"The Arms Control Association’s work is an important resource to legislators and policymakers when contemplating a new policy direction or decision."

– General John Shalikashvili
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

PRESS TELEBRIEFING: Trump and Putin to Talk Nuclear Arms Control



Telebriefing for Journalists
July 13, 2018
9:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m. Eastern U.S. time
Contact for access to recording

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 to discuss how to reduce tensions between the nations across a range of issues. The leaders will discuss arms control issues, including resolution of compliance disputes over the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and possible extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

On July 13 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, the Arms Control Association will hold a telebriefing for reporters on the nuclear arms control matters on the table and the outcomes we expect from the summit.


  • Thomas Countryman, former Assistant Secretary of State on International Security and Nonproliferation, and chair of the Arms Control Association board
  • Madelyn Creedon, former Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

    In addition, the Arms Control Association has a variety of resources and experts available to help shed light on what the two sides can achieve to reduce nuclear risks and what’s at stake if they fail to make progress.


    • “Following the NATO Summit, President Trump said the U.S. supports the goal of “no more nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.” To move from rhetoric to reality, he needs a plan to do so, starting with an agreement with Putin to extend New START, working more seriously to bring Russia back into compliance with INF, ratifying the #CTBT, followed by talks on further n-cuts w/Russia, engagement other n-armed states on disarmament."—Daryl Kimball, executive director
    • "Should the INF Treaty collapse and New START expire without replacement, there would be no legally-binding limits on the world’s two largest nuclear superpowers for the first time since 1972. The consequences for the effective cooperative management of nuclear risks and for nuclear nonproliferation would be severe.” —Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, and chair of the ACA board of directors



    The above experts and others are available in Washington for media interviews. Contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext 110 to schedule.

    Country Resources:

    An End to Nuclear Testing in North Korea? The Role for Technology and Cooperation



    Thursday, June 14, 2018
    2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Choate Conference Room
    1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

    The recent negotiations between the United States and North Korea on nuclear disarmament have placed renewed focus on the challenges of verification of nuclear test sites and denuclearization. Organizations like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization employ science-based techniques and technologies to detect nuclear testing[1] that some have suggested could have applications to verify the dismantlement of a nuclear test site.

    In the face of current threats to global security, national and international organizations have their own roles to play to address these global challenges through cooperation and science and technology can help pave the way for greater security in the future.

    Opening Remarks

    • Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization


    • Mr. Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (Moderator)
    • Ambassador Laura Kennedy, Former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament and Former Charge of the US Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
    • Mr. Jon Wolfsthal, Nonresident Scholar, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; former senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council
    • Ms. Alexandra Bell, Senior Policy Director, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

    Including Welcome Remarks

    • Dr. Mahlet N. Mesfin, Deputy Director, Center for Science Diplomacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


    [1] National Research Council. (2012) The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Technical Issues for the United States. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.


    Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive-Secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, opening remarks. Transcribed by Rowan Humphries. 

    Zerbo: “Thank you, I think I know everybody, it’s like a family conversation, I would say because we all know each other. So, thank you for inviting me to be here, with friends, and colleagues and former colleagues in arms control and nonproliferation and disarmament.

    Let me start by saying a quote that maybe you guys have heard or you remember: “if you don’t get the ball over the goal line, it doesn’t mean enough.” So if you remember where this is coming, we can talk about it later. But the reason why I’m saying this quote is because we are starting the World Cup today.

    As you know in the World Cup, often there is a goal and then people wonder, the referees say ‘no, it crossed the line,’ and then people say ‘no’ and then people argue, and for the first time in the history of the World Cup they have the assistance of video, to be able to decide if the ball crossed the line and if it’s a real goal.

    So I’ll tell you why I chose this. So these were the parting words of President Trump—I’m sure you guys, those of you who have listened to the press conference, you will remember—following the U.S.-DPRK summit in Singapore two days ago. So the joint statement recognized that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korea peninsula. It also commits the U.S. and the DPRK to join the effort to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean peninsula. It reaffirms North Korea’s commitment to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Peninsula. So I hope the panel will be able to enlighten many of us on this issue, on the statement and maybe on a point that came in the press conference that was not in the statement.

    In the short time since the summit there were many comments. Some find the statement to be light on detail in how to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula. From my own perspective, I mean I know you won’t blame me, so whenever people don’t talk about CTBT when they talk about disarmament, nonproliferation, when they don’t mention it, I’m never happy. So of course, I would say it’s a pity that nothing explicit is included relating to ending nuclear testing once and for all. This is what I would have loved to see.

    But we are happy that there was a dialogue. A dialogue is much better than digging in with inflexible positions. And that’s a positive take from this meeting, and that’s why we call it a historical summit. And I’ve always maintained that engagement with North Korea should be pursued. And now the press statement came and the press takeout came and them gave a little bit more detail on what was seen or perceived as light from the statement.

    For this reason, I wish to set out, especially in the context of permanently ending nuclear testing in the DPRK, how the ball can get over the goal line, which is how I started. Getting the ball over the goal line means for me, and for many, verification. Full stop. In his press conference, President Trump stated that denuclearization would be verifiable. This is important; verifiable measures are the heart of lasting nuclear arms control.

    Although the summit experience is described as being like a movie—that’s what many of the journalists were talking about—real verification is not a show. It must be based on the best available technologies, the best expertise or the most rigorous protocols. In featuring the destruction of the Punggye-ri test site in May 24, 2018, North Korea aimed to demonstrate its commitment to ending nuclear tests. A number of outsiders, international journalists, watched from a distance—I say from a distance because they were only 500 meters and, you know, that if you can stay 500 meters from an explosion, it means that it’s not that big, and we can talk about that.

    But these people were not technical experts in any in-field or on-site inspection, I tend not to use on-site inspection because it’s the wording that kicks in when the CTBT enters into force when you talk about nuclear testing, so let me avoid this word. But they were not geophysicists who could analyze local seismic data, multispectral imaging, gamma radiation, monitoring, environmental sampling, ground penetrating rubber, or any other techniques listed, for instance in the CTBT, as applicable in the field.

    Only the CTBT, when I say “only the CTBT”—I’m not talking about much more technical means, but internationally—only the CTBT can provide adequate verification to monitor an end to nuclear tests. I insist on the word ‘tests’ because when I say ‘only the CTBT’ people take only that part and then they think I’m excluding other international organizations. That’s not what I’m saying.

    I want to take this opportunity to talk about the differences between and the complementarity—let’s use the word complementarity—we could have in working on the denuclearization process in the Korean peninsula. Of course, nuclear material, IAEA master of technology, they are the one that can deal with it making sure that nobody crosses the line towards the military aspect of nuclear energy. But when somebody crosses that line and gets to a point where he does tests, there is no other international framework to monitor nuclear testing than the CTBT, and one can argue that we only monitor to verify whether it’s a test or not. It is true that that’s what we do. But if you want to characterize what’s happening on the test, before or after, or during, I mean what best than the technology and the expertise that we have, and we can comment on this.

    So that’s why I say that only the CTBT can do that, but the CTBT will do that in the overall process when we bring that little part of contribution that we have in the big field of expertise that could come from the IAEA and any other international organizations or even much more technical means, for that matter. So, especially when we talk about test-site closure, the CTBT can offer key operation verification tasks, such as site characterization, surveying, sampling, documentation as well, let’s not forget that, because we have expertise in documentation of on-site inspection activities, and providing a baseline for the current state of the site. Site-closure verification in line with agreed protocols.

    Off-site closures as well, and dismantlement verification, including periodic site visits to compare to the baseline, along with ongoing local video and seismic monitoring. And of course, ongoing what we always do, remote monitoring, that’s our job. This is what the CTBT is capable of doing. As you all know, the treaty is not in force yet, and that’s why I say we don’t talk about on-site inspection. What I’m insisting on is how the expertise and the technology that we have can serve the international community in verifying any agreement related to the closing of a test site. That’s all that we talk about.

    I’m not talking about the CTBT carrying out an on-site inspection. What I’m talking about is the CTBT contributing with its expertise and technology and the capability to serve the purpose of verifying the permanent closure of the test site and contributing as well to maybe forensic studies, because some of the things that we do go far beyond just nuclear testing monitoring and then knowing whether it’s a nuclear test or not.

    So why don’t we use it? You ask us, you ask all international organizations, to be cost effective. Do you want to go and create another organizational framework where you use this technology, the same technology, to do what we can do and the expertise that we have? And this is what we talk about, nothing else. Of course, when you talk about denuclearization, the first name that comes, it’s the IAEA. Yes, the IAEA does a lot, and the IAEA will always do a lot and they’ll always do a great job. But in that process to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, when you talk about testing, please don’t forget the CTBT, as it is going to do it.

    If it doesn’t play the role as the CTBT’s played the role as the organizational framework that has the expertise and the capability to do so and the equipment as well. And this you shouldn’t forget because you are paying for all international organizations to have the capability, please use it.

    You may say you have your own national technological means here. Of course not many, but a few countries have the national technical means for doing so. But the national technical means will not give the legitimacy and the credibility that is needed internationally to say ‘this country has done this’ and ‘this country is saying this.’ But when an international body is bringing that expertise, there is trust. And that’s what we need now, in this multilateral diplomacy. Because there is a deficit of trust, and to deal with that deficit of trust, let’s use international bodies who can help do that.

    So, science is there, science often has one logical way of addressing issues. Because when you are in science, they say 1+1, it’s often 2. But sometimes people say 3, and then they want to explain why it’s 3. But in diplomacy, 1+1 is never 2. That’s a problem, it’s 3,5, and then they tell you why it’s not 2. And that’s the difference between science that we are dealing with, and diplomacy, as it’s known especially in arms control.

    At least that’s what I’ve learned. And I’ve learned it the hard way, and I say the hard way because it hasn’t been easy. And that’s why because it hasn’t been easy, I try to keep that optimism that some, you know, many people that I respect a lot in this field they tell me, ‘we don’t share that optimism that you have Lassina.’ And I say ‘yes, but you won’t change me, because I’ll always remain optimistic on this issue.’

    If you’re not, your [inaudible] will stop and say, ‘we forget the CTBT.’ And we might forget the CTBT, but at this particular time, what I’m talking about is not to lose the opportunity about the technology that makes the CTBT. The technology is important, and it’s the technology that could help people be confident and then trust that this treaty is verifiable. Even if they are not ready today, it might create the condition for them to be ready one day, and that’s why we should focus on the technical aspect of the CTBT, the technical contribution that we can bring, to get more ground and more room to convince people that with the technology, we have to get the treaty. We can also make the decision that the treaty is not longer up to date, no longer valid in this 21st century, but that is a question that is beyond my paycheck. My paycheck is to link this treaty with the technical ground, and then see how the technical ground can help move things forward. And that’s what I’m trying to do, and that’s why I’m happy that you guys, experts from arms control, former ambassador Laura Kennedy, Alex Bell and many of you here who that have worked who are here not to help the CTBT, but to help the relevance of the technologies that are needed to deal with the Korean peninsula issue.

    So, speaking about the best possible outcome on the negotiation, President Trump has said, ‘the prize I want is victory for the world.’ That’s great. In addition to preventing nuclear tests and deescalating the political and security situation in East Asia, the DPRK adherence to the CTBT would be an important milestone towards its entry into force. Because if we can’t put the CTBT on the table, for the DPRK to at least be like the U.S.—sign the treaty— how do you want me to run around and then tell India and Pakistan, and Egypt and Iran, and Israel, to ratify. India and Pakistan would tell me, ‘what’s your problem, we have a voluntarily moratorium anyway, we don’t need to ratify.’ And they will say, ‘oh but why didn’t you manage to get the DPRK to ratify?’ Somebody would say ‘Clearly, I am closing my test site.’ You don’t put that on the table, they won’t listen to me anymore.

    So we are basically putting the treaty at risk, and that’s what we shouldn’t do. The point that I was making is, the treaty should come on the table of the DPRK. They might say ‘no, it doesn’t matter,’ but if we don’t bring it, we won’t be able to justify to any other person or any other Annex 2 countries that the ratification is important. And this is why bringing the CTBT, and bringing the DPRK to sign, at least, the CTBT is what the victory for the world would be, the same victory that President Trump is talking about. Thank you.”

    Country Resources:

    Press Briefings on U.S.-North Korean Summit Outcomes



    The Arms Control Association was pleased to convene two telebriefings following the close of the U.S.-North Korean summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 

    Recordings of the two telebriefings are available to accredited journalists upon request. Contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, to inquire.

    On June 12, 2018, we invited an immediate analysis to the joint statement from

    • Ambassador Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
    • Governor Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China
    • Thomas Countryman, former Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation 
    • Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association

    The following morning, we invited reactions and perspectives by

    • Thomas Countryman, former Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation 
    • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association 
    • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association 

    Negotiating a denuclearization agreement will be a long-term, complex process. It will be critical for the two leaders to have created a framework for sustained talks and avoid pitfalls that disrupted past diplomatic efforts and risk putting the United States and North Korea back on the path of confrontation.


    Briefing following the close of negotiations in Singapore

    Country Resources:

    Subject Resources:

    National Members Call: The Future of the Iran Deal and the U.S-North Korea Summit



    The Trump administration is moving to reimpose sanctions on Iran and any U.S. or foreign businesses that continue to do business with the country in defiant violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. 

    The Trump administration’s vision of a “better deal” with Iran, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described in speaking at the Heritage Foundation today, is like a mirage in the desert—it may look good, but it is not real and there is no path to get there.

    And by trying to, the United States only risks the deal at hand.

    Trump’s actions could open the door for Iran to expand its nuclear capabilities, leading to a new proliferation crisis and an arms race in the Middle East. Worse still, his decision to violate the Iran deal could undermine the negotiations and change the outcomes at next month's historic summit between the United States and North Korea.

    Join Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl Kimball and Director for Nonproliferation Policy Kelsey Davenport for a members-only briefing on these developments.

    This is your opportunity to engage directly with our national staff and ask what we can expect over the next few months and what these decisions mean for the United States, Iran, North Korea, and the rest of the world.

    MEMBERS: Check your email for a custom registration link. 
    NON-MEMBERS: Join today to receive your registration link and access code. 


    Join Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl Kimball and Director for Nonproliferation Policy Kelsey Davenport for a members-only briefing on the future of the Iran Deal and the upcoming U.S.-North Korea Summit.

    Country Resources:

    "Progressive Measures to Prevent a New Nuclear Arms Race": Side Event at 2018 NPT PrepCom



    “Progressive Measures to Prevent a New Nuclear Arms Race”

    Side event at the Second Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2020 NPT Review Conference

    Date: May 3, 2018

    Time: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

    Conference Room XVI in the Palais de Nations

    The Arms Control Association invites you to join us for a briefing and discussion on a common strategy to address key challenges to the NPT regime, including: the accelerating U.S.-Russian arms race and uncertain future of key bilateral nuclear arms reduction agreements; North Korean nuclear and missile testing; and U.S. threats to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, through effective measures to advance key disarmament-related goals and objectives of the treaty, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


    Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association

    Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

    Opening remarks from:

    Jamie Walsh, deputy director for disarmament and nonproliferation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ireland

    2018 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting



    The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at 50:
    Strengthening and Reinforcing the Regime

    Thursday, April 19, 2018 · 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
    1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC


    As we approach the 50th anniversary of the landmark nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), a number of critical decisions are expected to impact the global nonproliferation regime.

    The 2018 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting will bring together members and colleagues in the field, journalists, U.S. and international officials, and prominent experts and policymakers to discuss the future of the NPT and today’s most important weapons-related security threats.


    9:00 a.m.


    Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
    Arms Control Association

    9:15 a.m.

    Award Presentation

    Presentation of the 2017 “Arms Control Persons of the Year” Award
    Representatives of the Core Group of Negotiators for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

    9:45 a.m.

    Keynote Address

    "Successes, Challenges, Steps Forward for the NPT Regime"

    Jackie O’Halloran Bernstein, Ireland's Director for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Government of Ireland

    10:30 a.m.

    Morning Panel

    "The Future of the NPT: Initiatives to Strengthen the Regime"

    Ambassador Lewis Dunn, former U.S. representative to the 1985 NPT Review Conference

    Ambassador Dell Higgie, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

    Andrea Hall, Senior Director for WMD and Counterproliferation, National Security Council

    Moderated by Thomas Countryman, chair of the Arms Control Association board of directors

    11:45 a.m.

    Buffet Luncheon 

    12:10 p.m.

    Lunch Keynote Address

    "Resolving the North Korean Nuclear Crisis"

    Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Ambassador to the United Nations

    Moderated by Carol Morello, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Post

    1:15 p.m

    Afternoon Panel

    "Overcoming the Impasse on U.S. and Russian Arms Control"

    Dr. Olga Oliker, Senior Adviser and Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

    Anita Friedt, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Department of State

    Richard Fieldhouse, former Professional Staff Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

    Moderated by Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, Arms Control Association

    2:15 p.m.

    Concluding Panel

    "Building on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action"

    Ambassador Laura Holgate, former U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency

    Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

    Moderated by Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association

    3:00 p.m.


    Thomas Countryman, Chair
    Arms Control Association Board of Directors


    Our work depends on your support. We thank everyone who attended the meeting, and we greatly appreciate our sponsors for their generous contributions:

    Event Sponsors:
    William R. "Russ" Colvin

    Tables Sponsors:
    American Evangelicals for Peace, Culmen International LLC, Deborah Gordon, Religions for Peace & Evangelicals for Social Action, Larry Weiler, Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)

    Individual Sponsors:Andrew Weber
    Phineas Anderson, Susan Burk, Pedro Cruz, Gregory Govan, Milton Hoenig, Joseph Kerr, Michael Klare, Terri Lodge, Philip Padgett, Markley Roberts


    Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
    Arms Control Association

    KIMBALL: Good morning. All right, we're going to get our program started this morning. I am Daryl Kimball. I am the executive director of the Arms Control Association. Welcome to the 2018 Arms Control Association annual meeting.

    As most of you know, our members and friends, we're an independent nonpartisan membership organization established in 1971 and we're dedicated to reducing and eliminating the threats post by the world's most dangerous weapons, nuclear, chemical, biological and certain conventional weapons that pose particular risk to civilians. And you can find out more about the Arms Control Association, its history, its on-going work, our Board of Directors’ chairman, Thomas Countryman, as well as our resources on all of these different issues in the program that is outside. If you didn't get one, please grab one at the break. We're very pleased to see so many of our members, our friends, colleagues from the diplomatic community and journalists here today. As you can see we have a capacity crowd. I think everyone has been able to find a seat. If you need to find a seat or if you need something, please just check with one of our staff members who are running around the conference here today.

    Also, try to keep your lanyard on your neck if you can so that we don't try to throw you out. We have had a number of people asking to come in and we've been at over capacity, so we have had to turn a few people away. We'll be nice about it though.

    So, also before we get started, let me just invite you to engage in a conversation on the social media using the #ArmsControl18 and please don't forget to silence your cell phones. And we hope as you engage in social media that you share your thoughts and about the conversation today with our speakers on the issues.

    Now, as you can see from the program, I think we have a very high quality and timely set of topics that we're going to cover. We've got a fantastic set of speakers. And with the 50th anniversary of the opening for signature of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty approaching on July 1, we wanted to focus this conference on some of the critical decisions facing the global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime.

    And, you know, the—the world of arms control these days doesn't look all that bright, but we have to remember that, in the five decades since the NPT was negotiated, tremendous progress has been achieved to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, reduce stockpiles, prohibit nuclear testing, and create nuclear-weapons-free zones, among other things.

    And the work of the original group of NPT negotiators includes Bill Foster, William Foster, who was the Director of the Arms Control Disarmament Agency and later the first chair of the Arms Control Association when it was established, as well as people like Larry Weiler who will be joining us later here today. They have a lot to be proud of and we're honored that Larry Weiler and many of you who have been part of the—the work over the years advancing the NPT are here with us.

    Now, there have been lost opportunities to advance the treaty's objectives, new threats have emerged and—and what we'll be talking about today are some of those challenges. Progress on key disarmament steps is stalled. U.S. relations are at an historic low and the future of some key nuclear arms control agreements is in doubt, the U.S. and Russia are not currently engaged in direct talks on strategic stability or further reductions or even the on-going dispute about the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

    And as we and a number of other prestigious arms control experts and practitioners warned in the statement issued this week, if Presidents Trump and Putin don't agree to extend the New START Treaty by five years, there will be no limits on the world's two largest arsenals since the first time—for the first time since 1972. We'll talk more about that later today.

    And, of course, the key nonproliferation breakthrough, the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015, is in jeopardy because of the Trump administration's threat to withdraw. We'll be talking with that later today. And if Presidents Trump and Moon do not seize upon—Moon Jae-in, do not seize upon the opportunity presented by their summits with Kim Jong Un, then North Korea could further advance its dangerous nuclear and missile programs.

    So, you know, what we will be talking about here today are these challenges, but also solutions. And just to end this introduction with a quote from UN Secretary-General Guterres who spoke to the Conference of Disarmament earlier this year. He said, "The challenges are enormous, but history shows that it's been possible to reach agreement on disarmament and arms control even at the most difficult moments. We need to break out of the business of usual approach and come together on some forward-looking initiatives to guard against the further erosion of the global disarmament and nonproliferation architecture.

    So today's conference or conversation is designed to foster discussion and creative thinking along these lines. I can't promise you it will be uplifting, but we hope you'll find it stimulating and helpful.

    Presentation of the 2017 “Arms Control Persons of the Year” Award
    Representatives of the Core Group of Negotiators for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

    KIMBALL: We wanted to start today's program on a positive note by recognizing some of the key individuals and governments who have come forward over the past few years with creative and bold initiatives to advance effective measures leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Each year, for the past 10 years, the Arms Control Association has tried to raise awareness about the good works of key individuals and institutions who have in various ways taken action to reduce and eliminate weapons-related security risks.

    We have our staff and our board nominate several individuals and institutions whose work has been particularly important in the previous year through our arms control person of the year award, not exactly the Nobel Prize–Peace Prize yet, but it is gaining in stature. We have put these nominations forward at the end of the year and then we put it to an online vote, a little bit more democratic perhaps than the Nobel Peace Prize, and the top vote-getter becomes the Arms Control Person or Persons of the Year.

    And we're very pleased today to have with us representatives of the seven co-recipients of the 2017 Arms Control Persons of the Year Award, and they are the diplomats in the disarmament delegations of Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa and Ambassador Elayne Gomez Whyte of Costa Rica for their efforts to secure the historic 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    And we're very pleased to have some of the principals from the core group of negotiators and representatives of the other disarmament teams with us here today. And so I would like to ask each of them to come up here on stage beginning with George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, Counsellor of the Mission of Austria to the United Nations, Mr. Christian Vargas, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Brazilian Embassy to Washington, if you’d just come on down here, Ireland's Director of Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Ms. Jackie O'Halloran Bernstein who's here with us all the way from Dublin where she tells me the weather is nicer than it is here in Washington, Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco of Mexico, who was Mexico's Disarmament Ambassador and is now the ambassador to the Organization of American States enjoying our weather here in Washington. We also have New Zealand's Ambassador for Disarmament, Dell Higgie and we also have, last but not the least, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica, President of the Prohibition Treaty for–on Nuclear Weapons.

    And I'd also just like to recognize Costa Rica's ambassador to the United States who is here with us for this portion of our meeting despite the fact that your vice president is here in town, very busy day for Costa Rica. Unfortunately, our representative from South Africa was unable to attend due to their preparations for Winnie Mandela's memorial services which are continuing through the next couple of weeks.

    And I would just note that we had this past year more than 2,500 individuals from over 90 countries voting in our Arms Control Person of the Year contest, the highest number and the broadest amount of representation in the 10-year history of the contest.

    So, Kelly and Shervin will present the awards and we'll try to keep them in order. And then we're going to take a photo.

    KIMBALL: Please join me in congratulating them all.


    KIMBALL: Very good. And let me just note also that in a year marked by rising tensions, 2017, between nuclear armed states and the breakdown of other important arms control initiatives, the successful negotiation of the prohibition treaty of nuclear weapons really does stand out as a historic achievement that has changed the conversation about nuclear weapons by refocusing attention on the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons and nuclear war, and it has reinforced the commitment of the world's nonnuclear weapon state majority to the elimination of nuclear weapons and holds a promise of helping to delegitimize nuclear weapons and strengthen the political and legal norm against their use. So, once again, please join me in congratulating them all.


    And we have about 25 minutes for an informal discussion with our winners, our award recipients about the negotiations and the significance of the treaty. Why don't you all have a seat and we will have a microphone that we'll pass amongst you as we have this discussion.

    Great, all right. So, thanks again for–for being here and congratulations. And so we wanted to just take some time, since we have so many of you here with us today, to explore a bit more about the significance of the treaty, the efforts to achieve the treaty through the negotiations which formally took place last year, but the process began much earlier, and about the next steps.

    And I wanted to start out by asking Ambassador Lomónaco and maybe George-Wilhelm what you think were some of the key motivating factors for the very pursuit of the prohibition treaty following the 2010 NPT Review Conference. So, maybe Ambassador Lomónaco, you could start out. Thank you.

    LOMONACO: Thank you. And I know that you want to keep it short, but I wanted to say how honored I am and how happy I am here to see Tom Countryman who was a colleague and a friend. We often disagreed, but I always respected him. Is it working?

    KIMBALL: Yeah, just hold it a little closer.

    LOMONACO: Yes. So, it's good to see you, Tom. Well, clearly, the 2010 Review Conference was the first time in which we recognized collectively the humanitarian consequences of a single nuclear detonation and that was the starting point of a major conceptual shift in how we perceive and how we should go about into disarmament. And that was a seed that was planted many years ago that led to the conviction that a prohibition would have to take place before anything else.

    KIMBALL: Great, that was wonderfully brief and direct. George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, do you have any other thoughts on the origins of this? Austria, of course, played a key role in organizing the third humanitarian conference in Vienna.

    GALLHOFER: Absolutely. I have to say that was a very nice encapsulation. It was that shift away from the sort of purely security-focused approach back to the actual consequences of nuclear weapons, so away from something which is sort of more about the global strategic notion to the actual personal level. I think that coupled with the actual impressive–impressively larger risks that existed and that were inherent in nuclear weapons I think came out very strongly out of the humanitarian conferences and even for some of us who have been dealing with this area, the… the actual findings were much more dramatic, if you like, than any of us thought.

    So, that really gave us strong impetus that then led to the further steps including the humanitarian statement and the pledge. You saw how strong that impetus was by just how many countries, you know, no matter where they are today on the TPNW, but you have 159 countries signing up to the humanitarian statement. So, it was really something that was so striking that the largest majority really of the United Nations agreed with that.

    KIMBALL: Ambassador Higgie, do you have additional thoughts on this question, on the origins of what led to the negotiation or anyone else on the stage?

    HIGGIE: I think the only thing I'd add, Daryl was it was also a reflection of our concern that the international humanitarian law factors weren't properly taken account of in the status quo. We wanted to make it clear our view about the incompatibility of any use of nuclear weapons with IHL and I think that is reinforced and brought out in the treaty.

    KIMBALL: All right, anyone else, Jackie Bernstein?

    BERNSTEIN: Thank you. Yes, I would just add very briefly that I also think the position taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross was very influential. Particularly their work which showed that there is no existing response capacity that can deal with the aftermath of a nuclear weapons detonation, that was a very powerful finding and I think along, you know, with what the others have said, the work that was done around risk, showing that the risks are far higher than had been thought, that was also very influential for us because that brought it home to us in terms of our own security and just looking at it as a security question that the risks were so high that we did feel that something needed to be done. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: All right, Ambassador Whyte Gomez, I wanted to turn to you as the person who shepherded the negotiations in 2017 to tell us what you thought in your view, from your perspective might… the key turning points in the negotiation might have been. And as we just heard, the origins of this go back further, but 2017 was the key year with the two conferences, so your thoughts on some of the key diplomatic turning points in the negotiation.

    GOMEZ: Thank you, Daryl. And thank you, for me, this is also an honor to be here and to be sharing this stage with my colleagues with whom we shared very long nights and many concerns and we feel brothers and sisters in blood after this.

    I'd also like to mention usually an aspect that we are not usually taking into consideration which is the fact that the international community within the UN system had been able to achieve consensus on two major issues that concern humanity -climate change and also the development agenda, Trust 2030.

    I think it was only–it was only natural that the international community was also ready to embark on negotiations to address the other great challenge for humanity which is nuclear weapons. And I think when the conference started and the preparation process started, I felt that I had inherited and had put into my hands a very precious jewel that has been crafted by many delegations and individuals that had a very strong commitment and that had built this very important political movement towards the ban treaty.

    Therefore I think it was very… it was fundamental that the conference started with a sense of confidence that we could achieve the objective and the challenge of negotiating and finishing the text by July 7th, because the other perspective of extending the negotiation towards another year was not actually a very realistic future.

    So, I think the very first step in creating this confidence was being able to overcome all the procedural aspects that hindered many conferences to start negotiations of substance at the very beginning. I think from my point of view, that is when I felt, okay, we are on the right track.

    So, after we were able to agree on this… ––overcome the procedural matters, yet another sense of ownership and confidence and constructive environment was created when we were able to engage very constructively with academia, with scholars and with civil society in general. I think that was a very important factor in combining science, facts, expertise with the very deep conviction that was in all delegations that we had to complete the task.

    Needless to say how important it was to have among us the survivors of atomic bombings. When we were looking into their eyes, every single day, we knew that we could not fail. So, I would say those were–the first day of the conference was–was a very important point and of course there were some specific topics that were very difficult to negotiate and I don't want to monopolize on this, but I would say deep conviction, a good combination between science, facts, and constructive energy, ownership and we would say democratization in the process.

    KIMBALL: Thank you. I know Ambassador Lomonaco, you had some thoughts about the key turning points in the negotiations.

    LOMONACO: Well, you, you know as a diplomat you always… you believe that the day you are living is the most important one. And you can argue that it was the last day or the first day or whatever, but in retrospect, you get a sense of distance. And to me, the turning point was not during the conference. It was the year before, the open-ended working group. By May, the second session in May when we realized that we had the majority to move forward. And that was a turning point in my view because up until then the aspiration of a ban treaty was shared by a handful of delegations. The majority of the NAM [non-aligned movement] countries were not convinced, but they wanted to pursue a prohibition. They were still committed to a comprehensive convention and–and they were not really convinced that the prohibition was the best way.

    Then suddenly, for many reasons that I could spend hours explaining, they realized first that the prohibition, that a prohibition was not inconsistent with the comprehensive convention and that a comprehensive convention approach made life much easier to nuclear possessor state because it is such a long-standing, long-term aspiration that it was almost impossible. Therefore by pursuing a comprehensive convention, non-nuclear weapon states were in essence, resigned to wait for many decades while the prohibition was fruit that can be harvested pretty soon. To me, that was a turning point because when you had all the NAM with you, you have the votes, you can move forward.

    KIMBALL: Very interesting. Well, I wanted to ask another question that sort of relates to that. The way you're describing it makes the prohibition treaty, in comparison to a comprehensive convention, sound like an interim step. So, the other thing I wanted to ask and maybe Ambassador Higgie, you can start with this is, you know, what as a non-nuclear weapon state that's been involved in the NPT regime for decades, you know, do you see as the main value of the prohibition treaty reducing and eliminating the risks of nuclear weapons and contributing to the realization of the goals of the NPT, the goals and objectives of the NPT itself?

    HIGGIE: Well, I do see the prohibition treaty as fully consistent with the NPT, above all of course in advancing Article 6 of the NPT. Maybe you can say that the prohibition treaty isn't fully focused on reducing the risk, but I'd like to make the point that all our countries here are engaged in other issues. We're not all just one dog wonders. We carry on promoting interim measures including specifically, in New Zealand's case as part of the de-alerting group, so we push for a lowered operational status of nuclear weapons and a full range of other, you know, things that advance risk reduction.

    But the prohibition treaty does have, I think also a part to play in this in the sense that it helps delegitimize, that helps lower the attractiveness to would be proliferators of nuclear weapons. So, I think it's a facet, but of course, it's the broad spectrum of initiatives we all continue promoting. Not, I have to say, with a huge degree of success in the NPT process itself.

    KIMBALL: Well, thank you, and we're going to get into this question further in the panel that will come later this morning that you will be speaking on along with Lew Dunn and Andrea Hall from the National Security Council. Others would like to address that question of how the prohibition treaty contributes to reducing risks and relates to the NPT, anyone else want to or did Dell say everything that needs to be said? Yes, George-Wilhelm.

    GALLHOFER: Maybe just one aspect which is, of course, the element of safeguards where if you look at the provisions of the TPNW, we've actually gone beyond the NPT in terms of the safeguard standards that are required. We don't just require CSAs [comprehensive safeguard agreements], we require the standard–the highest standard that if we keep in place the highest standard to be upheld with the TPNW which for most countries is the additional protocol. And we also require joining nuclear possessor states to also have safeguards in place for their nuclear material, so we actually are increasing the nuclear security side as well through the TPNW.

    KIMBALL: Great. Now, one question I didn't clue you in on that I would ask–that I wanted to ask and–and maybe this is a question for Ambassador Whyte Gomez and perhaps others is this was an unusual negotiation in that there was substantial participation by non-governmental organizations and experts and you mentioned this just a few minutes ago.

    How did that change the dynamics of the–the deliberations and how did it, you know, contribute to the eventual outcome, because we don't see this in other–most other Arms Control and nonproliferation negotiations?

    GOMEZ: Well I think it's an expression of this, of a new expression of multilateralism that takes every resource available including the expertise that is out there in academia, in civil society, organizations in general. We as government experts in governments in general, we cannot claim to have every single detail of the knowledge that's out there. I think it was a very good way to complement different knowledge and skills. But I think it was particularly interesting and important for–especially for small countries and small delegations.

    They don't have the human resources that can be devoted specifically to one single issue. So, having the resources of so many organizations, of so many experts really helped to empower many delegations that did have a very good contribution in the negotiations. I think it's one way of leveling the playing field in negotiations that can be very difficult and very technical, and that at the same time need to engage every single layer of players.

    KIMBALL: Great. Any other thoughts on that question, Ambassador Lomonaco?

    LOMONACO: Not on that question, but if I may on the interim qualification that you applied to the treaty. And I think this is a very important discussion that I assume would be addressed by the next panel, but I wanted to leave behind some reflections on that.

    Rather than considering it as an interim measure, the way I'd like to think of a world free of nuclear weapons is a puzzle where you have to have different pieces. We have a big one already in place which is the NPT, possibly the most important one. But with the NPT, the world is not free of nuclear weapons. You need additional measures, additional elements to the puzzle.

    The prohibition is one additional piece to that puzzle, but it doesn't fulfill in its entirety the whole range of measures that are required. So, we need to keep working and we need to keep adding pieces to that puzzle so that the world is finally free of nuclear weapons. That's the way I see the contribution of the prohibition. It's one big contribution, but it's not an end in itself, it's not the end of the job that we need to do collectively.

    KIMBALL: That's an excellent–a better way of putting it, an excellent point. And it just reminds me of how you all dealt with the provision regarding an entity to verify disarmament eventually. You couldn't design it now. That requires the participation of the nuclear-armed states, but there's a framework there and that's yet another step that would have to be pursued.

    Well, the last basic question I wanted to ask is, what's next? There is life after the Arms Control Person of the Year Award, you guys have more work to do. There is now–there are a number of signatures, we’re approaching I think well over 60 now, maybe more, my number might be off, additional ratifications. But more broadly, what do you all see as the next goals for the supporters of the prohibition treaty on nuclear weapons?

    Jackie Bernstein, maybe others want to speak to this.

    BERNSTEIN: Thanks very much, Daryl. The getting the signatories and particularly the 50 ratifications that will bring the treaty into force is very much our focus at the moment. We very much want the treaty to come into force as soon as it can so that the meeting of states parties can take place and the institutions of the treaty can, you know, get up and running.

    Because as you said, you know, the treaty is a first step and obviously getting it into force, getting the institutions up and running, encouraging as many states as possible to join it, that's very much where our focus is at the moment. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: Ambassador Lomonaco, your thoughts on this?

    LOMONACO: I do. I'm really concerned about this review cycle of the NPT. Let me tell you why. I think we could expend the next three years are left, two years, two years and a half, one side defending on the treaty, the other side attacking the treaty and do nothing. Or we can acknowledge that we have a treaty and move on and try to find a common agenda in which we can work on.

    And as a matter of fact, I'm happy to embrace the agenda that was put forward by the progressive approach group of countries that was presented in the open-ended working group as an alternative to the ban treaty. We always supported that agenda, but not as an alternative. It didn't have to be either/or. Now, we have a treaty. We can work on that agenda if that serves the purpose of moving forward even if that was not necessarily our first priority back then, it can be our priority and it can be a common agenda that we can work on, so that we can keep moving forward rather than stalling behind the blame game and defending and protecting or attacking the treaty.

    KIMBALL: All right. Ambassador Higgie, your thoughts on what's next.

    HIGGIE: Well, I think Jackie has put it very well and I just add a postscript from New Zealand's perspective, some of my colleagues here, their countries have already ratified the treaty, New Zealand has not yet. My Prime Minister has announced that we will be shortly, so in my country's case, we are doing all our domestic processes in the lead up to securing ratification. So, that's where back home I'm focused on.

    KIMBALL: Very good. George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, Austria just did something in this regard?

    GALLHOFER: Yes indeed. Our President signed yesterday in our parliament, both chambers ratified unanimously, so now I would just need to count the signatures to the Prime Minister and then we shall be able to deposit it very… this thing very soon, so in the next weeks, I presume.

    But just to pick up on I think the–the very good points made previously, I think one–one sort of task also to set ourselves is to also engage with criticism and to sort of show what the intentions and what the functioning of the treaty actually looks like because there's a lot of criticism, of course, going around now also because it's a new treaty and, you know, things have to be understood and prohibitions have to be properly interpreted. So, that's also one task we set ourselves to engage, to discuss and to sort of show how the treaty would work, how it fits in and where it fits in the institutional architecture and to embed it there more strongly.

    KIMBALL: Great. Well, we hope to help facilitate high-quality discussion about it so that there could be a better understanding which is one reason why you're with us here today. Mr. Vargas, your views on what's next.

    VARGAS: Yes, thank you very much.

    KIMBALL: Brazil was amongst I think the first to sign.

    VARGAS: Thank you very much, yeah, it's true. Now, first of all, let me just say a word of recognition to our delegation, to our desired delegation. And unfortunately, Ambassador Patriota vote with negotiations couldn't make it. He's in Geneva. He's our ambassador in Geneva. He couldn't make it here. I am here representing Brazil.

    In Brazil, as you said, Brazil was the first country to sign–to sign the treaty in New York and President Temer is working hard on having it ratified before the end of the year which is the end of his term. He's already sent it to Congress and committed to having it ratified before the end of the year.

    KIMBALL: Wonderful, all right. And I just wanted to give Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez the last word on what's next.

    GOMEZ: Thank you. I think I would like to build on an expression that you mentioned that there is life after the Arms Control Person of the Year Award and there is life of course after the treaties and negotiation, but most of all, you see countries that I usually mention, we are responsible citizens of the world. We have legal obligations in different regimes. They are part of this puzzle that Ambassador Lomonaco was mentioning, that we have a big puzzle with different components and we all are engaged in making those components of the architecture to work better and to function better to be more effective in the… in complying with the objectives.

    So, you will see countries that have put all of our energies into seeing the prohibition treaty become a reality, but you will also see these countries putting all of our energy and all of our efforts to see the rest of the architecture as well, function and be as effective as possible. So, historically, every progress has been achieved by individuals or societies that being aware of, while confronted with their specific challenges have decided to embark on the path of progress by means of increasing research, by means of developing new norms, by means of developing political movements to address each moment important challenges.

    This spirit, human spirit was present in this process. This is a group of countries that decided to take into our hands our own responsibility, not wait for the others to come forth but to take our own agency and to take our own responsibility. In here, we have the result as I said and as Ambassador Lomonaco has mentioned, it is part of the overall architecture and we need the overall architecture to be strengthened altogether. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: Thank you. That's very eloquent, I can understand better why you were chosen to be the president of the conference. I want to thank all of you for being here and I want to, on behalf of the Arms Control Association and the arms control and disarmament and nonproliferation community, thank you for your past work and your future work. It's an honor to have you all here with us. Please join me once again in congratulating our Arms Control Person of the Year winners.

    Morning Keynote Address
    "Successes, Challenges, Steps Forward for the NPT Regime"

    Jackie O’Halloran Bernstein, Ireland's Director for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Government of Ireland

    KIMBALL: We are very pleased and honored to have with us here Ireland's Director for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Jackie O'Halloran Bernstein.

    As you all know, Ireland has played a leading role in the global disarmament and nonproliferation regime over the years. Ireland was not only one of the key players in the Prohibition Treaty negotiations, but Ireland helped catalyze the work towards the NPT itself with its 1958 UN Resolution proposing to prohibit the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.

    So, as I said earlier, we can't take the NPT for granted. And just in the couple of weeks as we heard the representatives of the states parties at NPT are going to gather in Geneva for the Preparatory Committee meeting, the next one for the 2020 review conference.

    So, I've asked Jackie to share her views and her government's views on the successes and shortcomings of the NPT over the years, the challenges facing the disarmament and non-proliferation enterprise and the Irish government's recommendations of how we can move forward next.

    So, thank you very much for being here.

    And then afterwards we'll take a few questions from the audience.

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: Thank you very much, Daryl.

    And thank you so much for inviting me here today to speak on behalf of Ireland and also the fellow recipients of the 2017 Arms Control Person of the Year Award.

    Distinguished guests, I'm deeply honored that Ireland has been asked on behalf of the delegations of Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa and our Chairwoman Elayne Whyte Gomez to deliver this keynote address today.

    The theme for our meeting, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at 50, Strengthening and Reinforcing the Regime offers a timely chance for reflection and for dialogue, ahead of the opening next week of the second Preparatory Committee of the NPT's 2020 Review Cycle.

    Fifty years on from the opening for signature of the NPT there are indeed many reasons to celebrate, not least the continued salience and importance of the treaty. And now, the addition of a new and exciting legal instrument which will make a strong contribution to the NPT's Article VI, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    I'd like to thank the Arms Control Association for nominating our group of delegations and Chairperson Elayne Whyte Gomez for the award. And I'd also like to thank those who voted for us for their support and to the mark of trust which they've placed in the treaty, its purposes, and objectives.

    I'd also like to mention here the other delegations who participated in what was a remarkably open, collaborative and collegial process with a determination to reach a successful conclusion. I think as indeed our chairperson mentioned that there were many different voices heard at those negotiations, and voices that are not often heard at the United Nations are in multilateral disarmament discussions. In particular, we heard the voices of the hibakusha and of the survivors of nuclear testing.

    The treaty which resulted from this process is truly groundbreaking. Not only in its prohibitions on the weapons but also in its acknowledgment of the role of the hibakusha, of its provisions, for its provisions on victim assistance and cooperation and on the environment, and also for including commitments in relation to disarmament education and the full and equal participation of men and women in the work of the treaty.

    In 1958, when Ireland's then-foreign minister Frank Aiken introduced to the United Nations the first of the Irish resolutions which would eventually lead to the adoption of the Nonproliferation Treaty 10 years later, the prospect of a world where many actors, states and non-state would eventually acquire the means and the technology to build their own nuclear arsenals was very real.

    In that speech which remains as prescient and true today as it was 60 years ago, Frank Aiken speaks of how weapons which are the monopoly of the great powers today become the weapons of smaller powers and revolutionary groups tomorrow.

    This speech makes it clear that while abolition of the weapons and permanent disarmament was Ireland's goal, the immediate pragmatic need was to prevent further dissemination of the weapons.

    As we assess the NPT at 50, we can I believe agree that the treaty has to a good extent achieved its objectives. Very few states have remained outside the treaty and have gone on to develop nuclear weapons. It is indeed one of the most participated-in UN treaties. The five nuclear weapon states have all joined this and are therefore bound by the commitment contained within its Article VI to nuclear disarmament which remains the core legal obligation binding the nuclear weapon states to disarm.

    This is also evidenced by the unequivocal undertaking that they gave in 2000 to accomplish the total abolition of their nuclear weapons.

    Additionally, the states of many regions of the world have chosen to be part of nuclear-weapons-free zones in strong demonstration of their commitment to the objective of a world without nuclear weapons. Some of the strongest voices in the room at the TPNW negotiations came from these regions and brought the strength of their convictions and experience to the treaty negotiations.

    The NPT itself is a slim treaty, its preamble and 11 articles fitting easily on six A-4 pages. But the international community has built around it a strong framework of supporting institutions. The International Atomic Energy Agency in particular, through predating and independent from the NPT has built up an impressive structure of expertise and an enabling framework to facilitate that use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes while implementing strict safeguards which prevent diversion to non-peaceful uses.

    With the development of supporting export control regimes including the Nuclear SuppliersGroup and the missile technology control regime, states have been successfully assisted in preventing and inhibiting proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology without preventing transfer of technology and materials for peaceful uses. This aspect of the treaty is also an essential one to which states parties need to continue to give careful support and attention.

    The NPT has also through the strengthened review process agreed at the 1995 review and extension conference helped to promote and give impetus to many far-reaching agreements and understandings aimed at preventing further proliferation and enabling bilateral nuclear disarmament. The bilateral accords between the Russian Federation and the United States have also been greatly supportive of the NPT aims, with the INF, START and NEW START Treaties contributing to a welcome and significant reduction in the large stockpiles of nuclear warheads which had built up during the Cold War.

    Equally the CTBT must also be counted amongst the NPT successes. While it hasn't entered into force, nevertheless the strength of the global norm which has been established against nuclear testing and the development of the CTBTO’s international monitoring system has been one of the great achievements of the international community in nuclear disarmament.

    Today's award marking the adoption of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons represents the NPT's latest success story and the first new legal instrument on nuclear disarmament to be adopted in over 20 years, a success story not only because of the groundbreaking content of the treaty but also because of what it entails in terms of progress towards the fulfillment of the NPT's disarmament provisions.

    Article VI of the NPT expressly envisaged a separate and complementary treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

    The TPNW is not founded on a grand bargain whereby states agree to give up the possible military advantages and the status attached to being nuclear weapons possessors in exchange for an agreement that the nuclear weapon states will disarm. Instead, the states who adopt the treaty agree to a non-ambiguous and unconditional commitment that they will never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacturer, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

    I think Frank Aiken 50 years after the entry into force of the NPT would be pleased that the TPNW finally implements and gives effect to the NPT's disarmament provision. And that almost two-thirds of the UN membership are committed to the complete prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, and that this took place from an appreciation of the elevated risk and catastrophic consequences which would result from a nuclear weapons detonation accidental or deliberate.

    For the security of all humanity and the future of our fragile planet, our states are making this choice. It is our great hope that in time all others including the nuclear weapons possessor states and their allies will join us.

    Frank Aiken was a strong supporter of the idea of the sovereign equality of all states and a firm believer in the equalizing power of the United Nations. He would I think have approved of the inclusive and respectful nature of the deliberations which led to the adoption of the treaty, both in the 2016 open-ended working group so ably chaired by Ambassador Thani of Thailand and also at the TPNW negotiations where Ambassador Whyte Gomez played such a strong role in bringing the deliberations on the treaty to a successful conclusion.

    In addition to the TPNW, there have been other welcome advances in disarmament and arms control in recent years, including the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty in 2014, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran in 2015, and the agreements at CCW to establish a group of governmental experts to address the challenges raised by autonomy in weapons systems.

    These achievements show that the international community, states, and civil society can achieve our goals when we can agree and focus on a common purpose. But huge challenges confront us. Growing urbanization has led to massive increases in civilian casualty rates and damage to civilian infrastructure in our cities from the use of conventional explosive weapons.

    The JCPOA negotiated with such effort and attention, and despite careful and positive implementation assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is under threat. The Arms Trade Treaty is experiencing significant challenges in universalization and in implementation while 100 years on from the Battle of Ypres, chemical weapons are again being used both in war and to assassinate despite the universal prohibition on their use.

    Meanwhile returning to the NPT and our theme today, nuclear disarmament by the NPT nuclear weapon states has stalled. Bilateral nuclear disarmament between the US and the Russian Federation following the successes of the INF and the New START has halted after the successful outcome of the NPT's 2010 review conference with its ambitious but achievable action plan including an innovative approach to progress on a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, the 2015 conference did not agree on outcome. The CTBT despite the successes that I mentioned has still not lived up to its promise of an end to the damage and destruction caused by nuclear testing by entering into force.

    Modernization and investment in nuclear arsenals is rising in all nuclear weapon states and efforts to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in military doctrines and in nuclear alliances has receded. Proliferation threats are increasing with DPRK’s nuclear program representing a particular dangerous development. Against this background the norm, I guess the threat of use of nuclear weapons has been seriously eroded. And the world's citizens after decades of postwar—post-Cold War complacency are awakening to the harsh reality that, yes, nuclear weapons do still exist, and that the hands of the Doomsday clock are yet again at two minutes to midnight.

    So what to do now? Against this somewhat grim background and against a moment when we have seen disarray and lack of agreement at the United Nations Security Council on an issue in which there should be overwhelming global agreement and abhorrence such as chemical weapons use. It seems Utopian to suggest that NPT states parties should renew their efforts to engage with each other and genuinely find ways forward to overcome the divisions on approaches to nuclear disarmament which have become evident in recent years. But that is exactly what we need to do.

    If the NPT could be negotiated and adopted at the height of the Cold War, then a renewed commitment to its implementation and the establishment of dialogue among its states parties is more than possible. I am not going to list here the 13 steps or the actions from the 2010 action plan on which all are agreed. Neither am I going to set out the steps put forward by the proponents of the progressive or step by step approach to nuclear disarmament.

    Ireland and the other delegations to the TPNW here present are also all committed to making progress on these measures, and many of our countries have engaged actively in the work to make them happen.

    There is, however, one issue on which I do want to speak in more detail and that's the question of the Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. As we reach the midpoint of the NPT's 2020 review cycle with little or no progress, it is time for serious stocktaking and reassessment of how we can achieve some progress in spite of the challenges and difficulties on this issue. Otherwise, the risk that 2020 review cycle will also fail to agree on an outcome is strong with a resulting strongly negative impact on the treaty.

    Ireland has proposed at last year's Preparatory Committee that a dedicated resource should be provided possibly within UNODA who could assist the co-conveners and other interested states and civil society actors to develop creative and innovative proposals and in particular, confidence-building measures which could begin to move the process forward. Trust and confidence are key to the success of any negotiation and this is what we need most of all.

    Earlier this month in Ireland, we celebrated another auspicious moment in our history, 20 years of the Good Friday agreement and the success of the Northern Ireland peace process. We look back, we look at the present and we look forward. The agreement has had many challenges. It hasn't always lived up to its promise as a beacon of hope and reconciliation, but it has endured and the hard-earned peace which is represented has lasted in spite of all the difficulties including those that confront it today.

    That achievement wasn't built in a few weeks of negotiations is only through the dedication and preparedness to take risks of some leaders–though that wasn't lacking either, and [they] deserve the recognition which we give to the architects of the agreement. But rather, it was built up through decades of work within communities, schools, churches, within labor movements, business associations, political parties, academics, think tanks, working together or as individuals to establish lines of communication, to start a conversation, to build bridges instead of walls.

    You have a cup of coffee instead of shouting across the barricades. Mostly it was built by starting conversations and by listening to the other’s viewpoint. It was also built by women reacting to the loss and devastation within their communities and determined to end the violence once and for all.

    Within the NPT process, we speak often of needing to identify the bridge builders. Those states, groups of states, civil society actors, leaders who can find a way forward to bridge the divisions between those who seek immediate and non-conditioned implementation of the NPT's disarmament provisions and related commitments, and those who believe that while nuclear disarmament is the ultimate goal of the NPT, the conditions are not yet right for it to happen.

    Next week with the opening of the second Preparatory Committee, we can all be bridge builders. Those who believe that nuclear disarmament is essential to creating the conditions for a peaceful and secure world, and those who believe we must create a peaceful and secure world before nuclear disarmament can happen.

    When speaking of the Good Friday agreement last week and the need for renewed commitment to its implementation and objectives, our deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said renewal does not demand perfection. It demands leadership, courage and hard work. For the NPT we also need leadership, courage and hard work. Most of all, we need to begin a dialogue to find what works and what can bring us nearer to the realization of our mutual goal, a world without nuclear weapons and a successful outcome to the 2020 review cycle.

    There are already some promising green shoots in the chairman's draft summary from last year's preparatory meeting, including the recognition of gendered impacts of nuclear weapons and the need to increase women's participation in nuclear disarmament forums.

    We conclude one of the other nominees for this distinguished award last year, Pope Francis, in his thinking on nuclear disarmament has said that a world without nuclear weapons will not be this world just without nuclear weapons. It will be a different world. For those of us who want that different world, it's time to begin both imagining and creating it.

    Thank you.


    KIMBALL: We have a few minutes for some questions from the floor for Jackie O'Halloran Bernstein and before we take a short break before our first panel of the day. So we have microphones (inaudible) so please just raise your hand and identify yourself, ask your question and let's start with (inaudible).

    QUESTION: Hi, my name is Phineas Anderson. In terms of the Middle East free zone, what kind of negotiations have you had with Israel because it seems the chance of them coming around to give up their weapons is next to nil.

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: Thank you very much. My understanding is that the co-conveners, you know, they do engage and they try to discuss with all the actors in the region but that there has been no movement effectively since 2015.

    And of course, what is agreed in terms of the Middle East free zone is that whatever moves forward has to be with the agreement of all the actors in the region and all states in the region. So that includes, you know, that Israel would engage voluntarily. And that whatever happens has to be inclusive and participatory.

    But there has been very little movement since the failure to agree on outcome in 2015. That there have been various, you know, discussions among actors in the region, but apart from the civil society track where there is a little bit of movement and some confidence building going on, my understanding is that, that very little has happened. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: (OFF MIKE) There is (inaudible) on the zone Ireland has worked very hard on this. Ambassador (inaudible) Republic of Ireland chaired the sub-group at the (inaudible) and work decisions as government and (inaudible).

    Are there questions from the floor (inaudible)?

    QUESTION: Yes, my name is Pedro Cruz. And when you mentioned the importance of women's participation, is that because men have failed or because there needs to be a better biological mix?

    KIMBALL: Sorry. It's a good question of what a man asks, have we (inaudible)?

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: Thank you very much. This is an issue which is very close to my heart. Ireland has taken a very strong position on the need for greater women's participation in disarmament generally, but in particularly in nuclear disarmament.

    And the impetus for this grew in part from the evidence that was presented at the Vienna Humanitarian Conference of the strongly gendered impact of ionizing radiation as between women and men and boy children and girl children. But it's also from, you know, the evidence that came out. I think particularly on—funnily enough from business and economic research after the 2008 crash, that the greater the diversity in your organization or your company, whatever it is, the better outcomes and the better solutions there are to problems.

    So, it is that we do feel that disarmament and particularly nuclear disarmament has a huge challenge as regards diversity and this is in terms of gender where the participation has been shown by research done by UNIDIR to lag way behind what it is in other similar negotiation forums. But it's also—coming back to your question, indeed, you know, that it's not that we necessarily think that a man have done a bad job but that we think a more equal and representative participation. And that includes between countries actually.

    And I think our president made a really good point earlier in the discussion when she said that the TPNW negotiations allowed a lot of smaller states whose voices are not normally heard to be heard. And this is something we really want for the NPT.

    We also want a much better geographical representation of countries, but particularly we're focused on the gender issue at the moment.

    KIMBALL: Other questions? Yes, sir, any women like to ask a question?

    QUESTION: Hi, I’m Bruce MacDonald. I'm with Johns Hopkins SAIS teaching a nonproliferation course there. And I wanted to compliment you and for your work in disarmament and also Ireland's role. And also with this audience who may not be aware of is your distinguished work with the Druid Theater Company and how wonderful that is, an outstanding theater company in Ireland.

    I wanted to ask what you thought might be done to encourage a more positive attitude among publics in the United States and in Russia to take two countries, in particular, to promote a more positive feeling towards arms control. It's, arms control's public persona if you will, it seems to me in some ways it's deteriorated in the last 15 to 20 years. And I wonder if you had any suggestions or advice for us.

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: I do believe that civil society and academia also, you know, good research and think tanks have a huge role to play in bringing arms control more into the consciousness of people and getting greater support for it.

    It is a little bit what I said in my speech that it needs to start a lot of different conversations happening at different levels and at individual levels. I believe that Pope Francis' work will in time be hugely influential in the Catholic communities in the United States, because the Vatican stance has changed so radically from one which kind of reluctantly accepted that, you know, you had to keep some weapons for deterrence purposes to now, you know, saying that their possession is wrong.

    And I think in time that that will, you know, filter down and will have an effect. I believe there is quite a strong nuclear disarmament community in the US and that I can and the winning of the Nobel Peace Prize should also help with that.

    Obviously, in the Russian Federation, it is a difficult issue but I think the focus on the risks particularly is something that could be useful. And that the more work that is done on risk and the more that is disseminated among publics and awareness created. That that is maybe the way to go in public that are more resistant and also of course who may have to lose from nuclear disarmament in terms of the economics of nuclear weapons.

    KIMBALL: (OFF-MIKE) I don't know (inaudible) question, just one quick—one note that I wanted to add on the civil society, the (inaudible) association is (inaudible) mission. So, we are reaching out to our colleagues in (inaudible) to try to—how to rate the copy of the statement that on the US launch between Russia crisis on the table outside.

    So, it is an important part of it. It's been part of the solution in the past and it needs to be a part.

    Other questions from the crowd? We have a couple more. Why don't we go to the very rear, I see a former…

    QUESTION: I would like to say a couple of words about where we are today. It seems in reference to what's been mentioned just a few moments ago. What we have a problem in America today is we have no peace party anymore.

    We have a conservative Republican tendency to be careful about arms control and we have a democratic party that is opposed to everything that has to do with Russia. That's a fact. And we can ignore those facts to our regret. It seems to me that the real problem today is to develop a constituency for arms control in spite of the problems that we have.

    We've been through periods like this before. I've been through periods like this before. And that's the way to overcome it but you've got to have political support for the effort to control nuclear weapons in spite of the conditions that exist in the world today.

    I think back 50 years ago when we finally sign the NPT. I didn't think it would last this long as strong as it is. And we are fortunate that we have that but to move forward from that for the other arms control efforts we've got to devote ourselves to developing a renewed constituency for arms control. Most of the people in the Congress of the United States know nothing about arms control because there haven't been negotiations and discussions of negotiations since they came into office. So that's a central part of what we have to do if we're going to be serious.

    KIMBALL: Thank you. For those of you who don't know that's Larry Weiler. He helped negotiate the NPT. He is one of our stalwart friends. So, I will let you respond to Larry's wise words but let's take one more question before we take a break and no female questioners are here. All right, we're trying.

    We have one here.

    (UNKNOWN): I just felt women were put on the spot.

    (UNKNOWN): Here, Laura, got it?

    QUESTION: Laura Kennedy. I'm happy to say I'm a private citizen although I did spend most of my career working on Russia arms control non-proliferation and so on. So I just had a few thoughts on that.

    I really appreciated your views on women and I'm happy to say that not so long ago I participated with some other female arms control non-proliferation talks in a meeting with the women in Congress who are on Armed Services Committee and so on. So things like that are a great opportunity.

    I think you said about Russia I think there's a lot of work, the Deep Cuts Commission I think was a great opportunity to get at some of these issues but, of course, these are the professional elites.

    I actually started off my career at the US embassy in Moscow participating as a guide in one of our efforts at public diplomacy to try and reach out beyond the capitals where we had a 50-year exchange with Russia, where we would get out and have exhibits all around the country.

    Frankly, I think that's something we ought to look at, how do you engage publics, because frankly in Russia there is no equivalence with what we face here. There is none. So let's think about ways we can get beyond capitals and try to engage those publics, that's a huge challenge out there but anyhow thank you for everything you've said today in your work.

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: Thank you. And I'd like to thank Larry Weiler for his contribution which I think is really important. And I think this conversation now and thinking about how to engage publics and that way how to make sure that you have support for your politicians is just so important. And, of course, it's something I have to step back and think about because in Ireland, nuclear disarmament, you know, as a goal, as a global goal, is simply given and it's something that enjoys complete support across all our political spectrum.

    But we do take the disarmament education, you know, commitments that are there in the NPT and that are now very much there in the new treaty very seriously. And, you know, we think it's particularly important to reach out to younger people because this complacency has grown up, that nuclear weapons may be are no longer so important.

    I do think some recent developments have perhaps changed that perception that our young people are maybe more aware now that actually, no, the 15,000 nukes are all still available to the leaders who want to or feel they need to use them. So that first step has I think been taken in creating a consciousness. And now it's a matter of building on it.

    We find—and this is just one throwaway—that using film as a medium is particularly useful for reaching out to younger people. And we have organized some nuclear-themed film festivals and that has been—we found that has given a lot of return in terms of interest. So, that is one idea, but there is definitely a big job of work to be done there and that's another reason why I really look forward to the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons coming into force because it's an actual commitment and that on states to carry out disarmament education activities. And that I think will give disarmament education a huge impetus and push which it needs. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Jackie O'Halloran Bernstein.

    Please join me in thanking her for her contributions and for Ireland's steadfast work on proliferation and disarmament. We are going to take a five-minute break, just five while we do a little bit of a transition to our next panel. So, you do have a brief time but come back in as quickly as possible. Thank you.

    Morning Panel
    "The Future of the NPT: Initiatives to Strengthen the Regime"

    Ambassador Lewis Dunn, former U.S. representative to the 1985 NPT Review Conference

    Ambassador Dell Higgie, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

    Andrea Hall, Senior Director for WMD and Counterproliferation, National Security Council

    Moderated by Thomas Countryman, chair of the Arms Control Association board of directors

    COUNTRYMAN: My name is Tom Countryman. I've had the honor for the last six months of being the chairman of the board of directors of the Arms Control Association. That's an honor, but it's an even bigger honor to introduce to you three outstanding colleagues from whom I've learned a great deal who have devoted their careers to building national and global security, to fighting against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, to reducing the risks of possession and use of such weapons.

    And they're going to speak today in accordance with our theme, the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, about what we can expect in the coming two years, what are the current measures that can be considered to build on and to strengthen the NPT in its implementation.

    So, I introduce them very briefly. They're all very worthy of your attention. We'll start first with Ambassador Lewis Dunn, who led the U.S. delegation at the crucial 1995 NPT Review Conference.

    DUNN: Eighty-five.

    COUNTRYMAN: Eighty-five. Excuse me.

    DUNN: I'm even older than you think.

    HALL: Life is crucial.

    COUNTRYMAN: I was just a kid then, but OK. Thank you. 1985.

    DUNN: Eighty-five.

    COUNTRYMAN: Second, we'll hear from Ambassador Dell Higgie, who you already heard a little bit from this morning, and, third, Andrea Hall, who's currently serving at the National Security Council at the senior director for weapons of mass destruction and counterproliferation issues.

    So, I think we'll launch right into it. And, Lew, take it away?

    DUNN: Thank you, Tom.

    I shall very briefly make three points on this panel's topic, The Future of the NPT. My first point, the most important challenge for the future of the NPT is to rebuild habits of cooperation among all NPT parties and to start doing so is to recognize what is at stake. Unless we can succeed in rebuilding habits of cooperation, the outcome at the 2020 NPT Review Conference will be the first back-to-back conference breakdowns in the NPT's history, a breakdown coming 50 years after entry into force 25 years after indefinite extension.

    Now, some persons would say, who cares? I say all NPT parties should care because back-to-back breakdowns at that unique point in the NPT's history will weaken the treaty with uncertain political and psychological ripple effects.

    Rebuilding habits of cooperation also is vital because there are multiple pathways that could lead to the erosion of the NPT's legitimacy, effectiveness, and support in the years ahead. Yes, some of these pathways are more credible than others. Yes, we have heard warnings before of the NPT in crisis, but taken together, these pathways are a reason for concern. Moreover, let's not forget the security interest of all of today's protagonists would be damaged by erosion of the NPT.

    My second point, rebuilding habits of cooperation requires recognizing the realities of the Prohibition Treaty, and in light of those realities, crafting a workable approach to the Prohibition Treaty at the Review Conference. Meaning what? The nuclear weapon state and non-nuclear weapon state opponents of the Prohibition Treaty recognize the reality that a good number of countries judge the Prohibition Treaty as an important step forward and will be prepared to acknowledge that judgment in any 2020 outcome.

    Even while also acknowledging at the same time that this judgment is far from shared by all NPT parties. For Prohibition Treaty supporters, don't seek to make the 2020 Review Conference into a referendum on the endorsement of the Prohibition Treaty, a referendum that almost certainly will prove both unavailing and counterproductive.

    For all NPT parties, use the Review Conference to help address the realities that led directly to the Prohibition Treaty, legitimate concerns about the nuclear disarmament stalemate and about the risk of use of nuclear weapons. How so? First, the Review Conference should reaffirm the importance of preserving and then revitalizing the U.S. - Russia arms control process and at the same time the importance of putting in place a process of cooperative strategic reassurance between the United States and China. I'll return to this point later.

    Second, the Review Conference should have a full discussion of the many proposed actions to reduce the risk of use of nuclear weapons. To what end? One outcome would be for all NPT parties, not least the NPT's nuclear weapons states to reaffirm that recognition as it was once put, that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

    In addition, the 2020 Review Conference should ask the nuclear weapon states to report back to all NPT parties and the first preparatory committee meeting for 2025 and 2022 should report back to all NPT parties on what actions the nuclear weapon states believe can and should be taken to reduce to an absolute minimum on the risk of use of nuclear weapons.

    Don't try again to get the nuclear weapon states to agree to one or another preferred non-nuclear weapon state risk reduction idea, putting the burden on the nuclear weapon states to tell the NPT community what they will commit to do to reduce nuclear risks.

    Third, the NPT parties, if we take these realities of the Prohibition Treaty seriously, should engage in a full exchange on the conditions for a resumed and sustained nuclear disarmament progress. And in light of that exchange, identify and commit to specific areas for cooperation to advance those conditions between 2020 and 2025.

    Fourth, the Review Conference should debate different visions of a desirable and achievable interim nuclear future for 2045, 100 years after the first and only use of nuclear weapons. Why? Because unless the parties can find a unifying vision to which they can rally in practice and not simply in rhetoric, we've been really good at rallying in rhetoric, today's dangerous polarization will worsen, and it will ultimately call into question the NPT's future.

    As some of you know, my own preferred vision is a strategic elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045, not a complete physical elimination, but their elimination as a means of security and statecraft.

    Now, briefly, my third point. I want to return to the challenge of avoiding accelerating global nuclear arms competition. For the United States and Russia, the two countries' leaderships need to find a way to step back to ask themselves independently and jointly whether the breakdown of 50 years or sometimes more sometimes less cooperative management of the U.S.-Russia strategic relationship and its replacement by unfettered strategic unilateralism will serve U.S. and Russian security interests replacing cooperative management by strategic unilateralism.

    I think there are good reasons to believe that the answer to this question is no. A breakdown will increase nuclear dangers. A breakdown will be economically costly. A breakdown will make it harder to cooperate on other issues and a breakdown will heighten the risk of erosion of the NPT.

    For all of these reasons, Putin's Kremlin and Trump's Washington should find a way to ask whether they really want the strategic train wreck both countries are rapidly approaching. At best, this joint assessment would be official, but I think that's hard to see for a variety of reasons. An alternative approach would be for the two presidents to create a greybeard panel of retired very top level civilian officials and military leaders and under greybeards, I include women as well as men, because of my image. My image of the greybeards includes former national security advisors, former secretaries of state and former secretaries of defense. And at least in the United States, there’s a whole bunch of high-level women involved.

    The two presidents should create this type of a senior review panel to ask this question, do we want a strategic train wreck we're about to have and report back? The answer I think is likely to be, no, we don't want a strategic train wreck and here's how we might get out of it.

    But Beijing and Washington also are approaching a strategic turning point. China often is a country never discussed in this. Here, avoiding accelerating global nuclear arms competition requires that the leaderships in Beijing and Washington ask the same question. Do they want this type of growing strategic competition or would their interests be better served by a process of mutual reassurance and restraint? Again, the two leaderships could ask this question officially or you could have some sort of semi-official process which links into a decade-long official dialogue that's occurred.

    Let me stop at this point. Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Thank you very much.

    Yes, Ambassador Higgie?

    HIGGIE: Thank you very much, Tom. And good morning, colleagues. Now, Daryl has been quite insistent that this panel should be forward-looking this morning and Lew has certainly complied with his instructions fully. I want to disobey them and just briefly though, just very briefly, and on the basis that we do ignore history at our peril. I want to take a short few backgrounds into the rear vision mirror and revisit the contract, the deal which lies at the heart of the NPT.

    Now, of course, to my mind it seems rather fitting to do this at a meeting here in Washington given that it is the United States that has been leading the way in recent times in stressing the need for implementation of a deal to be fair on all the parties and not just to meet the contractual terms favored by some of them.

    So, because we've had this treaty for so long now, 50 years, it's easy to overlook just how rare, how very unusual a deal it is. I cannot think of any other multilateral treaty in the security or disarmament domain in which the obligations on states’ parties are differentiated by, for instance, a prohibition on one not being a prohibition on all.

    Other treaties in this field do reflect the fundamental premise of international law regarding the equality of states by creating obligations which are uniform and fully reciprocal for all states signing on to them. Such examples that come readily to mind include the chemical weapons convention, biological weapons convention, inhumane weapons under the CCW framework, landmines, cluster munitions and so on.

    Now, in highlighting the NPT's departure from this norm, I'm not meaning to suggest that the treaty's approach, its grand bargain, is somehow flawed or defective. Absolutely not. I think it was a highly constructive and creative innovation, one which met the needs of the time and which has been fundamental to the treaty's success in building support for non-proliferation over many years.

    But I am wanting to make a point that it represents a very rare instance when the basic premise as a matter of international law of the sovereign equality of states has not predominated the terms of a treaty. It was a little surprising that support for the NPT text at the time of its creation was not universal and it certainly did not attract consensus in the votes done in June 1968 either in the UN General Assembly or in the Security Council.

    But for many of the 95 states that did vote in favor in the general assembly, in favor of the treaty, a key drawcard, we might even call it something of an equalizer for norm with the weapon states whilst the treaty's disarmament undertaking, its Article 6. It had, of course, been a number of non-nuclear weapon states who it insisted on Article 6 as inclusion in the text in the first place. And undoubtedly for them, it was a sine qua non for the subsequent ratification of it.

    I hope that this snapshot of history serves to underline the significance of Article 6 in the very innovative deal struck in the NPT. Equally, the text of the treaty makes it clear that Article 6 cannot be treated as if it were peripheral or subsidiary to other aspects of the treaty. There is no conditionality in the language of Article 6, however much some might now wish there were.

    The very real fact that all parties to the treaty can properly be said to derive benefit from it in view of the success it has had in constraining horizontal proliferation and keeping the number of nuclear weapon possessors as low as it currently is, that benefit in no way displaces the obligation to deliver fairly on the core obligations of the deal.

    It's probably been clear to everyone here for quite a while that a considerable number of the treaty's membership think that Article 6 is not, in fact, being implemented fairly. Last year's treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons is one symptom of recent dissatisfaction. A checklist of implementation of the disarmament-related steps in the 2010 action plan or indeed of the disarmament elements in the 2000 or 1995 Review Conference outcomes would reveal much of the source of that dissatisfaction.

    So, from the perspective of a non-nuclear weapon state like New Zealand, the most important systemic challenge I see confronting states-parties to the NPT is how to sustain the treaty's credibility and persuade its members most notably with respect to Article 6 given that this is where implementation is crucially lagging, how to persuade them that they can indeed expect the NPT deal to be delivered upon fairly in keeping with the treaty's object and purpose.

    So, what sort of initiatives are able to help meet this challenge? May I start with a negative definition? I think that efforts to repackage the Article 6 bargain, for instance, by seeking to add into its language new conditionalities not present in the text do not improve and probably exacerbate the situation.

    Equally, recommendations relating to bridge building, whilst undoubtedly well-meaning, seem mesmerized with process at the expense of substance and they seem bound to leave you in the middle of a river rather than living up to their name and getting you to any destination at all on the other side.

    Now, on to a more positive note, we do already have an expansive listing of possibilities from the 2000 and 2010 consensual Review Conference outcome. They list actions relating to reductions in numbers, transparency, reporting, reducing the role of nuclear weapons in strategic doctrine and military planning, lowering the operational status of nuclear weapons and so on. And there's also very clearly important unfinished business on the Middle East WMD free zone.

    Surely, there is fertile ground within these consensual documents for initiatives from the nuclear weapon states. That said, it is hard to disagree with the comment and lose excellent paper, which I have thoroughly read and absorbed, Lew, on a practical agenda to reduce nuclear dangers. And you made many of these similar points this morning. And in your paper I know you said at the outset that realistically, dramatic advances are not to be expected right now.

    We may not be able to hope for this sort of dramatic developments that can sometimes happen even in unpropitious times, but I would hope that with the 2020 Review Conference soon upon us, policy leaders in the nuclear weapon states will pick up the pace and work seriously through the outcomes of 2000 and 2010 at identifying where I've individually or collectively they can move forward and make progress on implementation of Article 6.

    I'm abiding by your recommendation, Lew, that non-nuclear weapon states effectively shouldn't be trying to pick and choose and direct nuclear weapon states. They should decide for themselves, of course, provided they do move forward. So, I'm not going to identify where I see the realistic opportunities for initiatives and forward-moving. I'm going to leave that to the nuclear weapon states. Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Before I give a really great colleague, Andrea, the floor, I'll note that she spent many, many, many hours last week dealing with Syrian chemical weapons attacks, so we promised to be kind. She's promised not to fall asleep during her presentation and take it away.

    HALL: So, thanks to Tom.

    Thanks to the Arms Control Association for having me here. This is an important discussion at an important time. And I am, of course, extremely privileged to be here with you great colleagues on the panel and one fantastic moderator who I've worked with for a long time.

    We've had a series of busy weeks in the nonproliferation world and I will note that it shows all the greater relevance to the nonproliferation community today. And will tell you, sitting in the situation room at one point last week waiting to get up on a (inaudible) with foreign partners, one of my colleagues noted anyone looking at our foreign policy would be confused. We appear to be all over the place. So, three weeks ago, all we could deal with was Russia and expelling Russians from the United States in retaliation for their actions.

    And last week, all we were worried about is North Korea and then this week it's Syria, so it looks like we're all over the place. And I said we're not all over the place, it's about WMD. It's about proliferation. And so, I think we have a series of challenges across the board that we need to grapple with. This is an important one to discuss today, but this community remains extremely relevant and I think nonproliferation is under threat. And so, I'm glad to be here to have this discussion.

    I would say that the White House has recently completed a series of treaty reviews, like all administrations we've gone back through, where the last administration was, try to think through what might be different here. There were a series of documents and reviews that needed to be completed before we got here, obviously the nuclear posture review, the National Security Strategy. And once those were built, we could complete the treaty reviews that we'd already started.

    I will also apologize in advance because some of those plan to be rolled out next week at the NPT Prep Com and then in subsequent meetings there. So, there will be some things I'm going to keep a little close for now, but you will very soon see a little bit more of our thinking in the coming weeks.

    So, with that, I'd like to offer a few comments on the administration's approach to the NPT including the key objectives that we are looking to advance at next week's Prep Com meeting taking place in Geneva.

    So, it's certainly an honor to be asked to provide remarks on the NPT in its 50th year since the NPT was opened for signature. Now as then the NPT remains the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, providing the international legal framework to constrain and deny those who seek to engage in the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    However, the NPT and the broader nuclear nonproliferation regime, as the other proliferation regimes, face acute challenges today. So, as the president states in his letter introducing the National Security Strategy, the world is filled with a wide range of threats that have intensified in recent years. The danger from hostile state and non-state actors who are trying to acquire nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological weapons is increasing despite our best efforts.

    North Korea's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a great threat to global security and pose severe challenges to the nonproliferation regime we hold dear. These programs are also in direct opposition to multiple UN Security Council resolutions. And if we are not effective in our efforts to return North Korea to the nonproliferation regime, additional regional and global threats may emerge.

    Iran retains the ability to produce weapons-grade uranium for use in nuclear weapon should they decide to do so. Combined with Iran's ongoing missile program, this situation remains a serious concern for the United States and for the international community.

    And as Tom noted, I've spent a lot of time recently focused on the Syrian regime and its unfortunate and historic thwarting of nonproliferation regimes across the board. For this discussion, I'd note that Syria was found in non-compliance with its IAEA obligations in 2011. In the seven years since, the Syrian regime has made no effort to engage the IAEA to remedy its non-compliance or address international concerns despite the clear evidence in front of us.

    We should be using our collective leverage to bring these clear violators back into compliance. While they thumb their noses at the nonproliferation architecture we have built threatening regional security, how can we say that the conditions are ripe for the disarmament? We've asked for the help of those across the globe to hold North Korea, Iran, and Syria accountable for their threats to the nonproliferation regime. If states care as much as we do about the viability of the nonproliferation regime, why will they not stand with us in its defense?

    These are the real-world security issues that demand from all states parties a real-world response. How can NPT states parties find additional ways to work together to overcome these challenges and why has it been so hard? That I think is the heart of our work over the next two years in the buildup to the 2020 NPT Review Conference. If we can work together on the “here and now,” we can shape the future and the important ways we need to make all the elements of the NPT a reality.

    We have much in common and we should build on those principles. For our part, the United States remains strongly committed to nuclear nonproliferation. We continue to abide by our obligations under the NPT and we continue active work to strengthen the NPT regime.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Safeguard System are critical partners in this effort, ensuring that there's durable progress on nonproliferation and offering a path to further negotiations and nuclear disarmament.

    The straightforward answer to the "how do we work together" question to us is to find and focus on common interests. We continue to welcome partnership with NPT states parties to reestablish the central role of nonproliferation in the NPT. An effective nonproliferation regime is key to establishing the conditions for further progress on disarmament and for expanding access to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy that so many states hold dear.

    We continue to welcome partnership with NPT states parties to focus on those real-world security issues I already noted. We were encouraged to see near-universal condemnation of North Korea's nuclear testing and ballistic missile development at the 2017 NPT Prep Com. We will urge all countries to continue the global maximum pressure campaign against North Korea including the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions until North Korea denuclearizes. If we abandon pressure too early, we risk undermining what is truly a historic opportunity.

    We continue to welcome partnership on disarmament, but it must be addressed as a real-world policy problem. International security conditions at the moment are not conducive for further reductions. We all need to think hard about measures that would be most effective in creating those conditions that would be more fitting for nuclear disarmament.

    We continue to welcome partnership in promoting the additional protocol as the de facto standard for verifying states are meeting their NPT safeguards obligations. And we continue to welcome partnership in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under sound nonproliferation conditions.

    Look for the United States to discuss each of these priorities in further detail in next week's Prep Com and I'm pleased that our delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary Chris Ford, with whom not too long ago I worked extremely closely.

    I'll also make just one mention of what won't work, and that's unrealistic agendas pursued by those focused almost exclusively on single issues such as nuclear disarmament or specific regional concerns. We all have a shared interest in strengthening the treaty and we need to discuss the treaty in all of its aspects.

    Finally, I was asked to comment on how we can avoid an acceleration of global nuclear arms competition. The United States remains concerned by the growth of nuclear stockpiles and capabilities by NPT and non-NPT states parties alike. And we continue to encourage all states with nuclear weapons to exercise restraint regarding nuclear and missile capabilities.

    We will continue to work to minimize the number of nuclear on states including by maintaining credible U.S.-extended deterrence and assurance. And we will deny terrorist organizations access to nuclear weapons, materials, and expertise and strictly control weapons-usable material related technology and expertise.

    Despite the difficult security environment, the United States for its part remains open to engaging in arms control and disarmament talks including with Russia and China that advance U.S., allied, and partner security in a verifiable and enforceable.

    And as many of you may know, Russia postponed the second round of strategic stability talks, which we had hoped to have in March. As the world's two largest nuclear powers, we have a special responsibility to maintain a stable, strategic relationship and reduce nuclear risks.

    We continue to seek to reestablish the conditions necessary for greater trust with Russia and improve transparency with China as it expands and modernizes its own nuclear forces. One idea for practical step. I would note that not all nuclear possessors have established a moratorium on the production of fissile material. I'd like to encourage all states that have not yet done so to declare and maintain moratoria on the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons, which is a key step in nonproliferation.

    And, of course, I'd be remiss not to come back to North Korea. We welcome the recent developments indicating North Korea's willingness to engage in talks and denuclearization. Our ongoing pressure campaign is clearly having an impact. And we like to remain hopeful that we will be able to make progress in the upcoming summit.

    We have a tremendous opportunity upcoming. We're cautiously, as I said, optimistic that North Korea does understand that there's a different path available. As the president has said, there's a brighter path for North Korea if it chooses denuclearization.

    So, I'd leave it there for now. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here today and I look forward to your questions.


    COUNTRYMAN: Great. Thank you.

    So, if the audience will allow me, I'll do one quick question to each of the panelists and then we'll open up the floor.

    Since the Middle East nuclear-weapons-free zone has been mentioned a couple of times and since I’ve wasted—spent—five years of my life on that effort, I would just make a very quick comment which is that the co-conveners never succeeded in convincing the parties, the states of the Middle East, to take ownership of the process. It was one delegated to the co-conveners and there has not been then or now an interest in states taking initiatives anywhere other than at NPT conferences to do something about it to move the process forward.

    I confidently predict, and this leads to my question to you, Dell, that if there's not a change in the procedures including the habits of cooperation at the 2020 Review Conference, you will have exactly the same result at the 2015 conference, a breakdown over a single issue that is deliberately held until the final 24 hours of the conference.

    So, Lew, what are the actual prospects for accomplishing what you mentioned, which is a different mode of working, a different habit of cooperation between now and 2020?

    DUNN: I think, Tom, the prospects for reaching a different mode of working on the nuclear disarmament issues, on the risk reduction issues, on the nonproliferation issues in which the parties try to work together and try to identify where they have common interests and where they can make progress, I think those prospects—I'm an optimist. I think that those prospects are relatively good. I think those prospects are relatively good because I think ultimately the group of parties who are in the NPT will come to the conclusion the way I like to put it. It's not like the movie "Casablanca" in which Rick says to Ilsa at the end of the meeting, "Well, we lost Paris, but we now have Paris and we'll always have Paris."

    It's not like we’ll always have the NPT. The NPT is something that actually could begin to erode, which will not serve the interest of any of the parties. And I think there's a possibility that you'll have this recognition amongst all the parties that, "Look, we need to work together." And I think there are enough places where they do have common interest.

    So, the one area where I do believe there's a common interest amongst the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states is to reduce the risk that these weapons might ever be used again. And to come to some sort of reaffirmation of the fact that you cannot win a nuclear war and it should never be fought, to try to come to some affirmation of “let's come back to ask for some specific measures which could reduce this risk.”

    It's in the interest of the nuclear weapon states because if nuclear weapons are ever used again, it's quite likely that the nuclear weapon states are going to be the first victims of it, setting aside India and Pakistan. But there are other scenarios which deal with the Russians and the United States, the Chinese and United States, whatever, and I think that applies.

    So, on the Middle East issue though, I just can't see a way forward and the question is whether you can find a different way, or the question is whether the group of Arab countries that have pressed this issue so hard decide that they have other interest in the NPT which are more important than bringing the house down over the Middle East issue. So, I remain optimistic that the parties will want to work together.

    COUNTRYMAN: Yes. Thank you.

    Dell, Lew suggested that while the RevCon has to recognize the reality of the new Prohibition Treaty, it can't become obsessed with debating the Prohibition Treaty in the Review Conference. Do you think that's correct and do you think that feasible? And as part of that, is it possible to restrain the most vigorous advocates of the Prohibition Treaty from injecting this into every part of the discussion?

    HIGGIE: I definitely think so, Tom. When Lew said that it will be important that the non-nuclear weapon states, the supporters of the Prohibition Treaty, don't turn the 2020 conference into a referendum on the Prohibition Treaty, I sat back thinking, well, I'm not really nervous and fearful of that at all. I don't think it will happen.

    I am rather alarmed that there is a prospect that it is some of the nuclear weapon states or all maybe of the nuclear weapon states who will themselves be so preoccupied with the Prohibition Treaty that they actually overly focused on it.

    There's been some suggestion that maybe the nuclear weapon states are still in punishment mode. And if that's the dominant emotion that nuclear weapon states have toward the treaty, and they see the NPT Review Conference process as an opportunity to make clear how angry or vengeful they might be about the Prohibition Treaty, in fact, maybe the greater risk is in their attitude, I think that non-nuclear weapon states, Prohibition Treaty supporters, because we all support the NPT, I think that we will have a very balanced approach. And I don't think that we are going to turn the NPT Review Conference into a discussion opportunity for the Prohibition Treaty.

    COUNTRYMAN: Well, thank you.

    Andrea, under the pressure of these bright lights, I withdraw my promise to be kind. I'd like to talk for a moment not so much about interests but a little bit about language, about rhetoric. And building on what Dell just said about the focus of some of the nuclear weapon states on the Prohibition Treaty, what I've observed, and perhaps I haven't observed closely enough, is that over the last year it is harder and harder to distinguish between Russian and American rhetoric at international gatherings in critiquing the advocates of the Prohibition Treaty as naïve or counterproductive. That concerns me, and I'm wondering if it will change.

    In addition, I think as we look forward to 2020, some who may be familiar with the 2005 RevCon are concerned about the influence of John Bolton, now the National Security Advisor. And I think many of us are also concerned about the fact that the current U.S. statement as you've given it again is about the importance of doing nonproliferation and peaceful uses cooperation now and doing disarmament later, that there is no active U.S. proposal to move forward on disarmament in the coming time. Should we expect that rhetoric to continue? Is there a concern about how that affects U.S. influence with other NPT parties?

    HALL: So, not only did you renege on our bargain…


    HALL: … at least three questions, so let's see if I get them all in sequence here. On the question of whether the nuclear weapon states are going to be overly focused on the Ban Treaty and the difficulty in distinguishing between U.S. and Russian views, I would say, first of all, you've all been asking for us to find issues of common interest with Russia. But instead of making light of that, I think it shows how strongly the nuclear weapon states feel that the Ban Treaty is not helpful period, and could distract from the NPT itself and then the meetings surrounding the NPT.

    I will say that our goal for the Prep Com is not to focus on the Ban Treaty. We would love it if the Ban Treaty didn't come up frankly because we think it's a distraction from the issues we have to grapple with.

    And so, I think you will continue to get responses and rhetoric at points from across the nuclear weapon states in response to what they perceive is rhetoric and challenges from those who are challenging back at them. And I do think that you'll continue to see similar views from Russia and the United States on this, although I would hope that the way we deliver those views might be slightly different. But I think we do have a lot of commonality on this topic and not just with Russia but with the other P5 states.

    In terms of the 2005 Rev Con and our new National Security Advisor, I will tell you that he is taking on information faster than any human being I've ever seen, straight up. And he is walking back through the issues and very clearly walking through where he last left them last time he was in government and walking back through where we are now and carefully considering where we need to go from here, and that is a very considered conversation.

    He's an extremely smart individual with the president's confidence who knows these issues very well. So, I think it's too early to tell what his updated views will be, but I know that he is going through them in an extremely careful and considered manner. He has a lot on his plate. Remember that day one our first meeting was on Syria and CW and that was a very long meeting for the National Security Advisor among others.

    And as he enters the White House, we have a lot of high-pressure short fuse issues on his plate and I know that he will turn to this one, he will think about this one and we will soon have a really engaged conversation about how all these issues work together.

    I will tell you that he, like those before him, believe that arms control, when in the U.S. interest, remains an important pillar of strategic stability. The question is, given where we are on multiple arms control treaties and Russia's violations, how do we get back to that process. And Russia's unwillingness to actually meet and have strategic stability talks is indefinitely making it harder, but that's not for a lack of interest on the U.S. side of getting there.

    In terms of a current statement and rhetoric on peaceful uses now and disarmament later, I think I would make two points. The first is these are both important parts of the nonproliferation treaty and if we don't focus on nuclear material security, on trying to reduce the increasing stockpiles of fissile material in certain countries, reduce the pursuit of destabilizing weapons in those countries, getting to disarmament will be far more difficult not just for us.

    But what kind of world do we live in if the P5 disarm and we're left with nuclear arsenals in countries where there are overlaps with terrorism? To me, that's a world far, far more frightening than the one we live in today and one I'm really committed to working hard to protect against.

    But I don't see—it's not an "if-then," it's we remain committed to the long-term principle of disarmament, but we have to get to a place where that's a more stable world than it would be today with an armed North Korea, with terrorists having the potential for acquiring the capabilities they would need. We need to keep these weapons out of the hands of those who would use them and that means we have to be pursuing the nonproliferation treaty in all of its aspects at the same because all of those principles are important.

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. Thank you, Andrea. I do appreciate sincerely your assurances. Thank you.

    We have about 25 minutes for questions from the audience. And so, we have Liz and Ryan and Sidra who have microphones. Why don't we start in the center here with Michael and then we'll go to the back and then come to the front with John.

    Yes, Ryan, if you—right behind you.

    QUESTION: Thank you. Is this working?


    QUESTION: Good. Thank you all for a useful presentation. I came down from teaching today. I canceled my class because I want to come back and bring this material to my students, and I think one of the—a class on American foreign policy. And one question I have is on Iran.

    And, Ms. Hall, you mentioned it briefly and I know there are things you can't say, but could you tell me what I could bring back? We're studying the Iranian situation. What do you think is the likelihood of some kind of positive outcome, or is there none or what are the options that you foresee with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action?

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. Let's gather three questions and give the three of you a chance to gather your thoughts and pick one in the back right there.

    And then, Liz, if you give this to Jon.

    QUESTION: I'm Yong Sup Han from Korea, South Korean arms controller. I have a problem nowadays in the United States and in the world welcoming the North Korean prodigal son coming from nuclear to denuclearize. And as an older South Korean son who has a face toward denuclearization and if you say denuclearization of North Korea, it failed three times in denuclearization three months ago Korean peninsula and (inaudible) framework and also six-party talks denuclearize. If you look at most Korean interpretation of what denuclearization in the previous three agreements, they all say shut down and freezing and sealing and disabling into shutdown in North Korean newspapers. So, don't use denuclearization again. Please use a verifiable dismantlement of the nuclear weapons of North Korea.


    QUESTION: Yes.

    COUNTRYMAN: Thank you.

    Jon, and then we'll go to questions. And if you can pass the microphones to three more people here. Go ahead, Jon.

    QUESTION: Jon Wolfsthal at the Nuclear Crisis Group. I'm thrilled to take the mic because I went to quit a job with Lew to take a job at the Arms Control Association after an annual meeting at the ACA so…

    DUNN: Welcome back.

    QUESTION: I hope my current boss isn't here. I'll get nervous.

    Andrea, I want to give you a chance to dust off and practice the talking points on a couple of issues. The one is, if you can today, whether the treaty has established a position in New START and whether we will seek extension. If you can't reveal it today, can you at least tell us whether that will be something that will be rolled out at the NPT one way or another because there's great interest in that particularly given the concern about that Lew described, the prospect of an unbridled unilateral competition?

    And the second is maybe to put a finer point on the first question. I think one of the challenges will be for the United States, a desire to ensure that everybody is implementing their obligation broadly defined in the NPT. How do you propose to square that rhetorically with the president's statement that he's prepared to leave the JCPOA even though all the parties are abiding by their obligations? There has to be some coherent explanation for that. I want to give you a chance to try to roll that out and field test it.

    COUNTRYMAN: Oh, Andrea, we'll turn to you first to cover in 45 seconds the simple topics, JCPOA, North Korea and New START. And then I'll ask Lew and Dell if they want to add comments. Andrea?

    HALL: Yes. So, I don't have any new announcement on JCPOA. The president has committed to work closely with the European allies. We've been engaged in working closely with the European allies to try to fix what he and the administration believed are serious flaws in the agreement as it stands. The president's committed to not ending up in a decade with the same nuclear threat that we were worried about that led the last administration to the agreement.

    So, for now, we're continuing to work with the E3 very closely. We're continuing to think about how do we get the assurances we need on Iranian ballistic missiles and Iran's nuclear program longer term. And the president's made very clear that if we can’t get to that deal, he's willing to withdraw from the JCPOA and put additional pressure on them to make sure that we've denied Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and they don't build a ballistic missile program that threatens the United States and our allies.

    So, that's where we are. We have a countdown clock. We know how many days we have left until we get to May 12 and we're working really aggressively to make sure that all parties understand that we're serious about making sure that Iran does not pose a threat to the United States now or in the future. So, that's where we are on JCPOA.

    On North Korea denuclearization, I've heard that point before, in fact, from folks from the Republic of Korea as well. We will certainly take that under advisement. I will say when you compare the approach now to the approaches in the past negotiation cycles that the president has made it very clear that we won't fall prey to what happened in the past while we gave North Korea carrots to get to those really important steps under verifiable disarmament.

    The president has made 100 percent clear in the call to the allies and partners that we have to keep the pressure on North Korea so it cannot take the opportunity of these talks to take advantage of reduced pressure, all right? And so that's the president's very clear mandate to us is to make sure that we're working in the right direction with partners and allies and we have a strong, as you know, very strong work with the partners and allies in the region and beyond to make sure that we can keep that pressure on to support the president's objectives of reducing the threat from North Korea.

    On New START extension, right now we have not gotten to a new position on New START extension. We, of course, remain committed to the treaty. We met the central limits and feel very strongly that we met the central limits in February and are willing to continue to talk with Russia about the future of that treaty. But I don't have anything, and they won't next week have anything more to announce on that, because I think we're still waiting to continue engagement with Russia on that.

    And then by a great opportunity for rolling out a new policy on camera, which is much appreciated, John.

    Yes, yes, yes. I mean, we heard that criticism a lot which is “how does what happens in one treaty space matter for another treaty space,” and certainly I understand that criticism and that question. I think what we have are fundamentally different kinds of treaties and I think the disarmament question and debates over the U.S. position there aside, I think the United States has remained firmly committed administration after administration to nonproliferation, right?

    I think we are leading in this. I think we are pushing for the signing of the additional protocol which the Ban Treaty doesn't do. We are pushing to ensure that technologies that might lead the proliferation are stemmed and not pursued. I know we get criticism for these things, but a huge part of my job is focused on those very aspects. It's about materials control, nuclear security, all of those things that are critical, building alliances across the globe to make sure that terrorists can't get nuclear weapons, that states don't lose nuclear weapons and states aren't pursuing the nuclear weapons that are destabilizing.

    And so, I would say while we clearly have some things to work through at the NPT Prep Com because we do have different opinions with other states party to the treaty, I think our commitment to the elements of that treaty really is unquestioned. It's maybe a question of timing, but I don't think it's a question of commitment.

    And I think the longevity of that commitment and demonstration in our current activities supporting it put us in a very different place with the NPT than the JCPOA, which is a recent deal with limited prohibitions on activities that as soon as they can open back up present a new threat to the United States.

    And so, I think they're apples and oranges and so I would caution folks to each of those treaties and each of those considerations on their merits. And we're happy to continue to discuss them and why we think they're different, but that would be my answer to you, John.

    WOLFSTHAL: Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Dell or Lew, any comment on these questions or the answers?

    DUNN: I need to comment on Dell's point, if I may.

    COUNTRYMAN: Go ahead, please.

    DUNN: I think, Dell, that your point that the nuclear weapon states may be the ones that turn 2020 into debate over the Prohibition Treaty is an important point. And I think that that has to be acknowledged as a potential risk. And I think that the inclination to do so probably varies across the NPT nuclear weapon states. And I think it brings us back to the most fundamental questions that I think that particularly the United States and Russia, but not only the United States and Russia, but the United States, Russia, and France, need to ask which is whether it is in their interest in terms of however they define those interests in terms of nonproliferation peaceful uses, whatever, whether it's in their interest to have another breakdown in 2020.

    The institutional memory is likely to go down the path of it does not matter if there is another breakdown. All that matters is we go to the Review Conference and we have a full discussion. It doesn't matter if there's no agreement. I wrote those talking points in 1983 and my bet is they’re still in a file cabinet somewhere.

    HIGGIE: (inaudible).

    DUNN: You may. But I think that the officials in these three countries need to ask themselves whether 2020 is going to be fundamentally different than a whole bunch of all these other Review Conferences where it didn't really matter in a fundamental way. I think that's the question that had to be debated internally. And I think 2020 will be different not only because it's 75 years after the use of nuclear weapons, 50 years after the treaty entered into force, 25 years after its indefinite extension and it's after the Prohibition Treaty. There's just a lot of reasons would just suggest that these three countries, in particular, have a much bigger stake in being prepared to bend more and trying to avoid a situation in which everybody gets into a big debate about the Prohibition Treaty. And I think there is a way in which we can all agree to disagree on the Prohibition Treaty. We give its place in history, but we don't make it a central piece. I just wanted to comment, I think you're right.

    COUNTRYMAN: Thank you.

    Dell, any?

    HIGGIE: Yes.

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. We're going to do three more questions, one at the back right there. I know there's one behind you, has a mic. No, you're good.

    UNKNOWN: We're good. OK.

    COUNTRYMAN: Then one here and then right in the center, you're third.

    QUESTION: Yes. Jim Slattery. I have a follow-up question for Ms. Hall and JCPOA. I'm just curious. Can you help us understand the thinking of those around the NSC who are advocating for walking away from the JCPOA on two points? One, do they believe doing so will encourage the North Koreans to sign some kind of an agreement to denuclearize the Korean peninsula the day after we walk away from the JCPOA?

    And the second part of this question is do these people honestly believe that the day after we walk away from the JCPOA, U.S. and Israeli national security interests are improved? Are we safer the day after we do this or not especially in light of people like Ehud Barak who are now clearly saying that as long as Iran is complying with the JCPOA, Iran is not an existential threat to Israel? So, just if you can provide any insight on that. Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Right. Here near the front, please?

    QUESTION: Veronica Cartier, I'm in a think tank for nuclear policy. It is the realization of arms race that we're talking about and I would like to press that the confidence for NPT successful is about equal with the NPT crisis. And I would like to bring one issue, as based on the United Nation Disarmament Commission has pledged practical implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities. So, I think outer space activities also have to be included in NPT discussion because of its influences for the arms race and modernization technology. Thank you.


    QUESTION: I'm Sangmin Lee from the Radio Free Asia. So, I have a question.

    COUNTRYMAN: I'm sorry. Who's talking?



    QUESTION: Yes. I'm Sangmin Lee from the Radio Free Asia. I have a question for Ms. Hall. I think you must be busy preparing the summit between North Korea and the U.S. coming maybe June. I have a question about the possibility to withdraw U.S. troops in South Korea as a negotiating card when the summit is held. So, what is your position on the possibility to withdraw the U.S. troops in South Korea as a negotiation deal when you meet those Koreans?

    COUNTRYMAN: Yes. Could you repeat the last sentence of the question?

    QUESTION: The question is about the position about the possibility of withdrawal of U.S. troops in South Korea as a negotiation deal when President Trump meets President Kim Jong Un.

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. And we're going to do a fourth question as you formulate your replies.

    QUESTION: I'm Kathy Crandall-Robinson with Tri-Valley CAREs, which is a watchdog group that works around Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. And I want to ask a question about the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and how it relates to the NPT. The treaty is languishing. Is there any hope of progress towards entry into force, is that important to the NPT in 2020? And the reverse case if we see backward steps and a resumption of nuclear testing, more broadly a breakout, how dangerous is that for the NPT?

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. So, let's do some answers. One of these questions was very specific and that was the connection of outer space to the NPT. And I wonder while Andrea, as usual, got a lot of these questions, Dell, do you have a view on this or an answer to a very specific technical question?

    HIGGIE: Well, outer space issues have been contentious for quite some time now and I'm sure many of you have tracked the discussions and the resolutions on this on the first committee each year. It's also on the agenda for the conference on disarmament even although as we all know, the CD gets nowhere on anything.

    I don't see that outer space has been a core element of the discussion in Prep Coms or in Review Conferences. And I guess to be brutally honest, I see the going is difficult and tough enough without bringing in that issue there. Maybe it's just I haven't noticed that it's been under discussion, but it's certainly not been something that I focused on during the preparatory process.

    Was that enough on that, Tom?

    COUNTRYMAN: I think so. It's a question I've never thought about before. So, yes, thank you for raising it.


    HALL: OK. So, I'll start there which is that I, too, haven't thought about it very much in that context and I don't do space policy at the White House so I'm not one to freelance today. But I'll definitely take back your comment to my colleagues who do that and it's worth some thought and discussion beyond I think what I can provide to you today.

    In terms of the first two JCPOA-related questions, I think on the first I have to defer for now because when I talk about my—I reported to the Homeland Security advisor and the National Security Advisor, both of which have left in the last little bit and so I'm not going to freelance on what his current positions are, my new boss' current positions are on the first, but I certainly understand and take note of the issue.

    On the second on U.S. really interest on whether they're better the day after, I can tell you that the president wouldn't have the position that he will withdraw from the deal on May 12th if we can't close the gaps in it for our security if he was not convinced that our security would be better. What drove him to this decision is his conviction that U.S. security under those circumstances is better outside the deal. And, of course, we talk often with the Israelis about our positions, so I would say, yes, he does believe straight up that our national security interests are better served.

    On the DPRK summit, well, I am responsible and contributing the one significant part of the pieces there. It's our North Korea folks who are still building with the administration the context of that summit and so, again, I'm not going to stray off my particular lane in the road.

    In CTBT, I'll make some initial comments on would really welcome the views of both Lew and Dell on it. Our position right now is that all states should be having a unilateral moratorium against nuclear testing. I do think if we really felt it was vital to our national interest to test in a limited way, just assure the sustainability and security of our stockpile that was necessary for our nuclear deterrence, that is the situation under which we would consider testing.

    But our hope is that all sign up to a moratorium. We believe right now we can get to a stable, secure nuclear deterrent without testing and so that's why we abide by the moratorium and would call on other states to do the same.

    I certainly think that if we see a lot of states and especially states not currently nuclear weapon states testing we certainly have an issue. But it's in nobody's interest first or the security of our nuclear deterrent to be questioned. And that is, of course, why our nuclear posture review does include a modernization of the nuclear force to some degree, not increasing in numbers when making sure that it's stable, it's credible and it's able to protect U.S. interests and the interests of our allies to which we provide an extended deterrent as well.

    Thoughts on the CTBT front?

    COUNTRYMAN: Lew, did you want to comment on CTBT or anything else or Dell?

    HIGGIE: I'd like on the CTBT let Lew…

    DUNN: No, go ahead, Dell.

    HIGGIE: OK. So, I agree completely with what I think is probably the underlying premise of the question that moratoria are all very well and good, but they can be situationally based. And if you really intend upon giving strength to the norm against nuclear testing, there's no substitute I think for the entry in force of the CTBT.

    Certainly, New Zealand which has supported this treaty for a long time now, we feel that it gives us an absolutely waterproof position from which to denounce North Korea's activities on testing. I think that it's a little bit harder maybe to denounce what any other country does in terms of testing if you don't yourself commit to the legal requirement not to do so. I hear what Andrea has just said. But we remain a strong advocate for the CTBT.

    I heard some comments before we started today about idealism and so I'm going to take off my idealistic hat maybe and be realistic. I don't see the CTBT as entering into force I should say for the foreseeable period ahead, but, hey, what's going to change. I don't see it entering into force for a long, long time because there's no suggestion that any of the seven countries whose ratification we have to hit before it can become operational, I don't see anything.

    I wish I heard differently from one of them, but that's, let's not say it's dead. I mean, the international monetary system is up and running and working very effectively and for all I can tell, people remain committed to funding it, but I don't think. I'm sad to say it, I don't see much prospect of the treaty's entry into force although I think it is the best and only durable way for really ensuring the universal norm against nuclear testing.

    COUNTRYMAN: Lew, any brief comment?

    OK. We need to wrap it up. I'm going to throw one more question at you, Andrea, which you're not obligated to answer now because we have…

    HIGGIE: (inaudible).

    COUNTRYMAN: No, no, no.

    HALL: Thank you, Dell.

    COUNTRYMAN: It is not a rhetorical...


    COUNTRYMAN: … not a rhetorical question and we have this afternoon Anita Friedt so feel free to force her to answer the question.

    HALL: Sounds like a great proposition.

    COUNTRYMAN: But the question is, I like the phrase "verifiable and enforceable arms control agreements." Which arms control agreements does the United States government consider to be enforceable upon the United States?

    HALL: So, I think you're right that Anita is well-placed. To the woman who tries to answer that question, I encourage you to answer the question.

    COUNTRYMAN: All right. I think her staff is going to prepare her. You want to do the logistics of next steps. Let's thank our panel.

    Lunch Keynote Address
    "Resolving the North Korean Nuclear Crisis"

    Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Ambassador to the United Nations

    Moderated by Carol Morello, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Post

    COUNTRYMAN: I have the very great honor today to introduce the person on the program who has the longest title. This is Congressman Ambassador Secretary Governor Bill Richardson. I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to work directly for Ambassador Bill Richardson when he came to New York in January of 1997. And I remember very well that the first time I got to write a memo for him and take notes for him for this brand new ambassador was an evening meeting we had with the brand new Prime Minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu. And one day I'll release those notes.


    What I learned from Bill Richardson in the rather short time I worked for him but in following his career ever after as he met with such desirables as Mabuto Sese Seko or Kim Jong-il is that straight talk will get you a long way, whether you're talking to voters or diplomats or dictators or your own employees. And we asked him here today for some straight talk about the situation with North Korea. And after he's done he'll sit down with another fine friend, Carol Morello of The Washington Post, for a conversation about North Korea.

    Governor, it's your turn.


    RICHARDSON: I noticed that Tom Countryman didn't mention my very brief presidential run. Joe Biden was in the race, too, and frequently I see him and he's always commenting on my weight or my unruly hair. And I said, "Joe, in Iowa, I beat you in Iowa." And he says, "But I'm vice-president."

    Anyway, I want to just thank the Arms Control Association and Daryl and Carol and all of you. This is a very sophisticated audience, so I'm going to try to hopefully be very factual, straight talk. Tom Countryman, I remember a young guy, he was the chief political officer. All the women were after him. He was a substantive political guy on the Security Council and he was enormously effective and he's had a great career, but I hadn't seen him since.

    I also want to introduce Mickey Bergman, who runs my foundation, the Richardson Center. He's one of the last people besides the CIA director to be in North Korea, so Mickey Bergman.

    I want to just put out some absolutes as much as I know because the situation in North Korea, the summit is so fluid, so many things are happening every tweet, every five minutes, every day. And I was talking to Carol about this, the pace is dizzying. But here's what. the take that I have and I'm only going to go for about 10 minutes and then Carol and I will have a dialogue and maybe some questions from you.

    One, the summit President Trump… I was going to say Kim Dae-jung. I remember Kim Dae-jung, Sunshine Policy. And one of the first things I want to say is that enormous credit needs to go to the government of South Korea for this summit. for President Moon for I think a mood… I know President Trump takes a lot of credit. I told Daryl I wasn't going to be very partisan and I won’t, because the only Democrats here are myself and that guy in the kitchen. No, I'm kidding.

    But I'd like to say that that is one very strong reason why these developments are so positive, President Moon, the Olympics, soft power. I remember the days in China, ping-pong diplomacy. That's absolute number one.

    Number two, the summit. The president meeting with the North Korean leader, good, important, impressive, but with a lot of risks. And if the summit doesn't succeed, the problem is going to be not a return to the status quo where there was enormous tension, but probably worse.

    Now, my concern is that we, the United States, be prepared, that the president be prepared. I worry sometimes that he's not very prepared. The North Koreans I've negotiated with, I've been there eight times, they're disciplined, they're prepared, they are very inflexible, they are unpredictable, they're very formal. When you negotiate with them, as you know with many policy-makers here, they have their talking points. They vent. They're hostile. They want you to listen to them, to show respect then you respond back and then maybe you make a deal with them on a detainee, on an issue relating to food on the sidelines. It's always informal. They never make it at the negotiating table.

    But the idea of North Korea negotiating, their idea is not a quid pro quo. For us, the quid pro quo, compromise. For the North Koreans, they feel that they have the divine right, call to personality. The father, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, the leader today, what they say is sacrosanct. Their idea of a concession is they'll wait a few months until you arrive to their position. That's their idea of a concession. And the danger with this summit is that somehow denuclearization means different things to both countries and that is the danger. That is the danger.

    The worry that I have to some here in D.C., the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula makes Kim handing over his missile systems, his nuclear weapons, allowing inspections to check that the regime is keeping its word. To the North Koreans, it means mutual steps to get rid of nuclear weapons including making sure requiring the U.S. to take down the nuclear umbrella with South Korea and Japan. The danger of this summit is unrealistic expectations. They are not going to hand the keys to their kingdom.

    I believe nonetheless when it was announced, and I got denounced by some of my Democratic friends, I thought the president was taking a gamble, but it was the correct gamble. I had looked at the Korean peninsula the last few years, things couldn't be worse. Missiles, nuclear weapons pointing at South Korea, artillery, conventional weapons. So I felt that was a risk worth taking.

    But now we need to be prepared and I think the signs are good. I am for this summit. I am for this meeting that the CIA director had with the North Korean leader. The CIA is back. They came in, no one detected Pompeo, did all this like the old Nixon days where he went… I see Congressman Slattery. We served in Congress together. But if we all recall, Henry Kissinger went to Beijing. Nobody knew he was there, from Pakistan. I don't know how Pompeo got there, but that's good. The CIA is doing things right again.

    So I want to not go much longer except to say this. It seems that there's a new channel between the United States and North Korea. It's the intelligence channel. It's not the State Department. I regret that. I'm a big State Department diplomat person. The New York channel has served a good purpose with the Otto Warmbier case, the detainees. But it seems at the higher level the Intel people are the ones with Pompeo that have been talking about the summit, about human rights issues, so that's a change.

    What else from this summit that I see? One, Kim Jong Un is in charge. I don't know if he has a nuclear negotiator. When we were working on North Korea, there was a guy named Kim Gae Geun, very, very strong guy. He was a nuclear person. Kim Jong-il deferred to him. With Kim Jong Un, he's the guy it seems. He I think having this meeting with Pompeo has paved the way for, I believe, a positive summit.

    Everybody here understands politics. President Trump has invested an awful lot in this summit, so has Kim Jong Un. The summit has to produce some results. I think what we need to do is have the expectations manageable.

    I'll conclude with what I think are some of the realistic expectations, one, the return of the three Americans. I think that'll be a deliverable that would happen at the summit. Two, possibly something that's a very important cause for me, the remains of our soldiers from the Korean War. I brought seven remains back as an envoy for President Bush in 2007. There are a lot of families out there that want to see these remains come home. Hopefully, some South Korean North Korean family reunification human rights movements that are doable and I hope that happens.

    Then on the nuclear side, I think we've got to set up a process, a process of negotiation that I saw a timeline of 2020, I think that may be a bit unrealistic, but some kind of a process that involves a freeze, a curtailing of nuclear weapons, of missiles. And North Koreans are going to want some kind of end to the armistice or an end of the armistice or want to have sanctions reduced, lifted.

    I think sanctions have been working and I give credit to China. You know, everybody says China is not serious. I think they're serious this time. I don't know why, we have a lot of China experts here, but I think they have been serious.

    I will also conclude with something that I am not sure of. I think Kim-Jong-un has an end game. I don't know what it is. I think he is a rational actor that has been underestimated. I mean, look, I worry about the Gulag, the human rights violations, the starving people. But I think in the end he wants something of acceptability in the international community and he always… whenever I went to North Korea they'd say, "We want to negotiate with you, with the United States. We're the big guys in the region." I said, "Well, what about China? What about…" "Oh, no, no, we're the major powers.” They got that. That's why it's so important for this summit to succeed.

    Anyway, Daryl, have I gone too long?


    RICHARDSON: That means yes, right? OK. All right. Thank you, all, very much.

    MORELLO: Governor, thank you very much. So much has happened recently. It's kind of hard to know where to begin, but let me ask a little bit about what has changed. Kim met with Mike Pompeo over Easter. Pompeo only a year ago was sort of hinting at regime change. Now, the South Koreans are saying that North Koreans are willing to accept the U.S. military presence on the peninsula contrary to all their public statements before. It seems like a remarkable turnaround, so on both parts really.

    So I want to ask you, given how far advanced the North Korean weapons program is, what has changed that this all would be happening now? Is it showing that the combination of hard-hitting sanctions and bellicose rhetoric was effective? Did that play a role? Why is this all happening now instead of a couple of years ago?

    RICHARDSON: The first thing, Carol, that I want to just state about North Korea is you’ve got be very, very careful on what they mean when they say something, in other words, the details. I saw this report that says that the U.S. can keep a military presence of some kind. Well, what does that mean? Like military exercises, troops? I mean, there's always some flexibility that they've thrown out. They're very good at PR. I mean, they're very volatile. But you have to question exactly what they mean.

    So what has changed? Well, I mentioned before I think the sanctions have been working. They have been working because I think it's 90 percent of all commerce goes into North Korea through China and I think China has been enforcing the border. When you cut and restrict coal and oil and foodstuffs and fish and North Korean workers that bring money in from China to North Korea, I think the sanctions have been biting.

    Again, Kim Jong Un, what does he care the most about, staying in power like any politician. You stay in power. He doesn't want to get knocked off and he worries that somebody will try to knock him off, his regime, his family, his siege mentality that I think he has. So that has changed.

    But then my last point is China I think has been moving in the right direction on the sanctions because they don't want a nuclear South Korea or a nuclear Japan, which has been threatened because of the intensive activity of North Korea's missile activities.

    And I will close with another issue and that is that I think in the end Kim Jong Un is not like his father. With his father and his people, you could make a deal. "OK, you got to release this American, I want an American president to come and take him out." Jimmy Carter came, Bill Clinton came, James Clapper. And if it's a very low-level situation, Bill Richardson will go and I got a couple out that way.

    But Kim Jong Un, I don't think he's a deal-maker, a rug-merchant type. I think there's something out there that he wants an end game and I don't know what it is totally. It could be a Marshall Plan. He may ask for a marshall, but you think that was expensive eventually in a deal. He might ask for just an end of sanctions, the armistice he'll ask for, a promise, a security promise. I don't know. I'm rambling.

    MORELLO: Well, it seemed like only yesterday he was being characterized as an evil lunatic and now we get the impression that they are being eminently at least in their talks with the South Koreans. Do you get a sense there at some point where the rubber meets the road and there's going to be something they will ask for that the United States will be totally unable to give?

    RICHARDSON: It's very possible. I think the summit of the South Koreans and the North Koreans is going to be very important because the South Koreans will be able to gauge what the North Koreans really want because of their enormous cultural ties and their proximity and their ability to sniff out what is the real agenda here.

    So this is why I know that our people, and I'm not an insider with Trump, I don't think I am, but I have talked to White House people, the administration, I talk to the North Koreans more than I do the Trump administration, the North Korea, the channel in New York on humanitarian issues. I'm not into the remains, on what Mickey does with the detainees. So I believe, Carol, that that summit is going to give us a very strong indication.

    And the only worry is I love the South Koreans, but sometimes they're a little optimistic about results. And I want them to… and Tom Countryman had a very valuable trip to South Korea recently. You may want to ask him his impressions. But I just think that unrealistic expectations of what both sides are going to do is my biggest worry.

    And then I'm going to say something nice about the president. I think the risk that he's taking is the correct one. But I worry with his tweets, I worry with his flying off the handle, seat off the pants. In a way, Pompeo has reassured me with this visit that maybe there'll be structure. I don't know where they're going to meet.

    I'm betting. Let me tell you what I'm betting on two sites, me, and I know nothing. One, I'm betting on Geneva, right? That's one. The second bet is one of the Russian islands. If Kim Jong Un doesn't take airplanes, he goes on this big rail truck, big rail car and he may end up in Russia, one of those little islands there. Actually, that's Mickey's idea.

    MORELLO: Well, you mentioned you were concerned about preparations for the summit, how President Trump would have to prepare. What should the National Security team at the White House be doing to prepare him for this? Really should they, and is there a chance that we will see the three American detainees released before he sits down?

    RICHARDSON: I don't think they'll be released before. I think they'll be released at the summit. The National Security Council, I've dealt with them on this issue, they had a very good guy as the deputy who I was working with, talking to anyway, named General Ricky Waddell. I read somewhere that they fired him. I don't know if that's the case.

    Ricky, I read it. I didn't say this. But he was very competent. They've got a guy named Pottinger there that seems to know what he's doing. And the young woman that spoke to you, is she still here?

    She is, OK. So at the State Department is what worries me and Countryman knows this. I love the State Department, but our diplomats were depleted when Tillerson was there. We have no ambassador in South Korea. By the way, Victor Cha would have been really good, really good. That guy knows everything and his Korean ancestry and knows diplomacy, nuclear stuff. I don't know what happened.

    But the NSC has to be the coordinator. It's always been that, Carol, but this may be different with Pompeo. What I hope Pompeo does is he goes to State and relies on diplomats and not on his spies that he brings from CIA. Nothing wrong with being a spy, but my hope is that he gets respected and brings the State Department, our diplomats back because they're very demoralized right now.

    MORELLO: You mentioned that you are a little concerned that if these talks fail it will be worse. So I wanted to ask you given that last night President Trump said he hopes they will be fruitful or he's just going to cancel them or walk away, what would fruitful look like and what would worse look like?

    RICHARDSON: All right, what does fruitful look like? One, get the detainees back. Two, get some remains back. Three, a ban on chemical weapons to Syria. Four, nuclear and missile export bans or freezes. That's very important.

    On the missile side, verification so that there's a freeze on their technology so Americans don't worry about a missile coming into the mainland, some way that we can reassure the Guams, Alaskas that they're going to be OK.

    On the nuclear side, DI says they have 60 nuclear weapons. They've said it publicly. I always thought they had about 20. Are they going to curb their use? I hope so. Limit their use, freeze, end them, destroy them? I don't think so. So those are the achievables. The negative is for the president to throw a tantrum and leave and nothing is done. I don't think that will happen. A lot is riding in the success of this summit for the president for the Russia reason, domestic reasons, the investigation stuff. It's got to be a success.

    And people have said to me also… I know John Bolton. He was ambassador to the UN like I was. And they said, "Oh, no, we're really worried. I mean, Bolton's going to… he wants to bomb them." I said, "Relax." Bolton has to ensure as National Security Council. His first job is that this summit be a success as a staff member. He can't inject. This has to be a success.

    And there's something about Pompeo that is… I've never met him, I’ve never met him, that is intriguing. I mean, if he was first in his class at WestPoint, he's a Tea Party guy. I don't like that at all. But there's something intriguing. I love this penetration into North Korea, this summit thing. It's like the old days, Carol, Kissinger and going in the…

    MORELLO: Yes, I remember those, unfortunately.

    President Moon said this evening that the North Koreans are basically seeking an end to hostile policies and guarantees of security. How do you think U.S. policy on North Korea should evolve? And what does it mean to guarantee security to one of the, if not the, most repressive governments mankind has ever known?

    RICHARDSON: Well, they've always wanted, the North Koreans, an end, the 1953 armistice where technically they feel we're still at war and so they want an end to that. They want to document. But what is also important to them there is part of that armistice involves our troops in South Korea. So I think there's some room there where there can be some… I don't want our troops to leave South Korea, that shouldn't happen, but maybe exercises, maybe some kind of military realignment that protects both sides, protects South Korea. We've got 30,000 troops there. I want our troops protected. I want the 25 million South Koreans in the Seoul area protected.

    And in Japan, too, I mean, Japan, we've got 50,000 troops. I mean, Abe came to Mar-a-Lago because of several reasons. One, he was mad about the steel tariffs. Two, he feels that the South Koreans have made him not look too good. South Korea did this deal with the summit. They kind of felt that they were outside, Japan, but they're a great ally.

    And I'm a free-trader, I'm for the TPP. Now, the president wants to get back in, but then he was… I was doing a TV show, now he says, no, he doesn't want to go in. I mean, like every day he's something different. That's my worry on the summit that the president somehow is going to say something like, "Oh, I'm going to walk out of the summit if it isn't good." This after Pompeo is received by Kim Jong Un. If I'm Kim Jong Un I'm saying, "Wait a minute, I thought things are going good. He wants to pull out before we start." Things like that, Asians, North Koreans, they want to save face. It's very important. You've got to be careful.

    ELLO: You didn't really go into China. What kind of role will China and President Xi play?

    RICHARDSON: Look, I've been one of those in the past that have said, oh, Chinese sanctions, they're not serious, they don't want to do it, they like the turmoil that North Korea causes us. But when North Korea started shooting those missiles so incessantly and South Korea and Japan started talking about maybe going nuclear, I think that changed China's mind. And maybe the president's pressure on China has helped. I mean, I'll give him credit for that.

    So I think, Carol, the sanctions, I was at the UN, they're very carefully constructed at the UN. They involve foodstuffs, they involve oil exports, they involve coal, they involve North Korean workers, the hackers. Maybe that's the way we stop the hackers in China from North Korea so they don't hack our movies and many other things. So I think China can play an important role.

    Will China be the site of the summit? I don't think so, but it's possible. The six-party talks, maybe bring them back. I'm not sure about Russia. I don't know if I would trust Russia to be part of the regime that enforces not just the sanctions but the verification. I don't know, Russian's up to a lot of no good stuff and it concerns me because they're a very important country.

    MORELLO: You gave a pretty vivid description of what it's like negotiating with the North Koreans as one of the few Americans who's ever had that experience. I mean, how do you get around the hostility and how is that different than dealing with other countries, other adversaries? And is the United States prepared to deal with the kinds of traps that that may present?

    RICHARDSON: I've negotiated with the North Koreans, with the Taliban, with Sadam Hussein, on prisoners, with Sudan, Al-Bashir. President Clinton, once he was asked at a press conference, "Well, why do you send Richardson to do some of these?" and Clinton said, "Well, bad people like him."

    So, Countryman, you remember he said that? He said that. I said he could have said it a little differently. But, yes, they differ. Carol, it's like negotiating with inflexibility, with diplomats, politicians that feel they're being driven by a deity by Kim Jong Un, by the father, by destiny.

    Most North Koreans don't leave the country. They get program television that tells them America's terrible. They have the Pueblo incident that happened, I don't know, 100 years ago. They show it every night as a defeat of America. They have this beautiful, they're calling Mexico Telenovelas, of flowery North Korean love and romance and then the deity, the leader. They're programmed and so they don't see the way we westerners do, quid pro quos. They don't see that so you have to find ways to influence them.

    When I was involved my first time in North Korea with bringing back two American pilots, one that perished, they're very sensitive to bad press. They're very sensitive to… they follow every news item of getting bad press, keeping, doing detainees. This is why I get involved with political prisoners, hostages and the families say, "Should we publicize that we want American pressure to bring our kids back?" I say, "Yes, do it because it works." This is where most diplomats disagree with me, but I think that's important.

    MORELLO: What do you think the summit should lead up to? What kind of framework do you see? You mentioned 2020, you seemed to be thinking at least two years of talks, maybe even that's optimistic. But what kind of framework should be established to work through the nitty-gritty details?

    RICHARDSON: A framework led by the U.S. State Department. What does that mean? Secretary of State, if he gets confirmed. I think he will be confirmed, especially with this trip. If I were in the Senate, I would vote for him because I think we need leadership right now at this very critical juncture with North Korea.

    What kind of framework? A negotiating process led… I think it has to be at a high level, led by the Secretary of State, not a special envoy, one that involves South Korea, one that involves China, one that involves Japan, I'm not sure about Russia, but a framework that leads to more talks, a process. And set a timeline and maybe you don't make that timeline. I think 2020 is a little too soon. I notice that it I think coincides with the election, doesn't it?

    MORELLO: Yes, it does.

    RICHARDSON: But here I want the president to succeed. I want our country to succeed in this summit, but I have my worries. But the framework, I mean, what I don't want is like, OK, president walks out because he says, "They're not going to denuclearize like this afternoon." Well, they're not going to do that. But I think the Pompeos, the experts at the State Department, we should name an ambassador to South Korea like tomorrow, or we should bring Victor Cha back or send Countryman there. We need that. We need that anchor. We need that anchor right now.

    So, Carol, one other thing. I always felt, you know how in dictatorships the military is considered to the right of leader. They're the ones that are the hardliners. I think the North Korean military, they are more positive towards negotiations than you think. When we dealt with them on remains, they were flexible. Of course, they'd get foreign exchange for the remains, but they were… I think that is an unused option, that maybe our military leadership should be part of the negotiating team to talk to the North Korean leadership, their military.

    And I think who calls the shots? Kim Jong Un through his security people, not military, not like guards. But he's got a security apparatus that seems to have been, security intelligence apparatus that seems to have been the channel with Pompeo and our intelligence people that have been talking to the North Koreans about this summit and many other issues.

    MORELLO: In the past agreements have fallen apart over the issues of verification, do you have any sense of what kind of verification regime could be come up with that they could come up with that would be acceptable enough to the United States to feel we're monitoring it yet not so intrusive that the North Koreans wouldn't accept it? Is that realistic to think that we can even trust them?

    RICHARDSON: The North Koreans are going to cheat. They cheated in the 1994 agreement, the framework. They enriched uranium after eight years although I say it was worth the agreement because for eight years they didn't have nuclear weapons. They started cheating and they did. They did it with Pakistan and they brought technology in. You got to watch them.

    And one of the problems with that agreed framework is it didn't have strong verification. There was verification on the Yongbyon facility, but they've got other sites where they have a lot of this activity. So I think it's got to be IAEA inspectors. They're really good, as tough as they have on the Iran agreement. The verification on the Iran agreement by the IAEA is well done and Iran has been complying.

    By the way, I think it'd be a mistake if we got out of the Iran deal as much as Iran is obnoxiously acting on Yemen, on Syria, on American prisoners, on terrorism. I think the North Koreans are going to notice that. And the timing I think we have to decide.

    Slattery, when do we have to decide? May 6 or May 12?

    MORELLO: May 12.

    RICHARDSON: May 12. The summit being early June/May, the president, I think he has the ability to delay it for four months. This is a typical politician ploy. We like to delay. I would urge the president to delay for four months. This could not be a deal breaker, but it could be. I mean, if I'm the North Koreans and I say, "Well, President Obama signed this and now a new president takes it off. What if they do this with an agreement we have with the U.S.?" So I don't see the logic there, but I hope we retain it or postpone the nuclear. It will affect North Korean thinking in my view.

    MORELLO: You keep in touch with the North Koreans, so what are you hearing from them on what their expectations are of this?

    RICHARDSON: Well, I think they’re… my sense and maybe I'll have Mickey say something, we saw not too long ago, I think they're excited about this. I’m talking about the only people I talk to or in New York, Carol. I mean, we don't let them travel anywhere the UN mission. I think there's a positive sense. They always wanted to deal with us, with the United States. Even when I was in government, they would always agree to see us, to see me in New York. You'd have to almost always by a mistake, but we did that. It's supposed to be funny. I guess not.

    Countryman, they don't like to pay for it, do they? Or you want a cup of coffee or forgot (inaudible). No, they don't even say that. OK.

    MORELLO: You seem to be suggesting that this is part of a long, long plan that the North Koreans have had that it's not just taking advantage of circumstances but this is they've almost been plotting this scenario aloud for a while, do you think?

    RICHARDSON: Carol, yesterday I came here for I'm a member of a board called The World Resources Institute. It's an environmental board. And I know we've got a lot of very important people here: diplomats, journalist, business leaders and they were talking about five-year strategic plan for The World Resources Institute. I'm not big on strategic plans because I got to deal… when I was in government politics, a crisis every week. And I like President George W Bush when he said the vision thing, a strategic plan and things change.

    So did Kim Jong Un have a strategic plan? I don't think so. I think what happened is this, in my view. One, he's achieved almost all he wants technologically on the missiles and nuclear, well, almost all. So negotiate when you have your strongest leverage.

    Number two, I think he genuinely is afraid of being knocked off. Look what he did to his brother who was, I think, being groomed by the Chinese and others to take over. He's petrified of losing power. This is what dictators do.

    And then, thirdly, if you look at the North Korean budget, most of the money has been gone into the military. Maybe he wants something to happen with his economy and that's where he looks to the west, easing of sanctions, loans, the agreed framework, we proceeded with nuclear reactors, with food. Maybe there's a grant (ph).

    So is it planned? No. And, again, I'm going to give credit to South Korea. You guys in South Korea jumpstarted the process through the Olympics and then the summit of your own and then the summit that you pave the way for the United States to have for North Korea because I knew it wasn't our grand plan for this meeting to happen. So I know I interviewed with some South Korean journalists earlier, my hats off to South Korea.

    MORELLO: Well, thank you. I think there may be some questions out in the audience.


    RICHARDSON: Was that all right?

    MORELLO: That was great. That was great.

    RICHARDSON: Oh, sure?

    QUESTION: Thank you very much. Benjamin (ph) (inaudible), State Department official. You referred to the increased nuclear capability of North Korea and actually, Kim Jong Un has said explicitly that they've achieved their goals and they've gone as far as they need to. So in terms of what has changed, certainly this increased capability which poses a considerable threat to us is one thing that changed.

    But even more importantly is what has changed on the U.S., side realizing the threat and the danger our position has changed. And we're now engaging in a serious negotiation including on the end of the armistice and so on, which could lead to a significant agreement in the interest of the U.S., an agreement that if a Democrat had negotiated he would have been shouted down as a traitor or perhaps negotiating one of the worst treaties possible. Thank you. Please comment.

    RICHARDSON: Well, I'm glad the State Department has a very strong spokesman here. And, look, I don't disagree with you. By the way, we have a great arms control negotiator here, Mr. Weiler, Jacob Weiler (ph). He negotiated with John Quincy Adams. No, I'm kidding. It was Eisenhower. It was Eisenhower I believe. I hope we can get the North Koreans to… I know the Arms Control Association… to sign the NPT. Sign it, but then observe it. That's the worry.

    Look, but the only area that I might disagree with your point is there's no question their missiles can probably hit the continental United States. The issue is can they do it with a nuclear warhead? I'm not sure that they're there yet, but they're very close. Do you agree?


    RICHARDSON: Yes. So but still what is that, a year away? I believe right now North Korea felt because of the push from South Korea, the events. President Trump likes to take credit, "Oh, it's because I called him a little rocket man and we put pressure on him and fire and fury." No. I think there was a concerted agenda from the North Korean, the South Koreans pushed the process and I think the president is looking, like any president, for dramatic legacy achievements. That's the way this president is and that's also a worry, that he's going to fly off the handle and get mad and just that's a serious worry that I have.

    I want some real diplomacy there and maybe Pompeo can do this. I don't know. If somebody knows Pompeo, I'd certainly welcome a perspective on him, he seems to be very smart. And I commend him for getting over there and the CIA, probably an unmarked plane with his trench coat.


    UNKNOWN: We have one at the back.


    UNKNOWN: Ask some questions and then we'll take this one over here.

    QUESTION: I have two questions, but very short. My name is Heather Timmons and I'm from Quartz. What happens if Pompeo isn't confirmed is my first question. Does it matter? And, secondly, you talked about Abe being sideline before the Mar-a-Lago visit. It seems like the Pompeo trip really overshadowed anything Abe was doing there. We keep jokingly calling it the Mar-a-Lago surprise, you show up thinking or talk about one thing and then something else happens. How important is it to get Japan's help, cooperation? Do we need to be doing something else there? Thank you.

    RICHARDSON: OK. I will answer, but where are you? Where did you speak from? I thought I'm either going blind and deaf. OK. So Japan did feel… I believe Japan felt slighted because most of the action was South Korea and Abe didn't know about the summit and et cetera, et cetera. The steel and aluminum tariffs, timing-wise, you're a politician, you want to take care of your politics. He didn't like that especially since he and the president seem to have a very warm personal relationship.

    Japan is key. It's probably our top ally along with South Korea and Asia, our friend. So I think this visit to Mar-a-Lago was good. Did Pompeo overshadow? I don't think so. I mean, Pompeo's visit was in Easter. I think the president got confused. He said it just happened last week. Well, Easter was some time ago.

    So I think the politics, the foreign policy, South Korea's gotten a lot of credit. The South Koreans have consulted with us. There's positive movement. I think Japan's visit has been good for the United States, good for Japan. Overshadow, no. This trip, I'm going to tell you again, I think was necessary, positive. It sets a framework for discussion. It sets possibly an agenda. Leaders communicate, get to trust each other.

    My hope is that the summit of the president and the North Koreans just establish some trust to develop a process that might lead to denuclearization. I voice my doubt, but that's what it's all about. And I'm going to maybe… you’re going to have another question.




    QUESTION: Galen Carey with the National Association of Evangelicals. You mentioned in passing the Gulags (ph) and so I guess my question is if there's some kind of progress on the security front, does that make it more or less likely that the human rights situation would improve because for many of us, we're grateful that we're not going to be bombed perhaps, but we're also deeply concerned about people that are locked away in prison.

    RICHARDSON: Yes. I mean, that has to be our priority and I worry that this administration has not given human rights a priority it deserves in the Middle East, across the world, Duterte, Philippines. I'm not going to get into countries. So I would like to see as part of an agreement maybe phase two of an agreement. I think the first one has to be nuclear and some of these humanitarian issues like the prisoners and the remains and the family reunification. But phase two of the dialogue should be human rights and the Gulag and maybe in return, the North Koreans are going to ask for something, I'm telling you, not just military issues. I think they're going to ask. I think if you think the martial plan was big in those days, I don't remember it, I'm not that old, that they're going to ask for something.

    But, yes, I think if you look at most of the people imprisoned by North Korea, they're evangelicals, Americans and that should end. I mean, there should be some visiting human rights agreements that involve people. And maybe your movement, your church can be very much a part of that.

    COUNTRYMAN: Wonderful. Governor Richardson, thank you very much.

    Carol Morello from The Washington Post, we really appreciate your coming with us to help lead this conversation with the governor.

    MORELLO: Thank you for having me.

    COUNTRYMAN: Please join me in thanking Governor Richardson for his insights.


    Afternoon Panel
    "Overcoming the Impasse on U.S. and Russian Arms Control"

    Dr. Olga Oliker, Senior Adviser and Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

    Anita Friedt, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Department of State

    Richard Fieldhouse, former Professional Staff Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

    Moderated by Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, Arms Control Association

    REIF: Good afternoon to everyone and welcome to our panel this afternoon that will examine and assess the impasse on U.S. and Russian arms control and what might be done to overcome it.

    My name is Kingston Reif and I'm the director for disarmament and threat reduction policy here at the Arms Control Association. And as everyone in the room knows, key pillars of the U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control architecture like the bilateral relationship more broadly are under siege. Arms control may not be dead, but it is certainly wounded.

    For example, since 2014, the United States has accused Russia of testing and deploying ground-launched cruise missiles in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Moscow denies that it is violating the treaty and instead has accused Washington of breaching the accord. And while both sides appear to be faithfully implementing the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, it really will expire in 2021 unless extended.

    The Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review, published in February, gives relatively short shrift to arms control. It did not commit to an extension of New START, though it is our understanding that the administration will soon begin an interagency review of the pros and cons of extending the agreement.

    The situation took another concerning turn last month after Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted about his country's development of several new-generation nuclear weapon systems, including hypersonic weapons, and Moscow announced that it was postponing scheduled talks with Washington scheduled to take place in March on strategic stability.

    Putin described the rationale for the weapons largely in terms of the U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and concern about U.S. missile defense systems. The impending release of the Trump administration’s forthcoming Missile Defense Review, which appears poised to expand the U.S. missile defense footprint, will no doubt add to Russia's concerns.

    Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House following a March 28th phone call with Putin that "We'll probably be meeting in the not too distant future to discuss the arms race which is getting out of control." However, serious planning for such a meeting does not appear to be underway.

    The tensions that I've just described prompted a diverse group of experts and former government officials to urge Washington and Moscow, in the tradition of past successful cooperation under difficult circumstances to reduce nuclear dangers, to discuss and pursue effective steps to reduce nuclear tensions, and to avoid a renewed nuclear arms race.

    The statement was organized by members of a 21-member German-Russian-U.S. Deep Cuts Commission, which was established in 2013 to develop proposals to overcome obstacles to sensible arms control agreements and further reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles and you can find a copy of that statement outside the room here.

    Here at the Arms Control Association, we've been grappling with these difficult problems and attempting to identify potential solutions primarily through our engagement with the Deep Cuts Commission which we have helped to direct.

    And today, we are happy to continue this engagement and fortunate to be joined by three outstanding panelists. To my immediate right, we have Anita Friedt who has been acting assistant secretary of state at the Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance since January of this year.

    To Anita's right, we have Dr. Olga Oliker who is a senior adviser and director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington.

    And at the very far right, we have Richard Fieldhouse who is the President of Insight Strategies, an independent consulting company and a former long-time staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    You can read their full bios in the program if you'd like more information and our speakers will each provide about eight minutes of opening remarks which should leave plenty of time for questions from the audience.

    And with that, Anita?

    FRIEDT: Thank you. Thank you very much, Kingston. Thank you for the introduction and thank you very much to the Arms Control Association for hosting this discussion; it really is very timely as you pointed out in your intro remarks and obviously very important.

    Overcoming the impasse between the U.S. and Russia in arms control is obviously critical to maintaining strategic stability and in building trust in the relationship down the road, something which we definitely need to get back to, I will say.

    So, I will focus my remarks on three areas here. One of my favorites, of course, is the New START Treaty, where we currently stand.

    Next, I want to talk about our integrated strategy, the administration’s integrated strategy on the compliance, returning Russia to compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the INF Treaty.

    And then finally, I want to address working strategic stability talks, where we look forward to discussing our arms control relationship with Russia, and hopefully in the very near future. So, those are my kickoff remarks and then obviously I look forward to everybody's questions in the discussion here.

    But, OK, before going on here, I want to make a couple of notes, namely first, the State Department recently just last week submitted the 2018 Annual Compliance report to Congress. As some of you insiders and well, obviously experts know, this is an annual "fun" report; it's a lot of "fun" from my bureau–fun in quotes–since we lead this effort.

    In this report, the department highlights several unclassified findings. The report as many of you might know has a classified and an unclassified section. Obviously, we will only talk about the unclassified section here.

    But the unclassified findings include compliance concerns and violations regarding Russia which are, I mean, really one of the key issues that complicate or have led to the impasse between the U.S. and Russia in arms control. The United States takes compliance with its obligations very seriously.

    As I mentioned, my bureau, the Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance, places a special priority on the report but also priority on promoting and coordinating effective verification and compliance analysis of all arms control and nonproliferation agreements to which the U.S. is a party.

    This is an enormous report and an enormous amount of interagency work goes into putting out this report every year. We usually begin in the summer and the due date is April 15th. Yes. Yes, I don't know if somebody obviously enjoyed setting that as the date. We did not, by the way, get a reprieve as the IRS team and we submitted it to the Hill on Friday, so ahead of time.

    Secondly, there are a lot on the compliance report, or not just the compliance report, but there are a large number of fact sheets and press releases on all treaties that are available on our bureau's, the State Department webpage, and we certainly encourage colleagues to make use of that.

    Given compliance concerns and violations detailed in the compliance report, we have grave concerns that Russia is taking apart, brick by brick, agreements which preserve the post-Cold War period of security and stability for the entire world. And that really is a problem and I think we all agree that is problem.

    The erosion of trust caused by Russian non-compliance with existing international agreements and repeated refusal to engage constructively to remedy these actions has costs associated with it. And these were very much factors as the administration concluded the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy, and the Nuclear Posture Review.

    Now, obviously, I've seen my Russian colleague here; I don't see him right now, but I saw him on the way in, obviously, the Russian side has their own version there and believes it is in compliance and there are reasons behind this, but it is a problem and we need to fix it. Cooperative engagement with Russia even on arms control issues which have typically been insulated from the ups and downs in the bilateral relationship becomes more and more difficult in this current environment.

    More recently, we had to use--not more recently but just obviously yesterday, we just had talks at the OPCW about use of Russian military grade nerve agents in the United Kingdom that resulted in serious injury to three people. The Salisbury, the UK incident, is further evidence that Russia has not fully declared its chemical weapons production, its chemical weapons development, or its chemical weapons stockpiles.

    At the same time, as former Secretary Tillerson said in Paris this past January, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the brutal targeting of countless Syrians with chemical weapons. By shielding the Assad regime and failing to stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Russia has breached its commitment to the United States as a framework guarantor.

    Moscow has betrayed its obligations to resolving the overall crisis, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2218, its commitment to the chemical weapons convention and guaranteeing the end of the Syrian regime's chemical weapons use.

    Nevertheless, we continue to view our discussions with Russia on these issues as important, very important, not just to prevent a crisis from occurring or escalating, but also to maintain a level of transparency and predictability to prevent unwanted and unnecessary arms racing. Dialogue continues, which is a good thing.

    We continue to raise and discuss issues related to New START, and this is obviously separate, but New START and INF regularly both at the technical level and at higher political levels. And let me just stop here and comment, we often see we have to return to dialogue or the U.S. and Russia are not talking at all.

    There is the perception sometimes that there is no discussion; there are only accusations in the press and elsewhere, but dialogue is continuing. It's obviously difficult and very much complicated by the issues I just raised, but we do have dialogue and it is continuing.

    The New START Treaty. Regarding New START, it continues to provide for a degree of transparency and parity for deployed strategic forces and has facilitated predictable, pragmatic interaction since its entry into force in 2011. And I can't, I mean, you can continue to say the New START Treaty implementation is going well and we want to keep it that way. It is extremely important and that is very much a positive.

    I would stress to this group the enormous amount of time and energy that goes into the implementation and verification of an agreement like New START. It really is hard work. Making the treaty work requires dedicated service from the arms control policymakers, to the military services, to the folks working 24/7 at the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, also in our bureau. Here I can mark that the NRRC, fondly referred to as the "narc," the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, just celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month. And then also with our colleagues from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

    The regime, the New START regime, includes 18 on-site inspections annually for each party, data exchanges to account for the status and makeup of each country's nuclear forces, and exhibitions of new types of strategic offensive arms. Just last month, we exchanged our 15,000th treaty notification.

    So, I think many of you may be familiar or have heard this, but it really is, it's quite commendable and I think it speaks to the importance of the transparency and predictability, the importance of the treaty. As I said, the United States and Russia, we are complying–we're both complying with our New START obligations, which include meeting the treaty's central limits in advance, both of us met the treaty limits in advance of the February 5th, 2018 deadline.

    Both the U.S. and Russia have stated we remain committed to implementing the New START Treaty. We look to ensure that our implementation of the treaty continues smoothly as we address more problematic areas in the arms control relationship. And I can say that we've just concluded the Bilateral Consultative Committee meeting in Geneva just today. This is the implementation commission for the New START Treaty. So, again, two weeks of solid, very hard work.

    The INF Treaty. Here is a less good story. The INF Treaty is an example of where future arms control cooperation with Russia has been placed at risk. The U.S. remains committed to preserving the INF Treaty and is seeking Russia's return to full and verifiable compliance.

    As I think you've seen, the administration's strategy to this point has yielded a few important results. First, U.S. leadership and concentrated outreach to allies, the North Atlantic Council, thanks to the outreach–in December, the North Atlantic Council, the NAC at NATO made a strong statement regarding its concerns with Russia's INF compliance, the importance of the treaty to Euro-Atlantic security, and the need for Russia to resolve these concerns in a substantial and transparent way. That remains the United States' position as well.

    We've continued our diplomatic engagement with Russia, including by convening Special Verification Commission, which is the implementation mechanism for the INF Treaty. There was one in December of 2017, the last one. Just prior to this meeting, Russia publicly confirmed the existence of the ground-launched cruise missile which we assess to be in violation of Russia's obligation not to produce, possess, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

    So, that was a step forward, recognition that we've actually named the or had the designator of the offending missile, the 9M729, and Russia publicly confirmed it. So, at least, we have something to talk about, more to talk about now. Having finally acknowledged this though, Russia denies that the missile is capable of the range that we have pointed out.

    The administration, I mean, our point here is to find ways, to seek ways, to increase military and economic costs on Russia. Why? To increase Russia's incentive for diplomatic resolution to the violation.

    So, the Department of Defense has begun treaty-compliant research and development of a conventionally-armed system or systems that, if pursued, could be inconsistent with the treaty's prohibitions. We've also identified two Russian entities, Novator and Titan, and they were added to the Department of Commerce's entity list for creating, regarding export control issues.

    So, thank you, Kingston. Going along—two minutes here left, so I can race forward.

    But the point here is, what we are trying to do, is to incentivize Russia to come back to actually engage in conversation, in diplomatic discussion to resolve this issue.

    So, lastly, let me finish with strategic stability and I can quickly up-to-date you on where we stand here. As you may be aware, we had talks, the second round of strategic stability talks scheduled for March of this year, tentatively scheduled. Unfortunately, Russia postponed the second round. At this point though, we believe as the two largest nuclear powers, we have a special responsibility to maintain strategic stability and reduce nuclear risks, and the United States for its part is very much interested in rescheduling these talks and I think Undersecretary Shannon has mentioned this both publicly and privately and we continue to do this.

    I can stop here. But on strategic stability, to make a long story short, I mean, we've worked for a long time to schedule the first round of meetings which finally took place in September of 2017 in Helsinki and we had a very good start, I mean, very good start to discussions laying out the concerns. And we are anxious to get back to the second round.

    Obviously, there are numerous world events that are literally, I don't like, maybe shouldn't use the term “exploding,” but on a daily basis, right and left. And so that has also been one of the challenges in all honesty of getting the next round of talks back on the table, but we certainly look forward to that.

    Let me stop there.

    REIF: Thank you very much, Anita.

    Dr. Oliker?

    OLIKER: So, thank you, Kingston.

    Thanks to the Arms Control Association for convening this conversation. I want to echo Anita's comments about how important this is.

    I'm going to start off by talking a little bit about Russian incentives for arms control. I'm not Russian. I'm American so I can't speak for the Russian Federation. But I do study how Russia looks at these issues. So, if there are representatives of the Russian government in the room, I'm sure they will correct me if I get some of this wrong.

    So, from a strategic perspective, from a domestic politics perspective, from a budgetary perspective, I would argue that Russia has tremendous incentives to pursue arms control with the United States. And that while there are also disincentives, the incentives outweigh them. Unfortunately, anybody who’s studied history knows that countries don't always act in their own best interests. And that is part of the reason I'm not terribly optimistic about the future of arms control right now.

    So Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, pursued arms control for all the right reasons: Because the arms race was dangerous. Because it was a way to constrain U.S. systems and capabilities that they worried about. Because it kept Russia's own costs down and well, it constrained its own defense sector, too.

    It meant that arms control made it possible for Moscow to build a force it could afford while maintaining deterrence against the United States and maintaining its status as America's equal, as a nuclear superpower. It gave the Kremlin a voice in how the United States built and deployed its forces and it provided a forum in which Russia could articulate its preferences and concerns even if it wasn't always going to get what it wanted.

    Now, I'd say those incentives haven't really changed for Russia. It's still concerned about a lot of different U.S. capabilities, nuclear and conventional, which it worries weaken its deterrent among other things. New technologies may advantage or disadvantage Russia but, in some cases, they certainly disadvantage it.

    Russia has a global strategy of increasing its influence around the world in a time of strategic shift and maintaining nuclear parity with the United States strikes me as a pretty important component of that. It also has a stagnating economy which is badly in need of reform, which means that increased defense and security spending comes at a cost to other priorities and could be very dangerous if not constrained.

    But if Russia doesn't think that arms control is going to help it get these things that arms control has traditionally gotten, there is little reason for Moscow to pursue new agreements and it might make it less enthusiastic about staying in or getting into compliance with the old ones. Moreover, if Moscow doesn't feel it has a partner in the United States that's willing to come to the table and make compromises even as Russia itself will have to make compromises, then we don't see much of a future.

    Now, I would argue that Russia and the United States share the blame for the current situation. From the start, the arms control framework was a whole bigger than the sum of its parts, right? The SALT arms reduction arrangements wouldn't have happened without the ABM Treaty that accompanied them.

    And as time went on, it was past agreements that made new agreements possible, so you built on the whole and that's what made it effective, that these things were inexorably linked, nuclear arms control and conventional capability technology limits went hand on hand. So, it's not surprising that the Russians responded poorly to the U.S. decision to withdraw, legally and following all of the rules, from the ABM treaty back in 2002. And it's also not surprising that that led Russia to stop implementing START II, since just as ABM and SALT went hand in hand, ABM and START, which was the successor, went hand in hand.

    So, I think it's worth remembering that Russia has generally avoided formally withdrawing from the treaties that remain. It suspended implementation of CFE and then it stopped participating in related decision-making but didn't actually leave the treaty. I'd argue that a decade ago what it was trying to do was force some changes to the treaty. It didn't want it gone; it wanted it amended.

    The INF violations which Anita talked about are a different matter. Whatever led Russia to be in violation of the treaty, though, the impasse at getting it back into compliance from the U.S. perspective raises real questions on whether Moscow can be trusted to comply with old or new treaties. And the chemical weapons issues that Anita also raised fall into this category as well. It doesn't create incentives for the United States to come to the table.

    And aside from that, it doesn't look to me like the United States is all that interested at coming to the table for things kind of beyond getting everything back to where they were. Aside from Donald Trump's initial brush off of Vladimir Putin's question about New START renewal, we now have rhetoric in the Nuclear Posture Review that seems to view escalation as something that can be managed, which is framed around the narrative that Russia has a different strategy for nuclear use than the one Russia says it has. And it really does raise a discussion that the United States is looking to build new weapons, not shrink the arsenal further.

    So, one could argue that it's a negotiating stance, but from Russia's perspective it doesn't look like the United States is that interested. And then, of course, there are always the concerns that have been around a long time–U.S. missile defense plans, which I think we'll hear about, precision weapons… The United States has been very consistent saying these things aren't coming to the table, that there aren't going to be conversations about this. So, insofar as these are the things that the Russians want to limit, it creates a disincentive going forward.

    But this said, everyone starts negotiations from fairly maximal positions; you don't give everything away before you get there. But in an atmosphere like the one we have now of tension spiraling, I think we're in danger of kind of: staking out our claims will stop the conversation before it starts. And even as I would argue that overall Russia has some real incentives, there are many people in Russia who don't think that it does.

    Just as there are people in the United States that think arms control is a threat to U.S. interests and benefits Russia, there are people in Russia who see arms control as historically benefiting the United States and hurting Russia. And in the atmosphere of tension that's spiraling, neither side is particularly inclined to do favors for the other.

    So, these are all the reasons I'm not terribly optimistic. At the same time, when I look at the strategic balance, I see a lot of things to talk about. I don't think the INF impasse is irresolvable. Look, there are voices in the U.S. and Russia that say the treaty is out of date and inappropriate to modern times. It's a valid view. It's an interesting conversation to have. We should have it.

    Outright violations present a real problem. They raise those questions whether Russia can be trusted with new treaties but it could be resolved if everyone comes to the table, talks it through, and agrees to measures that let–don't force anyone to say “gosh, golly I was wrong, you were right,” but let everybody walk away and say “I understand your concerns and here is how I am going to assuage them.”

    From the strategic arsenal standpoint, both countries have built arsenals that can exceed New START limits easily if they feel like it. The upload potential Russia has long complained about the U.S. having is now something it has as well. How worried are we about this? How much concern do we have about whether we can tell that uploads are going on? How long it takes to put new tubes into submarines or more warheads on a system, it's an interesting conversation.

    Also an interesting conversation is the one to be had about new technologies, new capabilities, how they're deployed, how they're built, whether they should be limited.

    Now, we have some positive indications from both parties. I think some of the Nuclear Posture Review language indicates a willingness to talk. The idea that some of the U.S. developments, particularly a new sea-launched cruise missile, is part of a negotiation with Russia. I think that suggests that when one wants a negotiation, strange as it may seem, I think that Vladimir Putin's March 1st speech with its menagerie of weapons, there are silver linings here as well.

    First, all of the stuff was not couched as “we're going to attack you”; it was couched as second strike overcoming missile defense as a retaliation. I'm not quite sure what a second strike on Florida accomplishes but, again, I'm not privy to Russian targeting strategy. But I think the other thing that's positive is that Vladimir Putin followed this up with an interview where he did say that these systems could be subject to limitations. That suggests that an interest in talks remain.

    My other point of optimism is that we've had impasses before. Arms control has been comparatively resilient in terms of stress, but it hasn't been fully resilient and sometimes it's been resilient in creative ways. Back in 1979, Jimmy Carter withdrew, after SALT II was signed, Jimmy Carter then withdrew it from congressional consideration because there was no way Congress was going to get that treaty through.

    And you know what? I'm sure you guys do know what, everybody abided by it anyway. And that is a sign, I mean, that suggests that in times of difficulty, there are creative ways to get these things moving. But in order to get them moving, you need diplomacy, you need skill, and you need patience.

    And patience, I think, is going to be particularly hard because negotiations do, they go back and forth, and the other guy doesn't do what you want them to do immediately. And so far, both Moscow and Washington's response in general when things don't go smoothly is to see it as escalatory. So, in that environment, it's really hard to sustain much optimism.

    I'll stop there.

    REIF: Thank you, Dr. Oliker.


    FIELDHOUSE: Thanks, Kingston.

    I'll briefly describe the relationship between arms control and missile defense between the U.S. and Russia and then look at the resulting prospects for future arms reductions between the nations. Time won't permit me to go into many details so maybe we can take up any additional items in the Q&A period.

    I'd like to start with the historical sort of context. There's a long history, many of you involved in it, of the challenging relationship between arms control and missile defense going back at least 50 years between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and now Russia. The ABM Treaty itself was a recognition that unlimited missile defenses would spur offensive missile build-ups and that limiting missile defenses could permit limits on offensive missiles.

    The Reykjavik Summit actually proposed an agreement to eliminate offensive ballistic missiles and it collapsed because of a disagreement on whether United States would stop its research and development on missile defense, the Strategic Defense Initiative. New START, remarkably in my view, faced a lot of Republican opposition in the Senate for matters related to missile defense. And the remarkable part of that is, the treaty had no limitations on missile defense; it was a non-issue that became a serious obstacle to Senate approval of the consent ratification.

    So, I want to turn to a policy context now that is to my view highly relevant even though a little past its expiration date in terms of the publication. This is 2009 report of the Perry-Schlesinger Commission on U.S. Strategic Posture. This was a bipartisan effort led by former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, former Secretary of everything Jim Schlesinger, I'm not sure he didn't–he wasn't a cabinet member in any agency.

    But it was a really focused bipartisan effort put together by Congress required in law and they looked at all U.S. strategic posture and did findings and recommendations. And one of the really unknown aspects of this was that they included a very brief but very solid chapter on missile defense and U.S. missile defense posture, sort of overlooked.

    And in that report, they noted that U.S. missile defense development for the previous decade had been guided by two principles. One, protecting against limited strikes, and two, taking into account the legitimate concerns of Russia and China about strategic stability. And they said these were main, good guiding principles and explained their reasoning by saying, "Defense is sufficient to sow doubt in Moscow or Beijing about the viability of their deterrence and could lead them to take actions that increase the threat to the United States and its allies and friends."

    And then they provided some recommendations on development and the appropriate deployment of missile defenses, again, emphasizing against regional sort of nuclear aggressors and including limited strikes on the homeland. But they also made a recommendation which I think is key and I'm going to quote it verbatim. It was, "While the missile threats posed by regional aggressors are countered, the United States should ensure that its actions do not lead Russia or China to take actions that increase the threat to the United States and its allies and friends."

    I think that's a really critical bit of wisdom that we need to keep in mind here. Although the Trump administration has concluded that the main security challenge to the United States is long-term strategic competition with Russia and with China, it has so far continued to follow those guiding principles laid you by the Perry-Schlesinger Commission.

    We're pursuing homeland missile defense against North Korea and Iran which doesn't have the capability, and we have a variety of regional missile defenses. These include the European Phased Adaptive Approach to protect NATO against Iranian missiles, and it includes cooperation with Japan and South Korea in defending against North Korean missiles.

    My view is that although these systems, U.S. and allied systems, do not pose a threat to Russia or China in terms of their strategic capability, both nations have clearly expressed very significant concerns it's a major irritant between the United States and Russia and has been a major problem on arms control and other security matters.

    And as a number of senior government officials have been saying recently, our adversaries of nations are making a lot of investments in missile, offensive missile programs that are designed to complicate or negate our missile defenses. And this, of course, is the point that President Putin made rather emphatically with videos in his March 1 speech.

    So, even though U.S. missile defenses—our efforts are still limited in scope and capability, they have already contributed to a change in the strategic equation with Russia and China. If the U.S. were to change its missile defense policy and pursue ballistic missile defense of the homeland against Russia or China, leaving aside whether that is technically feasible or affordable, it would increase the likelihood of that Perry-Schlesinger concern happening, that Russia and China would take actions that would increase the threat to the United States.

    I don't believe that either Russia or China will permit the United States to negate its strategic deterrent no more than we would do so for them; none of these countries is going to let this happen. So, what does all this mean for the future of arms control with the U.S. and Russia? Given the starkly different and opposing U.S. and Russian views on missile defense and the current situation in security matters vis-a-vis North Korea, U.S. defenses against them and leaving aside all the other controversial issues between the United States and Russia, it's hard for me to see any likelihood of future U.S.-Russian arms reductions under the current circumstances.

    I hope I'm wrong. I like to be an optimist, but I don't have much room for optimism right now. One can always hope for what I'll call the "Trump effect" which is a Republican president not expected to do something bold on arms control, you know, suddenly surprisingas I think North Korea is going to be the first chance to see whether that’s possible.

    So, despite my pessimism on future U.S.-Russian reductions, I–I want to emphasize that I think it is critical that the United States pursue very vigorously strategic stability with Russia. We are–we are both pursuing things that are making each other worry. We're not talking much about it. I know Anita said that there are–there is discussion going on, but it needs to be more robust, it needs to be focused on strategic stability, avoiding miscalculation, misunderstanding. We've got military forces in Syria, both sides using military force there. That's dangerous. There're a lot of things going on that are really risky.

    And strategic stability, I would argue, is absolutely fundamental in the deepest national security interest of both nations. We do not want war. So, this leads me to two very brief conclusions. One is that in keeping with the Perry-Schlesinger Commission Report, the U.S., in pursuing its missile defenses, I would say the U.S. legislative and executive branches need to consider carefully whether any proposed action would lead Russia or China to take an action that would increase the threat to us. That has to be a fundamental calculation about what we do and what we don't do.

    And secondly, and I don't think this is a difference in position between the administration, again, I think we need to be pursuing strategic stability with the Russians very vigorously. You know, we did this all through the Cold War no matter how bad things got. We should be doing it now. It's not a favor to Russia. It's not a reward to Russia, it is simply a basic means to try to increase our security and reduce the risks to both sides in the world at a time when there are increasing risks to peace and security. So that's where I'll leave it. Thank you.

    REIF: Great, thank you very much, Richard. Thank you for all three of our speakers although none of them appeared particularly optimistic about the way forward. Before opening it up to all of you for your questions, I just wanted to ask Anita a few questions related to the New START Treaty and the future of the treaty.

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Rob Soofer, at a Senate Arms Services Committee hearing last week, I believe it was, stated that the administration would soon begin an inter-agency conversation about the pros and cons of extending New START. I was wondering if you could comment on that, if there's any timeline for that review and how long the administration anticipates that taking.

    Dr. Oliker mentioned this, but the New START Treaty also provides for a discussion on emerging strategic offensive arms and possible limitation. We mentioned the March 1st speech, several of the strategic-range delivery systems that President Putin described. Does the Trump administration believe that those systems ought to be limited by the New START Treaty, and if so, does it plan to take that up with Russia in the context of the bilateral consultative commission?

    And then finally, I would just be interested in your views on when the New START Treaty expires in 2021, if there's nothing to replace it, what are the implications for strategic stability between United States and Russia if there are no verifiable limits on the world's largest two strategic nuclear arsenals? So, I'd just like to get some of Anita's thoughts on those questions and then I will open up the floor to all of you.

    FRIEDT: Well, briefly, on extension, which is a hot topic across the board, the president–lots of people have commented on it, but I'll just say–but to Rob's point, I mean his testimony last week, yes, I mean, we are always doing interagency reviews on many things as you know, and it depends on how long they take, but that is a question that we're looking at in terms. But again, as I mentioned, and this is where verification and compliance with arms control agreements really counts because that has to be–that's obviously a factor that one would take into consideration, extension of New START, what does that mean in terms of, you know, Russia is or is not in terms of coming back into compliance with the INF treaty. So, we are reviewing it. There is no timeline, but it's - there is no schedule.

    And from my perspective, there should be no schedule. I think I've heard lots of people say, "We have to do it and we have to do it right now and if we do it, extend the treaty, like, everything will be fine." It won't. That wouldn't–that wouldn't really necessarily help things, I would argue. We have until 2021 and I think we should look at it very carefully.

    And in terms of where we are in terms of enforceable, verifiable arms control in compliance with treaties… So then let me answer your second or your last question here, what happens if we don't extend it and we don't have a treaty that has importance? As I address, the numerous–and the inspections and the rigorous transparency regime–that makes the relationship, the nuclear relationship, very predictable.

    That is a problem because then we will have less insight, less greater reliance on NTM, there'll be less insight in the actual–the inspections. I can't emphasize how important the mutual inspections are because it's an opportunity to actually look at in terms of both public statements, diplomatic statements, but also NTM, National Technical Means. It's an opportunity to verify that and have a face-to-face look at this and look at it. It is very important.

    And then the whole issue of President Putin's yes, infamous March 1st speech and the fun–I'll call them “fun”–things that he revealed, many of which we have been looking at. Yes, I mean that is an opportunity. The treaty calls for looking at new types, new kinds, there is an opportunity to discuss them. We have not done so yet, but we certainly could look at that and take that up.

    REIF: Great, thank you very much. Questions, and I think I will follow my predecessors in taking–taking three at a time. First, I believe I see you, Rachel, you there with your hand up in the back and we'll take–we'll take three in there.

    OSWALD: Hi. Thank you for a great panel. This question is for anybody who wants to answer it, but the State Department perspective would be appreciated as well. So, it sounds to me like I've been hearing more comments in public from–from senior military officials about how the INF Treaty is constraining the United States when it comes to China. I think this came up at a confirmation hearing in the Senate earlier this week for the PACOM commander.

    So, I'm not sure it's just Russia that–that feels like INF is outdated. Can anybody talk to the U.S. perspective about how INF is possibly constraining them in ways they don't like toward Asia?

    REIF: And just very quickly, who are you?

    OSWALD: Apologies, Rachel Oswald, reporter with Congressional Quarterly.

    REIF: Right, thank you. Yes, right here.

    THIELMANN: Greg Thielmann, ACA board. Anita, I was happy to hear you mention the agreement on the designation of the–of the system we alleged to be a violation, the 9M729. It seems to me that changed the argument completely from “What are you talking about?” to “No, you're wrong about the capabilities.”

    So, my first question there is, why did it take us three years to provide the designated system? The second question is, now that we have a parallel situation with the most serious Russian charge being the Mk-41 launcher of our–of our ballistic missiles that Boeing proudly boasts is the same system that launched the Tomahawk cruise missile which is basically the identical to the Griffin land attack cruise missile banned under the INF Treaty.

    Why is the U.S. not inviting the Russians in to look–to inspect the Mk-41, putting pressure on them to let us in to inspect the 9M729?

    REIF: Done? OK, your time. Right.

    COUNTRYMAN: Anita, thank you for continuing to work on these very difficult issues. I remain more calm because you remain on the job. I appreciate that.

    FRIEDT: Well, thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Earlier, I asked Andrea Hall a question which she helpfully volunteered to have you answer, and that is, which arms control agreements does the United States believe to be enforceable upon the United States? Everybody loves the phrase “enforceable and verifiable,” but it seems to me when the White House says it that the U.S. will do the enforcing on other states but there is no need to have an enforcement mechanism for U.S. compliance, and if that's the case, what state is going to agree to anything with the United States?

    So which agreements are enforceable upon the U.S.?

    REIF: Anita, several of those were directed at you.

    FRIEDT: Oh, okay, how about it.

    REIF: Why don't you start and then we can go on down the line to see if there are comments from the other panelists as well.

    FRIEDT: Okay yeah, no, please weigh in especially on all of them, on the INF. But the PACOM commander, well he is going to be our U.S. Ambassador designate to Australia. I know yes, he has commented on INF treaty constraining the military. Sure, the reality is everybody–I mean we would like to take a look since Russia is–especially since Russia is not abiding by the INF treaty, I mean there are certainly, if the treaty is not going to be valid and why can't we look at the same things? But I don't know.

    I would say there are many of these treaties were outdated. I don't think the INF Treaty is outdated, but Russia obviously does. That's one of the–Russia raised the INF Treaty being outdated during the–during the Bush 43, during the Bush administration in I think it was 2005 or 2006, so at that time, we said we would be happy to take a look at it, discuss it, that certainly is an option, we can discuss any number of variants in what to do with the INF Treaty once we get to a real discussion. That's the real point. We have to have a real discussion with the Russians on that.

    And that's–I also have the same answer for–for you, Greg, yes, having the 9M729 has helped–has been a small–I mean it's great game changer when you go from nothing to something, it's a great, great game changer. So, it is a progress, but why did it take so long? Well you worked–you worked in the intelligence community, you worked in the U.S. government, sometimes things take longer than they need to.

    But it is an opportunity and yeah–and once we have real negotiations, discussions with the Russians now that we have something, maybe we can get to the point where we can talk about the Mk-41. We can talk more concretely about the 9M729. We can talk perhaps–we can even talk about transparency, but we haven't gotten to that point. So those are all–all issues that we can certainly consider.

    And then Tom, you always–always have the clever, clever questions, cleverly worded questions. I mean I'll try–yeah, are you talking about our compliance report? I mean we–yes, the United States has–I mean each country has to look at the–the treaties that they are party to and assess not only your own country's compliance, but other countries’ compliance and compliance and verification, I mean compliance is really a big factor in terms of military planning. That's another good point here, I mean to the INF concerns about the PACOM. If you have a country that's not abiding by its–by its arms control obligations and is violating the INF Treaty, that's a military planning consideration.

    COUNTRYMAN: I like the word "compliance," the word that the administration reintroduced….

    FRIEDT: Oh enforcement.

    COUNTRYMAN: … is "enforcement."

    FRIEDT: Okay.

    COUNTRYMAN: (Inaudible) what it means to say (inaudible).

    FRIEDT: Okay, well this–I mean we have to have enforcement measures to deter future violations and we're not talking about military enforcement. I think there was an article at some point talking about military enforcement. That is absolutely not what we are talking about. We're talking about what does it take to–to–to make sure that countries comply with these arms control agreements, that violators face consequences. So, there is obviously international law–where is Mallory when I need her, my lawyer.

    But no, there are obviously international legal means that we can take, and we can enforce it as well.

    REIF: And Rachel, oops, sorry, go ahead, any other comments from–

    FIELDHOUSE: Tom, if I can just jump in on this, I think the term “enforcement” is a very unfortunate term to bring it to the arms control debate, because unless you are going to go war and occupy a country and, you know, that's been the discussion, how do you enforce arms control? You don't enforce it. You monitor, you verify, you know, you do all the things you can do to make sure compliance is happening and if it's not, then you work everything you can to make it happen.

    I just think it's an unfortunate term to bring it to that debate, so I–I second your point exactly.

    OLIKER: Well, the one thing you can do is incorporate in treaties what happens if somebody is violating.

    FRIEDT: Right.

    OLIKER: And that's, you know, that's not enforcement, but it is–it kind of–it lays out for all parties what can happen if you break out. And I think that's a valid thing to consider doing.

    FRIEDT: Good point, Richard. It is interesting, but it was used actually after this article appeared in the debate on enforcement team out in NPR, we did a look and it was actually in the 2010–it was in previous–it's been in our compliance reports. It's been–I think it was in the 2010 NPR. So, it is a term that we have used. It's not just in this administration.

    But it's perhaps not the–not the best. I will take that on board.

    REIF: And I will just say, Rachel, really quickly in response to–to your question about INF Treaty in China. General Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff was asked, I can’t remember if it was a House or a Senate hearing last year about the military utility of INF-range systems in the Asia Pacific. And General Selva's response was that United States PACOM DOD can meet the requirement that it has and target what needs to target using treaty compliance air and sea launched systems. I just wanted to make that point. Other questions. Right here in front.

    FRY: Thank you all. Very interesting, you used two phrases if I may, I'm paraphrasing now, Russia taking apart brick by brick of the Cold War deals and the other one was the dialog continues. What's interesting, this is not isolated to the present administration, this has been going on for a while, the question I ask is, why does it continue?

    I mean the underpinning with–with the Ukraine dynamic, if you will, and all the underlying factors that this is just a continuing ratcheting up of something that's been going on for a while. And also, I mean you're not at DEFCON whatever-the-level-is with this situation, what do you think will change that dynamic?

    REIF: And can you just quickly identify yourself?

    FRY: Oh, I'm sorry, Bob Fry.

    REIF: Okay, thank you. I saw a hand on the way back? Yes, right here by the door coming, great.

    MACDONALD: Hi. I'm Bruce MacDonald, and a question. First a comment, Richard, I appreciate your comments about the strategic posture review commission, report language on missile defense, as senior staff there, I had a hand in working with a couple of other people on drafting that. And I was–I was ready for the roof to fall in with controversy about it and fortunately it was accepted without much debate.

    But I think that the point of the–the language is as true today as it was then. And thanks for acknowledging it.

    My question goes to, I guess, primarily to Anita, but not just–and that is my sense, I could be wrong on this–is that what Russia was looking for was almost any kind of restraint on–on missile defense and it's puzzled me that the United States has been unwilling to agree to any limits. I mean I understand the political realities, but I think if Russia–if we offered, you know, 200 interceptors, the original ABM treaty, they would have jumped for joy in order to have just some kind of a limit. And yet we have–right now, there are no limits at all and even though we would have no plans maybe to deploy anywhere remotely near a very–a higher level of interceptors, we still are steadfast in not doing that. And we have to–it costs us diplomatically. It costs us in terms of–of opportunity cost. If we were to agree to any kind of a limit, we could probably get some significant concession from the Russians back on an issue that we care a lot about.

    So, we're holding onto a limitation that, if we don't plan to build anything like that, a higher number doesn't do us any good. And I just wanted to–is there any prospect in which there would be some kind of a restraint on missile defense, and do people take into account the fact that, were we to agree to something like that, we might get something important to us back and return? It wouldn't just be us giving something up.

    REIF: Thanks, Bruce. One more question if there's someone out there that can take? Right here, yeah, sure.

    UNKNOWN: Right behind you, sir.

    LARRY WEILER: I’d like to comment on the–the–the last observation. And for those who are new in this business, never forget what the big bugaboo has been about arms control. It's been the American withdrawal from the ABM treaty. That was a very significant factor and it was two countries who said to each other, “We are in this together,” and to do that they wrote language that said, “We agree that we will not build a defense for the territory of our–we will not build a defense for our–the land of our country,” words to that effect.

    And that was a fundamental decision that we got the hawks and the doves to agree to, and we withdrew from it. And the Russians have since then said, "You can't trust the Americans," and they have a very valid point. It was regarded as a fundamental basis for international security. And we withdrew at a time when Russia was in turmoil. As soon as they became weak, we withdrew. And Bush didn't–Bush Two didn't know what the hell he was doing, and he listened to a bunch of hawks in his Vice President's office and that's how we got out of it.

    And the American public didn't react to it, and since then we have been living with that, and that's fundamental to what the Russians think about it and what other people should think about us. So, keep in mind the fundamental nature of the American withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.

    Obama tried to fudge the issue and was reasonably successful by restating what our missiles were for, but now we are faced with a prospect that we may be in an elimination of that moderating aspect of what Obama did. But keep in mind the fundamental nature of the ABM Treaty that we withdrew from.

    REIF: Thanks, Larry. Yes. So, several questions on the table, I think we're going to end with that round. So, I’ll have you respond to questions, any final comments you might have. Why don't we start with you, Richard, and we'll come back down.

    FIELDHOUSE: So a couple of things. Bruce, to your question about limitations on missile defense–not representing the administration of course, this is a personal view–but having lived through an awful lot of this when I was in the Senate and we all have since then, the administrations both–since we withdrew from the ABM treaty, all the administrations have–have taken the view that because they don't know what's coming next with North Korea, with Iran, not Russia and China, but these other countries, they are not interested in placing limits on our missile defenses.

    And the–the second half of that thought is it's very clear where Congress has been on the issue. I mentioned the–the difficulty with the New START treaty, that was an awful lot about missile defenses and insisting there would be no limits on missile defenses, period, or the treaty doesn't go through. That was a lot of the discussion.

    And so, Congress has been very active in making the point particularly during the Obama administration because there were a lot of concerns that the administration was going to–remember the hot mic issue and the administration was going to cut a secret deal, or such thoughts. And so, the irony of this is, is that the U.S. sort of concern is not in Russian or Chinese ballistic missiles. We obviously are concerned, but we deal with that, as General Hyten from Strategic Command said, by using deterrence and other military means, but our missile defenses really are focused on North Korea and Iran both nationally and regionally, and the United States has made the point, no legally binding limits on missile defenses. That's been a standard platform for the Obama administration, all of them.

    And it seems to me that the way forward that might be useful and lend itself to strategic stability is trying to–to really engage in what I'll call transparency, predictability, sort of having a dialog where we make clear, look, here's what we're planning to do, etc. Now, that may or may not be acceptable to this administration. I think it makes sense as a proposition to try to have clarity and predictability and transparency as the sort of achievable thing.

    REIF: Thanks, Richard. Dr. Oliker?

    OLIKER: There's something religious about missile defense, right? I mean it's–I would argue it's faith-based regardless of which side you're on. The United States is building systems where there's not a lot of evidence that they work even against the threats that the United States has them being built for, moreover it's not clear if those threats are going to emerge in the ways that the United States says that they will. So, you can understand why the Russians are confused.

    From the Russian perspective, you can't convince them of that, you know, because to the Russians it doesn't work either. And American defense industry isn’t going to say this stuff isn't going to work the way we say it will. And, you know, you end up in this weird set of conversations where we say, “Don't worry about it, it can't threaten your deterrent because it just doesn't have that capacity,” and they say, “Yeah, but it could if it develops enough.” And you say, “Have you looked at the physics?” And they say, “Yeah, but you guys are saying it can do X, Y and Z, so surely it can do A, B, and C too,” and you keep having this conversation.

    And I do think saying “no legally binding limits” creates a real problem. It keeps us away from the table. And making unilateral commitments won't do the trick, you know, saying we'll just do this. If I were Russia, I wouldn't be comfortable with that, and I certainly wouldn't come to the table offering anything else up. I might be able to do it as a gesture of good faith, dah-dah-dah-dah-dah, that could be helpful, but they are not going to give us anything for it, I don't think.

    I would also, you know, come to the question of, “Why keep talking to the Russians despite all the problems, why should the Russians keep talking to us after we withdrew from ABM?” I would say the same incentives apply. We don't care as much about parity. We do care about limiting certain Russian capabilities. We do care about limiting our own defense industry. Sorry, we do. And we also care about verification. We care about understanding what their capabilities are–which, absent some of this verification–will be a whole lot harder.

    If anything, you know, I would say, it would be nice for both sides to get more transparency. For instance, on this INF issue that was raised earlier, we can see what the other guys are doing, we'll feel a little bit better about it. So that–I mean there are really good reasons to push this forward, and we are also in a political situation which makes it really hard.

    REIF: Last word.

    FRIEDT: I totally agree with both Olga and Richard on–on all the points and I like the–the–the religious point about missile defense. There is no question missile defense is a religion, period. And that speaks to, I mean, to your point about the ABM treaty and the Russian sensitivity about our getting out of it, even though as Olga pointed out in the beginning, we did so in a fully transparent, legal way, and the treaty had withdrawal provisions and we faithfully abided by those and we got out.

    But it obviously it has colored the Russians and it has colored the dynamic ever since then. And there are so many domestic, I mean, Russian domestic issues–and I'm not going to address it. Olga addressed some of the Russian issues and certainly I look forward. And the Russians do have some real concerns about the treaties, with the CFEs certainly. INF, I mean all of these treaties, one could argue they could be updated, but the question is how does Russia do it?

    For example, we have important things that got in the way of many efforts in terms of dialog. This also gets to missile defense. We had a very good dialog for years in the Obama administration about missile defense transparency, we were on the road to do something very positive to get an agreement. Then we had Russians invade Crimea. No–it didn't help. In fact, it cut off our discussions again.

    But let me just end on this. I am very much an optimist. As I have said in many forums, one has to be an optimist in dealing with these issues. I firmly believe there is a way forward and I do think, “Why does the United States–why do we need dialog?” Because the United States is committed to arms control. Because we are–even more importantly, we are committed to strategic stability with Russia. We have been pursuing strategic stability with Russia–and with the Soviet Union–for decades. It is in our mutual interest and dialog is the answer to the question. We have dialog, we need more.

    UNKNOWN: And they're still (inaudible).

    FRIEDT: They are, it's not as good as we would like. We both–but it's there, absolutely.

    REIF: Well, thank you, Anita Friedt, for ending on a more positive note. These are very difficult processes and challenges that the Arms Control Association will continue to work away at. And thank you to all of you for your engagement and continued support for that effort. And finally, let me thank all of our speakers. Thank you.


    Concluding Panel
    "Building on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action"

    Ambassador Laura Holgate, former U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency

    Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

    Moderated by Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association

    KIMBALL: We have left for the last part of the agenda perhaps one of the more difficult issues that the Arms Control and Nonproliferation regime is facing, the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

    And we're going to discuss for about 45 minutes its nature, what it does and its future as this decision by President Trump in the coming weeks approaches. So as most of you recognize, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action which was concluded two years ago has been blocking Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons.

    The IAEA has confirmed in 10 reports, Iran is complying with its commitments. Yet, President Donald Trump has in the view of the Arms Control Association manufactured a crisis that threatens the future of this agreement.

    So back in January, he announced that, he threatened not to extend U.S. sanctions waivers after May 12th, which is the next deadline unless Washington's European partners – France, Germany, and the U.K. in particular and Congress take steps to fix what Trump thinks are the flaws in the deal.

    And so, now, the E3 states are working with the State Department, specifically Brian Hook, a holdover from the Rex Tillerson State Department to explore ways in which to augment and fortify the JCPOA.

    And the May 12 deadline may not be the final deadline. That is just the date by which the sanctions are supposed to be—the sanctions waivers are supposed to be extended. It still may take some time for the Trump administration to decide to re-impose sanctions if they don't get whatever they are looking for from the E3.

    So we're going to explore these issues in greater depth with two people who are very familiar as policy professionals and practitioners. And we're very pleased to have Laura Holgate and Liz Rosenberg with us.

    And as your program notes, Ambassador Laura Holgate is a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. She is also just rejoined the Nuclear Threat Initiative where she was before.

    I don't know, Laura, what your new title is. What is your new title?

    HOLGATE: As of Monday, I will be vice president for material security and minimization.

    KIMBALL: So vice…

    HOLGATE: The wonkiest title ever.

    KIMBALL: So we'll just call you…

    HOLGATE: Even among my titles.

    KIMBALL: So we'll just call you Vice President Holgate. Would that…

    HOLGATE: Yes. You may call me that.

    KIMBALL: All right, Vice President Holgate. She's also been—after she did a few things at the White House over the past several years including the Nuclear Security Summit process, she was the U.S. representative to the United Nation's International Organizations, including the IAEA in Vienna, so she got to see firsthand the work of the IAEA and the IAEA board in monitoring compliance with Iran's obligations.

    And Liz Rosenberg is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. And from 2009 to 2013, she was a senior advisor at Department of Treasury, working on sanctions, issue related to Iran and other problem states.

    And we at the Arms Control Association, Kelsey Davenport our Nonproliferation Policy Director and I lean on Liz many times to help understand the sanction side of the nonproliferation puzzle.

    And so it's very good to have Liz here because we'll be exploring some of the details of how this post-May 12 period may play out. So with that, I wanted to start by asking Laura about—based on your experience at the NSC, the mission in Vienna, what do we need to remember about where Iran was in 2012, 2013 before the interim agreement that was struck that then led to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, theoretically how close was Iran to getting enough fissile material for a weapon? In other words why is the JCPOA important?

    HOLGATE: Great starting question. When the negotiating process with Iran was begun the assessment was that Iran was two or three months from being able to create enough fissile material to use to make a weapon.

    Now, the experts in the room know that there are a lot of other steps between having the material, being able to weaponize it, being able to miniaturize it, being able to put it on the frontend of a missile, having a missile that works.

    I mean there are a lot of other steps past that but those—the time lines for those are almost impossible to gauge. What you can gauge is how long does it take to make fissile material and in the quantities that are relevant for nuclear weapons.

    And so the judgment was as of 2013 that that was two to three months. And that was just too close for comfort, because as important as the technical capacity was for Iran and I'll say a little bit more about that in a minute was the Iranian intention.

    And I think even by—by 2013, it was well understood that Iran was not racing to a bomb. Iran was—had built a steadily ambiguous program, a program that had some pieces that were explicitly hidden from the IAEA, other pieces that were not. That their goal was to be close enough—to be able sprint for a bomb if they made the decision to go to that weapon, move from an ambiguous peaceful program to an intentionally weapons program.

    And that is an important thing to understand, that they had not yet made that decision as of 2013. Now—but what they did have was a fair amount of what we would call high-assay of low-enriched uranium.

    So, uranium in the 19 percent range of enrichment and for again in this audience I can talk about things like the hockey sticker when it comes to SWU inputs, in other words it takes a lot more work to make 19 percent highly enriched – 19 percent enriched uranium than it does to go from 19 percent to 20 percent.

    So that's where your sprint comes in. Yes, from 19 percent to 90 percent. That's where the sprint comes in, is you're pretty close. It's not linear. So having that much material that was already close to being weapons usable was already problematic.

    They also had 2,000 centrifuges spinning at two different enrichment locations in Natanz and Fordow. They were in the process of building the Iraq heavy water reactor, which was masquerading as a research reactor, but it was essentially a plutonium production reactor.

    And so that would have been a second type of material that they could have used in a bomb. And they had ambitions were in the early stages of developing a reprocessing capability which would have been needed to extract the plutonium from the spent fuel from that Iraq reactor.

    So they had multiple different paths to achieving the kind of material that they would have needed to make a weapon if they had—if and when the leadership of the country decided that they really needed a weapon. But they had not made that decision yet.

    KIMBALL: But, Laura, I understand that this is the worst deal ever. And that it really didn't…

    HOLGATE: I don't.

    KIMBALL: So that's where it was. What does the JCPOA do to curb those capabilities? Where are we today as a result of the JCPOA?

    HOLGATE: So there were a lot of things that needed to happen before the JCPOA actually started to take effect and some of those were creating some irreversible depletions of those capabilities that Iran had initially.

    First of all was to remove all of the high-assay LEU, so that no longer had a starting point. Second was to limit any amounts of LEU that they could have in, to 3.67 percent, so that's a significant—that requires in a significant amount of work to go from that low-enrichment level to a 90 percent enrichment that you would need to make a weapon. And when you only have three kilograms of it and even if you were to start with that three kilograms of the 3.6, try to enrich it up to being a meaningful quantity from a weapons point of view, you wouldn't get—you wouldn't have enough.

    So that's two, both the quantity and the quality of enriched uranium were importantly limited. The centrifuges were dismantled from 20,000 to 6,000 and were put under very tight surveillance, not just the ones that were spinning but also the places that centrifuge parts were manufactured. The places for centrifuge R&D was going and so on.

    The Iraq reactor was disabled. I learned the word calandria as a result of this process and that if it is essentially as a reactor vessel. It was filled with cement, permanently disabled and damaged.

    The heavy water was removed from the country, the excess heavy water and then limited to only a certain amount that they can have. Heavy water is not something that you can use to make weapons usable material directly but it is important for the operation of the kind of reactor that they were originally designing the Iraq reactor to be.

    The spent fuel that had been already been generated or that will be generated in the future associated with that reactor has to be removed. And then the most intrusive verification regime ever developed was applied.

    Not only the additional protocol which is the kind of top level of IAEA safeguards that were applied to over a 100 countries globally, Iran agreed to accept that level on a provisional basis pending ultimate ratification of the additional protocol, but then there was a whole bunch of other stuff that the IAEA is confirming about Iran's behavior that is not part of what normally happens, of heavy water limits, centrifuge parks, uranium mining, uranium conversion activities, the manufacturer of centrifuges.

    And then there is even this procurement channel that is not an IAEA aspect, but it's a UN aspect that it is a way to provide international supervision on any potentially dual use equipment or materials that might be going into Iran.

    And so, there is an extensive mechanism here. And that has done has given everyone confidence, well, maybe not everyone, it gives confidence that two to three month period that we had before the JCPOA is now a one-year period, that it would take Iran a year between decision to sprint towards a weapons program. Kick out the inspectors, reactivate facilities and so on.

    It would take them a year to manufacture enough weapons usable nuclear material to make a weapon. And so that's a year in which a whole range of activities all across the spectrum from demarches to kinetic could be employed, were those to be, determined to be the right answers.

    But the other thing that it did, it didn't just buy us a year of time to deal with an Iranian weapons decision, it gave us 10 years to—and 10 years at a minimum and many much longer for other pieces of the puzzle to try to change the reality of the politics in the region.

    And the Iran deal was never sold as being the final end to an Iran nuclear weapons program. What it did was it bought time to change what might motivate the Iranians to choose to take a step towards a weapons program.

    And to use this time which now is down to being seven and eight years instead of the 10 years we had to really improve the politics in the Middle East that a weapons decision would be a response to.

    And so I think, frankly, both the previous and the current administration have not spent that time well, looking at the broader challenges of the politics in the region.

    KIMBALL: Well, so let's—let me just ask you about that a little bit because one of the flaws that President Trump outlined back in January 12 is his criticism that the JCPOA expires. There are sunset provisions that will end and that will then allow the Iranians to sprint to the bomb.

    So, how do we address that problem? As you said, I mean, the JCPOA was never sold as the permanent solution for the potential for an Iranian nuclear weapons program, but given the realities that we have in the Middle East, which are difficult, how can we in concept in an ideal world build on the deal?

    In other words, what would a smart approach be to build upon the core elements of the JCPOA with Iran directly or maybe regionally? What are your thoughts?

    HOLGATE: Well, first of all, it's important to understand there are several critical aspects of the JCPOA that are permanent, that are indefinite that last or are not time limited anyway. One is the additional protocol as Director General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said, there is no country that has successfully created a covert weapons program while under the application of the additional protocol rules. So that's already a high standard there.

    Iran also reiterated in its—in the JCPOA the pledge that it had already undertaken in the NPT never to develop a weapons program. That lasts forever and then it has an international legally binding treaty basis because it was simply a restatement of a commitment they had already made.

    There are other aspects that are at the much more technical level that have a much longer timeframe. And then as you cascade, I mean we've all seen the waterfall charts of the timelines of what pieces expire when. I'm not going to recreate those from memory, but certainly it doesn't all end at 10 years.

    Much of it lasts forever, much of it lasts longer. And the rational thing to think about is as you approach those dates with a solid track record, either a solid track record of implementation and verification and compliance which is what we have until now or concerns about verification and compliance. Then when you get to year eight or nine is the time to start talking about what do we need to do differently if this agreement is going to continue.

    And you also have to base it on the political context at the time. What is the broader political environment in the Middle East. What are these threats or perceived threats to which Iran's weapons decisions or ambivalence decisions might be responding. But to try to jump from year two or three of implementation to already thinking about what are you going to change in year 10 is vastly premature.

    KIMBALL: Yes. Okay. So one other question for you and then I'm going to switch to some questions about the future of the agreement and bring Liz into the conversation. But you are working at the White House on these issues. You're part of the meetings and the discussions backstopping the talks that Wendy Sherman and others led, and then you were at the IAEA, looking at how the agency was working this.

    Now, Donald Trump and his team says that the mechanisms for inspections that the JCPOA allows for, including the additional protocol and the other measures, that's not enough. And we need to have a more robust inspection authority when we get the Europeans to agree with us.

    What's your reaction to that? What does the agency itself say about whether it needs more inspection authority, whether there has been resistance that is preventing them from verifying Iranian compliance?

    HOLGATE: Well, first of all, I'm going to set your characterization straight a little bit because there are too many people here in the room who know I had nothing to do with the Iran deal until I went to Vienna.

    KIMBALL: Okay. All right.

    HOLGATE: So I was not part of that backstopping team. But I did see it on the ground in Vienna that work directly with the IAEA safeguards teams, the close cooperation that those teams had with the experts on my team in the U.S. mission there. The reach-back capability we had to the U.S. national laboratories to answer technical questions that were coming from the safeguards community within the secretary and at the IAEA.

    And I have to say, to see the level of professionalism from a technical point of view, from a judgment point of view, from the safeguards team, all the way up to DG Amano on this issue was quite impressive.

    They were always responsive issues that the U.S. brought forward. We tried to be as quickly and as quickly responsive to any technical questions that they brought forward and there was a real transparency of—on the implementation process while respecting appropriately the safeguards confidentiality of certain types of information that the safeguards inspectors would have had access to inside Iran.

    So, it was never raised by—in any of those conversations from the safeguards community inside Iran or inside the IAEAs as oh, gee, we wish we could do this or if only we had this information we would be able to say this with more certainty or anything like that.

    We invented some new technology for them. The famous enrichment level monitoring contraption.

    KIMBALL: Online Enrichment Monitor.

    HOLGATE: Yes, OLEM. I'm out of practice talking about it. The online enrichment monitoring device which actually derive from an old—from a U.S.-Russian gizmo that had been invented in connection with HEU purchase agreement and the blend down of the 500 metric tons of Russian highly-enriched uranium.

    So we did have a little bit of an interesting moment of a U.S.-Russian technology being now applied in a third country environment, which is pretty cool, and kudos to the Oakridge folks who were the ones who were able to make that extrapolation.

    And the JCPOA also provides some mechanical capacity over and above the traditional safeguards in terms of creating a snapback arrangement to bolster the ability—bolster the additional protocols ability to have the IAEA inspectors visit any site at which they had a concern, and so whereas that exist for any additional protocol, if the host country chooses to draw out that conversation then there's a potential that it could last too long to be useful. For the purposes of the Iran deal, there's a very specific time limited decision-making process if in fact the IAEA does not get adequately quickly satisfaction from Iran that actually creates automatic snapback of sanctions, so a pretty heavy hammer should Iran challenge the IAEA rights under the EP.

    The IAEA has not asked to see military facilities because they have had no concern about that. Iran has not refused any particular visits to any military facilities in association with the JCPOA. So, I think those are two important facts to be sure that are registered.

    KIMBALL: So I want to bring Liz into the conversation. I want to ask both of you the same question to get your reactions. As I mentioned there is this May 12th sanctions waiver extension deadline, the E3 parties and the Trump administration are negotiating on ways to for a lack of a better way of putting it, augment the JCPOA outside of the nuclear provisions.

    And as we understand it, it's been reported this is kind of a three-part negotiation on Iran's ballistic missile activities which fall outside the JCPOA itself, on the regional behavior of Iran and how the U.S. and Europe might cooperate and on the so-called sunset provisions, some of the elements in the JCPOA that relate to nuclear that might expire, what do they do together.

    So in essence, what do you expect might come out of this? What can come out of it? And what needs to be avoided over the coming weeks. It's a very open question. I don’t know, Liz, you might want to start and Laura can jump in.

    ROSENBERG: Okay. Thank you. And thanks for the opportunity to be here with you and to have this conversation. So what comes out of this conversation, well, there is a set of things that have already come out of it and then they come out of it, pursuant to further discussions at the State Department led by Brian Hook is to having with counterparts in the E3 political directors and their deputies.

    And also those same—the E3 are having conversations with members of Congress and communities of jurisdiction or who are clearly stakeholders on this issue. That's not part of a formal U.S. administration E3 process seeking a statement, a joint statement or a joint piece of paper or a joint press conference, any of those things are possible that the goal is to try and bring together in some slightly more formalized way, the United States and the E3 to—with an agreement about how to address these three things.

    So interestingly, I think that the—it appears that the U.S. position, what the U.S. administration was asking for a permanent E3 when it comes to ballistic missiles and regional activity, maybe less than what the E3 was willing to do. So, cross that off the list. There is an ample opportunity to get to yes there when it comes to those particular people having a conversation.

    KIMBALL: And when we're talking about ballistic missile behavior, we're talking about ballistic missile transfers from Iran to other parties, right? I mean just to be more specific.

    ROSENBERG: There are two sets of concerns, obviously, the expansion of their arsenal and technology, equipment, procurement agents, absolutely and then as well as proliferating that technology to other interested customers. Right, so all of that is there. And Europe has at the level of EU as well as individual member states have a long history of interest and concern on this issue.

    They have plenty of their own sanctions on Iran related to ballistic missiles that exist now in the era of JCPOA. So there's a lot of opportunity for them to do more their—I understand that the really difficult part is how do we get to an agreement on the sunset issue and to make it particularly challenging, there's couple of factors here, a couple of considerations. One is that the U.S. administration, I think what they are looking for is the word sanctions. An intent to—for Europe to use sanctions if—and you can offer the technical lingo to fill this out, but my understanding is if Iran steps out of the bounds that begin to expire after the expiration date. That's a simple vernacular I've tried to use in this.

    But you can amplify that. And the challenge here is that I think some of the European counterparts are allergic to using those words. That's very uncomfortable. And to get into a place where there is—the interpretation on the European side is if you go so far is to say that that will happen or there is an intent for that to happen, that is broadly perceived there to be rewriting the agreement and that's just a no-no.

    It’s too political uncomfortable and there is not—and furthermore, I think they take very seriously the challenge of committing their future governments to this obligation, which I think is much more lightly undertaken here in the United States.

    Anyway, then there is the other challenge which is what the White House ultimately says about any agreement that the State Department manages to get to with the E3 counterparts and whether notwithstanding the fact that the E3 and the State Department may come to agreement on these issues including the sunset issue, whether that will be palatable and sufficient for the president and that's something that no one can answer, period.

    So that, of course, is quite a disincentive for Europeans to exert a lot of effort and political capital including getting to an uncomfortable place with some of their own domestic constituencies on these issue and viewing that, other European states have thrown up barriers and difficulties to adoption at the EU level of new measures to advance these particular concerns in the form of sanctions at the EU.

    So that makes it more difficult too. I do perceive that in the last week or two there has been a doubling down of effort on the part of the Europeans to try and work with the Americans, also indirectly with the U.S. Congress, a set of important pacesetters or policy shapers on the hill to try very hard to come to a set of agreements which no one has guarantees will ultimately succeed with the president, but nevertheless, people are working very hard on these three issues.

    KIMBALL: So, Laura, what do you think can be accomplished? What should be avoided, perhaps avoided by our European partners who are trying to uphold this agreement?

    HOLGATE: I think a good faith showing as they are doing I think that's the critical part of it. I completely agree with Liz, we don't know—nobody knows where the goal posts are or whether they will move, even when they've been stated, whether they will stay where they have been put.

    And so it incredibly complicates the effort. And I worry very much. I mean this is more in—Liz's bailiwick, but that the kinds of secondary sanctions and other things that might start to happen if we can't find a common perspective will bust open what has been to me a remarkable durable common perspective, not just with the U.S. and the Europeans but with China and Russia as well.

    KIMBALL: Yes.

    HOLGATE: And so, if we mess with that, that really starts to tear away at the coherence of—that we saw when Iran was kind of challenging the boundaries in the 2016 timeframe of the agreement, and where they faced an impenetrable wall of opprobrium from the other members of the P5+1. If we start—if the U.S. and Europe start to come apart a little bit, then I worry very much about the ability to keep a common perspective against any future efforts of Iran to test boundaries or worse yet, go past them.

    KIMBALL: And I will just note, just this morning there was a very significant statement that came out from Europe, 500, French, German, U.K., parliamentarians issuing a call I think directed to the U.S. Congress, urging them to do what they can to ensure that the United States does not violate the JCPOA, stays in the agreement.

    And a couple of days ago, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini making a very clear statement that the EU will follow through and uphold the JCPOA and defend the JCPOA. But still, there are only certain number of things that can be done.

    And so, I wanted to turn to Liz to the question of what will happen if we—if what we expect does happen, which is that President Trump fails to extend the sanctions waivers, that would have to happen on the 12th of May or maybe earlier.

    Would that put the U.S. in technical violation of the JCPOA from a legal perspective? What are your thoughts? And what would the international reaction be at that point and particularly perhaps your thoughts about Iran and, Laura, if you want to talk about this too? Because—what is today? The 19th, okay. This is just two weeks away.

    Your thoughts.

    ROSENBERG: Well, when you put it like that. So as a purely legal matter, if the president comes up to May 12 and hasn't rolled over and by the way this is a delegated authority, it wouldn't be him who signs the thing anyway. But obviously it's so significant politically that he has to approve that this should happen. If the administration does not renew the set of 120-day waivers offering a set of relief from sanctions to an array of non-U.S. companies, then technically, all of that activity that had been permitted is no longer permitted, which means if you continue to do it, it's a violation of these sanctions.

    And there is civil and criminal liability associated with that. So, there are some people who are peddling the notion that it's not illegal until it's enforced, which is sort of like saying it's not illegal to speed unless the cop comes and pulls you over.

    So, it's still illegal as a legal matter. Now, I will offer that if that particular scenario happens, so when we get to May 12 and the sanctions waivers, those waivers are not rolled over, it will be incredibly confusing legally to an array, to the whole world that might actually be interested and in complying with U.S. law and staying on the right side of the U.S. for purposes of using the dollar in the U.S. economy, which basically describes just about everyone in that 80 percent of global trade transactions are conducted in the dollar. And I don't have to explain the significance to you all, but so that sets up a situation where there is lots of—there is lots of liability. The administration will have to explain whether that shall be effectuated, shall go into effect in 180 days.

    And there are a number of 180-day markers that probably indicate that would be a reasonable default. There is a piece of guidance that the Obama administration put out in January, 2016 that said, it was a long Q&A about all of the things—questions about how these sanctions are rolled off as part of the JCPOA and planted them there way at the end is a question.

    Well, what happens if sanctions are re-imposed? And it says there'll be an 180-day period where these wind up. And so, if you have—many kinds of contracts that are in practice, you can continue and execute the contract and then you got to get out, et cetera.

    The Trump administration doesn't have to be bound by that. They doesn't have to be a 180 days and some of the sanctions that would—these 120-day ones that are tied to that May 12th deadline. They are energy sanctions, so they bear relevance to Iran's ability to sell its petroleum. And they created, when they were in force, the requirement for six remaining significant purchasers of Iranian oil to significantly reduce their amount of petroleum purchases every 180 days.

    So there's another 180-day marker, that might mean that after a 180 days after May 12th these purchasers of Iranian oil would have to show themselves to be significantly reducing it, et cetera. You see where I'm going. There are a lot of questions about who this applies to because in 2012, Europe wasn't purchasing Iranian oil, now they are.

    KIMBALL: Now they are, yes.

    ROSENBERG: So, yes, you take—so, the short of this is, yes, the U.S. would be in violation come May 12th. And I think political counterparts of the United States and independent observers and lawyers of the world over will point that out.

    KIMBALL: And it will also start having a real world effect on the trade investment that is going on.


    KIMBALL: And will contribute to Iran's argument which is becoming more and more valid that the United States is taking actions that are contrary to its obligations to relieve it of the sanctions. And so, Laura, let me just come back to you about—I mean, this is a speculative question, but I think it's important one to consider given where all this is headed is Iran has these latent capabilities that were pulled back, decreased because of the JCPOA.

    What kinds of things might the Iranians do if this keeps going in this direction? Just real quick what might we look forward to if we don't find a way out of this dead-end?

    HOLGATE: Well, just like with U.S. policy, there have been a number of different Iranian policies stated in public. And some have said that—some Iranian voices have said that they will continue to comply with the JCPOA focusing on the Europeans and Chinese and Russians continued observance of that.

    I don't know what that means regarding secondary sanctions. But there is at least that statement. More recently, there has been a statement that they will not continue to comply. They themselves would feel unbound, unlimited by the constraints of the JCPOA if the U.S. pulls out, irrespective of what any of the other parties do.

    And then there have also been statements that they will return—they can return as quickly—they will return as quickly as they possibly can to the level of capacity or even more that they had for either the uranium path or the plutonium path to the bomb.

    Again, some of these constraints were permanent, but there are workarounds if they are not under the supervision and verification implications of the JCPOA. And so that's where the one year comes in. So we have a year to prepare.

    And it all goes back to what is Iran's intent. If they were not yet intent on making a weapon in 2013, if they validated that lack of intent in the text, in the actions associated with the JCPOA, does the U.S. departure change their calculation about that intent?

    Do they decide that now, that the U.S. is no longer using diplomacy to try to achieve the U.S. goals that next ratchet is not just through sanctions but to something kinetic? Do they decide that that is the trigger that will actually cause them to cross that path that they have not crossed in the last 15 or more years? So…

    ROSENBERG: Can I just respond?

    HOLGATE: Yes.

    ROSENBERG: So just to add a little more. It's obviously not the U.S. and Iran whose race is it to double down on the threat. When several weeks back, we heard from his Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran say we're going to move towards a nuclear weapons capacity. We heard the same thing said by the Saudis.

    HOLGATE: Right.

    ROSENBERG: So it's not just two actors here. We're watching for the potential to escalate and that's probably just the beginning of the universe of actors who are planning to make mischief in the scenario where the U.S. and European allies are divided.

    HOLGATE: Absolutely.

    ROSENBERG: And where there's a much more uncertain perspective on nuclear arms control globally.

    HOLGATE: Absolutely.

    ROSENBERG: And also as a security measure in the Middle East.

    HOLGATE: Now, I think that's just right.

    KIMBALL: Yes.

    HOLGATE: If anyone who is worried about Saudis’ interest in nuclear weapons, the best possible thing you can do is preserve the JCPOA and that it—at least delays and creates some opportunities to adjust Iran's path towards a bomb, so…

    KIMBALL: Right. And that's an argument that Kingston Reif and I and Kelsey have been making in connection with the coming Congressional debate on the proposed Saudi 123 Agreement.

    Well, before I get to the next question about what we can do about the situation? What the Europeans can do? I mean, we just commented, to bring this conversation very briefly back to the beginning of the day and the discussion about the NPT and the future of the NPT and the upcoming PrepCom on the 2020 Review Conference.

    I think it's fair to say—I think I'm channeling Ambassador Higgie, the threat to the NPT if—is not the ban treaty, the threat to the NPT is the possibility that the North Korean nuclear problem continues to get further out of hand.

    And if this fix to the nonproliferation regime, which is the JCPOA is removed, we're opening Pandora's Box in the Middle East. I mean it's pretty clear and obvious. And so, I hope this is something that in Geneva that is raised by a number of delegations because we need to connect these dots.

    So, let me just come back to Liz, and I'm going to ask a question I don't know the answer to. I don't know—I think she's got a better chance of answering this question. It's sort of answerable, but if we head towards in this direction, what kinds of measures can our European allies, the E3 and the EU 28 as a whole and maybe the Chinese and the Russians take in order to sustain the trade and investment that would be necessary to persuade the Iranians that staying in this deal is worthwhile. And that's what Laura was referring to.

    So, I mean, what particular legal, financial mechanisms are possible? And…

    ROSENBERG: Yes. I don't have great answer for you. So, realistically, I don't think there's much viability for Europeans as the EU on a national level to create a protected channel or a white channel with Iran to try and safeguard some commercial activity and payment from U.S. sanctions.

    The same thing with the other attempts that—revising their blocking legislation which would safeguard or prevent companies that are legal persons in the EU from abiding by non-national sanctions, well, I will just say U.S. law.

    And the reason why is that any company of reasonable size, so even a regional European company wants access to use the dollar in even if they don't plan on having U.S. commercial counterparts and they want to be able to avail themselves of U.S. technology, which is ubiquitous from everything from human resources software, applications to industrial process software.

    I mean the universe is very broad here as well as U.S. natural persons like any of you who might offer them counsel, legal counsels, strategic advice. I mean all of that is not permitted if you're on the wrong end of the sanctions and enforcement actions.

    So, no reasonable company wants to be made the test case of this, even if their government want to stand up because they are very frustrated legitimately at being bullied by the United States and asked to capitulate on strongly-held domestic issues which, by the way, might cause them their political mandate and viability in standing where they are in Europe.

    But nevertheless, the only such white channels that have existed have been within the boundaries of sanctions programs, so and tie this to Iran sanctions in 2012 on, those years in their worldwide channels for permitted purchases of Iranian oil and certain South Korean and Japanese and Indian bank.

    And after a great struggle and tedious legal work it does occur when doing things like trying to deliver aid money to aid workers in Syria, et cetera, but this only comes with the blessing of the regulators and enforcement officers in the United States.

    So I cannot see that happening, so unfortunately, my take away from that is it is even more important to try every last chance to keep this deal in place because that future looks like the only people who will continue to do business are people interested in violating the sanctions intentionally or circumventing them in some way or pushing China faster towards a non-U.S. because they can't really do this in Europe, but China could with the volume and liquidity and available bank funds.

    And they've done it before and were sanctioned for under the Iran's sanctions regime to create a kind of carve out, a bank that will only do our own business, for example, to permit Chinese or other entities to be able to do that in violation of U.S. sanctions.

    KIMBALL: Okay. Well, I told you at the beginning of the day, this was not going to necessarily be an uplifting conference by the time we were done. And those little tins unfortunately have mints in them. They don't have (inaudible), so we can make you instantly happy.

    But I want to give you folks a chance to ask a couple of questions. We're running short on time. Raise your hands. I want to encourage people who've not asked a question before in the middle, Ryan (ph).

    If—there is this gentleman with a mustache, who I know is very knowledgeable about Ed Levine. These issues.

    (UNKNOWN): (inaudible).

    KIMBALL: All right, Ryan (?), to him, please.


    KIMBALL: (inaudible) oh my goodness. You've shaved it okay. Ed? Your question.

    QUESTION: Edward Levine, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. I just wonder in the event that the agreement falls apart or is perceived to be falling apart, what is to prevent Russia from repatriating the enriched uranium to Iran?

    KIMBALL: Laura, real quick.

    HOLGATE: Okay. Nothing.

    QUESTION: And how would that affect the timelines for a sprint?

    HOLGATE: It would certainly shrink them significantly, whether Russia really has an incentive to do that is a different question, but there is nothing as long as it goes—is kind of safeguards activity within Iran that's okay.

    KIMBALL: And I would just add as we go—Mallory do you want to take the next question please?

    I mean one other thing to think about is Russia has since JCPOA began lining up agreements with Iran for the construction of Russian reactors and the supply of Russian fuel to Iran, which would obviate the need, the economic need for Iran to read, constitute an enrichment, domestic enrichment program.

    So it's very much in Russia's financial interest, not to mention the security interest to keep the deal in place because they're not going to—Iran is not going to need the Russian fuel if they can produce their own.

    Mallory Stewart, your question.

    QUESTION: Thank you. I apologize in advance for a little bit of a leading question, but it's to Ambassador Holgate. Given your experience internationally with disagreement and with other countries' reactions to it, and given the talk this morning about the DPRK watching every move that happens with the JCPOA, more broadly do you see any lasting and long-term effects to the U.S.'s credibility as an entity that can engage in political commitments that have been important throughout the history of arms control.

    Moving forward, right? In terms of some of our most important agreements, political agreements have been nonbinding and how can countries take us seriously if from administration to administration we give up that capacity to allow for continuity?

    HOLGATE: Well, I just even in 2016, when I was in Vienna, I was hearing from my ambassadorial counterparts of concern about the uncertainty that might come along with the change of U.S. administration and what that would mean for their ability to have confidence in my successor who by the way is among those ambassadors that has not yet been able to take up post.

    So we have an extremely capable charge d'affaires but we have no ambassador in the IAEA to be sitting with counterparts, with the DG, having the kind of conversations that it takes an ambassador to have about what to expect, how to mitigate the fall out—sorry, the damage.


    KIMBALL: (inaudible) work for this.

    HOLGATE: So, I think both very tactically in terms of the next few months in Vienna and especially in the NPT space when we have a whole bunch of challenging conversations coming up there.

    How can, in fact, the U.S. be taken seriously when there is no problem with the performance against the agreement. That is the biggest concern. When the U.S. has problems, I mean there's been a lot of debate about the INF treaty, but we can say what our problem is with it.

    This is—it's a fully functioning complied with agreement by our relevant parties, and even then we can't be trusted to stick with it. And that I think significantly under binds our credibility as a partner, as a leader, as a champion of norms that have been bipartisan since their very origins.

    ROSENBERG: We will be remised if we didn't just note that and I think we can all agree this is actually is just the tip of the iceberg. What we ought to—and in fact, let's not miss the forest for the trees. The broad concern is that the U.S. and its traditional closest security allies risk losing little what shred is left of credibility and trust on an array of economic and security issues that they—there's entire global, legal, political, strategic framework built around close cooperation of these on an array topics. And that's the bigger cost we must bear in mind.

    KIMBALL: All right. Well, that's going to be—have to be where we end this conversation on the future and challenges on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. I want to thank you both for giving us a hard dose of reality, laying out the issues.

    The Arm Controls Association continues to work with Liz and Laura and many other colleagues in this room to try to encourage the White House and others to see the light on this. And we will continue to turn out our analysis and our information with the leadership of Kelsey Davenport, our nonproliferation policy director and others.

    But we're about to close our meeting today. And before I turn it over to Tom Countryman who's going to give us some closing remarks, let's applaud for Elizabeth and Laura.


    Thomas Countryman,Chair
    Arms Control Association Board of Directors

    COUNTRYMAN: So briefly, a couple of logistical points, several thank-yous and a couple of personal comments. First, logistically, we intend to have both audio and video of today's event posted on our website by the end of the day today.

    We should have a transcript of today's event available online at our website next week. I encourage you to use your computer skills, mine are strictly 20th century, but I manage, to share either the entire event or the parts that you found most interesting with the people that you know want to learn about these issues.

    A number of thank-yous. We always, every year have this event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. We want to thank them for their extraordinary support, great conference services and beautiful facility.

    We want to thank those who have sponsored this event, either by sponsoring a table or by making an extra donation to enable us to put on this event. I want to thank all of our speakers today and to start with those who receive the Arms Control Person of the Year Award.

    You are not just governments’ partners, you are our partners as well in the NGO community. And I think your accomplishment over the last year that we recognized today shows what can occur at the intersection of realism and idealism if you believe in it with enough, I mean a hell of a lot of hard work. So, thank you for joining us today for this.


    COUNTRYMAN: And I want to thank all the other speakers who participated; in particular, those from the U.S. government, Andrea Hall and Anita Friedt, even as I get concerned about some of the policy statements of this administration.

    I mean it when I say that I'm reassured to know that some of the best, most experienced minds in U.S. government are still hard at work on these issues with the same dedication. And I want to thank as well, of course, all of those who continue to work on these issues at NGOs and other institutions around Washington.

    Let me thank also the staff team that put this event together, especially our program and policy associate that's been managing the conference, Shervin Taheran.


    COUNTRYMAN: Our Communications Director, Tony Fleming.


    COUNTRYMAN: I hope you have all noticed how beautiful the Arms Control Today magazine is as it has entered into the 21st century as well and the man responsible is Allen Harris.


    COUNTRYMAN: And all the policy team, our interns—Kelly, Ryan, Matt; our volunteers—Liz and Sidra. Let me say a word about Daryl Kimball. To run this organization, you need a manager. You need a communicator. You need an analyst. You need a leader. And you need a visionary.

    And Daryl has fulfilled those five roles for just one salary. For more than 15 years—


    COUNTRYMAN: —and we try to thank him at least once a year.

    KIMBALL: It's all it takes, Tom.

    COUNTRYMAN: Let me say why I'm up here. On the occasion of my timely retirement last year—okay, it was unexpectedly timely—I decided that I wanted to, number one, be retired, be a little bit lazy. But number two, when I wasn't being lazy, to associate myself with the work of the Arms Control Association. I made that choice because throughout my time as assistant secretary, I saw the quality and the practicality of the analysis that they made about the issues we were grappling with and the timeliness of the work that they were doing.

    And so, when I came out of government and started working with ACA, I was surprised, and it confirmed my decision, to learn that this is a fairly small NGO by Washington standards. This is not big, either in budget or in the amount of staff that we have.

    And so, I was doubly astounded by the quality and quantity of work that they put out under Daryl's leadership. And it reinforced my determination to do what I can to help. As I got into it, I think I began a new learning process for myself a year ago.

    How does a non-governmental organization work with other non-governmental organizations? How does a non-governmental organization work with a non-organized government?


    COUNTRYMAN: And that issue I think has passed us. But the necessity remains to essentially wear trifocal glasses in this work. As Daryl just mentioned, the number of issues that are confronting us at once—issues on which we still have the capability to share information, analysis, and recommendations with the U.S government—are I think unprecedented. And they go far beyond the nuclear field, of course.

    Issues on which we still have the capability to share information, analysis, and recommendations with the U.S government are I think unprecedented. And they go far beyond the nuclear field, of course.

    And we've got to have that short-term “What is today's hot issue?” vision. We also have to be ready for how political circumstances change. Are we ready to work in a new political environment in the United States whether it's after 2018 or 2020 or sometime in the future?

    Are we thinking about the opportunities ahead? And finally, do we have a very long-term vision about the inevitable technological change in the security field and whether we have the capability to make wise choices?

    I think we have a fantastic team that is able to keep their eyes at three different focal lengths simultaneously. And so, and you knew I was leading up to this—I encourage your support. I welcome your support for the ACA.

    I know that most of the people in this room already are a member. I hope that you would consider making additional contributions. If you're not a member, this is a great time to sign up. Those same wonderful interns and staff are still here to help you do that.

    It is a bargain. It starts at just $25 a year in order to be the best-informed person on your block on all WMD issues. So, if you would like to sign up or if you're not sure about the status of your membership or you want to increase your commitment, come see Shervin.

    So, thank you once again. We're united in a determination to make the world a safer place. The theme of today's meeting, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the realization of all of its goals and commitments are what unite us.

    I look forward to being in touch with all of you.




    Remarks to the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on Nuclear Weapons Launch Procedures



    By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
    Arms Control Association
    March 5, 2018
    Annapolis, Maryland

    Good afternoon. I want to commend Delegates Queen, Gibson, and Gutierrez for introducing House Joint Resolution 12, which:

    … “calls upon Maryland’s Congressional delegation to take all necessary steps to establish a system of checks and balances with regard to the first use of nuclear weapons and to ensure that the President of the United States shall no longer have the sole and unchecked authority to launch nuclear weapons, except in circumstances of retaliation.”

    At this very moment, the United States and Russia each deploy massive strategic nuclear arsenals, approximately 1,550 bombs on each side. Each side possesses thousands more nonstrategic warheads and warheads in reserve. These arsenals are far in excess of what it would take to decimate the other and far more that is required to deter a nuclear attack.

    Executive Director Daryl Kimball testifies before the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on legislation urging its congressional delegation to support limits on presidential nuclear launch authority. (Photo: Maryland General Assembly)Worse still, each side maintains a significant portion of its land and sea-based missile forces on a prompt launch posture to guard against a “disarming” first strike.

    As a result, there are roughly 800 U.S. nuclear warheads – all of which are far more powerful than the weapons that destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 – that can be launched within about 15 minutes of an order by the president and the president alone.

    In most scenarios, the president would have just minutes to listen to the list of retaliatory options and decide whether or not to order one of the nuclear strike plans. No cabinet secretary, adviser, or military official has the authority to override the president’s decision. Congress currently has no say in the matter.

    Current U.S. nuclear policy also allows for the possible use of nuclear weapons first, or in response to a non-nuclear attack on the U.S. or our allies, such as in a conflict on the Korean peninsula.

    Continuing to vest such destructive power in the hands of one person and to maintain a prompt-launch posture is undemocratic, irresponsible, unnecessary and untenable.

    Cavalier and reckless statements from President Donald Trump about nuclear weapons use and threatening and boastful comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin about his country’s nuclear retaliatory capabilities underscore the risks of a system that puts the authority to launch nuclear weapons in the hands of these individuals.

    Defenders of the status quo argue that altering the current system would deprive the president of the ability to respond quickly in a crisis—including by using nuclear weapons first in response to a non-nuclear attack—and undermine the credibility of deterrence.

    Such arguments ignore the fact that throughout the history of the nuclear age, there have been several incidents in which false signals of an attack have prompted U.S. and Russia officials to consider, in the dead of the night and under the pressure of time, launching nuclear weapons in retaliation.

    The reality is that this “launch-under-attack” policy is unnecessary because U.S. nuclear forces and command-and-control systems could withstand even a massive attack. Given the size, accuracy, and diversity of U.S. forces, the remaining nuclear force would be more than sufficient to deliver a devastating blow to any nuclear aggressor.

    In addition, retaining the option to use nuclear weapons first is unnecessary and risky. Given the overwhelming conventional military edge of the United States and its allies, there is no plausible circumstance that could justify—legally, morally, or militarily—the use of nuclear weapons to deal with a non-nuclear threat.

    As then-Vice President Joe Biden said in public remarks in January 2017: “Given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today’s threats—it’s hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary. Or make sense.”

    Congress and the executive branch can and should take a number of steps to reduce these dangers:

    • Requiring that a decision to use nuclear weapons be made by more than one person. This could include the president, vice president, secretaries of state and defense, and perhaps one or more designated members of Congress, such as the speaker of the House or Senate majority leader.
    • Prohibiting the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) have introduced bipartisan legislation the "Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017" that would put this policy into place.
    • Eliminating the requirement to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles under attack, which would increase the time available to consider the possible use of nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack against the United States or its allies.
    • Declaring that the United States will not be the first to use nuclear weapons and that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack. Congressman Adam Smith and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee has introduced H.R. 4415 to establish a “No First Policy” for nuclear weapons.
    • Clarify that only Congress can authorize U.S.-initiated military action against North Korea, which would likely result in a nuclear exchange, and urge the administration to “avoid actions that could contribute to a breakdown in talks, and continue to search for confidence-building measures that are conducive to dialogue,” as state in bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and Senate (H.R. 4837/S. 2016).

    Your support for Maryland House Joint Resolution 12 can help push Congress to re-examine and revise nuclear decision making so that fate of millions in not decided by one person in the span of a few minutes.

    Since 2001, Daryl G. Kimball has served as the executive director the independent, non-partisan Arms Control Association and publisher of the monthly journal, Arms Control Today. The Association is a national membership organization established in 1971 to provide information and analysis on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and to promote practical policy solutions to address the risks they pose.

    Daryl Kimball offered the following testimony before the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on Monday, March 5, 2018, regarding legislation introduced by Maryland delegates Queen (Montgomery Co.), Gibson (Baltimore City), and Gutierrez (Montgomery Co.).

    Country Resources:

    Subject Resources:

    REMARKS: "An Assessment of the New Nuclear Posture Review," at the 2018 Nuclear Deterrence Summit



    Keynote Address by Thomas Countryman
    Chair of the Board of the Arms Control Association, and
    former acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

    February 20, 2018
    Nuclear Deterrence Summit, Arlington, VA
    (Remarks as prepared for delivery.)


    Thank you for the kind introduction.

    I’m presenting my own views today, but also representing the Arms Control Association. I affiliated with the ACA because it stands for the priorities that motivated my State Department career: an effective national security policy that prioritizes reducing the risk of nuclear, chemical or biological conflict.

    It’s not only appropriate today, but urgent to consider carefully the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released by the Administration February 2, and I will focus my comments on that. I would like to cover both the positive points, and to critique the major departures in policy—in both substance and tone—contained in new language and it what it chose to omit. Let me note that I have the greatest respect for the many dedicated officials—several of whom are former colleagues—who worked on the report. I have no doubt that we agree on the fundamental goals for nuclear policy—to enhance stability and deterrence and to ensure America’s allies are safe and secure. On this, we all agree, and nothing I say should be seen as disparaging them. Instead, my remarks are a contribution to an urgent debate that must be conducted in the Congress, the press and the public.

    I need to say this because there has been a defensiveness on the part of some co-authors in response to critiques already offered, a gruff assertion that the NPR is more about the status quo than about change. I’ve seen old colleagues at State attempt to reinsert into the NPR policy statements that were—clearly—deliberately omitted from the document. Well, as James Acton has pointed out, it is a rule in Washington—more true in the past year —that continuation of old policies must be presented as major innovations, and dramatic policy shifts must be presented as continuity.

    But please make no mistake—this is not a status quo document, and the fact that it is seen as a departure from previous policies should give the authors pause, that their words are seen in stark contrast to past approaches. Nuclear doctrine has evolved slowly—sometimes glacially—over the decades, but the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review is not just a sharp turn but in some ways a reversal of doctrine, a glacier running uphill.

    The NPR gets important areas right. It restates the long-term, central objectives of nuclear doctrine: to enhance deterrence, to reduce the risk of nuclear ambiguity, to ensure that countries in possession of nuclear weapons know they cannot be employed while escaping consequences that would overwhelm any hoped-for benefit. These statements are valuable and necessary. The importance of alliances is highlighted, which is needed and welcomed. And I certainly would not contest the statement that the world is a riskier place than it was at the time of the 2010 NPR, thanks to the aggressive actions of Moscow against its neighbors and against the United States, and its violation of the INF Treaty and other agreements. Not to mention China’s behavior in the South China Sea and North Korea’s continued development of nuclear and missile capabilities. The NPR even acknowledges what most of the world knows: that the threat from Iran has been reduced thanks to the JCPOA (but then goes ahead and lists Iran as a threat anyway).

    In an online debate, a former colleague asked if there was anything I liked in the 2018 NPR. I said Yes, I like the 70 or 80 percent that is largely identical to the 2010 NPR, and I assumed that he liked that much of the 2010 version. But the 20-30% that is new—or missing—is significant and must be discussed.

    What concerns me most is that the NPR reverses the clear policy goal and trend of the last 50 years, through successive Administrations, of reducing the number and the role of nuclear weapons. It is crucial to examine the argument for—and the consequences of—the document’s call for new nuclear weapons and for expansion of the circumstances under which the United States would contemplate their use.

    New Weapons

    I find the justification for developing two new weapons—a lower-yield nuclear warhead for the D-5 ballistic missile and a new low-yield cruise missile, both deployed at sea—to be lacking. (Although the focus of the new NPR is on these low-yield weapons, I note in passing that it reverses the previous Administration’s decision to phase out the B-83, the most powerful warhead in our arsenal, and the only weapon of megaton range). The United States already possesses the most robust, survivable and flexible nuclear arsenal in the world, one that contains hundreds of low-yield weapons, capable of delivery on short order. I don’t believe there is a single U.S. official or general who would say that he would rather own the Russian arsenal than the U.S. arsenal. The argument is made that we need an additional, penetrating method of delivery in order to counter the potential use by Russia of a nonstrategic nuclear weapon in an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy.

    The first problem here is that it is far from clear that “escalate to de-escalate” is, in fact, the Russian doctrine. It certainly is not contained in the official, published Russian strategy document. And it is as dangerous to read it into Russian officials’ statements and academic articles as it would be for Russia to read the details of U.S. nuclear doctrine into a Sunday morning tweetstorm.

    But even if the assumption of a new Russian doctrine is correct, will the addition of one new retaliation method actually deter Russia from using a nuclear weapon (of any size) if it views its national survival at stake?

    Here we enter into the most difficult and speculative issue contained in the NPR and into the central dilemma of nuclear doctrine: that the certainty of weapons use is central to the prevention of their use. That has proven to be true, so far, on the strategic level—think Mutual Assured Destruction—but it is much less clear that it will apply on the nonstrategic level. The NPR’s argument—that a more credible nonstrategic capability would be more usable, and more thinkable for the United States to employ, and that this would actually make it less likely to be used—this is a difficult argument for anyone—expert or layman—to assimilate.

    It also ignores that if Russia were to threaten the use of nuclear weapons first, it would be due to its conventional inferiority relative to the United States, not a doubt about our commitment to nuclear retaliation. Even a new system does not alter that inferiority and does not change Russia’s incentive to resort to early nuclear use. If the goal is to deter Russian use, this new system is incapable of doing so because Russian threats have little if anything to do with our nuclear capabilities, but a lack of their own conventional capabilities.

    Further, promising Moscow that we would only respond to nonstrategic weapons use with our own nonstrategic weapon may actually embolden Russian first use. As former Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg wrote, “..rather than deterring Russia’s theater nuclear use, the new approach could lead Russia to believe it could use nuclear weapons first without risking the homeland. In this way, the new doctrine arguably lowers the nuclear threshold.”

    I am disappointed that the NPR fails to restate something the United States has said several times before: that we do not seek to undermine Russia’s strategic deterrent. In my view, the Russian approach—not only to nuclear doctrine but in all of its foreign policy—is rooted in paranoia, in President Putin’s conviction that the United States actively seeks his overthrow. Now, reiterating that we accept the reality of Russia’s deterrent would not remove his paranoia, but the failure to restate it will only deepen his conviction, with real-world consequences.

    I note here that—beyond these two proposed weapons—the NPR, both explicitly and implicitly, leaves the door open for development of new capabilities, with the attendant risk of a new nuclear arms race. It explicitly lays the groundwork for the capabilities necessary to produce quickly new or additional weapons. I strongly support maintaining the unmatched technical prowess of the NNSA and our national laboratories. But, while the NNSA and its budget are currently overburdened, I see no reason to build today a capability for a major policy departure—the creation of new weapons—that could come tomorrow.

    The Role of Nuclear Weapons

    The 2018 NPR also reverses the long-term trend of narrowing the circumstances under which the United States would even consider employing nuclear weapons. Both in 2010 and in 2018, the NPR says that first use of nuclear weapons will only be considered under “extreme circumstances” to defend the vital interests of the United States and its allies. The 2010 document described a “narrow range of contingencies” in which nuclear weapons may deter a conventional or CBW attack.

    By contrast, the 2018 NPR is far more expansive and descriptive in listing contingencies, referring in 30 places to the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks. The authors argue that explicit listing of non-nuclear attacks that could merit a nuclear response—the spelling out of the ‘extreme circumstances’ affecting vital national interests—is simply making explicit what has always been implicit. That’s not the case.

    First, it fails to explain why the United States’ overwhelming conventional superiority—to include cyber offensive capabilities—is insufficient to deter and respond to non-nuclear attacks. Implicit is the message to our allies and potential adversaries that we must fall back on our nuclear capabilities because we doubt our own conventional strength. Lack of confidence in conventional strength—this is precisely a central element of Russian doctrine that we should not seek to mirror.

    Second, it actually undermines our conventional advantage. Given the U.S. edge, it is patently in our interest to constantly raise the bar on the transition from conventional to nuclear.

    To take just one example: the place I fear is the most likely to see nuclear weapons used would be the realization of Pakistan’s threat to use them against an attacking Indian force. The United States has sought with both those partners to decrease the likelihood of that eventuality. It does not help if the United States—more explicitly and publicly than before—endorses the transition from conventional conflict to nuclear conflict as a rational and appropriate decision.

    Finally, I worry that this explicit threat by the United States will neither achieve the deterrence it seeks against conventional or cyberattack nor will it reduce the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons.

    A Comprehensive Approach to Deterrence

    The most obvious change in approach—at least to me as formerly responsible for nonproliferation and arms control—is the NPR’s near complete dismissal of diplomacy as an essential element of national security.

    Since Eisenhower, successive Presidents have seen the negotiation of arms control agreements not as a feel-good activity, but as contributions that made Americans more secure, even when our relationship with Russia and challenging international security conditions made such efforts difficult.

    Reducing the risk of nuclear war was seen as a job for the whole of government, and not only for the Department of Defense. The 2010 NPR made explicit our commitment to meet our international obligations and to work with other nations to further reduce the risk of nuclear use, to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, and to meet our disarmament obligations. The 2018 version chooses to ignore those commitments and to retreat from the long-established U.S. leadership role.

    First, it fails even to mention that the United States, in ratifying the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), committed itself to pursue effective measures to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons leading to their verifiable elimination. The NPR acknowledges the importance of the NPT, which I consider to be the most effective and important international security treaty ever concluded. But it treats the NPT as having created obligations only upon non-nuclear weapons states.

    I can tell you that that is not how the rest of the world views the NPT. While Washington and Moscow have eliminated 80 percent of their arsenals since 1970, their inability to move forward on arms reduction since 2010 has undermined the perception of both nations’ commitment to their binding legal obligations. This serves as an excuse for those nations who are reluctant to support stronger nonproliferation measures, and as a temptation for those nations that may contemplate their own nuclear programs.

    Second, the NPR weakens the international consensus against testing of nuclear weapons. It says the United States will not seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), without offering a reason. (I am not surprised and nobody could expect the current U.S. Senate to have a serious debate on this complex topic, but the statement represents a rejection of one of the United States key nonproliferation commitments).

    I’m glad the NPR supports continued funding of the CTBTO’s international monitoring system, which pays important dividends in our knowledge of other countries’ activities. But in proposing steps to re-establish our testing capabilities, it provides an alibi for other nations to break out of the global testing moratorium. This is the scientific equivalent of an own-goal. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the global moratorium on testing that it engendered, essentially cemented the U.S. technical advantage in place. The United States has conducted more nuclear tests than any other country and has—thanks to the genius of our national labs—greater capacity in computing and other means than any other country. Whether we break the taboo first with a test, or whether we simply encourage others to do so by saying “uh....we’re thinking about it,” it will provide China, Russia and others the ability to develop new weapons designs and close the technical gap faster than almost any other steps we could take (short of handing them the blueprints).

    Third, the NPR all but abandons the traditional U.S. leadership in this field. It states that we “will pursue conditions” that are favorable for arms control and we “are open” to proposals for new arms control measures. This is an admission of passivity that is unworthy of a great power. This is not even leading from behind; this is leaving leadership behind.

    Fourth, although it is not directly addressed in the NPR, the fact is that the United States currently lacks the credibility to lead in nonproliferation and arms control efforts. The NPR doesn’t help this when it says that future arms control agreements must be “verifiable and enforceable.”

    This rings hollow when you consider first that every President who concluded arms control agreements made sure they were verifiable, but no U.S. President has—or could have—concluded an agreement that could be enforced upon the United States. And our credibility is further shredded when an agreement that is verifiable, and as close to enforceable as any nonproliferation agreement has ever been—the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action—is likely to be torn up by our own President. This fact—more than anything explicitly contained in the NPR—is the strongest evidence of a deliberate surrender of US leadership.

    Fifth: it’s a good thing that the NPR says some good things about the New Start Treaty, and contradicts what our President reportedly said in a phone call with the Russian President a year ago. I’m deeply disappointed that it doesn’t explicitly support the extension of New Start until 2026. No other step could be so easily taken that would reassure the world and our own citizens about our nuclear intentions, and provide at least an opening for a conversation with a Russian government with which we have profound disagreements.

    In case of non-extension, none of us should look forward to 2021 when—for the first time in 50 years—there would be no constraints on Moscow’s ability to build nuclear weapons and resume a quantitative arms race. And it would be a fantasy for anyone in Washington—or in Moscow—to believe that New Start extension should be used as a bargaining chip or held open until the other side meets certain conditions. It is a treaty of reciprocal and equal benefit to both sides, and even the world’s most brilliant deal maker shouldn’t monkey with that fact.

    The Role of Congress

    It’s easy to be cynical about what Congress can contribute to serious consideration of these new policies. Faced with a threat from Russia—or anywhere else— to the lives and safety of Americans, we perhaps should expect no more from Capitol Hill than “thoughts and prayers.” But we must ask for more from our elected leaders. Passing a thousand-page document that nobody has read may be a sound way to do tax policy, but nuclear policy is still more important.

    It should not be taken for granted that all proposals contained in the NPR will be approved and funded by Congress. Recall that the 2002 NPR contained proposals for new weapons that were turned down by Congress.

    There are also budget realities associated with replacing and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal that someday must be addressed. Collectively, we have incurred—through our representatives—a national debt equivalent to more than $60,000 for every man, woman, and child in this nation, with no apparent interest in Washington today in ever reducing that debt. Real defense spending in the latest budget, in inflation-adjusted dollars, will be higher than it was in any year between 1948 and 2008, higher than during the Cold War, Korea or Vietnam. I don’t doubt the real threats to the United States in this world. But I do want to see something more than a laundry list of all desirable capabilities. I want to see an actual effort to prioritize our defense needs within a sustainable budget and a recognition that a mushrooming national debt is itself a threat to national security.

    To take just one example: if we are concerned enough about cybersecurity to threaten a nuclear response, can we allocate a little less for nuclear weapons, and a little more than the $2 billion the federal government will devote this year to hardening our critical infrastructure from cyber attack?

    Can we get a reliable estimate of the costs of the new weapons systems and other measures proposed in the NPR? Do we know whether it will add tens of billions, or hundreds of billions, to the more than $1.5 trillion that the modernization program of record will expend in the next 30 years?

    And let me make one comment about that program of record. I don’t doubt that our aging delivery systems are in need of renewal. But again, hard choices must be made. It is not sufficient to state, as the NPR does, that $1.5 trillion is a small percentage of the anticipated defense budget, and that it is, therefore, unsafe not to fund the program fully. The choice does not have to be either ‘do nothing’ or ‘do everything.’ It is precisely within the mandate of Congress to explore whether less ambitious and expensive choices can be made without unacceptable risk to our security.

    At the same time that Congress considers budget issues, I am heartened that it is also considering—for the first time in decades—presidential authority to initiate the use of nuclear weapons. This effort began before the last presidential election and is long overdue. Three pieces of legislation before Congress today would enhance our security and deserve a full hearing:

    One would make clear that U.S. first use (i.e., not in response to an attack) is equivalent to war, and would require prior Congressional approval.

    One (relatively nonbinding) would declare that it is US policy not to use nuclear weapons first.

    And one, specific to the case of North Korea, makes clear that the United States cannot initiate military action against the DPRK—conventional or nuclear—without express Congressional approval.

    Now, I understand the reasons that any President, or any Department of Defense, would prefer to have no constraints on their freedom to take unilateral action. However, we are not—yet—in a Russian model of government, and these are matters on which the voice of Congress and of the people must be heard.

    The Role of the President

    A final topic: the NPR—though issued in the name of a President who probably hasn’t read it—is not meant to be specific to this Administration, but to guide future ones as well. As the Undersecretary of Defense, and one of my predecessors at State, John Rood, said in the rollout of the NPR, context matters. I agree and believe that we must consider today’s unique context in Washington. It is simply not possible to isolate the national and international reaction to this document from the statements and policies of the current President.

    I am not opposed to the U.S. President making threatening statements to those who threaten us. It saddens me when the U.S. President’s words sink to the juvenile level of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Un. And that causes the world to wonder about the real purposes of U.S. nuclear plans, and whether the United States should be trusted with the world’s most powerful arsenal, one whose power it proposes to expand.

    It is not only the retreat from a leadership role on so many global issues that concerns our allies. It is not only the trustworthiness of a government that unilaterally tears up agreements reached multilaterally. It is also our inability to follow through on the defense of our own interests. The President refuses to implement sanctions against Russia passed with a super-majority by the Congress in legislation he signed. Now, this may be because he has thought and studied deeply in the fields of history and geo-strategy. Or his reluctance to take meaningful action may have another cause. In either case, what would give President Putin cause to believe that we are serious about deterrence either with our current arsenal or with an expanded one? If there is no nonmilitary provocation to which we are prepared to respond proportionately, is there credibility to military “red lines”?

    Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely convinced of Moscow’s desire to destabilize the United States and the West, and aware of the tools it has available to this end. But I hope you understand why I am apprehensive about enhancing the capabilities of a President who has displayed an uninformed fascination with nuclear weapons, and a studied indifference to using other means of power in our national defense.

    Deterrence is of course not only to protect us but to protect our allies as well. In all my conversations with partners in Allied governments, I have never heard expressed a concern that the U.S. arsenal was insufficient to protect them, or that “gaps” in the arsenal might give a government in one of those Allied countries a reason to pursue their own nuclear weapons.

    What has mattered to our allies is the conviction that the United States sees them as allies and will be true to its word. The US has more allies than any other nuclear power, not just because of our military superiority, but because of our restraint in making threats, and our credibility in making promises. I don’t believe I need to cite examples to say that both of those qualities have been undermined in the last year.


    The 2018 NPR is a serious document, written by serious people, that seeks to take a hard look at the hard world we inhabit. I hope it will initiate a serious discussion in the public and the Congress asking whether this great change in direction ultimately enhances or damages our national security; whether we can afford every item listed as desirable; whether or not we want to pursue a whole-of-government approach, including diplomatic leadership, to reducing nuclear dangers.

    To distill a complex history to a simple conclusion, our success in avoiding nuclear warfare since 1945 has been due to three factors: first, pro-active U.S. diplomatic and military efforts to negotiate verifiable arms control agreements; second, wise U.S. leadership; and third, simple good luck. I am concerned about the implications of relying only on that third factor.

    Press Briefing: The Trump Administration's New Nuclear Posture Review



    Tuesday, January 23, 2018
    1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC

    The transcript of the event is posted below.

    Press Briefing with Thomas Countryman, Joan Rohlfing, Jon Wolfsthal, and Kingston Reif. (Photo: Arms Control Association/ ALLEN HARRIS)The Trump administration will soon formally release its revised strategy document on the role and composition of U.S. nuclear forces, known as the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

    According to a leaked draft of the 64-page document, the administration calls for expanding the number of scenarios under which the United States might consider the use nuclear weapons—including in response to a major cyberattack—and it proposes the development of new nuclear weapons and capabilities for “tailored” war scenarios.

    The document also reaffirms support for replacing and upgrading all three legs of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which is estimated to cost in excess of $1.25 trillion over the next 30 years and walks back U.S. commitments to pursue measures to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons.

    The independent, nonpartisan Arms Control Association hosted a briefing with top experts to analyze the implications of the Trump administration's nuclear strategy. The transcript and audio recording is below.

    Speakers included:

    • Jon Wolfsthal, former Senior Director, National Security Council
    • Thomas Countryman, Chairman of the Board; and
    • Joan Rohlfing, President, Nuclear Threat Initiative
    • Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament Policy, Arms Control Association (moderator)

    PHOTOS:  Available here. Usage requires attribution to the Arms Control Association. 

    AUDIO RECORDING: Listen here.


    KINGSTON REIF: Well, good afternoon everyone and welcome to today's event on the Trump Administration's Nuclear Posture Review. My name is Kingston Reif and I am the Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association.

    As most of you know, the Arms Control Association is an independent nonpartisan membership organization. We were established in 1971 and we're dedicated to reducing and eliminating the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons, namely nuclear, chemical, biological weapons as well as certain conventional weapons that pose particular harm and risk to civilians.

    Outside the room, you'll find copies of two of our recent issues of our flagship publication, "Arms Control Today," which include commentaries on the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review.

    So, when we first conceived of this event, we anticipated previewing possible key outcomes of the NPR and the implications based on fragments of reporting and intelligence, and little did we know that a full pre-decisional draft of the document would leak, which now provides us the opportunity to discuss and analyze the review itself and the Pentagon, as we understand it, is formally slated to release the NPR in early February and the date that we are hearing is February 2nd.

    At the Arms Control Association, our take is that the NPR constitutes unnecessary, unexecutable (ph) and unsafe overreach. Yes, the international security environment is less favorable than it was in 2010 when the Obama Administration conducted its Nuclear Posture Review. Yes, some of the other nuclear arm states have not been responsible nuclear citizens. Yes, technology is advancing in new and unpredictable ways and yes, the existing U.S. nuclear arsenal is aging.

    But none of these justifies the direction that Trump Nuclear Posture Review proposes to take U.S. nuclear strategy. Though there are elements of continuity with the policies of previous administrations, the document aligns with President Trump's more aggressive and impulsive nuclear notions and breaks with past efforts to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons worldwide in several key areas.

    First, instead of deemphasizing the role of nuclear weapons and U.S. policy, as previous Nuclear Posture Reviews have done, the Trump NPR actually seeks a greater role for them. Notably, the review proposes to enlarge the circumstances under which the United States would consider the use of nuclear weapons and explicit—to explicitly include "non-nuclear strategic attacks including major cyber attacks.”

    Second, the NPR calls for new more usable nuclear weapons. These include the near-term deployment of low yield nuclear warheads on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and the longer-term development of a new nuclear armed sea-launched cruise missile. These proposals would come on top of the existing nuclear recapitalization program of record that the Trump Administration inherited from its predecessor, which according to the Congressional Budget Office will cost $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years excluding the impact of inflation.

    And third, the review walks back from key U.S. non-proliferation and disarmament commitments. Arms control only gets a brief mention at the end of the document and it's generally—and it is a generally a dismissive mention at that.

    So, to help us further explore these and other issues, we have assembled a topnotch panel of experts. Our first speaker, on the far right will be Thomas Countryman. Tom, I am thrilled to say, is the new Chairman of the Board of the Arms Control Association and former Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

    After Tom, we will have Joan Rohlfing who is seated between the three speakers there, the President of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, excuse me and batting third will be Jon Wolfsthal, former Senior Director on the National Security Council responsible for nuclear weapons and arms control issues.

    Each of our speakers will provide about 7 to 10 minutes of opening remarks which should leave plenty of time for questions from all of you. And before we get started, I just wanted to mention that we have coffee, tea, water and a selection of sodas in the back if you haven't seen them, and also if you're looking to access the wireless, the guest network is C-E-I-P guest and you open your browser and that should take you through the prompts that you need to get on the wireless and with that, the floor is yours, Tom.

    THOMAS COUNTRYMAN: Thank you, Kingston. And thank all of you for coming out today. Nuclear weapons of course are technically complex and the policy that dictates their use, their strategy is perhaps esoteric, but the issue is not so complex that it cannot be comprehended by the public, by the media and crucially, in the months ahead, by the United States Congress.

    The new NPR has real implications for our budget, for our leadership role and the world and above all, for our national security and it is crucial that the media and the public participate in an informed debate within the Congress on these issues.

    As Kingston noted, U.S. nuclear policy has great elements of consistency. It is in many ways slow to change and you will note similarities in this draft report from what was decided by the Bush Nuclear Posture Review in 2002 and the Obama Nuclear Posture Review in 2010, but the changes are significant and have real-world implications. They are significant in their substance, in their tone, in what is added and in the striking omissions from previous posture reviews.

    What concerns me most directly is the talk of an expanded role for nuclear weapons. For years, the United States under successive Presidents of both parties has consistently narrowed the circumstances under which an American President would contemplate use of nuclear weapons. For the first time in a long time, instead there is an expansion, an explicit expansion of the circumstances under which the President would consider such use.

    As Kingston noted, this includes responding to non-nuclear threats including that of a massive cyber attack.

    A year ago, Vice President Joe Biden, just before he left office, stood right here and spoke about the progress that the Obama Administration had made not only in narrowing those circumstances, but in reducing the role and the number of weapons in our nuclear arsenal and I’d just like to quote from Vice President Biden at that time. He said here, "Given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today's threats, it is hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary."

    That remains the case today and the draft Nuclear Posture Review fails to give a convincing rationale why it has changed. It does not explain why the U.S. nuclear arsenal, still the most powerful and diverse possessed by any nuclear weapon state is insufficient to match threats on both the nuclear and the non-nuclear level.

    It fails to explain why the overwhelming United States advantages in both conventional military capabilities, and yes, in cyber capabilities is inadequate to respond to threats or attacks.

    It does not explain why the Russian Federation's modernization, which parallels the United States’ own modernization efforts, is so severely different from ours that it means we have fallen behind in stability. It does not even talk about strategic stability between the United States and Russia as a goal to strive for and it does not explain how the additional threat of new nuclear weapons, including new low-yield weapons on top of those low-yield weapons that we already have, will change the Russian Federation thinking or make the first use of nuclear weapons by either side less likely.

    Of concern to me also is the effect on our global leadership. It essentially abandons the United States' leadership role in nonproliferation and arms control that have marked every President since Dwight Eisenhower. In speaking of the most successful security treaty the world has ever seen, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it treats this only as a nonproliferation treaty and ignores… it does not restate the binding legal obligation that the United States undertook almost 50 years ago in that treaty. That is, we are committed to pursue effective measures to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons leading to their verifiable elimination.

    By failing to restate this as a goal, it has an effect upon the readiness of other nations to honor their nonproliferation obligations. And this is the final point I would like to make: this posture review does not and will not be issued in a vacuum. It is not an issue simply between the U.S. and Russia, or the U.S. and China.

    Other nations look to the United States' signal to determine their own policy and the signal that is being sent is unfortunately that the United States is putting aside a legal obligation, is not going to exert the same kind of leadership on nonproliferation and arms control issues, and it also signals the utility of nuclear weapons, something that will make them more attractive to those countries that have smaller arsenals or those that have no arsenals at all.

    All of this is true even if you set aside the character and the impetuosity of the current United States' President. It still has these negative effects upon our national security. For these reasons, I hope not only that the final draft that we see perhaps next week will moderate some of these difficult points, but I also hope that the United States Congress will take up the obligation that it took up with great seriousness after the last two Nuclear Posture Reviews and put a limit to the kind of dangerous development that detracts from, rather than contributes, to stability in our world.

    Thank you.

    REIF: Thanks very much, Tom. Joan?

    JOAN ROHLFING: (Inaudible) Kingston, thank you, Tom. I have been asked to focus in particular on the new capabilities being contemplated by the posture review, but I would like to put that in a little bit of a frame before offering some observations on that.

    I do want to emphasize, I think you have certainly heard us mention that this is a draft and it still has to go through a White House review. I think this is important just to emphasize that anything nuclear is inherently presidential, so I am going to speak in terms of this being a draft with hopes that it could still improve. Much like, Tom and perhaps even a little bit more pointedly, I want to say this draft posture review represents a significant departure from the direction we have been headed in for the last four administrations.

    It increases our reliance on nuclear weapons. It expands their role in our security and it makes them more likely—it makes the use of them more likely.

    It also compounds rather than solves some of the top level nuclear issues left over from the previous administration. What do I mean by that? It maintains the same outdated hair trigger launch posture of our ballistic missiles that puts pressure on our leaders to make a use decision without enough time for deliberation.

    It proposes enhancements to our arsenal that make nuclear weapons more usable and more destabilizing. It compounds the resource challenge by increasing the cost of the modernization program by at least another 20 percent. It doesn't offer any proactive solutions for overcoming the impasse in our relationship with Russia.

    It undervalues arms control as a tool to achieve our military objectives and advance our national security. We don't do arms control for the sake of doing arms control. We do it because it advances our national security. If this review stands as it is currently written, I believe it significantly increases the risk of use.

    Our primary focus as a nation should be on preventing the use of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world and this posture review would move us in the opposite direction, so let me give you now a few specific examples of why that is the case starting with some of the capability enhancements proposed.

    As Kingston mentioned, the review is proposing two new types of low-yield nuclear weapons. First, a near-term capability to put low-yield capacity on our SLBMs, our submarine launched ballistic missiles and then potentially, it contemplates over a longer time period a low-yield nuclear SLCM.

    What's interesting about the SLCM is that we used to have nuclear SLCMs, they were taken off of deployment, off of our surface ships, off of our submarines in the 1991-timeframe by then President George Herbert Walker Bush. They were finally retired by the Obama Nuclear Posture Review in 2010, so this represents us coming you know, back full cycle to where we were at the height of the Cold War as opposed to continuing to move in the other direction.

    Why do we need these low-yield nuclear weapons in the arsenal? I would argue emphatically, we do not. We already have a robust flexible nuclear deterrent today that includes low-yield options. But this draft review posits that we need more low-yield options, more low-yield capacity to restore a so-called deterrence gap at a regional level.

    The premise in the review seems to be that the existing arsenal is not a credible deterrent to others unless we have this low-yield nuclear weapon. I find that argument simply incredible. The U.S. today has this robust deterrent. It is capable of being employed anywhere in the world in defense of our interest and our allies within a matter of minutes.

    And as Tom said, they haven't offered a satisfactory explanation for what is the military purpose, what is the rationale for why we need this new capability? So, rather than raising the bar for nuclear use as they assert in the review, I believe it lowers the bar and makes their use more likely.

    This is destabilizing, not stabilizing.

    I think it's also a mistake to believe that we could use a little nuke to control escalation rather than strengthening deterrence, it therefore undermines it and it increases the risks of miscalculation. One final point on this, if we talk about deploying low-yield nuclear weapons on an SLBM, how is our adversary if they detect the launch from the ocean somewhere, a ballistic missile coming from them, how are they going to know that it's a little nuke, not a full-yield nuclear weapon, if the same platform deploys both a full yield nuclear weapon and a low-yield nuclear weapon. This is also destabilizing, I think it's fanciful to expect that there wouldn't be a full-scale attack in return for that.

    So, a second point on how this posture review falls short just to emphasize some of comment that Tom made earlier about the short shrift given to arms control and nonproliferation, it mentions the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the good news is, it proposes that the administration will continue to observe the testing moratorium and will urge others to do the same, but it then undercuts that objective by explicitly noting that it will not seek ratification of the treaty. Why does this matter?

    Without ratification the U.S. undermines its own ability to secure this nuclear test ban regime that's really vital to preventing new nuclear states from emerging and frankly, it preserves the U.S. nuclear advantage. Why wouldn't we want to do everything we can to ensure that the treaty is ratified so that we can sustain those benefits?

    On the issue of further arms control with Russia, it offers no proactive agenda and is silent on the value of extending the New START Treaty, which is frankly critical to regulating our nuclear relationship with Russia. It ignores the value of the JCPOA and, very importantly, as mentioned by Tom, there is only a fleeting—the barest fleeting reference to a commitment to a world without nuclear weapons, but it's not stated as a goal.

    This is not only a U.S. legal commitment under the NPT, but also necessary for sustaining the political support, political will for the entire nonproliferation regime and it finally quite frankly, it takes too narrow a view of the role that arms control can play. We should have a whole-of-government approach looking at arms control diplomacy as a plank in our national security strategy; not one that's an afterthought. This review focuses primarily on the military dimensions of nuclear weapons.

    Let me just close by saying, coming back to where I started, which is that the policy, the proposed posture, the enhancements being sought by this posture review are destabilizing and fundamentally increase the risk of use, increase the risk of miscalculation. Deterrence may be necessary, but it's certainly not sufficient to prevent nuclear use and potential miscalculation.

    Thank you.

    REIF: Thanks, very much, Joan. Jon.

    JON WOLFSTHAL: Thanks, I am going to be lazy and just stay here unless anybody objects. Thank you to the ACA and Kingston and also to Joan and to Tom for letting me be part of this group. I want to support everything, everything that Tom and Joan have just said about the NPR and the concerns, I share many of them.

    I will—you know, we're sort of always pushed to say, it's OK to find something positive to say about the NPR. There's something good in it and you know, I was struck, and I'd actually be surprised if Tom and Joan didn't feel the same way.

    The stated objectives in the NPR to enhance deterrence, to reduce the risk of nuclear ambiguity, to ensure that countries that have nuclear weapons and threatened to use them like Russia, like North Korea know that they cannot use these weapons without escaping a consequence greater than any objective they might hope to achieve are I think valuable statements.

    The deterrent language in the document is actually, I would argue, something you could find probably in any other Republican NPR and there actually would have been a similar type of discussion in a Democratic NPR.

    The problem is of course the document then goes completely off the rails by pursuing systems that aren't supported by either intelligence information that suggests it will be helpful in enhancing deterrence by expanding the roles of nuclear weapons. It actually, as Joan said, increases the risks of use and then the document itself is rather schizophrenic when it talks about wanting to increase the ambiguity of the circumstances under which the United States might consider nuclear use.

    So, maybe that's not the nicest thing to say about the NPR, but I appreciate what they were trying to do because I think all of us appreciate the challenges that the U.S. government faces in reducing the risk of use are serious and whether there are cyber or nuclear or other challenges we face, I think we recognize that as an appropriate thing for both the Defense Department and the whole of government to be wrestling with.

    The problem with the NPR is everything looks like a nuclear nail and so everything is going to be solved with a nuclear hammer and there aren't solutions to many of the problems that are identified in the NPR, the nuclear space that do come with tremendous baggage.

    So, what I was asked to do is to talk about one part of that baggage, which is the budget and I guess I was in part picked on to talk about this because I worked at Monterey Institute with the kind support of the Nuclear Threat Initiative with Jeffrey Lewis and Mark Quint to produce I think, the first comprehensive report of what the U.S. Nuclear Modernization Program was going to cost, which we dubbed, "The trillion-dollar nuclear triad." I have a running joke that I get a nickel every time anybody uses that statement, so I have to pay myself.

    Since then, of course, we have gotten new information, the latest CBO report suggests that cost is actually closer to $1.25 trillion and if you look at out your dollars, you're looking about $1.7 trillion. The answer is, we don't know how much the nuclear budget is going to cost and we don't know it for a couple of reasons, but the main reason is because the Pentagon refuses to put together a standalone nuclear budget.

    They have been asked not once, but twice by the GAO to actually produce a nuclear budget that takes into account all of the disparate pieces from development, deployment, operations, disposal, personnel, healthcare—everything across the board and the answer from DOD, I kid you not is, "We don't want to do that because that's too hard." That's a response to the GAO.

    But interestingly, we were talking about this before. In the budget document, the Pentagon takes on this argument and I think that's an opening that many people should be looking to exploit. You hear from advocates for the nuclear mission that this is affordable. This is only a small percentage of the overall nuclear budget and if you look at the document, it talks about how at the height of the Cold War in 1984, we were spending 13.4 percent of the budget or 13.4 percent of the Defense budget on nuclear, we are only looking to spend 6.4 percent of the Defense budget on nuclear.

    So, it's interesting. They don't talk about exactly, you know, what the absolute number was, not including dismantlement and disposal, which Joan as refugees from the Department of Energy understand is a problem without a solution yet; but if you look at just the raw numbers are out there and some quick math, we spent roughly $50 billion in 1984, if you take the Pentagon's numbers on the nuclear mission.

    They're proposing that we would spend roughly $42 billion a year on the nuclear budget in 2029, so you say, "Well, well that's actually pretty small. It's reasonable, right?" In 1994, sorry, 1984 was the height of the Cold War. We were planning to fight and win a nuclear war. Is that the environment that the Pentagon sees us being in in 2029? If it does, I'm sorry, but 6.4 percent of the budget is not going to cut it, right? I mean, Ronald Reagan was right, you can't win a nuclear war, so don't fight one. But the idea that somehow these numbers can be compared and since we are below where we were back at 84 or in 62, we're OK, ignores the budget reality that we exist in

    It's not a question of whether it's affordable, it's a question of whether it is sustainable, and it is a question of whether it's advisable and if you look at the national priorities that we have on the plate, you are going to be seeing a lot of Pentagon brass and officials ask you want two new nuclear systems. Are these priorities for you? You want a new nuclear arms SLCM? Do you want that, or do you want the F-35? Do you want to modify the D5 submarine launch ballistic missile and put a small (U-warden) on it? Well, do you want to finish the B-61 Mod 12, the AirDrop tactical nuclear weapon that we have slated for deployment in Europe? Do you want this one instead?

    What you see in the NPR is not a prioritization or strategy, it's a laundry list. We want every capability that's possible. We have a President who is prepared to allow us to go for all of the things that we might conceivably want to use at some point? But none of these things are going to come in on budget or on time and if you have any doubts about that then ask the question, why did Secretary Mattis, when he took the job asked to be relieved from the budget caps for the nuclear mission?

    That was one of the first things he approached OMB for when he took over the job in the Pentagon. The same as his predecessors did, because they know that they can't fit that nuclear square in the round hole or sorry, the nuclear square peg into the round budget hole that they have to work with.

    So, as you work through these budget priorities, you then also have to ask the question, "Where else can we be spending this money?" And I'm not going to do the traditional guns and butter, let's take it out of the NPR itself. What do they point to as the preeminent threats that they don't think we can handle with our existing nuclear arsenal and therefore, we need to develop new capabilities and we to expand the role of nuclear weapons?

    Well, one of the ones that is on many people's minds is cyber. It's not explicitly mentioned in the NPR, but it's referenced in the National Security Strategy and is clearly a concern that is rightfully to be wrestled with by the U.S. government.

    In the last National Cyber Strategy that the Obama ministration released, we haven't gotten one out of the Trump Administration yet, the document stated that they requested $19.5 billion in cyber capabilities in 1990s—sorry, in 2016. That's how much we were planning to spend, right? How much are we going to spend any one of the individual legs on the nuclear triad. The LRSO, the lowest budgeted item in the nuclear capability is $25 billion to $ 30 billion, total. More than we spend annually on cyber, but if we are going to threaten the use of nuclear weapons in response to a cyberattack, why aren't we investing more money in our own cyber capabilities.

    If the damage that can be done to us through cyber is so consequential, yet we are the cyber superpower, right? President Obama said clearly that our capabilities are second to none. I guarantee you that Russia is more vulnerable than we are to cyber, not to say, less formidable countries.

    So, it seems me instead of investing money where Russia is trying to go to become stronger, we should be playing to your own strengths, which is in conventional capability, cyber capabilities, automation, integration—the things that were talked about in the third offset of the Pentagon, as opposed to trying to re-create some Cold War nuclear capability that doesn't match up with the threats that we face today.

    Two last things I'll mention. I really want to talk to as many people in the Navy as possible about this Nuclear Posture Review. There are two things that really worry me. If you've talked to any nuclear operator in the last 20 years, they will tell you without an exception that they were thrilled to be relieved of the nuclear mission on the surface fleet and in the attack submarine fleet, right?

    These things were complicated, and they made the Commanding Officer's life really complicated. You had to have security on board. You had to have different operations when you had nuclear missions. This is not like going into any port, you have to actually go to special nuclear weapons ports if you're going to be handling and shipping these things. You had additional training time, additional costs were associated with that. They lost all of that. They were supposed to be investing that in conventional operations.

    Now, clearly, we have some challenges in the nuclear Navy as we stand or sorry, in the conventional Navy is as we are finding out, but the idea that we're going reintroduce this thing under the surface fleet and the attack fleet is something that's going to cost money, it's going to influence operations and it's going to be a real challenge for the surface fleet and for the attacks of force, and I'm not sure they are going to be very enthusiastic about.

    The second issue is and I'm getting smarter on this. Joan talked about the discrimination problem when you launch an SLBM—is it one or all of them? Remember what our subs were designed for and built for. These are $5 billion shadows. They are meant to be secret and quiet and we spent a lot of money to keep them that way. We built them so they would be our ultimate retaliatory force if, God forbid, deterrence failed and some country launched out at us, we had the ability to destroy them.

    One submarine alone was enough to basically destroy most countries on earth; maybe two would be necessary if you had a major adversary. So, now we are going to take these quiet secret ships that spent their whole lives trying to disappear and we're going to launch a small tactical nuclear weapon from it, which immediately makes the whole boat vulnerable. Any time I try to talk with the nuclear Navy about well, maybe we could change operations of this and maybe we could reduce cost with that. They said, "Look, our biggest fear is Russian anti-submarine warfare capabilities. We cannot allow them to catch up and to make the oceans invisible." So, now we're basically going to have a giant dinner bell for every Russian attack sub to say, "Here it is."

    And people tell me, "Look, we practiced into the Cold War. We launch. We go deep. We run fast. You have a big part of the ocean." Well, that might have been true in 1984, but Russians have been investing a lot of money in their ASW capability, and so as we ask questions in Congress of the Navy and of the military, how do they feel about these? Are these priorities? I think we also have to start asking some operational questions because they really do pose challenges that I think are going to get us into the nuts and bolts. I have gone a little long, but that should be plenty to talk about. Thank you.

    REIF: Thanks very much, Tom, Joan and Jon. Great representations. Stayed within the allotted time limit which was beautiful and lots and lots to chew on—I mean, I could jump in on any of the numerous points that they made, but I'd like to open the floor to those of you in the audience for your questions and comments. The floor is yours, questions.

    (UNKNOWN): We probably have mics coming too.

    REIF: And we do—we will have mics coming around as well, thank you very much, (Sean). Right here, Jon.

    QUESTION: Great, thank you. Jon Harper with National Defense Magazine. In terms of the cost estimates for developing a new sea-launch cruise missile and also a new low-yield warhead, you know, roughly what do think the price tag would be for that and also just, you know from a technical perspective and kind of layman's terms, can you sort of explain what would be required to actually create these new weapons?

    WOLFSTHAL: Yes, and I will defer to Joan who of course has deep knowledge on how NNSA operates. What I will say is that what the draft NPR lays out is two things. One, they want to go immediately for this modified low-yield warhead for the submarine launch capability. They talk about that being a relatively low-cost option with a short timeline. The idea that's been pushed is we have thermonuclear weapons, two-stage nuclear weapons. We have a small fission primary, which has a smaller yield, a couple of kilotons, maybe less, maybe more, which then drives a second larger explosion, the thermonuclear part. That then brings up many hundreds of kilotons.

    The idea would be that they would simply remove the secondary, so they would just keep the primary and put in ballast or something that wouldn't affect the trajectory or the center of gravity in the warhead. That's something that the laboratories probably could effectuate in a relatively short period of time. Relatively short—a couple of years. It depends on how they want to affect the throughput of all the other life extension programs that were currently underway.

    We have a limited number of facilities. We have a limited number of staff and so, it's not clear how that would affect the life extension program for the W-88, the life extension program for the W-76, the life extension program for the B-61 Mod 12, so it would throw off some of the schedules.

    The second part is that they don't say they want to absolutely go for a SLCM, they want to have a study. The study then might lead to an assessment of alternatives, which is their contracting parlance and then they would get to a record of decision, choose an option. This is many years away. It's clearly going to extend beyond the Trump term in office, assuming one term in office, it might be something that they could sort of get to a prototype later in the second term if that happens. But in terms of the actual decision-making, I'd defer to Joan if she has some thoughts on...

    ROHLFING: I don't have more on the decision-making and I agree with everything you just said to the question of cost. I think I can't offer a clear answer and it really would depend, Jon, is right. You can make a relatively modest, though not trivial modification to an existing weapon to convert your SLBM weapon to be one that's low-yield in the near term. The much bigger project is the development of a low-yield weapon for a SLCM and if you assume that you're repurposing an existing nuclear package rather than trying to design a new weapon from scratch, you might find that it's in the same neighborhood of cost as the new air launched cruise missile called the LRSO that they're working on that Jon cited, about $25 billion price tag for.

    If you were trying to manufacture something from—to design it from scratch, that would most likely necessitate nuclear testing. That's a whole different ball of wax, much longer program, more expensive and not to mention, the significant cost from a diplomacy and National Security standpoint if we had to resume testing to prove a new weapon design.

    COUNTYMAN: And just add, Jon, quickly to what Joan has said, I mean, I think, it's absolutely right to say it would depend. I mean, if you look at the missile—potential missile for a new SLCM, the DOD, the Navy is going to do an analysis of alternatives, presumably to look at different options. It would seem to me that the lowest cost option would be some way to spin off a current or a future block of the Tomahawk missile and use that.

    Whereas the most expensive option would be some kind of totally new missile that they would have to design and then on the warhead sign, warhead side excuse me, there has been talk in an article actually that Jim Miller, a former Obama Administration Pentagon official and Sandy Winnefeld, the Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff advocating for a new sea launched cruise missile. They said at least for the warhead, you could build a modified—so a modified version of the W80-4, which as Joan mentioned is the planned warhead for that the new air-launched cruise missile, the LRSO and build a few more of them and put it on a on a sea-launched cruise missile is a relatively lower cost option.

    So, I think potentially, range of cost, but the point is additional costs to a program of record that as Jon already pointed out is under tremendous stress and faces a major affordability and executability challenge.

    ROHLFING: And can I just follow that with one point that I would really want to emphasize. I think the largest cost is not a financial one, it's the National Security implications as we discussed of deploying a new low-yield warhead that is destabilizing and increases the chance that a nuclear weapon will be used. That I think, is the most important point that I would make about a sea-launch cruise missile.

    RIEF: Additional question. Yes?

    QUESTION: Thank you, Sandra Erwin with Space News. Jon, to your point about capabilities that we do need like cyber, can you be more specific. I mean, do you mean satellites? What are some of the areas where we need to be more resilient and what specific capabilities would you recommend? Thanks.

    WOLFSTHAL: So, I am not a cyber expert, but obviously, working in the administration and understanding both our capabilities and vulnerabilities, I think the question is what is it that the U.S. government is worried about in terms of our adversary's ability to use cyber capabilities against us? That makes us so vulnerable and that the impact could be so significant that it could approximate nuclear.

    And the Pentagon, the NPR draft talks about this. It talks about both infrastructure, I think that would mean critical infrastructure, communications, energy grid, communications, banking, nuclear early warning command-and-control is another area that is specifically cited that could somehow disrupt our ability to have a reliable deterrent and so, I would put those at the top of my list that I want to make sure that we are doing defense to the extent necessary to protect the power grid, the communications grid, banking and financial system—those are things that I wouldn't argue that losing the communications grid would be akin to say a nuclear detonation in New York.

    You know, we could learn to live without our cell phones for a couple days if we had to, but obviously, the implications are dramatic if we're so vulnerable that a country could bring it down, we should be spending more to protect it and defend it and helping states helping, and helping local municipalities, and helping utilities do that. We use some of that now, but clearly more is necessary.

    And then in terms of space again, I am not a space expert, but clearly as we are developing the new satellite constellation both for early warning for communications and for military operations, this is something the Pentagon has been worried about for many, many years. This is another one of the things that you constantly hear program officers and Cabinet officers demanding and asking for more resources for and yet, there's a large pot of money here that in my view isn't matched up against the threat we face.

    So, just for example, and we didn't get into a lot of nuclear doctrine here because you don't want to get bored and go right to sleep, but the idea here is that the Russians are threatening to use nuclear weapons against us or our allies because somehow, they doubt our nuclear capability, our 4,000 operational nuclear weapons aren't quite enough, the 1,000-low yield nuclear weapons aren't quite enough, so we need to have some exquisite new capability that will show the Russians we're serious.

    When in fact what the Russians are doing is saying, "We are conventionally inferior to you. We can't fight you in a fair fight and, so we don't want to fight fair, we want the option to escalate to the nuclear level." And the NPR draft says, "They shouldn't be convinced that they can get away with that," because we have all of these other nuclear capabilities. That's a reasonable deterrent statement.

    To then spend more money for some new capability that doesn't solve that problem strikes me as being—throwing bad money after good.

    QUESTION: (OFF MIKE) (Inaudible)

    WOLFSTHAL: I think that like most parts of the U.S. government, this is a stovepipe product of the nuclear establishment from the Joint Chiefs, from the OSD policy, from STRATCOM that's driving this. They said that we've already got a program of record, the incremental cost will be small and therefore, let's push this.

    Now, if they were put in a room with the cyber people or the ISR people or the infrastructure people or the—you know, name your list, my guess is they would lose, but because there is this demand for Nuclear Posture Review, this sort of stands up and above and that's where Congress is really going to have to come in and prioritize, but of course, they are stove-piped in Congress as well. The people that handle cyber don't handle nuclear. People who nuclear don't handle conventional, and so we will continue to see the slicing of the salami pretty thin.

    REIF: Yes, right here.

    QUESTION: Thank you very much for the presentation. My name is Yuki Toda from Kerala News (ph). Most of you put it out that the destabilizing effect of its NPR on not only on the National Security, but also the arms control regime. So, please, could you tell me your prospect, your kind of vision about what's the impact of this NPR on INF Treaty and also the extension of the New START and another question is now, the United States tried to create new nuclear warheads and a nuclear weapon, so the other leading country over the NPT—NPT is losing credibility or not?

    COUNTYMAN: On the new START Treaty, I am glad that the draft NPR leaves open the possibility of extension of the New START Treaty for an additional five years when the initial term expires in 2021. In my view, this is the single most logical step that Moscow and Washington could take, and they could take it today, that would provide additional strategic stability and also send a valuable signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. and Russian Federation, no matter what else they say, are still interested in limiting their nuclear arsenals.

    On the INF Treaty, the NPR—the draft NPR talks quite a bit about the Russian violation, which is a serious concern. It correctly describes that arms control is made more difficult if existing agreements are not honored, but I think it does not provide an easy answer any more than the Obama Administration could provide an easy answer for how to bring the Russians back into compliance with their obligations under the INF Treaty.

    It links the development of a submarine-launched cruise missile with the Russian violation and suggests that the U.S. might revisit development of a submarine-launched cruise missile if Russia returns to compliance. I don't believe that that's adequate by itself to get Russia to return, but it is appropriate for this NPR to take very seriously Russia's violation of the INF treaty.

    The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has many challenges, the challenge posed by North Korea is by far the greatest. The challenge posed by Iran was addressed in the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action and the most significant step backwards that could be taken for the Nonproliferation Treaty is if any of the parties to the JCPOA walk away from that agreement. That would be the single biggest threat to the credibility of the NPT.

    But at the same time, for this Administration to pretend that the U.S. has no legal obligation to continue to address reductions in its nuclear arsenal is damaging to our credibility not only as a leader in nonproliferation, but as a so-called leader on any of the issues that the U.S. has to deal with. It's why walking away from the JCPOA is a big challenge for the U.S. because it would signal to other countries that an agreement with the United States is not meaningful and can be easily reversed on the whim of a different President.

    So, the challenges to the NPT are there and I fear that the statements contained in this draft NPR will erode the U.S. capability to lead the world on nonproliferation efforts.

    REIF: Last one to—very good. Questions? Yes, right here.

    QUESTION: Doug Sharp from the George Washington University. Thank you all for a great panel. I am given to reflect on Scott Sagan and Jane Vaynman's effort after the Obama Nuclear Posture Review to understand what its effects were on the nuclear posture is the attitudes about nuclear weapons of other states and I'm wondering if you could reflect on that topic, on how nuclear weapon state potential adversaries, allies and other states will react to this nuclear posture?

    WOLFSTHAL: I'm thrilled you asked that question not only because Jane used to work for me here at the Carnegie Endowment, but because without a doubt, one of the best things I read when I was in government and this is including all the fine work that our intelligence community could produce was the work that they did try to understand how different countries saw the Obama NPR and to bring that into a feedback loop, so we can understand ourselves.

    Did our outgoing message—was it received the way we wanted to? How did that affect our ongoing planning? And there was a significant deviation between what we planned and it then factored into a lot of our thinking, so my favorite example—this is every time we said we wanted to reduce the role of nuclear weapons, what the work that Scott and Jane put together, what Russia heard was, we want to be able to do whatever we want with conventional weapons anytime, anywhere.

    Like, of course, you want to reduce the role of nuclear weapons. You are the conventional superpower. They didn't view that as a good thing. They viewed that as a very destabilizing thing that did not reassure them, so I think it would be very interesting to hear and see what foreign countries, adversaries and allies alike think about this NPR, but it gets to a fundamental problem which is, is this Trump's NPR or not?

    My interpretation and I wouldn't speak for anybody else is that Donald Trump is probably unlikely to read any of this document, that this is Secretary Mattis' NPR and it's a product of him, General Selva who is the Vice Chairman, General Hyten, the Commander of STRATCOM and Rob Soofer who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Missile Defense who is very knowledgeable and I think did an excellent job sort of pulling these threads together, but it doesn't reflect Trump thinking.

    And so, I don't know what our allies think, and I don't know what adversaries think because it—does Mattis runs nuclear policy or Trump? And if you have any doubts about that, just look at the NPR language itself. It says on the one hand, our commitment to our allies are ironclad and our assurances mean something, that's not Donald Trump language. And it says that any decision to use nuclear weapon would follow a deliberative process.

    Does anybody believe that that is the way that President Trump will think about using nuclear weapons? It's clearly the way that our military and our civilians in the Pentagon think about it, but that's not what we would see out of this White House.

    ROHLFING: I just like to add a simple kind of one sentence. I think the overall take away from this NPR is that we need more weapons and more roles for our nuclear weapons in our National Security and if the U.S. as the most powerful nation, the biggest most powerful military on earth needs more nuclear weapons for its National Security that sends a big signal that others needs them too and it really undermines our nonproliferation objectives and makes us less safe over time.

    REIF: Back there in the red.

    QUESTION: My name is Alicia Dressman. I am an independent consultant. When I read these section on the NPR on tailored deterrence towards Russia, which featured a very outdated view of Russia's nuclear posture, the escalated to de-escalate strategy, I don't think has been relevant in a recent National Security Strategy coming out of Russia in quite some time. I completely wrote off that there was an actual foreign-policy component that was competent and that this is more a technocratic objective introducing his new-yield low warhead.

    My question to you would be, how much of the NPR introducing the—may be resuming the W80 Mod 4 redesign for a SLCM, how much of that is the NNSA perhaps looking at the DOD NNSA three plus two programs in saying, "Okay, we have efficiencies. We can open up a new assembly and maybe use nonnuclear parts from the LRSO warhead for the SLCM, because they have a similar warhead design et cetera" and how much of this comes from this grand strategy perspective of our considering, you know, nuclear threats around the globe and proposing new warheads to meet those threats? Thank you.

    ROHLFING: I'll take a crack at that. I think it's both, and, but I do think it's primarily an attempt to address, perhaps a misinformed view of Russian doctrine and strategy. It's just taken as a given in this town that the Russians are seriously pursuing this strategy of escalate to de-escalate and I know among the experts, that's actually controversial and some of the experts I trust think it's not real, but I do think it is the primary driving factor behind seeking these new capabilities and then I think secondarily, as Tom mentioned, there's a component to creating some trade debate to try and get the Russians back to the table on INF.

    I would put both of those things in front at the NNSA trying to expand its mission space. They already have enough on their plate and not enough resources to tackle what they have been asked to do for their program of record.

    WOLFSTHAL: So, Joan is right. There is a discussion and debate about whether Russia really has an escalate to de-escalate. There is no such debate inside the U.S. government. When we looked in the Obama Administration where we continued to see what Russia is doing with their nuclear capabilities, with their capabilities of developing in violation of the INF and in addition to their statements and planning, there is a willingness to use nuclear weapons to escalate their way of a failed conventional crisis. That may not even be a dominant, it may not even be a likely capability, but is one that worries our planners and I think is appropriately worrying our planners.

    I can't speak for what it's like in this administration. I could tell you that as much as we valued and looked to the input of NNSA, they were not a strategy driver in the Obama NPR, I think it's very unlikely that they were a driving strategy. I don't think you have to look too far to see who really is the brainchild of these or who is the author of these brainchild. There was a lot of input for the NPR from Keith Payne at the National Institute for Public Policy who has written about tailor deterrence. You could actually take the sections, I mean, it's almost font matching in terms of what they are putting forward.

    So, these arguments have been out for a while. Frank Miller, the same who was a key official in the Bush administration for nuclear policy and defense and Brad Roberts also who worked on the Obama NPR is now at Livermore have been talking about these ideas for many, many years and I think they just found very fertile soil in the Trump Administration.

    COUNTYMAN: If I could comment on that. I don't know whether or not the Russians have an escalate to de-escalate doctrine or not. It does concern me that although the authors would deny it, we run the risk of slipping back into Cold War knee-jerk responses that if the Russians have such a policy, we must match that capability and that concerns me.

    I'm sure that the authors would see that comment as unfair, but there's a risk that we're moving in that direction, but the larger question about Russian statements and thinking, I think ties back to Doug's question about how other countries react and the fact is that even in the very hard world of military policy and nuclear weapons, words matter. Rhetoric matters.

    What I saw a few years ago as the most negative development for strategic stability and nonproliferation in the world was the fact that Vladimir Putin started talking about Russia's nuclear weapons as a key element of national power as what made Russia great. The kind of language that the North Korean leadership uses and that you heard sometimes in the past from Pakistan or India, but most countries had abandoned that language for a long period of time.

    And to have Putin again talking about nuclear weapons as what makes a country great was I think negative if the goal is to discourage still more countries from building nuclear weapons. And to have the United States President embrace that kind of language, even if less grammatically, I think further undermines our ability to discourage other nations from pursuing nuclear weapons. So, that's the part of Russian rhetoric that is separate from doctrine, but should be deeply concerning.

    REIF: We're getting closer to our time and I see that we have more questions out there. I am going to take a few at a time to ensure we get more questions, so first, Daryl and if you just wait to respond to Daryl's and I'll take another one.

    KIMBALL: Thanks, everybody. I'm Daryl Kimball, your host today. I wanted to draw Tom's attention and ask for comment about one part of the NPR that has gotten a lot of attention, but I think you're well equipped to address. One passage says, the United States is committed to arms-control efforts that advanced U.S. allied partner security are verifiable and enforceable.

    So, I think the Arms Control Association would agree that you know, that advanced U.S. allied partner security, yes, are verifiable, yes, but enforceable. What do you think the NPR authors mean? What might that entail? To my knowledge, there isn't a single arms-control treaty that contains an enforcement provision per se. So, your thoughts about that and quickly, Joan—back to the nuclear testing issue with your experience at NNSA and your work with a guy named Ernie Moniz at MTI (sic) who used to be at the Energy Department, as you know, the NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship Management Plan also has a line and it came out a few months ago that says the United States test readiness timeline should be reduced to 6 to 10 months for a simple test. What is your interpretation of what that is about? What its implications could be?

    REIF: Real quickly before responding to Daryl. Sir, right here, yes?

    QUESTION: Stephanie Cooke with Nuclear Intelligence Weekly. I wanted to ask a little bit more about the clauses to do with disarmament and the ambiguity at best in these clauses. I've asked, we've talked about it with Tom Countryman and I'd like to ask if you think that that will be softened or hardened? I mean in the sense that it will become stronger in the final document.

    We heard Chris Ford saying that he questioned that as a goal in April when he was at Carnegie, so you didn't mention his involvement in this review, but I wondered if someone—if you would comment on that and if you see a chance that that might be argued down so that we get stronger language on disarmament?

    REIF: Well, let's take those two and then we will...

    COUNTYMAN: Well, very quickly on the last point. I'm glad that Dr. Chris Ford is now in the office I previously held, Assistant Secretary for International Security in Nonproliferation. He is highly intelligent, highly experienced in this field and a substantial cut above the average appointee of this administration in any agency.

    I don't know how strong his role has been. I know that he was at the White House coordinating the drafting process, but the drafting was done primarily at DOD. I don't know if it will change and maybe I'm not far enough removed from government service, but it still bothers me when things of this magnitude get leaked. As journalists, as NGOs, it's great to comment on a leaked document, but the fact is that it's now harder for there to be any changes made to this document particularly with this White House.

    So, that if there is any argument still going on about particular clauses, it's probably hard for them to walk back now and that's unfortunate in my view. Very quickly on Daryl's points. The reference to future arms-control agreements is bothersome in two ways. First, because it says they have to be enforceable. There does not exist an enforceable arms-control agreement in part because no U.S. president would ever be willing to say that the United States will subject itself to enforcement action by an international body. In other words, this administration wants agreements to be enforceable on everybody else, but optional for the United States, and that's very much the White House point of view on the JCPOA.

    So, it sets an artificially high standard, an impossible standard. More importantly to me is the very phrasing denotes passivity. We remain open to arms-control agreements. Maybe somebody else has a terrific idea, but no claim of U.S. leadership, no claim that the U.S. is going to press forward on arms-control agreements. I understand in part why it lists in great detail the obstacle placed by the Russians through their INF violation, but to write off the U.S. leadership role and condemn Washington to passivity on an existential question for the planet is distressing.

    ROHFLING: So, let me tackle the test readiness question. I found it curious as well, Daryl, I think it sends a signal that they're adopting a much more muscular approach, that they are risk-averse, I guess, I perhaps there is some question about their confidence of enduring weapons in the stockpile. I personally don't see why you would need such a compressed timescale to have changed from—we were looking at a timeframe of years to resume testing to now, possibly six months. I'm not—it's a pretty stressful scenario to even put a test package together within that timeframe.

    There are extraordinary costs associated with ramping up the capability to resume testing within six months, so it certainly wouldn't be on my list of priorities for what we should be investing in when we have so much competition for resources, so that's something I'd like to learn more about. It simply makes no sense to me.

    WOLFSTHAL: And just briefly since Tom mentioned it, I'll put in a plug for an article that is out front that Rick Burton and I wrote in the National Interest on abandoning the arms-control role that the U.S. has played and how in fact, we can shape the international environment that so worries the Pentagon that they have to threaten early use of nuclear weapons and arm-control has been successful in actually reducing those threats in the past. We need to get back to thinking about shaping the environment and not having environment shape us.

    In terms of the language on disarmament, so I heard Chris Ford same as you at the Carnegie conference. I actually view that as one of the ways the document has already improved. They recognized there was no need to take on a fight that had no payoff by insulting the entire international nonproliferation system and parties to it and so, I think the language could get—it could be better and I actually and Tom have a slightly different view.

    I mean, I'm with you. I hate leaked documents and I wish that they hadn't come to me and I know that I got burned by documents being leaked when I was in the White House not to our advantage, but that being said, I actually did the Pentagon didn't like the reaction that there was a bit of a feedback loop going on that somehow this is worse than they thought.

    Secretary Mattis had asked that the NPR do three things. Deter our enemies, reassure our allies and not upset what there is of support for modernization in the Congress and the fact that this document may not achieve all three of those goals, may lead them to consider some changes, but I don't think that necessarily spoke about what they are hearing on the language for disarmament because while it's not good, it probably will get them a passing grade among some of the countries that we have to work with.

    And with Chris Ford's role, just a modification, Tom may have more information than I do. I think it was the Defense Director at the White House of the National Security Council that's coordinating the document, Mild Office, Armstrong nonproliferation had input into these particular sections, but was not a driver when it came to much of the policy.

    ROHLFING: ... an issue with something, you just said Jon and surprisingly, I think you give the review you too much credit for what it does say about disarmament. I have a somewhat more alarmist reaction to it. I mean, if you actually look at the designated section that talks about arms-control, nowhere in there does it actually mention that we are pursuing a goal of a world without nuclear weapons...

    WOLFSTHAL: But if you were Tom, and I've sent him in the lion's den at the NPT, you would say, "Oh of course, we recommit ourselves to the elimination of nuclear weapons." It's here in the preamble...

    ROHLFING: Right, but this occurs within the context of a much broader global debate right now that's broader than just the NPT that has to do with the test ban and the absence of a reaffirmation of what the U.S. has publicly said for decades that it is committed to achieving the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons. I think that's really problematic.

    WOLFSTHAL: I agree that it is problematic. It is a problem among many. I think it probably is a fig leaf for the diplomatic (inaudible)...

    REIF: Excellent colloquium among colleagues there. I see a few hands raised, so let's see if we can get the final outstanding questions before we wrap. Yes, Alexey.

    QUESTION: Thank you, I am Alexey Fomenkov, Second Secretary for the Russian Embassy. There have been a lot of talk here about Russians, so I was wondering whether I could say a couple of words without probably asking a question, would that be OK?

    REIF: Yes, you may.

    QUESTION: Thank you. So, first on escalate to de-escalate, I would like to point out that there is a standing Russian military doctrine. It's public. It's in English. And it specifically says under which circumstances Russia would consider using nuclear weapons and that is when the existence of the state is under jeopardy and when its territorial integrity is in question so that's very specific and it's much more specific than in U.S. documents, both current and supposedly, the future ones.

    Also, on the rhetoric, I would like to point out that the NATO, in its documents, it says that nuclear weapons remain the supreme guarantee with security, so I would say that comparisons between Russia and North Korea would not be very appropriate in this context. Thank you.

    REIF: Any of the panelists want to comment on that, you are free to do so, but let's see if we can get additional question. Greg?

    QUESTION: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association Board Member. Congress in recent years has been quite skeptical of arms-control and defense spending arguments given the deficit hawks seem to go into hibernation, so I wonder if could list a comment on what the Congressional reaction will be to the NPR and is it possible that nuclear policy issues over the nuclear programs will be an issue in the fall elections to the U.S. Congress?

    REIF: Like I said, one more and—yes, ma'am?

    QUESTION: Hi, I am Emma Fruy (ph) from Global Zero and as I understood the NPR, there was a point about ramping up plutonium production as part of the renewal process for existing nuclear weapons. I was wondering if you could comment on the potential consequences of that and how this compares to earlier NPR's?

    REIF: Let's answer those final three questions and then any closing comments that you might have.

    WOLFSTHAL: Maybe just a word on the Congressional reaction, we can talk Emma, anytime you want since we're both Global Zero now, welcome. So, I won't answer her question and Joan is better suited for that anyway.

    I have a prediction about politics although, I mainly worked for the Vice President who told me, "Look, you may be the smartest man in the world, but you don't know anything about politics." I think it's going to fall into two camps, Greg. I think partly this is going to fall into the resistance, right, Donald Trump can't be trusted with nuclear weapons. He is pushing for new nuclear options more usable. He wants to push the button, which is bigger than Kim Jong-un, you know, it sort would fit into that. I think this will provide plenty of fodder for that.

    In the discussions we've been having, I think there is a real interest on the Hill in the programmatic side of when it comes the—not just the cost, but also just the operations. How this will impact on the DoE complex, how it would impact on the on the other parts of the modernization.

    I don't think it's going to have—I don't think it's going to have a big electoral impact. I quite frankly, while, I was pleased as a lifelong arms-controller and a person who doesn't like nuclear weapons thrilled that there were nuclear commercials for the presidential election but quite surprised. I mean, I think this will fit into the narrative, but I think the real battle here is going to be on the budget for the new systems with the hope that it will inspire the Congress to exercise the oversight it should be exercising over the full suite of these capabilities.

    We have now door opening on the President's authority unfettered to use nuclear weapons. I think that's been very positive and helpful for shining light in this issue. I hope we will see a similar thing on the budget, but I don't expect to rise to a very high political national level.

    COUNTYMAN: In answer to Greg's question, just based on the past year, I predict that the Congressional majority will bring to this issue the same intellectual honesty, concern about deficits, non-partisanship, readiness to compromise and honest public statements that they've brought to every issue for the last 12 months.

    ROHLFING: Well said. I am not going to add to the Congressional budget question, but just a quick answer to the plutonium production. The review contemplates a ramp up to production facility that could produce 80 pits per year, which is actually consistent with the program of record under the Obama Administration that's been under discussion for a while, that's been on the books as part of the outgoing Stockpile Stewardship Plan, so it's obviously an increase from the onesie, two-sie capability that we have now, but not something new.

    Just one comment on the gentleman from Russia about the NATO statement, he's right. There is a statement about nuclear weapons being "the supreme guarantee of NATO's security" and what this represents is a greater emphasis on the role of nuclear weapons within the European context and I think this is a whole area, if we had more time, we could spend a whole session just talking that the role of U.S. forward deployed weapons in Europe, the role of nuclear weapons in Europe in general. I think, I would really matter have seen this review taking a completely different approach which is looking at how we can consolidate those weapons back to the United States, rather than reinforcing their role and underscoring that we need to keep them there for all.

    REIF: With that, let me thank our panelists for an excellent discussion. Let me thank all of you for coming. The conversation about the Nuclear Posture Review and the Trump Administration's nuclear weapons policy has just begun as has the Arms Control Association’s engagement on this question, so keep a lookout for future events, for additional resources on our website.

    My coworkers have informed me that I must conclude with two final housekeeping notes before I'm allowed off the podium. The first is a note that the transcript of this event will be available by the end of the week for those of you who are interested in consulting it and then a final note that the Arms Control Association, we have a date for our annual meeting which will be April 19th here at Carnegie and this year's annual meeting will focus on the challenges facing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and nonproliferation regime on the occasion of that 50th birthday of the treaty, so please, we hope to see you join us at that event on the 19th and with that, thank you all for coming and let's thank our panelists.



    The Arms Control Association will host a briefing with a group of top experts to analyze the implications of the new Trump nuclear strategy.


    Country Resources:

    Subject Resources:

    Press Briefing: Pathways to a Diplomatic Resolution on North Korea



    Prospects and Pathways to a Diplomatic Resolution the North Korean Nuclear Crisis

    Tuesday, December 5, 2017
    9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC

    The transcript of the event is posted below.

    Despite the Trump administration’s campaign of maximum pressure on the North Korean regime, Kim Jong-Un has continued to advance his country's nuclear and missile programs.

    U.S. officials say they are open to talks on denuclearization, but also insist that now is time to apply more pressure to bring North Korea to bargaining table. North Korea has said it will not discuss its nuclear program so long as the United States maintains a hostile policy and joint military exercises take place in the region.

    Though Washington and Pyongyang maintain a line of communication through the “New York channel,” there is no sign yet of any structured talks designed to resolve the crisis. The time available to find a a diplomatic off-ramp may be limited, especially if North Korea resumes its nuclear and missile testing.

    This event—featuring three top experts in the field—will outline the growing risks posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities and whether a serious, sustained, and direct U.S.-North Korean dialogue is still possible. The speakers will assess current engagement efforts and under what conditions Pyongyang might be willing to negotiate the cessation and reversal of its nuclear program. 

    Speakers will include:

    • William Perry, the 19th Secretary of Defense who has extensive experience negotiating with North Korea from his time serving in the Clinton administration;
    • Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at New America and participant in recent discussions with senior North Korean officials; and
    • Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association.
    • Daryl G. Kimball, executive director at the Arms Control Association, will moderate.

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


    DARYL KIMBALL: All right, if I can just ask everybody to take seat? We’re going to start in about a minute or so, and silence the cell—the—the mobile phones.

    And for those of you in the back, there are some seats up front. I expect there’re a few—there will be a few more people coming in, so this will be your chance to just slip in and get a seat towards the front. Thanks.

    All right, well, good morning. Let’s get the ball rolling.

    Welcome, everyone. My name is Daryl Kimball. I’m the executive director of the Arms Control Association, which most of you know is a nongovernmental organization that’s been in existence since 1971 to address the risks and the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

    We publish the monthly journal Arms Control Today and cover a wide range of weapons-related security issues. And we’ve organized today’s forum to explore and discuss prospects and pathways to a diplomatic resolution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.

    Now, the danger posed by North Korea is not new, but clearly since the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House in January of 2017, a bad situation has become far worse.

    So far, the Trump’s administration policy of maximum pressure, occasional threats of fire and fury, military exercises, and mixed messaging about negotiations has failed to bring Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table, and it hasn’t slowed down North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing program.

    And just, of course, a few days ago, North Korea’s Hwasong-15 flight test shows that the North Koreans have achieved something that Donald Trump said would not happen earlier this year, developing a long-range nuclear deterrent capability.

    Now, President Trump and some of his other senior officials say time is running out before some kind of military options may be pursued. The reality, however, about military action may be far different.

    It doesn’t seem as though there are any viable military options to halt or eliminate North Korea’s nuclear missile capability. So what does that leave us with? Pressure and some form of engagement.

    Following that Hwasong-15 test of just a few days ago, Secretary Tillerson said, helpfully, “Diplomatic options remain viable and open for now." So that’s good to hear, but what does that mean?

    Unfortunately, there are no direct talks right now going on between the United States and North Korea on a sustained basis, but as we’ll discuss this morning with our three expert speakers, there appear to be some new efforts under way to get such a process going.

    So we’ve organized this morning’s session to hear from three bona fide experts about the status and the prospects and the possible pathways towards a negotiated or brokered agreement that could reduce tensions, somehow halt North Korea’s nuclear and missile program and also, in some way or another, address the security current—concerns that North Korea itself says it has.

    There’s, of course, no guarantee that such an approach will work, but I think it’s fair to say that all of us here, all of our speakers, the Arms Control Association, believe this is the best option we have to address this grave situation.

    So we’re, of course, very honored to have with us this morning Bill Perry, William J. Perry, the 19th secretary of defense, who is, in my opinion, one of the wisest and most thoughtful nuclear policy experts our nation has to offer.

    He’s a real statesman who’s been working persistently on this issue, and it’s something that we at the Arms Control Association and, I think, every American should appreciate and admire.

    He has, of course, extensive experience actually talking to real North Koreans, particularly during his time while serving in the Clinton administration.

    So we’ve asked him to speak here today to discuss his perspectives on the crisis, what the risks are, what can be done to avert a catastrophic war and somehow arrive at a peaceful solution.

    So we’re going to hear from Secretary Perry. I would like to invite him to come up to the podium right now to speak. And then we’re going to take some—take your questions for him.

    And then we’re going to turn to our panel, and Secretary Perry is going to join two our other expert speakers, Suzanne DiMaggio, who’s a senior fellow with New America, and Kelsey Davenport, our own director for Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association.

    So Secretary Perry, if I could invite you to come on up? Thank you for joining us and for your long and distinguished service to the country. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue.

    WILLIAM PERRY: Thank you, Daryl. I’m going to get right to it by telling you what I think North Korea has today, which is about 20 to 25 nuclear weapons, a few of them, thermonuclear or hydrogen, and a couple hundred missiles, most of them short-range, but a few of them medium-range.

    And they’re developing an ICBM, which I think has another year or two to go before it becomes operational, but I have no doubt that they will get there. So that’s the North Korean nuclear arsenal today.

    We should never have let them get that arsenal. I’m going to talk about two things. First of all, how we happened—how we let that happen, very briefly, and then what we’re going to do about it.

    We had, in my judgment, four opportunities to stop that development from happening, all of which, one way or another, failed. The first one went all the way back to 1994.

    I have a special fondness for that one because it was the first crisis I faced as secretary of defense, so it’s etched into my memory.

    I won’t go into the details of what happened in that crisis except it ended up with a diplomatic agreement called the Agreed Framework, which was negotiated by Bob Gallucci, and by which North Korea agreed to stop their nuclear program.

    Basically, they shut down Yongbyon, which was their nuclear facility, and we agreed to supply—we being the United States, Japan, South Korea—agreed to supply them with two light water reactors to replace—to provide their electricity and then some, which they thought they were going to get out of their facility at Yongbyon.

    These new light water reactors would not be susceptible to being easily diverted to making nuclear weapons. And the—the Agreed Framework eventually was abandoned both by—by both United States and North Korea in the early part of this century.

    And while North Korea fully complied with their activities at Yongbyon, that is they shut down, basically shut down their plutonium facility at Yongbyon. They proceeded in a covert R&D program to develop a highly enriched uranium option for making nuclear bombs.

    The Agreed Framework—Framework, in my judgment, probably delayed their nuclear program by almost a decade. That’s what we got out of it. But it did not stop their aspirations to have nuclear bombs and did not stop them from proceeding with an R&D program in highly enriched uranium, going to—getting a head start on how to make a bomb out of HEU.

    In 1999, they conducted a early ICBM test, and that sent shockwaves, both in the United States and our allies, Japan and South Korea.

    But why was it so important? It was because nobody would build an ICBM unless they were planning to put a nuclear warhead on it. It was an indication that they had kept something going in—in the nuclear program.

    We didn’t know at the time what it was. We now know it was an R&D program in highly enriched uranium. But it was a very implicit indicator that it had—still had aspirations and some program for—for making a nuclear bomb.

    In dealing with that crisis, I was now happily back at Stanford teaching. I had no desire to leave, but President Clinton called me and asked me if I would be his envoy for North Korea, see if I could deal with this problem.

    To give you a little background about that, I thought I was a very poor choice for that task because during the previous crisis, I’d been secretary of defense.

    And we had taken a very strong position that we would not permit North Korea to make a nuclear bomb—that we would not permit them to make plutonium, which was the first step to getting a nuclear bomb.

    And I was a spokesman for Clinton in that regard. And we’ve said things like that many times since then, but this time we meant it. And we were—really were going to stop them if they did it. I had on my desk a plan to use a conventionally-armed cruise missile to destroy Yongbyon if they persisted in making plutonium.

    It’s not so important that we were planning to do that is—as it is that North Korea believed we were planning to do it. In other words, our threat this time was a credible threat. And that’s what brought North Korea to the bargaining table, I think.

    So why did he pick me to do this? I was the face of the opposition to Pyongyang. In fact, their—two days after I made my statement, the North Korean state-run newspaper had come out the headline that "Secretary of Defense Perry is a War Maniac." War maniac. I have never been called anything quite that exciting in my whole lifetime.


    So I thought they might have a very negative reaction to my being the envoy there. But it—in any event, we—but let me just tell you about what to propose to them. It was about a tri-lateral study. I invited the Japanese and South Koreans to join me in this study.

    We had a report made—but the key thing about the report, one sentence in the report, I think it’s worth repeating. It said, "We must deal with North Korea as it is and not as we would wish it to be." And that was my guideline when we went to Pyongyang to—to try to negotiate another agreement with them.

    I spent four days in Pyongyang, made a very explicit proposal to them of what benefits would come to North Korea if they verifiably agreed to give up not only their nuclear program but their long-range missile program and the incentives if they would do that and the disincentives if they didn’t do it. So it was a very frank and freewheeling discussion.

    And I left Pyongyang after four days believing we were very close to an agreement, that we had sort of a verbal understanding that they were willing—willing to do this.

    Some months later, Kim Jong-il sent his senior military man to Washington to do the final negotiation of this agreement. He stopped off at Stanford on the way. I gave him a tour of the Bay Area, held a dinner in his honor, and then we went back to Washington.

    The summary of that meeting was that he and President Clinton had a hand shake agreement on the deal we had negotiated in Pyongyang, and all of it—that was left was signing it. And Clinton wanted to sign it personally and Kim Jong-il wanted to sign it personally, so we were going to set that time in another—another month or two.

    But a funny thing happened three weeks after that meeting in Washington, which was called a U.S. election, and a new administration was voted into office. Clinton decided, I think probably rightly, that he shouldn’t sign this agreement and then hand it to the new president. He should let the new president do the signing.

    And at the time, we were confident that was going to happen because the incoming Secretary of State Colin Powell had said that he had liked the agreement and that he was going to bring it to a conclusion as soon as they got their new term started.

    So we saw that being signed in maybe February or March of 2001. But in fact, President Bush, I think, under the strong guidance of his Vice President Cheney, decided not only not to sign it, but to cut off all discussions, all negotiations with the North.

    And so for two years there was no discussion at all with the North. And they started acting out again. The Chinese became very concerned at this. So that was the second opportunity we had to stop the program, and that was aborted just before the agreement was signed.

    And so then a full discussion of what I’m—of that—those meetings and what the agreement was is in my book, "My Journey at the Nuclear Brink," which you can get for 20 bucks at Amazon.

    I was not only disappointed at the time; I would say I was a little bitter on all this work, all this effort on such an important problem, and it was just thrown overboard.

    In 2002, the Chinese became concerned about what was going on, and proposed something called the six-party talks. You’re all familiar with that. I won’t dwell on it.

    I believe they were on the wrong negotiating tactic in the six-party talks, but that’s just an opinion. In any event, the upshot of the six-party talks was during the time they were talking, the North Korean built about six or seven nuclear bombs.

    In other words, all of the—while they were—while the—while we were talking, they were building. And then finally the six-party talks were abandoned. That was our third opportunity to stop them.

    Last year, in 2016, I proposed once more diplomacy to deal with this problem, in particular diplomacy before they tested their ICBM and before they tested a hydrogen bomb, which I felt confident was in the offing.

    I thought if we could get an agreement to stop them then that would be very well worth—it didn’t get rid of this nuclear arsenal they had, but it kept it from getting worse. And in my judgment getting a hydrogen bomb and getting an ICBM made it a lot worse.

    I think we might have had that agreement a year ago, but that was never pursued. So that was the fourth opportunity we had.

    That wouldn’t have stopped them entirely in their arsenal, but it would have stopped them from getting an ICBM and a hydrogen bomb because you cannot truly aspire to—to have that kind of capability if you haven’t tested it.

    So as a result of those four missed opportunities, we’re now looking today at a nuclear arsenal, as I said, of about 20 to 25 nuclear weapons and building. They’re building, I think, at a pretty fast rate now with an H—an HEU capability.

    I still believe that we could have averted that outcome if we had concluded the agreement in 2000. At the very least, that agreement would have stopped their program for at least another decade.

    So four times we—our diplomacy was either unsuccessful, or we simply passed up the opportunity to do it. So that takes us up to today.

    Let me start off with a negative statement about our options today. I do not believe that even inspired and successful diplomacy today will be successful in getting them to give up their nuclear arsenal. If that’s the aspiration for our negotiations, I do not think they will be successful.

    It could have been successful in 2000. It could have been successful maybe even in 2004 during the four-party—six-party talks. Now they a nuclear arsenal, and they’re very happy with it.

    I can’t quite imagine what it is we’re going to offer them to the—encourage them to simply give it up. And to say that we want them to give up their arsenal before we begin to talk is just sheer idiocy. They’re not going to do that.

    Their successful test of a hydrogen bomb has now given the essential data they need to build an arsenal of those deadly weapons. And their ICBM tests have taken them far enough that, in my opinion, they’re not going to stop those tests until they have an operational ICBM whatever we offer them, whatever we propose them

    So whatever opportunity we had in the past to prevent them from getting in that position, that has passed and we’re now facing a different situation. They now have a nuclear arsenal, a nuclear arsenal which will soon have both ICBMs, and hydrogen bombs in its capability.

    So we must face the near certainty that North Korea will have, within a few years, the capable (sic) of delivering nuclear weapons, including hydrogen nuclear weapons, to any place in the world including, of course, the United States.

    And we should not have let them get that capability, but they will soon have it as a result of our either failure in diplomacy, or simply walking away from diplomatic options we had some years ago. That’s the bad news.

    Let me give you a little bit of good news in this situation. I do not believe that North Korea will use this weapon, this arsenal, in an unprovoked attack. I do not believe that.

    I’m not worried about them firing a nuclear weapon at San Francisco, or if they could get the capability—range capability, they’re not going to do that.

    They have endured great economic hardships to build this arsenal because they believed that it was necessary to preserve their regime, that is to sustain the Kim Dynasty. That is their over—has been from the beginning, their overriding objective.

    Some—the reason some of our negotiations failed, our six-party talks, which failed, for example, is because we had the wrong understanding of what they were trying to achieve.

    We offered them economic incentives, which they were happy to take, but they’re not willing to give up their nuclear arsenal for it. That is, in those days, they were not willing to give up the option of getting a nuclear arsenal.

    So I say they’re not going to use this in an unprovoked attack. This regime is ruthless, it’s reckless. It is not suicidal. It is not suicidal.

    They are seeking to survive, and they know that if they launch a nuclear weapon at the U.S. or its allies, that their regime will be destroyed. So that’s a little bit of good news.

    However, I want to say this very clearly, this nuclear arsenal is very, very dangerous. It’s all to a me—easy to imagine scenarios—scenarios in which they blunder into a nuclear war.

    They’re a reckless country. They—they all—they have a history of taking very dangerous provocations, particularly with South Korea. And if anything, this nuclear arsenal will probably embolden them to take even more provocations.

    And depending on how South Korea reacts, depending on how the United States reacts, that could easily escalate into a nuclear war—pardon me, into a conventional war.

    And if they get into conventional war, the North will lose. They know that. That’s why they’re building their nuclear weapons.

    So they see the nuclear weapons as deterring this war, but also I’m afraid they see it as emboldening—emboldening them to take even more reckless provocations, which create the condition in which a conventional military response would take, which could then escalate into a nuclear war. That’s the scenario I see which allowed—encouraged me to say this is a very dangerous situation.

    Beyond that, the United States itself could create the conditions that would cause us to blunder into a nuclear war. If, for example, we today make, as we are saying it’s on the table, a conventional military strike against North Korea, I have no doubt that they would respond with a conventional military response to South Korea. And that’s exactly the scenario we can imagine then escalating into a bigger war, then finally escalating into a nuclear war.

    So that’s the very serious situation we’re faced with today, and in the beginning of wisdom and any negotiations, any actions we take, any diplomacy we take, any actions we take, is to understand what the problem is. And that, I think, is the problem.

    What options do we have then? I think first of all, it’s still useful to engage in diplomacy, but only if we do it with lowered expectations. We cannot go into diplomacy thinking, as we sit down at the table, we’re going to offer them something which would cause them to give up their nuclear arsenal.

    That might happen over time, but it’s not going to happen as a result of a first negotiation. No diplomacy of which I can conceive in the short term at least, is going to persuade North Korea to simply hand over its nuclear arsenal.

    We had that opportunity in the past, I don’t think we have it today. The diplomacy would still be directed at the lesser, but still very important, goals of lowering the likelihood of blundering into a nuclear war.

    This war, to be very clear, would be devastating. Whatever it does to the United States, it would be devastating to both South Korea and to Japan.

    An all-out war with North Korea, nuclear war, even if China and Russia did not enter, which is always a possibility, but even if they do not enter, best case, could still entail casualties approximating those of World War I or even World War II.

    Seoul has 20 million people or so. Tokyo has 20 million or so. Several hydrogen bombs on those two cities would destroy those two cities.

    So this is a very grave consequence that we’re looking at, and we should think about if we stop focusing on whether they can have an ICBM that reaches the United States and concentrating on the very grave threat they pose today to South Korea and to Japan.

    So we have a serious requirement for diplomacy not only with North Korea, but with South Korea, Japan and China. China in many ways has been a key to a solution to this problem, but we have muffed that opportunity through the years, because we haven’t understood what China’s objectives are in all this.

    It’s been quite clear to me for some time that China’s objective is to avoid to having a unified Korea with American troops on their border.

    And years ago we could’ve been talking with China about that and offering them assurances that we would not take advantage of that opportunity if their actions led North Korea to collapse. Besides with China, what about our two allies?

    They’re going to be asking themselves right now the question, now that North Korea has hydrogen weapons, and then they will soon have weapons capable of reaching the United States, would the United States be willing to sacrifice New York or Washington to save Tokyo or Seoul?

    I posed it that way because that was exactly the question asked during the Cold War by the Germans. Would the United States be willing to sacrifice Washington or New York to save Bonn or Hamburg?

    If the North Koreans—if the South Koreans and the Japanese don’t ask that question, the North Koreans will ask—ask it for them, or suggest that they should be asking it.

    So our diplomacy should leave no doubt in the minds of North Korea that will we honor the commitments of extended deterrence to our allies. And it should deal with the concern, the very real concerns, that the South Koreans and the Japanese are having. And that’s going to take some real diplomacy.

    During the Cold War, dealing with the doubts of the Germans, we resolved that issue by deploying nuclear weapons in Germany, which was neither necessary nor desirable for military reasons, but we did it to ease the minds of the Germans.

    And those of you who are old enough to remember those days, you can remember also we had this about allowing two fingers on the button, both the German chancellor and the United States president.

    I want to be very clear, I do not think it’s either desirable or necessary to deploy nuclear weapons again in South Korea or to deploy them in Japan. I do think, however, that would be preferable to those countries getting an independent nuclear force.

    We need to look at what develops there, and we need to have our diplomacy, first of all, focusing on solid reassurance to our allies in South Korea and Japan that the extended deterrence is real and that we will honor it.

    If we can do that, if we can forestall the—the immediate crisis, then over time I think we can work with diplomacy with North Korea to start getting first to stop the building of the arsenal and then in time to roll back.

    I don’t see that happening today. I think we have to stabilize the situation with our allies first. And the last thing we need to be doing today, the last thing, is making reckless threats to North Korea.

    That’s that we’re going to make a surprise attack that decapitates the government, because that’s exactly the situation which can promote exactly the thing we’re trying to avoid, which is a North Korean nuclear strike.

    They will not, in my judgment, use their nuclear weapons against us or against our allies unless provoked into doing it. That could be either a military attack against the North or a credible threat that we’re going to conduct a surprise decapitation attack.

    Those are the things that could stimulate the North Koreans to take an act, which otherwise I believe they will not take. I’m giving you a very grim story because I think we have a very dangerous situation today, and our options for dealing with it are not really very good.

    They have to start with being calm and measured in our rhetoric—have to start with very creative and serious diplomacy with our two allies. And to get a long-term solution of the problem, we have to have some really creative diplomacy with China because we’re going to eventually work—to start working this arsenal backwards.

    We have to deal with the North Korean overriding goal, which is security assurance. When I negotiated with them in 2000, I gave them that assurance in various ways, which we can talk about if you’d like.

    But then I was just—all I was thinking to do is to get them to give up building a nuclear arsenal. Now they have one. They’re going to be very reluctant to give it up.

    And so our negotiations by the United States alone cannot do that. We have to have the United States and China making these assurances.

    We have to have China—whatever agreement we would sign in North Korea has to be countersigned not only by the United States and our two allies, it has to be signed by China as well.

    And it has to give assurance to North Korea that we will not conduct a military attack against them to overthrow their regime.

    So there’s the near-term diplomacy of dealing with our two allies and getting them to stand firm and to believe that our extended deterrence works and to not move off on an independent nuclear arsenal of their own, which have long term, very serious consequences.

    And there’s the longer term diplomacy, which has to do with China, which addresses the arsenal that North Korea has and finding ways of first all making it less dangerous so it’s less likely to be used, and secondly getting some sort—getting it stopped from getting any worse, and then finally starting to roll it back.

    These are very difficult goals, but I think over time they could be achieved, but they could only be achieved in close partnership with China.

    And Daryl, that’s the bad news I had to bring this audience today, and I’m open to questions about it.

    KIMBALL: Well, thank you for being here. I don’t thank you for the bad news. It’s not your fault, Bill. We have a chance for some questions for you but before we do that, why don’t we trade places?

    PERRY: OK.

    KIMBALL: So you can have a seat, and we’ll take a few.

    PERRY: (Inaudible) a good idea.

    KIMBALL: All right, so we’re going to take a few minutes to take your questions for Secretary Perry on his remarks, and then we’re going to go into further depth with Suzanne DiMaggio and Kelsey Davenport and Secretary Perry on the diplomatic path ahead.

    Michael Gordon—and if you could, just identify yourself, ask your question, and we have a mic so that our transcriber can pick this up.

    QUESTION: Michael Gordon, Wall Street Journal. Secretary Perry, can you explain in a little greater detail what you think the first steps might be in a serious negotiation with the North Koreans?

    I mean, I take your point you don’t think you can persuade them to eliminate their arsenal, denuclearize the peninsula, give up these long-range missiles that they’re developing, and that you have to begin to roll it back, but what would be the first two or three steps you think—tangible steps that might be negotiable to de-escalate the situation, if not disarm the North Koreans?

    PERRY: Yes, I think the first negotiations have to be the same ones I proposed a year or two ago, but it won’t have the same results. And that is a freeze on testing, no more long-range missile tests and no more nuclear tests.

    The idea is to simply keep the situation from getting any worse than it is. A year or so ago, had we been able to negotiate that, it would’ve been a very big benefit because it would’ve stopped them from getting the hydrogen bomb, and it would’ve stopped them from taking the ICBM test, which they recently conducted which I think isn’t the—could not be the last test for them, but it’s given them assurance they could—that they can make an ICBM operational.

    So that would—that would be a step worth—worth taking. I don’t think we can achieve that without China as a partner in the negotiations.

    And then the next step after that, if we achieved that, would be talk about the conditions in which they start rolling back what they have.

    I don’t have much enthusiasm for proposing that because the objectives are limited, and doesn’t stop the main threat that they already have. I’m just—do not believe we can get any more than that today.

    Our opportunity to negotiate away their arsenal under one negotiation has passed, I believe. So as I said at the start of my talk, we have to deal with North Korea as it is and not as we would wish it to be.

    As it is, it has a nuclear arsenal, and it has this overriding aspiration – I have a high confidence that the regime will survive, to be sure.

    Given those two goals, the best we can get right now, I think, is keeping the situation from getting worse, and then in time starting to roll it back. And even to get those two objectives, I think we have to have China as a partner in the negotiation.

    And to get China, we have to have a preliminary discussion with them which assures them of our willingness to come to an agreement with them that we’re not—not going to take advantage of the situation if there ends up being a unified Korea.

    I think what we should tell China is the reason we have troops in South Korea today is to protect them from the threat of a North Korean attack. That’s why they’re there. They would not be there if we didn’t have that.

    And so if the North Korean danger goes away, by whatever means, we have no reason to keep our troops there any longer. That’s, I think, the issue which has China hung up, and has been hung up for some time.

    So we’d have to be able to deal with that issue if we’re going to have success in bringing China into the negotiations as a partner. And I think without China as a partner we’re not going to be even to get the limited objectives that I’ve described to you.

    QUESTION: OK. What would you (inaudible) be prepared to give for that initial, let’s say, freeze? Are you among those that...

    PERRY: Give to China or give to North Korea?

    QUESTION: North Korea.

    PERRY: Oh.

    QUESTION: Are you among those that see merit in a freeze for freeze, or do you, as a former secretary of defense, who—who knows what it takes to defend this—South Korea, think that would be a disadvantage to our military presence?

    PERRY: No, I—I think that as long as we’re faced with the military situation we’re faced with today, we should not be talking about decreasing our military capability in North Korea. If anything, we should be looking at increasing it.

    The specific issue is defending South Korea and Japan against a missile attack. And we have a ballistic missile defense systems deployed in Seoul and with—with the Aegis systems deployed around Tokyo. Neither of them, in my judgment, would be successful in defeating a deterrent attack by North Korea.

    But there are various things we could do to bolster those defenses. I am not thinking that it makes any sense to have a major deployment of—of American ground troops in North Korea, but there are many things we can do in terms of air and naval component.

    So air and naval and ballistic missile—and missile defense would be the three things. I just fear, though, that the—putting more batteries of our present ballistic missile defense system in South Korea is not going to do it.

    Even—the system has been criticized in the past for not living up to its specifications. But my point is that even if it performs exactly as it was designed to performed, it is fundamentally susceptible to saturation.

    Any missile defense system is subject to saturation. And a missile defense system that operates during free flight is very easy to saturate with decoys.

    And I think we have been going on blissfully assuming that the North Koreans would not be sophisticated enough to make sophisticated decoys. I’m—my contention is if they’re sophisticated enough to thermonuclear bombs, they’re sophisticated enough to make sophisticated decoys.

    So we have to assume that any missile defense system we have in South Korea or Tokyo is going to be subjected to decoys and therefore saturation attacks, and we have to deal with it.

    We have to look at ballistic missile defense systems that deal with that fundamental issue and that fundamental problem. It’s possible to conceive of such systems because of the peculiar geography of North Korea, which is North Korean missile launch sites are all access—accessible, line of sight (ph) accessible from the air.

    And so we can conceive of airborne missiles defense systems which could operate during a powered flight of—of firing. That would give us quite a different—that fundamentally beats the decoy problem.

    So I’m not proposing a system now. I’m just saying if we want to deal with this problem we have to start off with the understanding that the systems we have over there now are subject to saturation, even if they work as they’re supposed to work, and find a way of bolstering the systems to overcome that fundamental problem. And that—technically there are ways of doing that.

    KIMBALL: So why don’t we take, I’ve got a question here from Julian Borger. We’re going to take—we’re going to take one more question and then what I want to do is I want to bring our other panelists into the conversation because we are starting to get into some of the issues that we had planned to discuss, so...

    QUESTION: Julian Borger from The Guardian and I just wanted to follow up on Michael’s question. What would you offer them in terms of scaling...

    PERRY: The North?

    QUESTION: Yeah, what would you offer the North for a freeze in—in testing?

    PERRY: Yeah, well, there’s two buckets of things you would offer. One of them is a bucket of goodies, economic incentives. And we have done that in the past, and they have been very attracted to the North in the past.

    Economic—North Korea is an economically deprived country and there are many things we could do that would deal with that issue. One of the most significant and important ones is, which the South has already done at least once, is helping them economically develop.

    And in my mind the joint North-South facility that was built at Kaesong on the border in North Korea, as an example of things can be built on and replicated. But fundamentally we have to offer them a way of—we have to be able to find a way of providing assurance, security assurances.

    That cannot be done, in my judgment, today by the U.S. alone. It has to be done in conjunction with China. North Korea might take seriously a mutual security pact between the U.S. and North Korea that is co-signed by China, but I don’t think today they would take it seriously without that.

    I would not offer as a—and let me—let me be explicit about this, the freeze for freeze. I would not offer not building up a military capability. The threat is very real and our diplomacy may not succeed and therefore we have to be prepared to deter. Diplomacy is—to solve the problem, is far preferable to deterrence, but our diplomacy has failed up to this point and therefore we cannot simply give up our deterrence.

    We have to be able to—in fact in my judgment, we should be building it right now. And there are ways of building in—in relatively non-provocative ways as we’re—we are talking about a defensive capability, not an offensive capability.

    KIMBALL: All right, so I want to thank Secretary Perry for focusing our minds on the hard, cold realities and outlining the potential path ahead.

    And—and what we’re now going to do is turn to our full panel to explore more deeply the implications of the North Korean nuclear missile capabilities for our policy objectives.

    We’re going to talk a little bit more about the current status of engagement efforts, such as they are, and talk about what it might take to get these negotiations even started, because as I said in the beginning there are no sustained, direct discussions that are currently happening.

    And so we’re very pleased to have with us Suzanne DiMaggio who is senior fellow at—at New America and as many of you know, has been a key participant in recent discussions with senior North Korean officials.

    She’s got a long resume of experience with Track 1.5 talks, so it’s unofficial discussions with senior officials on both the Iranian nuclear issue and also now on North Korea.

    And I think she visited Pyongyang earlier this year. It was in January, right Suzanne?

    DIMAGGIO: February.

    KIMBALL: February. And we also have with us Kelsey Davenport, who is the Arms Control Association’s director for Nonproliferation Policy.

    She’s been tracking and analyzing the North Korean nuclear and missile file since 2012, and she will be going off to South Korea next week. So we are hoping there will not be any more missile tests while she travels on that airplane to—to Seoul.

    So their full bios are in your program. And in lieu of set presentations from Suzanne and—and Kelsey, we’re going to—I’m going to ask them four basic sets of questions that help us get into these issues a little bit further.

    And we’re really—really happy Bill Perry is able to—to join us. We had first thought he wasn’t going to be able to, so he’s now going to be a part of this—this discussion.

    So the first thing I want to ask Kelsey and Suzanne to address, and maybe Kelsey you can start us on this, is given what we heard from—from Secretary Perry about North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, you know, what are some of the more—the details?

    What do we think they’re trying to achieve? How might they try to further advance? And then finally—and this is a question for all of you, is there still some nonproliferation or some security value in trying to secure that halt of further nuclear and missile testing?

    So Kelsey, why don’t you start off please?

    KELSEY DAVENPORT: All right. Thank you, Daryl, and thank you, all of you, for coming today. It’s an honor for me to be sitting between Secretary Perry and Ms. DiMaggio, whose work I—I admire a great deal.

    But to get to the—the brunt of Daryl’s question, looking a little bit more closely at what North Korea has accomplished in this most recent test, I think it’s very clear that, as Secretary Perry said, the goal for North Korea is a reliable nuclear-tipped ICBM that’s capable of threatening key cities in the continental United States along the East Coast.

    And after North Korea’s July ICBM tests, you know, they weren’t there. If the July test had been flown at a standard trajectory, these missiles likely would have had a range of about 10,500 kilometers, which probably would not have allowed them to reach Washington.

    And it’s questionable whether or not these missiles tested in July could have borne a full weight warhead delivered to that—to that distance.

    But the test last week represented a significant technical advancement for North Korea. Looking at the Hwasong-15, it’s clear that this is not just a version of the July missile with a—with a little bit more power. This is a very different, much more advanced system.

    You know, the first stage, for instance had—had two rockets. It’s very clear from the payload space that not only can this missile carry a full weight warhead but there’s also space for decoys, which as Secretary Perry mentioned, can be a critical component in trying to evade and saturate U.S. missile defenses.

    So it’s clear that this—this missile is a significant advance. And if the missile had been flown on a standard trajectory, the range, even with a full weight warhead, you know, would likely still exceed 13,000 kilometers, which would put cities like Washington within range.

    So there are still questions about the reliability and the accuracy of this system. And—and there are still remaining questions about whether or not the warhead would successfully re-enter the atmosphere upon, you know, a—a standard trajectory test.

    You know, U.S. officials, you know, were recorded as saying that they have some doubts about whether or not re-entry from the tests last week, you know, was actually successful. So certainly, you know, more tests will be needed to actually ensure that this is a reliable system.

    But the system—the fact that they’ve tested it, the fact that U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said this missile is capable of reaching almost anywhere in the world, certainly is a psychological victory for North Korea because now, you know, they can back up their bark with a little bit of bite.

    You know, they can say that they have a missile capable of targeting these cities, and in the event of a crisis they could actually try and use it. And there’s no guarantee that the missile itself would fail. So certainly it’s a clear advancement.

    Now, when talking about the benefits of a freeze, I think it’s important not just to think about how this would impact North Korea’s ICBM program, but also their range of missiles.

    You know, certainly freezing, you know, progress on their ICBM would prevent them from actually having a sense of how reliable this system is. Freezing it before they launch it on a standard trajectory would certainly raise questions about whether or not it actually could meet those parameters.

    But North Korea is not just developing an ICBM. You know, there also have been tests, you know, in the past year looking at medium range solid-fuel ballistic missiles. And activity at North Korea’s shipyard indicates that they’re still interested in developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

    And building out those capabilities would give North Korea a greater range for actually delivering nuclear warheads. So halting progress on solid-fuel ballistic missiles I think would prevent them from manufacturing reliable missiles that are more difficult to track, that are harder to, you know, preempt because the—the time to launch is much shorter.

    And preventing them from developing a reliable submarine-launched missile, you know, will keep them from being able to evade missile defenses in South Korea by moving a submarine essentially outside of the field of the THAAD radar.

    So from a technical perspective, you know, even though North Korea has achieved this key milestone of testing a missile capable of targeting the entire continental United States, there still is benefit in the testing freeze because it would prevent that system from being more reliable and being tested on a standardized flight path.

    You know, and it could prevent North Korea from making progress on these other areas like solid-fueled and—and submarine-launched systems.

    KIMBALL: So let me just expand on this question a little bit, Suzanne. I—I ask you to try to offer your comments on what you think the North Koreans are trying to achieve from your discussions.

    And the other question for all three of you really is, you know, given what the North Koreans have just done, how should the United States government be describing it or stating it to make—should we be diminishing this capability because they haven’t yet achieved all the technical barriers?

    Or should we acknowledge what, you know, the independent technical experts appear or are—are saying, which is this is a—a viable, credible capability?

    SUZANNE DIMAGGIO: Well, first let me say thanks, Daryl and Arms Control Association for organizing this event. And thanks to all of you for attending.

    So there’s no doubt that the North Koreans are and have been hell-bent—can you hear me?

    KIMBALL: Yup.

    DIMAGGIO: Yes? Hell-bent on demonstrating that they’re capable of hitting us within a nuclear-tipped missile. The recent tests I think demonstrates that they’re well on their way to achieving this. And by the way, in my discussions with them, this position has absolutely hardened over this past year.

    So I agree with the other panelists that there is no chance to negotiate a denuclearization at this time. Some experts have said it could take as long as two years to perfect that capability.

    I think Sieg Hecker has an article in Foreign Affairs that makes that point, published yesterday. Secretary Perry said closer to one year, and some experts think even less. Our own national intelligence estimates put it at about a year or less now.

    So the point is, though, that they already have, in my estimation, achieved a deterrence capability because we know that they can hit our allies, both Seoul and Tokyo with nuclear-tipped missiles. So that question to me, I think, is pretty much a—a done deal.

    On the point of freeze for freeze, I think that what the administration should be doing now, in light of this test and, of course, the other tests that we saw earlier this summer, the two ICBM tests and the hydrogen test, is to move to aggressively pursue talks about talks, or we can call it pre-diplomacy if that’s a better term, to see what might be possible at this time.

    And I think the first order of business is to try to convince the North Koreans to freeze both the testing of their missiles and their nuclear detonations. I, for one, think that we should offer not a suspension of our military exercises with South Korea but some adjustment.

    In my discussions with the North Koreans they’ve been fairly consistent that one of the key pillars of the so-called U.S. hostile policies are these tests. And based on conversations I’ve had with military experts and others, it seems to me that these exercises have gotten very expansive over the past few years.

    For example, we could probably respond to one of North Korea’s very key problems with these joint exercises and that is the decapitation exercises. They bring this up every time you meet them and see them, and I think there is a way for the United States to maybe not advertise that we’re doing it so openly. Maybe move it to another theatre.

    Those—that’s what I mean by adjustments, not stopping the exercises, but certainly finding a way to tone—tone them down. And of course economic incentives would be other thing to offer.

    It’s very interesting that after this test last week the government announced that they had achieved the goal of the completion of the rocket weaponry system development and the completing of the state nuclear force. What does that mean?

    This is another thing. We should be discussing them in pre-diplomatic talks. I see it as a potential opening to aggressively pursue.

    There are a couple of other openings. That leads to the question of the North Korean policy of the Byungjin line, which is the parallel development of their nuclear program with economic development.

    So clearly they have made tremendous progress on the first but nothing on the latter. And I think that is another set of discussions to pursue with them.

    What are their goals post-declaration? In terms of the economic development, I would make the case that Kim Jong-un has staked his credibility, not only on nuclear development but also on economic development, something he probably feels compelled to fulfill in the eyes of the North Korean people. So that’s an opening I think we should be pursuing aggressively.

    The other potential opportunity at this time is—is the timing of it. We have the Winter Olympics coming up in South Korea. I think that presents a perfect opportunity to tone down these exercises, maybe even postpone them a bit.

    The South Korean government has indicated a interest in doing something like that, so there is a timing element that lends itself to this sort of thinking.

    And then also there’s another opening in the sense that we’re at a moment where both sides, both North Korea and the United States, in my view, can now come to the negotiating table in a position of strength. Certainly the North Koreans with these recent tests can do that.

    And I would argue even the Trump administration, that has emphasized and concentrated on maximum pressure, and they’ve achieved that. They have two of the—of the strongest, toughest U.N. Security Council sets of sanctions passed this year.

    They also have unilateral sanctions that have also followed up that—the multilateral sanctions. They’ve re-designated North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism and followed that up with more unilateral sanctions.

    They’ve pressured a—a number of countries to cut off relations with North Korea. A number of countries are also expelling North Korean officials and so forth.

    So the maximum pressure is—is working in the sense that they are moving forward with that. But it’s not working in the sense of changing the behavior of North Korea, and maybe that’s something we could talk about in a next question.

    I would say the Trump administration now needs to move to what I would call a post-declaration strategy. Now that the North Koreans have said they’ve completed this program, what are our—what are our strategic objectives in this post-declaration environment? And I would have some ideas on that if we have a future question.

    KIMBALL: All right. Why don’t we (inaudible) for a second? I just wanted to give Secretary Perry a—a chance to respond to this more specific question with military exercises and whether there might be a way to modify, as Suzanne DiMaggio was saying, modify the exercises in ways that make them less threatening while still providing the deterrent value and military value?

    And I ask this in part because as we sit here, amiably here at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, having our coffee and talking about this, there is a major exercise going on involving U.S. and South Korean forces that is—is said to include mock attacks against North Korean missile launch sites with mock North Korean radars.

    Now, is there a way in which, Secretary Perry, I mean, the United States might, as Suzanne said, modify these—these kinds of maneuvers and exercises so that they appear less threatening while we maintain our—our readiness?

    PERRY: I—I would give a general guidance I think for exercises we conduct. They should be designed to strengthen the ability of U.S. and ROK forces to work together. It’s not automatic that’s going to happen.

    So you have to exercise the two different—the unitives of the two different forces to work together. That’s a—a legitimate objective and exercise.

    And more—more generally, you do it to strengthen your ability to respond to an attack. So to the extent our exercises meet those two tests, U.S. and ROK work together, they exercise. U.S. and ROK working together they exercise our ability our respond to attack. They are not only legitimate, I think, but I—probably under the circumstances are—are necessary.

    On the other hand, there are a whole set of exercises we can take that are designed to threaten or intimidate the North. The North, I believe, are quite counterproductive. They don’t intimidate easily. So you can antagonize them, but you—you cannot intimidate them.

    An example of that latter kind of an exercise is flying a nuclear bomber right up to the North Korean borders and then turning away.

    We don’t—we know we can do that. They know we can do it. We don’t have to exercise doing it as a design to intimidate them, to threaten them.

    And so we should avoid, I think, exercises that intimidate and threaten, first of all, because they don’t work, and secondly, in the current environment I think they’re dangerous.

    So that would be the litmus test I would put to the exercises, whether they’re designed to strengthen our ability to respond to an attack as opposed to be exercises designed to intimidate and threaten.

    KIMBALL: All right, thank—that’s helpful guidance and clarification.

    So why—why don’t we turn to what—what I think you wanted to discuss, Suzanne, which is, you know, how and whether the Trump administration might be able to make this adjustment to adopt a—a new strategy towards North Korea in this post-, as you say, declaration of their nuclear deterrent capability environment?

    And just to start, let me ask each of you to assess very briefly, I mean, your understanding of what the Trump administration’s strategy has been. OK, what is it? Because many people, I think including the North Koreans, are a bit confused about what it is.

    Many members of Congress are confused. I think the American public are somewhat confused. So if you could just describe what it is.

    And then also, I mean, Suzanne, if you could provide a little bit of perspective on how you, as somebody who’s spoken with the North Koreans most recently among us, how they are perceiving this?

    I mean, what is their reaction to the Trump statements and the other cabinet secretaries’ statements, the whole package?

    DIMAGGIO: So let me begin by just mapping out very briefly the—what I call the hits and misses between the Trump administration and the North Korean leadership since Inauguration Day.

    So I think when the Trump administration came in, the North Koreans saw it as a potential opportunity, an opening to have a different relationship with the United States, mainly because there was no psychological baggage with this new administration, unlike the Iran situation where from the point of view of the Trump administration, where they are saddled with a deal that they hate—even though it’s working by the way.

    In the case of North Korea, there wasn’t that baggage either. So I think the North Koreans at that time thought it could be a fresh start. And at first, there was an effort to have an interaction between North Korea and—and U.S. officials actually here in the United States in early spring.

    The visas had been issued, or at least approved. But then it happened to coincide with the timing of the killing of Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un’s half-brother. And at that time the administration decided to pull back on those visas.

    The next opportunity came in the late spring of 2017 and that was a meeting that took place in Oslo. So we had a Track 2 discussion at that point set up in Oslo and Ambassador Joseph Yun quietly joined us there for those discussions.

    He had conversations with the leadership of the North Korean delegation, Madame Choe Son-hui and that set of discussions led to the release of Otto Warmbier.

    I think at that point there was every indication that those discussions would continue, but that the outcome, the tragedy of that situation, really threw a wrench into that plan. And that is when the Trump administration backed off a bit.

    And then if we look—move up to early fall, there were a few things teed up to try to restart this dialogue again. But as you’ll recall at that point, at the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump gave a very, shall we say, colorful speech at the United Nations.

    It was not received well by the North Korean leadership. It included personalized insults and that derailed efforts at that time, too.

    So now we’re in a situation where I do think the Trump administration would like to explore talks about talks at this stage. I think the North Koreans are assessing the timing of when to do that.

    That’s why I find this statement so interesting, this declaration, that they’ve completed their nuclear force. So I think this is a time to try again to try to get something initiated and off the ground.

    And as—in—in response to your question, Daryl, as I said before, I think the Trump administration has been more or less completely focused on the maximum pressure side of the coin and less focused on the engagement side of the coin.

    And I would contend that this probably is as a good time as any to try to pivot to that engagement side. And, of course, this is much more of an art than a science.

    As I just mapped out, there are a lot of factors that are—have to be weighed. And let’s face it. When—we’ve had a series of missed opportunities. When one side has been ready, the other side has not.

    And there have been a lot more misses than hits. So when I think about maximum pressure and engagement, I think of the model of the Iran talks as a potential way to look at this.

    And I think that during those talks the Obama administration before beginning the talks, I should say, really hit that sweet spot of pivoting from pressure to engagement.

    And as I said, it was more of an art than a science. But it was more than just good timing. They also had a strategy in place how to build off the pressure that they built. And I don’t see that with the Trump administration. I don’t see that they have a strategy in place.

    In the case of the Iranians, there were a series of secret talks to talk about all these things and map out that strategy. I think a pivotal point was when the U.S. conveyed to the Iranians that they would respond to one of their red lines, which was to allow them to enrich uranium on their soil. That was an absolute turning point with the Iranians.

    We need a similar turning point with the North Koreans. We need to build off the maximum pressure that this administration has now achieved, pivot to engagement and provide an off-ramp. And we need creative thinking on what that off-ramp should be.

    I think the first step, certainly, should be the freeze agreement on their testing in exchange for an adjustment in the exercises and perhaps some economic sanctions relief.

    There are other things to talk about besides denuclearization. And I agree with Secretary Perry completely. That ship has sailed. I can’t imagine any scenario where the North Koreans would agree to any dismantlement of their nuclear program at this stage of the game.

    That doesn’t mean we should drop it as a long-term objective. In any negotiation we enter with the North Koreans, we should insist that that remains our long-term objective. But we need to focus on what is achievable at this time.

    There are also a lot of other things on the agenda we can discuss with the North Koreans. And let me just begin by one that I think is very important and that is nonproliferation.

    Securing an assurance from them that they will not transfer their nuclear weapons, their fissile material, their chemical and biological weapons to third parties. That’s a point we’ve discussed in Track 2, and I think we need an official dialogue on that now.

    The other thing I would think would be important to discuss with them in an official setting is what are their objectives now that they’ve reached this completion of their nuclear force? How do they see their priorities moving forward? What are their plans for economic development?

    Also, they consistently tell us in Track 2 that their nuclear and missile programs are purely for defensive purposes. We need to explore that with them. What do they mean by that? What is the nuclear doctrine that they are intending to follow? Are there elements of the NPT that they see as applying to themselves?

    Those are also discussions we should be having. And then along the way we should be prodding to have negotiations on a cessation in the production of nuclear materials and missiles. But I think that may take some time.

    And then, of course, the longer term discussion is addressing what they call the U.S. hostile policies. How to get to a point where they feel that they have been addressed in a sincere way?

    And, of course, this sort of discussion would be a much longer discussion, probably quite arduous. It could probably include some sort of peace agreement, security assurances for sure. And—but that’s something I think that also should be put on the agenda.

    So my point is that even though denuclearization would not be on this initial agenda, it would be a long-term goal. There still are a lot of important issues to be discussing with the North Koreans that aim to clarify their intentions, make sure they don’t use their nuclear weapons, also prevent proliferation to third parties and so forth.

    So I would say that’s a very full agenda.

    KIMBALL: All right.

    Kelsey, your thoughts on the same question?

    DAVENPORT: Yeah, I certainly agree with what Suzanne said, but I think I would just add it’s important that when the Trump administration, you know, and if the Trump administration manages this pivot to lay out a diplomatic path for how to leverage the pressure that it’s created, that it does what it can to also take the U.S. Congress with it.

    I mean, certainly the U.S. Congress, you know, will not be negotiating with North Korea, but they can help or hinder the process depending on the steps that—that Congress decides to take going forward.

    And in Congress, you know, the tendency to increase pressure by utilizing sanctions, you know, certainly remains prevalent. And what—what Congress has been doing more recently with sanctions writ large is narrowing the space for which the president can offer waivers down the line if there is ever any agreement or—or movement forward with North Korea.

    So ensuring that the existing measures, that any future measures continue to preserve that flexibility, that could allow the president to pull sanctions back if we get to that point where—where that’s an appropriate step to take, I think certainly will remain critical.

    You know, also, you know, doing what, you know, what the administration can to, you know, assure Congress that, you know, any attempts to negotiate with the North Koreans will not weaken U.S. security alliances and will not compromise U.S. objectives I think will certainly be critical so that, you know, we also can, you know, refrain from, you know, outright criticism from Congress where possible sort of against this—this—this approach.

    And—and certainly, you know, keeping Congress in the loop I think will also, you know, cut back on the instances like Senator Graham, you know, continuing to talk about, you know, war being imminent. The importance of even, you know, beginning to withdraw, you know, U.S. you know, dependents from the Korean peninsula because all of that is still picked up on by—by North Korea.

    So conditioning the space and bringing Congress along for the ride, you know, in the diplomacy pivot I think is—is certainly critical.

    KIMBALL: All right, thanks.

    Let me—let me—speaking of sanctions, let me ask you and Suzanne a question that is coming up very soon which is how the U.N. Security Council might handle the situation in the wake of the Hwasong-15 test.

    I mean, we have seen a pattern over the last couple or three years in which the North Koreans conduct a nuclear test explosion or a ballistic missile test.

    There is a Security Council statement from the president, sort of a consensus statement, and then there are consultations about whether and how to tighten sanctions.

    DIMAGGIO: Yes.

    KIMBALL: So, you know, as you said, Suzanne, I mean, the—the last set of sanctions has been unprecedented in its scope and—and—and its strength. That’s Resolution 2375 from back in September, and so, you know, what is the wise next step given this moment?

    What would your advice be to the members of the—the council? Should they be looking for ways to tighten sanctions further or implement existing sanctions better?

    And I—I would also, if I were there, I would remind them that that same resolution makes it clear that all sides should pursue diplomacy...

    DIMAGGIO: Yes...

    KIMBALL: ... by the way.

    DIMAGGIO: ... exactly.

    KIMBALL: And it also says that.

    DIMAGGIO: You just took...

    KIMBALL: ... so...

    DIMAGGIO: ... my answer, Daryl.

    KIMBALL: Oh, well, OK, I’m sorry. Great minds think alike. So—but what is your advice about the overall approach...

    DIMAGGIO: Well...

    KIMBALL: ... of the council?

    DIMAGGIO: ... based on what I’m hearing at the U.N. I don’t expect a new sanction—set of sanctions immediately. Maybe you have other information, but that’s what I’m hearing.

    I think we can expect more unilateral sanctions. I think those are definitely in the pipeline. But I think you made the right point, is that resolution, that toughest resolution we’ve seen, it seems implementation has improved—improved.

    Maybe it’s not perfect yet, so stressing implementation of the previous set of sanctions would be a good goal. And then, of course, that very important clause you mentioned. It really does call on the parties involved to make a good effort—good faith effort at diplomacy. And that’s really what we should be stressing right now.

    And keep in mind that the top diplomat within the Department of Political Affairs at the U.N. is in Pyongyang right now as we speak. He’s been dispatched for, I think, a three- or four-day visit. It’s been a long time since a senior U.N. official, political official, has been in Pyongyang. I think maybe seven years?

    I can imagine that he has some mandate to explore the potential for beginning a dialogue, maybe using the good offices of Secretary General Guterres, and I would expect that he will be received at a high level, at least the Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, maybe higher.

    So that is excellent timing I think. And it’s exactly what the U.N. should be doing, senior officials at the U.N. So hopefully he’ll come back with some positive news.

    But beyond that, I do think, you know, the—the idea of slapping on new sanctions—again, I don’t think that’s going to change North Korea’s strategic calculus at the moment.

    Of course, the Trump administration now is trying to push the Chinese to cut off oil supplies. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Again, if someone else in this room thinks that’s going to happen, please let me know.

    There’s also talk of secondary sanctions on the Chinese. And then there’s talk of the interdiction of ships in the waters of northeast Asia as another way to exert pressure.

    So again, my point is pressure is a good thing when it’s part of a broader strategy, when there is a real strategy to leverage it into a changing behavior, getting concessions. And I just don’t see that this administration has that strategy yet, but I’m hoping that they’ll turn their attention to that very soon.


    Kelsey, on the sanctions and the future question?

    DAVENPORT: Yeah, I certainly agree with Suzanne that sanctions alone are not going to change North Korea’s calculus. And actually, at a very rare and public event, the CIA said in October that that was their assessment as well, that no amount of pressure alone was going to significantly alter Pyongyang’s course.

    And—and I think, you know, right now given these much more stringent U.N. Security Council resolutions and a—a more recent U.S. executive order that allows the Treasury Department to target sort of correspondent accounts from North Korea in—in— Chinese entities in particular, you know, all of that needs to be given time to work. And it needs to be given time to implement it—to be implemented properly.

    I mean, one—one thing particularly in the U.S. domestic context is to respond to these North Korean provocations by continuing to pass additional sanctions, you know, irrespective of whether or not all the prior measures have been fully implemented and irrespective of whether or not the U.S. could do more to try and encourage better implementation.

    So, you know, right now I think that, you know, one area that the Trump administration could be looking at is, you know, what programs have been used in the past that the State Department, at the Defense Department, at even DOE to better ensure that sanctions and export controls are actually properly enforced? And is the U.S. engaging in the type of sanctions diplomacy that it needs to build international support for sanctions?

    And that was something that the Obama administration pursued very heavily in the lead up to talks on the Iran deal. And they spent quite a bit of time trying to get China, in particular, on board, with actually implementing the sanctions that were on the books.

    So ensuring that—that those measures are in place, I think, is—is just as critical as evaluating whether or not we have all the sanctions, measures that—that we need.

    I—I—I would also say, too, and when we talk about sanctions implementation, you know, much of the focus is on—on China, and, to a certain extent, that makes sense, because of the volume of trade that comes from China.

    But North Korea, particularly when it looks at areas like, you know, proliferation financing, I mean, it—it probes the international system for weaknesses. So as focus on China, you need to—to—to ignore kind of other sort of weak spots in building up sanctions implementation, I think would be detrimental to the sanctions regime as—as a whole.

    So ensuring kind of a more balanced approach to, you know, addressing weak spots, I think certainly—certainly will be key, and then complementing that with some of these other measures and programs that the United States has that can be important for counterproliferation efforts.

    The Proliferation Security Initiative, for instance, you know, can play a very critical role in ensuring that there are no sort of imports and exports related to—to WMD materials out of North Korea.

    They can help countries, you know, with smaller amounts of capacity to actually build up their ability to—to enforce sanctions, to enforce export controls, and to better understand measures in U.N. Security Council resolutions that give them the authority to inspect North Korean cargo, if there are concerns, you know, when, you know, these shipments sort of transit their ports.

    So a better focus on implementation, I think, is—is—is—where the United States, you know, and the international community really should be focused right now.

    KIMBALL: I would just add that those kinds of interdiction efforts and strengthening them could be very useful in terms of preventing the outflow of material, technology, weaponry in the future from North Korea, which is something Suzanne was—was expressing concern about. Not so much the import...

    DIMAGGIO: Yes.

    KIMBALL: ... but we need to think about that in terms of the longer-term strategy...

    DIMAGGIO: Right.

    KIMBALL: ... also.

    DIMAGGIO: But also we need to keep in mind that those sort of maneuvers can be—can spiral...

    KIMBALL: Yep, yep.

    DIMAGGIO: ... and then escalate into skirmishes, conflicts. And when a case like North Korea, where there is no channel—I met with a senior North Korean official a few weeks ago, and he made the point that the United States and North Korea have no arrangement in place to prevent accidents. And I think that was a very good observation.

    So when we’re talking about these more pressured tactics, we also have to keep in mind that they raise the stakes to heighten inadvertent conflict as well. And we need to safeguard against that.

    KIMBALL: Right.

    DAVENPORT: Especially when there’s so few channels for communication.

    KIMBALL: Yeah. We don’t have a —a hotline agreement. We have a—a—a Twitter arrangement right now.


    DAVENPORT: Can I—I—just—just to add one point on—on the idea of—of—of accidents that, you know, Suzanne made me—me think of. You know, in—in—in considering accident scenarios, too, I think it’s also important to remember that North Korea is operating a reactor that produces plutonium that’s decades old, that has been stopped several times, parts of which has been rebuilt, and then restarted and then stopped and restarted and rebuilt.

    And so there’s also potential for, I think, very serious nuclear accidents, sort of, at that reactor. So I think that also argues for, you know, space kind of within any negotiations with North Korea, to think about the security and safety of that facility, but also argues for the importance of contact.

    Because if something happens there, it’s not just North Korea that will suffer the fallout of any type of reactor incident. That certainly will be regional.

    And if there isn’t communication lines open, if—if there isn’t enough, you know, consultation in advance, both with South Korea and China, you know, that could certainly turn into a serious regional incident.

    KIMBALL: All right. We’re going to take questions from the audience now. We have a microphone that Kelly will take. We’re going to start with the folks in the back, so if you could go around the giant post. Just identify yourself, ask your question, let us know who you’re asking.

    QUESTION: Michele Keleman with NPR. You’re all talking about a pivot to diplomacy, but for that, you need diplomats, so I wonder if you can comment on what’s happening at the State Department? And also if you fear if—if there’s a, you know, if there is a change, Tillerson out, Pompeo in, what does that do to this strategy?

    KIMBALL: All right. Any one of the three of you?

    Suzanne, you want to take a whack at that, please?

    DIMAGGIO: Yes. Thank you for asking that very good question.

    So I think one of the major problems this administration is facing right now is the contradictory messaging it is sending out on North Korea.

    So we have, on the one hand, Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson putting diplomacy first, emphasizing diplomacy. Secretary Mattis said, "Lead with diplomacy backed up by military might."

    And on the other hand, then you have National Security Advisor McMaster making a case that traditional deterrence with North Korea won’t work. I don’t understand how he can make such a statement. It seems to be working.

    Also, he seems to be making the case for a preventive war and other narratives that have been pushed to the fore.

    And then, of course, we have our own president, who says on the one hand, he would love to meet Kim Jong-un, but on the other hand, at another time, he says diplomacy is out of the question or diplomacy is a waste of time and undercutting Secretary Tillerson, while he was in Beijing, talking to the Chinese, probably talking about our diplomatic efforts and our own president undercut him.

    So clearly there’s a need for this administration to speak with one voice and stop this contradictory signaling. I think it’s high time for the president to move from what I would call a dithering approach to a real strategy and empower our diplomats to carry that strategy out.

    Now, Michele, you made the point, do we have the diplomatic firepower to do that? It’s worrying. Certainly, in the case of Ambassador Yun, who is the special envoy on—a special representative for North Korea, we have a very seasoned foreign service professional in him.

    But we—of course, if we go down the road that—any part of the road I just mapped out, this would require a team. It would require not only seasoned high-level diplomats. It would probably require technical, scientific, nuclear experts as well.

    If we go into the economic realm, we’d need people with that expertise. And it’s very hard to imagine if Pyongyang called tomorrow and said we’re ready, we’re ready for a major negotiation, what kind of team would this administration pull together at this stage of the game?

    Also, I thought it was interesting over the weekend, Michele Flournoy, at a conference here in Washington, made a very similar point about the Pentagon, how all the policy—senior policy positions in the Pentagon are basically unfilled.

    And then, of course, we have to think about our allies in the region. We still do not have an ambassador in Seoul. How can that be possible at the stage we’re at right now? It just doesn’t make sense.

    So this is a big concern, I think. Even if this administration gets the strategy right, and that’s a big if, who is going to carry it out?

    KIMBALL: All right.

    Let’s take this gentleman in the front, will take a question in the front.

    QUESTION: Uri Friedman with The Atlantic. I’m wondering what you make of—Suzanne, you mentioned this a little bit already, but over the weekend, there were a lot of statements about focusing on the capability of North Korea.

    So H.R. McMaster said with each test, we get closer and closer to war. And Lindsey Graham on the Sunday shows said that having talked to the administration, he understands the policy as the capability of being able to strike the United States as unacceptable.

    The argument seems to be twofold, one, that Kim Jong-un is particularly provocative and reckless, and then secondly that North Korea can hold the U.S. hostage in ways that it can’t now to achieve kind of revisionist goals, that it’s not just a defense capability.

    I’m wondering, for the panelists, what do you make of this assessment—assessment focused on capability? And secondly, how seriously do you take the Trump administration’s rhetoric, that this is unacceptable and something that could lead to military conflict, if they feel they have—North Korea has really demonstrated this capability in a reliable way?

    KIMBALL: Secretary Perry, if I could ask you to take that on?

    PERRY: Could you restate that question? I’m not quite sure—I got the statement, but I couldn’t quite...

    KIMBALL: Yeah.

    PERRY: ... get the question.

    KIMBALL: So the—the question is what do you make of H.R. McMaster and Secretary Mattis saying this is unacceptable, and the—the theory that North Korea—has revisionist goals, that is, they may want to use their nuclear capability to blackmail the United States to advance other kinds of objectives or to prevent the U.S. from responding to other provocations along the DMZ?

    PERRY: I would cite some history. President—President Bush said it was unacceptable that the North Korean would get a nuclear program. President Obama said it was unacceptable. What the hell does unacceptable mean? It means we feel bad about it if they do it, I think.


    But there’s no evidence that any of our administrations have an action tied to that unacceptable, that is being unacceptable means you’re going to do something about it. I have—it’s evident that neither the Bush administration or the Obama administration had a plan to do something about it.

    I suspect that’s true of the Bush administration, too, but I don’t know that for sure. Time will tell. And then if they do something about it, is it something stupid or something enlightened? We don’t know that either.

    So I find that, basically the history is when we say it’s unacceptable it means we don’t know what—we don’t know what we’re going to do. We don’t like it, but we don’t—we don’t know what we’re going to do.

    And in this particular case, they may actually have a plan for doing something, and I might not like the plan of what they—what they are going to do. So it doesn’t make—it does not make me comfortable at all.

    Fundamentally, what’s been said in the past, the past two administrations, has been an empty threat. And I think the worst thing you can do in diplomacy is to make empty threats because you damage your credibility seriously.

    And the U.S., as a country, our credibility has been badly damaged by our empty threats in the past in the North Korean nuclear program.

    So either what Trump is doing is repeating this history of empty threats, which is bad, or he really has in mind doing something like a military strike, for example. And that could be even worse. So in either way I don’t feel very comfortable about it.

    KIMBALL: All right.

    Suzanne, Kelsey, you want to talk about the—the coercion theory, and—and—and—or something else?

    DAVENPORT: Oh, I—I just wanted to add a—a point there. I think, in—in addition to damaging U.S. credibility, it also risks prompting North Korea to try and prove their capabilities even further.

    And you don’t want to end up in a situation like China where the U.S. continued to, you know, doubt the Chinese capability, and then they actually put a warhead on an ICBM, and launched it across the country to demonstrate that they actually did have a nuclear-capable ICBM.

    And North Korea has raised this idea that they might actually try and detonate a warhead, you know, over the Pacific, presumably on an ICBM.

    So by continuing to sort of publicly doubt and ridicule, you know, North Korea’s capabilities, I—I think it could have the opposite effect of just pushing North Korea even further to try and prove what they actually can do.

    KIMBALL: All right. Well, why don’t we take a couple of other questions.

    This gentleman in the front, and then we’ll go to the back.

    QUESTION: Tim Shorrock from The Nation magazine and I also write for the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism in Seoul. One of the things that’s kind of disturbed me about the war talk we hear a lot recently, is that South Korea hardly seems to be considered at all. And a lot of officials and people on TV in particular talk about war without even, you know, referencing South Korea as a country.

    It’s—it’s part of—of a broader nation than is—North Korea, and but they have their own interests and desire to have peace and not to have a war there.

    With—with—the question is, one, who is driving, do you think, war talk here in Washington? Who is behind—like, I know McMaster is, but there’s other people that are, you know, talking to people that get on the media that say, you know, we have to have a—a preemptive strike, that kind of thing? And so who is driving it?

    And second, how much is South Korea actually being considered? I mean, I know President Trump talks to President Moon Jae-in considerably, but how much has the Korean interest, South Korean interests, really being taken into account?

    KIMBALL: Well, good question. I mean, our—our—we talk about our allies, but sometimes we forget to ask them what they actually think.

    So let me just ask Kelsey to just briefly describe what the South Korean government is saying in response to the situation after the Hwasong-15 test.

    Maybe Suzanne, you can take on some of these other questions that Tim is asking.

    DAVENPORT: Yeah, I thought it was very interesting after the Hwasong-15 test that South Korean President Moon Jae-in, you know, not only sort of directed his remarks at the North Korean regime, but also at Washington and at the Trump administration, and reiterated that the United States should not take any sort of military action, you know, that wasn’t in concert, you know, with South Korea and essentially warned against any preventative military action.

    So I think that that is—is—is critical and underscores that there is legitimate concern in—in Seoul that the United States might go that route.

    And—and I think that that is also, you know, manifest in—in efforts in Congress to try and ensure that the president, you know, cannot take, you know, a military strike without an authorization of—of—of the use of war.

    And there have been bills introduced in both the Senate and the House that would, you know, push—that would require the President to actually come to Congress and—and get that authorization before taking any action, because there is that concern about, you know, what a preventative strike—would do in terms of retaliation against Seoul

    And I think there was a very good effort in the House by Representative Ted Lieu and, I believe, Representative Gallegos to actually request from the Department of Defense, but also former officials, you know, an assessment of what North Korea’s capabilities to retaliate against South Korea and Japan and U.S. assets there would actually look like in terms of casualties.

    Because, you know, when—when we talk about, you know, conventional war, you know, breaking out, you know, short of nuclear war, you know, North Korea could still try and escalate to use its large stockpile of chemical weapons.

    So there are a variety of different scenarios, you know, all of which I think, you know, would be, you know, quite catastrophic to—to the region, and—and, you know, particularly to South Korea.

    So I think that, you know, continuing to highlight that, you know, those—those risks, continuing to demonstrate that this is not as, you know, Lindsey Graham says, a war that would just be fought, you know, over there, that there would actually be real consequences, you know, for—for the United States, for—for personnel, you know, for our allies.

    You know, is certainly critical for pushing back against sort of the war hawks here in—in—in the United States, amongst which, you know, there certainly are some—some very prevalent voices, as you noted, you know, McMaster, members in the Senate like—like Lindsey Graham.

    And—and—and I think, you know, ultimately, you know, Trump himself, with his—his very vague threats, I think continues to sort of open this space for—for others to make those, you know, those—those very provocative and—and dangerous statements.

    KIMBALL: Yes.

    Secretary Perry?

    PERRY: I’d like to give a historical note in reference to your question. In 1994, we were considering two different kinds of actions. One of them was reinforcing the American troops in South Korea, and the other was conducting a conventional strike against Yongbyon, their nuclear facility.

    In the first case, I actually went to the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea on the reinforcement to get permission to do that, to get permission to reinforce the troops in South Korea and to get permission in Japan to use their airbases there as a staging for that reinforcement. We believed we had to do that in order to conduct it.

    In terms of the preemptive strike, had we decided to do that, which we never did, but had we decided to do that it was clear in my mind that we had to get the authority from the president of South Korea to do that.

    Not that we would have to use our bases in South Korea to do it, but the likely consequence of a strike against—against Yongbyon would be a military response against South Korea.

    So because of that, I believe strongly that we had to get the authority of the South Korean president, as well as the American president, before we could take action like that.

    Whether the present administration has that same view I cannot say. It seemed very clear to me back in 1994 that we required the permission of the South Korean president to do that.

    KIMBALL: All right.


    DIMAGGIO: All right. So keep in mind when President Trump came into office, he made it very clear that North Korea was a crisis he inherited, and that he would not kick this can down the road like his previous—his predecessors did.

    So that’s, I think, the framing of how he thinks of North Korea. And when you juxtapose it with the two narratives that we are increasingly hearing, especially in this town, the first that deterrence, traditional deterrence, won’t work with Kim Jong-un, because he’s just too crazy, he’s too bad, he’s too evil, even though it has worked in the past with other dictators with nuclear weapons.

    And then the second narrative is that the North—North Koreans’ end – real end goal is to take—reunify the peninsula on their terms. And I think the problem with how these narratives are being presented, and I would add Ms.—Director Pompeo as someone who also articulates these points of view.

    The problem is it presents a very binary choice doesn’t it? Either complete capitulation by—on our part or we have to take them out. There’s no in between, and I think what I’ve presented is there’s a lot of in between.

    There’s a lot of things we can be discussing with the North Koreans to de-escalate to lower the threat. And at the end of the day if we go through this process and it becomes clear maybe they are going to take the peninsula hostage, then we can consider our military options.

    But at this moment when we haven’t even stuck our toe in the water of—of diplomacy with North Koreans, I think it’s just completely irresponsible to be putting military options first.

    I think the longer that we delude ourselves that there is a viable military option, the longer the current course—course of escalation will persist and intensify and the greater the chances of spiraling into a military conflict, either by design or by miscalculation.

    Sure, I have it written down as a matter of fact. It’s actually I have it taped over my desk. The longer we delude ourselves that there is a viable military option, the longer the current course of escalation will persist and intensify and the greater the chances for spiraling into a military conflict, either by design or by miscalculation.

    KIMBALL: All right.

    We’re going to take a question from the gentleman in the back. Microphone is coming.

    QUESTION: Thank you, my name is Don Kirk (ph) I’ve spent some time in—a lot of time as a journalist in Korea. Just following up on the previous question about South Korea’s role. I noticed that Secretary Perry, maybe I missed something, didn’t really mention a South Korean role in—while he emphasized China in his remarks and other people have seem to be emphasizing China, China, China.

    Are we ignoring South Korea in the negotiating process? Are we downplaying them? We—we know that we want their permission, so to speak, for a preemptive strike, but what about South Korea’s diplomatic role? Why is that so underplayed here? Maybe members of the panel could address that.

    KIMBALL: I will—why don’t we talk about what their role should be? And I mean let’s just also use that as an opportunity to talk about how the Winter Olympics play into this, because it’s pretty remarkable that in the middle of this crisis South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympics and is hoping that North Korean athletes will come and partake.

    So on that question of South Korea’s role, Secretary Perry or Suzanne, you want to offer your—your thoughts? And I think one reason we’re not talking about it is we just haven’t gotten around to talking about it. I don’t think it’s because we don’t think it’s important, but if you could address that?

    PERRY: On the—let’s take the Olympics for a moment. It’s a very interesting question, and I give a historical reference. In 2000 on the Olympics, this was just a few months after the negotiations I had in Pyongyang, the North and the South marched together in the Olympics.

    It was very—we thought a very significant, symbolic action that the North was ready to become sort of a normal nation again. Of course, that never happened. The—that negotiation never was consummated, so we don’t know—don’t know whether the kind of political consequences such as that would have—would have—would have gone on.

    The role of China, as I would see it, is that they could have played a very significant role in the earlier negotiations to stop North Korea from getting a nuclear weapon had we worked in partnership with them.

    What we’re doing, both the Trump administration and earlier the Obama administration was we point to China and say, "You solve the problem." And China points to us and says, "You solve the problem" and neither of which is working very well.

    It would seem to me that there was an opportunity then and there may be even still today for the U.S. and China to work together in a partnership on this. In any negotiation you need both incentives and disincentives which diplomats call carrots and sticks.

    But with North Korea, the United States has lots of carrots but no—really no significant sticks except the threat of war which is not a credible threat—threat to North Korea.

    But China has a lot of sticks, which they’re not willing to use because they are concerned with how the United States might take advantage of it.

    So China could have played a very significant role in the earlier negotiations had they been brought in as a partner and had they been willing to be—function as a full partner, but that would have required prior diplomacy between the U.S. and China to make—to make that happen.

    KIMBALL: Kelsey or Suzanne your thoughts?

    DIMAGGIO: I just wanted to read a quote from President Moon that I thought was particularly interesting. He said we must stop a situation where North Korea miscalculates and threatens us with nuclear weapons or where the United States considers a preemptive strike.

    So I thought it was very interesting that he was putting both of these scenarios side by side in the same statement. I think it gives a good sense of his state of mind and maybe South Korea’s state of mind more generally.

    In the case of—and on the question of where does South Korea fit it in, I have—obviously have focused my remarks on the United States and North Korea, but clearly the South Koreans should be part of this and consulted every step of the way.

    I think South Korea and North Korea need a parallel intra-Korean dialogue that, of course, the United States should be encouraging. The reality though is this. I think the North Koreans have made it fairly clear that they only want to speak to the United States at this stage.

    They do not want to have discussions in this realm with others, and I think the South Koreans understand that in order to get there, in order to get to an intra-Korean dialogue there needs to be some understanding reached first between the United States and North Korea.

    But absolutely the United Stated should be consulting, coordinating, cooperating with Seoul as our key ally in the region, as well as with Tokyo.

    KIMBALL: Yeah.

    DAVENPORT: Yeah, I would just add in terms of cooperation and coordination, we saw very clearly with, you know, the P5 plus one in their negotiations with Iran, you know, the importantce of having unity, both in terms of goals, but also, you know, agreement on—on tactics.

    And I don’t think that that exists right now between the U.S. and all of the important partners in the region. So continuing to build that unity just from a process perspective I think will be very important.

    And—and more specifically on this question of the Olympics, just a—a few weeks ago, you know, a South Korean official, you know, raised the idea that South Korea had been thinking about the possibility of—of scrapping or reducing joint exercises with the United States in 2018 in order to try and reduce tensions with North Korea around the Olympics.

    And the—the blue house sort of later, you know, walked that back and said, you know, we haven’t—we haven’t made a decision.

    But if that is something that South Korea, you know, wants to pursue I think that the United States has an obligation to consider very strongly that that—that viewpoint and to look at, you know, possibilities to—to reach that—that goal, sort of ahead of the Olympics by—by taking that South Korean concern in—into account.

    KIMBALL: All right. We’re going to take one or two more questions. And we’ve got a couple right here in the middle, if you could? The gentleman in the rear, or you—you could pick? Yeah, yeah, thank you.

    QUESTION: This one’s mostly for Suzanne, but I just want to expound upon something that you talked earlier about.

    KIMBALL: Just identify yourself please.

    QUESTION: Sorry, I’m Aaron Masler (ph) with (inaudible) Television. You mentioned that the U.N. Deputy Director Feltman is on his way to talk to North Korean officials. Do you think that could lead to, like, more Track 2 talks or some kind of official dialogue with North Korea?

    DIMAGGIO: It’s he’s undersecretary general for Political Affairs, so he is the chief diplomatic person within the U.N., high level official. And by the way, he’s a former State Department official, a very seasoned U.S.—former U.S. foreign service officer.

    So I am just guessing that while he’s there, and he’s already there, that while he’s there he will be discussing the press notes, that policy dialogue with North Korea. I—I doubt he’s discussing Track 2.

    I think he may be discussing the possibility of using the good offices of the United Nations and maybe in particular Secretary General Guterres himself as a potential mediator in this situation. It wouldn’t be the first time the U.N. has played a role in crises situations.

    But this is me just pontificating. I don’t know for sure what’s on his agenda. Of course, the U.N. has a presence in North Korea. He could simply be there to visit U.N.—his colleagues, but I think it’s more than that. And I think the press note indicates that.

    KIMBALL: I think this trip by Jeffrey Feltman, the undersecretary general, comes at a critical time. It’s also clear that the U.N. Security Council has been seized with this matter for some time.

    Security Council members, the permanent and the elected members are very, very concerned about the overall situation. It’s clear the secretary general is concerned.

    So we’re just speculating, but this does come at an interesting time. This is not a coincidence. He’s not just talking about humanitarian aid. He’s probably talking about other issues.

    The other thing I would just add is that given everything that we’ve just said about the lack of a strategy on the part of the Trump administration, the inconsistent messages, the determination by the North Koreans to press ahead, I think we also need to recognize that this situation may require, in order for it to become unstuck or to prevent it from worsening, a third-party intervention.

    Neither—I can’t imagine that Kim Jong-un has ever had anybody say no to him in his life. Donald Trump is probably in the same category but in different ways. So, you know, this could potentially play a useful role. What it may be, we may not know for some time, but I think it’s a positive development.

    We’ve got one other question from this gentleman here?

    QUESTION: Thank you. Yonho Kim, U.S. Korea Institute at SAIS. I—I would like to follow up on the question on the role that South Korea can plan in this picture. You know, in effort to make their voices heard in this whole situation, South Korean government not only Park but the Moon Jae-in government has been seeking some kind of a multilateral security mechanism in northeast Asia.

    The nickname being called NAFSE (ph) and Moon Jae-in government calls it NAFSE (ph) plus, but I—I understand the initiative has not been well-received in Washington, very strong skepticism whenever South Korean people try to talk about that in Washington.

    So my question is what would it take for the—the Washington policy circle to take this kind of South Korea’s initiative more seriously?

    KIMBALL: Kelsey or Suzanne, you want to try to address that not so—so easy question?

    DIMAGGIO: Can I be very blunt? Great idea, wrong administration.


    DIMAGGIO: On our side, on the U.S. side.


    DIMAGGIO: Great idea but I think I’ve seen no evidence from this current administration, any—that they put any value in alliance systems and mechanisms. I mean, just look how NATO was treated.

    KIMBALL: All right, any other questions from this distinguished audience of experts yourselves before we conclude? No other questions? All right. Yes, this gentleman. I’m—I think I know who he is.


    QUESTION: Greg Thielman, Arms Control Association Board. I’m wondering how we can best answer the argument of North Korea and others thinking in terms of global nonproliferation, that the United States reserves the right to engage in preventive war, unilateral preventive war, against countries we don’t like, because that message doesn’t seem to help advance the overall global nonproliferation objective.

    KIMBALL: Kelsey, you want to try to take that on? First of all, do we have the right to engage in preventive war? What is the UN system suggest about that?

    DAVENPORT: From an international legal perspective I would say no, but I don’t think the United States would consider itself bound by that.

    And naturally, since the question came from the man who taught me just about everything I have learned in this field, I would, of course, agree with his—with—with the—the concern of—of setting sort of a—a double standard there.

    I also think the—the United States’ inability to declare that the sole purpose of its nuclear deterrent is to deter against nuclear weapons. The U.S., you know, failure to, you know, move towards a—a no first strike nuclear posture.

    I think all of that kind of, you know, reinforces this double standard that does make, you know, moving towards, you know, global nonproliferation efforts sort of more difficult because not only is there the concern about sort of preventative war, but it reinforces the haves versus have nots dichotomy that, you know, risks, you know, undermining the nuclear nonproliferation treaty by, you know, failing to kind of make more progress on—on disarmament.

    So I—I agree that it’s absolutely a problem and connected to, I think, larger problems of posture and—and doctrine within sort of the U.S. nuclear thinking.

    KIMBALL: Which will be the subject of other briefings that we will hold in the near future as the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review approaches completion and as the nonproliferation treaty states parties prepare to gather early next year.

    So I just want to—just conclude with a couple of very short summary remarks. I mean, it seems as though from all that we’re hearing from our—our experts here with—some of them with vast experience, like Secretary Perry, we are truly in a new and much more difficult situation, one that we really never have seen in the history of the nuclear age.

    There are messaging discipline challenges that this administration faces. There seems to be a lack of a strategy. There is a need for a strategy adjustment.

    I mean, this—with the situation we’re describing here is—is very difficult, but what I think Suzanne and Kelsey and Secretary Perry in—in various ways are suggesting is that there needs to be a strategy adjustment that does not accept maybe—it acknowledges the fact that North Korea has this capability.

    That we want to continue with a long-term strategy for denuclearization and a peace regime in the peninsula, but we need to focus on the interim steps necessary to initiate a dialogue to reduce tensions and to halt North Korea’s further nuclear and ballistic missile testing, which remain very dangerous and—and escalatory.

    So that’s how I would summarize a lot of this—a lot of rich detail here from our speakers. I want to thank each of them for being here. I want to thank everybody for your attention today.

    We’re going to have a transcript of today’s session on the armscontrol.org website in a couple of days. This—the panelists are available for you to chat with afterwards.

    I want to thank them and thank all of you for being here today. Please join me in thanking them


    KIMBALL: And we are adjourned.


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