas soon.

I don't know if that's true, or exactly when, but my question to each of you is: what are some realistic options for engaging China at this stage, given, as you all have said, that China has never been part of a formal negotiation on nuclear arms control, given that China has a relatively smaller yet still deadly nuclear arsenal relative to the U.S. and Russia, given that they said, no, thank you, we don't want to be a part of a negotiation, so what kinds of steps -- and Madelyn, you were kicking off some ideas that I wanted to, as each of you to try to offer your suggestions, is it a numerical proposal? Is it common numerical limits? Is it about information sharing, about transparency?

What might it be and what could we offer that we'd be willing to offer in exchange to induce China to do this? Because as I think each of you mentioned, China does not have a strong incentive to do so.

Your thoughts, Kori, Sandy, or Madelyn?

SCHAKE: So I would start by having a public conversation about great powers who limit their nuclear forces in relation to one another and China clearly likes the vision of itself as the hegemon of the 21st century. And so, it’s a not inconsequential way of engaging with the Chinese, and I think that might be useful.

I also think you can have a conversation about confidence-building measures and transparency in the South China Sea that you -- so in broader conversation with the Chinese about military transparency, potential flashpoints and confidence building, that it could be rolled in.

Third, I also very much like the Edelman and Miller idea and a UN Security Council permanent five declaration of their forces that starts a process of socialization on those issues.

VERSHBOW: Thanks a lot. I would agree that the place to start is through some kind of dialogue to change the Chinese perspective, and they're quite adamant right now that they don't have any need to participate with a (inaudible) smaller than that of the United States and Russia. I think they need to understand that this is not only about size of forces, but about qualitative characteristics, about what's stabilizing, what's destabilizing, at least to get them to understand that it’s in their interest to participate in some kind of process.

It may start with the verification or transparency measures for information sharing. In terms of, we are saying that the strategic-only framework, it's hard to see what we would gain by adding a ceiling amount of Chinese warheads and delivery systems. It would probably be higher than they currently deploy, so, you know, we make them feel good that we're putting some kind of block on some (inaudible) build-up in the future, and that might be useful.

I think if there's an area where we actually have something to offer is that more in the INF deal where we could offer to talk about putting some kind of constraints both on the numbers and the locations, particularly of the missiles that we are contemplating deploying in the Asia-Pacific theater to induce China's (inaudible).

I do think something like the INF is something we should be thinking about, even though the Russians violated the old one, but I think there's still ways we could promote stability and predictability, in this case, perhaps, on a trilateral basis.

KIMBALL: Any other thoughts in addition to what you're...

CREEDON: I mean I'd certainly would agree on the idea that it has to be broader than nuclear, it can't just be nuclear, it probably is a non-starter, yes, even under New START it's 1,550 deployed strategics, obviously the U.S. arsenal is much larger; it's just under 4,000. But where there is some, is what Sandy said, I think maybe is in INF, like the systems China has maybe as many as 2,100 short, medium and intermediate range missiles. We have just started -- the U.S. has just started a series of tests in that, and maybe this is something. But I think the first step is to have a conversation with China and just see, what are the things that they’re interested in, what are the things that we’re interested in.

There may be some completely off-the-wall sorts of concepts that we might want to think about that have nothing to do with nuclear systems, such as if the U.S. were to ratify the Law of the Sea convention which China has ratified and the U.S. abides by but hasn't ratified, maybe this is something, right, so now there is a reciprocity with ratification of treaties.

There are a lot of other ideas that we might bring to the fore on this, but I think the first is just get to sit down and figure out what are the shared interests, where are the diversion strategies and are there incentives to bring those to the table?

KIMBALL: All right, thank you. We’re going to turn it over the audience here. So if you could just raise your hand and identify yourself, the microphone will come to you so that we can record. So if we could take the gentleman at the back with the handsome pinstripe suit, and so that we can get this on a microphone and record it for our transcript.

BRUCE MACDONALD: All right. First of all, thanks to the Arms Control Association and to our speakers for their great presentations. First, I’m (inaudible), I’m a (inaudible) quoted in the Strategic Posture Review Commission 10 years ago.

I have a comment and a question. And the comment is it's ironic that in the (inaudible) on the question of extending New START, the administration puts at risk a lot of its strategic priorities. The only way the ground-based strategic deterrent, i.e. the Minuteman replacement, makes sense is if you hit the tight limits on warheads, otherwise it becomes, simply just allocating the top two warheads that are paced to 400 silos.

Right now, for them to do that on a very fixed level, every warhead you'd use to destroy the Russians would actually end up using up more warheads than they would destroy or as (inaudible), if it’s unlimited, then it becomes easy, but then two single warheads (inaudible) make no sense at all. That's my comment.

My question is that -- and I've raised this in one or two other forums -- is given the amount of chaos there is in U.S. strategic thinking, mightn't it be time to have a big group of senior experts like the Strategic Posture Review Commission, what is it, 10 or 11 years ago to review the whole question of strategic stability and the U.S. strategic posture. Back then it was strictly nuclear weapons arms control and non-proliferation. Today you might well want to add cyber and space to that. But there is chaos right now in U.S. strategic thinking. There is, the biggest drawback to New START of course is that it was negotiated under President Obama and that makes it lethal I think in the mind of President Trump, but it's time, to I think, to reorient or to restabilize and talk about stability, stabilize thinking in U.S. strategic policy. It's something that our allies might very much appreciate...

KIMBALL: Let's let our speakers answer your question.

MACDONALD: So my question is what do you think about that re-engagement, something like the Strategic Posture Commission --

KIMBALL: Talk about that.

SCHAKE: I think that those kinds of commissions are most helpful at start of an administration, when you can use the time that an administration is starting up to help shape their agenda and offer good ideas, and it's not clear to me the Trump administration is permeable to that kind of thinking, especially at this point in time. And that -- our test case, if you'd ask me, which is, I understand, got into the National Defense Authorization Act a year or two ago, a Cyber Solarium Commission. Congressman Mike Gallagher is on it, several others -- so I think Senator Angus King is on it, several good people, and they’re about to come out with their recommendations on an important subject that needs that kind of careful strategic analysis, and so we'll have a data point about how the administration, how receptive they are to that kind of help.

CREEDON: You know, I would say, probably, that I start with a bit of bias against these commissions, but the particular one that you mentioned I think it impacts some very good purposes, but I completely agree with Kori, you've very much better off at the beginning of an administration. And there certainly would be time for some commission to both get stood up, funded, selected, formulated, studied with any sort of a response that would provide any insight into the New START Treaty, because you kind of have to do that in the next couple of months.

But maybe long term, maybe, you know, for much broader discussion about strategic stability and working much farther than just Russia or just China.

VERSHBOW: (inaudible) The longer I've been retired, the more I’ve been interested in these kinds of commissions.


VERSHBOW: But I agree with that. But I agree it probably makes more sense at the beginning of the administration. But I think there's plenty of room for track-two initiatives even now, maybe trilateral track-twos with the Russians and the Chinese, which may be easier to get started than official (inaudible) with China, at least in the short run.

What the administration has to its credit, I think, is reaching out to China, although I don’t know exactly what they are able to accomplish, but there is potential to at least prepare the ground for serious negotiation after the next election.

KIMBALL: But clearly, it's a long process that takes time, and planning and more than 12 months.

The gentleman who has the microphone, identify yourself and ask your question.

QUESTION: Chase Enright, researcher at Physicians for Social Responsibility. This is kind of a two-parter, but the NPT Review Conference is coming up very rapidly, what impact will probably the U.S. not renewing New START have upon, say, (inaudible) the NPT Conference?

And also have there been any motions for an all-five nuclear powers states multilateral treaty on arms control, getting China’s nuclear weapons to permanently (inaudible) that they have special different arsenal sizes, well, why wouldn’t the U.K. and France be involved?

KIMBALL: Why don't you take Alex Liebowitz’s question here in the front row, and then we'll address the questions.


KIMBALL: All right, we’ve got about three questions on the table. So, I invite you to address whichever ones you’d like.

VERSHBOW: OK. Well, clearly if we are rejecting the extension of the New START Treaty, it would probably put us in the doghouse in the NPT Review Conference. And I think it would cause at least some strains with our allies. It’s not that I don’t think it would reach the point of putting NATO’s nuclear strategy at risk, but it’s still a risk for our position.

I am not up to speed on the idea of a five nuclear-armed states agreement. I made the point that it has been, sort of, very difficult in the past to get a (inaudible) on strategic nuclear weapons, and the Russians have resisted any dialogue, even, that might provide some transparency in what they have, so we have, I think, considerable uncertainty about the actual numbers.

We had very little leverage to change their positions since we – remember when we unilaterally reduced most of ours. In a different time, in a more hopeful time, the president’s nuclear initiatives (inaudible) our unilateral protections. So inducing the Russians to put them into one basket (inaudible) isn’t going to be easy, but there's going to be some lessons from the New START verification regime of what the Russians have is that the intrusive inspections under the (inaudible) checking the right number of nuclear weapons there. That kind of very (inaudible) transparency can be (inaudible).

SCHAKE: So first to your question about the NPT review conference. I seem to recall the last NPT Review Conference, we were near a rebellion by the non-nuclear powers that the nuclear member states were not upholding their end of the bargain. And I think that's only picking up speed, and the withdrawal from the START Treaty was certainly gas going into that fire. So I think you are observing it right. I actually don't know the answer about the P5. Beyond what Edelman and Miller said in their Wall Street Journal piece, my guess is that the French will believe that the great glory of France is ill-suited by this.


SCHAKE: And yet they would gain from it as well. And that's (inaudible) to have the argument.

On the non-strategic, unquestionably true, extraordinarily difficult to verify, and yet in a day when Bellingcat can tell you who shot down an airliner by tracking social media and production codes, I just can't believe that the Madelyn Creedons of the world cannot find a way that we can do this.

Moreover, it seems to me -- I just read a little bit of (inaudible) of having no leverage over the Russians on this. I think we have an enormous amount of moral leverage by virtue of the fact that the NATO allies reduced their non-strategic nuclear forces by over 90 percent, and Russia's made no corresponding cut.

And so -- again, I feel like we underuse shame in the international politics, because but reputations matter, and the Russians have painted themselves into a reputational corner, being the people who bombed hospitals after the Syrian government uses chemical weapons. And if they ever want to be out of that penalty box, we can offer them a way to be a good international citizen, and I think we ought to find a creative way to have that discussion.


CREEDON: I completely agree on the comments about the NPT. I won't belabor those for -- uh, you know, P5 do talk about things, on occasion, but in terms of, in terms of where -- where we go next in Treaty Land, there probably is room for one more bilateral treaty with Russia before it -- before we expand to others, mostly because of the discrepancy of the pure numbers, I mean, we have much more parity with Russia across the board, and I just think that would also really be a test in terms of how you verify these things.

There is, I think, an advantage of having some further discussions with Russia on what the treaty would look like, because we tend to disagree with having these conversations with Russia. There's a lot to be said just for having the conversations. Historically, just the act of these conversations provided a lot of insight into what were real concerns or fears or desires in the Middle East to actually move forward with a treaty.

I know the administration has had, I think, at least two strategic stability discussions with Russia. Those are certainly good things. We've agreed it's going to prevent more (inaudible) than track twos. I know NTI has tried to do some track twos with Russia. I mean, those are the things that would keep this ball rolling and going forward. But I think we have a long way to before we actually get to the five-way, and on the five-way side is probably where you want to do non-treaty weapons and that gets us into the transparency, confidence-building measures and those sorts of things.

SCHAKE: For anybody talking to the folks in the administration who are frothing at the mouth in fury about Britain's 5G Huawei decision, it would be a great time to suggest that five -- five-power Security Council arms control treaty. That would give the administration something constructive to focus their ire on.


KIMBALL: Well, just a quick additional comment about this -- the Russian response to the Trump administration's proposal that there's a trilateral nuclear arms control negotiation with the Chinese is well, we should involve the British and the French arsenals into the conversation. To which I've not heard a Trump administration response, but this is just an example of what I think -- you know, the American policy with respect to what follows onto New START has to be thought through carefully. The planning in my estimation has not yet been done.

And this a long-term process, unfortunately, that is not going to bear fruit within 12 months, which is -- which brings me back to underscoring one of the main points of the discussion today, which is that none of these more ambitious options, however, whatever shape or form they take, at whatever pace, are not going to be possible in the absence of this foundational U.S.-Russian strategic nuclear arms control agreement without which all of these things become incredibly more complex.

So we had a couple other questions out there. Let's go to some of the good people in the middle and the back, with this gentleman right here in the middle. Please. Yes, stand up. Identify yourself and ask us your question.

QUESTION: Dave Crandall, retired from the Department of Energy, where Madelyn was my boss at one time, and independent consultant now. Just trying to keep up with things. My experience trying to work with trilaterals with UK, France, etc., was never going to work. And it feels to me like a trilateral with China and Russia would take as much as five years, assuming you get New START renewed. (inaudible) What's -- what is realistic? When you talk about bilaterals with China and Russia, you talk about trilaterals, you talk about (inaudible) Russia. What is your opinion about what's realistic?

KIMBALL: Hold that question in your mind, we're going to take two more questions. And why don't we go here, and then we have Greg in the back.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) international (inaudible). Could you make more comments on the impact of exotic hyper-velocity weapons? When will you start modernizations (inaudible)? (Inaudible) are all of you (inaudible)?

KIMBALL: Okay. All right. Let me take this two. What is realistic in terms of a follow on to New START, as I understand your question. And how do we deal with these Russian exotic systems that Vladimir Putin is scaring everybody about?

SCHAKE: So I want to take a shot at what is realistic. I am old enough to remember the NBFR negotiations and the PFB negotiations that had, definitely (inaudible).

So if you actually want to get something done, it is possible to get it done in large numbers. It requires leadership. It requires common purpose. It requires a whole bunch of time, but I don't share your view that the U.S. and two close allies are an impossible troika to get anything done with.

KIMBALL: OK. Other thoughts?


VERSHBOW: On the P5, what can be accomplished? I mean, you should be able to find a way to deal with our British and French allies, and I think the Russians are going to absolutely insist if we go to any kind of multilateral arrangements that would bring China in, the British and French would have to be brought in as well. And the French will resist, but I there are going to be ways, depending on us, how directly (inaudible) on limits, there may be technical limits on U.S. and Russia as the big boys, and some kind of no-increase (inaudible) transparency would apply to France or maybe China.

If they have a strategic modernization plan that people (inaudible) doubles (inaudible) that the Russians getting a no-increase commitment to this year's (inaudible) a few years ago might be better than seeing it just continue to grow.

But the Frank Miller-Eric Edelman idea, I think, might be adapted to also think about combined START-INF type of limits, that’s with the supplements (inaudible), makes verifications easier, and that may create some...

SCHAKE: (inaudible) Madelyn’s problem of acknowledging the cheating --

VERSHBOW: Well, they'd have to make the 9M729 subject to this agreement. But this would be reduced from actual symmetry, or closer to symmetry, because the Chinese have a lot of INFs, numerous strategic weapons, (inaudible) what’s in it for us. But there’s a kind of incentive in terms of, you know, the leverage points. We're threatening (inaudible) definitely on their corners, they might be willing to negotiate (inaudible).

KIMBALL: And what is this -- let me push you on, what is this -- what is in this discussion for the Chinese, for instance? I mean, I would think that if I were a Chinese negotiator, I might say, not only am I concerned about U.S. conventional forces in the South China Sea, but with this missile defense system that threatens our retaliatory capabilities. So...

VERSHBOW: They think it does.

KIMBALL: Well, whether they think it does or not, it actually does -- that's another conversation. But I think it's quite likely, they're going to ask for something. That's my point. So far none of you have addressed the question, what is in it for the Chinese? What could we give to induce them to...

VERSHBOW: The Russians have always said they're going to bring up missile defense again, if we ask them to go one warhead lower than the New START requires.

KIMBALL: Okay. All right.

SCHAKE: I like Madelyn's idea as an asymmetric treaty acknowledgment and participation. I mean, the U.S. should ratify a lot of this (inaudible) anyway. Not only do we comply with it, we enforce it on other people, and the other administration had just been willing to roll our sleeves up and get the congressional votes, my own Republicans as well as Democrats.

So we should try to do that. It's a good thing. We're going to want it a lot more. You don't want to be in a position the Lincoln administration was in during the Civil War, where all of a sudden you desperately want compliance, where everybody (inaudible) this treaty you've been unwilling to ratify.

So it is really (inaudible) as the Chinese threat continues to increase in the South China Sea, that we embrace the treaty that we led, we signed, and we are compliant with, and we enforce the terms of that, and anything that you get from the Chinese, so that would be fabulous.

Then I am a lot less skeptical than you, that there are things China wants that the United States has in (inaudible), transparency on freedom of navigation, schedules, the prospects for a mutual and balanced force reductions between China and the United States, they're all there. So if we could persuade them that if you would make the time and effort, that it would require patience, that it requires to make progress on this. But as you said, they're just not even trying.

KIMBALL: Madelyn, the hypersonic systems.

CREEDON: Before I get to those, you know, even things like crisis stability mechanisms with China. I mean we don't have a real hotline with China. You know, even some very basic things that we might want to talk about that would seem to be of mutual -- of mutual benefit going forward. I guess -- you know, I guess my problem is realistically, all of this is going to be extraordinarily difficult and none of them will be easy. And it will take leadership. I mean it will just take leadership to figure out what -- what it is that we would like to pursue.

On the -- on the other Russian systems, so Sergey Lavrov has, of course, recently said that the Sarmat, which is the heavy ICBM, and Avangard, which is the hypersonic system which apparently was, could be launched on an ICBM, just because of those relationships as to ICBMs, they would naturally fall under New START and they would be in types, so there really is flexibility on the new types to preempt these sorts of systems. The ones that are way more problematic, of course, are the nuclear -- nuclear torpedo and the nuclear cruise missile. They both feel -- even though they have great distance, they certainly both feel like things that we would bring on to strategic systems historically, but it's a good place to start in terms of what the intentions could be, how their doctrine applies to them, these would be sort of the transparency discussions that one would want to have on these systems.

And I think with time, we will continue to have -- I think in time we will have more leverage with respect to Russia as our -- as the U.S. modernization program progresses, I think we’ll actually get leverage at the moment. Obviously, Russia is -- of course, is winding up their modernization but they still have production lines, they still have the ability to make warheads. Things that we don't have at the moment. So as we move forward on our modernization programs and we get back into the business of making things again, certainly the new submarine is up front, but when we -- and when we get progress on the -- on the new ICBM, when we get more progress on the bomber, when we have more than one warhead life extended, if we ever get the capability back, these are all the things that will now enable us to have serious leverage over Russia, all of which argues that we need to maintain the stability between now and then, whenever then is. So, you know, it's just a -- it's just a stronger argument for getting New START extended right now.

KIMBALL: All right. We're going to take one final question before we conclude. Let me ask the... (inaudible) Greg, why don't we take Greg Thielmann’s question?


KIMBALL: OK. And then -- OK, go ahead Greg and then we'll take...

QUESTION: Greg Thielmann, board member of the Arms Control Association.

Through the years strategic arms control between the U.S. and Soviet Union, Russia, included both offensive and defensive systems. Russia still maintains that this is a very important part of the equation. In fact, implies that it cannot lower its number of offensive ordnance once the U.S. purses (inaudible) training the defenses. And even explicitly cites U.S. chief missile defenses as a reason for Putin's wunderwaffe.

So my question is, is this something that we will continue to be able to stiff the Russians on, or is there created space that somehow involves the transit system?

CREEDON: Well, right now, they're just -- I mean, I would say, there has to be some way to have these discussions, but there are a lot of statutory impediments right now to having these discussions. And I think one of the first steps is to get rid of some of these statutory impediments to these discussions, but somehow we have to -- we have to be able to talk about this.

SCHAKE: So the last 87 or so time (inaudible) that we’ve tried to have conversations with the Russians to reach agreement on something that is patently obvious, which is that limited ballistic missile defense systems are easily overwhelmed by ballistic missiles, by decoys, by chaff -- the Russians don’t believe it, and the Russians don't want to believe it, and I am a lot less sympathetic to the -- we all need to remain un-dependent in order to have strategic stability. I think strategic stability is more stable than the suggestion that limited missile defenses would unbalance it the amount that Russia may suggest.

VERSHBOW: I think the Russians are worried that some technological breakthrough that is not actually on the horizon, that somehow we might achieve that would give us a credible defense of the U.S. homeland of missile defense. I don't think that's attainable, and even with the technologies that we're looking ahead to in the next 10 or 15 years. And I think at the end of the day, they use this as a cudgel and a propaganda tool. At the end of the day, it's not a New START agreement without any constraints on missile defense. And their preambular language about the offense-defense relationship. I think they'll make that calculus again if we negotiate another agreement. But I think the limits provide the balance and if they still see U.S. as (inaudible) against the ones and twos and threes of (inaudible) large Russian (inaudible), next time we (inaudible).

KIMBALL: I want to thank all of our speakers for their insights and their comments. We're going to have to end it there. I want to thank all of you for being with us. The Arms Control Association is going to be posting in the next three or four days a transcript of today's discussion. We're going to have more on the future of the New START Treaty in the months ahead, as we discussed today, and the day's not over.

Congress is looking at this, and looking for discussion about the NPT Review Conference which begins April 27 on disarmament treaties, including New START. So thanks for being with us, and (inaudible).


We're adjourned.


Former officials from the U.S. government outline the case for extending New START and address frequently asked questions about the treaty and the future of arms control.

Country Resources:

Beyond the Headlines: Redefining Responsibility in the Arms Trade



The Forum on the Arms Trade Conference
Beyond the Headlines: Redefining Responsibility in the Arms Trade

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 · 11:30am-5:30pm
Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20036

In the wake of continued U.S. arms provision to Saudi Arabia after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, in impeachment investigations of security assistance initially withheld for Ukraine, and in the withdrawal of support to the Kurds in Syria, the arms trade has been at the center of the news in recent months. Missing at times, however, has been a deeper discussion of what is responsible arms trade moving forward.

The second Forum on the Arms Trade annual conference,  “Beyond the Headlines: Redefining Responsibility in the Arms Trade,” is a half-day event taking place Tuesday, January 14 that will feature leading Congressional and civil society voices in conversation with audience participants. RSVP soon to examine in-depth why arms trade issues are in the spotlight and for insights into making that trade more responsible in 2020, and the decade ahead.  

This event is co-sponsored by the Arms Control Association, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), Security Assistance Monitor at the Center for International Policy, the Stimson Center, and Win Without War


(As of 1/07/2020)

11:30am-12:00pm Lunch available
12:00-12:40pm "The Need for Arms Trade Responsibility"
Keynote Address by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)
12:45-2:00pm Panel: Going Beyond the Headlines - Understanding The Longer Term Dynamics of Today’s News
  • Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
  • Andrew Miller, Deputy Director for Policy, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
  • Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Rachel Stohl, Vice President, Stimson Center (moderator)
2:15-3:30pm Panel: Redefining Responsibility in the Arms Trade
  • Daniel Mahanty, Director, US Program, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
  • Diana Ohlbaum, Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
  • Kate Kizer, Policy Director, Win Without War
  • Jeff Abramson, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association (moderator)
3:30-4:45pm Panel: Arms Trade in Popular Drama—Madam Secretary and the "Strategic Ambiguity"
  • David Grae, Executive Producer, Madam Secretary (CBS)
  • Brittany Benowitz, Chief Counsel, American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights
  • Colby Goodman, Senior Consultant, Transparency International Defence and Security
Additional participant to be named.
4:45-5:30pm Closing Remarks and Reception


Meeting Challenges and Finding Opportunities: 2020 Arms Control Association Members Briefing



Thank you for your support as a member of the Arms Control Association.

We invite you to join a conversation with executive director Daryl Kimball and board member Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins as we review our accomplishments in 2019 and make plans for 2020.

Daryl Kimball, Executive Director

This year will mark the 75th anniversary of the dawn of the nuclear age, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  We will also mark five decades since the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force.

It is an important year for us to look back at accomplishments, measure progress and move forward.

We enter 2020 with foundational arms control and disarmament treaties eroding and tensions between major powers rising.  In 2020, U.S. presidential and congressional candidates will have to address these dangers.

Please bring your questions and join us to discuss moving forward to a safer world in 2020.


  • Daryl G. Kimball, executive director
  • Amb. Bonnie Jenkins, ACA Board of Directors; and Founder, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation
  • Kathy Crandall-Robinson, chief operations officer, moderating

Join or renew your membership today to receive the registration link by email. (If you believe you are a current member but do not receive this email in the near future, please call us at 202-463-8270 ext 105.)


Join us for a conversation with executive director Daryl Kimball and board member Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins as we review our accomplishments in 2019 and make plans for 2020.

Urgent Appeal for a Nuclear Weapon Free World



"Urgent Appeal for a Nuclear Weapon Free World"
Thomas Countryman, board chairman
The Hague Peace Palace Conference
November 26, 2019

It is an undeserved honor for me to be here with such distinguished women and men, not because they are distinguished, which they are, but because they are passionate and active.

Our previous speaker, Dr. Ira Helfand gave us a clear diagnosis: nuclear weapons present a fatal, catastrophic threat to human civilization. The human cost of nuclear weapons is unconscionable, and a world without nuclear weapons is a world that we must all actively pursue. This is the reason that we must constantly repeat the words of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev who said: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

To be brief, the prognosis is grim. The risk that the world will stumble into nuclear war is higher than it has been since the end of the Cold War, and I will try to explain why.

I am not a physician, but I think I am correct in saying that the prognosis is not helped when the patient is unable to acknowledge that he is at risk. The human capacity for denial, and for generational amnesia, is nearly limitless. After 74 years during which nuclear war has not occurred, too many humans assume that something that hasn’t happened in their lifetime will never happen, whether it is a flood, an earthquake, or nuclear war.

People are not reminded of the risk of nuclear war on a daily basis, as they were during the Cold War, nor are mass media covering the risk with the seriousness it deserves. It is positive that so many people are concerned about the more visible effects of climate change, but to an extent, it diverts public attention from the issue of nuclear conflict, which would amount to climate change at supersonic speed. Without detracting from the world’s focus on climate change, we must do more to raise public consciousness about the nuclear risk, to make the patient aware of the true prognosis.

Let me highlight four particular reasons that contribute to a higher risk of nuclear conflict.

First, we live in a time in which there are a number of potential geographic flashpoints at which a conventional conflict could escalate rapidly into a nuclear confrontation:

  • North Korea and Iran attract the most attention from the U.S. administration, but they are not what Concern me the most. Despite its worrying actions, Iran remains years away from a weapons capability. And while the US and DPRK seem incapable of advancing peace, they have at least backed off their mutual threats of fire and fury.
  • Of greater concern is the risk of nuclear war between India and Pakistan, which I consider the most likely arena to see the first use of nuclear weapons since 1945. In February we saw the first case in modern history of two nuclear-armed states flying combat missions over each other’s territory. Even worse, journalists, social media and officials considered to be ‘responsible’ on both sides were publicly advocating the use of nuclear weapons. And in the weeks following, India’s defense minister seemed to reverse the country’s no first use policy.
  • The risk of nuclear conflict between Russia and the United States is, in my opinion, lower than it is between Pakistan and India, but it is still higher than it has been since the end of the Cold War, and perhaps the highest it has been since 1962. And of course, an all-out Nuclear confrontation between the US and Russia would be virtually certain to spell the end of our civilization. The U.S.-Russian arms control relationship is severely fractured, with the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in August and no clear prospect for a five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START. The treaty is scheduled to expire on February 5, 2021 but can be extended if the U.S. and Russian presidents both agree.

Moscow has expressed its willingness to extend the treaty, but Washington has failed to engage. If New START does expire, the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals will be without limits for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Russia’s continued military occupation of two of its neighbors, and its interference in other countries, must raise concerns about a conventional military confrontation in Europe. And the military doctrine of both nations makes it quite possible that a conventional conflict can escalate in a series of steps to an all-out nuclear exchange. A new simulation developed by Princeton University estimates that if, in a NATO.-Russian confrontation in the Baltics, one side resorts to the “tactical” use of nuclear weapons and the other responds, their current war plans could lead to an escalatory exchange involving 1,700 nuclear detonations against military and civilian targets. Within just the first five hours, nearly 100 million people would be killed or injured. (I urge you to watch the video simulation created by the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security titled: “Plan A.”)

Second, words matter. Rhetoric matters. Doctrine matters. For twenty years after the Cold War, most national leaders avoided talking about nuclear weapons as what made their country ‘great’. But more recently, first the Russian President and now the American President have reverted to the kind of language we once heard mainly from North Korea.

More worrying is that military leaders in both countries have gone back to the Cold War practice of imagining that a nuclear war can be ‘limited’ ‘contained’ or ‘won’. Russia maintains a stockpile of 2000 non-strategic nuclear warheads, a number that is impossible to reconcile with its declared nuclear doctrine. And the US is expanding its delivery options for so-called ‘low-yield’ warheads. Planning for the unthinkable has long been the job of military planners. But the current discussion in Moscow and Washington is not just about sustaining deterrence in extreme situations – it is actually making the unthinkable more likely to occur.

Most experts agree that it would be stabilizing if states in possession of nuclear weapons would declare a ‘No First Use’ policy and adapt a posture consistent with that policy. Unfortunately, neither Russia nor the US have declared such a policy, nor have most of the other nuclear-capable states. What these countries refuse to acknowledge is that there is absolutely no guarantee that a nuclear war can be controlled. There is no such thing as a “limited” nuclear war.

Third, the nuclear strategies that could lead to the firing of hundreds of nuclear weapons remain susceptible to false alarms. This risk has not diminished with the passing years. Others have documented the several cases in which human error caused national alerts and brought leaders in Moscow or Washington within minutes of making a civilization-ending decision.

Consider just one such event. In 1995, the Russian early warning system interpreted the launch of a scientific rocket from Norway as a nuclear missile from an American submarine. In the absence of any tension between Russia and the US, President Yeltsin did activate the mobile nuclear command center, but did not authorize a launch of Russian weapons. In 2019, with the current deep distrust in the great power relations, can we have any confidence that the current leaders would react as calmly and deliberately?

As argued convincingly by former Secretary of Defense William Perry, the continued reliance by both major nuclear powers on intercontinental missiles for the bulk of their deterrent is a major factor in the hair-trigger nature of their nuclear postures. The pressure of ‘use it or lose it’ is what causes both to consider that they have only a few minutes to distinguish between an actual attack and a false alarm.

And fourth, new and emerging technologies offer some potential for reducing the risk of accidental nuclear war. But the downside risk is greater. Hypersonic vehicles, cyber technology, artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons systems all could upset the delicate assumptions upon which bilateral stability has rested. To take just one example, cyber ‘probing’ by one nation against another nation’s military command and control systems could be interpreted as a prelude to a nuclear attack, and lead to a pre-emptive launch of nuclear weapons.

Others will discuss the appropriate therapy to address this risky situation but let me offer a few quick thoughts on the way forward.

The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a powerful moral statement and – we can hope – will be seen by historians as a crucial ethical turning point for humanity, worthy of a Nobel prize. In my view, the more urgent need now is for leading nuclear and non-nuclear states to halt and reverse the arms race, reduce the salience of nuclear weapons, and eliminate the most destabilizing types of weapons.

This means that decisions that can make nuclear war more or less likely cannot be left only to Presidents Trump and Putin. NATO members must show leadership in implementing the alliance’s declared policy of reducing reliance on nuclear deterrence and moving toward a nuclear-free world. I especially welcome the fact that the parliaments of the Netherlands and Canada have actively pushed their governments to articulate and press for policies in this direction, and that those governments have responded.

In the environmental movement, we say “Act locally, think globally”. What I hope to see from Netherlands and other Allies is that they work within NATO, but that they not limit their creative thinking and policy initiatives to the strictures of NATO doctrine.

Specifically, NATO members must use summit-level contacts, such as the NATO Summit next week in London, to convince the US President of the importance to the Alliance of New Start extension. And if we are to avoid a repetition of the nuclear Euromissile race of the 1980s, practical ideas will not come from Washington or Moscow – they must come from Europe.

And non-nuclear states must speak clearly: that they do not accept the efforts by Washington and Moscow to RE-define and walk away from their legal obligation to pursue nuclear disarmament. If great powers will not lead, others must.

Furthermore, genuine strategic stability talks between the United States and Russia are urgently needed, with the main point of conversation being the extension of New START. The lapse of this treaty would potentially spark a new global arms race and increase the chances of a nuclear war—whether that war is on purpose or accidentally.

After all, the Cold War had a handful of close calls, incidents in which the United States or the Soviet Union believed the other had launched a nuclear attack only for it to turn out to be a false alarm. More recently, there was an incident in Hawaii in January 2018, when an alert went across the state warning of an impending ballistic missile attack only to be revoked nearly 40 minutes later. Though the alert was not for a nuclear attack specifically, it nevertheless reminded us all that the real risk of a war with devastating weapons remains to this day, and there is a true possibility of a so-called “limited” war escalating to include the use of nuclear weapons. Such a situation, as I said before, cannot be controlled and will only lead to absolute devastation.

And the last suggestion for informing our approach is for allies, in particular the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to play a more active and nuanced role in reducing the role of nuclear weapons in war plans and moving towards a world free from nuclear weapons.

NATO supported the United States’ withdrawal from the INF Treaty, but has expressed support for New START, highlighting that the treaty makes the world a safer place. Such statements now demand action, as the future of New START becomes increasingly ill-fated every passing day.

The prognosis is that a full-scale nuclear confrontation—given the current potential hot flashpoints, risky doctrines governing nuclear use, the continued possibility of false alarms in early warning systems, and emerging game-changing technologies – remains a distinct possibility.

As I have outlined, however, there are steps to be taken by both nuclear and non-nuclear powers and by allies. But the task of building a world without nuclear weapons is not limited to governments and national leaders.

As Pope Francis stated this week in Japan, when he reiterated the immorality of the possession of nuclear weapons: “Turning this ideal into reality requires the participation of all: people, religious communities, civil society, states that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not possess them, military and private sectors, and international organizations.”

Now, the Holy Father did not specifically mention doctors, so let me thank the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Medische Polemologie for organizing this event, and say that it is the activism of doctors focused on the health and survival of the human species, of educators teaching the hard realities to the next generation, of elder statesmen, of civil society activists, of pragmatists, of radicals, and of pragmatic radicals. These are the ones who inspire each of us to teach individuals, to motivate society and to move governments to a more peaceful path.

Thank you, and God bless.


Remarks by Board Chairman Thomas Countryman at The Hague Peace Palace Conference on “Urgent Appeal for a Nuclear Weapon Free World"

Remarks to the 24th CWC Conference of States Parties



Dr. Paul F. Walker
International Program Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability
Green Cross International

Remarks to the 24th CWC Conference of States Parties (CSP-24)
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
The Hague, The Netherlands
November 25-29, 2019

Mr. Chairman, Director-General, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I welcome the opportunity to speak briefly before this important 24th meeting of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and wish to associate my remarks with the statement of Ambassador Kevin Kelly from Ireland and the many other States Parties which joined his call for the importance of civil society, industry, academia, and non-government organizations participating in the CWC and working closely with the OPCW and States Parties. I would also cite the timely and helpful remarks of the European Ambassador Markus Leinonen.

The one main point I would like to add to the many excellent remarks of my NGO colleagues is the continued importance of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT), the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), and other timely efforts of the OPCW to fully implement the CWC and strengthen the global norm against chemical weapons. Only with such persistent follow-through to investigate any alleged use of chemical weapons and violations of the CWC, and to refer any and all perpetrators, whether state or non-state actors, to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, will this historic abolition treaty help build a more safe, secure, healthy, and sustainable planet.

Mr. Chairman,

We must leave no stone unturned in protecting the global norm of the Convention; in ensuring that all violations will be thoroughly, professionally, and fairly investigated; in establishing a world free of chemical weapons; and in preventing chemical weapons from reemerging. The role of civil society will remain very important, and I am pleased that we have now been able, with the help of the CWC Coalition, to increase annual registration to close to 300 NGO representatives, well over ten times our CSP registration from a decade ago.

We will continue to actively support the OPCW and CWC, and look forward to helping all States Parties to fully implement this historic model arms control treaty.

Thank you for your kind attention, and I wish for this statement to be made part of the final CSP record and posted on the OPCW website.


Dr. Paul F. Walker, international program director with Green Cross International (and vice chair of the Arms Control Association board of directors) offered the following comments to the CSP-24 in November.

Subject Resources:

Members Briefing on the Future of New START



October 1, 2019
3:00pm Eastern U.S. time

The New START agreement between the United States and Russia—now the only agreement limiting the world’s two largest nuclear weapons arsenals following termination of the INF Treaty—is scheduled to expire in February 2021 unless Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin mutually agree to extend it by five years.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton was a harsh critic of extending New START. What does Bolton's departure from the administration in September mean for the future of the treaty?

Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction, and Thomas Countryman, board chair and former acting undersecretary of state for arms control, briefed members on what could be the most important national security decision in a generation.

These calls are open to members of the Arms Control Association. Audio recordings of the call may be made available for nonmembers at some point following the call. Join or renew your membership today to receive details on how to join us for our next members call and be part of the conversation. 

AUDIO RECORDING: The Future of New START, October 1 Members Call


Join Kingston Reif and Thomas Countryman for a members-only briefing on the future of the New START agreement between the United States and Russia.

Country Resources:

A Critical Evaluation of the Trump Administration's Nuclear Weapons Policies



Monday, July 29, 2019
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 


Since taking office in January 2017, the Trump administration’s strategy to reduce nuclear weapons risks has been marked by significant controversy. The administration has withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, began high-stakes nuclear diplomacy with North Korea, proposed to develop new low-yield nuclear capabilities and is pressing forward on a $1.7 trillion plan to maintain and upgrade the U.S. nuclear arsenal, announced its intent to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on August 2, and has yet to make a decision on whether to extend the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). 

These actions have prompted numerous questions. Is the administration’s maximalist approach to nuclear negotiations with Iran, North Korea, and Russia practical or achievable? Are the administration’s costly plans to replace the U.S. nuclear arsenal necessary or sustainable? What is the administration’s strategy to prevent a new missile race in Europe in the absence of the INF Treaty? What would be the implications for U.S. security if the President decides to allow New START to expire in 2021 with nothing to replace it? 

Speakers assessed the Trump administration’s policies on nuclear weapons spending, U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control, and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and nuclear diplomacy with North Korea—and offered recommendations for a more responsible and effective approach.

Speakers included:

  • Lt. Gen. (ret.) Frank Klotz, former administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration and former commander of Air Force Global Strike Command;
  • Corey Hinderstein, vice president of international fuel cycle strategies at the Nuclear Threat Initiative; 
  • Kingston Reif, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association; 
  • Thomas Countryman, chairman of the board at the Arms Control Association; and
  • Lara Seligman, Pentagon correspondent at Foreign Policy; will moderate.

The event is open to the public and the press and will be on-the-record.

Due to a technical problem with the audio recording equipment, only a partial recording was captured. The transcript reflected prepared notes and the available audio.

LARA SELIGMAN: First, I’d just like to set the table for our discussion today. Nuclear weapons have been in the news a lot more in the last two years since President Trump came into office. In fact, the Trump administration has been accused of kicking off a new arms race with calls for new missiles and warheads, and withdrawing from key arms control treaties - and this event is very timely because it looks like the US is going to formally pull out of the INF Treaty on Friday.

I’ve been watching the nuclear issue for years from the perspective of the US military, which is in the process of modernizing its entire nuclear triad. President Obama, in fact, kicked off the recapitalization effort – I was covering the Air Force for Defense News in October of 2015 when the Pentagon announced that Northrop Grumman had won the bomber competition. For four years, it was radio silence on that program. But just last week, the Air Force announced the B-21, as it is now called, will have its first flight in 2021. It kind of feels like we’ve come full circle.

Meanwhile, the contests for some of the other legs of the triad are heating up. Boeing just dropped out of the running to replace the land-based leg, the ground-based strategic deterrent, leaving Northrop the only contender and possibly heading toward a monopoly on the triad. Boeing’s withdrawal also raises questions about how the Pentagon is handling the procurement, which will be worth tens of billions of dollars over the next several decades.

While I was working in the trade media, I had a very narrow focus on the programmatics of the modernization effort. From this perspective, it makes sense that the US military would want to recapitalize since some of the existing weapons were built in the 1960s. Objectively, these weapons are aging, and cannot last forever. And yes, Russia is ahead of us in terms of their own nuclear modernization.

But now at Foreign Policy, I have to think about the bigger policy questions. Of course, if we could snap our fingers and get rid of all nuclear weapons, I think most people would say we should. But unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. If you ask me, If those who could threaten us and our allies have nuclear weapons, we need to ensure ours are the best they can be, in order to deter a nuclear conflict. This has been the guiding principle of U.S. nuclear policy since the Cold War.

But there has been a definite shift in tone since Trump took office. While Obama’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review emphasized reducing nuclear stockpiles worldwide, Trump’s 2018 version focused on the need to deter and match Russia and China. And while the new guiding document reiterates that nuclear weapons should only be used in extreme circumstances, it seems to broaden the definition of extreme circumstances to include wide-scale, non-nuclear attacks on civilians, or attacks on our nuclear forces.

The most interesting and controversial piece to me is the introduction of two new low-yield or tactical nukes to the US arsenal. Opponents say this addition is unnecessary and increases the risk of nuclear war—a nuke is a nuke, after all. But the administration argues that tactical nukes will make nuclear war less likely, not more. They often point to Russia’s large arsenal of tactical nukes – the worry is they could use them in a more limited strike, and the US would not be able to proportionately respond. Personally, I think the devil will be in the details.

So what am I watching most closely over the next year? Of course, the B-21. Also, what happens with GBSD – will the Pentagon now have to start over from scratch, adding years and millions of dollars to the modernization effort? Or will it continue, knowing it has much less negotiating power to get a good deal with just one competitor?

More immediately, I’m watching the negotiations over the defense policy bill, particularly the fight over low-yield nukes, which will largely determine whether the Trump administration can pursue its agenda.

On the international front, I’ll be keeping an eye on whether we do in fact pull out of the INF Treaty on August 1, and whether that leads Europe to change its posture with new missiles or defenses. China, meanwhile, seems to be taking a different route – it certainly has nukes, but more concerning is its buildup of conventional missiles in the Pacific. Is there any hope of an arms deal between the world’s three superpowers that covers both nuclear and conventional missiles? That, I think, is the most interesting policy question going forward.

I’ll stop there because our panelists can go more into depth on what we are seeing from Russia, Iran, and North Korea. So let me now turn it over to Kingston.

KINGSTON REIF: Thank you, Lara, and thank you, everyone, for coming today.

In December 2016, then President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted that the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” and later told MSNBC that he would “outmatch” and “outlast” other potential competitors in a nuclear arms race. The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), released in February 2018, comports with this objective by calling for a significant expansion of the role and capability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In addition to continuing full speed ahead with its predecessor’s plans to replace the nuclear triad and its associated warheads and supporting infrastructure on largely a like-for-like basis, the administration is proposing to develop two new sea-based, low-yield nuclear options, broaden the circumstances under which the United States would consider the first use of nuclear weapons, and lay the groundwork to grow the size of the arsenal.

At the same time, key U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control agreements are in now in serious doubt. The United States will leave the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on Friday and the Trump administration has shown little interest in extending the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The administration’s cold shoulder to arms control increases the risks – and could greatly increase the cost – of its approach to sustaining the arsenal.

President Trump has suggested that he wants some sort of grand, new arms control deal with Russia and China. But it remains to be seen whether this gambit is serious, or a poison pill designed to justify walking away from New START after having already walked away from the INF Treaty.

In short, the Trump administration is preparing to compete in a new nuclear arms race while simultaneously increasing the likelihood of a such a contest.

The projected cost of this approach is staggering and it is growing. The United States currently plans to spend nearly $500 billion dollars, after including the effects of inflation, to maintain and replace its nuclear arsenal over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). This is an increase of nearly $100 billion, or about 23 percent, above the already enormous projected cost as of the end of the Obama administration.

Taken together, the changes being pursued by the administration are unnecessary, set the stage for an even greater and more unsustainable rate of spending on nuclear weapons, and threaten to accelerate global nuclear competition.

Key leaders in Congress, particularly in the Democratic-led House, are increasingly concerned about the administration’s approach and have begun to heavily scrutinize the nuclear recapitalization programs, their rationale, their cost, and policy alternatives.

In April, with the generous support of the Charles Koch Institute, the Arms Control Association released a report detailing our assessment of the costs of, risks of, and alternatives to the administration’s nuclear weapons spending plans. You can find copies of the report outside. As part of the project, we have also built a new website, USNuclearExcess.org, highlighting several themes in the report and to illustrate the costs and compare them to spending on other priorities. We are launching that site today and you can get a look at the home page above.

The NPR contains elements of continuity with long-standing U.S. nuclear policy, many of which would have likely featured in a review conducted by a Hilary Clinton administration and deserve support.

These include an emphasis on reducing the risk of nuclear weapons use, maintaining the moratorium on nuclear weapons testing, continuing to pursue the political and security conditions to enable further nuclear reductions, overcoming the technical challenges of verifying nuclear reductions, strengthening alliances, and upgrading U.S. nuclear command, control, communications, and early-warning capabilities.

But there are several significant proposed changes to U.S. policy in the review and its subsequent implementation.

According to Trump NPR, the world is a far more dangerous place than it was at the time the Obama administration conducted its NPR in 2010.

It is true that the international security environment is less favorable than it was a decade ago. Technology is advancing in new and unpredictable ways. And the existing U.S. nuclear arsenal – much of which was originally built during the Cold War-era and refurbished since – is aging.

But the NPR does not provide any conclusive or compelling evidence that these challenges will be addressed or overcome by the review’s strategy.

For example, there are several problems with the NPR’s rationale for developing a third and fourth low-yield nuclear option. These additional options are the near-term deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads on submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and, in the longer term, development of a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM).

The NPR claims that a low-yield SLBM option would provide the United States with a proportional, prompt, and assured response option that it currently lacks. But the United States already possesses hundreds of low-yield warheads as part of the air-leg of the triad and plans to invest over $150 billion in then-year dollars in the coming decades to ensure these warheads can penetrate the most advanced air defenses. If these new systems can’t reliably reach their targets, it’s reasonable to ask why taxpayers are being asked to invest so heavily in them.

In addition, the belief that a nuclear conflict could be controlled is dangerous thinking. The fog of war is thick; the fog of nuclear war would be even thicker. A low-yield SLBM warhead could increase the risk of unintended nuclear escalation. Given that U.S. strategic submarines currently carry SLBMs armed with higher-yield warheads, how would Russia be able to tell whether an incoming missile was carrying low- or high-yield warheads? Even if it could, how would it know that such limited use would not be the leading edge of a massive attack? In fact, Russia would not know.

A low-yield SLBM also is not necessary to promptly strike time-perishable targets. If military action has already started in the European theater and Russia uses a low-yield nuclear weapon to seek to end a conflict it believes NATO would win conventionally, it is likely that the United States would have had sufficient time to forward deploy forces, including conventional and nuclear fighters and bombers, to provide a prompt response. Regardless, it’s far from clear why the United States would need or want to respond to Russian limited nuclear use in minutes, rather than hours or even days.


Meanwhile, the claim that a new SLCM is necessary to provide an assured theater strike option and serve as a hedge against Russian or Chinese advances in antisubmarine warfare capabilities is unconvincing. The United States is already planning to invest scores of billions of dollars in existing weapons to address the air defense challenge. ICBMs and bombers exist in part to guard against a major, unforeseen breakthrough in anti-submarine warfare capabilities. In addition, the Navy is unlikely to be pleased with the additional operational and financial burdens that would come with re-nuclearizing the surface or attack submarine fleet. Arming attack submarines with nuclear SLCMs would also reduce the number of conventional Tomahawk SLCMs each submarine could carry. In other words, a new SLCM would be a costly hedge on a hedge.

Arguably the most consequential part of the NPR that has received the least attention is the proposal to lay the groundwork to significantly expand the number of U.S. nuclear warheads. One measure of the scale of this plan is to produce at least 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030.

But a recent report by the Institute for Defense Analyses concluded that none of the options analyzed by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) can be expected to provide 80 pits per year by 2030.

Furthermore, the need to drastically expand plutonium pit production is highly questionable. The capability to build even 30 pits by 2030 would be an enormous achievement. Once NNSA demonstrates the capability to manufacture 30 pits per year, it can reevaluate the need for additional pits based on the anticipated aging of existing pits, the size of total warhead stockpile at that time, and the international security environment.

Now, the Trump NPR's proposals to develop new nuclear capabilities and infrastructure will pose significant affordability and execution challenges. The possible demise of New START could make the problem even worse. A reckoning is coming, the result of a massive disconnect at the Pentagon and NNSA between budgetary expectations and fiscal reality.

The Pentagon has reoriented its thinking toward long-term strategic competition with Russia and China, thereby elevating the relevance of conventional modernization. The nuclear recapitalization projects cannot be sustained without significant and sustained increases to defense spending, which are unlikely to be forthcoming, or cuts to other military priorities.

Of course, pressure on the defense budget can't be relieved solely by reducing nuclear weapons spending. A significant portion of the overall cost of nuclear weapons is fixed. That said, changes to the nuclear replacement program could make it easier to execute and ease some of the hard choices facing the overall defense enterprise while still leaving a force more than capable of deterring nuclear attacks against the United States or its alliance partners.

It is not too late to pursue a different path. As our report describes, the United States could save nearly 150 billion alone in fiscal year 2017 dollars over the next 30 years while still retaining a triad and deploying a New START limit of 1550 deployed strategic warheads. What could such savings buy? Well, one thing would be nearly the entire additional acquisition cost over the next 30 years to grow the Navy to 355 ships by the late 2030s.

Among the triad modernization projects that should be scaled back is the Air Force's plan to replace the Minuteman III ICBM with a new fleet of missiles. The Air Force has yet to demonstrate that sustaining the Minuteman III, in my view, beyond the missiles expected at retirement in the 2020-2030 timeframe is not a viable or more cost-effective near-term option.

The news last week, as Lara mentioned, that Boeing does not plan to submit a proposal for the GBSD program engineering and manufacturing development contract is a large red flag and reinforces the rationale, in my view, for deferring GBSD. Now, you may hear a different view on this question from Gen. Klotz. You will.

Let me end with the role of Congress. Over the past several years, Congress has largely backed both the Obama and Trump administration's proposals to replace the arsenal, though not without controversy. Now, the majority in the House following the 2018 mid-term elections, Democrats have conducted more aggressive oversight of the administration's nuclear policy and spending proposals.

The recently passed House versions of the Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA and the Defense and Energy and Water Appropriations bills would, among other changes, prohibit the deployment of the low yield SLBM warhead, express support for extending New START, reduce funding to build a new fleet of ICBMs and expand the production of plutonium pits, and mandate a study of options to scale back planned nuclear modernization programs.

Whether any of these changes will be adopted remains to be seen given the opposition to them in the Republican-controlled Senate. But it is clear that this - that there is significant unease in Congress about the administration's approach. As the costs continue to rise, the trade-offs become starker and the administration's disdain for negotiated arms control non-proliferation agreements claims other victims, that unease is likely to grow. Thank you.

FRANK KLOTZ: Well, thank you, Lara, for that very kind introduction and for volunteering to moderate this panel. Thanks also to the Arms Control Association for arranging this morning's event and for Carnegie Endowment for hosting it in their facilities.

As Tom mentioned, I think it's vitally important for our nation and for our future that we have an informed, robust, civil, and ongoing national discourse on nuclear weapons and nuclear arms control policy. As Tom pointed out, some of us remember the days when these topics were widely studied and debated. That all changed with the Cold War ending. Unfortunately, many in academia, many in the press, many in the policy community, and even many in the military stopped thinking about nuclear matters, especially as our nation's attention was increasingly drawn to countering the threats posed by terrorism. So, kudos to both organizations for the important work they do to inform the public on key nuclear policy issues.

I'm especially delighted to share this rostrum and to be in the same room with so many good friends and former colleagues. Let me say right up front, as will become apparent in the course of remarks, I strongly support a good deal of what Kingston just said, specifically his views on the wisdom and urgency of extending the New START agreement.

On the other hand, I strongly disagree with some of what he said, specifically his comments on the nuclear modernization program. A modernization program, by the way, that was begun and accelerated in the Obama administration and is being continued by the Trump administration. More particularly, contrary to what the report argues, I believe it's vitally important to replace the aging Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system now as well as to restore our nation's ability to manufacture plutonium pits.

Thus, when the House-Senate conferees meet in late August, if I were advising them as they take up the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, I would personally urge them to adopt the House language on New START, but adopt the Senate language on the ground-based strategic deterrent and plutonium pit production. Now, some may think that these two views, support for a comprehensive nuclear modernization program and support for nuclear arms control, are incompatible, or at least work at cross purposes.

Let me explain why I believe this is not the case. As President Reagan famously said, a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. What's often left out is the next sentence to that statement where he added, "The only value in possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used."

Now, the policy of the United States for achieving this objective, followed by both Democrat and Republican presidential administrations, followed by both Democrat and Republican-controlled Congresses, has been to maintain a safe, secure, survivable, and effective nuclear force to deter nuclear attack against the United States and its allies and to reduce the likelihood of large-scale conventional warfare between nuclear-armed states.

At the same time, the United States has also negotiated arms control agreements with Russia to limit the number, types, and in some cases even the capabilities of nuclear weapon systems deployed by both sides. And it has pursued agreements with the broader international community to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to prevent special nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Now, as a career but now-retired Air Force officer and as a former administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, it's probably no surprise–it's certainly not a surprise to Tom or to Kingston–that I fully subscribe to this longstanding dual-track approach and believe it is absolutely essential to ensuring our safety and security for the foreseeable future. So, since this is about the present and the near future, what specific steps should the current and future presidential administrations–as well as the Congress–take now to implement this approach?

First, as I indicated at the outset, it's essential to maintain and modernize all three legs of the so-called nuclear triad. The delivery systems, the warheads, the command and control systems associated with the current triad continue to constitute a powerful and effective deterrent force, but they are well past their designed service lives and will eventually age out.

For example, the youngest B-52 bomber in the Air Force inventory is now 56 years old. It will still be flying for at least another 30 years, so it needs new engines and updated electronics to remain an effective long-range strike platform for both conventional and nuclear operations. The air-launched cruise missile first entered service in 1982. We've had an air-launched cruise missile that long and it also needs to be replaced.

The LRSO (Long Range Strike) program–and W80-4 Life Extension Program are the programs of record to do just that. And the Minuteman III missile. It was first deployed in the late 1970s into silos that were constructed in the 1960s. I can attest from long, personal, and recent experience that every element of the Minuteman III system, from the missile to the guidance set, to the tools, handling gear, test equipment used by maintenance technicians, are showing serious signs of aging, signs that cannot be remedied by the Band-Aid fix of yet another life extension program. We've already been through one, yet another will not do it. And I'd welcome the opportunity to say more about that particular point in the Q&A session.

The second thing that ought to be done. Current and future administrations should continue to update our nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure including the National Nuclear Security Administration's national laboratories, production facilities, and test sites. Many of these facilities were constructed during the early days of the Cold War. Some were even constructed during the Manhattan Project of the Second World War.

During my nearly four years at NNSA, we routinely had to contend with collapsing roofs, corroded pipes, and other age-related problems that posed safety risks to our workers and, in some cases, shut down certain operations for weeks. In addition, our capability to manufacture and certify the basic materials, as well as the thousands of pieces and parts that make up a nuclear weapon, has atrophied and must be restored, including the ability to manufacture plutonium pits.

Finally, the ability to annually certify to the president and to the Congress that the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe, secure, and reliable without conducting nuclear explosive tests depends upon the continuous improvement of sophisticated scientific instruments and high-performance computing platforms to better understand the impact of weapons aging and the effectiveness of life extension programs.

The nuclear modernization program begun in the Obama administration and continued under the current administration addresses all of these issues. Moreover, it's worth recalling that, for over a decade, it has been supported by a broad consensus at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, on both sides of Capitol Hill, and on both sides of the aisle.

The third step the Trump administration should take to ensure the long-term effectiveness of nuclear deterrence capabilities is to resume arms control dialogue with Russia, the dialogue that was a central feature of our nuclear policy even during the darkest days of the Cold War. It's been said the landmark INF Treaty will be formally relegated to the history books in less than a week. Its demise leaves only one bilateral arms control agreement that mutually constrains the number of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or New START.

That treaty is due to expire in February 2021, 10 years after it entered into force and only 3 years after the U.S. and Russia reduced their forces to the central limits mandated by the treaty. New START can, however, be extended for up to five years by agreement of the American and the Russian presidents. Importantly, this action does not have to be ratified by the legislative bodies of either country. The current administration has been very non-committal, at least publicly, about its intentions with respect to New START. And quite frankly, recent statements attributed to some senior administration officials have been troubling.

On the other hand, past and current senior military leaders have been, and I think continue to be, very supportive of New START, because of the military benefits that it confers. What are some of these? Well, first, it caps Russia's baseline strategic nuclear force at known and predictable levels. I would suggest that one of the reasons for the enormous buildup of nuclear weaponry during the Cold War stemmed from a concern and uncertainty about what adversaries might be doing both now and in the future. So, to the extent that you reduce that uncertainty, you reduce part of the incentive for large-scale buildups of nuclear capabilities.

Secondly, through its verification provisions, including data exchanges, routine notifications, and onsite inspections, the treaty offers important insights, allows us to gain important insights into the size and capabilities and disposition of Russia's nuclear forces beyond that provided by more traditional intelligence collection and assessment methods.

Third, by reducing uncertainty and enhancing predictability, it affords us greater confidence in the plans for the size and structure of our own nuclear deterrent force including the current US. nuclear modernization program.

Now, as I said, New START is currently due to expire in February 2021. A year and a half or so may seem like a long time to deal with the matter, but no one - no one should underestimate how long it would take to broker an extension, much less any other type of agreement that attempted to break new ground such as adding new parties to the treaty like China or broadening the scope of the types of forces that are captured by the treaty like non-strategic nuclear forces or Russia's so-called novel or exotic systems as some have recently suggested.

Broadening the participants and scope of nuclear arms control is certainly a worthy goal, one which I have personally and will continue to support, but it will take careful thought and detailed planning, close consultation and coordination with our allies and painstaking negotiation to achieve any meaningful outcome. So I can only conclude that the wisest and most prudent course of action at this point would be to take proactive steps now to extend New START before it expires in 2021, and thereby gain the time needed to carefully consider the options for a successor agreement or a series of agreements.

That, in my opinion, will be essential to ensuring the sufficiency of our current modernization programs and sustaining the political consensus and support necessary to keep them on track. I see that my time is up. There's certainly a lot more I could say and would like to say about New START and nuclear arms control and would welcome the opportunity to do so but will leave it to you all to bring it up in the Q&A session.

COREY HINDERSTEIN: Okay. Well, it's my job to be the last speaker here on the panel and hopefully, I will raise the same kinds of interesting points worthy of follow-up as my previous speakers. Let me start by thanking Kingston and the Arms Control Association for putting the panel together and Lara and Gen. Klotz for sharing the broad podium with me today. My job is pretty simple. It's to talk about Iran and North Korea in approximately 12 minutes. And I'm going to start my timer now so I know where I am.

I'm actually going to make my job even harder than that with permission because I'm going to talk about Iran and North Korea and then I want to talk about a couple of other points that are kind of floating out there because I think too often we speak about Iran and North Korea in isolation. We also–to the extent we link them, we actually link them together, just the two issues and I think it's valuable to think about how our approaches right now to each of these problem sets are actually the same or different from or have some similarities kind of constitutionally with the–some of the other challenges that we're facing.

So let me start with Iran and I'm going to start with a–maybe what's a controversial statement for folks in the non-proliferation community right now by saying, I think reasonable people can disagree on whether the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the JCPOA, was the right deal to be made when it was made in 2015. I have heard arguments about, in particular, looking at whether doing a nuclear-only deal at that time was the right approach.

Now, I say reasonable people can disagree, but I'm clearly on the side that it was the right deal to be made. And in fact, it was the only deal to be made at the time. And I don't say that because it was such a hard negotiating environment, which it was, or that we got everything we could get as far as concessions from the Iranians, which I believe we did. But I say it because I think it demonstrated that when we're dealing with a complex non-proliferation or in this case, proliferation problem, sometimes the way to get at an appropriate set of actions is to focus on the biggest problem with the nearest term consequences.

And I don't want to minimize Iran's activities regionally, which I will get to in a moment, but not only–certainly were concerning then and in some ways are even more concerning now. Their activity with ballistic missiles, their activity in support for terrorism, those are all things that Iran did and continues to do, but–and this is–has become a cliché, but I think it's a cliché worth repeating. The reason that the nuclear deal was so important is because every single one of those problems becomes more complicated if you layer nuclear weapons on top of it.

And so, I really do believe that that was the right deal to be made at the time and it was never made in–with the idea that it would be the end of the conversation with Iran. And that's another point I'll get back to. So, I stipulate that Iran did pose serious nuclear risk before the JCPOA and they continue to pose some risk today. I would also argue that one of the greatest risks is actually back to a point that General Klotz made about the value of New START is that it introduced predictability and reduced uncertainty.

And I think that's an undervalued characteristic of the JCPOA. In the years leading up to that agreement, we were dealing with a rapidly changing situation with rapidly changing timelines to the kind of–the–our worst-case scenario. And even if you argue that the JCPOA didn't take all that risk off the table, which is true, what it did was introduce some predictability and reduced uncertainty.

And it did that by setting particular timelines and limits and by introducing on the ground verification of the sort that has never existed anywhere else in the world and continues to this day in a way that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world.

So right now, what I see troubling is that we seem to have backed out of the JCPOA without having a better path to follow. Iran is now, as a result, and in direct response to the position that the United States has taken by removing itself from the Iran Nuclear Deal, it's exceeding some of its limits. It's doing so in ways that are certainly reversible and certainly only slowly change that broader timeline dynamic, you know, the often-quoted breakout timeline or the time for that first bomb's worth of material to be produced if Iran were to decide to go full bore towards it.

We're hearing mixed information about other actions and plans, and we certainly need clarification. Just in the last 24 hours, we've heard some mixed information about what they intend to do with the–their research reactor which had been designed to produce a lot of really nice plutonium and is being in the process–is in the process of being redesigned so that it can't produce that quantity or that type of plutonium.

We also heard some interesting numbers about how much enriched uranium they've produced since they had–have stepped back from their JCPOA-mandated limits. Now, neither of these pieces of information are very well characterized, and they've come secondhand by somebody within the Iranian Parliament who is reporting what they heard from somebody with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. So, I don't want to jump to major conclusions, but the fact is, we're on the wrong trajectory when it comes to understanding what Iran is doing and what they're doing in response to our actions.

The good thing is that these steps are reversible and they're reversible relatively quickly. And I think there are some other things Iran could do that still fall in that line. Unfortunately, if this pattern keeps coming–keeps going further, we're going to get to actions that not only would cut into that breakout timeline more significantly, but that would be harder and take longer to reverse.

The Joint Commission meeting yesterday when the Joint Commission is the kind of management body of the Iran Nuclear Deal, where all of the parties to the deal meet approximately quarterly with that and they meet at ministerial level periodically. They met yesterday in Vienna. All the parties were there. And I think it showed something really important. It showed that there is still something to preserve when it comes to the JCPOA.

The official chair's statement coming out of the European Union who chairs the meeting indicated that it was a productive dialogue with no kind of concrete outcomes and the Iranians said the same thing in nearly the same words when they ended. So there–in the face of many obstacles and with options narrowing, I think we do still see that the members of the deal are committed to preserving its value and I feel like the United States should now be in a position to really think about whether our actions are narrowing their options, because the statement from the administration so far has been that even without us in the deal, we want Iran to comply.

Now it takes a lot of guts to say something like that, but in the end, I think it is true. We do still want Iran to comply because the limits that were invoked by the deal are limits that make the region safer. So, we also are hearing thoughts about whether there is an opening for a renewal of diplomatic dialogue. Obviously, if this is a door that's open, we should walk through it. I would say that there's been a lot of discussion about whether the right approach is a more-for-more approach or a less-for-less approach. And do we open the aperture of what we should be discussing, or do we narrow it back down?

And I am very concerned that some of the statements indicate that we might be on a more-for-less pathway. And I certainly don't want to get less than we got for the JCPOA and have the world making even more concessions, or even frankly the same concessions for less commitment.

I would finally say that this deal never got its sea legs, and I think that's really to me one of the saddest outcomes, which is, it may not have succeeded. Iran may have violated in the future. They may have pursued some sort of breakout timeline or at the very least tried to break down the coalition that was holding very firm in light of constant and sometimes daily pushback from Iran as to how they were going to choose to interpret the words of the deal and how they were going to implement.

We, on a constant basis, when I was at the Department of Energy and partially responsible for implementing the nuclear-related commitments, we were constantly saying, you know, at some point we are going to get into the everyday new normal of implementation of the deal. And we never quite got there, and that's for lots of reasons. And the sad part is we still haven't got there.

You know, I joked for a while, I can't wait for the day where I literally don't carry the deal around in my purse every day, but I am not there yet. And so, I do think, we don't know if it would have succeeded. I can't say, give any guarantee that it would have. But I think it had a really good chance to succeed and it only would have succeeded if it was allowed to create its new normal. And since that didn't happen, I think it's one of the, an interesting kind of points that we'll all be sitting around these tables and debating in the future.

I will say there are a couple of positives out of the current administration approach. Given the big negative, which is I don't think we should have left the deal, what are a couple of the positives?

One is that, so far, the administration has maintained the constraints on the most technically significant proliferation activities. Now you might say, what does that mean?

Well, I choose those words rather than to say that they are maintaining waivers because I think these non-proliferation waivers as they have been discussed, it's an easy thing to say, and I think it puts the weight on the wrong thing. We are not waiving anything. What we are doing is we are allowing China and Russia to continue with the technical conversion projects that are ongoing on the ground, that would make some of the most proliferation-significant activities irreversible. And so, I think as long as we continue to support those proliferating restraints going forward, that's a good step.

It also continues to keep the cost high on Iran if they would choose to step back from those activities. One of the actions that they may choose to do, for example, is to resume some uranium enrichment in their hardened site at Fordo. Part of what the waivers or these proliferation constraints are allowing is the conversion of activities there, and that makes it not only harder and, in some cases, irreversible, because once you introduce certain gas into those centrifuges, you can't put uranium gas in it later.

But it also increases the cost for Iran to have to back out of and in some cases kick out their Russian and Chinese partners on some of these activities. And I think that's a cost we want to continue to have invoked if they would make those sorts of decisions.

The other thing is that, so far, the IAEA, the International Verification Mission is being strongly supported and this is really important because the best thing we can do is know what's happening on the ground. And the way we do that is by having the international inspections there. And so far the provision of resources, including backstopping since so much of the International Atomic Energy Agency Inspection Group has had to go work on Iran, the United States has been able to backfill that by saying, OK, we'll help provide people and resources to do the everyday job of the agency. And by providing the technical expertise that backstops here at home.

And that comes to a point on the national labs which I will get back to, Frank.

So, let me turn to North Korea briefly and say this is an area where I think that there’s a slightly better report card, but I will say it's still an incomplete.

If we can say that the Iran approach was one that was working, was continuing to work, the North Korea approach was not working. And so, it did need a big change. And I think that, in this case, we had seen a steady increase of nuclear and missile capability in North Korea. And we weren't on a path towards diverting that path.

In North Korea, very different from Iran, the top-down approach is the absolute only way that you will get anything done, so I commend the administration for having decided, in the face of a lot of kind of political pushback including from a lot of the North Korea watchers, saying, you know, saying we shouldn't reward North Korea with a presidential contact.

Yes, in a perfect world I agree with that, but in this case, I do think something new was needed and it had to come top-down. So, I think that the only approach, in this case, was a Hail Mary.

Now as with any Hail Mary pass in American football, sometimes it drops to the ground. And you don't complete it and you don't win the game. But if you are running behind as far as we were, I think it might have been one of the only chances.

Now there is a really important risk you have to manage with that. This is not easier a risk strategy. And one is that if you are going to create a process, you need to have a counterpart on that process. And right now, it doesn't feel like we have a willing counterpart.

The United States has stocked up. It’s done its homework and it's been bringing these teams of experts for a negotiation and they just don't have counterparts to negotiate with. So, when we have our national lab experts, we don't see them on the other side. When we have our military experts, we don't see them on the other side. So, I do think we need to make sure that we are negotiating in the right environment.

I also think we have to capitalize on our current environment of decreased tension, which I believe is real, to actually make some progress, to prepare. And if anybody is a chef, or at least watches chef shows on television, you know, you talk about your mise en place, you know, get everything lined up and in small bowls so you are ready to put it together. We can't use this time for nothing and then get to the point where we might have the possibility for a strong negotiation and then have to start thinking about things then. And I do believe that that's happening on our side. I don't know if it's happening on theirs.

And finally, I think we need to be realistic. We can't delude ourselves to think that some sort of magical progress is happening in the background. I've seen some headlines—North Korea is continuing its missile program, it's continuing its nuclear program, it's producing more nuclear material, it's building a new submarine.

We have seen these. And unfortunately, none of that runs counter to anything that they've actually committed to us so far. So, we can't hold North Korea to a commitment that doesn't exist, and I think that, in this case, we need to be realistic about what constraints are on them. But I support that progress.

And similarly too, the point I made on the International Atomic Energy Agency I support the administration continuing to provide resources for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization and their nuclear test monitoring capability because this is one of the best ways that we know what has happened in North Korea over time.

So, I will end with those comments on North Korea and Iran, and just say a couple of things about some other things that are happening that I think are connected and important. One is in the non-proliferation space, the initiative to create the environment for nuclear disarmament that's being led out of the State Department in support of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Now some have viewed this initiative cynically. That this is a way for the United States and in particular the Trump administration to try to say it's doing something when really it's not doing anything that will practically help the situation.

And my response to that is I don't know. I believe that there are people who, for a very good reason, want the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review process to go in a positive direction. But I believe the best way to react to something that may or may not be cynical is to treat it un-cynically and dare it to work.

So, I wish this initiative every success, because if we can actually do something where we create a much more unified international community working on elements that can help the implementation of the NPT, we will all be better off. And some of the partisanship that we have seen explode in the United States has actually been happening in the international community along its partisan lines, you know, possessor states, nuclear possessor states, nuclear non-possessor states, north, south, east, west. So, let's bring people together and give it a shot.

One element that is related to the CEND is the International Partnership on Nuclear Disarmament Verification. And here I am completely biased because we at NTI are a partner with the State Department on this project and I want to be straightforward on that. But it's a project that started back in 2014 and has continued. And it's a group of more than 25 countries who get together three times a year, have an intersessional technical engagement and are making actual progress on developing and defining verification approaches for the next rounds of arms control and for disarmament.

And it's substantive and it's practical. And I think it's a really good example of how we can continue to work together.

So, what are some common themes here? I think the U.S. is most effective when we work with our allies and partners and work collectively. In Iran, we are destroying that community that worked together and created the success of the agreement. And it's going to be very hard to rebuild it.

On North Korea, we are trying hard to keep a regional coalition together. And on the NPT issues, we are trying to rebuild it. So, I do think that these are areas where we can do better.

And finally, I think we do have to invest in and support both the international institutions and the domestic infrastructure that allows this work to be successful. And here I would just back up entirely. I think our national laboratories and, in particular, the NNSA laboratories are the nation's best dual-use asset.

There's a reason they are so good at non-proliferation, nuclear security, reactor conversion, disarmament verification and it's because they had this history. And we can't lose that history because we'll lose a great resource in helping to solve our problems in the future.

I will end there. Thank you.

SELIGMAN: Well, thank you all so much. Wow, that was a lot of information to take in. We really covered the world. So, I do want to get to Q&A, but I had a couple of follow-up questions.

First of all, for Corey, there's been some question about whether the Iranian regime really wants a nuclear weapon, or whether it's really in their interest to acquire a nuclear weapon. So, I am wondering if you could maybe address that point. And, sort of related: if they do acquire a nuclear weapon, what happens then? Is there concern that it proliferates? is there concern that the situation in the Middle East kind of, explodes, I guess?

So, yes, if you could us an insight?

HINDERSTEIN:Sure. I think the short answer is we don't know what Iran really wants. We know that in the past they did have the intention to at least build a nuclear weapons capability. And there has been some discussion over the "archive material." This is the material that Israeli Special Forces seized from Iran and had the paper history of their nuclear program.

We can get into what more of that means, but I will say that it doesn't change what our understanding was in 2014 because all of the information that has come out publicly about that archive, all of that stops in the early to mid-2000s. So, we know that at one point in the past they had the interest in getting a nuclear weapons capability.

We also know that in various points later than that, they have identified getting that nuclear weapons capability as a strategic disadvantage for them, because the international pressure had become so great. And so, it was an economic and a strategic disadvantage. And so, they've clearly shown the ability to change their intention with regard to a nuclear weapon over time.

Where do they sit right now in July of 2019? I don't know. All I know is we don't have to worry about intent if they don't have capability. And so, the important thing about the JCPOA is it takes capability off the table.

You can want, I want to ride a rainbow-colored unicorn, but if one doesn't exist, I am never going to reach my dream. And so, I think that's really important.

And then the final thing is, why is it important that we keep that capability off the table? And I think it's exactly your final point because there are a lot of different ways that we could see it negatively impacting globally and regionally. Certainly, whether it would make them more bullet-proof in some of their regional provocations, it's possible.

One of the things, I've never been a nuclear domino player. I don't believe that states just automatically go nuclear because somebody else did. And I think that East Asia is a perfect example of that. But I think each state evaluates their own strategic objectives when deciding whether they would pursue a nuclear weapons program or capability. But in this case, I believe that Saudi Arabia would be a very dangerous domino. And I think that if you allow, not automatically, but I think if you follow their line of thinking and some of their rhetoric that supports it, that you would put Saudi Arabia in a very dangerous situation. And if you had that dynamic in the region, that's not one I think that we could easily manage.

SELIGMAN:Thanks. And there's many ways we could take that conversation, but I also wanted to ask General Klotz a follow-up question as well on negotiations with Russia.

Can you perhaps draw a contrast between the INF Treaty on the one hand and New START? So, I think there's a much stronger case to be made that the INF Treaty is a bad deal and we should withdraw from it, but New START perhaps not so much. So, what is Russia's thinking in complying with one and not complying with the other? And what is the Trump Administration thinking in response?

KLOTZ:No. I think that a very important question, Lara. On the INF Treaty, the United States had, at least since 2013, raised concerns with Russia about compliance with the central provisions of the treaty. And despite repeated demarches and conversations, it was clear that the Russians had no intention of addressing the issue, specific issue, which the United States was concerned about. So that left the U.S. government with deliberations that started in the last administration and carried over into this administration - what do you do with a party that has entered into an agreement and is violating its obligations under that? Do you continue to stay in the treaty or do you, while one side is not following or abiding by it, or do you withdraw from the treaty?

So, this was, ultimately it led to a DOS decision to suspend its obligations and ultimately withdraw from the treaty.

The significant difference between the INF Treaty and the New START Treaty is there are still very active measures that are taken by both Russia and the United States in the area of verification, exchanges of data, notification of movements of delivery systems from depots and from production facilities to operational bases and back. In fact, I think the latest number of something like 18,000 notifications have gone back and forth between the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center in the State Department and the Nuclear Reduction Center that is located in the Ministry of Defense in the Arbatskaya, which provides unprecedented insight into what the other side is doing.

And then, you know, each side gets to perform 18 on-site inspections every year in the other country, boots on the ground, looking around. I was a wing commander at Minot Air Force Base when the Russians came for a reentry vehicle onsite inspection under a previous treaty, but I will tell you they were very, very, very thorough investigations or inspections.

So, as a result of all of that, the U.S. government in compliance with the resolutions of ratification of New START has certified every year that Russia is in compliance with the New START Treaty. So that's a fundamentally different issue than we had with INF in which the onsite inspection and the other verification aspect of that had lapsed due to time.

SELIGMAN:Great. Well, let's open it up to some Q and A. A hand over there.


THIELMANN: Greg Thielmann, board member of the Arms Control Association. Both Russia and China have cited U.S. strategic ballistic missile defenses as a reason for their refusal to enter into deep discussions of further arms control cuts.

And we have seen—at least if I can believe Arms Control Today—that the U.S. Strategic Ballistic Missile Defense Program is having serious technological problems. So, my question is why is the U.S. Strategic Ballistic Missile Defense Program not a part of this discussion? Is it because we don't believe Russia and China, even though Putin has said very explicitly that all of these exotic new nuclear weapons that he has paraded out are a result of the U.S. leaving the ABM Treaty in 2002, or is it because $7 billion or $8 billion a year is pocket change on this subject, or is it because we are expecting Trump to transfer the funds from ballistic missile defense to the border wall on Mexico?

REIF:I can take a stab at that one to start, right, and be interested in General Klotz's take on this as well.

I mean as you noted the Russians have made it pretty clear, and, at least in my view, that going beyond New START extension in terms of further negotiated arms control between the United States and Russia is not going to make very much progress unless ballistic missile defense is on the table.

As you noted, the Russians have long expressed concerns about our missile defenses. And I would say the United States rightly has some concerns about the trajectory that Russia's missile defense program is headed as well. But obviously, the big concern has been Russia's concerns about U.S. missile defense programs.

And so, one of the big questions I think about this broader, more comprehensive arms control proposal that the White House has been pursuing is what is the United States willing to put on the table in return for limits on Russian tactical nuclear weapons, in return for China's participation in some kind of trilateral agreement? And the administration has been noticeably silent on that score.

I mean, if we are interested in the Russians limiting non-strategic weapons in some way, is the United States and NATO going to be willing to address U.S. forward-deployed tactical nuclear weapons in Europe? I think the answer should be yes but is the administration willing to do that?

And then on the missile defense issue, is the administration going to be willing to entertain capturing missile defense in some way. I think some interesting ideas have been put forward for how you might do that, for example, adaptive limits. So, if you can imagine an agreement that further limits U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons, how do you deal with missile defense?

Well, one way to deal would be that for every additional missile defense interceptor of a certain burn-out velocity or capability that each side wants to deploy, the other side would be allowed to deploy, say, two, three, four, five, or maybe even larger times as many offensive interceptors.

So, I think there's a conversation that can be had and should be had about missile defense if we are actually interested in further limiting Russian strategic and non-strategic nuclear forces, which I think we should be. Obviously, the political environment to do that is difficult in this country, but if we want to make further progress, I think it's got to be on the table.

And finally, I think there are unilateral steps that the United States ought to take or not to take when it comes to missile defense that would put further strain on strategic stability and make further arms measures even more difficult. So, one of those is we are not putting missile defense interceptors in space. That's just -- and we can seek to try and get Russia's agreement not to do the same. I think that would be worthwhile, but the United States as just an independent matter should not put interceptors in space, kinetic or non-kinetic.

And then, I think the other step we should not take is to test the most advanced SM-3 interceptor, the SM-3 IIA against an ICBM-class target which—at least until the House marked up the NDA and defense appropriations bills—was the Missile Defense Agency's plan to do actually some time in fiscal year 2020, given the number of interceptors (several hundred) that we're planning to field if those are demonstrated to be ICBM-capable, that's going to further raise concerns in both Moscow and Beijing about the open-ended and unlimited nature of the U.S. missile defense program.

So, that's another step I think that ought to be taken–well, in this case, not taken—to preserve the options for future arms reductions and arms control with Russia and, hopefully down the road, China.

KLOTZ:Well, I'll just add three thoughts. The first thought is I'm glad Kingston mentioned it. The Russians are investing very heavily—and they've said this publicly or they certainly said it in publications by non-governmental organizations and in track two dialogues—are investing very heavily in air defenses and missile defenses and this has been part of the Russian military culture since at least the end of the Second World War.

So,—and other countries are investing in missile defenses—so, clearly, there are military and strategic rationales for continuing to invest in missile defense. That's the first point.

The second point is missile defense is a political talisman. And at least since the Reagan administration, it is going to be extraordinarily difficult to place constraints and limits on the U.S. missile defense program politically. So then that leads to the third point, what is the…what sort of measures could be potentially negotiated with another nation—Russia, China, whoever the case may be—on the issues of missile defense from a technical verification, confidence-building approach to alleviate undue concerns over a potential destabilizing or alleged destabilizing nature of missile defense.

They're out there, but I would just circle back to the point I made earlier. They're very technically complex. They're going to take a long time to negotiate. They will be part of, I think, a Russian ask, a Chinese ask for any substantive change to the basic outlines of -- and central limits of -- a New START Treaty or a successor to a New START treaty which just argues again for the importance of , while we work through those possibilities, those potential approaches to a mutual agreement, that we extend this particular treaty. So, we have five years to do that.

GARD: Robert Gard. Critics of the Iran Nuclear Agreement tell me that, despite the verification regime, Iran has refused to allow inspections of facilities that we have asked them to look at. Is this correct?

HINDERSTEIN:So, the short answer I would say is no. The longer answer is, as always, more nuanced, right? So, the first point is that the IAEA has not just the right but the obligation to resolve any issues related to whether there are activities conducted that are counter to the deal.

That may or may not always result in an onsite inspection for a location that is not specifically called out as having onsite inspection obligations, which primarily in terms of the nuclear deal, is any facility that could produce any nuclear material. So, there certainly… any question could be raised by any member state to say, "Hey, there is something suspicious going on" and the IAEA has an obligation to first figure out if that information is credible and if there is something to follow up, they can follow up with the Iranians.

And if they are not satisfied with that follow up through exchange of letters, personal official conversations, et cetera, they can ask for an onsite inspection. So, I don't know if there has been any site that any member state -- because you use the word "we" and I don't know who the "we" is in that case—any member state has said, "Hey, we want you to go there." I can't say for sure that the IAEA has gone to any site because that's not their job.

But I can say that there have been sites that have been raised either through their own work in Iran where they've had a question that's been raised or through something that's been brought to them by a member state that is not part of the traditional regular onsite inspection process, that they have asked for special access and they've received it.

So, that is how the process is supposed to work and I would say that in this case, the IAEA has had access to every site that they have determined that they needed access to.

SELIGMAN:A couple of questions, so, let's take a couple at a time. Let's do here and back there first.

RADOVIC: Katarina Radovic from VOA, and I would like to thank the panel for about this very informative discussion. My question pertains to the… why the ramifications of departure from the Iranian deal. Lieutenant General Klotz mentioned earlier that it is very important to coordinate and consult with the allies. But, the U.S. had a proposal for maritime patrols in the Gulf that its European allies declined to join. On the other hand, there were recent Australian and British initiatives that exclude U.S., namely Australia establishing expeditionary training force and U.K. wants to create multinational force to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.

Does this mean that American friends are choosing to disassociate themselves from Washington and its strength because they are strenuously disagree with Washington on Iran deal? And what does this all mean and what does it all do to American power and moral leadership?

SELIGMAN:And if you can hand the mic back just so we can -- this gentleman can ask another question. Thanks.

WIER: Hi, Anthony Wier, with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. General Klotz, this question is for you. I assume your time in government, right, you had to make decisions about the U.S. and allied nuclear arsenals and strategic posture based on assessment of the Russian nuclear weapons arsenal, both those weapons that were covered by delivery systems covered under START or New START treaties like that, of course, also those nuclear weapons delivered on systems not cover by this (we often refer to those as tactical). I'm going to make an assumption that the United States government had lower confidence in its assessment of the Russian arsenal on the non-covered tactical side of the ledger, that it was harder to develop precision and confidence in that assessment of what actually Russia has.

I'm wondering from your perspective, especially from kind of the military vantage point, do you think Russia perceives a certain advantage in having their adversary have a lower level of confidence in their understanding and assessment of their arsenal, that is the lack of clarity on the tactical side. And then, it would seem to me, if that's so, if you were to lose the New START treaty, you would be effectively taking this large number of the Russian nuclear arsenal and moving it over to the less clear side of the ledger.

And so, from that perspective, would you see an advantage or some in Russia might perceive an advantage of gaining, in a sense, lack of clarity on the part of the American side over what assets they have to bring to bear to affect their strategic aims.

HINDERSTEIN:Sure. I'm going to answer the first question by not really answering —classic Washington approach—only because I'm just by far not an expert in all the Gulf and in particular, the navigational issues, freedom of navigation, protection of shipping lanes, et cetera, so, I don't want to speak to whether the U.S. approach that has not gained allied support or the allied approaches that have not gained U.S. support are indicative of a larger problem or consistent with how these countries have historically viewed managing issues of freedom of navigation. I just don't know.

What I will say though is we are seeing a much harder dynamic with the allies when it comes to Iran because the United States actions have put them in a very hard position. Our decision about our own compliance has made more difficult other countries to adhere to their own obligations and that's a really hard position to put an ally in.

It's one thing for the United States to say, "We don't think this is the right thing to do for us and we're stepping back," but the role of secondary sanctions has basically meant that some of our friends and allies as well as our not-so-friendly not-allies have had their options quite narrowed. And one of the things I really I think is too bad is that we did use to have through the joint commission of the JCPOA a really good channel to counterparts on all sorts of levels—sanctions, procurement, nuclear experts, all sorts of issues— that we might want to consult amongst ourselves before we addressed back to Iran. And the United States not being in that room anymore means that we have a harder time.

So, even if any of these proposals were credible from either side, and I just don't know the answer to that, we've lost at least one channel to not just kind of litigate that, but also to connect it to our overall strategic and tactical objectives with regard to Iran.

SELIGMAN:And if I could actually just add to that because I've written a lot about these coalition proposals that have been taking form. I do think that that European-led proposal was a bit of a rebuke to the Trump administration because the administration had put forward separately a U.S.-led coalition, and then the U.K. government went ahead and said, "Actually, let's do our own European thing." So, I don't think that can be read without a little bit of perhaps that's a rebuke to the Trump administration.

However, I do think there's a lot going on here because Britain is dealing with its own issues. They just turned over their new government. They're dealing with Brexit and I think they feel a little bit like they have to stick up for themselves and manage their own problems. So, I think this proposal was on the one hand, a rebuke of the Trump administration, on the other hand, as you mentioned, reflective of the allies and the U.K. not wanting to be part of the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign, but then also it was the U.K. sort of stepping out and saying, "We're going to take the lead on this problem in a part of the world that is very close to us."

KLOTZ:Well, on Anthony's question about strategic nuclear weapons and nonstrategic nuclear weapons and the challenges of verifying either, obviously, it's much easier to verify strategic nuclear weapons, numbers, disposition, because they're large—submarines, holes in the ground if they're silos, operational bases—than it is to count weapons that may be stored in a bunker at some place in a very large area.

Having said that, while we have—both sides I assume—have very exquisite, so-called, national technical means to verify things like strategic arms agreements like New START, as I mentioned earlier, the number of data exchanges, notifications, and onsite inspections certainly add to that. I wonder as a country if we have become very dependent upon that in terms of assessing what the Russians are doing and what kind of adjustments we would have to make in monitoring Russian capabilities over the longer term if we didn't have that information coming in. So, again I think that's another argument for maintaining those types of agreements.

Nonstrategic nuclear weapons or weapons held in reserve presents a much greater challenge for the reason I just pointed out. It has bedeviled administrations ever since the so-called Presidential Nuclear Initiatives in which President H. W. Bush in 1991 unilaterally decided to significantly reduce and in some cases eliminate altogether nonstrategic weapons. There is debate about what the Russians at the time may have committed to do either publicly or privately, but, the fact is there's a large disparity in the number of nonstrategic nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia, and the Obama administration tried very hard—in part to the respond to the Senate's resolution of ratification, which clearly you know a lot about—to open negotiations on that. They didn't get anywhere, largely because, as Kingston's pointed out, there is a Russian ask that has to do with missile defense with at the time concerns about prompt global strike on the U.S. side and then of course subsequently the relationship continued to worsen with things like the invasion of Crimea and its occupation, et cetera, et cetera.

So, however, this is clearly something the United States—at least for those administration officials who have talked either privately or publicly about the next arms control series of negotiations—that the U.S. would like to circle back and deal with the Russians on. It's going to be a far more challenging issue associated with verification and transparency than is the case with strategic systems.

And within Russia itself, I suspect that depending on which organ of state you go to, to ask what their views are on that, you're going to get different views in terms of the merits of being more open, or the costs and risks of being more open about the disposition and numbers of nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

SELIGMAN:I think we're running out of time, but let's try to get at least one more from this side over here, with the laptop.

GOLD: Thank you. My name is Shabtai Gold. I just wanted to circle back to the INF for a second. What would you actually expect would be the security aspects of the deployments in the European theater or elsewhere as the result of the INF actually coming to an end this week as expected?

And secondly, China's rise, how did that really in your opinion affect the INF and how would that really affect the New START negotiations going at it. I know the Chinese have said that they're not really interested in trilateral, but the President's brought that into it. So, how is China playing into both the INF and the New START? Thanks.

SELIGMAN:OK, sure, one more question.

(UNKNOWN): Replacing the nuclear arsenal, can we adequately test a new arsenal?

REIF:So, let me start with INF and I wanted to quickly respond to a question that Lara raised earlier to General Klotz.

So, was Russia's violation of the INF treaty unacceptable and does it require a serious response? Yes.

Was withdrawal justifiable in some way? Yes. Was actually withdrawing from the treaty particularly in the way that the administration went about it smart? Absolutely not.

I mean, for starters, it was announced on the sidelines of a campaign rally last October. The administration is yet to articulate a viable strategy for preventing Russia from fielding additional types of illegal missiles that it's already deployed as well as new types of INF Treaty-range missiles. There really wasn't a real diplomatic effort made by the Trump administration nor Russia for that matter to try and save the treaty.

Yes, we should not allow Russia to gain a military advantage by its deployment of the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile. But in my view, there are plenty of even military options available to us that are compliant with the treaty and less risky than pursuing research and development, testing, and ultimately trying to field ground-launched missiles with a range prohibited by the treaty at least for the next few days.

So, I think we lost a lot of leverage by withdrawing from the treaty. It was an incredibly powerful cudgel with which to criticize and put pressure on Russia for violating the agreement. And in a few short days, all of the Russian missiles that for, at least the last five years have been illegal, will be legal.

Back to your question about the security implications particularly in Europe of INF going away, I mean, our big concern is that the end of the treaty could reignite a new Euro missile race. Now, the Pentagon is engaging in research and development on, as I mentioned, INF-range missile systems—conventional only INF-range missile systems—requested in the 2020 budget request about $100 million for this effort. It was a subject of significant debate in the House over the last few months, and ultimately the House cut funding and prohibited funding, conditioned funding at several conditions for those missile systems.

So, I think Russia given NATO's expansion eastward, those missiles would likely to be deployed in eastern Europe. Obviously, Russia is going to be concerned about that. It's likely to respond to that in negative ways including by fielding additional 9M729s and perhaps additional types of new INF-range missiles.

And a big question and one that raises, I think… well, the big question is where you're going to put these systems as well. I mean, no European member of NATO is exactly rushing forward to host these missiles. They can't be deployed in the United States to have any meaningful military impact. At least in the European theater, they need to be deployed in Europe. And several NATO allies including Poland have said that any decision to field these systems has to be the result of a NATO-wide decision, a consensus among alliance members. I think at this point, it's hard to imagine that such a consensus would exist, given how controversial even placing conventional missiles would be in Europe.

And then, on your question with respect to China, yes, I think it's playing a big role in how the administration is thinking about arms control. It no doubt played a role in the decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty even if it wasn't the primary role, and lots of concerns have been raised about the fact that China has hundreds, if not, thousands of INF-range missiles. China is not a party to the INF treaty. Why would the United States not want to develop its own systems in Asia Pacific given especially the fact that the distances there are much larger? So, that certainly played a role in the administration's thinking.

And then, on New START strategic arms control, yes, as we've discussed, the administration appears to be saying that China needs to participate in a future arms control arrangement and that is in effect the condition for New START extension, wants to see how it plays out, but that appears to be what the position is at this stage.

KLOTZ:Very quickly because I know, the answer to your question is yes, we can carry out the modernization program as laid out by the Obama and now the Trump administration without explosive nuclear testing.

First of all, a great part of the modernization program is replacing the delivery systems. There's no limit on testing the launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, of bombers, or of sea-launched ballistic missiles, or of submarines.

On the warheads and weapons that are associated with those modernized legs of the triad, we're not building… we're not creating new nuclear weapons. What we're doing is extending the life and updating existing weapons.

Since the United States voluntarily entered into an explosive nuclear test moratorium—I believe in 1992 in the Clinton administration and it has been observing ever since—we have developed an entire suite of tools known as the scientific stockpile stewardship program where through doing tests of individual components, comparing data with the nuclear tests we did conduct when we were conducting explosive nuclear testing and running through those through very high-performance computers to understand the effects of aging and to understand the effects of any adjustments that are made to extend the life of a weapon, the National Laboratory Directors are able to certify every year that we're satisfied with the safety, security, reliability of the nuclear weapon stockpile including those changes that are being made in the life extension program.

So, again, no, I don't think it requires—I'm quite confident that it does not require—nuclear explosive testing to continue with the modernization program.

SELIGMAN:Well, thank you so much to all of our panelists. This is a great discussion and obviously, we could talk about this for many, many more hours. Thanks so much.

THOMAS COUNTRYMAN: OK. And let me also thank General Klotz and Ms. Hinderstein and Mr. Reif, and thank Ms. Seligman for the moderation today.

There's much more information available at the website, armscontrol.org. I urge you not only to inform yourself but to participate in the decisions that your Congress, your government will be making on these issues. So, thank you. Have a beautiful Monday.


Corey Hinderstein (NTI), Lt. Gen. (ret) Frank Klotz, and ACA's Kingston Reif assessed on the Trump administration’s policies on nuclear weapons spending, U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control, and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and nuclear diplomacy with North Korea—and offered recommendations for a more responsible and effective approach.

Russia and Arms Control: Extending New Start or Starting Over?



Russia, China, Arms Control, and the Value of New START

Testimony of the Honorable Thomas Countryman,
Board Chairman, Arms Control Association, and
Former Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment

July 25, 2019

For more than fifty years, every U.S. President has proposed and pursued negotiations with Moscow as a means to regulate destabilizing nuclear arms competition and reduce the risk of the United States and its allies being destroyed in a nuclear war. They sought and concluded a series of treaties, with strong bipartisan support, that have made America and the world much safer.

The current Administration appears to be veering away from this tradition, to the detriment of our national security.

In November, the Trump administration announced, without a coherent military or diplomatic “plan B,” to terminate the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in response to Russia’s testing and deployment of the non-compliant, ground-launched 9M729 missile.

The administration has not presented a viable diplomatic plan that might persuade Russia to remove its 9M729s and instead it is pursuing development and testing of U.S. ground-launched, INF-range missiles, which are not militarily necessary to counter the 9M729 and would if deployed, likely divide NATO, and lead Russia to increase the number and type of intermediate-range missiles aimed against NATO targets. Congress would be wise to withhold its support for a new Euromissile race.

Worse yet, Trump’s national security team has dithered for more than a year on beginning talks with Russia to extend the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) before it expires in February 2021. In an interview published June 18, National Security Advisor John Bolton said of New START extension, “[T]here's no decision, but I think it's unlikely.”

Instead, Bolton has suggested the President wants to bring China into trilateral negotiations with Russia on a new agreement to limit nuclear weapons not covered by New START.

Pursuing talks with other nuclear-armed states and trying to limit all types of nuclear weapons is an admirable objective, which I support in principle. But such a negotiation would be complex and time-consuming. There is no realistic chance a new agreement along these lines could be finalized before New START expires.

It would be national security malpractice to discard New START in the hopes of negotiating a more comprehensive, ambitious nuclear arms control agreement with Russia and China to say nothing about getting it ratified and into force.

As the Chairman and the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs have suggested, the first step should be a five-year extension of New START, which would provide a foundation for a more ambitious successor agreement.

Without the INF Treaty and without New START, there would be no legally binding, verifiable limits on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time in nearly half a century.

New START verifiably caps the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons at 1,550 warheads and 700 delivery systems for each side; if those ceilings expires, Russia and the United States could upload hundreds of additional nuclear warheads to their long-range delivery systems. In fact, Russia, with its heavy missiles and several open missile production lines, could rapidly upload more additional warheads than the United States could). Each side would also have far less insight into the other’s nuclear deployment and modernization plans. As a result, our already difficult and uneasy nuclear relationship with Russia would become even more complicated, the risks of renewed nuclear competition would grow, and our efforts to mitigate nuclear risks in other corners of the globe would become more difficult.

The Value of Nuclear Arms Control

Previous Presidents, since Dwight Eisenhower, have recognized the value of effective nuclear arms control. They understood that:

  • Talking to an adversary, whether a superpower like the Soviet Union or a lesser challenger such as Iran, is not a sign of weakness, but a hardheaded and realistic means to reduce threats posed to the United States.

  • Treaties provide rules of the road that enable the United States to pursue more effectively its economic and security interests. They constrain other nations’ ability to act against our interests more than they constrain U.S. freedom of action.

  • Arms control agreements are not a concession made by the United States, or a favor done to another nation, but an essential component of, and contribution to, our national security.

  • In a world in which the U.S. claims global leadership, Washington must take the lead bilaterally and multilaterally, proposing initiatives that greatly reduce the risk that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) spread or are used.

  • The pursuit of reductions of nuclear stockpiles and the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons is both a moral obligation, and since approval by the U.S. Senate of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1969, it is a legal obligation as well, one that can and must be pursued regardless of the ups and downs of great-power relations.

  • There can be no winners in a nuclear war. Mutual assured destruction is not a theory, or a philosophy; it is a reality. Since the time the Soviet Union achieved reliable intercontinental ballistic missiles in the 1960s, neither the United States nor Russia can launch a nuclear attack on the other’s homeland without the near-certain destruction of its own homeland. Arms control agreements, and associated stability mechanisms, serve to reduce the risk that a cycle of assured destruction will begin.

As a consequence of American diplomatic leadership and the support of Congress, a series of bilateral agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia verifiably capped, and later, helped lead to significant cuts in the two superpowers arsenals by more than 85% from their Cold War peaks. The total destructive power of those weapons has been reduced from the equivalent of over a million Hiroshima-size bombs to the somewhat less insane equivalent of 80,000 such weapons. One of those agreements, the INF Treaty, verifiably eliminated an entire class of destabilizing missiles that threatened European security and increased the risk of superpower miscalculation.

The United States helped lead the way to the negotiation and conclusion of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits any nuclear test explosion, no matter what the yield. Although the CTBT has not formally entered into force due to the failure of eight key states to ratify, the treaty has been signed by 184 nations including all of the P-5 states, has established a global monitoring network that is operating 24/7 to help detect and deter clandestine testing, and created a global norm against nuclear testing. Today no state is actively engaged in nuclear testing.

U.S.-led efforts to reduce the role and the number of nuclear weapons, to end nuclear testing, combined with political pledges from the United States and the other nuclear-armed states to take further disarmament steps, have helped to solidify international support for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and paved the way for its indefinite extension in 1995.

Many of these positive trends have been reversed and others are at risk. This is due in part of a deficit of American leadership and the growing body of thought in the Administration and Congress today, which believes

  • The U.S. should not discuss vital national security issues, or consider compromise, with adversaries such as Russia and Iran until they have fully met U.S. demands in all fields.

  • International treaties are inherently disadvantageous to the United States, as they constrain the freedom of action of the world’s leading military and economic power.

  • That because arms control agreements involve a degree of compromise, they grant unwarranted concessions to opponents.

  • Such agreements are of no value if they do not solve EVERY problem between the parties, an all-or-nothing approach exemplified by the U.S. decision to withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

  • In the Cold War fallacy that there is a way to win a nuclear war, that a numerical or technical advantage can give the United States a dominance of power that would spare our country from destruction in a nuclear exchange. Sadly, no U.S. official today is able to repeat the obvious fact that motivated Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev to declare: “A nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.”

Over the last two years, this line of thinking is evident in the Administration’s retreat from global leadership, its embrace of authoritarian leaders, its weakening partnership with democratic allies. its withdrawal from international agreements, and its inability to make any new and meaningful agreements. The Administration has weakened restraints on Iran’s ability to enrich uranium. It has refused to reconsider ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or otherwise reinforce the de facto nuclear testing moratorium, which has preserved America’s important technical advantage in the nuclear field.

Now, as the termination date for the INF Treaty approaches and the expiration date for New START looms on the near horizon, the administration has failed to put forward a serious plan for constraining Russia’s nuclear arsenal. There is a serious risk that without extension of New START and without mutual restraints on INF missile systems after the end of the treaty, the conditions for an expensive, risky and destabilizing nuclear weapons race will emerge, similar to - but riskier and more expensive than - the arms race we ran in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the absence of responsible steps to prevent a dangerous new U.S.-Russian nuclear arms race, Congress can and should be ready to point the way forward.

The INF Treaty

The INF Treaty was a signature foreign policy achievement of President Reagan. It was unprecedented in requiring the destruction of nuclear warheads and delivery systems, resulting in the elimination of 2692 Soviet and U.S. missiles. It established the principle of on-site inspection, a concept still central today to effective agreements and to our understanding of Russian systems. It resolved a dangerous split within the NATO Alliance and reduced a genuine threat to our Allies and to peace in Europe. It was central to establishing the opportunity for genuine cooperation between Washington and Moscow.

The Russian military was never happy about Gorbachev’s ‘surrender’ in signing the INF Treaty, and has developed a cruise missile in violation of the range prescribed by the treaty. I think it unlikely that the Russian Defense Ministry consulted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the legality of this action. Deployment of the 9M729 has proven to be of double benefit to Russia, apart from the marginal utility of a new means to threaten NATO territory. Moscow is pleased to continue a long-running debate about the actual range of the 9M729, because it distracts from a less comfortable topic: the several dozen European cities and sites now within range of the new system. The U.S. withdrawal from the treaty will free the Russian military to plan new generations of missiles aimed at Russia’s neighbors, (both NATO and non-NATO), all while plausibly blaming the United States for the treaty’s demise.

Barring a diplomatic miracle, U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty will become effective August 2, and it is ‘justifiable’ as a response to Russia’s violation. But ‘justifiable’ is not the same as ‘smart,’ or even well-considered.

The President’s decision was taken without the benefit of senior-level interagency discussion, and without any plan to counter effectively the slight military advantage that Russia might gain by its deployment. That meant that the U.S. diplomatic strategy on the INF Treaty essentially amounted to the expression of “hope” that Russia will “change course” and return to compliance, which is of course not serious strategy.

The decision to terminate the treaty, combined with the possibility of new U.S. ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe, is risky and unwise. It opens the door to a new phase of destabilizing INF-range missile competition with Russia.

The Administration has yet to answer repeated Congressional calls for information on its decision to withdraw from the treaty or a strategy for a post-treaty world. The Pentagon’s FY 2020 budget request for new INF-range missiles lacks key details about the types of missiles DoD plans to develop or justification of the need for such missiles.

The United States should ensure that Russia gains no military advantage from its violation of the INF Treaty. Given that the United States and NATO forces currently can hold hundreds of key Russian military targets at risk using their existing array of sea-, land-, and air-based conventional strike weapons and missiles, new U.S. intermediate-range missiles are militarily unnecessary. If additional military measures are required, such as air- and sea-launched cruise missiles and cruise missile defenses, these can be pursued without the provocative and escalatory deployment of new ground-based missiles.

In addition, new missiles would have to be deployed on the territory of allies neighboring Russia or China to have military value. No ally has yet said it would be willing to serve this function. Any such deployment in Europe would require unanimous approval by NATO members, which cannot be assumed.

These missiles, whether nuclear- or conventionally-armed, American or Russian, would be able to strike targets deep inside Russia and in western Europe. Their short time-to-target capability increases the risk of miscalculation in a crisis. Any nuclear attack on Russia involving U.S. intermediate-range, nuclear-armed missiles based in Europe could provoke a massive Russian nuclear counterstrike on Europe and on the U.S. homeland.

This leaves open the question: what happens next and what can be done to mitigate the risks?

The Trump administration is clearly seeking to deploy new, intermediate-range missiles in Europe, to counter Russia's nuclear-capable, but very likely conventionally-armed, 9M729 ground-launched cruise missiles that have been deployed so far.

Rather than spur Russia to deploy more 9M729s that put our allies at risk, a new and more serious NATO commitment to arms control is needed to protect Europe and the United States.

One option would be for NATO to declare as a bloc that no alliance members will field any INF Treaty-prohibited missiles or any equivalent new nuclear capabilities in Europe so long as Russia does not deploy treaty-prohibited systems where they could hit NATO territory.

This would require Russia to dismantle or move at least some currently deployed 9M929 missiles. As the United States and Russia dispute the range of that missile, they could simply agree to bar deployments west of the Ural Mountains, or beyond. The U.S. and Russian presidents could agree to this “no-first INF missile deployment plan” through an executive agreement that would be verified through national technical means of intelligence, monitoring mechanisms available through the Open Skies Treaty and Vienna Document, and as necessary, new on-site inspection arrangements.

Another possible approach would be to negotiate a new agreement, perhaps as part of a New START follow-on, that verifiably prohibits ground-launched, intermediate-range ballistic or cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads. As a recent United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research study explains, the sophisticated verification procedures and technologies already in place under New START can be applied with almost no modification to verify the absence of nuclear warheads deployed on shorter-range missiles.

Such an approach would require additional declarations and inspections of any ground-launched INF Treaty-range systems. To be of lasting value, such a framework would require that Moscow and Washington agree to extend New START.

The Future of New START

The 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty brought the deployed arsenals of the United States and Russian Federation to their lowest level since the 1960s. It built upon previously agreed systems of notification, verification and inspection. To date, the two sides have exchanged over 10,000 notifications of movement of delivery systems and have conducted dozens of on-site verification inspections on each other’s territory.

As a result, the United States has a significantly clearer picture of Russian strategic capabilities than it could attain by national intelligence means alone. There have been no credible allegations of Russian violations of the agreement and, despite some questionable Russian concerns about verifying the conversion of U.S. strategic nuclear systems to conventional roles, the United States also continues to fully implement the treaty.

In one of my last meetings before leaving the State Department in 2017, I suggested to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov that Russia should seek early in the new Administration to extend the treaty, before any big thinkers in either Washington or Moscow got the brilliant idea that extension could become a bargaining chip. Although he agreed with that concern, what we both feared has occurred: a myth has taken hold in this city that Russia ‘needs’ New START more than the United States needs it, and that it can be “leveraged” to gain something more from Moscow.

Taking all these factors into account, the most important step that the two sides could take would be to take advantage of the option, as described in Article XIV, to extend the Treaty by five years to 2026.

To do so, it is important that the two sides promptly begin consultations on key issues raised by each side. Russia has raised concerns about the verification of the permitted procedures to convert some U.S. nuclear weapons delivery systems to conventional roles. The United States has understandably suggested that new Russian strategic nuclear weapons systems, including the Status-6 nuclear-armed, long-range torpedo and the proposed nuclear-propelled, long-range cruise missile, should be accounted for under New START. If both sides are willing to engage in a professional dialogue relatively soon, using the mechanism contained in the treaty, the Bilateral Consultative Commission, these issues can be addressed in a mutually agreed manner either before or soon after a decision to extend New START is taken.

New START extension is the most significant step this President could take with Russia that would improve national security, lay the basis for progress in other areas of Russian misbehavior, and draw bipartisan (though not unanimous) support.

I want to welcome the initiative of Chairman Engel and ranking member McCaul, the “Richard G. Lugar and Ellen O. Tauscher Act to Maintain Limits on Russian Nuclear Forces” (H.R. 2529), which would express the Sense of Congress that the United States should seek to extend New START so long as Russia remains in compliance. The bill would also require an intelligence assessment of how the expiration of New START would affect the size and posture of Russian nuclear forces and the additional intelligence capabilities the United States would need to compensate for the loss of the treaty’s extensive transparency and on-site monitoring provisions.

We don’t need and cannot afford a new Cold War-style nuclear arms race. Nor do we need to give China a cynical excuse to expand its arsenal, as it will likely do if the United States and Russia discard New START without a replacement agreement and pursue expanded deployment of intermediate-range missiles in the wake of the INF Treaty collapse.

As an insurance policy against increased Russian and U.S. strategic warhead deployments in the absence of New START, Congress could prohibit the use of funds for the purpose of increasing U.S. strategic warhead and delivery vehicles above New START limits, so long as the U.S. intelligence community assesses that Russia remains under the New START limits.

During Senate consideration of the Treaty in 2010, the White House made a strong commitment to sustain the funding necessary to replace and modernize U.S. nuclear weapons delivery systems and for warhead life extensions. Since then, the cost estimates for those programs have grown significantly, and the Trump administration has added a number of new requests that would add new nuclear capabilities to the arsenal.

If this administration – whether through inaction or proactively – forces the end of New START, Congress should not supinely go along with the administration’s plan for spending on new nuclear weapons, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates to be $1.7 trillion over the next 30 years. Instead, Congress should seek more cost-effective program alternatives that can save hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars while still allowing for the deployment of a nuclear force more than sufficient to deter any and all nuclear adversaries.

A Broader Arms Control Agreement?

The Administration has delayed any action on extension of New START and has proposed instead expanding New START to include China as a treaty party, and to set new limits on non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons, which are not covered by New START. When described this way, such an approach may seem to make sense. Involving other nuclear-armed states and all types of nuclear weapons in the disarmament process should be a medium-term goal of any Administration

However, given the antipathy expressed toward New START (and all other treaties) by President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, it strikes me and many others as a poison pill, a pretext for withdrawing from or allowing New START to expire, rather than to sustain meaningful limits on Russia’s most dangerous nuclear weapons – their strategic arsenal – which is an essential foundation for any new, broader and more ambitious follow-on agreement.

There are several obstacles in the way of a more ambitious trilateral nuclear arms control deal with China and Russia:

  • First, China has very little incentive to participate. With a nuclear arsenal less than one-tenth the size of America and Russia, it argues that these two sides need to reduce before including China in their discussions. Nor has the United States defined what agreement it would want China to embrace: would it be to commit to the limitations New START imposed on Moscow and Washington? This would mean giving our blessing to a five-fold increase in China’s weapon stockpile, which is hardly in our interest. Or would we agree to reduce American and Russian deployments to the level of China (300+)? That would be a real contribution to reducing the risk of nuclear war, but it is not currently achievable, for both political and security reasons.

  • Second, Russia counts the French and British nuclear deterrents like the American arsenal, as belonging to a potential adversary. It has suggested that multilateral discussions should include not only Beijing, but also Paris and London. Further, Moscow is not ready at this time to discuss its non-strategic arsenal, particularly if the US is not prepared to discuss issues of greatest concern to Moscow, such as US plans for ballistic missile defense.

  • Third, the United States would not be ready to discuss reducing its own non-strategic nuclear stockpile before completing consultations with NATO partners, which would inevitably be complex and time-consuming.

  • Finally, even under ideal conditions, a bilateral negotiation on a single topic takes years. Even if Russia and China were willing to discuss the proposed American agenda, a trilateral discussion of multiple topics would inevitably take considerably longer, even if it were pursued by an Administration committed to the topic and with successful experience in negotiations. This is not such an Administration. Between Mr. Bolton’s long-standing opposition to New START, and the nearly complete absence of experienced officials in the State Department, it is utterly unrealistic to expect such an agreement could be achieved before the scheduled expiration of New START in 19 months.

Beyond New START: Strategic Stability

If New START is not extended, we will find ourselves in 2021 - for the first time in nearly 50 years - with no legal restraints on the American and Russian arsenals. This absence would be a foreboding political signal: if the two main nuclear powers cannot even agree on the urgency of reducing the nuclear threat hanging over them both, what chances will there be for reducing other areas of tension?

As our intelligence leaders have testified, our national technical means alone - even if upgraded at great expense - could not fully substitute for the insight into the Russian arsenal we gain from New START’s notification requirements. In the absence of confidence about the other side’s capabilities, both U.S. and Russian planners will have greater incentive to engage in worst-case scenario planning, driving a spiral of increased spending on destabilizing systems.

A deep strategic stability dialogue between Washington and Moscow is necessary today to reduce the risk of unintended escalation and will be even more essential tomorrow if New START is allowed to expire. Central to this effort is the intensification of U.S.-Russian military-to-military contacts. The “no-contact” policy dating back to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014 was meant to show Moscow there can be no business as usual, but it now works against American security interests, as it prevents the kind of information exchange and relationships that could help prevent an incident from becoming a conflict.

Beyond military channels, it is to be hoped that last week’s meeting between American and Russian diplomats will lead directly to a continuing, intensive strategic stability dialogue that will focus on enhanced understanding of each other’s doctrines and capabilities, less name-calling and more problem-solving.



Testimony from Thomas Countryman, board chairman for the Arms Control Association, before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment.

Country Resources:

The INF Treaty and New START Crisis and the Future of the NPT



The INF Treaty and New START Crisis and the Future of the NPT

Statement of NGO Representatives and Experts
to the 2019 NPT Prep Com for the 2020 Review Conference,
United Nations, New York

May 1, 2019

Since the NPT was signed 50 years ago, the United States and Russia have engaged in nuclear arms control negotiations and concluded strategic arms control and reduction treaties that have lowered tensions, reduced excess nuclear stockpiles, increased predictability and transparency, and helped to reduce the nuclear danger.

While the size of the U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles has been significantly reduced from their Cold War peaks, the dangers posed by the still excessive U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals and launch-under-attack postures are still exceedingly high.

Today, each side can launch as many as 800 thermonuclear weapons in a first strike within about 20 minutes of the “go” order from either president. Each side would have hundreds more nuclear weapons available in reserve for further counterstrikes. The result would be a global catastrophe.

As then-presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev noted in their 1985 summit statement: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Further progress on nuclear disarmament – or in the very least active negotiations to that end – by the United States and Russia is at the core of their NPT Article VI obligation to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

Disarmament leadership from the United States and Russia, which possess the vast majority of the world’s nuclear firepower, is also critical to the essential task of engaging the world’s other nuclear-armed states in the global enterprise to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.

As we approach the NPT’s 2020 Review Conference, it is the considered view of a wide range of nongovernmental experts and organizations that the world’s two largest nuclear-armed states need to:

  • engage in serious talks to facilitate the extension of New START by five years, as allowed for in Article XIV of the Treaty;
  • reach an agreement that prevents deployments of destabilizing ground-based, intermediate-range missiles; and
  • resume regular, high-level talks on strategic stability to reduce the risk of miscalculation.

Failure by the U.S. and Russian leadership to take these steps would represent a violation of their NPT Article VI obligations and would threaten the very underpinnings of the NPT regime.

Unfortunately, relations between Washington and Moscow are at their lowest point since the mid-1980s, and their dialogue on nuclear arms control has been stalled since Russia rejected a 2013 offer from President Obama to negotiate further nuclear cuts beyond the modest reductions mandated by the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Worse still, the two sides have not resumed their strategic stability talks since the last session was held in Helsinki in late-2017, and the future of two of the most important nuclear arms control agreements – the INF Treaty and New START – are in grave doubt.

The INF Treaty

In February, Washington and Moscow suspended their obligations under the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty after failing to resolve their compliance dispute. Barring a diplomatic miracle, the United States is on course to withdraw from the treaty on August 2. The collapse of the INF Treaty opens the door to new and even more dangerous forms of missile competition.

Russia may deploy more of its 9M729 ground-launched cruise missiles, which the United States and NATO have determined are treaty noncompliant, and Russia has threatened to convert a sea-based cruise missile system for ground launch. For its part, the Trump administration has begun developing new, “more usable” low-yield nuclear warheads for use on D-5 submarine-launched strategic missiles, and the administration has announced that it will begin testing – before the end of this year – new ground-launched intermediate-range cruise missiles, which have been prohibited by the INF Treaty. Ukraine, a party to the INF Treaty, has suggested it might pursue INF missile development.

Whether nuclear-armed or conventionally-armed, ground-launched, intermediate-range missile systems are destabilizing because of their very short time-to-target capabilities afford little or no warning of attack.

Instead of a dangerous pursuit of such INF missile deployments, this conference must strongly encourage the INF states parties to refrain from deploying intermediate-range, ground-launched missiles and urge Moscow and Washington to engage in talks designed to produce a new INF-missile control arrangement.

For example, NATO could declare, as a bloc, that no alliance members will field any currently INF Treaty-prohibited missiles in Europe so long as Russia does not deploy treaty-prohibited systems where they could hit NATO territory. This would require Russia to move at least some currently deployed 9M729 missiles.

The U.S. and Russian presidents could agree to this “no-first INF missile deployment plan” through an executive agreement that would be verified through national technical means of intelligence. Russia could be offered additional confidence-building measures to ensure that the United States would not place offensive missiles in the Mk. 41 missile-interceptor launchers now deployed Europe as part of the Aegis Ashore system.


Meanwhile, the START agreement, which verifiably caps each side’s strategic deployed arsenals to no more than 1,550 warheads and 700 strategic delivery systems, will expire in February 2021 unless extended or replaced.

Without a positive decision to extend New START, there would be no legally binding limits on the world’s two largest nuclear superpowers for the first time since 1972. The risk of unconstrained U.S.-Russian nuclear competition, and even more fraught relations, would grow.

In a March 2018 interview with NBC, President Putin voiced interest in an extension of New START or even possibly further cuts in warhead numbers. In April 2018, the Trump administration announced it is pursuing a “whole-of-government review” about whether to extend New START. In 2017, shortly before he became the U.S. National Security Advisor, John Bolton publicly called on President Trump to terminate New START.

New START clearly serves U.S. and Russian security interests. The treaty imposes important bounds on the strategic nuclear competition between the two nuclear superpowers.

Failure to extend New START, on the other hand, would compromise each side’s understanding of the other’s nuclear forces, open the door to unconstrained nuclear competition, and undermine international security.

Fortunately, the treaty can be extended by up to five years (to 2026) by a simple agreement by the two presidents—without complex negotiations and without further approval from the U.S. Senate or Russian Duma.

An agreement to extend New START requires the immediate start of consultations on key issues of concern to both sides.

Russia has raised concerns about the verification of the conversion of some U.S. nuclear weapons delivery systems to conventional roles. The United States, for its part, has understandably suggested that new Russian strategic nuclear weapons systems, including the Status-6 nuclear-armed, long-range, torpedo and the proposed nuclear-propelled, long-range cruise missile, should be accounted for under New START.

If both sides are willing to engage in a professional dialogue relatively soon, these issues can be addressed in a mutually agreed manner either before or soon after a decision to extend New START is taken.

New START extension would also provide additional time for Trump, or his successor, to pursue negotiations on more far-reaching nuclear cuts involving strategic and tactical nuclear systems, an understanding about the limits of U.S. strategic missile defenses, and limitations on non-nuclear strategic strike weapons that both sides are beginning to develop.

A Core Issue for NPT 2020

These issues must be central issues for this preparatory conference and all NPT States Parties before the 2020 Review Conference.

Some delegations claim that before progress on nuclear disarmament can be achieved, the right environment must be established. Such arguments overlook how progress on disarmament has been achieved in the past and can be achieved today.

Such arguments should not be allowed to distract from a disappointing lack of political will to engage in a common-sense nuclear risk reduction dialogue.

In reality, the current environment demands the resumption of a productive, professional dialogue between representatives of the White House and the Kremlin on nuclear arms control and disarmament.

The urgency of these problems also demands that all NPT states parties, as part of their own solemn legal responsibilities to uphold the NPT and advance their Article VI goals. NPT states parties should:

  • press Presidents Trump and Putin to relaunch the dialogue on strategic stability;
  • pledge to reach early agreement to extend the New START agreement; and
  • refrain from pursuing deployments of INF-prohibited missile systems in the European theater (or elsewhere) that produce a dangerous action-reaction cycle.

We strongly urge each delegation to emphasize these priority steps to ensure key states remain in compliance with the NPT and sustain progress toward the attainment of all of the treaty’s core goals and objectives.

Endorsed by:

Alexey Arbatov, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (academician), head of the Center for International Security, Е.М. Primakov Institute for World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, Member of Parliament (State Duma) in 1993-2003 and former deputy chair of the Defense Committee, member of the Soviet START I delegation

Dr. Christoph Bertram, Director, International Institute of Strategic Studies 1974-1982, Director, German Institute for International and Security Studies (SWP) 1998-2005

Dr. Bruce Blair, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton; Co-founder, Global Zero, Former Member, Secretary of State International Security Advisory Board

Des Browne, former UK Secretary of State for Defence

Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice, Harvard Kennedy School**

Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund

Lisa Clark and Reiner Braun, Co-Presidents, International Peace Bureau

Thomas Countryman, former acting U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and Chair of the Board of the Arms Control Association

Tarja Cronberg, Chair of the Peace Union of Finland and as a former member of the European Parliament

Jayantha Dhanapala, Ambassador, former UN Under-Secretary-General for

Disarmament Affairs, President 1995 NPT Review & Extension Conference, former

President Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs

Sergio Duarte, President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and Global Affairs, former UN high representative for disarmament, President of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, and a member of Brazil’s delegation to the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee talks on the NPT

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Dr. Joseph Gerson, President and CEO, Campaign for Peace Disarmament and Common Security

Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute, and UN Representative of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

John Hallam, People for Nuclear Disarmament Human Survival Project, and Co-Convener, Abolition 2000 Nuclear Risk Reduction Working Group

Dr. Ira Helfand, Co-President, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, former Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, U.S. Department of State, and Founder of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation

Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy

Angela Kane, Senior Fellow, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-proliferation, former United Nations Under-Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament

Dr. Catherine M. Kelleher, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and the Secretary of Defense’s representative to NATO

Ambassador (ret.) Laura Kennedy, former U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association*

Michael Krepon, Co-founder, The Stimson Center

Richard G. Lugar, United States Senator (Ret.), President, The Lugar Center

Dr. Victor Mizin, Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Science, former Soviet/Russian diplomat

Prof. Götz Neuneck, Chair German Pugwash and Council Member Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs

Ali Nouri, President, Federation of American Scientists

Olga Oliker, Director, Europe Program, International Crisis Group**

Jungeun Park, Secretary General, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (RoK)

Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and the Russian Federation

Amb. (ret.) Steven Pifer, William J Perry Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University**

Dr. William C. Potter, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Guy C. Quinlan, President, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy

Susi Snyder, Nuclear Disarmament Programme Manager, PAX (Netherlands)

John Tierney, Executive Director, Council for a Livable World, and Executive Director, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Greg Thielmann, former Director of the Office of Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Sir Adam Thomson, Chief Executive, European Leadership Network

Aaron Tovish, Executive Director, Zona Libre

Hiromichi Umebayashi, Founder & Special Advisor, Peace Depot Inc. Japan

Rick Wayman, Deputy Director, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Anthony Wier, Legislative Secretary for Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending, Friends Committee on National Legislation

*Statement coordinator

** Institution listed for identification purposes only


Remarks by Daryl Kimball on behalf of NGO Representatives and Experts to the 2019 NPT PrepCom for the 2020 Review Conference at the United Nations in New York.

Country Resources:

2019 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting


New Risks and New Arms Control Solutions:
North Korea, Disruptive Technologies, and the New Arms Race
Monday, April 15, 2019 · 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Our 2019 Annual Meeting brought together members and colleagues in the field, journalists, U.S. and international officials, and prominent experts and policymakers to discuss today’s most critical arms control challenges.

(Download Printable PDF)

9:00 a.m.


Thomas Countryman,
Chairman of the Board, Arms Control Association

9:15 a.m.

Morning Panel I

“The INF, New START, and the Crisis in U.S.-Russian Arms Control"

Ambassador Richard Burt, Former U.S. Diplomat and Negotiator on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), and U.S. Chair, Global Zero

Ambassador Anatoly I. Antonov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States

Joan Rohlfing, President and COO, Nuclear Threat Initiative

10:30 a.m.

Morning Panel II

“Breaking Barriers to Gender Inclusivity in the Nuclear Policy Field”

Heather Hurlburt, Director of the New Models of Policy Change, New America

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Founder of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS), Member of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors

11:40 a.m.

Buffet Luncheon


12:10 p.m.

Keynote Address

“Arms Control, Diplomacy, and U.S. Security”
Admiral Mike Mullen
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2007-2011)

1:15 p.m.

Afternoon Panel I

“The Challenges of New Weapons Technologies and Strategic Stability"

Bonnie Docherty, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch, Arms Division

Erin Dumbacher, Program Officer for the Scientific and Technical Affair Program, Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)

Amy Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy, Congressional Research Service

2:15 p.m.

Afternoon Panel II

“Next Steps Toward Denuclearization and Peace on the Korean Peninsula”

Suzanne DiMaggio, Senior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Frank Aum, Senior Expert on North Korea, United States Institute of Peace

3:10 p.m.


Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

4:00 p.m.

Reception for Meeting Attendees

Special Guest: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland)

We would like to express our strong appreciation to those members and like-minded organizations who sponsored the 2019 Annual Meeting. Their support ensures that the Arms Control Association has the resources and tools we need to remain the leading voice for effective arms control solutions.

William R. "Russ" Colvin
David Bernstein · Martin Hellman · Anonymous
Evangelicals for Peace · Culmen International, LLC · National Association of Evangelicals
Leslie DeWitt · Deborah Gordon · Tori Holt · Catherine Kelleher · Laura Kennedy 
Michael Klare · Edward Levine · Jan Lodal · Terri Lodge · Anonymous
and the many individual sponsors whose generosity supported
the participation of the next generation of arms control advocates

Contact Elana Simon at (202) 463-8270 ext 105 if you have any questions.


Thomas Countryman

COUNTRYMAN: So, good morning. There's a couple of you I haven't met. I'm Tom Countryman and it's my honor to serve as the chairman of the board of directors of the Arms Control Association.

We're very happy to be in this new venue this morning with thanks to the Carnegie Institution for hosting us for so many years. We outgrew the size of their room and, again this year had to turn people away. So, we're very happy that you are able to be here today.

Let me just ask people to silence cellphones or any other devices that you have.

I think that most of you know the Arms Control Association, since 1971. We've been a key part of the debate about national security policy, about nuclear doctrine, about the nuclear budget, contributed not just to the U.S. government discussion and congressional discussion, but we think have contributed also to the international discussion and the decisions of other governments about what strategies to pursue in the military field.

And in all that time, we've punched above our weight as a very small NGO by Washington standards, having an influence that I think reflects the very practical policy point of view that we are trying to put out. Not trying to solve all the world's problems in a single week, but to help governments, especially the U.S. government, think about the right next step.

Did I start echoing? Okay. And we think that there are new opportunities to do this with a new and more active Congress and have started working with other NGOs in town in order to push forward the debate within the Congress on these crucial issues for American citizens and for global security.

We have a great program today. And if we've done it right, you should be very afraid because we will talk about the issues that continue to concern us. But if I could take a moment to talk a little bit happier note, as I say, I consider it an honor to serve as the chairman of the board of directors and I think it's worth noting that it's a really extraordinary board that continues to draw honors and gain respect from the world community.

And just a few things that you may not have heard in the last year, Professor Zia Mian from our board was given the American Physical Society's Leo Szilard Prize for someone in the physics field making major contributions to humanity and society. Dr. Catherine Kelleher has just had a fellowship named after her at the University of Maryland in recognition not just of her leadership in the international security field, but in mentoring and promoting generations of women in this field.

I see Bonnie Jenkins and her new organization, still very new, Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security. And, of course, we have board members like Laura Kennedy active in the political field and as well. I see Susan Burk who worked with a variety of social organizations advancing political education.

I think it's a terrific board and I'm very proud to work with them. I’ve got a special thanks for Michael Klare who has devoted several of the most of the last several months to working on new technologies and you'll hear about the work and the thinking he's been doing this afternoon.

The key thing, however, is not so much the board because we see our job as just supporting the people who are doing the real work, and that is a small dynamic team led by Daryl Kimball. I think you'll have an opportunity to, not just to see in our excellent journal but to see also in the topics that we discuss today what a great job they do, and I couldn't be more proud than I am just to be associated with them.

We have by the way, I should mention a couple of new board members, newly elected by the membership who will be starting terms now and I hope that some of you will know them, Angela King, formerly of the United Nations High Rep for Disarmament. And Maryann Cusimano Love of Catholic University. So, we think they will add to the strength and diversity and thought processes of our board.

So, that's all I really wanted to say. We can scare you and I think nuclear weapons should scare people a little bit. But we are not motivated and we do not seek to motivate others by fear. We're motivated by a genuine concern for the future of humanity, for the security of our country and our planet, and by a belief that we can make a difference. And we see it today in the engagement of so many NGOs in civil actions, I just came back from St. Louis where I met with a very local group that is researching as a group all the issues of national security in the budget and using that to motivate local discussion and local activism.

I'm very proud to be part of that movement and especially proud that the Arms Control Association under Daryl's leadership continues to lead the way.

With that, I would like to introduce our first panel and ask them to come up. Executive Director Daryl Kimball will moderate this panel. We have Ambassador Richard Burt, Joan Rohlfing from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and we're happy to have His Excellency Anatoly Antonov from the Russian Federation. So, if I could ask you all to come up.


“The INF, New START, and the Crisis in U.S.-Russian Arms Control"
Daryl Kimball, Ambassador Richard Burt, Ambassador Anatoly I. Antonov, Joan Rohlfing

KIMBALL: It's a pleasure to see all of you here at the Washington Court Hotel. As Tom said, we went to a larger venue to accommodate the growing interest in our annual meeting. And it's my pleasure to moderate this first session on the crisis in U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control.

We're going to be focusing here on the crisis facing primarily the INF Treaty and the future of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and I'm just going to give a brief introduction before we hear some opening remarks from each of our distinguished panelists and then get into a discussion about these issues.

As many of you already know, in February following the failure of talks to resolve mutual concerns about the INF Treaty, Washington and Moscow suspended their obligations under the INF Treaty. So, barring a diplomatic miracle between now and August 2nd, the U.S. is on course to withdraw from that landmark 1987 Treaty which led to the verifiable elimination of some 2,692 nuclear armed intermediate range-missiles in Europe in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.

The collapse of the INF Treaty from our perspective at the Arms Control Association opens the door to renewed missile competition, and we'll be talking a bit about what we can do to avoid that. Russia conceivably could deploy more of its controversial 9M729 ground-launched cruise missiles, Russia could also convert some of its sea-based cruise missiles, the caliber system, for ground watch.

For its part, the Trump administration wants to begin testing before the end of this year a new ground-launched intermediate range cruise missile, and even Ukraine, a party to the INF Treaty, let’s not forget, has suggested it might pursue INF missile deployment. Meanwhile, the new START Treaty which verifiably caps both the U.S. and Russian deployed strategic arsenals will expire on February 5, 2021, unless the two presidents agree to extend the treaty or somehow negotiate a replacement.

So, without the INF Treaty and without a positive decision to extend New START, there will be no legally-binding limits on the world's two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time since 1972.

Now, last year President Putin voiced interest in an extension of New START and the Trump administration announced it’s pursuing a whole-of-government review about whether to extend the treaty and that review, of course, is being led by John Bolton who publicly called on President Trump to terminate the New START treaty shortly before he was named as the National Security Advisor.

So, with that introduction, I want to introduce our three excellent panelists to discuss how the U.S. and Russia can navigate these stormy waters. First, we have here in the middle, of course, Richard Burt, a veteran of U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiations with the Reagan and Bush administrations and he was the leading negotiator for the 1991 START I agreement and he's currently chairman of the organization Global Zero, among other things.

Joan Rohlfing, on the right side, is president and chief operating officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative with whom we've partnered for many years since NTI was founded back in 2001 by Senator Sam Nunn and Ted Turner.

And, of course, we have, we are honored to have Anatoly Antonov, who's Russia's ambassador to the United States, as his bio and the other bios in the program show, he has a long and distinguished career in the diplomatic sector with the Russian Foreign Ministry, including serving as chief negotiator for the New START agreement.

And I've asked each of them to give us some brief opening remarks from some five to seven minutes on what they see as the value of U.S.-Russian arms control towards risk reduction efforts and the U.S.-Russia dialogue on strategic issues. I've also asked them to offer their thoughts about what could be done in the wake of the likely termination of the INF Treaty, to head off a new INF missile race, and what they see as the value of the New START agreement and the way forward. So, three very simple questions with some complicated answers.

And then after we hear from them, I'll engage our panel in the discussion about some of the deeper issues. This is not an introductory discussion on these issues—this is a well-informed crowd— so we'll be getting into some details about the way forward.

So, with that, I want to welcome Ambassador Burt to the stage. It's an honor to have you with us. The floor is yours.

BURT: Thank you, Daryl, and I can't help but recall that when I was still kind of writing about these issues for the New York Times in the late 1970s I was invited to talk to an annual meeting of the Arms Control Association then. So that was 40 years ago. So, we haven't yet succeeded, folks, so there's a lot to do.

I would begin by kind of talking about what I consider to be the great paradox about the status of U.S.-Russian arms control at present because I would argue that rarely if ever has the issue been more problematic and as this conference correctly diagnoses it, we confront a crisis.

And I'll go into a little more detail in just a moment on that, but it's a crisis that is a political crisis, it's a technical crisis, and it's a crisis that raises real questions about the future stability of the nuclear relationship itself.

But the paradox is this issue gets so little discussion at least here in the United States. It is a back pages issue. If you want to read about arms control, you go to the weather page of the Washington Post, maybe there's an article about it. So, I mean, it is just striking, if you will, the lack of attention this issue is getting when juxtaposed to the problems we are confronting.

So, I'm going to make three basic points. The first is the arms control relationship in my judgment cannot go forward, we're not going to succeed as long as the U.S.-Russian political relationship is so damaged and it’s continually worsening. It's hard to think of a relationship even in some of the worst moments of the Cold War where U.S. and Russia are at odds on more issues.

And, you know, I don't mean to give you the laundry list of whether it’s on regional issues like Ukraine, Syria, now in Venezuela, basic political questions that have to do with the perceived intervention of Russia in our domestic affairs. And that has led to an even worse development, which is Russia policy has become a domestic political issue in our politics, which makes it in my view almost impossible to solve, because people want to use it for their own domestic political purposes and that's what you've seen and you will continue to see it as we move towards the 2020 election. So, we've got a major political obstacle.

Secondly, we've got technical obstacles. It isn't just that the United States has stepped out in the INF Treaty; that's bad enough. In my view, the Russians hoped that we would at some point step out of the INF Treaty. Vladimir Putin himself was complaining about the INF Treaty, I think, 10 years ago. So, I think the Russian side didn't like it anymore; the United States basically doesn't like arms control, at least, doesn't like the constraints of arms control as Daryl pointed out in the case of John Bolton.

So, there was a kind of convenience, that both sides have real reasons to step out of this treaty. The likelihood of extending the START treaty in my judgment is pretty low. I think that while I think Russia would like us to continue to adhere to it, I think that there are real questions of whether this administration will continue to do so.

So, there is that problem. But even if we stay in the treaty, the real broader problem is, can any future U.S. Congress support future arms control agreements? And given the polarization of our politics, is it possible to get arms control agreements ratified any longer? That's a longer-term issue that we're thinking about.

But beyond the simple treaties and the politics of those treaties, there is the technological issues. And I guess I'll very quickly make the argument that I think we're beginning in doctrinal terms actually in thinking about the role and purpose of nuclear weapons to diverge with the Russians. I think the Russians still support the notion of mutual-assured destruction and I believe that that is one reason why Vladimir Putin is so unhappy about our abrogation of the ABM treaty.

I think that the United States is beginning to think, at least some people in our government are beginning to think, of moving beyond assured destruction and with new technologies, particularly in areas of strategic defense, whether it's boost phase intercept, the use of directed energy weapons, and regional ABM systems that we are thinking once again, has happened for a period of time in the 1980s about shifting to an actually defensive-dominant nuclear strategy.

That in my view, that divergence between an offensive focus on the Russian side and defensive on the American side is potentially highly destabilizing and needs to be addressed beyond simply getting new arms control agreements, but in having a deep, deep discussion about the function of nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia, a real discussion on strategic stability.

I'll end on this note by saying we also need to think and be probably more creative than we’ve been before about how new arms control agreements might look. Maybe they should be more informal, maybe they should really resemble confidence-building measures, maybe the era of numerical constraints and defined launchers and warheads, maybe that is no longer possible, maybe we need to think about approaches which give decision-makers more time to make decisions in the event of a crisis, maybe that means redeploying systems.

I think that if arms control is going to survive in this new and very difficult political environment, we're going to have to be much more thoughtful about what kinds of approaches might work.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much for the sobering thoughts, Rick. We want to turn now to Ambassador Antonov who’s worked many years on these issues.

ANTONOV: Thank you, Daryl. Thank you very much for the possibility to participate in this event, Ambassador Burt has raised some issues, and of course I have a lot to answer, but if I start -

BURT: You got to turn up your thing. Is it turned on?

ANTONOV: Yes. I can see over there. Ambassador has prepared three points; I have prepared ten. But all of them not just only for you but for those folks who are watching us, because I'm sure that not everybody understands what we are talking about and why these issues [are] so serious.

I agree with you while you have mentioned that we have just only little discussion in Washington on the situation regarding a strategic stability, arms control nonproliferation. For me for example, there is no opportunity to come to Congress and to explain [to] your senators, your legislators how we understand the situation. It's also very important to speak directly looking in your eyes but not to speak just only for mass media, but at this stage I spent already one year and haven’t I failed to start such dialogue. That's why I highly appreciate this possibility to discuss with this issue.

Immediately, I would like to react [to] what you mentioned. Maybe we have to revisit our conservative approach to legally binding documents on nuclear disarmament or maybe strategic stability. We are looking very attentively at what is going on in the United States. We don't want the same situation that we face now with [the] JCPOA. After a change in administration, you say that there is a decision to cancel this agreement… not agreement, arrangement… or I don't know how to totally understand it.

So, that's why we would like you to understand why we want legally binding documents. We would like these documents to be ratified by your Congress. It should be legal for the United States and for the Russian Federation.

So, my first point, I assume that the majority in this room favors arms control, I assume. We are consumed by the current shape of strategic stability, why do we need arms control? My understanding is simple., Arms control including disarmament creates a favorable and predictable atmosphere between major powers, positively impacts the international situation, eases tensions in the world, saves taxpayer money that could rather be invested into our economy, and therefore benefit our people.

Why does the majority in the world pressure the Russian Federation and the United States on arms control? I'll try to answer. The Russian Federation and the United States are the major nuclear powers, possessing 90-95 percent of all nuclear weapons. That's why in 2009 our leaders decided to start negotiations to limit American and Russian strategic offensive arms.

It was a logical step taking into account our positive experience of bilateral preparation on strategic stability. The potential for joint efforts for peace, security, disarmament, strengthening nonproliferation and arms control is far from being exhausted. We can do so much more if we respect the national interest of each other.

The primary goal for us is to build a security architecture which would give tangible results of the principle of equal and individual security for every nation. Second point, the Russian security is not solely determined by the balance of strategic nuclear weapons of our two countries. It depends on many other factors, including the plans to develop the United States global missile defense system, long-range high-precision systems, the United States launchers strategic nuclear weapons in Europe, balance of conventional forces, existence of a large number of military basis with a growing military infrastructure near the Russian borders, proposed deployment of weapons in outer space, a prospective halt of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, the situation with nonproliferation, and et cetera.

Third point, for many years, the United States has been rejecting any limitations on its military capabilities. Today, we are planning to discuss the INF and New START treaties and what should be done to limit painful consequences of efforts to destroy arms control regime, but these treaties are just a part of global problem.

Fourth, the issue of including every nuclear state in the process of limiting and reducing nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly present.

Fifth, let's take a look at what has been done by the Russian Federation to preserve the INF Treaty. Since 2007, we have been making suggestions to make the treaty multilateral. That's exactly what the United States administration is proposing now. We have been discussing our concerns over Washington's compliance with the treaty with the INF Special Verification Commission without making them public.

In order to dispel United States complaints over the 9M729 missile, we were ready for unprecedented transparency measures which reached far beyond the INF obligations. What did we get in return from our United States partners? Our suggestions were rejected, our concerns over unmanned aerial vehicles, drones, target missiles, and MK41 launchers deployed as a part of the United States missile defense in Europe were simply ignored.

Washington decided to take a hard-edged stance and talk to us through ultimatum. It goes without saying that such unconstructive approach is absolutely unacceptable to us and cannot lead to a positive outcome. Due to the end of the INF Treaty, the level of predictability of international security and strategic stability will certainly decline. The risk of misinterpretation will increase.

Six (and just a reaction [to] what the Ambassador has just mentioned), recently, political scientists and mass media outlets have been rigorously imposing the idea of so-called Russian and American withdrawal from INF Treaty. Such statement is a harsh distortion of the real facts and completely fails interpretation of the stance which our country has taken in response to Washington’s decision to completely dismantle the treaty.

It would be absolutely incorrect to talk about Russia's withdrawal from the treaty. We have never been pushing this agenda. We have never been pushing this agenda. We were consistently trying to preserve the INF Treaty. Only after Washington suspended its obligations under the treaty, our country considering the United States violations of the treaty was forced to take a reciprocal action.

However, we haven't taken any step on actual so-called withdrawal including sending a corresponding notification. Therefore, it would be wrong to push us on the same line with the United States in this regard, both from conceptual and legal points of view.

Seventh, on February 2, 2019 Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear Russia will not deploy intermediate range or shorter-range weapons if we develop weapons of this kind, neither in Europe nor anywhere until United States weapons of this kind are deployed to the corresponding regions of the world.

Eight, it was the United States withdrawal from the ABM Treaty that forced Russia to develop entirely different new arms. Now some politicians and generals have expressed grave concerns over these systems, yet we have been warning about possible consequences of Washington's unilateral actions.

We have kept saying that we won't stand idly by watching strategic stability being distorted. Nobody will accept. And what do we see now? Astronomical sums of money will be spent to develop global missile defense, but all analysts admit that our new strategic weapons can penetrate any missile defense system. Further increasing spending money to pursue this goal will only harm American taxpayers. Meanwhile, our response is outlined in a way that will not draw the Russian Federation into a costly arms race.

By the way, according to the 2018 NATO Secretary General's annual report, NATO states spent almost $1 trillion on defense, therefore [the] Alliance defense budget was at least 20 times bigger than Russia's defense spending. You can decide for yourself who is pushing the world towards an arms race.

Ninth, concerns are growing over the future of the New START which expires in 2021. On many occasions we voiced our readiness to extend the treaty for another five years. We are told that the issue is being considered on inter-agency level. The extension of the New START is not a simple technicality that could be resolved in a couple of weeks. Serious issues must be settled. We hope that Russian concerns regarding conversion procedures the United States has employed to meet the accord's limit will be fully dispelled.

We have to remember that the American side has reached the set limits not only by actually reducing the arms but also by converting a certain number of them in a way that the Russian Federation still cannot confirm their incapability for employing nuclear weapons as is specified by the treaty.

And the last point, ten, as a leading nuclear power we responsibly adhere to our arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation obligations. Our proposals to resolve the INF issues and preserve the New START still stand. The efforts required to return to equal professional dialogue are not exhausted. We won’t act needy. We will not initiate talk on these matters in the future. It's a position that was introduced by my president. We will wait for our partners to come around and engage in an equal and meaningful dialogue on this issue of global importance.

Are new shocks really required for this to happen? I hope not. All our proposals are on the table. Thank you very much.

KIMBALL: So, thank you very much for that review of the Russian view on these issues, we’ll get into some of the details in a little bit. But first, Joan Rohlfing from the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Your thoughts.

ROHLFING: Thank you, Daryl. It's a pleasure to be here today. Honored to be on the panel with these two esteemed colleagues and wonderful to see all of you in the audience (inaudible). These are the people who go to the weather page to read on these issues on a regular basis.

KIMBALL: …and Arms Control Today.

ROHLFING: And of course, Arms Control Today. As Mo Udall once said, "Everything has been said, but not everyone has said it," so I am going to try and recap on a few of the things that the previous speakers have already said.

I’ve got a simple three-point message and then a few embellishments. But the three points are number one, we’re in an extremely dangerous moment. Number two, we’re moving in the wrong direction. And number three, we need a new strategy for pulling back out of this dangerous, escalatory cycle.

Let me talk about these things further. What would a new strategy for pulling back from this dangerous escalatory cycle look like? I think it's clear we need to find a way to stop arguing about how the ox cart got into the ditch, as Sam Nunn would say, and say instead start talking about how to get the ox cart out of the ditch. We have now been through year upon year upon year of accusing each other, raising concerns, talking past each other, and all the while, escalating.

And, I would say… I’ve been asked recently to speak a number of times on the question of are we in a new arms race, or is the new arms race preventable, as if we’re on the verge of one, but haven't yet entered into one. And I would say it’s clear that we’re in a new arms race, maybe not even so new, and that we’ve been in one for some period of time.

We need to move beyond the mistaken idea of the U.S. in a unilateralist world or, as Ambassador Burt said, a world where we shift to a defense-dominant doctrine. We can’t spend our way to nuclear safety. We are locked in mutual vulnerability for the foreseeable future. So more lethal forms of these weapons, more numbers of these weapons are not going to make us safer, they’re simply going to introduce new risks.

So how do we get out of them and what role does arms control play? I think Ambassador Burt said it well when he talked about the value of arms control. And so did Ambassador Antonov. I want to just add to that, I always go back to a classic from 1960, the Tom Schelling and Morton Halperin book called Strategy and Arms Control. And the case he makes is that arms control is another way of achieving military strategy, another path to achieving, another means of achieving military strategy, arms control can help us reduce the chances of war, it can reduce the consequence of war if it breaks out, and it can reduce the cost to both parties in the interim. I think that's a good bet and we need to get back to these basic principles of why arms control is so important.

So, what do we need to do in that space? I would say our number one priority by far, and with a great sense of urgency about this, is let's please at least preserve the last remaining gargoyle (?) we have and that is, of course, New START. And I believe New START should be extended without conditions. I worry that both the U.S. and Russia are overplaying their hands by trying to leverage…, in the case of the U.S. bringing new systems into the mix or trying to bring a new party under the treaty, and on the Russian side by saying, "well, we've got to resolve these concerns first before we can extend New START." I think that leaves us in a very perilous position, where potentially New START is either allowed to expire, or worse yet, we decide withdraw from it, and as far as I am concerned that's like canceling your homeowners insurance policy while you’re trying to negotiate a little better deal, and meanwhile the house burns down. So, let's at least keep the safety net in place to buy ourselves the space and time that we need to resolve the legitimate issues and concerns of both sides.

And then let me just conclude by making a final point, which is something…, Daryl, I hope we can focus on in the Q & A…, and that is the importance of the U.S. and Russia… We are now about a year out from the 2020 NPT review conference, which is an important moment in time and this is the backbone treaty preventing proliferation around the world and it’s under extreme stress as a result of the lack of progress on arms control, particularly between the United States and Russia over the last five-year period.

The U.S. and Russia need to think about what it can bring to the 2020 review conference, I would say an extension of the New START treaty is a bare minimum. And I think we need to look forward and think about what else can both sides bring. Can we commit to further reductions? Can we commit to beginning negotiations for a successor treaty? Can we call on other nuclear armed states to commit to a freeze or a ceiling on their numbers while we figure out how to all move down, closer toward zero. Let me stop at that.

KIMBALL: Thank you so much, Joan, and I thank you for your forward-looking suggestions. I do want to have our conversation that we’ll have now to be forward-looking, looking at how we solve these problems, rather than going back over past disagreements.

So, let me start with, I have some questions to I wanted to get into the discussion before we open up the questions to the audience in a little bit. And I wanted to start with a question about New START, and an issue that Joan raised, and a question that Ambassador Antonov raised.

Last week marked the ninth anniversary of the signing of the New START, it was the eight actually. And on the occasion of that anniversary, a group of 24 Senators led by Chris Van Hollen, whom we will hear from at our reception today, wrote to President Trump, urging him to extend New START with Russia for another five years. They said failure to extend New START risks unraveling a broader arms control regime that has helped uphold stable deterrence and curb a costly destabilizing arms race for nearly half a century, themes that each of you have touched upon today. I think one of the things that’s important about this letter is that to me it speaks to the fact that despite the political differences between the U.S. and Russia, and despite the fact that, as you said Ambassador Burt, that the U.S.-Russian relations have become something of a political football, there still is a strong reservoir of support in the Senate for maintaining a dialogue and maintaining the guard rails with Russia on nuclear issues.

But as Joan brought up, there is a possibility that, some of the issues that we've heard about from Ambassador Antonov and some other issues that we’ve heard from Secretary of State Pompeo last week could become impediments in the way of a political decision on New START.

So I wanted to ask each of you—and Joan, you could have another whack at this if you wish—I mean if we all agree that New START extension is a bare-minimum step forward —call it just a part of a larger puzzle, but it's an important part, you know—how should the two sides move forward? Must the issues regarding Russia's concerns about the verifications and conversions of U.S. strategic systems become something of a condition that has to be resolved before a political decision is made on extension? Should concerns that the United States government may have—we’re not sure if they’re real—about covering the new Russian strategic systems with New START become a precondition? Or should the two presidents make the political decision to move ahead with extension, well ahead of the 2020 conference and agree to resolve these issues in the years ahead. So, that's my basic question, I think that was the proposition that Joan was putting forward.

Ambassador Burt, if you could offer your thoughts first, and then we’ll let Ambassador Antonov offer his reactions, and Joan, if you have any additional thoughts.

BURT: I just think we should "keep it simple, stupid." And I think the fewer constraints or revisions or clarifications that either side requires in order to extend this treaty, the better. And I think that both sides should agree that if they’ve got these problems and questions that they will get first priorities in any follow-on discussions, but both because of the NPT, but more importantly, in order to show both sides—but let’s be honest here, particularly the U.S. side—that there is some new momentum in the relationship. I think this should be a position that the Russians should adopt.

I am quite sure that John Bolton, from the American side, is looking for opportunities and ways to turn an extension discussion into a new negotiation and to use the talk about our strategic modernization program and everything else that's going on as bargaining chips in order to get a better deal in an extended agreement. Well, we should drop that.

But that Russian side should also recognize that this is an opportunity to perhaps transform the U.S.-Russia relationship. Does it want to continue to live with an America that is obsessed with the idea that the Russians are intervening in American domestic politics, that the relationship is driven by these differences on regional issues, or is there an opportunity, as was the case in the '70s and into the '80s to make the arms control issue a pivot point for improving the overall issue, the overall relationship as a whole. I hope both sides do that.

KIMBALL: Thank you. Ambassador Antonov, your thoughts?

ANTONOV: It’s a little difficult to react. First you said that I prefer to react what you have mentioned, but Ambassador Burt today have already has mentioned twice Russian interference in internal elections. First of all, it’s not an issue of our discussion. I spend here one year and a half; I didn’t make any remarks on this issue. But it seems to me that you’re sending me message to react to this issue. I would like to say to everybody, we have totally rejected all accusation on this issue, and again, it’s not an issue for our discussion today.

First, the second you said the (New) START Treaty, it seems to me that we have to stick to all provisions of (New) START Treaty. We have concluded this agreement, not just only to show the international world that we are continuing negotiations between major nuclear weapon states; we tried to show our readiness to reduce the quantity of missiles and warheads that we possess, but I hope that you understand that we have to implement all provisions of that treaty. And if we see some issues, I don't want to call them impediments, I would like to say again, some issues that have to be discussed together. We have to discuss it, not inviting mass media, but to discuss them in the format of BCC, the special bilateral commission established to solve all outstanding issues in the context of the (New) START Treaty.

What we are talking about… conversion of the United States, we are talking about questions regarding the procedures used by the United States regarding conversion of their arsenal. We would like to get an answer. We would like to see disarmament to be irreversible.

So, what we want we would like to solve all these outstanding issues. As to speak about the new nuclear weapons that Mr. Putin has presented recently, I would just like to say [to] you that it's not subject of this treaty.

We have made it clear that we are ready to discuss them in the format of strategic stability talks, but it's not Russian Federation, it is United States who is not ready to restart such talks.

So, first of all, I would like to support everybody who is in favor to consider extension of this treaty as it is now without amendments. And I understand that if we decide to expand a subject of this treaty it means new negotiations; it will be another treaty. So that's why, first of all, we have to sit together with our American friends, we have to tackle all outstanding issues, and we have to decide whether this treaty is still in the favor of the United States' interest as well as the Russian interest. My president has made it clear that we are ready for such discussions.

KIMBALL: Thank you. Just for the sake of clarity, if I could ask you to just answer a particular question about the new Russian strategic systems. As I understand it, there is the SARMAT heavy missile, which is an ICBM, which would be logically be covered under New START, if extended.

There is the Avangard hypersonic vehicle, which is launched from an IBCM, correct? That would be covered through the delivery system limits under New START. The question is probably about the Status Six, also called the Poseidon Nuclear Arms Underwater torpedo. So that I think is the system that you are suggesting—tell me if I’m wrong—that would have to be discussed with the U.S. as to whether it’s covered, is that correct?

ANTONOV: First you said that in accordance with provisions of this treaty, each side has a right to raise any issue that this side would like to get an answer. And I understand that we have some confidential discussions on various issues of strategic offensive arms.

I hope that you understand that I don't want to disclose the detail of such confidential talks, but again if we decide to cover all these nuclear weapons that was presented by Mr. Putin, it will be another round of negotiations with a view to amend some provisions of this treaty; it means negotiations. For me, it means that the result of this negotiation must be ratified by Congress and by State Duma in the end. It couldn't be just only political binding agreements between this administration and the Russian Federation. So that's why you say that I am in favor of a simple decision. Just only to a final solution on all Russian concerns regarding United States implementation of this treaty, and to extend this treaty as it is now provided, that we are ready. I would like to confirm again to continue or restart our consultations on various issues of strategic stability.

That's why if you remember in the beginning of my remarks, I raised some points that we would like to discuss with our American friends. You saw that in that format of strategic talks between the United States and Russian Federation.

KIMBALL: Thank you. I will get to you, Rick, let’s let Joan have her comments.

ROHLFING: I just wanted to pick up on a couple of the comments that were made. Of course, with respect to Russian concerns about some of the conversions I would just say your tenth point, Mister Ambassador, was about Russia adhering to its arms control obligations. And I would hope that that being the case that Russia would in fact use the BCC to resolve these issues but, in the meantime, would agree to extend New START without any conditions on the assumption that we will be able to work through those issues through the BCC. I also want to pick up on the observation that Ambassador Burt made about extending New START as an opportunity to build political momentum within the US and to use it to transform the relationship. I think that’s a really fundamental point, and if we can’t find some way to get out of this ditch that we’re in, it’s going to be really tough to do anything in the arms control space.

Congress also can play a role, Russia can help the U.S. and itself, but Congress needs to play a role in creating a space or dialogue between the administration and Russia. And I would hope that Congress would step up and begin some active outreach on a Russia strategy both within the administration and on the Russian side.

And the final observation, just to echo what Ambassador Antonov has just said, those who are calling for bringing new kinds of weapons into the extension process or any new parties, like China, are really talking about a new treaty. It’s disingenuous. If you’re talking about opening up and renegotiation, that’s a new treaty, that’s not a simple executive extension of the New START.

ANTONOV: You said I have to react because…

KIMBALL: You have to, but you could—if we could just ask — Rick, do want to go back to some before and we can give the chance to the ambassador?

BURT: Yes, yes, I wanted to make a very few quick points. One thing that probably historians know about, but most people don't is, Ronald Reagan ran against the famous SALT II, that was never ratified between the two countries because of events in Afghanistan.

What was interesting was though, the Reagan administration actually lived up to the terms of SALT II throughout its eight years in government and told Soviet side it was doing so. So, to argue that, well, we've got to have treaties that are ratified by the Senate, you know, this is the future of arms control, actually that isn't what happened in the 1980s into really the early '90s when the START Treaty was finally signed and ratified. So, it is possible for both sides to exercise restraint. And if the politics for one reason or another it seems to me either in Russia or the United States don't enable an administration or a government to announce that it's publicly going to sign an agreement or agree formally to an extension, I can live with some unilateral restraint exercise by both parties because that's after all what we are trying to achieve.

KIMBALL: Mister Ambassador?

ANTONOV: Yes. Again, what I said, I would just like to make some clarifications. Today you have already mentioned twice that Russia has introduced conditions for extension. Please, we didn't introduce any conditions for extension.

I would like to repeat it again, we never made it in such a way, we never put it in such a way. I said that we have concerns. And these concerns have to be tackled in the format of BCC. That's all that I said. I didn't say that somebody is violating treaty and so on. Please, I would like to be very cautious.

Regarding, again, we return back to the issue: what kind of agreements do we need in the future? Of course, there are different schools of thoughts on this issue. It could be unilateral statements. It should be political-binding documents.

As to me I am very much conservative. I am in favor of legally-binding documents.

Frankly, my distinguished colleagues, I don't understand what is going on sometimes in the international scene. So, you saw that after the Second World War it was clear that we have a legal international law, a legal system which was endorsed by the United States, by the Russian Federation, the majority of the world.

Now you'll see that all leaders from the West have decided to forget about international law. That now everybody is talking about order based on rules. Order based on rules. I don't understand, what does it mean?

If you look at all the statements made recently by politicians in Europe, as well in the United States you will see that there is a decision to change international law for order based on rules. So, what does it mean?

You see that as to me I have grave concerns regarding this expression. And again, you will see that I would like to see our peace, our world more stable. If there is a general understanding, what does it mean? It means that all politicians in your country, as well as in my country, have to be involved. It goes without saying that I am in favor of participation of your Congress in this process. And I have to say that I would like to welcome a letter on behalf of 23 senators sent to the administration regarding the necessity to restart the dialogue between the United States and Russia. And it is high time for us, it's high time for us to decide what we will see in 2021.

And of course, you will see that it's also very important to think about the future NPT Review Conference.

I know how it will be difficult for the United States, as well as the Russian Federation for all P-5 to make a report to non-nuclear weapon states regarding implementation of Article VI in this regard. It will be very difficult, but I don't want everybody to treat Russia as they will treat the United States during this conference, because it was not our intention to withdraw from INF. It was not Russian intention to forget about START Treaty.

KIMBALL: Let's turn to the INF Treaty briefly, and I want to talk about what we do now to get the INF Treaty situation out of the ditch, so to speak, to use Joan's imagery.

So as I said in my opening, it is possible that in the coming one to two, to three, to four years we could see the United States and Russia deploying intermediate range, ground launched cruise missiles that are currently prohibited by the INF Treaty, in Europe, perhaps the United States, in areas in Asia.

So, I wanted to ask each of you to briefly tell us what your thoughts are about whether and how the two sides might reach an agreement, whether legally binding or politically binding that mitigates against that risk?

And specifically, I mean, Mr. Ambassador Antonov, you mentioned President Putin's proposal from February 2nd, I think it was, that President Putin said we proceed from the premise that Russia will not deploy intermediate-range, or shorter-range weapons, …

ANTONOV: … in my remarks.

KIMBALL: I'm sorry. If we develop weapons of this kind, neither in Europe nor anywhere else until the U.S. weapons of this kind are deployed to the corresponding regions of the world.

So, let me start with Joan, and then Rick, and then Ambassador Antonov. I mean what could the two sides do at this stage given the lack of dialogue on the INF issue to mitigate against that risk and how could President Putin’s idea be developed into a more solid and meaningful proposal?

ROHLFING: Thank you. I’ve been given a second microphone. Hopefully this is better than the last one. I want to start by picking up on the last comment that Ambassador Antonov made, that it was not Russia’s intention to withdraw from the INF. Fair enough, but I do think we need to note here that we are at this moment in time, in part because of a Russian violation of the treaty, testing and now deploying a system that exceeded the prohibitions of the INF Treaty.

But looking forward, how do we get out of this ditch? I think it’s unlikely that we’re somehow going to rescue the INF Treaty at this point. I think it’s clear we need to move to prohibition on deployment on a regional basis of the treaty-limited systems, that’s what we should be working on.

KIMBALL: All right. Ambassador Burt, your thoughts.

BURT: So, I think, first of all, if we’re going to somehow try to rescue INF, we have to realize everything is in the U.S.-Russia relationship is connected with everything else. So, it’s not going to happen even if we’re very bright and committed if New START extension runs off the tracks or there’s a blowup in the relationship say over something like Venezuela. So, you know, we have to realize that we’re — this is a very, very fragile relationship.

Now, the best kind of, I guess, model for me about what you do with the explosive issue of cheating, if you go back and look at the experience that took place under the ABM Treaty with the famous Krasnoyarsk radar. And that issue took almost two years of intensive discussion and negotiation to resolve. Why? Because both sides wanted to save the ABM Treaty. And so, you had a lot of information exchange, you had a lot of disagreements and different positions were offered. And finally, there were changes made to the radar and how it was deployed in a way that met the needs of the U.S. side and the ABM Treaty survived.

I don’t think both sides have gone the extra mile here to resolve this issue. It’s not enough for the Russians to bring some weird-looking device and put it in a hall in Moscow and ask reporters to come and take photographs of it. There should have been an open agreement that on the one end American inspectors and experts were able to actually visit the test range and look at the data and look at that system and determine whether or not this system was in violation.

And at the same time, Russians should have been invited to the Aegis Ashore facility in Romania, they should have taken a look at that launcher and they should have discussed the kind of software or other changes that were necessary to make sure that offensive weapons weren’t going to be used in those launch tubes. And they should have — both sides should have been open to make the necessary changes to stay in compliance. But I go back to what I said earlier. I think for the U.S. side, you had — you had people who didn’t want to be constrained by this agreement and somehow saw this agreement as limiting our options vis-à-vis the growth of Chinese military capabilities in East Asia.

I happen to think that having ground-launched cruise missiles in Asia for the U.S. kind of is a nutty idea, but still that was what was driving the U.S. side. And on the Russian side, hey, I understand the Russian perspective. They happen to be ringed by countries that have — countries with nuclear weapons, so they probably I think worked over a decade or so have wanted to leave that agreement. So, unless both sides are willing to walk the extra mile and take those kinds of steps, that treaty, as far as I'm concerned, is a goner.

KIMBALL: And that’s right, ambassador, unless you’re going to make a new proposal that will save the INF Treaty, I wanted to just encourage you to look forward and tell us a little bit more about President Putin’s proposal, what it means. We’ve got serious arms control wonks in the room. I mean I think they might be interested in understanding better to the extent you could tell us, you know, what systems that covers, which ones it doesn’t cover, does it cover the 9M729 or not, what is the geographic area that President Putin is thinking about, how do we define that, and then how do — how do the two sides reach some understanding, you know, what’s the mechanism. So, I just wanted to give you a chance to elaborate a little.

ANTONOV: It’s a little difficult for me, just only to cover this issue within a few minutes. First, I will say that let’s be frank. Let’s be candid. We shouldn’t pretend saying that is just only one reason why the United States has decided to withdraw from INF. It was made clear one year and a half ago when admirals — the United States admirals made it clear that the United States had concerns regarding China. It was clear, and at that time I already made it clear to Moscow that Washington is planning to withdraw from INF first.

Then there was a necessity for United States to find a pretext to withdraw from INF. This pretext is excellent, that Russia is violating INF. I just would like to flag a problem that you have mentioned and said before. You said that Russia has tested prohibited missile. I don’t know about it. Could anybody give me facts that Russia has tested missile beyond the limits of INF? Even United States administration didn’t say so. But if you didn’t test this missile, it’s impossible to say that this missile or that missile could fly more than 500 kilometers.

We have to be really cautious regarding our arguments. Our problem with the United States is that we have a different perception what is going on in the frame of INF. United States is sure that Russia has violated norms. We have tried to explain that we are in compliance with INF. Moreover, you have just only repeated what you heard from the administration, but you have no fact[s] that there is a violation of INF by Russian side. But at the same time, we have presented a lot of documents, factual documents that the United States is not in compliance with INF.

By the way, I have requested my colleagues from my embassy to present you some documents that is outside of this conference where you will take Russian arguments on INF, on strategic stability, and on START treaty don’t forget when you leave this building, to take the Russian propaganda.

So, third point, what does it mean—you have raised the question, if we look at President Putin’s statement on the 2nd of February, it’s very easy. We are looking very attentively what United States is doing. We will take into account all United States efforts. We will not be the first who will undermine what we have today. And we will answer in a way that United States does. That’s all.

As to proposals, to United States to solve this issue. If you, again, look at the statement made by Mr. President — my president, you will see that President Putin has made it clear that all our proposals are on the table. We are ready to deal with them. We are ready to discuss them, but we will not initiate more conversation, talks on this issue with United States. We will wait. If and when United States is ready to restart substantial conversation with the Russian Federation.

You say that you have criticized Russian proposals on INF. It could be not enough to meet concerns of the United States. It could not assuage concerns but the United States, but there is just only one demand from United States, you must eliminate missile 9M729, that’s all. You say that we are permanent members of Security Council.

We are nuclear powers. It’s not possible to speak to each other in such tone using just only ultimatum and just only to demand from one side to do something without putting on the table from your side. So, we are in favor of a respectful conversation between two major nuclear powers. We are ready and we are waiting reaction from the United States to all our proposals.

KIMBALL: I want to thank you all for the respectful dialogue. And I want to just invite the audience to offer their questions for our panelists so that we can stay on time, and I want to just alert my staff to have the handheld microphones ready. I see Ambassador Jim Goodby who’s been working this issue for longer than most of us have been alive to offer the first question, and doing a damn good job at it, too. Ambassador Goodby and then I would invite also other members — members of the press to offer their questions. Jim? In the — in the microphone please?

GOODBY: I wanted to first commend the speakers. I thought it was an excellent panel. There’s one thing that was left out, however, and I’d like to ask you to fill that in if you don’t mind. A few days ago, there was an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal written by George Schultz, Bill Perry, and Sam Nunn. And it offered three rather specific proposals for trying to get out of the ditch that we’re in.

One was that there should be a congressional panel established to work with the administration on trying to change our policy towards Russia. Second, there was an idea that had to do with a statement that Russian and American leaders have made before to the effect that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The suggestion was that Putin and Trump should issue a statement that would include a statement like that. And I think that will be a useful thing to do and seems compatible with what I’ve heard Ambassador Antonov say just now.

And third, there is the notion that we really need to have a serious discussion between Russia and the United States at the professional level regarding our vision, a mutual vision for a stable future over the next 5 to 10 years is what was mentioned because of all the unstable developments that are occurring at the present time. So, what do you think of those particular proposals, which I thought might be useful and might be very useful to discuss here? Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you, Jim. Joan, I suppose you think those were all great ideas, right?

ROHLFING: I endorse them.

KIMBALL: You endorse them. Good. Perhaps I can — Ambassador Burt, Ambassador Antonov you can react.

BURT: I endorse them as well. And I admire and respect the three authors. I would say though — and I know that the Nuclear Threat Initiative as well as the European Leadership Network, which I'm involved with, has been pushing this idea of the statement that Reagan and Gorbachev made, and I think that would be important. I think it would resonate worldwide.

I don’t think the idea frankly — of the idea of kind of putting together a congressional group. You know, I saw the value of that when I was negotiating the START agreement. It was fantastic to have people like Sam Nunn, people like John Kerry, really titans of the Senate come to Geneva and actually sit down and get briefed, and spend time with the Russian negotiators, really be building of base of support for what we were trying to do.

But I have to tell you quite honestly that our politics today are so polarized and so broken I really wonder if you could put a group like that together. It’s worth trying I think, but I don’t think, it needs to be done as it’s possible in a balanced way. And also, we have to keep — I think bear in mind another point about the U.S. Congress. I won't filibuster here even though they do that at least in the Senate.

But I think though just as is true within our governments. And I say that not just the U.S. government, but the Russian government as well. It is also true for the Congress. There’s no — there’s not much expertise in this area anymore. If you look around and think about people who have real experience in negotiating these issues and real experience in understanding these issues, there is a big generation gap. There isn’t a muscle memory there once was. So, if we were to gin up a big U.S.-Russia negotiation, it would be hard to find people in our bureaucracy and it’s also I have to say the Russian bureaucracy. When I go to Moscow and ask to participate on a panel, I'm sitting there with guys that are as old as I am and that’s too old. So, both in terms of the Congress and in terms of our government, if we’re going to address these issues, we need to get a whole new generation of young people engaged and involved.

KIMBALL: Indeed. Ambassador Antonov, if you could be quick because we’re coming to the end of our time.

ANTONOV: I have to be very cautious, because I’m your guest, I don’t want to be involved in any discussions in your country where it would be in the interest of the United States to restart dialogue or not, but of course, I am in favor of any constructive proposal in this sphere. It goes without saying. I share your concerns regarding the lack of expertise in the Russian society, but you see that you can understand how it’s possible to see new generation if there is not any dialogue between the United States and Russia.

I remember, when we started our negotiations on START Treaty, the situation was the same. We looked around, where are those who know everything about arms control. There was nobody, just only you and your counterparts in Russian Federation. And it was a lot of concerns in Russia, whether we, Russian delegation, would be ready to tackle all issues with a distinguished American team, but in the end, we understand that everything is possible. That was my proposal to my counterpart Rose Gottemoeller to continue our negotiations and not to leave Geneva, we like it very much. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you. And we’re going to have to close out this session so that we can stay on track for our other excellent panels. I want to thank each of our panelists for a great discussion, Ambassador Antonov, Ambassador Burt, Joan Rohlfing. And I want to close with a thought from a former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator, who recently passed away, because I think at this moment after this discussion, we could use a little bit of encouragement.

And that former negotiator, of course, is Larry Weiler who recently passed away. Larry was 98. He was a regular attendee at the Arms Control Association Annual Meetings. He was very active and concerned with these issues into his final year, and last year spoke at the State Department’s anniversary. I think you were there too, Mr. Ambassador, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the treaty.

He and I co-wrote an op-ed urging the U.S. and Russia to get back into discussions on these issues. So, Larry had a bit of experience going back to the Eisenhower administration and these issues. And he wrote in a message to Arms Control Association members last summer. He said, “Though we’ve achieved progress, our work is not done. The disarmament regime that many inside and outside of government have helped build is at risk, but I'm still optimistic. Even in the dark days of the Cold War, we persisted. American and Soviet negotiators engaged with one another in an effort to reduce nuclear risks. If we could do it then, we can also find practical ways to tackle today’s tough challenges.”

So, I hope today — I hope this gives us some ideas about how we can do that. I hope we’ll continue trying. Thanks everyone for your attention. And we’re going to take a two-minute break as we make the transition — as we make the transition to the next panel. Thank you.


“Breaking Barriers to Gender Inclusivity in the Nuclear Policy Field”
Heather Hurlburt, Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins

BELL: Great. Thanks, Daryl. Good morning, everybody. As Daryl said, I'm Alex Bell. I'm the senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation and I’d like to thank Arms Control Association for hosting this event and adding this panel, Breaking Barriers to Gender Inclusivity in the Nuclear Policy Field to the main lineup. It’s not the sort of session that usually makes it into the main lineup at a hard security conference even if it merits a breakout session.

The attendees tend to be women and that that shouldn’t be the case. There are too many nuclear threats in this world and not enough people helping to reduce them. Leaving half of our population on the bench isn’t going to make things any easier on us. Women and people of color bring their own unique perspectives to the debate, and those perspectives can help us unlock solutions. In fact, our problems may seem so unmanageable because maybe we’ve never actually had enough diversity at the table.

Fortunately, our two speakers today have been working to change that. It would take most of the day to outline the full biographies of Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins and Heather Hurlburt. So I will attempt to convey just a few of their tremendous accomplishments. Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins is the founder and executive director of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation. Everything needs an acronym in D.C., WCAPS is the acronym here.

She is a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. From 2009 to 2017, she was an ambassador of the U.S. Department of State where she served as the coordinator for threat reduction programs in the Bureau of International Security and Non-Proliferation. Bonnie holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Virginia along with four other degrees. She is a retired naval reserve officer and served as counsel on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States also called the 9/11 Commission. She is also a member of ACA board of directors.

Heather Hurlburt is the director of the New Models of Policy Change Project at New America’s Political Reform Program. Previously, she ran the National Security Network and held senior positions in the White House and State Department under President Bill Clinton and worked on Capitol Hill and for the International Crisis Group. She holds degrees from Brown and George Washington Universities. She’s a contributor to New York Magazine and co-hosts Drezburt podcast and frequently appears in print media and broadcast media.

In short, I don’t think we can find two better women to talk about gender inclusivity in the field of nuclear policy. So, first things first, Heather, you recently produced Consensual Straitjacket: Four Decades of Women in Nuclear Security. This is a study in which both Bonnie and I participated. I’ll note that the launch happened just a few weeks ago. Heather and Bonnie were on the panel with the highest-ranking woman at NATO ever and a woman who’s also talked about as possibly being a candidate to be the first female secretary of Defense.

The room was packed. There were seven men there. Seven total. I'm pretty sure in a D.C. security field if you had Rose Gottemoeller and Michele Flournoy, and these two women discussing Annex VII Section II Clause B of the 1997 Defense Authorization Act, you’d have more than seven men there for it. So why is that you had this incredible lineup, talking about this incredible panel and barely a man to speak of, there was even a reception afterwards. I don’t know what was happening there. But we can get into why men tend to avoid subjects of this kind, panels of this kind in the discussion, but first, Heather, can we talk a little bit about the motivation behind Consensual Straitjacket?

HURLBURT: Sure. I Just want to pause for a moment and thank Michele Flournoy again for that title, which just means people could say that over and over in public settings. But I want to start out with the question of, so why should this topic be a mainstream panel topic. And actually, Ambassador Burt teed it up really well for us on the preceding panel when he said if we’re going to have a future for arms control, we need a new generation of talent and a new generation of interest.

And something you notice if you look at the field is that you’ve got—as in many fields, you’ve got really a quite broad interesting representation at the most junior levels. Although not, of course, at the levels it was when many of us were coming up in the field and you simply couldn’t be a respected security professional without understanding nuclear deterrence, but still it’s not bad.

We have plenty of young people who expressed interest in the field. And then, they kind of trickle away and we’re not retaining talent in this field. And we’re not retaining diverse talent and so there’s question of why. Second, actually something else that was said on the panel and something that Mort Halperin himself frequently says, you know, why do we still go and in what other branch of security policy do we still think that the most defining texts are from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

In what other field do we not think that sort of dogma and doctrine have moved on, that the technological and political revolution of the last 50 years have made changes that should be reflected in our core doctrine. So are there some ways in which this field is profoundly stuck or is profoundly missing out on opportunity? And might that in some way be connected to some of the frustrations that younger people in the field have expressed about the field’s failure to, as Michele puts it, look more like the country that we serve.

So we started out to ask some of those questions and also to explore how frankly, in other parts of security policy, there’s grown up a real strong literature over the last 20 or 30 years documenting connections between gender inclusivity and better and more stable policy outcomes. So, for example, conflict and peace negotiations. Many of you may have heard the finding that peace deals are more than 30 percent more likely to last if you have women on the negotiating teams.

The World Bank has found that loans are much less likely to go into foreclosure when women were on the loan-making committee. And, of course, there’s so much literature from Harvard Business School about how diverse boards and diverse governing structures produce more stable outcomes, fewer instances of groupthink in the private sector that I could sit here all day and just recite it to you.

So, but interestingly, all of that discourse hasn’t really transitioned into the nuclear field at all. So we set out to find out what’s the experience of people like Bonnie and Alex and Rose and Michele and Ambassador Kennedy, who I saw in the audience, and about two dozen women overall who have, as we all know, had these jobs. And even just the point that I’ll sort of stop with as an introductory point, it’s, I think, no accident that actually arms control and the nonproliferation field emerge and really flourish and do amazing creative work just about at the same moment that American society and the elites of American security policy crack open and start letting in people who look like the three of us.

You know, the moment where women are admitted to the service academies and the Ivy Leagues and married women are allowed to stay in the Foreign Service, and people of color start pushing back against some of the discrimination that had kept them out of these settings. And so you can't tell the history of innovation in nuclear policy without telling the story of the diversification of the American national security establishment. And so if one of those has ground to a halt, we need to worry about the other one.

BELL: So what do you think is one of the most interesting things you learned in doing this study?

HURLBURT: The perseverance of the women who stayed in the field, which I think it can be very easy to sort of either say, “Oh, everything is fine,” because there are so many great women in the field like the ones I just named off, or everything is terrible and there’s no in between. But that universally, every single person we interviewed said, there is a tax that you pay being a woman or a person of color or a twice minority in this field. And that just on top of doing your job, there’s this other tax that you have to pay and constantly worrying, am I being taken seriously, will I ever be taken seriously as a policy person now that I'm up here talking to you on a gender panel?

Do you think that I'm too nice, not nice enough? And that’s a finding again that we found in other areas of American life. You’ve heard a lot about it, but it had — it’s never been expressed in this field. It’s not a conversation we’ve had, and that it was every single person, whether they thought sexism had impinged on their career or hadn’t, all of them thought there was this extra weight that they carry, which again, as Alex said when you’re also carrying the weight of trying to prevent nuclear war, figure out how to manage weapons safely, figure out how to de-escalate arms races, it’s a big deal if some of your staffers are also carrying this extra burden.

BELL: Thanks. So Bonnie, you've had an amazing career in and out of the government. You could have done myriad things when you left the Obama administration, what motivated you to found WCAPS?

JENKINS: Thanks, Alex. First of all, I want to say thanks to Arms Control Association for having me and for doing this panel. I think it's really a sign of different discussions that we need to have in these kinds of environments. And of course, it's an honor to be up here on the stage with my colleagues here, Alex and Heather.

When I left government in 2017, like most people, you take a little break, take four months just to figure out where I am. And the organization I started was really something I had been thinking about for quite some time and really it's because I've been in this field for many, many years and I've truly enjoyed the work of arms control, disarmament, threat reduction, security issues very much. But it was very much a world where it was not very many people who look like me in terms of people of color on top of that, you know, having also not as many women in the field.

And so I felt that I wanted to do something, wanted to give back, but also to see what I could do to try to help bring more voices into these areas that I have been working in, with the recognition that we can all benefit from more diverse voices. This is not an issue that is just for any particular group, any particular gender. This is really an issue for all of us in terms of how do we make sure that the policies that we have are the best that we can have. And particularly since the issues that we're dealing with are very difficult issues, that we could benefit by having people around the room who bring in different ideas and perspectives and really different ways of looking at a problem that may not be represented in the dominant viewpoint.

And I think one of the things that we suffer from is when you don't have people around the room who test your views and test the way you’re thinking about something and say, "You know maybe you should look at it this way," or maybe, "Let me just give this point of view." And it can bring a different lens to it.

And so I wanted to start this organization that I did really because I wanted to have that discussion, and have that space which really brought it out there (?). So that's really why I started the organization. It's been really beneficial because it's allowed me to meet a lot of women and women of color and people of color who are young and who want to get into this field and they have a very difficult time figuring out how to do it, because they don't see a lot of people who look like themselves in the places that they go. They are often questioned by their friends and parents about why are you getting into this when you probably should be doing something else.

And it's hard to make the argument when they don't see others like themselves or they don't get the encouragement, they don't have the mentors out there to encourage them to keep at this and keep doing it. And for those who may be in the field at an early age, it's difficult to find a rationale to stay.

So the goal of the organization is really to have a space for these kind of discussions, to bring more people into it and to mentor more people into it. And I can say for myself, I got into this field not because I planned to do it. I was very lucky to be at a place where I learned about the field of arms control and nonproliferation disarmament and I thought it was fascinating and I decided, "This is something I wanted to do."

I didn't have a lot of people of color who were mentors at that time, but it's something I wanted to do and I decided to do it. And as I speak to other young people or people of color, a lot of them also say, "I got into this field because a professor said I should take a course," or all these kind of random things have happened where they learned about the field and realized this is something they wanted to do.

So in order to diversify the discussion, you have to bring more people at the table and you have to interest people earlier in their lives and to also highlight the ones who are doing it to make sure that we keep them in the field. So that's basically why I started it, it's been really very rewarding efforts so far.

BELL: Great. How do you feel like the community, hard security community in D.C. has sort of accepted this new group or are you feeling like you're being integrated or are you pushing your way into discussions?

JENKINS: I think it's beneficial that I work with a lot of colleagues who've been working (inaudible) (this field?) for very long. So I've been fortunate to find that I've been accepted in these kind of settings and with last week with Heather and with the conversation we had there. So I think it's helped to bring that extra perspective in there, into these discussions. I also think that we're seeing a lot more discussion right now in gender, national security, nuclear policy issues. My only concern is that it continues and that it’s not a phase, and that there's a continued recognition that we need to do this in the long term and then that goes into what sort of a culture.

BELL: So a common refrain from people who sort of maybe tend not to come to sessions like this, they're making too big of a deal out of this. Like what's the differences actually made, people should only get things based on merit and so they do and it's fine and we really are like spending too much time, why is it that improving—and you touched a little bit on this Heather, but why is it that improving diversity will lead to better policy outcomes specifically for the nuclear policy field?

JENKINS: Well, I think you have to take a step back and say it's important in the nuclear field, but it's important overall in our U.S. policies and any policy to have the voices that we talked a little bit about why. But I think you need to think in terms of the larger issue of you need to have people who look like America in decision making, in policies that affect Americans and affect our policies and what we do overseas which may be affecting people who look like people who are diverse. And there's a better chance that our policies might actually be successful particularly if we're looking at foreign policy to affect people with different culture than the dominant culture here, if you have people who understand that culture who are a part of those discussions.

So I think you have to have them here for diversity here, to reflect what we see here, but also overseas. And I think in the nuclear policy area where you really don't see very much, these are issues that affect everyone and these are issues that, in many ways, things that we have done in the past are a reflection of the fact that you haven't had people at the table and decisions that were made about where we test and the ramifications that many people of color are still suffering from in terms of things that we did and things that we decided.

If you are looking particularly now and you look at the conversation we just heard about a new way of looking at arms control, I mean what we should be doing in the future is very important. And if we're starting a new way of looking at it, strengthening arms control than it has been but looking at it in a different way, we need to make sure that at this point, we have those diverse voices to make sure that decisions that are made reflect different viewpoints, they're not negative in terms of how they affect any particular group and that we’d make sure that they are the best policies they can be.

HURLBURT: Two really concrete points on that, Alex, and directly for the nuclear community, the women we interviewed told us over and over again that there was a particular priesthood, silverbacks, sort of the idea that at the core of the nuclear community is this very small self-sustaining elite that had a particular sort of way you needed to look, a way you needed to act and the corpus of knowledge that you needed to master before you could be taken seriously in that context.

And that's what Michele Flournoy refers to as the Consensual Straitjacket. And her description of it is basically you agree that you will look and act a certain way and that you will restrict your thinking in a certain way and that is the cost of getting inside the heart of this community.

And number one, in any field, and I don't care what the characteristics are, that's a recipe for failure, right there, and so we should be very concerned that that's such a common perception of the field. And number two, we heard again and again from these brilliant and accomplished professionals, I have a phrase I like to use about myself that I've had a good career for a man, and all of these women are people, including my two colleagues on the stage are people who've had a good career for anybody of any gender or appearance, and that these people were saying, "I opted out of hard core nuclear deterrence doctrine work because it was too unwelcoming to me and my ideas. And I moved on."

And that should be a red flag for this community, whether you care about gender and representation and you should for all the reasons Bonnie said. But even if you don't, you are hemorrhaging talent and that is a problem at a moment where all across the national security field we have problems attracting talent, we have problems keeping talent, we have a catastrophic failure even though there have been women and others in the field since the beginning and we don't communicate that.

At some level it's a sheer numbers and creativity problem.

BELL: Is there an inherent discomfort in the nuclear policy field for traits, skills, attributes that are often associated with femininity into conversations about hard security, specifically nuclear weapons, the idea that emotion should be completely separate from any discussion of nuclear deterrence.

JENKINS: Yes, I think there definitely is certain beliefs about the way in which one acts or behaves in the field of nuclear policy and security issues. The whole emotional thing I think is very—there's a couple of ways to look at it, one is it's tied to the whole female perspective, the female role, and it could be used as a way to constrain, used as a way to limit involvement by women by saying you're being so emotional, that's a women trait, that's a weak trait, you can't have that if you're in these hard security areas. And so not only is it constraining in terms of what's being said, but it's also a way that can be used to make people feel as if they're not doing the right thing and they should not be participating because they cannot do it the way it's supposed to be done.

And I think that that's probably true in other traits as well that people may have that may not fit the stereotypical way of which one is supposed to behave and act. And the problem with that is that it's also a way of turning people off to being part of something if they're feeling who they are and the way they are is not accepted where it's not or that I have to change the way I am if I'm going to be in this space. And that could be a real turnoff for people.

So it's a way in which it keeps—as Heather said, it keeps the priesthood one way by saying you have to conform, but it has a negative effect of making them feel less diverse and less gender representive.

HURLBURT: Yeah. We heard a couple of different ways this plays out and number one, I'm thinking of somebody we interviewed who's still at the Defense Department who said, "You know, one of the reasons I shifted jobs is that I did find this work emotionally very draining because I never stopped thinking about the reality of what I was talking about." But that perspective that when we talk about it in the dry language we use, there's meaning behind that, was not a welcomed perspective, so I have to go home and offload it and eventually I decided I just needed to offload myself into another part of the Defense Department.

Second is again this extra tax because if you feel that you're constantly under a microscope, "Oh, is she going to get all emotional about this?" That is an extra level of burden that, again, people who in any way don't fit the dominant paradigm carry through their days. And actually, again, if you think about some of the greatest hits and the success of American arms control it's when leaders, mostly men, actually were allowed to get kind of emotional. I mean think of Reagan at Reykjavik, right? That's a very emotion-first presentation, so it's quite possible that we've been missing something.

The third point that I would mention because there are coping strategies, and one of the things, all three of us on stage have worked in international negotiations. Mine were on the conventional arms side and we heard from our interviewees that people skills, soft skills, emotional intelligence, I mean they're critical to negotiations, we all know that, right? You don't need me to write a report to tell you that. But the interest that the very same qualities that women professionals were having to be super careful not to display in the office were incredibly useful when going out and working with counterparts or in listening to counterparts and trying to understand counterparts.

So in fact, women are already using whatever skills and talents they bring and particularly the ones that we've been socialized to have more of to help you all out along the way. And we might do even better the more we have systems. And interestingly one of the things that really holds women back is promotion systems which are not designed to validate or to score. How good are you at getting the delegate to tell you what their instructions are sometimes because they think you're too dumb to understand, but okay, whatever works.

There's not something in how we rate and promote government employees that factors that in. So the women are emotional thing cuts a number of ways.

JENKINS: And I just want to add to that. I mean I think Heather is right because I think the qualities that you mentioned are very good in terms of being able to be successful in negotiations which are a lot of qualities that are not highlighted. But the problem is that because the narrative is not controlled by people who recognize those as being good qualities, they're not celebrated or they're put into a phrase of looking at it like it's not a good thing, but in reality, it is good. But because we don't control that narrative, the narrative is being defined by those who say that’s not a good thing.

So you have to know that you have those qualities and you know in yourself that these are the things that's going to make for good negotiations despite the fact that the narrative says they're not.

BELL: Yeah. It just makes me think about the fact, I don't think I've ever heard a colleague working in mass atrocities, genocide prevention ever talk about being told they’re being too emotional when dealing with this very potentially dangerous situation. I can't think of anything more dangerous than the breakout of nuclear war, but yet, there's this sort of wall to not talk about the human factor that would be involved.

Switching gears a little, what are the specific steps that you think that we can take to further integrate women to be at sort of equal levels in the field and specifically the cultural barriers that are inside these institutions that may make it a little bit more difficult to make those corrections?

HURLBURT: Well, I mentioned performance reviews which is something we don't always think of. I also want to be sure, we talked about mentoring which Bonnie alluded to. And one of the things that we found in our study that this, and again, you all know this instinctively, this is an incredibly networked and mentorship-dependent field and every one of the women we interviewed talked about mentorship relationships as being really important to her career, and in most cases, those were lots of men and lots of women, so the field is very tightly knit together.

One of the things we didn't do that I really wanted to do was kind of draw a map because all of the women, particularly the ones in my age and older, tended to go back to a few key nodes, you could all probably guess who they are. And again both male and female, Michele Flournoy talks about the sort of negative aspect of mentoring being the mini-me and I think this is a human trait that we all have of men and women, that we pick people to mentor because oh, she reminds me of me at that age. And the challenge for all of us is to really branch out beyond that and pick people to mentor because we think they'll add something important to the field.

The other point about mentoring, I'm actually personally someone who is never very good at being mentored. I never could figure out how. I'm kind of stubborn. Those of you who know me know. But there's a model that in other sectors that sort of rather than mentorship, you think about it as sponsorship that explicitly you and the other person are entering into a long-term relationship where you both are going to do things for each other.

I mean the dirty little secret is if you pick your mentees well, it gives you a big leg up at the middle and senior levels both because they make you look really good and they're information networks for you. So to think about it as sort of building long-term networks which is maybe something we don't talk about enough, there is a whole raft of ways we can make offices more human-friendly which people are probably familiar with and there's lots of details. But the third point Bonnie referenced which is so important is that people coming in to the field or choosing to stay in the field still don't see people who look like us as representative of the field.

So we can get all hung up on how many women do you hire and how many women do you promote, but also who are you choosing to represent your organization at events, who, when you get interview requests, who are you sending out? Who are you having talk to the media or when you write reports, who are you citing? Are we actually creating a field that looks like the field we say we want?

And those are steps that anybody in here can take whether you run an organization, whether you're in a managerial position or whether you're not in a managerial position, but we all have choices about, as you say, Alex, creating a culture and reflecting to the outside of culture that looks more, as Bonnie said, that looks more like the country and the world that we're coming from.

JENKINS: Yes. And just to build on those points I mean culture is obviously a fundamental part of all of this, not just the culture in the organization itself, but the culture in which we all live. And when you're thinking about changing the culture of your organization, you have to understand that we live in a culture that has certain beliefs and certain ways of looking at things, and very often, you will have people in a culture who maybe even want to make a change and want to be more diverse, but because we’ve all grown up in a culture that depicts perception or has the perceptions of people and the perceptions of women and people of color, you kind of have to find a way to step outside of that and understand what's happening and where those beliefs come from and make a decision that I'm going to be doing something different.

So part of it is awareness, awareness of the culture you're in, the culture that you're trying to make a change, and of course the culture in your organization. And so you want to change that culture, but you have to be, first of all, aware of what is in your brain that you don't even think about because that's what we've grown up in.

And then you have to be also reminded regularly of things that you might be doing that you may not recognize is perpetuating that culture. So even if you say we're going to bring in five women and five people who are diverse backgrounds and people who live outside DC and people who have different economic backgrounds, in order to maintain that diversity and maintain a desire for people to stay in that environment, you have to understand that you're going to have to be reminded that you have to keep doing things to make them want to stay and to make them feel included, because you're in a culture that tells you that you're, that's not necessarily the way it has to be.

And not only the culture of the U.S. and the culture of the organization, but the culture of the nuclear policy world. And then there's action, all of this is based on action. Part of it is awareness, understanding culture, understanding what you're trying to do, but a lot of it is action. And one of my favorite things that I talk about when people ask me what action is, I always refer to the movie Hidden Figures and the role that Kevin Costner played. When there was a scene where one of the three women always had to—the women had to always run to use the lady's restroom because there was segregation and she couldn't use the restroom where she was working because it's only for white women.

And there's a scene where Kevin Costner, he runs out and he takes—he has like a hammer or something and he knocks down the sign that says, "For Colored Only." And the reason why that was a moving point in the movie is because he took an action that was totally against what everybody was saying you're supposed to do, and did something and he took action and everybody recognized that, and by being a leader in taking that action, that's a ripple around everyone else to understand that something is going to change, we have to change or our minds have to change.

And not to say that when you knock down something, everything is going to be different because we're in a culture where you're ingrained to think a certain way. But I use that as an example to say if you want to take action, you have to do something and you have to show that you want to be different or things are going to be different or people need to think differently and you have to start somewhere.

BELL: So in that idea, it's easy to do public naming and shaming of things like “manels”—man only panels—and “marticles”—which is man only articles, I'll trademark that term along with Kelsey Davenport there in the back. We had noticed that there were tons of articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, et cetera that were quoting men from the community, sometimes four and five at a time and then we're sending it around and saying, "Oh, isn't this great, look at all the quotes from the community," with no recognition that there were no women in any of these articles. But those things that are easy to point out, we still struggle with, but they're very public.

What about the things in an organization like pay gap or leadership structure or the composition of boards of directors that are sort of more private things, how do you get at those?

HURLBURT: It's actually, in my experience, the public conversation helps you get at the private things. And this is challenging because not all of us are comfortable in the public space. Not all of us are in positions where we can call people out in the public space, and there are lots of organizations that do really great work and have really problematic policies and many of us find ourselves in this place of, "Well, I don't want to ruin organization X, I don't want to ruin the career of leader Y," and yet this situation. I think the trick is the public opening of space is one critical piece and in some ways the private opening of space is even harder, right?

Because I can go—me tweeting something which my boss may or may not see, and me putting up my hand in a senior staff meeting and saying, "The situation that we have here is not parallel with the proposals you claim to espouse up there on Twitter," the private actions are much harder.

So, you know, for private actions, you need allies and allies come in all different shapes and sizes, and unfortunately we don't all get Kevin Costner every day. I keep waiting. But one of the things that we can all do is stand up for and support other people when we see them. So one of the things that we heard from women who had served in the Obama administration which was really different. Now, in general by the way, administrations aren't all that different by party. There's a slow steady ramp up overtime, so this isn't primarily a partisan issue and this is mostly to do sort of with the moment in time.

But you had a critical mass of women in arms control and non-pro jobs in the Obama Administration who looked around and said, okay, we're seeing some things we don't like, what can we do? So they made a pact that if a women said something in a meeting the others will all say, "Hey, that's a great idea," or "Hey, didn't Bonnie say that 10 minutes ago? Let's go back to Bonnie's idea." So there was an—and none of those women was going to go and say fill in the blank prominent official X, you're kind of sexist, but there was a subtle way of working that helped improve on these things.

So it's making the commitment to do it internally day after day, and also just accepting that some people—it's just like arms control, there’s an outside game and an inside game and you know which one is your role.

JENKINS: I pretty much plan to say what Heather has said about internally. I think manels and panels and marticles, those are good because there's a value in having women on panels, there's a value because it shows at least a start of a commitment by an organization and a recognition that something has to be different and you actually get to hear women who are experts who are not there because they're women, but because they actually know something.

And so I mean I think all of that is good, but I think it's important what's going on behind closed doors, because I think it could also get too easy for organizations to just jump on the bandwagon and say, "okay, well, we need to do our thing, because everyone else is doing it. Let's go have ours and let's go have our female panel thing." I think it's important to see what's going on in the organization itself.

And so you see that when you look at the boards. How are the boards, do they have diversity on the boards? What about the other levels of leadership? I mean that's when you start to see—and this stuff takes time, so it's not going to basically happen overnight, but you want to see that happening. You want to see if an organization has a strategy that they have set forth on diversity. Do they have a strategy to diversify their boards? Are they going out to look at women-owned organizations to do some of the things that they want to get done? Do they look for experts who are people of color to do some of their research projects that they have?

So I think a lot depends on internally doing something and making an effort and always asking the extra question. It's easy just to go with my friends. It's easy just to go with the people I know and that keeps the old boys' club thing kind of going because of the people who are making the decisions are reaching out to their friends that means we will never really get diversified.

But if you say take the extra step and say we need to bring a different organization or a different company or a different researcher to do this for us, to research for us, to do that survey for us, these are kind of things that will show and have more diversity within the organization that will actually help to change the culture which is always very difficult to change.

HURLBURT: Can I jump in and say one more thing? I think there's this totally understandable desire to sort of, okay, tell me when I've done enough. Tell me when we've checked the box and we can just move on to get back to talking about arms control.

And the bad news which is also good news is that even, again, if you don't care about gender and diversity at all, it's going to be harder to bring in and keep good people in our field than it was in the past. People are not going to have simple linear career paths and we can just pull them in and keep them as was maybe the case for at least Bonnie and me.

So, anybody working in this field is going to have to have a more intentional management strategy. Also, this is the part of the panel where we complain about millennials—sorry, Alex.

BELL: I'm actually like lower gen X I think or upper gen X.

HURLBURT: But millennials, younger people in the workforce have a different set of expectations about what the workforce is. Better, worse, doesn't really matter, it's just different.

So, those of us in managerial positions or who want to be in managerial positions are going to be dealing with questions of how to attract and keep talent and what our workplace culture is forever. And so, the sooner that you just this is part of workplace culture, it's not different from workplace culture, if you do it right, white guys have better ideas and perform better and are happier, too.

So, just the sooner that you sort of, that we all get over the idea that this is a moment or a box and move on to this is part of a way of managing that is just a basic necessity for the century that we live in, the happier we'll all be.

BELL: Great. So, we actually do have time for some questions. There are some folks in the back with mics so if you just raise your hand there and then we'll go to Joan.

Mr. Ritesection (ph)? Just keep your hand up, sir.

RITESECTION (ph): Yes. I've wondered for whatever progress has been made here in this country as far as gender inclusivity and diversity, does the same amount of progress have to be made over there in Russia and China and how much dialogue do you have with those people.

HURLBURT: Well, I'm glad you raised that because actually one of the—it was very interesting, our respondents talked a lot about not so much China but how challenging, both on the one hand it could be very challenging to work with Russia in particular, there were a couple of other sort of most often criticized nationalities.

But then at the same time, once you got past a certain point, you attained a sort of what we used to call honorary man status. On the other hand, there are also societies that are doing much better than the U.S. is on these grounds. But I think the important—if you think back to somebody like Roz Ridgway who did all of Reagan's negotiating, there's this excuse that's used of oh, because other societies are more backward, we can't put women forward because it won't—and that just—there is negative evidence for that.

Everywhere we've had arms control successes, women have been involved and participating fully. So, yes, there's an opportunity to help each other and Laura Holgate's Gender Champions Initiative and the International Gender Champions Initiative that was put together by women at the UN, you did have global participation and that's really interesting, and to me that's the forum where women in one society can help women in others.

Rose Gottemoeller has a great story about during the New START negotiations—actually, you want to tell that? You tell the story.

BELL: About the…?

HURLBURT: About sending—so, she'd presents to the women on the Russian delegation and not to the men.

BELL: Yes. I don't want to tell her stories for her but...

HURLBURT: Yes, you do.

BELL: ... there were a couple of incidents while she was negotiating with the Russians just sort of them adjusting to the female lead on the U.S. side. But the Russian papers at that time when she was named by President Obama were like oh, no, not Rose. She'll be too tough on us. She wants to whip our negotiators and they'll give up too much.

So, she had sort of already established herself. But I think the important—it's not just countries like Russia and China that have problems. Some of our closest allies, I would go to meetings and it would be just all men on the other side. And I was like these are healthy democracies and they can't even bring one junior staffer in to sit and take notes or what have you, just be completely male-dominated.

But I think Heather is right. You just have to lead by example. The U.S. can get out there and show that we don't treat women and men any differently when it comes to this issue. That it is a priority issue for the United States and hopefully people will start to take note.


JENKINS: Well, I think it's important not just for the U.S. to understand the importance of having well-rounded, diverse policies. I think it's great for other countries, too, as well. Of course, they make their own decisions but I think that having diverse views is not a unique thing to the U.S. I think it's probably good for everybody.

And it'll behoove other countries to also think about other discussions like this to take place and have those kinds of discussions. It's also great when you're in a negotiation to see other women at the table, to see other women right behind the country flag, not only in a delegation but also leading the delegations.

I think that gives other women in the room a sense of empowerment. It's not just young women who need it, it’s other women who are in the field to see other women like themselves. And I think that the entire discussion will be benefitted from that.

One thing that I raised at a meeting last week was during the nuclear security summits there were a lot of women who were lead for the U.S. delegation. And so for the U.S., you saw a long line of women, maybe one man and that gave a sense of—and the U.S. was even when we weren’t chairing the particular discussions.

The U.S. was considered pretty much the lead of the whole effort and I think that set a tone in the room because of that, and it felt, there's a lot of camaraderie I think with the other women who were sitting behind the flags and sitting behind the woman with the flag. And so, I think it's beneficial overall to have that from other countries as well.

ROHLFING: Okay. Thank you, Alex and Bonnie and Heather for your leadership on this issue and for raising the visibility on how important it is and how it's in our collective self-interest to have a diverse workforce. I think that's an important point to have made.

I wanted to come back to something that, Heather, you mentioned at the outset the ways in which this whole field is profoundly stuck. We're still operating off of doctrine and thinking and writings from the 1950s and 1960s. And then you also mentioned, then I kind of connected these in my head that there's a whole cohort from your interviews of women who left the field because they didn't feel there was room for their views.

And that got me wondering whether that's true of men, too. I know the study interviewed women but this idea of a Consensual Straitjacke t, does that apply to men, too, in our field?

HURLBURT: Oh, yes, most definitely. And I think—so, number one, yes. And I think it's been really gratifying for us at New America to see that the response to the report we put together has not—so, there's been the response of women saying, "Oh, yes, thank goodness, someone actually thought my experience was important enough to write about," which was wonderful but also an outpouring from younger men saying, "Yes, this exactly described my frustrations with the field."

And that is something we hoped for but didn't expect. So, again, I think there's a real tendency to look at this issue as oh, we're sort of satisfying, we're patting some people on the head over here. But these women, the women that we interviewed, others in the room, I mean, deserve to be seen as in the mainstream and at the heart of this field. And if they're telling us that the field is stuck as you say, Joan, that's something we all need to listen to.

JENKINS: I guess for me, I mean, I've heard some—I think it's just a perception in a way of doing work that's been the way it's been for a long time. And I think that if you're not in that, you're not going to feel comfortable. So, that's true for women and that's true for men and that's true for people of color.

I know some young men of color who also feel very much like they can't figure it out and I'm not sure they want to figure it out. So, I think it's just a way in which it's been done that you fit in. And then if you're in, you're in the club and you stay there as long as you want to stay there. And other people have a difficult time figuring how to get in.

And it's very resistant to change. And I think that's the problem because as we need, if we talk about we need more diversity, the narrative, the key of the narrative, narrative being controlled by the history, the way it was done for many years.

HURLBURT: Just because I thought of an anecdote, at the event that we hosted 10 days ago, a young woman stood up in the Q&A period and said, "Hi, I'm an Army officer and I was picking my next job and I'm really interested in nuclear weapons and I was told don't go there, there's no future for you there."

And she went into procurement instead. And I think all of—I don't want to speak for Bonnie but I think we all wanted to jump off the panel and run into the audience and say, "No, no, let's find you a job."

BELL: I literally want to tell you, you should have told those guys to go kick rocks. That was a frustrating thing. The resistance to change as well I think, it's just throughout the field. I made a suggestion once at State and the response was oh, well, we tried that already.

And I was like oh, God, did I not realize that we had just done this. And it was like well, no, it was in 1997. And I was like '97, the year I graduated from high school, maybe we could try it again, just see how it goes. It turns out it was a viable thing.

Up here. Wait for them.

VARGAS (ph): Hi. I'm Dee Vargas. I'm a reporter with ThinkProgress government foreign policy. And I just want to point that from the media's perspective like I can't even imagine what I mean just be like to get where you are in your field.


But from the outside, I mean, it just seems like maybe some of your communications people could be better trained, because I think a lot of times it seems like they're very happy to sort of distribute your work when it's a nice, say, piece of paper somewhere on email. But when you call and you say, "Gee, I'd like to really speak to this woman about this subject," suddenly, they get, oh, she's not the best person. Oh, excuse me, but you just spammed me with 35 things she's written.

So, it does seem like, I mean, I've actually had conversations with—I've been interviewing experts, female experts, just as I simultaneously get an email from their PR person saying, yes, she doesn't know what she's talking about. We can find—how about Mr. so and so. And I'll tell the woman on the phone like this is—and they just laugh and I was like oh, ignore Bob (ph). But perhaps Bob (ph) needs training.

JENKINS: Well, first of all, it saddens me to hear that. But I think this also goes back to the point of when we're talking about a culture change in an organization, it has to go up and down. It's good to have a leader that is committed to it. It's good to have people who are in supervisory roles committed to it.

It's good to—and it has to be up and down the cycle. We talked about nuclear security culture, one of the big things they talk about is it has to be the entire organization. It can't just be—you can't just teach one person, everyone has to understand that.

It's the same thing. Everyone on the totem pole no matter where they fit, has to understand it and that's why it's good for organizations to have a strategy where they lay out exactly how they're going to do it and how they're going to get everyone on board so that you don't get the one person or maybe one of several people of the organization may not have been talked to by the supervisor saying oh, you don't need to be aware of this, you are doing communications or you're doing this. No, everyone needs to be aware and understand that because that's considered as not a good experience for you.

HURLBURT: And the other point just to dovetail with what Bonnie said is leadership means more than lip service. And I think we all are aware of organizations and situations where the top leadership says yes, diversity is really important and then nothing changes at the working level.

And I'd like to quote the General Vance who's the head of the Canadian Armed Forces who talked about their own gender integration process and he said sometimes people just have to get told. And there's a real visible difference between organizations that say that diversity is important and organizations that are actually sort of knowing that someone at the top cares whether it's happening or not.

JENKINS: And it's like I always say, the people who are not the dominant culture knows if they're not welcome. And I always say that to people because I want them to understand that you can't fake this. You can't make it like we're really trying.

No. People will know if they're included. They will know if it's real. They will know if you're serious and if you're finding people leaving then you got to ask yourself what am I doing wrong. Am I committed to this enough for people to really understand that we want to make that change? So, it has to be something that the organization is committed to.

BELL: We got time for one more. Let's go up on the stage there, black coat.

HARRISON: Mark Harrison with the United Methodist Church. I just want to say that the straitjacket issue is a major concern. But I just want to say I thought Arms Control Association made a big change when they chose Daryl. I was absolutely shocked that the Arms Control Association went that way.

But there are two people I want to raise up who I don't think we've given them their due—Ron Dellums and I'm trying to think of the woman from—Pat Schroeder.

HURLBURT : Schroeder.

HARRISON: And they were never given their due in this community. I don't know if they were ever asked to be on the Arms Control Association Board but that's just concerns that I want raise that we do have people, women and people of color who play leading roles and they weren't given their due because it didn't fit the straitjacket, I guess that's the concern.

JENKINS: Yes. I mean, actually I know Ron Dellums and he's done a lot and he's not gotten a lot of credit for it. And so, yes, thank you for raising that and also Pat Schroeder so thank you.

HURLBURT: Yes, two anecdotes to build on that which is a wonderful point. When we set out to do this study, we called up for advice some very prominent feminist academics of international theory (ph).

It's like I'm at a think-tank, I don't have a PhD, I want to make sure we do this right with all the requisite academic rigor. And a very prominent theorist who many of you have heard of said to me, "Oh, you can't do that because they aren't any women. You won't be able to find any."

And my team had to restrain me from cursing into the phone. It's like you didn't check my resume. I know these people. But there is even when people are there and doing the work, this comes back exactly to the point you just raised, this problem of invisibility.

And then just the very last point, when I think about, I mean, part of the reason I got started doing this work is that I was so stunned and shocked that younger women were reporting things that would have been outrageous when I got into this field and that I thought 30 years ago when one of my college classmates said, "Oh, women don't usually like arms control."


And I thought, yes, this is the last year that that's going to happen. And so, for those of you who might be sitting there and thinking yes, this is all fine but it's kind of all fine and it's all steadily going along and they don't understand how bad it used to be or what Pat Schroeder and Ron Dellums went through.

Your female colleagues and your colleagues of color are going through unacceptable things every day. And I really want to thank Daryl and Alex and the team here for doing this because I think we've had this kind of over the last two years but a lot of people looking around us saying oh, I had no idea. And we haven't taken on that piece this morning and that's great, I want to be positive and forward-looking just as on the previous panel.

But just in case you're sitting there thinking that maybe it's not that bad anymore, we interviewed two dozen women, it's that bad.

JENKINS: And I just want to add to that is the statement that we very often hear about the I don't know of a woman, I don't know of a person of color who could—you talked about that, one thing I did for my organization is I developed these expert pages where I've listed in all the different areas of peace and security, not just nuclear weapons, but peace and security and conflict, women who are working on these different issues.

Many of them are young women, mature (?) women so that there is a place to say I don't know of a woman at that does STEM. I don't know of a woman that does food security. I don't know of a woman that does infectious disease or nuclear.

And I think there are a number of other organizations that have done this and have started to say there are women out there that you can reach out to who are experts on these many issues. And so now, I have like 35 women in the area we are in who are young women who are getting into this field, mostly women of color.

And so, I want — I’d love to see that grow. But the point I'm trying to make is that there are women out there. And they are sources not just from my organization but there are other sources out there to locate people who are experts in these fields. So, I just wanted to make sure that people are aware of that.

And then I just want to once again say there are important people doing these things. And like I said, I'm really glad that Arms Control Association was able to do this event today, at this time of day that everybody can…

BELL: Not 7:15 in the morning. Yes. Thank you so much to Bonnie and to Heather and to Kelsey and to Daryl for making this a main stage event and for the two of you for having such a fascinating discussion today.



Keynote Address, “Arms Control, Diplomacy, and U.S. Security”
Admiral Mike Mullen and Thomas Countryman

COUNTRYMAN: A real honor for—not me, for all of us—to have Mike Mullen here as our guest. We won't do the whole biography. It's almost unique that Admiral Mullen who is one of the very few military officers ever to hold four different four star assignments as vice chief of naval operations, as commander of European fleet in Naples (which is where I first got to know him while I was serving in Rome), then as chief of naval operations, and then four years as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

More important than the titles, Mike Mullen was already known, was always known as someone who cared about his people, about the servicemen and women serving under him and showed it in ways large and small. He played a crucial role as Chairman of the joint chiefs in opening up military service as an option to Americans who had formerly been excluded, improving the diversity and inclusivity and strengthen cohesion from our armed services and who also epitomized the term warrior diplomat, a partner with the State Department in negotiations with the Russians.

And while there are lots of things I'd love to ask you about whether it was growing up in Hollywood or your favorite restaurants in Naples, I think we're going to do nuclear weapons today. There's a lot of concern as we heard on an earlier panel about the overall state of U.S.-Russian relations and how it is affecting stability between our two countries, how it is impacting our dialogue and almost negating our dialogue with the Russian Federation.

So, maybe we could start there as both an arms control and a military issue with the INF Treaty about to go away in response to a new weapon that the Russians have deployed. What military steps makes sense to counter a new Russian capability aimed at European cities and is there a military value to the U.S. building intermediate range missiles for use either in Europe or in Asia.

MULLEN: Well, thanks, Tom, and thanks to you and all of you who are working on these issues. Tom made the point just before we started this afternoon that the room that used to house this association's annual meeting has gotten too small and you needed a bigger place.

And so, I appreciate all of you who are focused on this issue. A part of me wishes I didn't have to be here and part of me wishes that you didn't need a room this big. And I'll get to your question on the INF piece but what I worry about is we're sort of on this road now that I thought we had closed off.

And when you look at the issues as they are returning, INF is an example of that and then obviously first time I heard anything about INF recently tied to whether or not we'd stay with it, the first thing I thought about is New START coming up in its 10-year anniversary and whether that, too, was in jeopardy. And I would argue it seems as it is for whatever reason.

And so, it's this road that I thought we've kind of controlled, closed off, figured out, had a way of putting aside these strategic death weapons that would destroy all of us and now I worry that that's a road we're back on and it is opening up. And it's opening up for a number of reasons.

When I listen to people, there's plenty of blame to go around. But it's incredibly worrisome that we're even having this conversation. That said, one of my messages here is I hope that I guess it goes back for me to the 2005 timeframe when I took over the Navy and I had a group of mostly civilian volunteers who were great thinkers that would go off and work issues for me. And two of those thinkers were Paul Bracken (ph) and Jackie Davis (ph) who I in 2005 said I haven't heard a word about deterrence since 1989 or 1990.

`What is deterrence in this century? And Paul (ph) and Jackie (ph) went off and it was the first work I had actually seen. It doesn't mean nobody was working on it. But it was one of those things we thought had passed us and yet it was a new century.

There are other threats and so how do we think about deterrence now. I was actually thinking about it in other areas cyber being one as an example as opposed to back to this but back to this and here we are. And I hope that we can figure out how to move forward on that.

In 2005, I had no idea I'd be the Chairman and then clearly even when I became Chairman, I had no idea I'd be debating New START. I was talking to someone earlier today, I met my Russian counterpart on the phone in August of 2008 when the Russians went into Georgia. He had just been in the job a month. He hadn't been in Moscow in a long time so here he was in charge of a war, an invasion and he's trying to figure out his own world.

And ironically two years later I end up at a table with General Makarov negotiating the New START treaty and I have not spent a lot of time in it up to that point and obviously I immersed myself in it. And I thought we, as two countries, including the ambassador got that to a pretty good place. Difficult for lots of reasons, I won't go into that, but an extraordinarily important outcome. And I had hoped as we negotiated, set the 10 years that we would certainly carry it to the extension that we are now facing, it all happens pretty quickly.

And as I look around this room it's back to sort of experts, I don't know who the experts are anymore. I would only want everybody here who's been in this business a while, to find some young people to make them as smart as you are, to make that investment through fellowships and education, and I mean whatever it is because a lot of the experts from the Soviet days are no longer with us. Many of you are a product of them and we, I feel, have an obligation to make sure that we have a sustaining capability in this area, because it appears it's not going to go away.

When you ask me about the INF it's almost—I mean to some degree it's a tactical question for me, and by that I mean I have no doubt and I also want to caveat what I'm saying is, I will be out of the chairman's job eight years come October and it's not like I have an office in the Pentagon anymore. We have a way of dropping the formers off and never speaking to them again, and so I haven't been back much, so I'm not current particularly on the intelligence details here.

Although you can read the media pretty well and at least I can get it in the box about what's going on. It is natural for us that if we are going to, if we're going to counter a weapon if you will, we're going to develop a system to do that. That's what the military's going to do. We'll generate the threat requirements and do that, exactly whether it will be symmetrical or asymmetrical is a question and I don't have a good answer for that right now.

One of the things we've tried to get done in the New START treaty was have a discussion about the nuclear weapons in Europe, those that aren't there and those that are there, because the Russians have an overwhelming number nearby. That essentially became a non-starter in the discussion at the time, and given the focus on the strategic set, that's what we eventually both agreed that's what we'd cover. That didn't mean they're not dangerous or shouldn't somehow be contained.

I was struck a couple of years ago when I listened to the Russian Ambassador, I think it was to Denmark raised the issue of nuclear weapons and I said "Who is this guy and what is he talking about and it is in Europe?" I mean I've seen President Putin, he has talked about it seemingly more frequently and more frequently as time has gone on right up to this whole INF piece. And I'm both concerned and paranoid enough to know that when the president of Russia comes out publicly and starts talking about our command centers, the game is changing and it is really serious stuff.

And I guess another training moment for me because it was in early Bush Administration and I'm a missile defense guy by trade in the Navy, I'm an Aegis guy, so I've been around the development of missile defense for many, many decades, but when we similarly at some point early in that administration walked away from the ABM treaty. I wasn't involved in that but that really got my attention and so what are treaties for, who's going to believe? Who's going to stay with them? With a track record that sometimes we in the U.S. don't even look at ourselves in terms of our responsibility when something happens, and there are lot of reasons for it. I mean I remember reading about that back then.

When I started to hear—when INF came up, that was literally for me, that was the first thing I thought of is we're going to walk away from another treaty and then yet again another one potentially. And to what end, to a better outcome, and what is that outcome and how do we get there? And particularly when I was in the chairman's job I oftentimes asked that question, where are we going here? How does it end? How are we going to get there? And why are we doing this? And so a lot of those questions for me right now aren't necessarily answered either in the INF debate or in the strategic debate with New START right around the corner, that we would be developing something to counter them, that certainly doesn't surprise me and that's given permission or given a threat.

And probably most significantly given the virtual, literal, and almost complete lack of a relationship with Russia, I think it is that much more dangerous. And that goes back to—I mean the empirical data now is, the Bush administration trying to develop a relationship with Putin, the Obama administration trying to develop a relationship with Putin and the current administration developing a relationship with Putin. And what does that mean and where are the communication links between our two countries militarily, diplomatically?

Actually I read in a paper this morning that Joe Dunford who's the current chairman sees his Russian counterpart. In fact it was said almost routinely like they've been going on a long time. That is not the case. I know Dunford well enough to know, it took him a while. I think it's Gerasimov, is that right, I think it took him a while to get to a point where—and both sides agreed that they could meet. Without, I'm fond of saying even in the darkest days of the Cold War we had lots of links with the Soviets.

We don't have them now. It's not even close. And when we're talking, we're not talking. We're talking past each other. So how do we create meaningful conversations, substantive conversations before we now have to meet at the table or maybe not, maybe we don't have to do that, but let's say meet at the table and renegotiate or discuss the extension of New START. And all that groundwork that is historically been laid, it's just not there, I don't think it's there.

So it's a huge concern. I'm more concerned about the INF breakdown right now in terms of it representing this road back if you will, sort of back to the future than the tactical piece of the weapons themselves. I don't want to discount that. The weapon side of this we can figure out. I would hope we wouldn't have to spend the time, and the money, and the effort to do that if we can figure out a way to get the countries to a point where we don't have to spend that money and make that investment.

COUNTRYMAN: Well, I appreciate that and you've already touched on a couple of the things I wanted to ask. In particular, New START, I am a little bit discouraged by both United States and Russian officials talking about things that have to be done first before we can get to New START extension. For a lot of us, in the absence of serious discussion the right thing to do is just sign the damn extension and then you can talk about things.

I take it from what you've said that you share the concern that New START might go away either because of apathy on the part of the U.S. administration, or because of overly hard bargaining and posture making by both sides. If we don't have New START two years from now, are there—how concerned will you be, are there other methods to try to preserve strategic stability?

MULLEN: One of the things as we, we may get into this, but as North Korea certainly came to the fore in the whole nuclear weapons issue with the North Koreans, one of my worries, and I call myself of age now, I'm a child of the '60s and I was here for the majority of the Cold War, in fact, that's where most of my military experience is. We talk about nuclear weapons and this is the issue with North Korea, we talk about nuclear weapons almost as if it's just a cartoon, that I mean I went to sea on ships, we tested nuclear weapon back then.

I carried them on my ship. My first job was as an anti-submarine warfare officer and the nuclear weapons officer to—and we had nuclear bombs if you will to go after Soviet submarines. And the training that we did, the movies that we used, the explosions that we saw out on the atolls much less what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it’s like we've forgotten what these weapons can do.

There's a great book, many of you all know it and I think it's The Last Train from Hiroshima or The Last Train to Nagasaki, I can't remember one of the two, but it's almost a medical compendium of the damage that these weapons inflict. And the massive scale that they achieve so, so quickly. And in fact, we talk about them as almost as if they don't have that capability. We've forgotten. And Americans are pretty good at forgetting history or not—it's somewhere some between forgetting it and not knowing it as we move forward. And I don't want to be overly critical, we should be mindful of history, but Americans are always moving forward and I commend that. But this is one we should not forget and we ought to understand the devastation levels that these weapons generate.

And no kidding, these weapons that we—and the numbers that we negotiated right down at New START more than ample to destroy the human race, as we speak. And we don't hear many people, much less political leaders talk about that. It's, to me, much more about the politics of it which is right at the center quite frankly of work in my view where INF is and where New START could go because of the political environment certainly in this country. And that has nothing to do quite frankly with Russia at this point.

Certainly there's politics associated with that, but I'm just talking about our own politics. So I don't know who rises up as the expert to get this to a place that it needs to be. This is obviously a presidential decision as it should be, and I hope we can get the right information in front of our president so that he can make the right decision and that it already hasn't been made it's just a matter of revealing it if you will. And I harken back to the ABM treaty, that it's part of the fabric of that view of both politics and capability if you will that we can overcome. I worry, the fact that we can just have—we're having a discussion about can we overcome these weapons which is fundamental yet, is really, really worrisome to me.

So I don't think we understand the weapons well enough. I think we need to refresh, remind ourselves how devastating these are and what they can do and align the seriousness of the discussion, the political debate, the resources, the people and the events to that serious devastating level of outcomes, and never get there, never get there.

COUNTRYMAN: Now, I certainly agree with you that the consciousness among the American public about the size of the weapons we're talking about, the fact that the standard weapon in the U.S. arsenal is 20 times the power of what destroyed Hiroshima. The idea that low yield nuclear weapons are less dangerous and less likely to lead to all-out nuclear warfare is questionable at best. I know that you followed as well the review, the release of the Nuclear Posture Review last year.

Its authors argued that it was not a radical change from the Obama Nuclear Posture Review eight years prior, it did propose the development of two additional sea-based low yield nuclear capabilities. I think some of us see it as driven by America's domestic politics, but also written in the framework of credible deterrence. Do you have an opinion as to whether the current U.S. nuclear capability even before these additional low-level weapons are added, do we have a credible nuclear deterrent that can prevent nuclear use against the United States?

MULLEN: The short answer of that is yes, we do before these additional weapons that you talk about. We have enough. There's also, let me give this, I think to me was very evident in the New START debate there, we have not invested in our arsenal to the degree that we need to, to make sure that the existing arsenal is functional, technically sound, will work if we ever have to, which is so fundamental to it being a deterrent. And we can't—and the number was hundreds of—it was billions and billions, and the Obama administration got into a big debate, in particular, I think Senator Kyl was on the other side of that.

In terms of making sure that the billions would be part of the Obama budget, and they made a deal at the end to generate that investment, which flat out we need as long as we have them. And I hope that that would continue. And given that that investment is being made, I think the arsenal that we have is more than adequate.

One thing about the Pentagon and weapons types, and I'm a weapons type, so you always want a better one, you always want more, you always want to generate, and I'm a requirements guy, a better solution. And so there's obviously a view that some of this may help in that regard. When I think about that, I think less about, back to my time as a kid as a young ensign and JG with these nuclear weapons on a ship going after submarines.

I think about that less now in terms of the Russian submarine Force than I do the Chinese Force. So there is a question and this was in my mind, part of New START as well. While we were negotiating with the Russians, one of the things once you get into this and many of you have lived this as we were reducing our numbers and China has, whatever the number is and it's no fur fuse, it's in itself, I get all that, but when do we get to a number that's low enough where China goes, "I wonder if I ought to get in this game now."

And you look what's happened with respect to Xi Jinping and where he seems to be taking his country in many areas, particular in the area of national security, where do they go and believe me, they're developing a lot of submarines, they're generating, building a lot of submarines. And so again it's sort of back to the future for me, is this what I was doing in the '60s, in the late '60s, a current version of that to get at this kind of threat as well, because long term I think China is the problem, China is the threat, China is going to be the aggressor and we're going to have to figure out how to push back on them pretty hard, hopefully before both of us have to make huge investments in this kind of capability with all that that entails.

I get that low yield, I get the tactical, but if we cross that Rubicon to use a nuclear weapon of any yield, we are in a place we've not been since 1945. And then what does that mean, what permission does that give to use other weapons of higher yield, whether they are still low or whether we take them to another level? And I'm not sure we've given that a lot of thought. I'm not sure we've figured out whether or not that's going to be worth it given the longer-term implications of heading in that direction.

And I know. I mean I got asked not to long after President Trump was—I was asked a lot when President Trump was elected. People didn't even know what the football was all of a sudden we're getting smart of the football and saying, "Walk me through. Would you walk me through what happens with the football?" And it was a bit of an on-off for me.

So I was there 2007 to 2011. I spent so little time on the nuclear weapons part of the portfolio, people were doing that and I was comfortable we were in the good place, that I mean literally had to walk my—I had to do the calculus to say, "okay, here's what happens with that," but it wasn't like I was doing this monthly or quarterly practicing as we did many years ago. Now, that's very much back, in trying to understand that first of all and also it has not been overly—it wasn't overly emphasized in my senior life even as I was chairman as we watched our Air Force go through the two big events that we had. One was shipping missiles from Minot to Barksdale. And the other was shipping parts to Taiwan which were much more indicative and reflective of the lack of attention to this as a priority as we were continuing to shift away from the Cold War.

Now all of that's got to be put back in play. And so for us in the military, that means you got to train people, hire them, pay them, keep them. Where's the technology, where's the expertise, how are we going to operate these really as a part of this deterrence package.

COUNTRYMAN: Let's switch topics a little bit, but stay on the subject of crossing a nuclear red line and what it means. A lot of us watched with great apprehension as India and Pakistan shot at each other across the border just two months ago. I know that you worked hard to build the best possible relationship between the U.S. military and the government and military of Pakistan.

How concerned where you as you watched this from a distance? Can the U.S. do more to draw down the tensions between two nuclear armed states?

MULLEN: I won't tell you how much of my life I've devoted to trying to draw, de-tension that issue between Pakistan and India. I'm still of a mind that with the nuclear weapons capability that Pakistan has and I've said these many times, I think while we focus on Iran, we focus on North Korea and a lot of other things, I think Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world, because they have this wicked brew of no economy, corrupt politicians. The military runs the place, certainly on the national security side.

The seemingly insoluble India-Pakistan relationship which I put at the core which is in Kashmir. So one of the interesting things that came out of the action in February was it's all about Kashmir. It took me a long time to come to believe that was the case. I was focused on many terrorist organizations that resided in the west of Pakistan and in their own way everybody in the Pakistani Military would look at me sideways and saying, "What is it you that don't understand about India?"

So it's all India. And I thought what Modi did—not Modi, sorry, what Singh did after Mumbai in 2008 which was not retaliate and what Khan did the other day by returning that Indian pilot just took the air out of it. And both of them, Singh in particular, because you may or may not remember, his party was coming up for reelection in the next few months.

And of course the drums we're beating because of what happened in Mumbai, and some would argue rightfully so. I was there shortly after that happened. And yet Singh called it off, and that was a bold political move as it was the other day when Khan did that.

I don't know how this comes out. It is something that has worried me a great deal. About a year ago or 18 months ago I got involved in a war game. I'm on the board of Sam Nunn's Nuclear Threat Initiative and Ernie Moniz is taking that over. And it's a very critical group from my point of view in this business, sometimes flying under the radar over a long period of time to sustain the kind of intellectual diplomatic personal engagement relationship exchange that needs to exist in this particular area. And we had a war game—that we ran a war game and what struck me was the number of Chinese that were at the table.

One of the costs of ignoring Pakistan is that unattended to and they have been for seven or eight years and they're not an easy customer believe me, but one of the costs of that is they drift under the umbrella of China. And I would much rather as in most decisions, I would much rather make a conscious decision because then I know where I stand, and I can sort of map out a strategy that, okay, we're going to just let that relationship evolve and we're going to not pay attention to Pakistan, when a lot of people in Pakistan still want to pay—to be paid attention to by the United States.

But a couple of years ago and I hadn't visited this issue in a long time, to go to this war game and to see it played by U.S. on one side and Pakistan on the—I'm sorry—and China on the other was really a validation of what I saw even when I was there a lot, that they have a relationship where China has never not been there for them.

And when I asked my staff to go to do, study what Pakistan strategy is, now this is 2008. They came back and essentially named the strategy the Fourth Betrayal because we weren't there in '65 for them, we weren't there in '71 for them. We left in '89 and they're just waiting for us to leave again.

Now that's empirical. I get that. I actually understand that. How do we overcome that, back to understanding history which is not our great strength again, but that's what they believe is going to happen. And so I worry a great deal that this is now going to be India and the U.S., Pakistan and China, and it is nukes. And whatever the ratio is, Pakistan doesn't have a chance against India just because of the conventional investment on the military side.

So it's all about nukes, it's all they've got, and it really is. While we may not be doing a lot about deterrence, believe me they are because they think that's the path of their survival, and they are a perfectly paranoid country from the day they were born about India. And so where are all the political leaders and diplomats there to try to help there, and I think a lot of that has to do again key is Kashmir and a lot of it has to do with economic development in Pakistan in addition to having a relationship from a security standpoint.

We are just one other anecdote, when we went to—they had the terrible earthquake in about the '04 timeframe, '04-'05, I knew that Navy one star that went, spent weeks there working in Pakistan to help, and we were doing all we could. And he said every single lieutenant colonel and above in the Pakistani Army had smiles on their faces when we showed up and they were easy to engage, and this right up to the 4 stars. And that's because everybody had been to our schools. They knew where Leavenworth was.

They knew where Carlyle was, they'd trained down at Langley, et cetera. Every major and below never smiled, they'd never been to the U.S. So all they got was the propaganda. And I gave, Anne Patterson was the ambassador early in my time who is a wonderful woman. She had me to the Embassy in one of my first trips to just talk to the war college, about 40 or 50 war college students, Pakistani war college students. So I talked for a few minutes and took questions, and there were two themes that jumped out of the questions.

One is what is it that you don't understand about India? These were all successful officers, and the ground types, the army types, and the airmen had all fought in Kashmir or on that border. And the other was there wasn't a Pakistani officer that didn't know, in the Pakistani military, that didn't know who Senator Pressler was. And there was not a single officer, young officer in United States military that had a clue who Senator Pressler was.

And for those of you that wouldn't know, the Pressler Amendment in I think '92 after Pakistan went nuke was the amendment that it cut it all off. In fact that my Navy counterpart came to see me in '05 or early '06 I think and the first thing he wanted to talk about were the—I think the number is right, the 14 F-16s the United States Navy was flying at our training command in Fallon, Nevada, I didn't even know they were there. They don't forget that. So we got a long road there.

They got a bunch of weapons, the trigger quite frankly and the controls worry me more than I'd want to say in terms of how you get to use them and it really is a military leadership, it's really the military leadership in that country. So it's a very, very dangerous part of the world.

COUNTRYMAN: We've got many more questions on my list including North Korea, but I promised that we would have time for some questions from the audience. So I hope our colleagues from ACA are ready with microphones, the floor is open. Let's start here with Alex is that.

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, admiral, that was really fascinating. We were talking earlier and you brought it up again that these issues largely seem to have disappeared from the U.S. political dialogue or discussion, and certainly we notice even among the democratic challengers, I don't know that anyone has raised these kind of issues at all.

I'm wondering from your long experience, do you see any way of sort of bringing this back of somewhat engaging the political dialogue in the United States to deal with these kinds of issues which I think we here all recognize are important, but the rest of the country maybe fortunately with the end of the Cold War doesn't anymore?

MULLEN: I think we're at a time in our politics that if they don't generate political advantages or numbers, they're not going to be talked about publicly first of all.

Secondly, I think and I'm not an historian or I'm not an expert in terms of this, but if you go back through the years, during election time, the vast majority of the issues are domestic issues. So along those lines and I try to stay out of that, I'm happy to talk to anybody from either side about these issues privately and offer counsel and thought in the for whatever they’re worth category.

But my overall sense is they just don't generate, the issues themselves don't generate enough positive political outcome for them to spend a lot of time on. That said, the irony is flip it to January 20th of whatever year you talk about, having a new president and they spend 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent of their life on these issues on, you know, what I would call foreign policy, diplomatic, global issues.

So it's important that they'd be smarter and what I would argue and I don't know if you do this, but I would argue for ACA and others that you make yourself available, known to be made available to everybody that's thrown their hat in the ring to say, "Be glad to discuss this with you." At some point in time you're going to need to have some expertise, we spend a lot of time on this and make that contact.

And these days, you can't go too early. Everybody else is going early, you ought to go early as well to try to help inform them.

COUNTRYMAN: All right. And to a question right in front here.

(UNKNOWN): Thank you. Admiral Mullen, you were a real pathfinder on the issue of U.S. Soviet, or Russian high level military to military contacts.


(UNKNOWN): You really opened that wide up. And that's not the case now as you mentioned. Given where we are, am I right to conclude that you would think if we reestablish that regular ongoing high level contact between the two militaries that that would have value even if there's not much in the way of a robust political strategic dialogue?

MULLEN: You know, I would not go so far as to say that one needs to precede the other. There is a lot of data historically that show that usually it does. I can do China with you for a long time here.

I mean, I worked pretty hard, so did my predecessor Pete Pace and Dick Myers to establish some kind of relationship with China. Those are fractious times and every time we’d have an incident, the first thing that Chinese would do is cut off mil to mil. I talked to my counterpart I said, "You got to stop doing that." I mean, we're going to have problems if we can't keep talking through this, we have no way to discuss it, we're never going to get to a point where we can have serious discussions about serious issues.

So one of the reasons I'm delighted that Dunford and Gerasimov are talking is that at least. So I wouldn't say it's a prerequisite, I think once relations get going with a country, it's clearly critical. We absolutely have to have that part of it. And right now I'd certainly like to see more of that than what we're seeing.

The reason I end up on the phone with Makarov when they go into Georgia is nobody was talking to anybody. I mean, the presidents wouldn't talk, the foreign minister and sec State were not talking, the national security advisors weren't talking, I get a call from Hadley going, "okay, pick up the phone. You're going to talk to the Russian CHOD," really?

And obviously the news was out that this was going on but it proved to be a very, very effective communication and it wasn't going to happen, one, without our president and his president saying this is okay at that particular time. And I just think it's vital to have these kind of critical links across our government, I don’t want to say having nothing to do with how we're getting along, we know we've got challenges.

We've had challenges for a long time. They're going to continue in the future. We're going to have growing challenges with China as they grow per se. So, we need to try to create and sustain those relationships, even if it is just to say, "I still don't understand you" or "I still don't agree with you.” But at least I would listen to what the concerns would be" as supposed to guess or read about it from the media on one side or another. Those are lacking right now in Russia.

COUNTRYMAN: I think in the very back over here we had a hand up. Further back. Did I see one? All right then, Ambassador Kennedy.

KENNEDY: Thank you, sir. I particular appreciated your comments about connecting up the dots between the American public foreign policy issues including arms control.

Another group I work with, Foreign Policy for America, is dedicated to indeed just that. But let me ask a question in the nuclear field, you referred to the president's decision-making power on the use of nuclear weapons. Congress, I'm thinking of Senator Markey, others indeed have legislation on no first use of nuclear weapons. And I wondered if you could talk about that, your views on that. Thank you.

MULLEN: I mean, it’s almost like what Tom said earlier when you said nuclear redline, there are certain words and phrases that I've came to believe from Washington, I don't even use anymore, red line being one as an example.

Climate change which, you know, is another one, that just so quickly get you into the political arena that you almost can't have the discussion. The whole issue of no first use and there are plenty of people that think that's where we should be, and I don't know the right answer to that quite frankly. I certainly think it's worth the debate, but my reaction would be immediately, you know, Markey is trying to get no first use policy in terms of which he believes in and is that the right answer, and is this the right vehicle? And I would argue it isn't, it's a vehicle per se.

So let’s have a debate about no first use and I think there are pros and cons to that, we've just never done it and I'm not smart enough to know how far away we've been from that forever, it's not been our policy for a long, long time.

So that piece of it, you know, I don't know. I think understanding, I mean the questions that came to me about that is the sense in some reporting, but this sense of this happens pretty quickly. While I indicated I didn't spend a ton of time on it, I spent enough time to know, it happens pretty quickly. If we get to a point and this is different, it's a first use versus a response, there's not a lot of time.

But to me, it was also immediately this political move to see if we could contain this president, to me that's not the time to change a policy, I don't think that's a time because it just gets so completely and instantly politicized, you almost can't have the debate or the discussion to get to a meaningful outcome.

COUNTRYMAN: I think we're out of time is what Daryl is trying to tell me because we…

MULLEN: One more.

COUNTRYMAN: I'm going to do one more. This gentleman has been very patient. Yes.

KIRK: My name is Don Kirk. I spent some time in Korea, Mr. Countryman was going to ask you about Korea. But I'd like to ask you about Korea now. What do you think of CVID as opposed to step by step by step by step, and where do you think we're going in this debate? Thank you.

MULLEN: I guess with the Koreans in particular, North Koreans, I am in the "do not trust them and verify world," and we'll stay there, first of all.

I am someone that and you would probably know, Sam Nunn and I worked our way through a North Korean strategy document for CFR about a year or so before the administration came in, and the whole idea of that was to at least lay it on the table, look options, look at the issues, et cetera, and we used a lot of North Korean and nuclear experts to put that together.

And going through that, if you asked me to pick a camp I would pick CVID as the goal. And so what I think the president's trying to achieve with respect to that is exactly right, and that gets back to how dangerous these weapons are. And I get, and Colin Powell and I don't necessarily agree on this because Colin says it would be suicide to use the weapon, I get that. Yet, I'm also struck by the complete lack of wisdom in 33-year-olds and I don't want to offend anybody here, I'm just old enough to know while I thought I had some wisdom at 33, I understand now I didn't as I've become older and so I've got a 33-year-old with this capability and I wouldn't trust them at all.

I am concerned, and part of this is, I actually admire President Trump for sitting down with the guy and this is not unusual for this president is, you know, all of the other conventions weren't looked at. Well, line up all the other conventions, all the other presidents and we're nowhere with North Korea.

So trying something different and it is different, I get that, I wasn't totally opposed to. It's just if in this difference and in this approach I think you got to get to that point. Now, CVID is a huge undertaking to get to per se and obviously there would be people that agree we ought to be happy with one step at a time.

I'm only going to be happy with this when this guy doesn't have his finger on that trigger, because I actually think of all the people I know or think I know, he's one given the potential of him not being there anymore, regime change or whatever it is, I think he'd pull that trigger.

COUNTRYMAN: Okay. Thank you very much, Mike.

MULLEN: You're welcome.

COUNTRYMAN: We really appreciate. We especially appreciate your efforts to keep the American public engaged to keep the discussion civilized and informed, and I think that's the goal of so many other people in this room as well. So, thank you for everything, not just that you did but that you're doing right now.

MULLEN: Thanks. Thanks a lot. Thank you.


“The Challenges of New Weapons Technologies and Strategic Stability"
Bonnie Docherty, Erin Dumbacher, Amy Woolf

KLARE: Welcome everyone. I'm Michael Klare, I am a senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association and a member of the board. And for the past eight months or so, I've been working at Daryl's behest and at the behest of the board to study the implications of emerging technologies, especially artificial intelligence, cyberweapons, hypersonic weapons on the future of war and arms control.

And this has been a remarkable journey for me, I've learned all kinds of extraordinary things, and what I've learned has been pretty terrifying as you’ll discover in this panel. I come to the conclusion that these new technologies will have a profound impact on war, on nuclear stability, and arms control, and that our thinking in these areas is going to have to change profoundly in response.

Everything I've learned has told me that the future of war will be profoundly altered as these new technologies come online, and one thing that's become very clear in studying this field, that the speed of development of the new technologies and their weaponization, their application to military use, is happening at a very rapid pace.

And by the way, the key word here is speed, the common denominator, I believe, and I've learned a great deal from our panelists and their work, the common denominator in all of this I find is speed, the acceleration of warfare. It's going to make the pace of combat much faster than it’s been in the past and this has obvious ramifications for nuclear stability.

How will this affect decision making—the decision to go to war, the decision to escalate conflict in a crisis, decisions regarding the use of nuclear weapons? All this is going to happen at a much faster pace than in the past. And our thinking is going to have to change in order to cope with this alteration in the nature of combat. And, unfortunately, until now I think thinking in the field, policymaking, has not kept up with the pace of the technological developments. So, it's essential that we begin to address the impacts of these new technologies.

Fortunately, we have an extremely knowledgeable group of panelists who I'll turn over to in a second. I've learned a great deal from their work and my own research into the field and we're very lucky that they're here today to inform us.

We will proceed first with Bonnie Docherty who is a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch and also works with the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School and is extremely knowledgeable about autonomous weapons and their significance for international law and international humanitarian law.

She will be followed by Amy Woolf who's a senior researcher at the Congressional Research Office, Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. She's a senior specialist on nuclear weapons and has written, from my perspective, the definitive study on hypersonic weapons and their impact on the battlefield.

And finally, Erin Dumbacher from the Nuclear Threat Initiative as a program officer there in nuclear weapons and Arms technology and a specialist on the impact of cyberweapons on nuclear stability.

So, again, we're very lucky to have these three highly knowledgeable experts to inform us about this new topic. So first, Bonnie.

DOCHERTY: Thank you Michael. And thank you to the Arms Control Association for inviting me to speak to your meeting today.

I'm going to change gears from what we've been talking about this morning and address an emerging technology that would revolutionize warfare in alarming ways. And particularly I'm talking about what we call fully autonomous weapons, also known as lethal autonomous weapon systems, killer robots; there are a number of names.

But by this, I'm referring to systems that would select and engage targets without meaningful human control. So that’s a step beyond existing armed drones because a human will not be making the ultimate decision to take a life.

The technology is moving rapidly in this direction as Michael indicated, and some scientists have said it could be deployed in years, not decades, unless something is done to preempt it.

So today, I'll talk about some of the challenges that fully autonomous weapons present, why we believe that the best response as a new legal instrument that would require the maintaining meaningful human control over the use of force and also provide an update on the current state of play.

So, fully autonomous weapons raise a host of moral, legal, accountability, and security concerns just to name a few, and we believe these outweigh any purported military advantage. With regard to the moral concerns, for many people including recently the UN secretary general, the use of fully autonomous weapons would be "morally repugnant."

These weapons would be inanimate machines that could not truly comprehend the value of a human life and thus should not be given the power to take it. In essence, they would be reducing human life to an algorithm which would deprive human targets of their dignity.

Legally, fully autonomous weapons raise significant challenges with compliance with international law, notably international humanitarian law or the law of armed conflict and international human rights law. For example, IHL's proportionality principle prohibits attacks in which the civilian harm outweighs the military advantage.

Balancing these factors requires the application of human reason and judgment to complex and dynamic situations on the battlefield. It would be very difficult for an autonomous weapon system to replicate these human qualities and it could not be programmed in advance to prepare for all the unforeseeable situations that it might encounter on the battlefield.

Another important provision of international humanitarian law I want to mention is the Martens Clause, this declares that in the absence of a specific treaty on a subject which is the case here, civilians and combatants are still protected by the principles of humanity and dictates of public conscience.

So, in essence it establishes legal requirement to take some moral concerns into account when developing and using new weapons. The principles of humanity require that people be treated humanely, which depends in part on the ability to apply compassion, something that fully autonomous weapons would lack, and a significant and growing opposition to these weapon systems show that they raise concerns under the dictates of public conscience.

There are numerous examples, but just to name a couple, a recent global poll found that 61 percent of respondents opposed the use of fully autonomous weapons, faith leaders, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and civil society organizations, including the Global Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, have all condemned these weapons, and more than 4,500 roboticists and AI experts from around the world have called for a ban on fully autonomous weapons.

I'll touch more briefly on two other concerns, first the accountability gap that these weapons could raise, there are significant obstacles to holding any individual responsible for the actions or for any harm caused by these weapons. For example, a commander would likely escape legal liability because he or she could not predict and prevent the unforeseeable actions of a robot, and they could not punish a robot after the fact. There would also be evidentiary and logistical challenges to bringing a manufacturer or programmer to account.

And then finally, security is a major issue. The development of this technology would proliferate likely to non-state armed groups as well as states with little regard for international law and it could also lead to an international arms race.

So, in response to these concerns, states and civil societies have argued for a new legally binding instrument that would create a clear global norm against fully autonomous weapons. Such an instrument would follow the precedent set by other treaties banning problematic weapons, chemical, biological, nuclear, as well as landmines and cluster munition. It would also follow the precedent of the 1995 protocol banning blinding lasers, another form of emerging technology which was prohibited preemptively.

In our view, the legally binding instrument should include either/or a positive obligation and a prohibition. The treaty could affirmatively oblige states to maintain meaningful human control over the use of force, and alternatively or in addition, it could prohibit the development, production, and use of these weapon systems that select and engage targets without meaningful human control.

The positive obligation is more future proof, the prohibition addresses the development in production as well as use, and as I said they're not mutually exclusive.

And just a few words about the state of play, international discussions so far had taken place specifically under the offices of the Convention on Conventional Weapons which is a framework convention that has protocols that regulates and prohibits certain problematic weapons.

I was at the last month’s meeting in Geneva and there were some encouraging signs. The majority of states there are calling for a new legally binding instrument that prohibit or regulate this technology. there's widespread convergence among almost all states that human control is necessary over the use of force. States may differ on exactly the terminologies they use or exactly what the content of human control would mean but it in my mind provides a basis for negotiation of a new treaty or protocol.

So, challenges do exist, of course. We are calling for CCW states parties to adopt a mandate to negotiate a new protocol in November so that they would negotiate it next year. But we recognize it will be difficult because CCW operates on a consensus basis, meaning that any one country can prevent the body from taking the next step.

Nevertheless, momentum is growing and if states fail at CCW to take action, they should strongly consider—and these discussions are already under way—the option of going outside of that body to either the UN General Assembly or an independent forum.

So, in inclusion, I would just urge those of you who are concerned about minimizing humanitarian and security concerns associated with armed conflict to support this push for a legally binding instrument and fully autonomous weapons. And most of today's conference has dealt with ways to address the last revolution of warfare which was nuclear weapons, and I encourage you to seize the opportunity to take steps to prevent the next revolution before we go down another long and dangerous path. So, thank you very much.

KLARE: Thank you Bonnie. And Amy, please.

WOOLF: Thank you, Michael. Thank you for the Arms Control Association for inviting me today. It is a little unusual to be sitting at an Arms Control Association meeting and not talking about nuclear weapons.

But for those of you who think hypersonic weapons are something new and scary, I've been covering this program, at least in the Pentagon, since 2003, and the fact that most people in this room, in this country, weren't even aware that hypersonic weapons were an issue until the last year or two tells you a bit about the fundamental problem with the discussion of these weapons.

We know about them, you know about them now, because we're worried Russia and China are acquiring them, and that brings about concerns about the interaction between several nations having hypersonic weapons. Yet, I've been following this since 2003. So, pardon me, I don't have depth of knowledge, I have in length of time.

I'm generally going to address two questions here today. The first is what do we mean by hypersonic weapons? And I'm going to try and limit the scope of that discussion, and then if we're looking for ways to use arms control mechanisms to address our concerns about hypersonic weapons, I'm going to ask what do we mean by arms control? And I'm going to try and expand the scope of that discussion and really get to the point that Michael raised that the concern here is speed.

And if I don't remember to mention that several times, the concern here is speed. So, starting with what do we mean by hypersonic weapons? Hypersonic weapons usually refers to either hypersonic cruise missiles or boost glide vehicles, a weapon where you use a rocket launcher booster with a hypersonic glide vehicle on the front end that travels at more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5). They can be long-range systems, they can be intermediate-range systems, they can be short-range systems. So, to limit the scope of the discussion, I'm going to talk primarily about longer-range systems, but I will incorporate some discussion about shorter and intermediate-range systems after I focus on the long-range systems.

And with these limits, that means I'm basically going to be talking about the U.S. program which for years was known as conventional prompt global strike, but it has morphed into a sea-based intermediate-range missile with a conventionally armed hypersonic glider.

The Russian Avangard system which has been launched on an SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missile—which means it's a long-range system equipped with a nuclear warhead—and the Chinese WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicle—you can read a lot about the Chinese system; I don't have a lot of expertise here—but the guessing is that it's an intermediate-range system and we just don't know yet if it's nuclear or conventionally armed.

But those are the three key systems if you're looking at a competition amongst nations in hypersonics. That's where the debate tends to fall. So, in limiting the scope here, we'll go to those. So, why do we consider these weapons to be a problem?

Bottom-line, they are very fast and they are maneuverable. If you think about a regular conventional nuclear armed but conventional ballistic missile, it launches on a parabolic trajectory. It looks like an arrow going through the air. You can predict where it's going. It doesn't maneuver at the end. And if you had missile defenses, you might be able to figure out how to shoot it down.

But hypersonic glide vehicles are maneuverable. So, once they separate from the booster, they can change direction cross range and down range. You can't predict where they're going and they can possibly increase their accuracy by maneuvering on to the target. They are very fast. That shortens decision time which can lead to crisis instabilities, and that's particularly true if you’re talking about shorter-range systems used in theatre of conflict, which is why I'll come back to those in a minute.

And even those armed with conventional warheads can pose an escalation threat if they are used against strategic targets. There is some thinking that if their maneuverability improves their accuracy, you can use them to take out hardened targets that used to be subject only to nuclear attack. And therefore, you can start a war that is strategic with a conventional weapon, and that war might escalate to nuclear use.

There's also the concern that not knowing whether the warhead is nuclear or conventional, the adversary might just assume it's nuclear and you have an escalation risk due to this perception. Then, there's this bottom line, as I said, the reason we the United States or some people in the United States are so worried about hypersonics right now, is the bad guys have them. Bad guys have bad stuff; we need to be worried.

I just gave you four reasons that people raise for being concerned about hypersonics. I'm really only concerned about the second one, the speed one, and it's not that the other concerns aren't real analytic concerns, but I don't think they play yet. We can't defend against hypersonic glide vehicles because they're maneuverable. We can't defend against regular ballistic missile warheads right now either.

So, there's nothing…if I'm worried about Russia deploying a hypersonic glide vehicle in the next year or two on the front end of its ballistic missiles, which seems like a likely path, I am no more worried about that warhead than the non-maneuverable warhead it already has on the SS-19 missile. I can't shoot that down either. That doesn't mean I should be comfortable in that position, but the hypersonic glide vehicle doesn't add anything to my discomfort.

I personally believe that the misperception problem is overstated. And since there's a camera back there recording, I shouldn't offer you my opinion, but I personally believe it's overstated because there really aren't that many missiles in concern here or warheads in concern. We are assuming the Russian Avangard is nuclear-armed. We are asserting repeatedly that U.S. system is not. We're not sure yet about the Chinese system, but when the Russians and the Chinese complain about the U.S. hypersonic glide vehicles on conventional prompt global strike, they don't care about them because they think they might be nuclear. They care about them because they're certain they’re conventional and they're certain we will use them in a strategic way. So, yes, they are escalatory not because of misperception but because we might actually use them against strategic targets. So, I tend to not be as concerned about the misperception problem being escalatory than just about the capability being escalatory.

On the issue of "bad guys have bad stuff, so we need it, too", pardon me, but I think we should acquire weapons because we have a mission need for them, not because somebody else has them. And that's been the U.S. approach with hypersonic glide vehicles since I've started tracking this in 2013. We have been looking at the Pentagon, in Congress, at the need for U.S. hypersonic weapons to meet mission needs.

What's been interesting—because I've been tracking this since 2003—is we've yet to quite settle on a mission—and it’s shifted a bit over the years and I could give you an hour of history about how the mission has shifted—but we have been looking at this from a mission need perspective. And while we were doing that, the Pentagon and Congress were willing to spend about $100 million a year on hypersonics.

In the last couple of years, we've started worrying about the bad guys having bad stuff and this year in the FY2020 budget, there's $2.6 billion for hypersonics in one form or another. So, apparently, mission need is not as compelling as bad guys have bad stuff. I'm not sure that's the way we should be doing our military planning. But it seems that's where we are.

So, then, you hear often that we're having an arms race in hypersonic weapons: "The Russians are doing it. The Chinese are doing it. We need to keep up." I don't think we're having an arms race. There's a technology competition, no doubt. We obviously do not want to fall behind and be surprised by technological developments. We have the technological base. We didn't have the financial or priority system set up to pursue it when we were offering $100 million a year, but it is a technology competition more than an arms race.

And primarily countries—United States, Russia, China—we are not acquiring hypersonic weapons to offset the capabilities of the other countries' hypersonic weapons. And when I think of an arms race, I think, "They have it. We need to get it to stop theirs." It's an interaction within that trade space and that's not what's going on here. We are not… none of these three countries are acquiring hypersonic weapons to offset hypersonic weapons.

The United States is doing it seeking to bolster its long-range strike capability so that early in a conflict, if critical targets need to be attacked early in the conflict, we have the capability to reach out and do so. The Pentagon for years has referred to this as a niche capability or a leading-edge capability where we would use it early in a conflict to achieve results against critical targets like Chinese anti-access/area denial capabilities, air defenses, anti-ship defenses. We would use it to take—to suppress their defenses.

By the way, that's why Russia and China want them too, to suppress our missile defenses which we don't have yet but that's what they're worried about. And Admiral Mullen mentioned the turning point of the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty. You can track the Russian Avangard system. It started in the '80s when there was SDI but pretty much due to the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty, Russia was worried the United States is about to deploy major ballistic missile defenses so that we won't be able to take out their regular warheads and they developed maneuvering systems to impede our missile defenses.

China is the same way, more in a regional sense than a global sense, but there too, we're looking at a region where we have missile defenses, anti-ship missiles, there are other land-based missiles to defend our forces in the region and we are in a region and they would like to push us back and that may be the source for their hypersonics.

Absent an arms race because we want to get at each other's hypersonics, it really isn't a trade space for arms control either. So, if your question is "Can we use arms control to stop this technology competition with these very fast weapons that can be destabilizing, it depends on what you mean by arms control. So, here, I'd like to broaden the aperture a bit.

A lot of people have suggested we should just have a test down on hypersonics, freeze everybody in place or we should ban the weapons altogether because these things, "bad guys, bad stuff" we don't want these, or we should at least limit them so that we know what we are dealing with and that we can effect some kind of workaround if the numbers are smaller.

But that assumes that each side fears the other's hypersonic weapons more than it desires its own to achieve its military objectives. And since our military objectives and the other countries’ military objectives are not related to our hypersonics, your arms control agree can't simply limit hypersonics. We might be able to have a conversation with Russia about limiting hypersonics if we were willing to limit missile defenses. Anybody thinks we're going to do that? I don't.

So, we might be able to have a conversation with China about limiting their hypersonics if we limit our presence in the Asia Pacific region. Anybody think we're going to… I don't think we're going to do that. So, it's not a trade space for a standard style arms control agreement that limits, restricts, or ban the technology simply because the technology is frightening.

That's what we heard about with autonomous systems. That's something you can do. Everybody is equally scared of those. It doesn't work that way for hypersonics. These are real military tools responding to real military threats for each of the three countries developing them.

So, what's the real problem here? As I said, and I'm going repeat what Michael said, the problem is speed. The real problem is the speed of hypersonic weapons, particularly in a military conflict theater environment. It can lead to crisis instabilities and inadvertent escalation. This has always been a problem with this concept.

The initial U.S. concept as I said was to have a leading-edge capability so that early in a conflict, we can suppress defenses or take out critical targets. Well, if you're the adversary and you know the United States can get a weapon there in an hour or less, you're launching out from under it in 30 minutes or less. That's the classic definition of crisis instability that those of us in a nuclear weapons world are very comfortable with—very uncomfortable with it. You're more familiar with it.

When I talk to people on the conventional side of the ledger about long-range strike and hypersonic weapons, they've never heard of that. Going first and going fast is how you win the war. They don't think about what the other side might do in response the potential that you can go first and go fast.

So, here we are with 15 years of research into hypersonics and no priority, no champions in Congress, and all of a sudden, the Russians and the Chinese start doing it and now, everybody is trying to go fast, to get these weapons that are crisis destabilizing early in the conflict. And this to me becomes a signaling and messaging issue. If we have the capability to launch quickly at the start of a conflict and suppress China's ability to defend its airspace or defend at sea lanes, they're going to start shooting first.

So, you go from what we had considered a leading-edge capability to shoot promptly at the start of a conflict to something that inspires preemption during the crisis, and that to me is really worrisome. Is there an arms control solution to that? Well, really only if we broaden the aperture for arms control and I know the phrase has been thrown around here today…strategic stability talks, anybody? That's kind of what I'm getting at.

When you have two or three nations with capabilities that in worst case analysis could lead to preventive strikes or preemption early or even pump strikes early in a conflict, you don't want anybody to think they have to go first because they're just too worried to wait. And that may require some level of cooperation, consultation, crisis communications, to make sure that conflicts don't arise out of crises that turn into these preemptive crisis destabilizing opportunities.

KLARE: Thank you. Thank you. And now, Erin, please.

DUMBACHER: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here and thank you, Michael, and thank you to the whole Arms Control Association team for inviting me.

What I thought I would talk about today, sort of what we worry about when it comes to really a trifecta of information, communications technology or cyberthreats that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons and when I say, "we", I'm thinking of me and my colleagues at Nuclear Threat Initiative. And then, I'm also happy to talk a little bit about some potential ways we might sort of resolve or begin to mitigate those consequences.

So, on the first, there's sort of this trifecta of cyberthreats that we see could lead to more likely—increased likelihood for nuclear use. The first of course is cyberthreats to the nuclear weapons themselves. So, with the nuclear modernization drive underway here in the United States, to what extent are our command-and-control systems and all of the related systems thereof increasingly eligible or somehow vulnerable to attack. The U.S. Department of Defense's track record on cybersecurity here is not exactly stellar although senior leaders are definitely conscious of the risks. (I could go into more depth there.)

At NTI, we hosted a few years back a cyber nuclear weapon study group who sort of thought through four what I'll call demonstrative scenarios through which cyberattacks could somehow jeopardize our nuclear command-and-control systems or nuclear weapons themselves, things like spoofing of an early warning system that could lead to sort of false warning and nuclear launch as a result.

Cyber attacks on a communication system that could be as simple as something that's disruptive or disabling that could lead to of course misinterpretation of information, inability to de-escalate in a crisis situation, or loss of confidence that your launch order got to the person who needed it.

We are concerned of course also about malicious code or malware somehow being introduced into a nuclear weapons component itself—that's the supply chain risk that you've heard a lot about; that of course could also lead to loss of confidence—and then there's the cyberattack that disables some sort of physical security barrier or measure to getting at that nuclear weapon.

So, that's the threats that we're concerned about to the weapons themselves. The next piece here is much more policy related, and that is the expanding definition of threats including cyberattacks and other nonnuclear attacks that could somehow necessitate a U.S. government response that would include nuclear use. So, here, I'm referring to the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

And then, the third is a little bit of a broader category, something that maybe historically we haven't thought about when it comes to nuclear weapons. But that is the information or the influence operations, disinformation, "deep fakes" that can create somehow a misinterpretation of facts on the ground and the reality that ultimately leads to confusion, miscalculation, which in turn of course we worry could lead to nuclear use.

So, this is a new and, again here, the speed theme is here again. This is a new possibly sort of accelerated risk or means for bringing about the nuclear war by blunder that many have been concerned about for a long time.

So, what could we potentially do about it? So, some strategies for mitigating the risks, I mean, here, it's tricky. There are emerging challenges, many of which require some degree of international or cooperative efforts to mitigate and reduce, and I think here we need to be conscious that it's time to look not just at our old toolset, but any potential new tools that we could develop.

So, for the academics in the room, I might be able to give you a few research agenda pieces here. But we also have to acknowledge here that technical fixes will be insufficient. Senator Nunn and Secretary Moniz wrote not long ago about how we deceive ourselves into thinking we can solve the problem with technology and training. We cannot solve these problems with technology and training.

There are also U.S. policy changes that we can consider, and then areas where as I said sort of more research agenda-like, more sort of further innovation and new ideas frankly are really necessary.

So, I'll start with the U.S. policy changes.

We need to prioritize addressing cyber and information security risks in our modernization plans, full stop. That means doing things like enhancing survivability and resilience of nuclear systems and command-and-control systems. That means enhancing the security of nuclear weapons and reviewing those vulnerabilities throughout the system—not just to the sort of standard cyberattack that you might think of a hacker perpetrating, but also sort of nation-state-backed team of hackers perpetrating, but also the information and the influence operations.

We need to develop more options—this is on the policy side—to increase decision times to try to slow down the increased speed accounting for the threats to the early warning systems and ideally reduce the risks of false warning. And we need a declaratory policy here in the U.S. that is clear, but is consistent, that is intended to prevent the use of nuclear weapons and reduce our reliance on them for U.S. national security.

On the multilateral side, we need to reinvigorate dialogue between U.S. and Russia and, of course, extend New START. We need to be preserving all mechanisms that we have that enhance strategic stability. We need to be establishing norms that discourage cyberweapons use against nuclear weapon systems explicitly. There's a lot of work being done on cybernorms generally, not a lot that has focused exclusively on sort of the risk to nuclear systems.

And then, we need to be maintaining a cadre of experts and building a cadre of experts, folks who understand the technology here as well as the policy side and can help bridge that divide.

Now, here is the list of where it gets a little bit trickier and where we need new ideas and actions.

It's, of course, a perennial policy challenge to stay up to date and ahead of the risks of new technologies while we still come up with the ways to reap sort of the benefits of those technologies, right? I'm not saying anything new here; that's been true for decades before.

But we still need new tools to really manage this and we need to get better at responding more quickly because the technologies themselves are taking us there. We need crisis management mechanisms that are concrete, that are practical, that are near-term, that build trust, and reduce the risks of conflicts and escalation. We need to build and strengthen what I'll call "cyber-secure cultures" throughout the nuclear weapons complex. I think that extends to us in the room even, right?

So, each contractor, each node, and each network needs to be reviewed not only for the benefits that can be gained—from sort of digitizing or modernizing in some way—but also the risks of relying on a much more complex or interconnected nuclear weapon system for deterrence purposes.

The larger, more systemic issue is how we cope with sort of deceptive information and influence operations among all levels of government and I'll extend that to society just because it's a big problem anyway. We want to think about it in big ways. Technologists need to be working with governments as it's often happening—more and more happening I think on the autonomous weapons side. To some extent, also true on the sort of IT and cyber side, technologists need to be working with governments to find out and sort out what those reasonable guardrails could potentially be.

We need to be thinking about ways to limit sort of the potential for "deep fakes" and other digital tools that breed deception all the time, but especially at times of crisis, the same tools that drive clicks and repeat visitors to a website can accelerate nuclear risks in national security and we need to be thoughtful of that.

Governments can, of course, work actively to be the fair arbiter of what's real and what's fake. And then, here's the sort of cyber-secure culture piece of this that we can all play a role in. We need to be thoughtful not just about where did that USB drive come from that we're considering putting in our computers—spoiler alert: don't put it in your computers—but, we need to be mindful about each bit of information that we consume or share and we need to be as media consumers, we can sort of speak with our views and speak with our attention spans and send signals about the type of content that we want to see and trust and that we want to sort of proliferate our national security environment generally. So, at a minimum, we can avoid succumbing to propaganda and contributing to environments more generally full of disinformation.

I'll stop there.

KLARE: Great. Let's give them all a round of applause.


KLARE: I'm sure you found this as informative and stimulating as I did. Before I open it for questions, I want to ask each of you one basic question. In my research, which depends a lot on your work, I find that these technologies interact with one another and converge and have reinforcing effects.

I wonder if each of you could speak to that if you would.

DOCHERTY: Well, I thought your point about the—I think they're converging. I mean, there's the technological convergence but there's also the convergence in response and I thought your point about technologists taking stands against some of this development was a really good one. Sorry to steal your point, but it got me thinking, and I think that's one place they overlap in terms of like the Arms Control Association tonight is honoring—tonight honoring Google employees, Google tech workers who took a stand against Google's involvement in Project Maven because it would potentially improve the targeting, drones targeting.

And so, that's not as necessarily directly related to fully autonomous weapons, but it's related to that broader idea of weaponizing AI. And so, I think that getting the response as well the technology overlap is an important thing to consider.

WOOLF: The idea that the quicker the conflict gets started, the less time there is for human decision making, the higher the probability that the military or the decision makers will build in autonomous decision making, that's a snowball. When you're dealing with hypersonic weapons in a theater—and one thing I didn't mention is in that $2.6 billion in this year's budget, each of the services, not just the Navy, but the Air Force, the Army, each is developing its own hypersonic boost glide system because everybody thinks this is the great way to fight the war because you can go fast—but human decision makers cannot go as fast to some of these technologies can and you're risking putting an autonomous launcher in there that just makes the whole crisis instability problem worse.

KLARE: Yes. That's what I knew you were going to say.

WOOLF: Yes. I would echo that. I would just say it's very difficult in my view to actually take them apart and discuss them all separately in some of these ways because there's a lot of… so, there's of course the distinction between whether or not you automate a decision path versus whether or not something is autonomous and whether or not even further it’s artificially intelligent in some way.

But it's very difficult to disaggregate some automated decision making that we have already throughout a number of conventional systems and when we think about cyberdefense, for example, it's very difficult to do without any automation. So, it's almost impossible to sort of pull these out.

I think the speed issue is paramount but that also comes down to policy decisions that we choose to make about how we choose to slow down those decision paths.

KLARE: Yes, all right.

Well, thank you for that. I wanted to bring out this because our thinking about arms control is going to not be able to—as Amy suggested—separate these out weapon system by weapon system, but to look at this whole combination of systems and how they affect one another.

I don't know how much time we have. But I'm sure you have questions that you want to ask our panelists. So, if you'll raise your hand, I'll try to get people and we have some microphones available for people who wish to raise questions. So, please, if you have a question please raise your hand.

Is that you, Daryl, with a question?

KIMBALL: We have like 10 minutes left, Michael. I wanted to ask a question of Erin and of Amy about process and how this discussion on the impacts of these technologies might go forward.

So, first, for Amy, you alluded to the fact that there are members of Congress who are interested in keeping pace with the Russians and the Chinese on hypersonics. Where, if anywhere, in Congress is there a systematic discussion about the implications of these technologies, what needs to be done to help foster the right kind of discussion that is maybe scientifically grounded.

And then, Erin, in your view, how can first of all the United States and Russia best come to understandings about intersection of nuclear weapons and cybersecurity and cyberattacks. In the morning session today, we just touched upon the lack of a structured dialogue between the United States and Russia on a number of strategic issues. There have been attempts to get a structured, strategic stability talks forum going. What are your recommendations specifically about this issue fits into that dialogue?

WOOLF: In Congress, there have been over the years discussions within the Armed Services Committee when the developing the NDAA, the [National] Defense Authorization Act, about hypersonic programs, not so much from the technological risk—well, actually even from the technological risk perspective. Back in about 10 years ago when Navy was thinking of putting conventional warheads on D-5 missiles. Congress said no, and withheld the money for it, on the basis of a strategic stability type of argument. So, those would be the places where the questions would come up and the committees and the staff have been aware over the years and have raised the issues.

In the last few years, however, the discussion has not been about whether our systems impose risks on stability, but whether we need to accelerate our systems to respond to the threats from other nations. And there's plenty of room for a broader discussion, but with all the other issues and timing on the agenda, I am not aware of any amendments or legislation in the last couple of years that people have sought to put forward. I can't speak to this year, but in the past, it's been more about doing more to catch up rather than paying better attention to slow down.

KLARE: A sort of question there and then over there.

DUMBACHER: Should I also respond?

KLARE: I'm sorry, please.

DUMBACHER: So more directly. I mean I would endorse what, you know, Joan and many others have said, as the need for structured strategic stability talks between the U.S. and the Russia. Of course, this information and communications technology, just even the definition of what some of those mean for the U.S. and Russian societies, differs on some levels. We've seen that play out in the United Nations groups of governmental experts who have discussed cyber generally not specific to nuclear weapons systems.

And so, I think that there is probably some good strategizing to be done to think through the question of whether or not it's more beneficial to start with or actually, yes, start thinking through the nuclear weapons side of the coin, and then sort of how cyber affects that rather than start with cyber and then think about the implications to nuclear weapons.

But I think we should use every tool that has worked in the past, as I said, so there are crisis management mechanisms through some international organizations. OSCE is thinking about cybernorms and some lines of communication that could be used in crisis cyber related. We need to be using… Admiral Mullen mentioned military to military talks, having an understanding to be able to de-escalate in a crisis situation when necessary even if it's cyber mediated. I don't think we need to throw away those tools by any means, we need to reinvest in them.

But then there are these other much more tricky questions that, and especially as you get into the sort of information and influence operations side of this. Of course, that will play a role and we need to, I think, prioritize and think through those bits of strategic conundrums.

KLARE: Do you want to—please, this gentleman. Wait one second. Yes, go ahead.

(AUDIENCE MEMBER): How we can solve this dilemma of, one part, on one side you have new weapons, you know, manufactured, you know. We can't anticipate them. There are factors, there are artists behind them. We all remember what you have said (inaudible) about the industrial military complex, you have also the military, you have also the national strategic national interest of states, you know, in one part.

In the other part you have the interest of the international community because we must liquidate these weapons, because they are very dangerous, specifically the nuclear arms, you know, this is the dilemma. And also, the panelists have said about or spoken about international military law.

International military law as we know, you know, through the world, all over the world, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and other wars in Africa, generally they are not applied, they are not fulfilled, they are not implemented. Most of the rules of the international humanitarian laws are not fulfilled. How we can solve this dilemma because we can't know, we can't anticipate the new weapons.

For example, also, I want here to the definition of the United Nations, the United Nations say about the absolute weapons destruction—in 1948 they said weapons of mass destruction has the effect of nuke weapons or similar, because we can't know, you understand. After that, after this definition we have the new weapons of armed destruction, and this continues. How we can solve this problem?

I don't know if you have the same opinion like me. I think the only way is that we come back to the collective security system. Thank you.

KLARE: Do you want to respond to that?

DOCHERTY: Sure. A second. I will take a first crack at some of those issues. I think first of all in terms of dealing with national security interests, and you mentioned also development in a private sector, I think in the private sector there is a large number of entities that, some corporations, some heads of, CEOs and founders of AI companies have come out against, at least I can speak to fully autonomous weapons, or autonomous weapons systems.

And I think that they, and many of them see and they don't want their technology contaminated by the fact that it might be used in ways that many people consider unacceptable. And the same could be said of scientists. It's like scientists don't want—chemists don't want their technology being used for chemical weapons, the same could be said for AI. So, I think there's some incentive there to restrict development without restricting the development of AI for good purposes.

I think national security interests, I mean, listening over and over again to states of all who may have very different ideas of how to resolve the problem, who insist that human control of some sort is essential over the use of force. There's some common ground there, and I don't think—I think that that will help restrict development in a problematic way.

And I just sort of, I guess, I would disagree… yes, IHL is violated. All laws are violated to a certain degree. I'd hesitate to say that it's never applied and never implemented. I think you can make… people always ask me, "Well, people violate IHL, why do you even international law?" And one of my responses will be, "Well, people murder, and we still have laws against murder." I mean these things create stigmas and standards that even if not applied everywhere and at all times, they are still important to set a standard on the battlefield. So, I think that international law is very valuable in this forum.

KLARE: I recognize this gentleman and then you'll be this next if there's time, but please, this gentleman?

(AUDIENCE MEMBER): Thank you. Bonnie, I want to take up that very question up because it seems like the effort to outlaw, let's say, lethal autonomous weapon systems under international law is an effort to make sure that there is accountability for decisions about the lethal use of force. And yet I wonder if there is meaningful accountability for the use of lethal force currently when humans are all making the decisions, and when you have systems like signature strikes where meta-data is used, sort of in lieu of intelligence to make decisions about who to target, why not just, you know, the president is going to sign off on the list, the computer can be pre-authorized to just go down the list.

So how would the accountability that you are trying to hold to actually be implemented, carried out?

DOCHERTY: So, thanks for the question. A couple of responses. I think first of all, I mean, yes, the accountability gap is one of the motivations for taking a stand against fully autonomous weapons and developments in that direction. I think that there is… just because there…I mean, like you used the signature strike example, just because there are accountability of issues there it doesn't mean that those shouldn't be resolved. I don't think that's a reason not to resolve in the other situation.

But I think that, I think existing law has mechanisms for which to provide accountability for existing weapons systems. The question there is a matter of implementation. And I think with fully autonomous weapons where there's no human control over, no meaningful human control over the use of force you run the risk that the international law cannot handle this. It's not designed to deal with this kind of situation. So, it's less the question of implementation that the mechanism isn't a good fit because the weapon itself is doing the, making the determination, so it's sort of a step removed.

So that would be one response. And then just also to note that one thing to me it's always very compelling about this issue is that the range of concerns that people have. For some people … people are attracted to different ones, but for some it's the accountability issue, for some it's the moral issue, for some it's the security issues, technological issues, et cetera. So, one thing that I find compelling is that even if any one of those are resolved you still have 10 more that are a problem, so I think the accountability is certainly an important one, but I think that's also not the only issue on the table.

KLARE: I think we have time for one more question and I recognize this woman.

(AUDIENCE MEMBER): Thank you. I just want to confirm or at least speak about the United States capability, ballistic missile interceptor, which is developed by Aegis. This capability capable to encounter Chinese hypersonic DF-17—that's what the source said—so I want to make sure that it is, we are on the top of the capability in counter hypersonic? Thank you.

DOCHERTY: I am not the person to ask. I don't cover missile defense issues to enough to know which systems are capable against which missiles, but it is absolutely clear that we do not have either enough or enough capability in our long-ranged interceptors to counter China's long-range missiles.

At the theater level with Aegis and other shorter-ranged systems there is more capability and more numbers of interceptors, but I am not familiar with which weapons are actually on the list.

KLARE: We have run out of time, but before we thank our panelists, I just want to comment that all of them have raised the fundamental point that as weaponry evolves and new technology is introduced, that arms control is going to have to evolve, and we in the Arms Control Association are dedicated to continue to evolve our thinking in that way, and we'll continue to do that.

So please thank our panelists again. Thank you all.


“Next Steps Toward Denuclearization and Peace on the Korean Peninsula”
Suzanne DiMaggio, Frank Aum, Kelsey Davenport

DAVENPORT:Great. Thank you, Daryl and thanks to all of you for coming today. We are now going to turn the conversation to North Korea and the looming question of what comes next in the negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.

And I am thrilled today to have an expert panel to discuss this. We have Suzanne DiMaggio. She is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. There is more of her bio in your program, but I would just note for the purpose of this panel that she also directs a dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

We are also very lucky to have Frank Aum with us. Frank is a senior export of North Korea at the United States Institute of Peace, and prior to that he was a senior advisor for North Korea in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

So, it's been a very eventful month in North Korea policy. We saw Kim Jong-un and President Trump meet in Hanoi for a summit that ended abruptly, and it's still not entirely clear what happened during that meeting, but coming out there was no plan for negotiations to continue, and we do know that there was some disagreement over how talks on de-nuclearization in particular should continue.

President Trump said he wants a big deal. That he urged Kim Jong-un to go all in and Kim was not ready to do that, and that's why the talks stopped. And on the other hand, we saw Kim Jong-un say that they put an offer on the table, dismantlement of facilities at Yongbyon in exchange for relief from sectoral sanctions imposed by the U.N. But the U.S. wanted more and that wasn't acceptable to them.

So, the state of negotiations is quite unclear. Last week President Moon from South Korea came to Washington to meet with Trump, and we also saw some developments in North Korea.

The Supreme People's Assembly met and we heard Kim Jong-un talking about negotiations again, really for the first time since the Hanoi summit. There has been some radio silence in North Korea regarding the process going forward. So, that's really where I want to start today's discussions, and looking at these developments last week and what they mean for the future of talks going forward.

So, Suzanne, perhaps I could start with you and you could just give us your impression of the Moon visit, the developments in North Korea and what you think that might signal for the prospects of negotiations moving forward?

DIMAGGIO: Thanks so much, Kelsey.

First, let me thank the Arms Control Association for having me here today. I especially would like to thank Daryl, Kelsey and Kingston for their leadership on this broad range of important issues.

In my home there are only a few publications now that we actually get hard copies of, we read everything digitally, but the Arms Control Association monthly book is one and it's the only one my husband and I fight over who gets to read it first. And he's a musician, so you’re doing something right.

DAVENPORT:And I would say that I didn't ask her to say that. That was completely spontaneous.

DIMAGGIO: And it's a true story. I am not making that up.

So, what comes next? I think, like Admiral Mullen said before, I'd like to join him in noting that President Trump's, we can call it unorthodox personal diplomacy with Kim Jong-un is a welcome development. I would call it a breakthrough. I think it's the right approach given the personalities that are involved, namely his and Kim Jong-un's. The leader to leader approach hasn't been tried this way and I think in this particular setting it is the right one.

And it's brought about a dramatic reduction in tensions. If you remember, just late 2017 we were on the verge of fire and fury. And I think what many of us thought then, and still believe, was it brought us very close to a potential military conflict. But I think that the limits of this approach are becoming clearer, particularly after Hanoi.

This breakthrough is only going to get us so far. The summitteering I think is only going to get us so far and it's clear now we need a coherent strategy in order to move forward, a coherent strategy and pragmatic goals. Those are the two things that I would stress in order to make lasting progress.

And even though the tensions have been reduced, the fact remains that North Korea's program is more advanced today than it was two summits ago. That is a fact.

Both sides in order to get to this point of progress, I think both sides have been making mistakes, and need to make some adjustments in order to move forward.

Let me start with the North Koreans. I think that they need to change up their approach.

Madam Choe, one of the leading negotiators on the North Korean side, Choe Sun-hui said after the summit that the full blame for the impasse should be placed on Bolton and Pompeo. And she called the chemistry between Trump and Kim mysteriously wonderful. So, that's a good sign. They want to keep the door open to the leader to leader approach.

But what I would say to her is that their lack of interest in meeting with anyone but the president is understandable. But how is it working for you? It's not really working, is it? And I think that's why it needs to be changed.

And with President Trump, I think the North Koreans need to understand that they are facing challenges that maybe they haven't faced before interacting with U.S. officials. But first I think we have to be frank. He has a limited knowledge of these issues.

He doesn't understand the details, the complexities, few would actually, or the history or the context, so the notion of him being able to negotiate these very complex set of issues at the table I think is unrealistic.

The second is he is easily distracted. So, while they were in Hanoi, what was happening here in Washington, Michael Cohen was testifying and it was clear he spent probably most of the night before the meeting watching television and the hearings.

And then I would also add that he is a bit undisciplined. I don't think anyone would argue with me on that. And Madam Choe herself in her statement called attention to the fact, she said that it was their understanding that the U.S. did not ready itself, she said, to sit face to face with us.

So, I think that makes it—these points taken together I think it would be in North Korea's interest to stop playing so hard to get. Sit down with American negotiators and work things out before the summit happens.

And Steve Biegun, the U.S. representative to North Korea, he's a very able, agile, smart interlocutor. And instead of giving him the runaround, let's be frank, they should be meeting regularly in Pyongyang, other capitals, to get the work done that needs to happen before the two leaders meet.

Before the next, there's a lot of talk now about a third summit and that seems to be all the emphasis is organizing a third summit. And I think we need to gain much-needed traction at the working level before we even think about another summit. So, that would be my message to the North Koreans if they are watching.

The U.S. also made some critical mistakes. I think before the summit, we heard a very comprehensive address by Steve Biegun at Stanford. And in my estimation this was the first time I've heard even what I would call the outline of a U.S. strategy towards North Korea. It still wasn't perfect. There were still a lot of gaps, but I think it at least showed a way forward that was, as I said before, clear, comprehensive, but also had pragmatic goals.

But what happened in Manila is somehow the script was changed when they got to the table. And what we've now learned is that at the last minute, President Trump handed Kim Jong-un a piece of paper that said we are going for a big deal. As Kelsey said, not only do we want your full nuclear program, we want your missile capabilities, your biological and chemical weapons, and a full inventory of your program now.

And that was completely unrealistic. In the North Koreans' mind, as I've had many conversations with them about this, they see this as the Libya model. It is unacceptable to them.

And I just want to make this point, that the leader to leader approach, I fully endorse it. One of the things I like about it is that it really—President Trump's instinct that in order to make progress we have to change the fundamental nature of the relationship between Pyongyang and Washington. And in that way, I think we have to recognize and the Administration needs to recognize that Kim Jong-un is not going to make any significant moves to reduce or reign in his program unless and until he feels his regime is safe and that he sees there is a clear path towards economic modernization ahead. And we are so far from that right now.

The good news is that the items left at the table in Hanoi I think are the makings of a very good interim deal. And I should say that there is a clear middle way between what the North Koreans said they wanted in Hanoi and what the U.S. said they wanted. And that middle way is to reach agreement on the overarching goal. For the U.S. of course this would be denuclearization, but also manage to put forward a path of interim agreements in order to get there.

What is the way forward? This is the work of diplomacy that needs to be done. And as I said, these items were left on the table. Kelsey mentioned a couple of them. I would call this a very strong interim deal as a first step. One is the fact that the North Koreans offered to permanently end testing of their nuclear program and their missile program, and codify it. I think it was a very good offer that we probably should have accepted. I think it's significant and I think that the next step for the U.S. is to follow up on this and insist that this include inspectors on the ground to codify that indeed testing has been suspended.

I think the offer on Yongbyon was also significant. Yongbyon is a very big facility. They produce their plutonium and tritium there. It's also their main centrifuge facility. And I think the fact that they put this on the table and offered to open it up to U.N. experts and inspectors was also quite significant. I think a very important step for us to get going right away is to get inspectors back on the ground ASAP.

As we saw during the framework agreement, when we had inspectors on the ground the North Koreans' program did not advance. That's a fact. And we need to get back there.

And the third thing that was on the table was opening a liaison office in Pyongyang. I also think this is something, this is not a concession. This is something that would really give us on the ground access to North Korean officials 24/7. Can you imagine that job? But I think it’s important that we move forward there.

So, the two things I would emphasize just to conclude are, we need to get clear channels of communication up and running. And we also need to clear, sustained diplomatic process as a priority. And in exchange, I should say the, I didnít bring this up but I should have, is the issue of sanctions. I really believe that we have to get to the place where a limited reduction of sanctions has to be part of this package and it has to happen, part of it has to happen early.

In particular, what the North Koreans seem to be interested in especially is things that would need, move the inter-Korean economic projects, joint economic projects forward. Things like the Kaesong Industrial Complex and some joint tourism projects. We should not look at this as a concession either. This is what sanctions are meant to do.

You slap them on a country that’s not behaving well to get them to change their behavior. They’re not punitive measures. So, this is what sanctions are meant to do. So, we should move forward on that carefully with our eyes open and in a limited way. And finally, let me just say the path I’ve put forward I know probably could take years, but we have to get to the place where we’re meeting with North Koreans on a regular basis, not just during the pageantry of summits.

My fear is that we’re now stuck in cycle of summits, where there are just limited bursts of diplomacy in between, and if that is the way we’re going to do this, I think maybe the reduction in tensions will continue but we will not make any progress on all of these other goals. I’ll stop there.

DAVENPORT:Thanks, Suzanne. There’s a lot of threads there that I hope we can pick up on in the conversation, but before that, I’d like to turn to you, Frank, if you could give us your impressions from the meetings last week with Moon, the meetings with North Korea, and where you think we stand moving forward. And anything, you know, you’d like to add about what the process should look like.

AUM:Sure. So, again, thank you, Kelsey and Daryl, for having me. It’s a privilege to be here and also a privilege to be with Suzanne. I feel like every time I read one of her op eds and listen on the radio, I'm always in strong agreement, I find myself nodding. So, it’s good to be here with Suzanne.

So, I think Suzanne was very comprehensive, so I don’t want to add too much more because there’s probably other interesting questions, but in general, I would say from the Trump-Moon summit last week as well as the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly last week as well, two very important events. I'm not if I heard anything new. I think I basically heard those sides doubling down.

So, we had President Trump reaffirming that he wants a big comprehensive deal, he wats to maintain sanctions until North Korea denuclearizes. He seemed to express some flexibility on accepting a smaller deal but this is also dependent on, you know, what kind of deal is it, he needs to see it. And so it has to be a good deal for the U.S. And it’s hard for me to think of North Korea offering some good deal for the U.S. that small. So, I just don’t think that’s very likely.

On the North Korean side, based on the same thing, too, you know, they don’t want to be a part of a process where they’re taking unilateral actions where the U.S. continues this hostile policy, but at the same time both sides expressed willingness to engage in a third summit, so that’s the positive, right?

I think the negative is that for both sides to really get there, I think there’s probably a better understanding that they need to have far greater assurance of some sort of, if not final, near final outcome that can be basically signed off by the heads of state at the summit, so a lot more preparation than happened before Hanoi.

I think both leaders overestimated their ability to persuade the other. I think Kim Jong-un thought he’d go in, meet with Trump directly, take advantage of Trump’s, you know, excitedness about trying to achieve this great deal and he thought he could basically get Trump to give away the store and provide huge relief on sectoral sanctions that have been hampering North Korea’s economy.

Likewise, I think President Trump met with Kim Jong-un and he thought if he does directly, he can use his great negotiating abilities to get North Korea to give up its entire program, go big and even give up his WMD. So, both sides are wrong obviously but again, as Suzanne outlined, there are a lot of agreements that were, or a lot of progress that were made on some of the issues like the exchange of liaison offices and the war declaration, economic humanitarian assistance, the continuation of remains recovery operations, so that all can serve as a foundation for the next summit.

I think the concern is that time is running out, and if there’s a third summit, that is pretty much the last shot I think, because after that I think both sides would kind of retreat to their corners and North Korea will play the waiting game waiting for the elections.

DAVENPORT:Going to this question of time running out, reportedly Kim Jong-un said last week that he’s going to give President Trump a year to become more flexible. So, Frank, what was your interpretation of that statement? Was that rhetoric designed for a domestic audience? Was that a message to Trump? And then what do you think he’s really looking for when he says more flexibility?

AUM:Well, like I said, again, there’s only less than two years left in Trump’s administration and so I think Kim Jong-un is basically signaling that, you know, by the time it gets to next year, there’s, that’s not enough time to really reach a deal and then take any significant implementation steps.

So, right now, we’re at this point where both sides are signaling that they’re interested in this third summit, but they both expect the other side to make the first move. And so my—my favorite is actually Ambassador (inaudible) analogy but it’s, this is like high school dating where two sides are both kind of like, Should I make first, should I call first? Should I call first?

And so this is where President Moon of South Korea can play a huge role. I think he got what he needed from President Trump last week in terms of the sign of some flexibility. Those public comments all happened in that photo spread in the Oval Office before the two-hour meeting so I am hoping that there was actually more tangible discussions during the meeting which you can now take back, you know, whether it’s a phone call with Kim Jong-un or they decide to have another inter-Korean summit, sell them on the idea of flexibility hopefully Kim Jong-un is flexible as well and then we start with the working of the discussions.

The problem there is I feel like North Korea doesn’t really respect Special Representative Biegun. They feel like Trump’s the person to go talk to. And they also are very skeptical of Pompeo and Bolton. So, what is the right level, if they’re not going to really engage with Biegun with at the special representative working level, it’s too early to jump right into a third summit. It pretty much leaves that sort of ad hoc diplomacy where, you know, we’ll hear in the news, Oh, Pompeo is going to Pyongyang again, or Kim Yong-chol is coming to D.C. again. I feel like that’s probably the next step over the next couple months.

DAVENPORT:So, you brought up President Moon and his meeting with Trump and that he may have come away with some of the leverage that he needed to continue the conversation and, we shouldn’t forget that alongside the U.S.-North Korea negotiations, we also have the inter-Korean process. And that has made significant strides in reducing tensions between North Korea and South Korea.

But I think there is some concern that the lack of progress on the U.S.-North Korean front could impede or slow down progress on the inter-Korean dialogue. So, as Moon now starts to talk about another summit with Kim Jong-un, what should we be looking for in the inter-Korean process, how can the United States be supporting the inter-Korean process and how might that relate to hopefully getting U.S.-North Korean negotiations back on track? So, Suzanne, if we could start with you on that.

DIMAGGIO: Well, I think, first of all, we should, I think there’s some that look at this North-South Korea reconciliation process as a sideshow and it isn’t. It is in and of itself very important and that’s I think concluding peace declaration as soon as possible is so important. It’s time to have a peace declaration. Now, keep in mind that’s different than a peace agreement which would require intensive negotiations on a whole range of issues, but I do think we should be doing more to make sure that the process of peace and reconciliation between Seoul and Pyongyang continues.

And it has been going at an impressive pace, unlike the U.S. and North Koreans, the South Koreans and North Koreans are meeting quite regularly. I think it stopped a little bit, there’s a bit of a low, which I think should worry us but comparatively over since Singapore, North and South Korean officials have been meeting hundreds of times at various levels, high level but also working level. And I think we should recognize that progress for what it is.

So, in my mind, I think moving forward with the peace declaration in exchange for something like Yongbyong-plus would be a very good deal particularly having, as I said, inspectors on the ground would really put it over to the edge for me. And also, moving forward, on the sanctions, I think encouraging these economic joint projects to move forward would help solidify that peace process, that reconciliation process.

So, that’s the way we should be thinking, but my main point here is this is not a sideshow. There is something real happening on the Korean Peninsula. It is remarkable what is happening on the Korean Peninsula, and we really need to appreciate that and to make sure it continues to move forward and do everything we can to help move that along.

DAVENPORT:Frank, is there anything you’d like to add on the inter-Korean process?

AUM:Yes, I think as Suzanne said there’s been a lot of progress on Inter-Korean side, the moving back of the guard posts, the de-mining of the joint security area, the establishment of the joint military committee. So, there’s a lot of the reduction of tensions air, land, and sea in the around the demarcation line, but I think the concern is that the South Korean side is basically running out of road, meaning they’ve done a lot of what they can do but at a certain point, they need the sanctions relief to do a little bit more.

Sure, they can sort of institutionalize this joint military committee, they can work a little bit more on peace activities in the West Sea area, but there’s not a whole lot more space to go until they start getting the sanctions relief. And so I feel like that’s why South Korea is in a very tough position. I think if we can get some sanctions relief measures on the Joint Kaesong Industrial Complex, the Mount Kumgang Tourism Project, Inter-Korean Railway Cooperation, that would be very helpful for spurring U.S.-DPRK diplomacy but also Inter-Korean Engagement as well.

DAVENPORT:So, you both have talked a little bit about options for getting the process back on track and what the United States and North Korea could do to be more flexible to advance an agreement. But there’s still a great deal of skepticism here in Washington about whether or not Kim Jong-un is actually sincere about negotiations and there’s talk both in the administration and in parts of Congress that now is actually the time to be putting additional pressure on North Korea. That if we slap additional sanctions on, then we can try and sort of force them back to the table.

So, Frank, you know, what is your opinion on this, is this the time for additional sanctions? And given that this is kind of coming particularly from Congress right now, what would you be telling Congress that an appropriate role for them is within this diplomatic process?

AUM:Now is not the time for new sanctions. Now, I want to clarify. Well, so first of all, I would say that so new significant sanctions will completely scuttle diplomacy and then we’re back to 2017 or very close to I think. I will say that there is a difference between new sanctions legislation or UN Security Council resolutions and stronger enforcement of current sanctions, which I think depending on what exactly we’re talking about could be helpful.

I know that Treasury probably has a huge tranche of additional designations that they want to make on third party entities. That may be okay is sort of creating additional pressure, but I think right now we need to let diplomacy work. There’s not much time anyways. And so I think if it gets to the next year and nothing has happened then I think you’ll start to see the administration moving forward with additional tranches of designations as well as Congress moving forward with, there’s the Lead act, the Brink act, additional ways to really tying down North Korea and we’ll start seeing those move forward.


DIMAGGIO: I just want to add something about Congress. I had the opportunities to meet with representatives of Congress and their staff also on the Senate side and sometimes I'm just appalled frankly by how anti-diplomacy they are on this issue for different reasons. Some are against it because how can you trust someone like Kim Jong-un? We’ve been down this road before, very self-defeating.

But others, we can't hand a win to Trump. I think both sides are equally asinine if I should, can say so. And I think in this regard, yes, there’s reason to be skeptical, we don’t know what Kim Jong-un, his level of seriousness. That’s what diplomacy is for, is to test it. And we need to continually test it, but also that’s why I'm supportive of the step-by-step approach because it is a way to test it.

They do something, we do something. I mean this is very basic, fundamental, but it’s a way, if we’re really going to change the contentious nature of our relationship between Washington and Pyongyang, we have to start somewhere, and I think this is a process given the mutual distrust that exists and all the psychological baggage over decades of failed negotiations, we have to try.

So, I think for Congress, they need to put aside both those reasons and support the process of diplomacy. And yes, Congress should be in a position of oversight. I think the first two years of this administration, there’s been no oversight on this process since it started so that needs to be changed, so oversight, but not an obstacle to diplomacy.

And one of the things that I think we need more of are hearings, bringing in experts to testify on a range of issues of importance to this negotiation. And also getting Pompeo to be there to give regular updates on the Congress on what’s happening. I think a lot of us have been in the dark and there needs to be a bit more transparency to the extent that it doesn’t derail the process I should say.

DAVENPORT:So, sometimes these additional calls for sanctions, the calls for additional pressure are in response to North Korean statements or North Korean events. And since the Hanoi Summit, we saw Madam Choe say North Korea may return to testing, you know, if the dialogue doesn’t continue. Satellite imagery has suggested that North Korea is reconstituting some of the Sohae satellite launch sites.

So, when North Korea is taking these actions that may seem kind of counter to diplomacy, how would you advise both the administration and Congress to react to those types of actions? Suzanne, would you like to start?

DIMAGGIO: Oh, can you just sum it up again?

DAVENPORT:Frank could start and then...

AUM:Yes. So, I think, and that is the concern because today, April 15, is actually the, today is the anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s birthday and so this is when people are thinking were thinking, Oh, this might be a time when North Korea might conduct some provocative action. But I think the administration is taking the right approach, that they are closely watching the situation, they’re monitoring to see what will happen and they are warning against any missile tests or satellite launches because that would be very destabilizing for the current diplomatic process.

If a satellite launch does occur, then I think President Trump has a very hard decision to make because on one hand while a satellite launch is prohibited by international law, it’s not so provocative of action that it should derail diplomacy. On the other hand, if you just accept it and continue along the path, then maybe you’re sort of accepting North Korea’s brinkmanship behavior. So, fortunately, nothing has happened today, I hope it doesn’t but it’d be a tough situation if it something does happen.

DAVENPORT:Well, I checked Twitter right before I came up here and there doesn’t seem to be anything yet, so fingers crossed.

DIMAGGIO: So, on this point, this is another reason why the North Koreans and Americans should be having regular meetings, because then we could talk about the fact that they shouldn’t be launching a satellite, that derailed diplomacy before in the past, the leap day agreement and we’d hate to see that happen again.

But on the point of what Kim Jong-un is thinking in terms of whether or not he’ll test. At this point, I don’t think so, because President Trump has been very clear on this point and I'm going to use the word Admiral Mullen said he hated in terms of “the red line”. He made it very clear that testing is his red line.

And I think he is serious about that. So, I don’t think at this point the North Koreans would risk blowing negotiations out of the water by pushing that issue. And getting to Kim Jong-un in terms of one of the things that has really fascinated me about this whole process and his whole coming out party on the world stage is how much he and those around him in the ruling class have communicated to the people of North Korea that they have a new strategic line and it is economic development.

It’s not just us and the international audience that are hearing this or in the elites, this is being broadcast on the news, it’s in billboards from what I can see around Pyongyang. So, I think it is, I don’t want to say transparent because I think that’s going too far, but I think in a way it is Kim Jong-un putting himself out there that this is their strategic goal right now, is to shift the focus of the country to economic development and modernization.

So, in a way, he has staked his legitimacy on fulfilling that just the same way he fulfilled Byong-Jung and the nuclear program advancing to this point. So, that’s been fascinating to watch and I think we should take it very seriously, and take it seriously but also pursue it seriously because that gives us leverage if indeed he is staking his credibility on economic development, then we have a lot of leverage.

DAVENPORT:Oh, and it certainly helps signal what North Korea is looking for and prioritizing. So, I'm going to turn it over to audience questions in just a minute, but first we have to remember also that negotiations with North Korea are not happening in a vacuum and as Daryl mentioned I work on Iran. I know Suzanne does also and we haven't talked much about Iran, so I have to squeeze this in just a little bit.

The current controversy over the nuclear deal with Iran, the uncertain future after the United States withdrew from that deal, do you see that at all as impacting North Korea’s thinking about how they’re approaching these negotiations and has that impacted U.S. credibility on these talks?

DIMAGGIO: It’s no question in my mind that the North Koreans are thinking about this. They’ve been studying it. First, they studied how the negotiations happened to get to the deal, and now they’ve been studying how it has disintegrated with the withdrawal of the U.S. It’s still in place but it’s a different situation now that we’re out of the deal.

Let me focus on two ways that I think the North Koreans have learned a terrible lesson from the U.S. reneging on its commitments to the Iran Nuclear Deal. First is at the very heart of the nuclear deal with Iran was a very basic bargain, you do this and we lift sanctions. And now, the Iranians ñ I think the IAEA has confirmed for the 14th consecutive time or is it 15 now...

DAVENPORT:I'm losing count.

DIMAGGIO: Somewhere. I know. We’re starting to lose count that the Iranians are complying with their commitments to this deal. So, it sends the signal to the North Koreans that even if you comply with your, with your, what you’ve agreed to do, we still may not lift these sanctions. You may not get the benefits that we agreed to. That’s a terrible message to be sending, especially to a country where the Iranians never had any nuclear weapons—single nuclear weapon, but especially to a country where they do.

It provides very little incentive to move forward. And the second area, there are many, many areas. I’ve thought about this long and hard, but I’ll limit it to one more and that is the issue of irreversibility, and I think getting to the point, Kelsey, about the earlier question. I think one of the reasons after Hanoi, the North Koreans put back up the missile site that they had already decommissioned was to show us that nothing they have done yet is irreversible.

And unlike the Iranians who poured concrete into their plutonium facility in Arak, not quite irreversible but pretty darn close for the Iranians to come back on a plutonium path. They would probably cost millions but also take years, an estimated five years to bring that back up. That’s pretty irreversible and I think the North Koreans have seen what the Iranians have done to their program and here they are now, stuck.

And I don’t think the North Koreans want to do that. So, getting back to my earlier point, I really firmly believe North Koreans are not going to do anything significant, certainly nothing close to irreversible, before they feel the regime is safe and that there’s a clear path to economic development and modernization.

DAVENPORT:Great. Questions from the floor. Yes. Over here in the center. Oh, if you could wait for the mic please.

KIM: Thank you. My name is Connie. I'm a reporter for Voice of America. I just want to touch upon North Korea's People's Supreme Assembly that we briefly mentioned in the beginning. One of the key messages from Kim Jong-un was his push to change the U.S.'s political calculations such as the U.S.'s position on sanctions and the denuclearization process. How do you think this stance of North Korea is going to affect the negotiations?

And also, how do you assess President Moon's role as a mediator based on Kim Jong-un's speech at the Supreme People's Assembly?

AUM:So, when North Korea talks about the hostile U.S. policy, that was kind of vague about what does that mean, hostile U.S. policy. Well, it runs across the diplomatic, economic, military sphere. So, all of the exercises and the strategic assets on the peninsula, the lack of normalized relations, but on the economic side, a hostile U.S. policy is the sanction.

So, that is North Korea's goal, to break that sanctions regime and the overall global pressure campaign that the U.S. has been implementing. Kim Jong-un has doubled down on that. I think what President Moon can do is basically try to offer suggestions for ways that both sides can be flexible.

One idea that came out again suggested in the press conference remarks that Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui made was that the possibility of the snapback provisions, right, what we saw in Iran. So, I feel like we have this diverging gap between the approaches of both sides, big comprehensive deal upfront on one hand. For North Korea, it's incremental step-by-step reciprocal actions.

So, how do you converge those two policies? Again, one idea might be trying to agree to a comprehensive deal on paper, but then have the implementation process being more step-by-step and then also include the snapback provisions.

DIMAGGIO: And even if they agree to the big deal, you would need a process in place. We can't snap our fingers and it's going to happen overnight. So, I agree with you on that.

DAVENPORT:Great. Yes. There in the back.

(UNKNOWN): Katherine Calow (ph) Ploughshares Fund. I'm very curious about the recent developments in North Korea with the leadership reshuffling and specifically as some experts have noted, it's interesting that several foreign ministry officials have been elevated in a way we haven't seen under Kim Jong-il.

So, could you speak to what that means if anything? Is that a signal to the U.S.? How should we be reading it and what does it mean for future negotiations with Madam Choe in an elevated position. Thanks.

DIMAGGIO: I think many people were surprised. I think it was three foreign ministry officials who were involved and received very substantial promotions. I think the conventional wisdom had been that the foreign ministry—sorry.

I think the conventional wisdom has been that the foreign ministry had been sidelined and Kim Jong-chul was taking the lead. And I even think that the United States government itself has been waiting and hoping that this portfolio for taking the lead on the negotiations would shift from Kim Jong-chul to the foreign ministry.

I mean, at the end of the day, we really don't know what these changes mean. But I do think that the North Koreans may be readying to move the portfolio more towards the foreign ministry as negotiations, if they get off the ground. I think that might be a sign that they're ready to do that. But it's so opaque. We really don't know what any of these changes mean, this is a lot of tea leaf reading.

DAVENPORT:Frank, do you want to add anything on that or—good, great.

We'll take this question here in front.

TERRY: Gillian Terry (ph) with the National Association of Evangelicals. So, this is an arms control meeting. So, I think everyone here would be thrilled if the nuclear threat were to be taken off the table in the Korean peninsula.

But what about the human rights of the North Korean people? Is there any indication that if sanctions are lifted that that would actually lead to concrete improvements for North Koreans? And if not, what else could be done about that?

AUM:Well, I don't think there's any indication just because you lift sanctions, all of a sudden the human rights situation improves. I think the administration and this is sort of a fine line it has to tread here, but it has to make human rights a part of the negotiations for it to be something that's negotiated.

I'm a little torn on this one, because on hand, there are, human rights plays an important role in the security process including, for example, human rights violations with forced labor abroad and that continues to fund in North Korea's WMD program. So, there is a linkage between those two issues.

What I will say is that we need to be creative about thinking about how human rights can be helpful in this process. So, one idea that I would sort of turn to is thinking about the Helsinki process and basically we had a situation where we were giving the Soviet Bloc exactly what it wanted in terms of security conference, economic cooperation, and in return, we have to put in that human rights basket, right?

And so, I think if we can think about something similar to that where we make it a comprehensive deal, raise the human rights issue, it doesn't have to be where it's so provocative where we're talking about Kim Jong-un being trialed before the ICJ, but really just elevating the human rights concerns. There's probably a way to introduce that that might be helpful to the discussion.

DIMAGGIO: Yes. I think I was very dismayed when I heard that during the Singapore summit the U.S. team did not raise human rights at all. I understand that in order to get negotiations going and we've made denuclearization our top priority, we cannot add human rights as a negotiating item at this stage. But I think at the very least, American officials meeting with North Koreans need to raise these issues in an aspirational way, not in a demanding way, in an aspirational way. So, I'm hoping that that happened in Hanoi.

The other thing is we have to—our own credibility, here we are the U.S. had disallowed humanitarian NGOs from entering North Korea to do very important work on food security, health, et cetera. And I think that that was a big mistake and I think the administration is slowly coming around to realize that and now they're letting a few humanitarian NGOs back in to do this work.

I think in order for us to be able to sit down and talk to the North Koreans about human rights with credibility, we need to be able to say that we are permitting these organizations to do this important work, because after all, it affects the North Korean people and that's really what we want to reach.

I feel very strongly about that. We should let the humanitarian NGOs back in.

DAVENPORT:Mark, there in the back.

(UNKNOWN): Thanks very much. I'm sorry. I got the mic. This is a great panel.

Suzanne, I would agree that a declaration ending the war is sort of an easy card that the United States could play in. I'm not sure exactly what it would be at Yongbyong, whether closing all of it or allowing in inspections. Last August, I thought that the North Koreans placed more emphasis on that. Today, they're talking more about sanctions relief.

Frank stressed the importance of implementing sanctions. You suggested one step-by-step would be to allow inter-Korean cooperation. My question is, is there a way to allow such relaxation of the South-North Korean sanctions that doesn't pull the plug from implementing sanctions elsewhere?

Wouldn't it—I'm afraid it might—and I'll give other countries a signal that they can take their foot off the gas or maybe China and Russia already have I guess.

DIMAGGIO: Great question. Thank you. I'm not a sanctions expert. So, I'm going to thread carefully here.

But my understanding is for some of their activity to be allowed to move forward, it wouldn't require a full lifting of these sanctions. It could be done through exemptions and also could be done through special mechanisms that are set up to facilitate activity like Kaesong and so forth.

I think where there's a will, there's a way and we can think creatively on how to get this done without throwing out all of the sanctions at once. And again, our goal is to use sanctions how they're meant, to change behavior, to move things forward, and we really need to be able to do this. I feel we the United States have become so dependent on sanctions as a weapon of foreign policy to punish and to fault.

And, yes, there's an element of that that has to happen. But here we are at the cusp of a breakthrough and I don't think we should be so unwilling to use sanctions how they ideally are meant to be used. And in terms of the peace agreement, I think you're absolutely right. In my discussions with the North Koreans dating back to 2016 and even 2017, they put the peace agreement at the top of their list as a priority of what they wanted to have in exchange.

That boat has sailed. There's no question about it. These days I remember meeting with North Koreans a year ago and they didn't even bring up the peace declaration. I had to bring it up in our conversations. You're right. It's sanctions now. It's all about the sanctions, and I also think changing the nature of the relationship that I talked about earlier.

AUM:Yes. I'll just add really quickly that I'm not a sanctions expert either but, yes, there are wavers of sanctions or permissions given by the '17, '18 sanctions committee that would allow for ways to get around the prohibition on both cash transfers and joint economic commercial ventures. That doesn't dismantle the entire regime or that specific resolution, but (inaudible) one-off waiver.

And I agree with Suzanne as well. In my discussions with North Korean officials and in track 1.5 dialogues, they've moved off of the end of war declaration. What they said to me is basically that we thought it'd be sort of a nice thing for the U.S. to do, but the U.S. side seem to be hemming and hawing on it, which it was because it was probably introduced around the summer of last year. And for about three or four months, there was a lot of discussion about what that means.

The U.S. side was getting confused. What's the end of war declaration and peace agreement? The Defense Department was concerned about what that means for our security architecture in the region and at that point, North was like if the U.S. side doesn't want it then we don't want it either. What's the point here?

DIMAGGIO: But I still think we should move forward because it's important to the Korean people on both sides of the divide. And I think that means something.

DAVENPORT:We have time for one last question from the gentleman here at the middle table.

(UNKNOWN): Thank you. Thank you for this discussion.

Someone else said personnel makes policy, my question—my comment I guess is the national security advisor opposed the Iran deal. He opposed the Libya deal. He's opposed virtually every arms control agreement that’s ever come down the pike. He opposed the agreed framework.

So, I don't think there's too much reason for optimism about where we might go in the future, the United States might go during this administration. A quick question regarding the peace treaty if I could, historically, autocrats have oftentimes used the external enemy as the justification for their power. If you did that in North Korea, if you had a peace treaty with North Korea, what do you think Kim would have to have as his justification to remain in power? Thank you.

DIMAGGIO: So, in terms of a peace treaty, I think one of the important elements to Kim would be security guarantees and perhaps even a full normalization of relations with us. And in terms of the security guarantees, that of course would have to include the regional players especially Beijing would have to be a big part of that conversation.

And getting to your point about the national security advisor, he who shall not be named, I’ve tweeted about this and had been very clear that I'm confused, if Trump is a dealmaker, he wants to make deals, he wants to reach diplomatic agreements. Why does he have this person on his team? You said he was against the agreed framework, it was more than that. To use his own words, he was the hammer that smashed the agreed framework.

So, let me just make one more point that might be a little, pushing it hard. When I looked at the photos from Hanoi, I was very confused. On the North Korean side, I saw seasoned diplomats who have been, some of whom have been working this file for decades. On our side, I had to be frank. I didn't see a single diplomat. I didn't see a single negotiator.

I’m going to be a little harsh. I don't think President Trump is a negotiator. He's a brander. Secretary Pompeo is not a negotiator. He's a politician. Nick Mulvaney, I don't really know much about him, so I can't say. But I don't think he has experience negotiating on these issues.

And then, finally, he who shall not be named is not a negotiator that builds agreements. He is an official who tears down agreements. So, I think you put your finger on a very big program—personnel. Needs to be changed.

AUM:So, I think you made an excellent point. North Korea certainly speaks to its domestic audience and I've heard both arguments. On one hand North Korea needs to continue the war footing and in order to do that, it needs that external enemy, right? So, if you have a peace treaty, then, how do you maintain the legitimacy of the regime when there's peace, right?

On the other hand, I've also heard the argument that there are various constituencies within the North Korea regime. Kim Jong-un needs to make this argument to them to convince them that their security is assured and one way is through a peace treaty. We've seen the harsh rhetoric against the U.S. diminish in North Korea over the last year or so. We've had President Moon go to Pyongyang, speak before 150,000 North Koreans in the May Day stadium and talk about denuclearization.

That is an incredible shift I think just in the last year and a half. So, I think what we can do is test that hypothesis and see where that process leads us.

DAVENPORT:So, unfortunately, that's all the time we have today for the panel. Needless to say, I would feel much more comfortable if Suzanne and Frank were leading the U.S. delegation and negotiations with North Korea.

But, we appreciate all of the ideas that you put out about the process moving forward, what more flexibility looks like on both sides, the actual role that sanctions should play in the negotiations, and your comments on the role of Congress. I think it was a very rich discussion. I appreciate that. And please join me in thanking our panel.

Closing Remarks
Daryl G. Kimball

KIMBALL: I just have a few closing remarks to make and inspired partly by Suzanne's comments. I think we might think of ourselves as Dumbledore's Army, spent a day in a room of requirement, and now we have to head out and do our work.

But, seriously speaking, we've had an incredibly rich conversation through the course of the day, thanks to our excellent speakers, our moderators. I hope it's stimulated your thinking. These are difficult issues. But—and Kelsey and I and Kingston, we all go through this every day and we're paid to work on these things, and I know many of you are retired or say you're retired. Some of you are students. Some of you are current diplomats and practitioners. We all in our different ways I think can take some of the ideas and information from this meeting and go out and help advance progress in these areas.

I just want to note that we will have video and audio of today's proceedings available on our website within the next couple of days, www.armscontrol.org, of course. We'll also have a transcript of today's event available online later this week. It will take a few more days. And I want to thank a number of people who made today's event a big success. Something like this takes a team.

And my name gets invoked many times, but it's the people that I work with, the board of directors, that guide the organization that make it all possible. And so, I just want to thank a few people here especially the sponsors, the key sponsors of today's event.

As you've heard a few times, we moved to a bigger space to accommodate the growing interest in our annual meeting and that was only possible because we have an even larger number of event, reception, table, and individual sponsors. I want to especially thank our event sponsors, Russ Colvin, our table sponsors, David Bernstein, Martin Hellman, Leslie Witt, Deborah Gordon, Catherine Kelleher, Laura Kennedy, Michael Klare, Tori Holt (who just left), Edward Levine, Jan Lodal, Terri Lodge, Tom Grimm, Culmen International, Evangelical For Peace, and the National Association of Evangelicals, and a number of other individuals who made additional contributions in addition to their registration today.

And of course, we couldn't do the work of the Arms Control Association without the ongoing and loyal support of our institutional supporters through the years, not the least of which is the Ploughshares Fund which has been supporting work of the Arms Control Association since well before I became the Executive Director in 2001, long before Joe Cirincione was at Ploughshares. We thank the Ploughshares Fund, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the McArthur Foundation, and many others listed in the program for making our overall work possible, and it's that ongoing support that really enables us to continue the work year-after-after, because as you can tell from today's discussion, we've got years of work ahead of us.

But especially I want to thank our Arms Control Association staff team for putting this event together and so well especially our meeting coordinator, Elana Simon, and our communications and operations director, Tony Fleming. (I think Elana is outside.)

And thanks a lot to our in-house graphic designer, Allen Harris who put together the program for today's conference along with the advertising materials. He's the guy who's been carrying the camera around… there is Allen, who also makes Arms Control Today look beautiful. So, thank you the three of you in particular. And thank to Kelsey, to Kingston Rief, Shervin Taheran, Alicia Sanders-Zackre, and our new Arms Control Today editor, Greg Webb. If you haven't met Greg, check him out at the reception which will come in just a few minutes.

And of course, as I said before, our senior fellow, Michael Klare, who I think is safe to say he's feeling younger again being at the Arms Control Association office and we feel more energized because of his energy and wisdom.

So, these folks are the best in the business and it's an honor to work with them. And also, because we're not just grooming the next generation of arms control leaders, we're trying to benefit from their productivity, our team of interns and volunteers today, Izabella, Cole, Tienchi, and Sasha, who make today's even go smoothly, thanks to the guys, too. And to our board of directors, thank you all for your support.

I wanted to ask everybody who I named or mentioned to just rise and let's everybody a round of applause.


And as I said, this work depends on your support and almost all of you are already members in the Arms Control Association. We really do appreciate it. We have a small, but loyal following and in your contributions, help us respond to the topsy-turvy of the Trump era in particular and there are other ways that you can help as ambassadors of the organization, some of which are listed in the back of the program.

Spread the word. Ask your institutions to subscribe to Arms Control today. Give a friend, a college student a gift subscription. Think about how you can take action by contacting your elected leaders. We have a new action alert component to our outreach efforts. And be an ambassador by sharing the resources that we provide and there's a list of materials that we produce in addition to Arms Control Today and the best way that we can spread the word is through our friends, our members, and our allies who share that on through their social and professional networks.

So, whether we succeed of course depends not just on what we do in this room, but whether we can build that support beyond this room. And I want to just invoke Larry Weiler again (who's very much on my mind), one our longest serving members, one of the original members of the board of directors of the Arms Control Association who wrote back in 1983, which is a year that really got me thinking about these issues when I was a freshman in college, another dark time in the nuclear era.

And at that time, Larry wrote in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, "If nuclear policy is to be changed either fundamentally or with conditions and step-by-step, those outside of bureaucracies must become involved. This assertion rests on a central, historical fact: the postwar arms control efforts, significant restrains in the arms control field have been achieved only when the public became involved."

So, that is in part our mission. I invite you to help with that. And I thank everyone for being here today. We will begin as I said before with our reception in just about five minutes, it is open to everybody who has registered. The first drink is on us. Please be sure to pick up a little blue ticket when you go in. Show them your badge.

And we will expect Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, your senator for many of you. He'll be arriving a little bit before 4:30. In the meantime, enjoy a drink. Enjoy some hors d’ouvres, and decompress from today's discussions. Thank you all. We are adjourned.


Reception for Meeting Attendees
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland)


Our 2019 Annual Meeting brought together members and colleagues in the field, journalists, U.S. and international officials, and prominent experts and policymakers to discuss today’s most critical arms control challenges.


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