"In my home there are few publications that we actually get hard copies of, but [Arms Control Today] is one and it's the only one my husband and I fight over who gets to read it first."

– Suzanne DiMaggio
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 15, 2019

Briefing at UN - 50 Yrs After the Cuban Missile Crisis



A Briefing at the United Nations

Fifty Years After the Cuban Missile Crisis:
Next Steps on Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation

Monday, October 15, 2012
1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Conference Room 1

United Nations Building
New York, NY

Fifty years after the October 15-28, 1962 Cuban missile crisis pushed the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe, the nuclear danger has been reduced, but the threats posed by the bomb are still with us.

There are still 20,000 nuclear weapons and nine nuclear-armed states. Washington and Moscow still deploy more than 1,550 strategic warheads each, with thousands more substrategic and reserve warheads. Nuclear testing has been banned but key states have failed to approve the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. More countries have access to the technologies needed to produce nuclear bomb material, and some states continue to increase their fissile material stockpiles.

You are invited to a public forum on options for deeper U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions, curbing nuclear competition in South Asia, advancing a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and securing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.


"Options for Further U.S. and Russian Nuclear Reductions"
Hans M. Kristensen
Director, Nuclear Information Project, Federation of American Scientists

"Reducing Nuclear Dangers in South Asia"  
Lt. General (ret.) V.R. Raghavan
President, Center for Security Analysis
Chennai, India

"The Future of Multilateral Disarmament Conventions in the Middle East"
Dr. Sameh Aboul-Enein
Deputy Foreign Minister for Disarmament Affairs
Arab Republic of Egypt

"Next Steps on the CTBT"  
Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

This event is open to all governmental and nongovernmental representatives and members of the press.

Please RSVP here by October 12. If you have difficulty accessing the link call at (202) 463-8270, ext. 105


The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.


Fifty years after the October 15-28, 1962 Cuban missile crisis pushed the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe, the nuclear danger has been reduced, but the threats posed by the bomb are still with us.

Subject Resources:

A Preventive War Against Iran? Sound Familiar?



Remarks as delivered by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
September 20, 2012

Today is very close to the tenth anniversary of my retirement from the U.S. Foreign Service.  I remember very well the national mood at that time.  The country was still reeling from the 9/11 attacks one year earlier and the George W. Bush Administration was associating al-Qaida, which had perpetrated the attacks, with Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Baghdad, which had nothing to do with them.  That spring, the president had dubbed Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as part of an “axis of evil,” bent on developing weapons of mass destruction.  The president had announced a change in U.S. military doctrine, arguing that the nation had to be ready to strike first at countries, which might pose a WMD threat in the future.  Congress, meanwhile, was funding Iraqi opposition groups seeking regime change.

And exactly ten years ago today, the once and future prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote theses words in The Wall Street Journal:

[Saddam Hussein] is a dictator who is rapidly expanding his arsenal of biological and chemical weapons, who has used these weapons of mass destruction against his subjects and his neighbors, and who is feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons. …

Two decades ago it was possible to thwart Saddam's nuclear ambitions by bombing a single installation. Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Now I know that there is a difference between Iraq and Iran – and that it is more than the last letter of a four-letter word.  But I also recall Mark Twain’s comment that: although “history does not repeat itself, it does rhyme.”

I want to speak today about the rhyme and reason of Iran’s nuclear program, which has so bedeviled our already difficult bilateral relationship.

Once upon a time, about a century ago, the United States stood high in the esteem of Iranians.  One martyr to the cause of Iranian democracy in 1909 was a 24-year old Nebraskan named Howard Baskerville.  He died in defense of the young constitution of Iran, fighting counter-revolutionaries near Tabriz.  In 1911, a 34-year old American named Morgan Shuster became a hero of Iranian democracy while serving as Treasurer General of the Persian Empire when, answering only to the Persian Parliament, he defied the imperial demands of Russia and Britain.

Through the Second World War, the United States was perceived as the anti-colonial power.  Alas, in the post-World War II era, the U.S.-Iranian relationship suffered two major traumas.  At the top of every Iranian’s grievance list is the U.S./British-engineered coup in 1953 against the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, who had led a nationalization of Iran’s oil industries.  In his place, we installed the young Shah Reza Pahlavi.

For Americans, the searing national memory was the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the holding of 53 hostages for 444 days.  (The latter episode was twice personal for me – as a young U.S. diplomat and as someone who knew one of the hostages as my student teacher in high school.)

We do not have time to list all of the grievances carefully nurtured by both sides, but I will try to summarize the nuclear dispute, which is bringing us close to war.  The Iranians have long held grand (or grandiose) plans for a nuclear power industry, which would also provide the infrastructure for building nuclear weapons.  The Shah nonetheless signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (or NPT), under which Iran foreswore development of nuclear weapons – a commitment, which was later reaffirmed by the Islamic Republic and redefined as a religious as well as a legal obligation.  As part of the bargain, the NPT also affirms the right of its members to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy, contingent upon compliance with the safeguards procedures established in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (or IAEA).  It is not clear what the Iranian public’s views are on developing nuclear weapons, but there is solid public support for Iran’s nuclear program as the government defines it.

After the first war with Iraq (to liberate Kuwait), the IAEA found that it had underestimated the extent of Iraq’s illicit proliferation activity.  The agency subsequently developed a more rigorous regime, called the “Additional Protocol” to provide greater transparency for its members’ nuclear activities.  Most members have signed up to this protocol, but Tehran has not.  Iran is also not carrying out all requirements of its existing Safeguards Agreements with the IAEA.  For example, it has not provided the required advance notice to the IAEA for new construction – most conspicuously and consequentially, with regard to the uranium enrichment facility it had secretly burrowed into a mountain at Fordow.  Iran is not permitting timely access to some other nuclear facilities the agency requests to visit, such as the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak, which could be a future source of plutonium for weapons.  Also, it has not allowed the agency to adequately investigate suspicious past activities.  For these reasons, the IAEA is unable to provide assurances that Iran’s nuclear activities are only peaceful.

So the real issue with Iran is not the right to enrich uranium.  The UN Security Council has said that Iran must suspend, not end, enrichment while Iran resolves questions about past activities.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made clear in testimony to Congress that the United States will not oppose Iran’s enrichment of uranium under the right circumstances.

We do not know whether or not Tehran ultimately wants to build and deploy nuclear weapons, but it appears to be determined to build the infrastructure and cadre of experts that would give it the option of doing so.  The technical option of building the bomb is available to a number of non-nuclear weapons states – Japan and Germany being conspicuous examples.  (Either could build a deliverable nuclear weapons – probably within one year of deciding to do so.)  The most important thing for preventing proliferation is to ensure that states do not have the motivation to go nuclear and the ability to take action without being detected.  With the physical plant for producing fissile material and the human resources that could pull it off, Iran already has the means ultimately to become a nuclear weapons state.  It must be persuaded that such a course is not in its best interests.

The six powers negotiating with Iran – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States, or the P5+1, are attempting to make that case.  Their strategy includes both increasing the costs of non-cooperation through economic and military sanctions and keeping the door open to compromises which would allow Tehran to recognize an outcome as beneficial and one that could be credibly portrayed as beneficial.

The three negotiating sessions in the first half of this year were an important beginning, but they have not yet yielded tangible results.  The heads of the respective sides met for a four-hour dinner in Istanbul earlier this week to discuss starting a new round of negotiations.  European High Representative Catherine Ashton called the meeting: “useful and constructive.”  The Iranian chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, called it: “positive and fruitful.” These are more upbeat appraisals than heard at the end of the last group session in Moscow, but we must still wait for concrete results.

The crux of the strategy used to achieve the NPT’s nonproliferation objectives is to concentrate on denying states the means to obtain the weapons grade uranium or plutonium needed to construct nuclear weapons.  Getting the ingredients for the core of the weapons is generally assessed to be the most difficult part of nuclear bomb-making.  Although vigorous pursuit of activities permitted by the NPT will give states a legs-up, there would still be a long way to go to construct a weapon.

The P5+1 are therefore appropriately focused on halting and reversing Iran’s continuing production of uranium hexafluoride enriched to a U-235 isotope concentration of 20 percent. This is the isotope needed at a 90 percent enrichment level to produce the metallic core of a nuclear warhead. Unfortunately, at 20 percent, the uranium has already travelled 90 percent of the distance required to reach weapons grade. Even though civilian power reactors require only 3.5 percent enrichment, Iran claims it needs the higher level to refuel an ageing research reactor that makes medical isotopes.  Large stockpiles of 20 percent enriched uranium thus pose a much more rapid “breakout” option for Iran.

As a confidence building measure, the six powers renewed this year their offer from October 2009 to provide fuel elements for the research reactor.  But the updated condition this time is for Iran to stop production of 20 percent enriched, ship the stockpile out of the country, and shut down the Fordow facility.  This effort would give each side something it wants – for the six powers, elimination of the most imminent threat; for Iran, tacit acceptance of its right to enrich.  But the deal has not yet been clinched.  The Iranians also want sanctions relief up front, which the P5+1 cannot give without movement on the compliance issues which prompted the sanctions in the first place. And the six powers want to shut down Fordow, which the Iranians can hardly be expected to do, just because the facility is more difficult for aggressors to destroy.

The U.S. presidential election season is not a propitious time for offering compromises or even apparently for objective discussions of the status quo by the press.  Most U.S. commentary on the latest IAEA report, for example, carried alarmist headlines.  It did not highlight either the reduction in 20 percent stockpiles during the last quarter or the continuing absence of Iranian progress on advanced centrifuge installations.

My hope is that if we can keep the channel of communications open, maintain P5+1 unity on both sanctions and negotiating initiatives, and avoid distortions leading to war, we will have new opportunities for nonproliferation progress in 2013.  With an intelligence community that has improved its analytical tradecraft and an administration that has spoken more honestly to the American people than its predecessor, I think that we will be able to avoid a preventive attack.


Remarks as delivered by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 20, 2012.

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ACA Director Speaks in Moscow on CTBT



Prospects for Realizing the Full Potential of the CTBT

Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
at Moscow Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference
Moscow, Russia
September 7, 2012

Distinguished colleagues, it is an honor to address you at this important meeting on the value of and the path forward on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Since the opening for signature of the CTBT nearly sixteen years ago, the vast majority of the world’s nations have signed and ratified the Treaty. They recognize that nuclear testing is a dangerous and unnecessary vestige of the past and understand that the CTBT is a cornerstone of the international security architecture of the 21st century.

The CTBT would reinforce the widely supported de facto global nuclear test moratorium.

By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions, the CTBT can help accomplish the indisputable obligation under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to cease the nuclear arms race at an early date and to achieve nuclear disarmament.

With the CTBT in force, other states can be assured that the established nuclear-weapon states cannot proof-test new, more sophisticated nuclear warhead designs.

Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer nuclear nations cannot perfect smaller, two-stage thermonuclear warheads, which are more easily deliverable via ballistic missiles. Such weapons, if developed, would undermine security in Asia and could lead to a dangerous action-reaction-cycle.

The CTBT also can provide confidence about the peaceful intentions of non-nuclear weapon states, such as Iran. Ratification of the CTBT is a tangible way for states, including Israel, Egypt, and Iran, to contribute to the realization of a Middle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction and help de-escalate tensions in the region.

With the CTBT in force, the already robust International Monitoring System will be augmented by the option of on-site inspections, which would improve the detection and deterrence of potential cheating.

Although 183 states have signed the CTBT, the long journey to end testing is not over. For the CTBT to formally enter into force, it must still be ratified by the remaining eight “holdout” states listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty.

The United States and China

Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. By signing the treaty and ending nuclear testing, Washington and Beijing have already taken on most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of the Treaty.

What are the prospects for U.S. approval of the CTBT twenty years since the last U.S. nuclear test and more than fifteen years since President Bill Clinton signed the treaty?

The task will be very difficult, but is within reach in 2013 or 2014, if President Barack Obama is reelected this November and the Democratic Party retains control of the U.S. Senate. Both of which appear to be likely at the moment, though nothing is ever certain until election day.

To date, Governor Mitt Romney had said nothing about the CTBT and the Republican Party Platform does not mention the CTBT, but it is highly unlikely he would make the CTBT a priority. It is more likely that Romney would, if elected, maintain the U.S. nuclear test moratorium but try to reverse President Obama’s policy of not pursuing new types of nuclear weapons or modifying existing warhead types to give them new military capabilities.

Why do I remain optimistic?  Partly because the successful approval of New START in 2010 shows that even controversial arms control agreements can be approved in a tough political climate when the executive branch devotes sufficient time and high-level attention, when key Senators take the time to ask good questions and seriously consider the facts, and when U.S. military leaders speak up in support of the treaty.

It is self-defeating for the United States to oppose a treaty that prohibits an activity—nuclear testing—for which it has no need or interest in resuming. As Linton Brooks, the former head of the United States’ National Nuclear Security Administration, said in December 2011: "as a practical matter, it is almost certain that the United States will not test again ... in recent years I never met anybody who advocated that we seek authorization to return to testing."

Another reason for optimism is President Barack Obama’s strong support for moving the CTBT forward.

In his April 5 speech in Prague, President Obama declared that his administration “will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” More recently, March of this year, he said: “… my administration will continue to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” And the official Democratic Party platform—out just this week—once again pledges to “work to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

To date, however, the Obama administration has not done enough to mobilize the scientific and technical expertise necessary to debunk spurious assertions against the Treaty and to mobilize support for its reconsideration by the U.S. Senate.

The focus of the administration’s attention over the course its first term has been the negotiation and ratification of New START, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and its implementation, the 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and the challenges posed by the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

As a result, the administration’s CTBT effort has not been immediate nor has it been aggressive. President Obama has not yet launched what could be called a systematic and high-level political effort that will be necessary to win the support of key senators for the CTBT.

In a May 10, 2011 address before the Arms Control Association, then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen O. Tauscher said the Obama administration would take the time necessary to brief Senators on key technical and scientific issues that gave some Senators reason for pause during the 1999 debate.

"In our engagement with the Senate,” Tauscher said, “we want to leave aside the politics and explain why the CTBT will enhance our national security. Our case for Treaty ratification consists of three primary arguments: One, the United States no longer needs to conduct nuclear explosive tests, plain and simple. Two, a CTBT that has entered into force will obligate other states not to test and provide a disincentive for states to conduct such tests. And three, we now have a greater ability to catch those who cheat."

Since she spoke there is new evidence in support of the treaty that the Obama administration has at its disposal.

The March 2012 report by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reaffirms that the United States no longer needs and would not benefit from further nuclear testing. The report documents the significant technical advances over the past decade that should resolve the Senate’s concerns about the treaty in 1999.

For instance, the report finds that maintaining an effective nuclear stockpile will require continued diligence, but it does not require nuclear test explosions.

The report also finds that “the status of U.S. national monitoring and the International Monitoring System [IMS] has improved to levels better than predicted in 1999.” The new report confirms that with the combined capabilities of the nearly completed IMS, as well as tens of thousands of civilian seismic monitoring stations, no potential CTBT violator could be confident that a nuclear explosion of military utility would escape detection.

As George Shultz said in 2009, his fellow Republicans “might have been right voting against [the CTBT] some years ago, but they would be right voting for it now, based on these new facts.”

A thoughtful, thorough Senate review of the issues is essential. There is no reason for further delay, but at the same time the process cannot be rushed.

The Senate has not seriously examined these issues in years. In the decade since the Senate last considered the CTBT, 59 Senators have left office; only 41 Senators who debated and voted on the CTBT in 1999 remain. Although treaty ratification has become very political in the United States, it is important to recognize that New START ratification was approved with the support of 13 Republican Senators—10 of whom remain in the Senate today.

To move forward quickly after election day on the CTBT, President Obama will need to appoint a senior, high-level White House coordinator to push the ratification campaign along. For weeks and months, key committees and key Senators will need to be briefed in detail on the new National Academy of Sciences report and the new NIE on nuclear test monitoring issues and the progress of the U.S. stockpile stewardship program.

The Obama administration will also need to more aggressively address misconceptions and misinformation being put forward by hard-line opponents of the CTBT. For instance, some critics erroneously claim the CTBT does not define "nuclear test explosion" and therefore some states such as Russia believe low-yield tests are permitted. The record is clear: Article I of the CTBT bans "any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion" and all signatories of the treaty understand that means zero nuclear test explosions.

While the final outcome will depend on the politics of the moment, it will also depend on the administration’s ability to make a strong case and bring forward the many U.S. military and scientific leaders who support the CTBT and to mobilize key political constituencies in support of the treaty.

In sum, U.S. ratification of the CTBT has been delayed too long but it remains within sight.

The Role of Other Key States

While U.S. action on the treaty is essential for entry into force, other Annex II states must provide leadership rather than simply remain on the sidelines on the CTBT. Indonesia’s ratification of the CTBT in 2011 is an example of how key states can do so.

In particular, it is time for China’s leaders to finally act on the CTBT. On January 19, 2011, President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama issued a Joint Statement in which they declared: “… both sides support early entry into force of the CTBT.”  Such statements are welcome but insufficient.

Concrete action toward CTBT ratification by China would increase its credibility as a nonproliferation leader and improve the chances that other states will follow suit. Chinese ratification would put pressure on India to approve the treaty and would help constrain the possibility of a future nuclear arms race in Asia in the coming years.

China has provided no plausible reason—technical, political, or military—not to ratify. President Hu should provide the leadership necessary to take China off the list of CTBT holdout states or else provide a timeline for Chinese action on CTBT ratification.

China has and must continue to play a more constructive role to underscore the importance of the global nuclear test moratorium and accession to the CTBT, particularly with North Korea.

India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan could also advance their own cause and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into legally binding commitments to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

India’s current leaders should recall that Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s eloquent and visionary 1988 action plan for disarmament argued for “a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons … to set the stage for negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty.”

India has pledged in various domestic and international contexts to maintain its nuclear test moratorium, which makes it all the more logical for New Delhi’s leaders to reinforce global efforts to detect and deter nuclear testing by others through the CTBT. Those in India who once argued for a resumption of testing have been pushed to the margins and there does not appear to be any major political faction that opposes the CTBT for military or technical reasons.

Pakistan would clearly welcome a legally binding test ban with India and entry into force of the CTBT, and would very likely agree to ratify the treaty if India were to do so.

UN member states that are serious about their commitment to the CTBT and nuclear risk reduction should insist that India and Pakistan sign and ratify the CTBT before they are considered for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and that India should sign and ratify before its possible membership on the Security Council is considered.

The Middle East

With no shortage of conflict and hostility in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Israel’s ratification of the CTBT would bring that nation closer to the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and lend encouragement to other states in the region to follow suit. Israel’s stated concerns about the CTBT at this point have to do with the procedures for on-site inspections, but in reality Israel is unwilling to ratify unless other states in the region also indicate they will do so.

Iran was at one time an active participant in the CTBT negotiations and on September 24, 1996 it signed the treaty. Today, Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Iranian ratification could help reinforce the credibility of the Supreme Leader’s fatwa against nuclear weapons and address urgent concerns that Iran may race to build nuclear weapons.

Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear activities, which remain under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The member states of the Non-Aligned Movement need to play a stronger leadership role in pressing Iran, the incoming chair of the NAM, to ratify the CTBT.

North Korea

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests have undermined Asian security and further isolated the country. A third nuclear test explosion would worsen an already tense situation on the Korean peninsula and make it far more difficult for the DPRK to be accepted back into the global community of nations.

The leaders of the DPRK have an opportunity to take a new approach in the years ahead by following through on their February 29 pledge to observe a moratorium on nuclear test explosions as a confidence-building measure and resume action-for-action process for denuclearization and normalization. The Russian Federation and China can play an especially important role in pointing out the benefits of such an approach.

Reinforcing the Test Ban

There are other actions that should be pursued that would reinforce the de facto test moratorium and accelerate CTBT entry into force. Specifically:

  1. Responsible states should provide in full and without delay assessed financial contributions to the CTBTO, fully assist with the completion of the IMS networks, and continuously and without interruption transmit data from the monitoring stations. This will ensure the most robust capabilities to detect and deter clandestine nuclear test explosions. States should also recognize that the Provisional Technical Secretariat to the CTBTO Preparatory Commission is–for all practical purposes–no longer “provisional.” The International Monitoring System and International Data Center are now an essential part of today’s 21st century international security architecture that enables all states to detect and deter nuclear tests;
  2. In order to further reinforce the de facto global taboo against nuclear testing and deter any state from considering nuclear test explosions in the future, the UN Security Council should discuss and outline the penalties that could be imposed in the event that any state breaks this taboo;
  3. Russia and China could join the United States and formally declare they will not pursue new types of nuclear weapons or modify weapons in ways that create new military capabilities. Such policies would reinforce the effect of the CTBT on halting the qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals;
  4. Nuclear armed states—particularly Russia, China, and the United States—should halt activities at the former sites of nuclear test explosions that might raise concerns about compliance with the CTBT and begin serious technical discussions on confidence building measures that could be undertaken in advance of CTBT entry into force to reinforce the moratorium and the CTBT itself.

None of these steps are simple nor are they easy. Each requires that leaders from key states think creatively and seize the initiative to close the door on nuclear testing forever.

Thank you for your attention.








Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association at Moscow Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference in Moscow, Russia on September 6, 2012.

ACA Senior Fellow Speaks at U.S.-Brazilian Workshop in Brazil



Defining the Ideal Relationship between our Countries and Looking to Areas of Misunderstanding and Disagreement

Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association
at U.S.-Brazillian Workshop on Global and Regional Security
Brasilia, Brazil
August 13-14, 2012

I wanted to begin this scene-setter by giving you a little more information on my personal background.

I grew up in the farming state of Iowa, deep in the interior of the United States.  It’s sort of like the Brazilian state of Goias, but there’s no samba music on the radio, no cafezinho in the cafes, and no Southern Cross in the night sky.

However, every time I fly home from Washington in recent years, I arrive on an Embraer aircraft.  And the farmers in Iowa worry about competition from Brazilian farmers in marketing soybean and ethanol – more evidence that our two countries are important to each other.

Most of my professional career in the U.S. Foreign Service and later as a staffer in the U.S. Senate has involved arms control and other political-military issues, but my first and last diplomatic assignments were to serve as a political officer of the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia.

In the course of these two tours, I experienced the U.S.-Brazilian relationship near its nadir, during the dictatorship of General Geisel as President Carter was pushing on human rights and nonproliferation.  I’ve also seen the relationship at one of the high points – when Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Bill Clinton found common cause on a wide variety of issues, benefitting from good personal chemistry as well as converging national interests.

I confess to being heavily influenced by the recipe used to make progress in U.S.-Brazilian relations during my second tour between 1995 and 1998.  I believe that progress continues to be made, although it is still burdened by some legacies of the past as well as by natural differences of perspective.  Before I get to specifics, I will offer two sweeping generalizations:

  • The U.S. public is raised on the notion of “American exceptionalism,” which assumes a different standard for U.S. conduct in the world as superpower and “indispensible” nation than is expected from other countries.  The United States Government has a tendency to expect friends to be subservient and follow its lead.
  • For its part, the Brazilian Government still has a tendency to define its own independence and greatness in contradistinction to the policies and characteristics of the United States.  And Brazil resists the international obligations that the world needs it to accept if the challenges of the future are to be successfully managed.

As with any two large nations, the United States and Brazil have divergent as well as common interests.  This is true with security as well as with trade and environmental issues, as can be seen in the case of nuclear arms control.

My point of departure on this subject is the historic Prague speech of President Obama in April 2009.   Key to his message was his assessment that: “the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.”  His famous and consequential punchline was: “I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”  In operationalizing this aspiration, he listed specific policy objectives:

-- reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy;

-- negotiating a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia;

-- “aggressively pursuing” ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; and

-- seeking “a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons.”

I’m sure the Brazilian government could enthusiastically embrace the disarmament commitments in this portion of the speech, no doubt noting that since giving it, Obama has not been able to convince the U.S. Congress to move forward on some of the fronts he articulated.

But then Obama turned to the other part of the bargain made by the parties signing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)--that states without nuclear weapons would agree not to acquire them and not help other countries to acquire them.  He called for additional resources to strengthen international inspections, for insuring that there are real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules, and for building a new collaborative framework for civilian nuclear cooperation.  Finally, Obama announced a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years, cutting in half the length of time previously planned, and to build on efforts to break up black markets in nuclear materials, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt the illicit nuclear trade.

Brazil has been less enthusiastic embracing the nonproliferation side of the ledger, as it is still chafing from the “discriminatory” nature of the NPT.  Brazil demonstrated its potential to help with the process of diplomatically engaging the recalcitrant Iranians in negotiating with Turkey the Tehran Declaration of 2010.  But in the end, it failed to address Iran’s 20 percent uranium enrichment activities, which threatened to render meaningless the Tehran Research Reactor fuel swap offer from the previous year.  That deal was ultimately rejected by Tehran’s leadership.  The fuel swap would have been an important confidence-building measure, but it was never intended to resolve the core issue – Iran’s failure to comply fully with IAEA safeguards.  It was Iran’s compliance shortfall, which prompted the UN Security Council to overwhelmingly endorse stricter sanctions against Iran at the beginning of June 2010.  Brazil and Turkey cast the only “no” votes, diluting the potential political impact on Iran that a unanimous vote would have delivered.  Even Lebanon, with Hezbollah members in the governing coalition, managed at least to abstain.

Brazil’s program for domestic uranium enrichment has also led to nonproliferation concerns--not so much that Brazil is suspected of any longer harboring nuclear weapons ambitions, but that it is not setting a good example for other non-nuclear-weapon-state members of the NPT.  A substantial majority of NPT members, over a hundred, have signed the Additional Protocol to the treaty, which provides enhanced safeguards against the diversion of peaceful programs.  Brazil has not signed--giving encouragement to the refusal of other states, like Iran and Syria, whose nuclear activities are very much suspected of being intended to create the capacity to build nuclear weapons.  As Maria Rost Rublee wrote in a 2010 Nonproliferation Review article, Brazil’s opposition to the Additional Protocol complicates the efforts of the Nuclear Supplier Group to use adherence to the procedures as a criterion for “responsible countries” in order for them to be considered as recipients of enrichment and reprocessing technologies.  Rublee also notes that Brazil’s rejection of full visual inspection by the IAEA in order to protect “proprietary information,” sets an unfortunate precedent that could also be exploited by proliferators.

In similar fashion, Brazil’s plans to build and deploy six nuclear-powered submarines complicates international efforts to monitor and control the production of uranium enriched to levels in excess of that needed to fuel civilian power reactors.  That the NPT permits members to enrich uranium even to weapons grade levels for the purpose of fueling naval reactors is widely considered a loophole in the treaty, because it could enable non-nuclear-weapon states to legitimately stockpile material that would constitute the most difficult prerequisite for being able to quickly build a nuclear bomb.  Iran’s announcement in June that it intended to build nuclear-powered submarines set off alarm bells for just this reason.  Han Ruehle, a former head of the German Defense Ministry’s Planning Staff, articulated the suspicion clearly, recently describing Iran’s announcement as: “just a pretext to enrich weapons-grade uranium the legal way,” adding: “Its role model is Brazil.”

I would argue, by the way, that Brazil’s pursuit of nuclear-powered submarines is the outdated legacy of Brazil’s previous pursuit of nuclear weapons options and is now driven by mistaken considerations of national and military service prestige rather than by contemporary military necessity.  Carlo Patti’s 2010 article about Lula’s nuclear policies in Revista Brasileira de Politica Internacional referred to Brazil’s two “traditional goals: the national industrial enrichment of uranium and the construction of a nuclear submarine.”  In 2008, a top Brazilian general, Jose Benedito de Barros Moreira, described the development of a nuclear submarine as “Brazil’s number one military priority.”

I do not understand this logic.  Canada and Australia both have enormous maritime boundaries and abundant natural resources to protect, but both opted out of developing or otherwise acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.  So did Japan, which, unlike Brazil, faces large potential threats from its immediate neighbors.  If Brazil worries about invasion or interference in its maritime economic zone, I would think that the 20 modern conventional submarines Brazil plans to have would provide more effective deterrence than six nuclear-powered ones.

A senior Iranian official visiting Syria last week hailed the governments in Damascus and Tehran as part of the “axis of resistance.”  I have an allergy to simplistic designations of “axes” – whether of “resistance” or of “evil.”  I do not worry that Brazil will lose its bearings as a responsible and democratic nation.  And I welcome Brazil’s willingness to take the United States to task for its failures to live up to its own stated commitments and values.  I do hope, however, that our two countries will not interpret encountering policy differences as a “zero-sum” game, but rather as recognition that even friends sometimes disagree on the best way to achieve national goals both hold in common.

I am inspired by the critical help rendered by Brazil during my second tour here – for example, in advancing peace talks between Peru and Ecuador, which ultimately ended South America’s last major border dispute.  I was impressed during my second tour how Brazil’s introduction of a simple but rugged voting machine virtually ended voting fraud in this country, with enormous applications for fostering good governance in the developing world.   More recently, I’ve noticed how the performance of Brazil’s peacekeepers in Haiti won deep respect.

I foresee huge opportunities for bilateral cooperation in environmental pursuits – from securing and maintaining the health of the Amazon basin to mitigating growth in the planet’s carbon output through cultivation of renewable energy resources.

I look for constructive international initiatives by a country, which is renowned for the historic success of its diplomacy and the skill of its diplomats.

I expect Brazil to prosper not only in agriculture, mining and manufacturing, but in the new high tech industries of the future as well.  And I expect an increasingly prosperous Brazil to contribute its share to the international organizations, which will be increasingly important for maintaining peace and facilitating international cooperation.

I look for Brazilian contributions in developing successful approaches to combating epidemics and controlling tropical diseases.

I look for better exploitation of one of planet’s best locations for a spaceport –Alcântara, Maranhão – using both foreign and Brazilian space launch vehicles in a cooperative international framework.

I also believe that Brazil will eventually join an expanded UN Security Council as a permanent member.

So I’ve offered some views by one North American on how working constructively together on security issues could benefit the bilateral relationship.  I’m eager to hear other perspectives.


Prepared remarks by ACA Senior Fellow Greg Thielmann at Brookings on August 13-14, 2012 on "Defining the Ideal Relationship between our Countries and Looking to Areas of Misunderstanding and Disagreement," at a U.S.-Brazillian workshop in Brasilia, Brazil

Subject Resources:

ACA June 4 Annual Meeting



"Meeting the Next Challenges on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament"

Monday, June 4, 2012
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C

You can see video coverage of the annual meeting here at CSPAN.

Transcripts Available:

Panel on the Next Phase of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Reductions: Ret. Lt. Gen. Dirk Jameson, Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and Trine Flockhart, senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.

Panel on Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Career Amb. Thomas Pickering, Amb. Hossein Mousavian, former Iranian nuclear envoy, and Tarja Cronberg, chairperson of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Iran.

Keynote Speaker: Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and New START negotiator.

ACA's Annual Meeting is made possible with support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and other generous ACA donors and members.

Panel on the Next Phase of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Reductions

Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Lieutenant General Dirk Jameson (retired), Former Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff, U.S. Strategic Command;


Jon Wolfsthal, Deputy Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies;


Trine Flockhart, Senior Researcher on Defense and Security, Danish Institute for International Studies

Transcript by Federal News Service Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone.  If you could please find your seats, please, we’re about to get started.

Good morning, everyone.  I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the independent nongovernmental Arms Control Association, and I want to welcome everyone to our 2012 annual meeting.  I also want to thank and welcome those of you watching online and on C-SPAN.  And before we get stated, I’d like to remind everybody to turn off your cellular devices so we’re not interrupted.

As the Arms Control Association enters its fifth decade, we’ve remained committed to providing information and ideas to address the security challenges posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons:  nuclear, biological, chemical and certain conventional weapons.

As our many members here today know, our monthly journal, Arms Control Today, is a key resource for ideas and news and analysis and interviews with key policymakers on a range of issues.  And our staff churns out on a regular basis issue briefs, opinion pieces, background papers and reports on a range of topics, and they’re all available at armscontrol.org.  And our ability to do this depends on our individual members and our subscribers to Arms Control Today.  And if you’re not a member or a subscriber, I would encourage you to consider doing so.

But today’s event on meeting the next challenges on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament is just one of the many events that we host each year on arms control and nonproliferation issues.

With support and assistance from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, we’ve brought together today a very distinguished set of speakers from all around the world.

Our panels this morning will address two of the most pressing arms control challenges that we face today:  first, advancing further progress to reduce the role, the number of the world’s global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and second, and perhaps more urgently, advancing effective diplomatic solutions to prevent the spread of weapons to additional states such as Iran.

To close out the conference over lunch, we’re honored to have Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller.  She was the lead negotiator for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and she’ll give us the Obama administration’s view on recent progress and the next steps ahead.

And then let me also just note – you’ll see in your program members of the Arms Control Association are welcome to join us at 3:45 p.m. in the afternoon for an informal discussion of ACA’s organizational and program priorities, and then at 5:00 p.m., we invite friends and colleagues of the late Stanley Resor to join us in honoring the former army secretary, arms control negotiator and former ACA board chairman who passed away this past April.

So to our first panel today, which will focus on the next phase of U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions after New START and the NATO summit in Chicago, we’re at a very important juncture on this issue.  You’ll recall that back in 2009 President Obama pledged to, and I quote, “put an end to outdated Cold War thinking by reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy,” unquote.  And then in 2010 the U.S. and Russia completed the negotiations on the New START treaty.

And then also in 2010 the administration completed a congressionally-mandated Nuclear Posture Review that determined that, and I quote, “the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear forces is to deter nuclear attacks against the U.S. and our allies and our partners,” unquote.  The president then directed a study on how to implement that strategy, and that study is due to be completed very soon.  Back in March, in South Korea, President Obama said, quote, “that study is still under way, but even as we have more to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need,” unquote.  So the Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Study will have far-reaching implications for U.S. nuclear policy and the future path for U.S. and Russian nuclear reductions, and also how we can reduce the enormous cost of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which, according to a new Stimson Center study published in this month’s issue of Arms Control Today, is at least $31 billion a year.

So to explore these and other issues, we’re very pleased to have three distinguished speakers.  We have with us Lieutenant General Dirk Jameson, who served as deputy commander and chief of staff of the U.S. Strategic Command before retiring in 1996 after more than three decades of active service.  He’s currently an active member of the Consensus for American Security of the American Security Project, and he will give us his thoughts on these issues that I’ve just introduced.

The second speaker will be Jon Wolfsthal, who served in 2009 and 2010 on the national security staff and with the office of Vice President Biden.  He is now deputy director at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.  And Jon is going to give us his thoughts and views on the path and the options for pursuing further reductions and the challenges that we must overcome in doing so.

And we’re also very pleased to have with us Trine Flockhart, who’s a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies in Copenhagen who will provide us with a European perspective on the recently completed Defense and Deterrence Posture Review that was issued at the recent NATO summit and also her thoughts on possible steps for dealing with the leftover tactical nuclear arsenals of the United States and Europe and – as well as Russia.

And after each of their opening remarks, we’ll take your questions and we’ll have a discussion.  And so I welcome General Jameson to the meeting and to open us up.  The floor is yours.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL DIRK JAMESON:  Thank you very much.  It’s a real pleasure to be here.  I note from the smattering of gray hair and talk of some reunions that most of you have lived through a good portion of the Cold War, and some of you probably are saying, what was the Cold War?  It’s also very reassuring to me to know that among all of you, I’m probably the least expert in many of the things that go on inside the Beltway.

I call myself an operator.  By some strange occurrence of events, I ended up going through the Cold War in positions that gave me, I think, a unique window onto the operational side of things and, in that sense, the urgency of finding a new way in this 21st century.

I know it’s not lost on any of us here that we’re – in spite of what I saw and, on occasion, up close and personal, close calls during the Cold War, we are here this morning, and we have somehow escaped as a human race a nuclear exchange.  And there were close calls.  And so I think something that the citizenry needs to keep in mind is that these things are an ongoing – these issues are an ongoing struggle to control the dangers of nuclear weapons.

As a young lieutenant sitting nuclear alert, I stared at 10 green lights, each one of those lights representing an enormous amount of destruction, and practiced hundreds and hundreds of times the execution and release of those nuclear weapons.  We did that all the time.  And my neighbors were flying nuclear airborne alert in B-52s on occasion.  I mean, that wasn’t a constant thing in those days, but it was – it was frequent.  And the nuclear subs were at sea.  We had an enormous destructive capability.

And I think I was not unique among those men – in those days, they were men; now that’s a generic term – but those people that were controlling those in contemplating, as we – as we inventoried the execution plans, the consequences of actually executing.  I thought about that many, many times.  And of course, it was heightened by movies such as “Seven Days in May” and “Dr. Strangelove.”  And as I say, you – many of you lived through every bit of that.  And the fact is we are extremely fortunate.

Later as a commander in the 1980s, my units were receiving new platforms, platforms that were capable of carrying more nuclear weapons at such a rapid rate that we often thought of it in terms of the cat in the castor oil; you had to have one searching, one covering, and – I mean, and one going and one covering up.  It was – it was – it was really an accelerated period.

And the dialogue of deterrence in those days was there is – there is no escape for the enemy, and if we go to war, they will suffer.  And people did talk about winning a nuclear war in spite of the fact that the consequences would be so extreme as to make winning kind of a ludicrous term.

I did know in those days that I and my crewmembers, all of the people that I just described, would follow orders.  And if the president said go under the extremely tight constraints that a president would have to make a decision like that, they would – they would carry out the orders.  There is no doubt in my mind.

But the enemy of those days is gone.  It no longer exists.  This is a new – this is a new time.  The Soviet Union, with its massive capabilities, no longer exists.  The deterrence calculus that has been with us – no longer applies, or it shouldn’t; it should be rethought.  We don’t have the – that massive offensive capability of the Soviet Union and an ideology which was to dominate and to dominate us.  And if people argue that that exists, they’re wrong.  We need to – we need to convince them that it’s not the same.

So 21st-century deterrence, in my mind, has much to do with our conventional capabilities, with emerging technologies, and a Russia that is bound with us in a – in a carefully negotiated treaty to reduce and verify these weapons.  And I remember when we were concerned with New START ratification that my growing concern, and that of many of my fellow retired – my grandson says retarded – (laughter) – general officers, flag officers, was that it – the period of time that we no longer had very capable inspectors on the ground in Russia was extending, that the ability to gather data was extended – was being extended to the point where it was – it didn’t make sense, this process of arms control that I give such credit to people way back, you know, who, when we were MIRVing and doing things that seemed to make sense under that theory of deterrence, had the courage to say, wait a minute, we – making the rubble bounce is no exaggeration, none whatsoever.  We – few people – but I include myself as one of them – have had the opportunity to review the war plan all the way and to look at individual targets and to see what we were doing with the production of our development capabilities.

So it’s a new time, but U.S. and Russia do hold 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.  I think, with my experience with the Russians, and I have had a considerable amount, that we and they really understand how much the utility, the operational utility of nuclear weapons has been overstated.  And we need to somehow preserve this arms control process, the good work that’s been done in verification and data exchange that I’m sure that Secretary Gottemoeller will talk about today.

So again, it’s our good fortune that we have made it to June 2012, in my mind.  The revised calculus of deterrence that I talk about needs to be fleshed out.  It’s not really, I don’t think, going to be a civilian audience that does this, but there is – there is much to highlight in dialogue with the American people and with our elected officials.  I hope that it can be nonpartisan.  I’m still hopeful that the political process will allow this preservation of a long-developed arms control approach to continue and that clearly, a new deterrent calculus will allow us and the Russians to posture – to secure and posture our nuclear weapons with further reductions and less danger.  I’m confident we can do that.

So I would say that we – as we update our thinking, that I don’t at all go away from what Ronald Reagan said about trust but verify, and I think we continue to put a big emphasis on verify as we expand not only the discussion of our nuclear enterprise but the other issues that others on the panel will discuss and including, I hope, all of the – all of the nuclear holders in the world and the issue of proliferation.

Thank you very much.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, General.

And now we’ll turn to Jon Wolfsthal for newer perspectives on nuclear weapons and deterrence in a changed world.

Jon, thanks for being here.

JON WOLFSTHAL:  Great, thank you, Daryl, very much for inviting me.

Thank you all for coming.  Of course I would have been happy to accept the invitation.  Having been locked inside the White House for the last three years, just getting out in the daylight is nice.  But I actually got my start – my real start in this field at the Arms Control Association.  I attended the annual meeting as a young member in 1990 when Spurgeon announced that they would be creating a nonproliferation position, which I got eventually because I was the least expensive candidate.  (Laughter.)  And it’s been downhill ever since.

As Daryl said, I spent the last three years in the White House working as the vice president’s adviser on nuclear issues, and really I’m fortunate not only for that experience, but for a nuclear wonk like myself, to basically be given that access and to understand for the first time really what goes into all of these different questions that we’re dealing with.  And as the general knows very, very well, the minutia really can overwhelm you, but you have to understand it before tackling the larger questions of deterrence calculus and stability, not to worry about single-shot kill probability and exchange ratios, but to really understand the thinking of the different services and the different constituents before you then go ahead and pick a number at, say, where, you know, you feel you should come out.

And I think one thing that I would like people to take away is that the administration’s been very careful to take the advice many of us were given years ago, which is don’t tell the operators how to operate.  You know, don’t come in and say, you know, we really only need four submarines at sea.  Really what we wanted to work through and which we had the opportunity to do, with a tremendously open process involving the State Department, Defense Department, services, intelligence, Department of Energy for the production, uniformed military, is to think through the big questions that were laid out in the president’s strategy documents: the Nuclear Posture Review, the Prague speech.  Where do we want to go?  What are the threats that we’re trying to address globally?  And then to figure out what are the questions that nuclear weapons are necessary for, hoping then to move the other questions out of the nuclear arena because, as the president has said many times, he – and I would argue, correctly – believes that it is very much in the security interests to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons and to reduce the roles of nuclear weapons as we pursue a more expanded and, in many ways, a much more aggressive nonproliferation policy, one that we recognize has as much and probably even more of a bearing on our security position than some outdated Cold War mentality of nuclear parity with Russia or any other country.

So I’m sure many of you are pretty steeped in those documents of the NPR.  But I would encourage you to go back and take a look at those, and particularly the five criteria that are enumerated in the NPR, because those are very much the criteria that we put against how many ICBMs do you think you need to have in order to assure that they’re survivable or submarines?  Or which countries need to be on the targeting list, and which countries can drop off of the targeting list?  Or do you really need to cross-target with ICBMs and SLBMs in order to achieve these goals?  Those five questions were the ones that really got to us.

And then, of course, throughout this process – and the vice president was very much involved in this – is to understand that, regardless of what number you come out at, after that strategy work is done and you’ve determined what the numbers might be, if that is one or it’s a million and one, you’re still going to need a nuclear complex that is capable of supporting the maintenance of that capability.  If it’s one, you still need a bunch of scientists and engineers that can take it apart and understand how it works.  You’re still going to need production facilities that can remake it if necessary or can build back up or, at the very least, dismantle the thousands of nuclear weapons that we’re still dealing with in the aftermath of the Cold War.  And that’s another issue that I’ll touch briefly on about needing to get to this bipartisan consensus, although I don’t think anybody’s ever going to get a consensus on anything in Washington, but at least some sort of general agreement that, whether you believe we need more nuclear weapons or less nuclear weapons, there’s a certain amount of investment that’s necessary for the nuclear complex, and I don’t mean every bell and whistle.  And having gone through this in detail, everybody throughout the process, from the NNSA to OMB to the Nuclear Weapons Council, understand that there’s the perfect and then there’s the necessary, and there’s a whole bunch of cutting that’s going to go on at the top.  But you’re still going to need some level of investment in order to maintain any type of nuclear activity.

So, for many of the people in this room that are concerned about these issues – several of whom called me over the past three years to tell me, hey, make sure you do this and have you thought about that – I mean, I can now tell you, you know, you should take heart in the sense that we were wrestling with the same questions that you all talk about and now we all talk about on a regular basis:  You know, what are the threats that we face that absolutely require some sort of nuclear capability to address?  How many nuclear weapons are really necessary to deter enemies and reassure friends?  And what does deterrence mean in the 21st century and how does that compare with what deterrence meant 20 or 30 years ago?  Because the nuclear guidance, as it exists, is still pretty much a reflection of deterrence policy in the late parts of the Cold War.  Stan Norris and Hans and others have written very well about this in Arms Control Today, talking about the different category sets – and I’m not going to get into that – but it’s clear that a lot has changed.  And as the general said, we need to change our deterrence thinking about our deterrence calculus.

We wrestled a lot with, how can we reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons in ways that not only ensure our security, but actually advance it?  For those that watch this, New START was about a lot of things.  It was about getting the verification capabilities back on the ground in Russia and providing that insight into what’s going on, but it was also very much about the NPT Review Conference coming up.  It was also very much about needing to reharness and refocus the international community’s attention on Iran and not allow – not to allow this gap in U.S.-Russian arms control to become a distraction from what everybody recognizes is the next set of security challenges.

We also dealt very steadily with the question of, how do we deal with the aging of the nuclear triad?  What do we need for the future in terms of strategic delivery vehicles and, quite frankly, how much is that going to cost us?  We didn’t let numbers, either the level of nuclear weaponry that we thought might be useful or how much money we had available, drive the system.  But we had to be aware of what it was going to cost to try and implement these things in a budget-constrained environment.

But, as we got through this process and only after we looked at what the strategy needed to be, then we talked about numbers.  And I know people have read a lot of the reporting that said the president sent out to the Pentagon requests for numbers at a very low level and write me a strategy for this.  I can tell you plainly that’s just not true, and I can tell you it’s not true because I helped write that part of the guidance.  So don’t believe it, and if there are reporters here in the room, I’d be happy to talk with you afterwards.

So, in terms of what’s going to come out – and my expectation is that this is going to be rolled out in some way, shape or form in the next several weeks if not a month or two; I actually am not sure how it’s going to be rolled out – in terms of the way this is going to impact on the future of arms control negotiations, I’ll tell you plainly that I argued against a rollout that included a number because I do favor a new set of negotiated reductions with Russia and think that if you come out with a number, you’re basically opening yourself up to giving away your negotiating position.  So I argued very strongly inside that we should talk about what the framework is, what the strategy is, how we’re reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons, but leave the numbers for the negotiation in the hopes that we could actually get Russia to come with us down to a lower number.

Now I will tell you plainly that I am a pessimist when it comes to what’s going to come over the next year or two on negotiated reductions.  I wish that weren’t the case, but I think the thinking in Russia is not the same as the thinking in the United States.  And quite frankly, on this issue, Senator Kyl – and only this issue – Senator Kyl and I actually agree:  I don’t want to give the Russians a veto over what we do with our strategic capabilities.  And knowing that we can go lower, that we don’t need to be spending money in the nuclear complex, that we quite frankly need to be spending in other areas, I don’t want to delay that process of going down to lower numbers because as the general, I think, was alluding to, it’s clear that, unlike the Cold War when it was the Soviet Union, their conventional capability, and the risk of conflict that was the threat, today the threat is the weapons themselves.

Nobody – very few people reasonably believe that we’re going to have a nuclear conflict because of some deliberate decision to try to pre-empt or disarm the United States of their nuclear capability or vice versa, whereas during the Cold War, very reasonable people – senior government officials, out-of-governments, actually worried day to day that, well, if there’s asymmetry and instability, this might be a real risk.  Today I think most people recognize that if there’s a nuclear exchange, it’s going to be because of miscalculation or accident and that’s the threat that we have to address.  And if we can go to lower numbers through negotiations, then great.  That’s a much better world.  But, quite frankly, I don’t want to delay that day while we’re addressing this challenge.

And so, in large part because I don’t think Russia’s prepared to go to much lower numbers – they might be prepared to come down incrementally because, quite frankly, they’re already below the New START numbers; so they might be willing to have some adjustment, but – if we really want to break the back on Cold War thinking, then we have to go to much lower numbers.

And I think this’ll probably my second-to-last point that – and this administration, I think, is guilty as many other administrations – we talk as if the nuclear strategy has changed and that, as President Clinton said, we’re – we’ve rid the nightmare of nuclear war from our grandchildren’s dreams.  The fact is we still size our nuclear capabilities to fight nuclear wars.  We call it deterrence or we call it planning for what happens if deterrence fails while we’re still sizing our force to make sure we can blow up a lot of what Russia or other enemies might need to fight us.  And that’s nuclear war fighting.  What we need is a force that’s fundamentally sized and based on deterrence, and that number is much, much lower than what it takes to blow up a lot of stuff in foreign countries.

And I would argue that, at least from the United States’ perspective and increasingly in – and Russia and China, that number is very, very low.  And just from a personal point of view, I would say that number is probably more than one, but less than 20, that the United States is deterred by the reasonable threat that 20 nuclear weapons or less can land on U.S. soil.  And therefore, the numbers need to come way down because anything above that is really unnecessary.  As long as it’s secure and reliable and technically we know that it will work, then I think we’re still able to pursue a very stable set of deterrent calculations.  And, quite frankly, the idea that we need to go down in some sort of parity or symmetric reductions, I think, is also outdated because, during the Cold War, again, reasonable minds could argue if there was a 20, 30, 40 percent delta in what Russia had or we had or what we had and China had or what the Europeans had and what the tactical – then you could argue that somebody might get it in their head that now’s the time.  But does anybody think that a 40 percent difference between what we have and Russia’s going to lead President Putin to say, ah, now’s our opportunity?  Right?  I mean, it’s just – it’s hard to imagine any scenario where that creeps into the thinking.  So, again, that’s just my personal view; but I think it’s one set of arguments that went very much into the debate over where the Nuclear Guidance Review is going to come out.

So last point – and that’s, again, on the nuclear complex.  The general said hopefully that we could try and at least establish some areas of nonpartisan agreement on this.  If you look back at the Strategic Posture Review – Strategic Posture Commission, before the administration came into office, if you look at what was discussed very early on in the Nuclear Posture Review, the one area where we really didn’t have much of a disagreement – and actually where very conservative planners on nuclear forces and very progressive voices on nuclear issues came to some agreement during the New START process – was to understand that, regardless of what size nuclear weaponry or arsenal we need, we’re going to have to have some reinvestment in the nuclear complex: the people, the delivery vehicles, and the science and technological and industrial base that supports it.

We can debate all you want about whether we need the facility in New Mexico to do plutonium or the facility in Tennessee to do uranium, but we recognize we’re going to need some level of that.  This budget cycle, I think, has shown us that we’re still very far away from getting that type of agreement, and if we want to have any set of reductions, we’re going to have to really work very carefully on what that set of investments is going to be.  But the flip side’s also true: that if we intend to get any real sustainable investment plan, we’re going to have to have reductions to support that because you’re not going to be able to convince the broad parts of the Congress you need to convince to spend money on this unless you show at least some of them that it’s a path down.  And so if we don’t have both pieces of that puzzle, I worry that we’re going to end up with a very underfunded complex, very unreliable nuclear arsenals and much larger nuclear arsenals than we need to support our security, and that’s, I think, a loser for all constituencies.

Sorry I went on a little long, but I look forward to your questions.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Jon.

Now we’re going to turn to another facet of the nuclear weapons question focusing on some of the issues relating to NATO policy and Europe and the tactical nuclear weapons problem.

Trine Flockhart, who’s a senior researcher at the Danish Institute of International Studies, thanks for being with us.  The floor is yours.

TRINE FLOCKHART:  Thank you.  First of all, thank you for inviting me.  I’m really honored to speak to such a distinguished audience, and I’m so pleased to be in Washington.  It’s always a treat to come to Washington.

Now, in my studies over the years of NATO and nuclear weapons, it has always seemed to me that NATO is nuclear-addicted.  So, the question that I’ve asked myself after the publication of the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review is – well, is NATO still nuclear-addicted?  I’m afraid that the simple question or the simple answer to that question is yes, although now with the promise that NATO is now willing to consider not to have any of the drugs lying around at home in Europe as long as it’s co-dependent fellow addict Russia is willing to do the same.  Unfortunately I suspect this is not a position with great prospects.

OK, so Daryl has asked me to give a brief assessment of the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, which is also known, for short, as the DDPR.

Now, perhaps I should say even though I know this is a very knowledgeable audience, if the DDPR somehow has slipped your attention, then don’t blame yourself because you could actually say that since the announcement of the DDPR at the Lisbon summit, about 18 months ago in November 2010, it has turned into a secret review process.  It started out being something that was agreed to save the Strategic Concept because Germany had launched the question of nuclear weapons and no one could agree to that to get into the Strategic Concept.  The agreement was then to launch, and I quote, “a major review of NATO’s overall deterrence and defense posture.”  That was then going to be presented at the Chicago summit just a few weeks ago.

Well, what happened after that was that it started out being quite a public affair.  But, after a few months, I think NATO realized that they had actually bitten off more than they could chew and the process turned into being an almost secret process.  It has rarely been referred to since in public.  A few months into the process, no one in NATO would go to gatherings like these and talk about DDPR, and it was published at the Chicago summit without even as much as a press briefing.  So, not surprisingly, therefore, DDPR has only had sporadic public interest, and I think the knowledge about DDPR is quite limited within gatherings like these.

Now when the DDPR was announced at Lisbon, many including myself welcomed the process as an opportunity to get a proper discussion about NATO’s deterrence and defense posture and particularly the future of the forward-deployed American nonstrategic nuclear weapons that are still based in five European countries.  Perhaps naively, I also hoped that the DDPR, in light of changes in the international context, in light of NATO’s redefined role and its new Strategic Concept, and in light of NATO’s redefined role in its new Strategic Concept, and in light of the additional NATO capability in the form of missile defense; might also discuss alternative ways of showing commitment, of reassurance and on sharing of risks and burdens within the alliance.

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case.  And I have to agree with former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn that the DDPR at best deserves a grade of incomplete.

OK.  So what’s in the document?  Well, I think you’re already guessing what I’m going to say.  There’s not a lot in there; it’s mostly hot air.  Despite the really complicated and conceptual issues, the document is less than 3,000 words long, which includes long prose about the less central issues that the allies could actually agree on.  Moreover, the document is written in a complex and convoluted language that seems to be designed to detract from rather than to add to clarity about these very complex and hugely important issues.

Most importantly, the document effectively dodges the main issues.  And it fails completely to answer some of the most essential questions, most notably:  What is the purpose of nuclear weapons, especially the forward deployed nonstrategic nuclear weapons?  How has that purpose changed since the end of the Cold War?  What is the effect of the new missile defense capability for the overall defense and deterrence posture?  It doesn’t really address these questions, at least not in any depth.

In addition, the document never asks what the implications are of NATO’s decision at Lisbon to elevate cooperative security and crisis management to core tasks along with the original collective defense.  Despite the significant changes brought about by the Strategic Concept, the DDPR reads as if none of these changes matter.

So this is puzzling and it is also disappointing, because the rethinking of NATO’s core tasks and the new missile defense capability clearly opens up for new possibilities on how to show commitment and cohesion in the alliance.  Yet the DDPR has been completely unable to suggest new ways of ensuring nuclear sharing and possible alternatives to nuclear sharing, as for example missile defense sharing, and the value of burden sharing through practical participation in the other two core tasks that I mentioned, crisis management and cooperative security.

So, sadly, overall the document constitutes a victory for France and those Central and East European allies who maintain Russia as the main security concern and who basically joined a NATO anno 1990, rather than a NATO that is ready for the security challenges of the 21st century.

So if I was to draw up a score sheet, list pro and cons, then I would suggest the following positive aspects.  First of all, it’s positive that the document was made public.  This was by no means a certainty and was only agreed shortly before Chicago.  Secondly, it’s positive that the document makes rhetorical reference to the possibility, at least, of reducing or withdrawing nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

Thirdly – and in this, I may be stretching it here as a positive – but it’s positive that the Weapons of Mass Destruction, Control and Disarmament Committee, which was established as part of the process, will be replaced with a new committee that can function as a consultative and advisory forum, because NATO really needs to have that.  However, this may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory, as the committee’s mandate first has to be agreed, which could take a very, very long time because France is basically against this committee.

It’s also positive that the DDPR contains a commitment to developing confidence and transparency measures vis-à-vis Russia.  And finally, I think it’s positive that the review does not close the process but rather appears to be open for a continuation of internal debate about the issues raised.  And in fact, I have to say that I think this is the most positive aspect of DDPR.

Now, unfortunately it seems that on the negative score sheet there are much more substantial issues.  And ironically, although the document endorses the status quo, the reality is that the status quo simply cannot be maintained.  And I list five problems in addition to the ones that I’ve already talked about.

The first problem is that even if no agreement can be reached on changing NATO’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons posture, it will change.  However, without an agreement, the change will come through as a disorderly internal NATO process of national nuclear disarmament, where some deployment countries are going to – will decide to – not to replace their dual-capable aircraft with nuclear capabilities.  Germany certainly seems certain to do that.  And once there’s a German decision to withdraw all of its B61s, then Holland and Belgium are likely to follow.  So in other words, without an overall NATO decision, the likely outcome is disarmament by default.

The other invisible change that is endorsed surreptitiously in the document is modernization of the B61 gravity bombs.  The DDPR states that it will ensure that all components of NATO’s nuclear deterrent remain safe, secure and effective.  What this basically means is that the existing B61 gravity bombs will undergo costly life-extension programs, which will upgrade the capability considerably by changing the bombs into precision-guided weapons.  So in parallel with the disorderly nuclear disarmament is hidden a nuclear escalation, also by default.  The overall effect of modernization of dual-capable aircraft, to include Joint Strike Fighter with modernized, precision-guided weapons on the B61, will constitute a considerable upgrade, which will certainly not go unnoticed in Russia.

Thirdly, another huge mistake in the DDPR is that the future of NATO’s forward deployed nuclear deterrent is made contingent on reciprocal Russian measures, yet Russia has made it clear that it will not discuss nonstrategic nuclear weapons until all forward deployed weapons have been removed from Europe.  However, as NATO has already removed 90 percent of the weapons unilaterally, the 180 or so remaining B61s hardly constitute a good bargaining position against the more than 2,000 Russian weapons.  I think NATO is about to repeat the mistake of the 1980s, when it linked NATO deployments of intermediate-range nuclear forces to the Soviet SS-20.  NATO should simply ask, do we need these weapons or not, and not make it contingent on what Russia does.

Another problem is that the DDPR is completely unclear where NATO stands on the issue of negative security guarantees.  It sounds like NATO has adopted a policy of NATO security guarantees in the document, but when reading the document closely, it appears that NATO’s simply acknowledging the different national positions of the three NATO countries.  The U.S. and the U.K. give the guarantees; France does not.  Such a policy is clearly not a good foundation for a coherent NATO nuclear posture.

And finally, the DDPR completely fails to ask the crucial questions about the role of nuclear weapons, especially what nonstrategic nuclear weapons are for.  As it does that it cannot possibly provide the answer to what constitutes an appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defense forces.  NATO still needs to ask, appropriate for what?  Sadly, as this was exactly what the DDPR set out to clarify, to have failed on that count is a real indictment, I think, of 18 months’ work.

Daryl asked me about the next steps.  And this is the really difficult question because one of the aspects or one of the effects of the way the DDPR has been conducted is that the alliance has basically painted itself into a corner, and it’s not a very good corner.  I don’t actually see any constructive next steps within the parameters left by the DDPR.  It’s especially problematic that the DDPR has restricted NATO’s room of maneuver by making the withdrawal contingent on Russian reciprocal moves.  This is unlikely to happen, so we have a stalemate situation.

It’s also problematic to identify a next step because although the official line from NATO is that the DDPR shows NATO unity, in my opinion the DDPR has basically divided the alliance into two camps:  for and against withdrawal and bad Russia/good Russia.  I think on doing this, which has been consolidated – it has been a position that has been consolidated over the last 18 months – it’s actually going to be the first next step that NATO needs to address.

Within the parameters of DDPR, I think NATO’s best option seems to be to return to recommendations of the nonpaper that was submitted last April by Poland, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands.  As a first step, NATO should seek increased transparency with Russia on numbers, types, locations, operational status and the level of storage security.  And these are questions that could usefully be addressed in the NATO-Russia Council and hopefully lead to a better atmosphere and a more constructive working environment within the council.

Moreover, following the American elections this year, a renewed effort at reaching an understanding with Russia on cooperation on missile defense would, if it could be successful, provide an environment that would be more conducive for further discussions within NATO on nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

But for the time being, as I said, the best thing about the DDPR is that it didn’t close the process.  So now that the restrictive process of the DDPR process is over, NATO should start a real dialogue and proper analysis, which might be able to apply a holistic approach to the overarching question:  Deter whom, how and from what?  And what is the role of NATO’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons and why exactly does NATO need them?  After a suitable break – not too long, I hope – NATO simply needs to get back into a process of talking about these issues with an educational focus.  That is why the new committee that I spoke about is really important.

And speaking as a European – and this is my very last point – then I can say this:  It’s also time for the U.S. to take the lead and to seek to influence the position of the Central Europeans on nonstrategic nuclear weapons.  The United States has had a background position in this and has basically left it for the Europeans to sort out their issues on these matters.  But the European allies will never agree on anything unless there is an existential crisis snapping at their heels or unless there’s some very clear leadership exercised by the United States.  So there you have it.  I can say it; I’m European.  (Laughter.)

So NATO needs to get back to its traditional way of dialogue and persuasion under American leadership in the committees in NATO, in the Nuclear Planning Group and in the committee that hopefully will get a name and hopefully will get a mandate.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Trine.  So I think we have a clear message from our speakers that more needs to be done.  There’s reason to change our thinking about nuclear weapons, find ways to reduce the risks.  But the path ahead is complex, it’s not clear, and it’s going to take leadership and creativity.

And now it is your turn to stimulate the discussion with your questions.  We have a couple of microphones that will arrive if you raise your hand, if you state your name and ask a question and address it to one of the speakers.  Why don’t we start over here with Edward Ifft.

Q:  Yes.  Edward Ifft, Georgetown University.  To Miss Flockhart, one of the roadblocks to transparency regarding tactical nuclear weapons has been the reluctance of NATO itself to acknowledge where they are and the numbers.  And as a result, the U.S. government cannot confirm or deny, except for Germany, those facts – even though everybody knows, of course, where they are.  So can we conclude from what you have said that NATO is now willing to acknowledge where the tactical nuclear weapons are?  Or will NATO only do it if Russia adopts a certain amount of transparency as well?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Trine?  Maybe, Jon, you also want to address that question.  But Trine, go ahead.

MS. FLOCKHART:  Well, obviously a precondition would be that NATO would be willing to give the transparency as well as Russia.  It’s not a one-way street.  Everyone knows where the nuclear weapons are.  Everyone knows how many are there, I think, by now.  So there’s not really that much on those issues.

Where I think the issues would be much more on the storage and the site security.  That would be issues that would be interesting on both sides.  And Russia would have an interest in getting to know some of those issues, particularly also on the issue of the old storage sites in what has happened to the old Soviet storage sites in Central and Eastern Europe.  I think there would be some room for maneuver there.  But clearly, NATO will also have to move on the transparency issue as well.

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  I mean, I think the challenge in this, Ed, as you well know, is Russia’s really not concerned about our tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.  So there’s not – we can’t leverage whatever weapons we have there against what the Russian have, because it’s not a threat perception for them.

You know, very early on in the administration, I think there was a willingness to basically say, we don’t need these.  Let’s make some decisions and we’ll deal with them on our own.  And then very quickly, I think, some of the institutional biases came to bear, both in the Pentagon and in the State Department, unfortunately.

So I’m sort of an outlier here.  My approach to this is simply pull them out and force the Russians to justify to themselves and to their own people and to the Europeans why they need thousands of tactical nuclear weapons themselves.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Just to be clear, what the independent experts estimate is that there are some 180 U.S. gravity bombs, nuclear bombs, in five European NATO countries.  And Russia is estimated by independent experts to have some 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons on their territory.

So we have another question here in the middle.  Mr. Culp, thank you.

Q:  David Culp with the Friends Committee on National Legislation.  A question for Mr. Wolfsthal.  When the administration’s budget was released a number of members of Congress said the money for the National Nuclear Security Administration was inadequate and said that you were basically walking away from the agreements that you made in the New START treaty.  So I’m wondering if you can go through with us the thinking on the budget that you presented and is the administration living up to its commitments in the – from the START treaty?

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  I’m just pleased you refer to me as Mr. Wolfsthal from time to time, David.  (Laughter.)  Thank you.  David was a great help, as were a number people here, on the New START process.  So we got to work very closely together.

I think it’s a very partisan game that’s being played on the administration’s budget, and I think it’s unfortunate.  The criticism are from people who know in fact the details but think it’s good optics to argue the contrary.

The facts are that in the context of New START the president submitted a plan, as requested by Congress – a 1251 plan, which said it was our intention to pursue programs and capabilities necessary to maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal.  And our estimate at that time was that those capabilities would cost about $85 billion over the next 10 years.  That’s just for the nuclear complex part.  That was separate from strategic launch vehicles, ICBMs, SLBMs and so forth.

After the Budget Control Act came into force, there were new restrictions on how much the president would actually be able to request.  And so people wanted the president to basically break the law and say we’re going to ask for money that legally we can’t ask for.  And the president said:  We’re not going to do that.  And in fact, we went to work very quickly saying:  All right, if this is the money that’s available and this is what we need, how do we ensure that we get what we need?  And that was a very open process with NNSA, the Pentagon, the Nuclear Weapons Council and the lab directors, as well as OMB, who said, over the next 10 years, there’s a reasonable estimate that we can provide for what this will cost us.

Congress chose not to fund that number.  The House, in particular, controlled by Republicans who pushed for the 1251 report, chose not to fund the administration’s request and shorted it by roughly $800 million.  The lab directors then came to the NNSA and said:  We don’t think you’re going to get the money that we all agree we need to build all of these facilities.  And we think we can save you – this is the lab directors coming to NNSA saying we think we can save you money, all right – perhaps an unprecedented step – and saying we think we can do plutonium work without building the CMRR in New Mexico.  It’s a big facility.  It’s estimated to cost about $5 billion.  And what the lab directors are worried about, rightly, is that we’re going to build facilities and not be able to fund the people that do the real work in those facilities.

So they came to us with an alternative plan.  The administration asked the entire Nuclear Weapons Council, representative from STRATCOM, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, NNSA:  Will this work?  And they said yes.  And so we went to Congress with that and said, OK, here’s the new plan.  And all of a sudden Congress is screaming you broke your promise.  So I think it’s just partisan gamesmanship.  I think it’s largely designed to try and detract from the president’s pretty impressive accomplishment on investing in the nuclear complex in a reasonable way.  And my hope is that the Congress will finally come to its senses and do what’s right for the nuclear deterrent that we need.

MR. KIMBALL:  I wanted to ask a question from the chair’s place here to General Jameson and to Jon about, you know, how we move forward in the next one to two years, regardless of who’s in the White House, with Russia to the next steps in reducing U.S. and Russian stockpiles below the New START levels, which are 1,550 deployed strategic warheads.  And those – that ceiling needs to be met by the year 2018.  New START creates a verification system that’s going to be in place until 2021.

And given the difficulties of a formal negotiation with Russia and given the challenge that we’ll have with the next round of negotiations, because we need to deal with not just deployed strategic weapons, but also the tactical nuclear weapons, perhaps the non-deployed weapons, are there some alternative approaches?  In other words, might there be a way, just as George W. Bush did in the 2001-2002 period, to use the existing treaty framework to provide the transparency and the verification necessary to assure both sides, but to reduce the two countries’ deployed strategic arsenals below those START levels?  Is that a path that is worth considering, given the very difficult relationship between the U.S. and Russia on various issues – missile defense, Syria, other types of things?

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  Well, I mean, I think if there are a hundred people in the room, you probably have a hundred different plans for how this could work, but I think there are a couple of prerequisites.  And the first is, I would argue, we need to have a decision, preferably a bilateral decision, which quite frankly just means us, to go down to New START numbers immediately.  These are very modest reductions.

I forget what the number of the just-released New START aggregate was, but I think we’re roughly at 1,750.  We’re going to 1,550.  You could pull 200 weapons off alert and put them out in a few days, if not a few weeks.  So I think we should just quickly go there.  I think we need to get the new guidance in place so the president has direct support from Strategic Command and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs saying:  Yes, we’ve looked at plans.  We can go lower to give him that flexibility to then order reductions.  And then I think you have the New START verification framework in place to say to Russia:  Let’s go down to lower numbers more quickly.  You can go below 1,550.  You could reach a political agreement with Russia to do that, and then you would have the verification in place to show, in fact, that those numbers have been reached.

Of course, the challenge is you don’t have that in place for the nonstrategic nuclear weapons, and that’s where, I think, Trine’s views are very valuable here, that the confidence-building and transparency measures are really what’s needed.  I would argue, as I just did, that the U.S. should do that up front.  We need to find a way to manage the alliance correctly and so that the withdrawal of those weapons don’t lead to a new schism.  But I would argue that we should give Russia, say, a year privately, and then if they don’t move within that time period, to say we’re going alone and then push them to come with us.

MR. KIMBALL:  Your thoughts, General Jameson?

GEN. JAMESON:  Well, the only thing that I would add is I think that until the election, anything that even hints of doing something unilaterally is just not going to be on the table.  On the other hand, the process – and I certainly agree with Jon – grinds along in the Pentagon, inside the Beltway.  Things are going to happen the way the U.S. military, the Pentagon, in coordination with the – with the interagency, wants it to happen.  And some of those things are budget-driven.  They’re going to try to save as much as they can realistically, but it’s not going to be – it’s not going to be private agreements with Russia or anything.  That’s just my opinion.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.

All right.  Other questions?  Yes, sir, in the middle.  Bruce, thank you.

Q:  Hi.  I’m Bruce MacDonald with the U.S. Institute of Peace.  I think it’s safe to say that within this room, there’s a probably pretty broad consensus in support of further reductions.  And yet – and to date, our NATO allies have been extraordinarily supportive of the New START process.  My question is – comes to the fact – I’m – going forward and seeing levels go down substantially more, I guess I want to ask particularly Dr. Flockhart, but of course other distinguished panelists as well, is there a point at which the U.S. extended deterrent, which I recognize of course is more than just nuclear weapons; it – our substantial conventional capability’s a very important dimension of that – but is there a point at which our NATO allies, and obviously some sooner than others, begin to get a little bit nervous about how low – how far down we go, because we’ve taken almost as a given that our allies have been – and again, they’ve been wonderful in their support, but is there a point where the – what the perceived benefits of extended nuclear deterrence begin to outweigh the value of further reductions?  And how might we address that?

MS. FLOCKHART:  Well, I think – I think the point is very low.  And realistically speaking, we are going to have to face up to a deployment country number of two within quite a short period of time.  I don’t think there’s any doubt that Germany will not continue being a deployment country.  And once that is on the table, then I think Holland and Belgium are pretty certain to withdraw as well.

The question then is whether the weapons that are placed in those three countries will then be transferred to Turkey and Italy or whether they would be withdrawn back to the United States.  Either, I think, would still mean that that would be an extended deterrence.  And I think that you could argue that within the alliance as well.  I think there would be understanding for that.  I think you could go down to perhaps – you mentioned 20, perhaps you could go down to five, 10 weapons in Europe and still say that there’s an extended deterrence.

So I don’t really think it’s the numbers.  I think it has much more to do with NATO not being able to let go of the symbolic value that is attached to those weapons.  I think most NATO allies, including the Central and East Europeans, realize that they really have no strategic importance and that the strategic nuclear weapons back in the United States will provide just as much protection, if I can call it that, as those that are based in Europe.  So I don’t think it’s the numbers that’s the – that’s the issue.  I think it is zero or more than zero that’s the issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  And just one point of clarification. I mean, the Defense and Deterrence Posture Review that was just released by NATO in Chicago states that the supreme guarantee of allied security are the strategic nuclear weapons of the three countries in NATO with strategic nuclear weapons – the U.S., U.K. and France.  It does not talk about the U.S. forward- deployed tactical nuclear weapons as being vital to that deterrent capability.  And the last I noticed, our European allies are very supportive of further U.S.-Russian reductions relating to strategic nuclear weapons.

Jon, any other points on this?

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  I mean, you know, when I was really young, Jack Mendelsohn used to call me into his office and explain the way this – the world had developed.  And so of course I remember his lecture on why we had tactical nuclear weapons in the first place, which is going back, you know, to really outdated thinking, that the Europeans were worried that somehow we were going to decouple our defense from their defense and that we needed to have – in addition to the long-range strike capabilities, we needed to have capabilities on the ground so that when we had a nuclear exchange to block tanks from coming through the Fulda Gap, that Russia wouldn’t then just – you know, they’d have to launch at us, and it wouldn’t just be a nuclear war in Europe.  You know, all of that is just out the window and useless in terms of, you know, American strategic thought, European strategic thought.  Does anybody believe that somehow a tactical nuclear weapon from Europe on Russian territory would not be seen as a strategic threat to Russia?

So, I mean, if we think we need to challenge Russia in a strategic way, we have lots of submarines, we have lots of ICBMs, and the tactical nuclear weapons don’t have a military role.

Q:  Jon, do you have – pardon me for interrupting, but I’m talking about not – not just the tactical, and I agree those are minor, but the question of the overall strategic level.  Is there a level at 300, 200, is there some level of U.S. having strategic nuclear warheads that begins to make some allies, and probably some sooner than others, nervous; maybe Poland or Turkey get nervous before Germany and Denmark do?

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  And I think if all we were doing were maintaining everything that we had status quo and started drastically reducing our nuclear weapons, there might be an argument that the countries would start to get nervous.  Of course, the concern is that they might develop nuclear capabilities of their own or the alliance would fall apart.  However, as Trine said, these things don’t happen in isolation, right?  What we need to think about is how you supplement your extended reassurance capabilities to these countries, and that is a political process.  It gets to how often you engage with these countries.  It gets to the question of where American troops are deployed, how you interoperate, what sort of capabilities are being purchased on the conventional side.  I think there’s a whole list of things there that we could do and should have done in the DDPR that we didn’t, that would then make it much easier for the United States to go to much lower numbers.  But even if that were true, I think we’ve got a long way to go before these countries really start to get nervous.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we have time for one or two more questions, even though we’ve got lots of hands here.  Why don’t we go over here.

Q:  Nancy Gallagher from the University of Maryland.  Ms. Flockhart, one of the things you mentioned that the DDPR did not look at was what the effects of the European missile defense capability are.  But I’m wondering whether you think the NATO allies agree on what the actual missile defense capability is now and in the near future vis-à-vis the threats we face, and whether you see it as performing primarily a military role or a political role.  And if it’s really the latter, what are the effects of building up a missile defense capability to perform the same kind of political role the tactical nuclear weapons have in the past? Are we just replicating the same problems that we currently have with Russia over an issue that’s primarily politically symbolic?

MS. FLOCKHART:  OK.  I think the – you can look at the role of missile defense in two ways.  I think it does have a military role, but it’s not a military role that is directed at Russia, it is a military role that is directed at Iran.  And that’s why they’re there.  But they could gain – the missile defense capability could gain a very important political role internally in the alliance if it was to become the push, for example, for changing the deterrence posture from one that is based almost completely on punishment to one that is based more on denial.  I mean, it’s going back to some very bizarre, very old-fashioned debates that I thought I had seen the back of – (chuckles) – in 1990, but nevertheless, those are the kind of things that are being talked about.   So if you have a different deterrence posture that has moved from deterrence by denial – no, from punishment to denial, then clearly you have a completely different position within the alliance to discuss what is going to be the deterrence posture in the alliance.

So that’s the first thing.  That wasn’t discussed in the DDPR, which I think is a great shame, but I think it was not discussed in the DDPR because of the way the whole process was run, that it was divided into three different committees.  It was not an overall discussion that was looking at a conceptual understanding of what the deterrence posture of the alliance should be.

Now, the other role of the missile defense would be much more political, because there would be a possibility to say, all right, well, we don’t have the nonstrategic nuclear weapons anymore, they were not needed anyway within this new deterrence posture, but we can use missile defense as another form of showing commitment in the alliance that is completely the same as what has been happening with the nonstrategic nuclear weapons.  It’s like this wedding ring, that you show your commitment.  You could do the same with the missile defense.  So that was what I meant about the missile defense sharing.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Any others on this?  All right.  We have a question over here.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  I’ll continue on the missile defense question.  At the Lisbon summit of NATO, there was this great feeling of friendship with Russia, and Russia was not even present in Chicago.  So what happened in between?

And the next question deals with the economics or the plan to finance the missile defense. Europe is in economic difficulties.  We are – I am in the defense committee and we’re talking about pooling and sharing, and actually no country is increasing its defense budget at this time, so how do you plan to finance the missile defense in Europe?

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Jon?  Trine?

MS. FLOCKHART:  Well, the relationship with Russia, as I’m sure you know, is worse than it was at Lisbon, but it’s better than it was in 2008.  So I think it’s – how long is a piece of string?  It’s difficult to say what the relationship with Russia is.

And I think we also have to take into account that all the negative developments are not completely without reason.  I think that the offer that was given at Lisbon for missile defense cooperation sounded much better than what it actually is.  I have great difficulty in seeing what Russia can actually gain from what is being offered from NATO.  So perhaps it’s not surprising that there has been a downturn in the relationship, and then on top of that, a Russian presidential election, which has also been important for that relationship because NATO is perceived in Russia as the enemy.  In the public, it’s very difficult to go out and say, well, now we’re friends with NATO.  NATO has been painted as the big devil and it will continue to be the big devil in Russian publics for a long time to come.  So there are some quite severe restrictions.

So the relationship with Russia, I think, will probably get better.  That’s my hope anyway.

On the cost with the missile defense, well, I think the Europeans think that the Americans are going to pay most of it and that is the main – (laughs) – that is the main benefit of it.  And then there’s the option for different Europeans to contribute towards it, but that is only an option.  And this is where my argument is that the option would then be to show commitment by actually buying into the missile defense system.  It may be a complete waste of money; I can’t judge the technical details of it.  But I think that is the thinking that is going on.

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  I would just say I think Trine is exactly right on missile defense.  I mean, we placed it within a NATO context at the time, which we viewed as a great step forward since this is a missile defense program to protect Europe more than it is to protect the United States, versus the old plan.  But I think where the economics really comes down is on – as Trine said – on the delivery capabilities.  The idea that multiple European countries are going to spend a lot of money on the most expensive fighter plane system ever developed, in this budget environment is nonsensical.  And the fact that the United States is going to be in a position where we’re arguing on one hand, get your economies in order, but on the other hand saying, no, you have to buy this plane, I think is unsustainable.

And so our F-16s are going to wear about in about – at 2017, we’re not going to have a dual-capable capability, and I think Trine’s right, regardless of what was written in the DDPR, these problems are going to solve themselves in the midterm and we need to start thinking creatively about how we put that to our advantage.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, thank you all. We are out of time for this panel.  We will be returning to many of these subjects – missile defense, tactical nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon strategy, deeper reductions in U.S./Russian arsenals – at future Arms Control Association events.

I want to – before I ask you to join me in thanking our panelists, I want to invite the next panel to get ready to hop up here, because we’re going to resume without a break.  So if you do need a break, you’re welcome to do so during the course of the next session, but please join me in thanking General Dirk Jameson, Jon Wolfsthal and Trine Flockhart.  (Applause.)

(END) - Back to the top


Panel on Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran

Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association

Thomas Pickering, Former Ambassador to the United Nations;

Hossein Mousavian, Former Iranian Nuclear Envoy;

Tarja Cronberg, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iran


GREG THIELMANN: If everyone could please take their seats, we’ll move to our second panel.

As those in this room know, we are now at another critical juncture in efforts to negotiate a resolution to issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. After a long interval, the six powers re-engaged with Iran on April 14th in Istanbul. On May 23rd to 24th in Baghdad, the parties discussed specific proposals. The six powers called for Iran to end its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent and ship its stockpile of this material out of the country, in exchange for providing 20 percent enriched uranium in the form of fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor, nuclear security assistance and critical spare parts for civilian aircraft.

The Iranians presented their own five-point plan, offering greater international access to its nuclear facilities in exchange for easing of sanctions and recognition of its right to enrich uranium.

Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, voiced disappointment about the lack of sanctions relief in the six powers’ offer and complained that their proposal was unbalanced. The head of the six-power delegation, Europe’s Catherine Ashton, was more positive, hoping for tangible progress at the next round of talks in Moscow on June 18th and 19th.

Meanwhile, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, went to Tehran to discuss a framework or a structural approach for addressing specific concerns about past Iranian activities.

By the end of June, the United States is scheduled to tighten existing sanctions by beginning to sanction all foreign banks that process Iranian oil transactions through Iran’s central bank. The Europeans are scheduled to ban all imports of Iranian oil starting July 1st.

And the centrifuges keep spinning, and suspicions about possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program linger.

As with Israeli-Palestinian dispute, it’s easier to sketch out the shape of a realistic ultimate solution than it is to figure out exactly how we get there. So to help us sort out this most difficult task, we have a panel of three eminent experts. Biographic highlights have been provided to you in writing, but let me introduce each to you with just a few words.

Ambassador Thomas Pickering has headed more U.S. embassies than many diplomats ever have a chance to work in in their entire career. He has led the U.S. mission to the United Nations and has served as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, and he’s also been very active in Track II discussions on the Iranian nuclear issue.

Ambassador Hossein Mousavian has served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany for seven years, as head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and as spokesman for Iran’s delegation to talks with the European Union, 2003 to 2005. He’s now a research scholar at Princeton University and the author of a new book, “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir,” which will be launched here in this building tomorrow.

Tarja Cronberg is a member of the Greens European Free Alliance faction in the European Parliament and chair of the parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran. An engineer by training, she has doctorates in business and administration, has served as minister of labor for Finland and speaks six languages, the most difficult of which is Finnish. (Laughter.)

Without further ado, let me turn to our speakers for brief remarks on where we are in the wake of Baghdad and what we need to accomplish in Moscow.

And I look – Ambassador Pickering, if I could ask you to go first.

THOMAS PICKERING: Thank you, Greg, very much for the kind introduction. It’s a pleasure to be on the panel.

Hossein and I have done shows together. We are, if it won’t really destroy his reputation at home, quite together on a lot of the ideas, particularly the importance of negotiations. And I’ve just met and had the pleasure to talk briefly with Dr. Cronberg.

Let me also compliment the Arms Control Association. I’m a new and recent member, having emerged from the obscurity of government service and business. And I believe you have made and continue to make a major contribution to thinking and indeed to constructive examination, I think, in a way that – to policy in this critically important area. I’m honored and pleased to be here, and many old friends in the audience and I’m delighted to have a chance to address this critically important issue.

I was asked to address two questions: One, what is my judgment about Istanbul and Baghdad, and secondly, what is my view about the process ahead? I’ll do that against the backdrop of a third issue, the question of the overall situation as I see it at the present time.

I used to frequently tell the story about the man jumping out of the Empire State Building. Going past the 25th floor, everything was simply splendid. I have to modify that a little bit, take it to the West Coast. The guy jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge, he survives in the water, and the currents sweep him away. We’re sort of more in that mode at the moment than we are on the Empire State Building, where, even with the New York police holding the safety net, the chances are 99.9 percent death. We’ve struggled very hard, and so have the parties, to get us to the negotiating table. And it’s very important, obviously, that maximum use be made of this.

Against that backdrop, it is extremely hard to see how and in what way this process will move ahead. There are 32 years of mistrust between the United States and Iran, supplemented by galloping misunderstanding, and indeed the lack of communications has been a thoroughly and, I think, completely deleterious experience for both countries. The idea of being able to examine the problem from the worst case on both sides has become an art form and indeed is more of a controlling piece than the ability to begin to talk. And I think that that’s very significant.

The P5+1 or the European three plus three, depending upon which side of the Atlantic you prefer, is a process that has now begun and holds a faint crack open for the future. My sense is that in every serious commitment of this sort, that crack must be kept open.

An estimation of Istanbul and Baghdad is pretty much the Golden Gate Bridge leap of faith story. The good news is that both have tended to produce a continuation of talks, whereas the old pattern was to have a one-night stand meeting, go away with – replete with disagreement and spend the next eight months trying to negotiate the next meeting. I hope we’re past that stage, but we could slide back.

That – Istanbul had some good news in the sense that I believe the Iranian side suggested some thoughts that the non-Iranian side agreed to, including proceeding with stage-by-stage examination and perhaps resolution of the problem based on the notion that there would be balance and reciprocity in each stage. And while there was kind of disagreement by half that Iran would like to make the guideposts for this particular set of arrangements pretty exclusively the Nonproliferation Treaty, and while the non-Iranians could agree, they also had other guideposts, including the Security Council resolution that asks for a cessation of Iranian enrichment, to bedevil the problem further.

I have a sense that coming out of the Baghdad meeting, there could have been three results: minimal, better and slightly better. Minimal was to have another meeting, and they did, with the benefit of a sandstorm keeping them there another day, agree to have a meeting in Moscow on the 18th and 19th of June. I remember, as ambassador to Moscow, there used to be an old Soviet story that there was an Aeroflot contest, and first prize was a week in Moscow and second prize was two weeks in Moscow. So let’s hope we go for second prize. (Laughter.)

There is a strong and, I think, important piece that the new president of Russia – who is really the old president of Russia and has been president of Russia despite the fact that he’s been prime minister for some time – has now gotten himself hooked on to this particular issue, as I think he’s become hooked on to Syria because of his veto. And we have to do everything we can to persuade him that some further success in Moscow, whether it’s just hanging on, is important.

The second piece of Baghdad which didn’t result was a small agreement. As Greg said, perhaps the TRR for 20 percent enrichment cessation. And the third piece was perhaps some endorsement of what Amano had reportedly worked out with his interlocutors in Iran over transparency. But it was clear that was not going to work, because in many ways, the Iranians felt that they should receive something more in return for it.

The third point I want to make is looking ahead. Here, I believe, an estimate of the situation has to very much take into account some of the domestic imperatives that influence both sides. In that regard, my summation is that for the United States, smaller is better, particularly to begin with. And for Iran, bigger is better, and that’s certainly where the two sides are coming at this. Smaller is better for the United States because in an election year – I speak quite frankly – the president takes great risks in making big compromises because the points of attack are multiplied, and indeed explaining why he went so far, particularly very early in the game, is a very difficult situation.

On the other hand, the president has a natural – a national interest imperative in finding a diplomatic solution. And the effort to continue to find a diplomatic solution is a small but not very conclusive makeweight against precipitated Israeli action to attack Iran. And so keeping the process going is valuable. But keeping the process going until after the elections with no movement also has a kind of conclusion of sterility and fecklessness that will arrive sooner or later to greet the process if something isn’t achieved. And so my own view is that the smaller is important, and better from the United States’ perspective, still remains.

On the Iranian side, there is very definitely a significant degree of mistrust over the United States and has been for a year, and indeed over the Western side, in the sense that the real policy is regime change. And while we have perhaps tried more or less to avoid conveying that notion, from the Iranian optic it is possible to see through whatever prism they’re looking at, that almost everything we do one way or another is examined in that context and is looked at them as a very serious challenge in that regard.

To escape from that, and indeed to make some progress and indeed to deal with what their preoccupation is, the notion of two peaches – or two features on the landscape make a certain amount of sense. And friends and I, along with many others, proposed some years ago that the essential tradeoff would be some permitted enrichment, perhaps limited to civil purposes – it certainly should be – in return for much greater transparency about the Iranian program. And while this was not a sovereign answer, it provided the best that we could think of at the time, and seems continually now to swim into the picture. And I’m quite pleased that Iran is in favor of that.

I think underlying this particular process is the notion that something that large, so soon, from the U.S. perspective would be very difficult. And something too small from the Iranian perspective keeps in mind the lurking shadow, the 900-pound gorilla of regime change would just not – dispelled, and the notion that the real purpose continues to be to take Iran totally out of the nuclear business.

Now, Iran is in the nuclear business for reasons that are difficult to fathom, and my friend has been challenged, but has tried in his own way to make it clear: why the hell would you spend billions of dollars and build 10,000 centrifuges for a program for which you have no apparent use for the output? And that worries us. It worries everybody. There is from time to time talk of going back to the Shah’s 20 reactor program, and there’s been recent talk, I think hopefully, of building one or two reactors within the next five to 10 years. But at the moment, the large accumulation of enriched material and the large accumulation of enrichment technology is concerning, and that’s one of the reasons why there is a Western preoccupation about enrichment per se, even though it could be limited.

Underneath this, and obviously affecting the negotiations – and I’m getting to my final points – there is a continuing problem about what I would call different interpretations of the NPT. Hossein and his friends, and I agree with them quite rightly, believe the NPT provides a right to enrich. But in my view, it doesn’t provide a right to enrich for purposes that are unrelated to civil programs and may be related to military programs. And this is one of the difficulties. My sense is that a reasonable interpretation of the NPT is you can do what you need to do in a nuclear sense in order to try to get a sufficient amount of material for your civilian programs. But going beyond is difficult.

And on the Iranian sense, I think it is anything that doesn’t represent proof of diversion is permitted by the treaty. And getting ready to make a decision, or putting yourself in a position to make a decision to go for nuclear weapons, is in a sense the underlying deep difficulty here, or one of them that we have to look at.

Where to go? My sense is that the next stage ought to be within the P5+1, an effort to get an agreement around the TRR in some cessation of 20 percent. Don’t embellish it; don’t foul it up with much more. Maybe it could be slightly enhanced by some willingness not to institute some of the sanctions that have been approved, some of which may be small but not insignificant. Someone has once suggested perhaps the sanctions on insuring petroleum cargos from Iran could be a way of beginning to indicate that the U.S. is ready to move on sanctions.

The second piece is much more difficult, but I think very important from the Iranian side. And it goes to my deep concern about mistrust. I think that there ought to be a serious effort – and so far, I have to say Iran has stood in the way of this – of opening bilateral conversations in the context of the P-5 one talks between the United States and Iran at a significant level to convey assurance that real position of country X and country Y is being conveyed.

This could do a lot of things, including some of the things that Kissinger first did with Zhou Enlai when things opened with China. But it could begin to talk about an endgame, an endgame in which weapons were prohibited in accordance with the fatwa in a binding international relationship with no uncertainty about the NPT. A set of relationships which included much more transparency, I hope designed and carried out by the IAEA. A set of relationships in which we accepted Iranian right to enrich for civil purposes and perhaps sequestration of excess material that the Iranians have produced until they’re ready to use it; and then finally, a gradual but significant removal of the nuclear sanctions as this process proceeds; and some serious effort to deal with the problem that has now arisen that there are sanctions on things other than nuclear, which very much also impact Iran. They’re there for purposes that people consider legitimate and right, including human rights issues, but somehow need to be factored into the discussion in a painful, but I think useful way.

If these two tracks could proceed as a result of Moscow and beyond, I think there is a slight way that we could thread the needle, if you want to call it that, into a position where perhaps after the American elections, bigger and more useful things from the Iranian perspective can be done. And my own view is that we have to get there.

But giving the Iranians some notion of the endgame, even on a private basis, would be an important aspect of the second track within the P5+1 of bilateral U.S.-Iranian discussions.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

MR. THIELMANN: Thank you, Ambassador Pickering. And now, Ambassador Mousavian.

AMBASSADOR HOSSEIN MOUSAVIAN: Thank you very much. Always talking after Tom for me is difficult and easy both. It’s easy because we have our mindsets already close. It’s difficult because normally he leaves nothing for you to discuss. (Laughter.)

First of all, I would like to thank Arms Control Association, Daryl and Greg for managing this event. I would like to touch some points out of my experience, which I believe would be helpful for reaching a face-saving solution for Iranian nuclear issue.

The first issue is to depoliticize the case. I think it’s too much politicized. And the two parties, they need to take steps to depoliticize the issue.

The second issue is what Tom raised about the rights under NPT. Definitely there is rights under NPT, because many other countries, they have enrichment and reprocessing. If it is illegal, everybody should stop. Why they are talking about only Iran now? Therefore, the rights is there. The argument is the Western side is emphasizing – maintaining that responsibilities come first and then rights. Iran maintains the rights come first, and responsibility come after.

I think in Moscow they can – already they have agreed in Istanbul on step-by-step plan. In one step they can agree on a simultaneous approach. I mean, the P5+1 respects the rights of Iran for peaceful nuclear technology, including enrichment, on their NPT; and Iran also immediately at the same time accept to sign the tentative draft agreement already agreed in Tehran during last visit of Amano. This is a work plan which, if Iran signs, this would address the whole – the all ambiguities and technical questions of the IAEA, including the possible military dimensions. This can be in parallel in order to end the game, this chicken-and-egg game.

The third one is the focal point of the P5+1. During last nine, 10 years always they have been focusing on suspension. I believe they should – in the future negotiation, they should focus on transparency measures. If they are looking for a sustainable solution, suspension would not work. And the last 10 years of negotiation proves it had not worked.

The fourth point is proportionate reciprocation. They agreed in reciprocation in Istanbul, but they failed in Baghdad because I believe the P5+1 was asking too much, giving the minimum. They were asking – as Greg mentioned, they were asking Iran to stop 20 percent, to close Fordow, to address possible military dimension, to implement additional protocol – everything, the maximum Iran can do, is reward to give some spare parts. This deal would never be successful, such a deal.

The fifth point I have – I think there are 14 countries, either they are operating or building enrichment. Any solution on Iran should have the capacity to be a model for other countries, because Iran would never be ready to be singled out and discriminized (ph) as a member of NPT. Therefore, the P5+1 negotiators – they should have a broader vision in order to create – out of Iran issue to create a model to be acceptable for the others.

Number six is to have a broader vision on negotiation. I think a face-saving solution can accommodate broader cooperation between Iran and the West, Iran and the P5+1 on bigger issues: security and energy, regional stability. If they have such a vision, I think they would not hostage everything to the nuclear issue.

And number seven is Iran-U.S. relations. I believe this issue plays a very, very important role on the nuclear issue. That’s why I believe – always I have mentioned Iran and the U.S., they need to have a direct talk in parallel with nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1.

And issue number eight is impartiality of the IAEA. El Baradei, after eight, nine years working on Iranian nuclear case – at the end he said: During my time at the agency we have not seen a shred of evidence that Iran has been weaponizing. Just right after El Baradei, Amano came, which the U.S. cable revealed by WikiLeaks said, Amano is in the U.S. court, specifically on the Iranian nuclear issue and alleged military studies of Iranian nuclear issue. El Baradei – Amano focused on the possible military dimension. And Iranians – they have a feeling that more cooperation they have had with the IAEA, more sabotage, more covert action – assassination of the nuclear scientists. This is a big issue for the Iranian side.

And my ninth point, the last point – also Tom mentioned – for Iran it is extremely important to see the end state. The U.S., the P5+1, the – not the P5+1, because Russian and Chinese, they have other position – the Western powers, they always are looking for a piecemeal approach. But Iranians, they want to see the end state, the endgame. That’s why a step-by-step plan – I mean, a broad package to be implemented in step-by-step plan is extremely important.

But for Moscow, I think zero stockpile, 20 percent stockpile initiative would be the best achievement for both parties if they can agree in Moscow. The P5+1 is – they are asking Iran to stop 20 percent. This would not be a sustainable solution, because maybe for a short time at the end, Iran would never accept to be discriminized as a member of NPT, because the others – they have rights for 20 percent; why Iran should not have? As a confidence-building measures, for a short period, maybe. But they should think about a long-term solution.

My idea is zero stockpile for 20 percent. What do I mean? A joint committee can be established between Iran and the P5+1 to determine the percentage of the stockpile of 20 percent, which Iran needs domestically to convert it to fuel rod. The rest either can be exported or converted to 3.5 percent. Therefore, Iran would accept zero stockpile forever. This is the best objective guarantee for nondiversion, rather than pushing Iran to close Fordo or to stop 20 percent. This, I – even if it works, which I don’t believe it would work – even if they accept this, would be a short-time solution.

The second issue, as I mentioned, on transparency – the maximum question on Iranian nuclear dossier is possible military dimensions, issues raised by the IAEA. What the IAEA expect and the P5+1, they can expect – the maximum level of transparency. They can define for Iran the maximum level of transparency. Whether this is additional protocol – if Iran accepts to address the possible military dimension, PMD, it means Iran would have to implement additional protocol and would have to give access to the IAEA beyond additional protocol.

If Iran is ready to sign such a(n) agreement, then the P5+1 also should be ready for at least the upcoming sanctions on Central Bank, 1st of July, and the oil – Iranian oil by Europeans, even if not by Americans. Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. THIELMANN (?): Now, Dr. Cronberg.

TARJA CRONBERG: Thank you. Since I am the last speaker, I’ll speak from my chair, and my notes are so spread out with the others, so I will try to fill in as much as I can. First of all, I am a Finnish member of the European Parliament – member of the – a member of the foreign relations committee and a member of the defense committee and also the chair of the parliament’s delegation with relations to Iran.

This doesn’t mean that the delegation, even if it’s called a delegation, is located in Iran. On the other hand, we are in the parliament – it consists of different politicians from different groups into parliament, and our goal is to understand what’s going on in Iraq (sic\Iran). We follow the nuclear negotiations. We try to follow also the human rights situation and many other aspects of the Iranian society. We try to have contacts with the parliament and also with the civil society, as well as people outside of Iran. So I am not a part of the negotiations but following the negotiations closely.

As you know, the negotiations are led by Catherine Ashton, the high representative of foreign policy in the European Union. And I think this is why we in the European Union – or on the other side of the Atlantic, as Ambassador Pickering said – we like to talk about the EU3+3 rather than the P5+1. But I don’t think it does make a big difference.

I’ll first comment on the current situation and then try to look at the – what I feel is a too-narrow focus on uranium enrichment in the negotiations and then go on to the European – what could be the next step the European Union could do.

First of all, I – Catherine Ashton sent a letter to the Iranians and Mr. Jalili saying that there would be respect for the peaceful uses – Iranian interests in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. And this, I think, created the hope among the Iranians that actually, uranium enrichment could be discussed, it was a negotiable thing, and it would be on the table. They were willing, I think, to reduce their 20 percent requirement. But no such proposition was on the table. Actually, the question was that the P5+1 insisted on suspension of uranium enrichment.

And I think the second thing that – there was this question of that the Iranians needed guarantees of being able to access 20 percent uranium because of their 1 million cancer patients, and no such guarantees were provided. I think there’s a history. I presume that the Iranians have had a hard time getting 20 percent uranium – enriched uranium for these medical purposes. On the other hand, of course, giving up maybe the 20 percent enrichment, then the Iranians would expect a relaxation on sanctions. No such proposal was on the table. I think there was this proposal of airplane parts and maybe minor things like that.

So there was this clash, and the question is how to proceed. The Iranian approach has been that the chief of the Iranian nuclear establishment has said that they will not give up 20 percent enrichment. Maybe what was just proposed, the idea of not stockpiling 20 percent enriched uranium, would be a solution on this question. But the stance is toughening, and the language is a different one.

Now, why do I feel that the 20 – the focus on uranium enrichment is too narrow? I think the goal is to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. And nuclear – the military aspects of nuclear weapons – it’s much more than uranium enrichment. This is only one of the aspects. And I think the other aspects have to be taken into account, design and implementation of nuclear weapons and how far is Iran from these aspects. I think we are talking about longer time than just one year or the sort of the one-year free time before we have a nuclear-weapon-dominated Iran. So much more than uranium enrichment, and these aspects should be included also in the negotiations.

The second question is the sanctions. The Iranians expect some signs of relaxing sanctions. And the West – at least the Western powers are not willing to give these indications. This may be a step-by-step procedure. I don’t know what means endgame on end result of the sanctions. But the question is of course that in the – I understand that in the U.S., the situation is such that since it’s the Congress that is legislating on the sanctions, it will be require more time, and it will be more difficult to relax any sanctions. In the European Union, it’s the European Council, the foreign minister that can decide on this question of sanctions. So maybe there should be some discussion of – 1st of July, the European sanctions will go into full effect, and in Moscow, there should be a discussion of this deadline.

The third point is the – on the uranium enrichment is the NPT context. I think what the Iranian case shows that – is that it’s very difficult to define the limits of the peaceful uses, as opposed to the military uses. So we have actually a treaty where there’s no clear divide on these two aspects. And I think this is very detrimental for the negotiations. There are interpretations one way or another. Iran feels they have the right. On the other hand, the P5+1 feel that Iran has not respected its obligations. And the question is maybe what comes first, obligations or rights. I think they should be in balance, of course.

But the Iranian argument is of course that there are double standards in the NPT, and nuclear powers have not respected their obligations to disarm, that there are double standards in terms of other countries which have nuclear weapons outside the NPT are not pressured equally as Iran, and finally, the right to fuel cycle – what does it mean, and how will it be defined?

So in this case, the NPT – I think there’s a fundamental question of the future of the NPT in this case, and we should consider that as well. If there is a military strike, which I hope will not be the case, it is a question of a country outside the NPT with nuclear weapons attacking a country within the NPT and, at least as far as we know, without the decision to produce nuclear weapons. So the question is how important is the NPT for us in the future.

The fourth dimension I want – like to take up is the question of regional security, before going to the next step for the European Union. I think the question is there are some security concerns in the wider Middle East. We all know this. And I think it’s interesting to note that when the continuation of the NPT was agreed in 1995, there was an agreement of a conference on the wider Middle East on nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. At the review conference, 2010, it was agreed that this conference would cover the whole scope of weapons of mass destruction and the conference would take place in 2012.

We have the situation where this conference is going to take place at – the countries that sponsor this issue, U.K., Russia and the U.S., actually proposed that this conference will take place in Finland and that there is a facilitator, who is now traveling world around actually trying to discuss the question of a – of a – of a mass-destruction-weapons-free Middle East. The question is difficult, I know, and no practical steps will probably be taken for a long time. But it’s important that all these parties will meet at the same table and that that will be able to at least start the process.

So I think these negotiations in Baghdad and next time in Moscow should also be seen in the context of this regional security and this U.N. conference that’s coming up. They should not be isolated, and at least there is a timeline. Probably this conference will take place in December. So if the negotiations break up before that time, which also coincides with a U.S. – new U.S. president, then it would be very, very unfortunate. So I would actually like to – like to appeal to the Arms Control Association that you observe that this conference is taking place and that it’s important that actually, this question of the negotiations will be related into the wider scope of security – regional security in the Middle East.

Now a few words of – how many minutes do I have, two?

MR. THIELMANN: About two.

MS. CRONBERG: OK, fine. The European perspective – what are the next steps? I think I’ll try to concentrate on those.

The European Union has accepted the U.S. dual-track approach. So actually, sanctions were approved in the end of January, and the intention was to send two messages: first of all, a message to Iran that the European Union is serious, and secondly, send a message to Israel not to strike and not to provide a military solution.

The – I think this decision was unique in the sense that it was actually the first time the European member countries supported the common foreign and defense policy. This was the first time the Europeans actually agreed. I mean, this was historic. This was an agreement on the surface. There were different positions in the European Union. I think one could describe them that the French president, Sarkozy, was on the other extreme, supporting sanctions, very tough sanctions, even tougher maybe than Obama, and keeping also President Obama on the sanctions line. And then on the other end, Sweden, what’s actually – went along with the sanctions rather reluctantly.

So there was an agreement. The European Parliament has supported sanctions and has a long-standing position that no military solution is possible. So actually, the European Parliament stands on diplomatic solutions with or without sanctions.

Now the problem is that the EU is leading the negotiations, but it lacks a long-term strategy on Iran. Contrary to the U.S. position, which actually sees Iran as an enemy, the EU does not see Iran as an enemy; there’s no enemy picture related to the question of diplomatic contact with Iran. So this is a different position. So I think the European Union should actually design a long-term strategy which implies cautious engagement rather than containment of Iran. And as a first step in this long-term engagement, they – the proposal by the European Parliament to establish presence in Iran, actually, in the form of a permanent delegation.

Secondly, it is important to note that the nuclear issue – nuclear dossier – is only part of EU’s relationship with Iran, and that this should be balanced with economic incentives as well as the question of human rights, which is very important for the European Union and particularly to the Parliament. So the nuclear nonproliferation issue should be combined with these incentives.

And thirdly, there is the question of the regional security, which is important for the Europeans. And here, I think we should at least support the conference that I mentioned before and see Turkey as a very important bridge-building for us.

Finally, I hope that the negotiation will continue and there’s no breakdown. And I think for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and for nuclear nonproliferation, a military strike would be a fundamental mistake. Thank you.

MR. THIELMANN: Thank you. (Applause.)

We have about 25 minutes for questions; we’re going to move quickly to them. I just wanted to use my prerogative to ask one follow-up question to Ambassador Mousavian.

We often hear cited as a – as a model for future negotiation of nuclear cooperation agreements the one we negotiated with the United Arab Emirates as the gold standard. We in the United States obviously prefer a model that does not involve the full fuel cycle, does not spread the number of countries that have a full infrastructure for uranium enrichment. I gather from what you said you would be in favor of encouraging countries like the UAE, like Jordan, like Turkey to use Iran as the model for nuclear development?



AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Should I explain?

MR. THIELMANN: If – yes.

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Yeah – I think the enrichment today is just because of the U.S. policy. Right after revolution, when Iran decided to shrink their nuclear activities, the U.S. position was no nuclear power plant for Iran. The U.S. was not ready to recognize even the rights of Iran for power plant. And it – this was the reason the Europeans also – they could not do anything in order to complete the unfinished projects of Bushehr.

The Western countries, they left Iran with billions of dollars of unfinished projects, and they were not ready – Iran had no plan, no program for enrichment. And the revolutionaries, they decided even to decrease to minimum the ambitious projects of Shah; they canceled many projects.

But when the West challenged Iran with the rights even for nuclear power plant, you left no other option for Iranians to go for self-sufficiency.

Then, after Iran mastered enrichment, then the U.S. said, OK, now we recognize the rights of Iran for nuclear power plants. After Iran mastered the enrichment. This was the best way in order to convince the U.S. that you should respect the rights of members under NPT for at least civilian power plants.

And then, that time, again the U.S. position was zero enrichment. When Iran mastered 10,000 centrifuges, now the U.S. and the Europeans, they are thinking, OK, not 20 percent, maybe 3.5 percent.

I mean, the mistake is from the beginning, Greg (sp). Iran was never going to have enrichment from the beginning. You just pushed Iran to this situation. If, at the beginning of revolution and the early after revolution, if you or the Germans, they have completed the Bushehr Power Plant, Iran had even no program to have the second power plant. It was the U.S. proposed to have 23 power plants before revolution. After revolution, Iranians, they said, we don’t want 23 power plants.

Now, after 30 years which Iran has paid hundreds of billions of dollars of cost because of your pressures, now you are expecting Iran to give up everything. I mean, it doesn’t work. It’s very different with United Emirate(s) – you cannot compare Iran with United Emirate(s).

MR. THIELMANN: Thank you. We’ll take questions from the floor. Please wait for the mic; give your name; be brief. Francois Rivasseau?

MR. RIVASSEAU: Is there microphones coming?

Q: Thank you. I’m Francois Rivasseau, the deputy head of delegation of European Union here. And I’ve been also working on nuclear issue in Geneva in 2005, taking part in the talks with Iran. And I’m also adviser to the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon in his advisory board. And that’s why we reflect a lot about this issue, about NPT and U.N. Security Council resolutions.

And I have to say I personally disagree with the presentation which has been made about – of two interpretations of NPT. I think there is a very central interpretation which is shared by almost everybody, and which is that when you have the right to enrich, every country on the NPT has the right to enrich, this is sure. This is clear in Article IV.

But at the same time, you have to have a use for that. And I agree that it’s ambiguous with distinction between civilian and military use, because even military use is admitted for Brazil for building a – possibly a nuclear submarine, of which has been disputed also by Canada. But at least it’s not building nuclear weapons, because was the TNP (sic\NPT) –

AMB. PICKERING: “T’as deja dis une question?”

Q: “Oui.” The question is very simple. We have to today no use for, but except a very small thing.

So for – if there is a solution, we have to imagine civilian use for the Iranian program, which today has none. And my question to you both is do you see the possibility of having a use commensurate to the size of the program? And if not, can you reduce the program to the size of uses which you could have – because present civilian uses are so little compared to the size of a program, you know? But there is an absolute presumption, but is not for civilian or even military-authorized uses, but for prohibited uses.

Thank you. Sorry for being really long enough with it.

MR. THIELMANN: So how to make commensurate, I guess, is – Ambassador Pickering, do you want to field that?

AMB. PICKERING. I think François raises a very interesting and a very important question because it lies at the heart of some of the disagreements. There are disagreements about interpretation of the NPT; I’d agree with them, the fundamental and broader interpretation meant by absolute equality here is that anything that looks military, goes beyond the civilian is suspect.

My own feeling is that in the course of a negotiation, at some point we’re going to have to sit down and define the question. Otherwise, we continue to propagate the misunderstanding or at least the differences and the difficulty. And I think that’s very important.

I think that doing that early rather than later is significant. One of the reasons I proposed U.S.-Iranian bilaterals is that that question among many others might be explored privately. It wouldn’t be to the exclusion of the P5 plus-one, but it would begin to give a sense of confidence for people who have had much less contact with Iran than the EU-3 have had. And I think that that, along with the questions of difference in interpretation make a lot of sense.

I also think it’s very important for us to continue to think about how to plug the loopholes in the NPT. One of those is interpretation; one of those is obviously definition of what’s civilian and is – everything that’s not civilian excluded, or is everything allowed unless it’s diversion? I mean, these are broad questions, and they have to be, I think, put into shape.

I think finally, we need to think about the end state. If you asked me, I would say there is no palpable reason – apologies to “mes amis les Français” – for the use of plutonium in any fuel proposition unless it can be conclusively demonstrated that there is an economic imperative. And if there is, then that – and I would then ask for enrichment to be totally multilateralized and be done on a basis where there is competition, but done on a basis where there is absolute transparency and the greatest safeguards against diversion rather than, as Hossein (sp) would say, forcing people to go independently on the one hand, or alternatively failing to persuade people that there is a reliable international system with competition that cannot be used as a way to bring political pressure on countries for questions that go beyond proliferation. And my hope is that it would support nonproliferation in an important way. But that’s my hobby horse and I’m sticking to it.

MR. THIELMANN: Dr. Cronberg, you wanted to say something?

TARJA CRONBERG: Yes, I agree with the Ambassador that we have to define the question and reach a situation where the civil and military uses are defined in a way where political pressure is as little as possible.

But what I want to make a point is that there is a third dimension between the civil and the military, and that’s the prestige dimension. And I think we are seeing all over the world that the nuclear technology carries with it prestige, which probably has nothing to do with military uses or civilian uses, but actually provides the country with a self-esteem about being on the level of other countries. This was the case in China when it acquired nuclear weapons. This is at least to some extent the case in Iran today.

So I think the question of delegitimizing this prestige question is very important, because otherwise we’ll see the proliferation of nuclear technology, which is proliferating. We see that the knowledge is the same, and countries want to acquire this knowledge. So how you see the question of getting rid of the prestige aspect. The Iranians need at least one centrifuge to remain sort of on the nuclear technology program.

MR. THIELMANN: Ambassador Mousavian, did you have a response?

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: I think again, after revolution, France was – it was – France was France declined the contract Iran had already with France on enrichment. If you had not declined, if you have accepted their right – it was supposed to – the enrichment, to be done in your land, not in Iran. But you didn’t want. OK.

The second issue is that if there really did – the problem is a nuclear bomb, I’m 100 percent confident the Iranian side, they would accept all measures, all commitments to ensure the international community that Iran would remain forever a non-nuclear weapon state. This is not an issue for Iran. On transparency measures, openness, cooperation with the IAEA, up to the end, they will be 100 percent open if their rights are respected.

Ultimately, the sanctions also should be lifted. And you remember François, again, in 2003, 2004 – the European’s EU3, they were asking us objective guarantees for non-diversion. For a year, we were asking them, OK, define for us what is objective guarantees? They were not able to define what do they want. Yeah. And then we had the meeting with President Chirac in early 2005. We agreed with him that we would leave to the IAEA to define the objective guarantees for non-diversion. We left Paris. When we arrived in Germany, we were told that London has discussed with Washington, and Washington has rejected. Even they were not ready to leave to the IAEA to define the objective guarantees for non-diversion.

And in spring 2005 – I have explained in detail in my book – when I met privately the three EU3 interlocutors, I told them, let’s agree. It was before presidential election. I told them, let’s agree for Iran to have a pilot. We would export – we would export hundred percent of production, even the production of the pilot. And then we would negotiate for a longer period in order to reach to some kind of compromise to give more time to you Europeans to define objective guarantees.

And this – even this proposal, when we were ready to have one pilot, this was rejected again by the U.S. I mean, Iran was not really very much eager to accelerate the program. Even that time, this proposal was confirmed by the leader. But Europeans, they were not ready to cooperate with Iran.

MR. THIELMANN: Next brief question. Daryl.

Q: Thank you, Greg. Thank you, panelists. I have a – Daryl Kimball with Arms Control Association. I have a question for Ambassador Pickering and Ambassador Mousavian. News reports out this morning say that there will be yet another round of discussions between the IAEA and Iran regarding the framework concept for dealing with the possible military activities that Iran is suspected of being involved in in the past. So my question is, what do you see as being possible in these discussions, which come just a week before the IAEA board of governors meeting? What needs to be done in order to move forward to resolve these questions; and if that could be achieved, how might that affect the dynamics of the P5+1 and Iran discussions in Moscow?

AMB. PICKERING: Maybe, Daryl, I could take a shot at it. I think it’s an important issue. For me, the possible military dimensions issue, lodged before mainly 2003 – there’s some continuing disputes. But the intelligence community is basically continuing to reassure us the judgments it made in 2007 remain – the U.S. intelligence community. Therefore, the PMD question, in my view, is of most salient importance to, in effect, provide the IAEA with the fullest possible information to guard against problems in the future. I would be willing to adopt what I would call the South African model: a no-fault process. You tell the truth and the whole truth, there are no consequences. If you don’t tell the truth, there are all conceivable consequences. In part, it’s a test of good faith. In part, it’s a way to determine the answer. And in part, it’s to take the burden of the guilt trip off the back of Iran, which in my view is not necessary, if in fact we’re proceeding in a reasonable basis for the future. Now this may be totally naive and starry-eyed, but in my sense, the notion that we’re going to spend all our time worrying about the past when the big bang problem is in the future is not a very useful enterprise.

And I think what the South Africans did with respect to their own terrible record on apartheid and how they handled that awful, divisive and difficult problem for the future – not in any way perfect, but those who didn’t tell the truth suffered the consequences; those who did tell the truth emerged and they had a record and indeed there was closure. In my sense, we need some closure. But we need, more importantly, to have the IAEA as fully and as possibly widely informed as it can to design for the future, and I just heard Hossein say – I mean, Hossein and I don’t represent any governments. That’s our problem. We could agree, probably tomorrow. (Scattered laughter.) But the problem is the governments aren’t there, and it’s like the Middle East peace, as Greg said. But if that were the case, then I think there could be an answer.

So I think clearing up possible military developments is important. But do I think it should stand in the way of future progress? Probably not. I think the uncertainties with respect to possible military developments are not all that salient, that the end result is going to be bent or skewed if they remain in semi-obscurity. What is bent or skewed in this is Iranian good faith. And I think Iran needs an opportunity under conditions that are not punitive to demonstrate that it is prepared to approach the negotiations good faith. I think that there are other tests of good faith on the other side, and I don’t exclude them, but now is not the time to explore them.

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: (Off mic) – the IAEA’s questions, they have two technical questions. One relates to after 2003, which I think 80 (percent) to 90 percent of technical ambiguities already are removed; 10 (percent), 15 percent are left. This has been already discussed in the previous visit of Amano to Teheran, and Teheran agreed to give required access to the IAEA to cooperate in order to remove these remaining issues.

Possible military dimension, as Tom said, relates to 1980s, early 1990s. This is not to the current program of Iranian nuclear issue, which needs Iran to implement additional protocol and even to give access to the IAEA beyond additional protocol. Again, this has been already agreed in Teheran. I mean, in the previous visit of Amano, 90 percent, 95 percent of the issue is how to cooperate. Giving access, inspections was resolved. They agreed. Five percent, 10 percent are left. I’m sure Iran would agree this is not an issue. Let’s say if Iran agrees to give all access –inspections, cooperations with the IAEA – then the P5+1 in Moscow, they would be ready to respect the rights of Iran or not. If not, this would fail.

MR. THIELMANN: We just have a few minutes. Let’s just take two questions and give our speakers a chance to respond. Barbara?

Q: Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council. With all due respect, I mean, we understand that Iran is cleansing Parchin and has been working assiduously to clean this site. So when we talk about establishing trust, Ambassador Mousavian, I mean, this is not something that engenders much trust among the P5+1. It seems that what you’re saying is that Iran is going to trade an agreement with the IAEA for something at Moscow, but obviously, we have a disconnect, because what the P5+1 is saying is that they want action on 20 percent in return for some action at Moscow. So if you could address this disconnect, do you see that there is any possibility that perhaps your proposal or something like it could be agreed to on the 20 percent, or are they just going to round and round on circles on the right to enrich? Thanks.

MR. THIELMANN: We’ll treat that as one question. In the middle.

Q: I’d like to follow up – Milton Hoenig. I want to follow up on Daryl’s question and ask it a slightly different way. The meeting of Amano in Teheran before the Baghdad EU-3 plus one meeting raised great expectations that really weren’t – didn’t materialize. Now the upcoming meeting is again going to raise great expectations for the Moscow meeting which really didn’t materialize. Isn’t it possible that these two streams – the IAEA stream wanting answers to questions about possible military dimensions and the diplomatic stream – are really interfering with each other, and that we should really concentrate or – one on the other – or the other, perhaps preferably the diplomatic stream, and put aside the other stream just for the time being?

MR. THIELMANN: OK, Parchin and the relationship between the two. Ambassador Mousavian?

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Parchin Barbaro (ph) already has been visited two times, during – (inaudible) – and after – (inaudible) – Larijani. This has been already visited two times. And you know, the IAEA – they have enough technology instrument, even if some buildings are destroyed – in case there has been some enrichment activities, they can find it even 10, 15 years after.

MS. : (Off mic.)

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: It was not, because there was nothing there. I mean, it doesn’t mean that the IAEA couldn’t find it, because there was nothing. But the – remember in summer 2011, when even the IAEA did not raise Parchin issue – you remember? The Russians, they put a step-by-step proposal on the table. This proposal included implementation of additional protocol, implementation of subsidy arrangement, addressing possible military dimensions, giving access to IAEA beyond, limiting the new installment of centrifuges, stopping at 5 percent – you remember? Everything was there, even suspension for a short period.

Iran responded positively, and the foreign minister publicly said, we are ready to discuss the details. But the P5+1 rejected. Therefore, the Russian proposal, which had the measures for a hundred percent of transparency, Iran showed positive gesture in summer 2011, even before the Parchin raise – issue was raised.

MR. THIELMANN: Time’s winged chariot is drawing near. If – just a very brief word from our other panelists.

AMB. PICKERING: A very brief word. I won’t discuss Parchin further, except that the notion that Parchin has to involve the presence of nuclear material and therefore is a violation loses sight of the fact that the interest in Parchin has been high-explosive development that has no nuclear material. So there’s a difference there. But there is a persistence in nuclear explosive material.

But my own view is that’s much less important than the other aspect of this with the IAEA, which is designing the inspection system for the future. And Hossein has talked about that, and that’s the problem with Amano. As long as we confuse these two and one holds up the other, we’ve got a problem.

I’ll go to the second question. You’re in a horse-for-a-rabbit situation. You want all the transparency, but you don’t want to give on the other thing the Iranians want give on. And that’s a very difficult problem for us. Do we in fact address the question of how much level of enrichment is going to be permitted, either temporarily or permanently, in some arrangement with Iran? As I’ve said before, I’m prepared to accept a level of civil enrichment if in fact the IAEA has a situation in which it is satisfied it is doing the best of all possible jobs in inspection and can in fact improve that as technology improves and as things can go ahead. It appears as if that’s on the table.

My feeling is that that’s too big for the present time for the U.S. to accept in the context of an election. And I’m sorry to say that. But you know, maybe it’ll be reversed. Maybe it’ll be seen as a real victory; I would hope so. But at the moment we seem to run scared on this issue. There is an Israeli position of deep distrust on this that basically says, for them the only acceptable thing is zero enrichment, although nobody has sat down and explained quite why zero enrichment with weak inspection is so much better than some enrichment with the strongest possible inspection, which I think is the shape of a deal you could get.

And even then the president, in my view, would have to face up to the question in the middle of an election campaign, does he want to present another issue in which he can be widely attacked, even if distinctly unfairly? And that’s a very difficult question, and I don’t have the answer to it. It’s down at 1600 Pennsylvania.

MR. THIELMANN: Dr. Cronberg.

MS. CRONBERG: Now just on the question of verification, I think it’s very interesting that concrete proposals that have been put forth on the verification processes and how it could be carried out are put forth by former directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Hans Blix has come up with a proposal. And Olli Heinonen, who is now working at Harvard, has also come up with a – with a recent proposal on the verification which is very explicit on how you can take these steps and actually verify the question of military and civilian uses. So they are technical proposals; I think this is a political problem.

MR. THIELMANN: Thank you very much. Please join me in thanking our speakers. (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Greg. Thank you, panelists, for that insightful discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue. We’re now going to adjourn for about 25 minutes. We’re going to feed you. We’re going to pick up our program at noon with our keynote luncheon speaker, Rose Gottemoeller. And let me just note that the lunch is buffet style. There are two lines, one here, one back there. So please fill your plate, come back to your seat, and we’ll be beginning at noontime. Thank you.

(END) - Back to top


Keynote Address

Moderator:Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director,
Arms Control Association

Speaker: Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and New START Negotiator

ROSE GOTTEMOELLER: It’s always great to be in this room and to see so many friends and colleagues here, so thank you very much for this opportunity to speak to you again today and to bring you up to date on where we are on our arms control and nonproliferation agenda items.

I’m always glad to be at the Arms Control Association’s annual meeting. Before coming into government I served on the board, and I know from the inside out how important this association is. So for the work that you do and for the work that all your talented staff do, as well as the membership of the organization, I truly want to thank you because now I’m on the inside of a different beast, and we really do appreciate all the work that you do to support our efforts in the government.

I know that many of you have heard me speak a few times about what’s going on in the arms control arena with this administration. I’m not going to sing the same old song today about the standard metaphors – that is, we’re setting the stage, we’re preparing the way, et cetera.

In the simplest terms, I would like to make clear that this president set an agenda in Prague, and we have done some important things to move that agenda forward. We are approaching the lowest level of deployed nuclear weapons at any time since the 1950s, the first full decade of the nuclear age. We are also coming to a time in October of this year where we will mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis. And I think that we should look upon this as an important anniversary to truly mark our own progress as we move forward on the President’s agenda laid out in Prague, to move toward the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

We have come so far since then – that is, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 – and now we are setting the stage to move toward new accomplishments. I understand you’ve already taken up the topic of the New START Treaty this morning, so I’m not going to go into details of the treaty per se, but I did want to reiterate and underscore that the implementation of the treaty is going very well indeed. The Russians just arrived in the United States this weekend for another inspection under the treaty. They’re out at Malmstrom Air Force Base. It is their seventh inspection this year so far – this treaty year, which begins in February. So there is an intensive pace of inspection activity under the treaty. And so far we are able to say quite clearly that the treaty’s verification regime works.

And I’m very pleased with that, because of course one – when one negotiates something, the procedures and so forth, you’re never sure if it’s all going to fall in place. But it has been going very well indeed and will be important to setting the first stage of – the next stage of reductions because of the mutual confidence and the trust that is being built up in the course of implementation of the new treaty. Mutual trust and confidence of course are crucial to any future success in arms reduction negotiations.

Now we are working on the next steps that will set us further along the road to achieving the Prague goals. As part of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the U.S. government is reviewing our nuclear deterrence requirements and nuclear plans to ensure that they are aligned to address today’s threats. We are considering what forces the United States needs to maintain for strategic stability and deterrence, including extended deterrence and assurance to U.S. allies and partners.

Based on this analysis, we will develop proposals for further reductions in our nuclear stockpile, which currently stands at approximately 5,000 total nuclear warheads. As the president said recently at the second Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need. Once complete, this study of our deterrence requirements will help to shape our negotiating approach to the next agreement with the Russians.

Regardless of numbers, the president has stressed that the next nuclear reduction agreement between the United States and Russian Federation should include strategic, nonstrategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons. Of course, no previous arms control agreement has limited or monitored these last two categories. So the next negotiations will be breaking some new ground in important ways. We are going to need new, more demanding approaches to verification and monitoring. But I am confident that we can find ways to respond to such challenges.

Beyond responsibly reducing the number of nuclear weapons, this administration has been committed to reducing their role in our national security strategy as well. We are not developing new nuclear weapons. We are not pursuing new nuclear missions. We are working toward creating the conditions to make deterring nuclear use the sole purpose of our nuclear weapons. And we have clearly stated that this is in our interest and in the interest of all other states, that the more than 65-year record of nuclear non-use be extended forever.

Recently, we worked through the nuclear policy issues that are important and relevant to our NATO allies. At the NATO summit in Chicago a few weeks ago, the allies approved the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, which identified the appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defense forces that NATO will need to deter and defend against future threats to the alliance.

Focusing on the elements of the DDPR, the allies reaffirmed their commitment to seek to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, while remaining a nuclear alliance for as long as nuclear weapons exist. The review found that the alliance’s nuclear force posture currently meets the criteria for an effective deterrent and also defense posture, and that the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons may be contemplated are extremely, extremely remote. The alliance acknowledged the importance the independent and unilateral U.S., British and French negative security assurances have in discouraging nuclear proliferation.

Looking to the future, allies reiterated that NATO is prepared to consider further reducing its requirement for nonstrategic nuclear weapons assigned to the alliance in the context of reciprocal steps by the Russian Federation. Leaders agreed that the NAC should issue two related taskings to appropriate NATO committees – first, to develop concepts for ensuring the broadest possible burden sharing, including in the event NATO decides to further reduce its reliance on nonstrategic nuclear weapons based in Europe; and second, to further consider what NATO would expect to see in the way of reciprocal Russian actions to allow for significant reductions in forward-based, nonstrategic nuclear weapons assigned to NATO.

NATO expressed its support for continued mutual efforts by the United States and Russia to promote strategic stability, enhance transparency and further reduce their nuclear weapons. The allies also reiterated their interest in developing and exchanging transparency and confidence-building ideas with Russia, with the goal of developing detailed proposals on and increased mutual understanding of NATO’s and Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.

Now let me turn to conventional arms control, which in my view has not received adequate attention in recent years. We’re spending a lot of time focused on the future of conventional arms control and its role in enhancing European security. There are three conventional arms control regimes that play key roles in European security – the Open Skies Treaty, the Vienna Document, 2011, and the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, or the CFE treaty. Each regime is important and contributes to security and stability in a unique way. When they work in harmony, the result is greater confidence for all of Europe.

Today, I must tell you, the conventional arms control regime in Europe is facing challenges. Unfortunately, Russia ceased implementation of its CFE obligations in December of 2007, refusing to accept inspections or provide information to other CFE parties on its military forces as required by the treaty. After trying for several years to overcome the obstacles and encourage Russia to resume implementation, we concluded we can no longer implement the treaty with Russia while it shirks its obligations.

In late 2011, the United States, joined by the 21 NATO allies who are party to the treaty as well as by Georgia and Moldova, ceased carrying out our obligations under the CFE treaty with regard to Russia. I want to emphasize, however, that the treaty remains in force according to its terms and is being implemented at 29.

The cessation of implementation of CFE with regard to Russia by 24 of 30 states parties gives us an opportunity to consider the current security architecture our future needs and the types of arms control measures that will help achieve our security goals. In other words, I see this period now as a period of true opportunity to consider what we truly need for 21st-century conventional arms control in Europe.

Our NATO allies have reaffirmed at the Chicago summit in its declaration our determination to preserve, strengthen and modernize the conventional arms control regime in Europe based on key principles and commitments, and we will continue to explore ideas to this end. We must modernize conventional arms control to take account of current security concerns.

I’ve been meeting with my European counterparts, soliciting their views on key objectives and basic principles for the way ahead with the goal of informing our own review of these issues that’s currently ongoing here in Washington. Moving forward together, we can arrive at solutions that will best serve the security of the United States, our NATO allies and partners, and also the Russian Federation.

Now I’d like to turn to multilateral treaties, the Comprehensive Test Ban, which Daryl has already mentioned. The CTBT remains a top priority for the administration and a key element of the president’s Prague agenda. As we continue laying the groundwork for U.S. ratification, we remain optimistic about the prospects for the CTBT’s entry into force, albeit mindful that achieving that goal will require considerable effort from every single one of us. An effectively-verified CTBT is central to leading toward a world of diminished reliance on nuclear weapons and reduced nuclear competition.

As such, the United States remains committed to the completion of the treaty’s monitoring regime, the so-called IMS system, International Monitoring System, which is now more than 85 percent complete and, once completed, will provide global coverage to detect and identify nuclear explosive tests conducted in violation of the treaty.

Development of the on-site inspection component is a priority task of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, the CTBTO, and we will be assessing the progress of on-site inspection efforts during the 2014 Integrated Field Exercise – very useful upcoming activity.

Since 2011, in addition to our annual assessment, our extra-budgetary contributions to the CTBTO have totaled over $40 million. Given the tough budget environment here in Washington, those contributions clearly demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the CTBT and the vital importance the United States attaches to completing the verification regime for the treaty.

Now let me turn next to the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. We are also continuing our fight – and I will gladly characterize it a fight – to launch the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, or FMCT. Such a treaty is considered to be by the majority of the international community the next step in the process of multilateral nuclear disarmament. We have worked closely with a number of countries to achieve the start of FMCT negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament.

Creative and insightful ideas on how to move forward have been deployed in Geneva to no avail. We are very disappointed in the results so far. The current blockage over FMCT is a formidable one. Each attempt to overcome the impasse makes this clearer: Certain countries must engage substantively, constructively and frequently on FMCT. Without that, no progress, be it in the CD, on its margins or outside of it, can make real progress.

This is a leadership issue for this community as well as a practical matter. Countries most affected by an FCMT are the key stakeholders – the countries that need to be the most active, the most determined in any effort to achieve such a regime.

Although we are continuing our efforts in the conference on disarmament, we are also continuing to consult among the P-5 and other key stakeholders on ways forward for an FMCT. Our most recent meeting in this P-5-plus effort was in London in April, and we’re making plans to meet again soon this summer. We are not making headlines right now, but the states participating are very invested in the process, which is a good sign. Gradually, we are making progress, but we are going to need to push and push intensively in this arena.

Let me turn for a moment to the P-5 process, because it is one that is quite current now –we’re planning our upcoming in Washington, about which I’ll say a few words. The P-5 have been meeting regularly to review our progress toward fulfilling our obligations and our commitments under the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference’s action plan.

This process is a venue to bolster the long-standing U.S.-Russian interaction with an ongoing P-5 engagement on issues related to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. During P-5 conferences and the ongoing P-5 meetings, we have covered verification, transparency, confidence-building, nonproliferation and other important topics, all of which are important for establishing a firm foundation for further disarmament efforts.

For example, at the 2011 Paris P-5 conference – that was in June of 2011, a year ago – the P-5 reaffirmed their unconditional support for the NPT, reaffirmed the commitment set out in the 2010 action plan, stressed the need to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and worked in pursuit of their shared goal of nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT.

Following up on the 2009 London conference and this 2011 Paris conference, the United States is hosting the next P-5 conference here in Washington, June 27th to June 29th. The United States looks forward to having further in-depth discussions – candid discussions – and these have been very useful discussions, I must say – on a variety of issues with our P-5 counterparts during the conference.

We also look forward to hosting a public event as part of the Washington conference. This will be on June 27th, for those of you who are interested. It is titled, “Three Pillars for Peace and Security: Implementing the NPT.” The event will focus on the mutually reinforcing nature of the three NPT pillars and examine how all three are essential to create the conditions for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Now finally, let me turn to some of the work we’ve been doing inside my own bureau, the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. You may know that I’m juggling two hats now: I’m the acting undersecretary, but I’ve maintained my role as the assistant secretary. I’m joking that I now have one of the longest titles in Washington, but it does encompass a broad empire.

But I wanted to talk a bit about the work we’re doing on future verification technology and appeal to you, because as we move forward on all these fronts that I’ve laid out today, we are going to need the help of everyone in this room. It’s not just on the advocacy level. We also need your creativity and your ideas. As I mentioned before, reducing to lower numbers of all kinds of weapons will require that we push past the current limits of our verification and monitoring capabilities. Whether we’re trying to monitor missile launches, count nuclear warheads or detect and characterize an unexplained biological event, we need ever-improving tools and technologies. The State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, AVC, which is my own home bureau, works very hard to be on the cutting edge of new technology, not merely for the sake of being on the cutting edge, but because we know that that is where we can best leverage the small budget that exists in our government for developing such new capabilities.

It is because of this need for new technology that I am particularly proud to announce that we have for the first time ever made available to the public our so-called verification technology research and development needs document. This document has been published on an annual basis, and it is a catalog of sorts telling the R&D community what we believe are our most pressing technology needs to answer arms control questions in the future. Now with a publicly available document, we can expand our community of developers beyond the usual suspects of the Defense and Department of Energy laboratories. To a certain extent, the needs document is a think piece. We hope it will stimulate some thinking about where we go from here on verification and monitoring of arms control treaties and agreements. It’s easy to find if you’ll go to the AVC Bureau’s VTT page or to Fed Biz Ops, their website, and simply type in “V fund.” It will come up, and you’ll have a chance to look at it.

I also encourage all of you in your organizations to pursue opportunities for Track 1.5 and Track Two engagement policies. We should never undervalue the productivity of these efforts. Many of the ideas that went into the New START Treaty – and I know I’ve said this time and again, but many of the ideas that went into the New START Treaty were developed in the years running up to the negotiations through Track 1.5 and Track Two activities. And I have appreciated the role of the Arms Control Association and many of the organizations represented here as we prepare for negotiation of the Arms Trade Treaty this July in New York. This is a very important effort that has gone on, and we really welcome your efforts overall.

Now, to wrap up, I want to leave you with one final thought. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s one I think about constantly. It’s not every day that you think of President Calvin Coolidge as a source of inspiration – (laughter) – but I always like to recall what he has to say about persistence. I think it’s not a bad message for this audience today. The president said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race.”

So, colleagues and friends, we must press on. We have no easy task ahead of us. We must simply press on. We have far to go, and there are problems that we cannot anticipate. Certainly in this job over the last three years, there have been many problems that I did not anticipate, but we continue to press on. Make no mistake: The arc of nuclear history is bending downwards.

I am quite sure of that. I look forward to your comments and questions, and thank you very much for your attention today.


DARYL KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Rose, for your overview of all that’s happening in this field.

We have time for questions, and there are microphones on either side. So once again, if you could – if you want to ask a question, raise your hand, identify yourself, and the microphone will come to you. And as the microphones get to these two folks here in the front, let me just start with the first question, Rose.

You ended with the Coolidge admonition to persist, which I think is always important in the field of nuclear arms control. One of the things we’ve been persisting with for a long time, of course, is the effort to get the fissile material cutoff talks going, and you said it’s a fight. There are only a certain number of different pathways that this can take. I mean, how do you see this debate developing in the next several months, given the opposition from one particular country in South Asia that shall go nameless. And you know, are there alternative ways in which the P-5 can help make progress as the CD tries to find a way around the consensus-rule difficulties that it always grapples with?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Many of you are aware of the efforts of the first committee and the agenda. You’ve been involved in wrestling with these issues either in or out of government. And so you know that the pressures – what pressures emerged last October in the context of the first committee meeting in October. And those pressures had to do with a building frustration about the inability of the CD to move off the dime. I use the word impasse; it’s a very formidable impasse at this moment in the CD.

And so pressures are developing within the first committee to basically go elsewhere, to move this negotiation to other settings – the U.N. General Assembly, et cetera. So these pressures – we were able essentially to let off the steam, I would say is a good way to put it – and let off the steam by emphasizing again the both responsibility and the interest of key stakeholders in moving this issue forward. And that’s why we have been so intent on getting the key stakeholders to the table, working on where we can go, how we can handle this issue pressing forward. We’re slowly, slowly making progress.

So I for one hope that the key stakeholders will continue to be able to press forward. Otherwise, I do fear that we may be heading in a direction that will not be particularly productive in terms of getting true constraints on fissile materials. It’s – you know, a bunch of countries can get together and negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty, but if they don’t happen to have many fissile materials for weapons purposes, it’s not going to be all that helpful. So I think the important thing is now to keep our eye on the prize, to continue to have very, very serious discussions among the key stakeholders, and try in that way to, you know, to get a negotiation going. So that’s where we’re placing our emphasis at the present time.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Thank you. And for those of you who want to dive into some of the details on this, we did an extensive interview with Pakistan’s ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Arms Control Today just earlier this year. So I think we’ll start out over here. Barbara, if you want to – go ahead.


Q: Thank you very much. Barbara Slavin, from the Atlantic Council; pleasure to see you again. I wanted you to talk just a little bit about the relationship that’s developed with the Russians in the arms control process. And the Russians now have Putin again as the president. Do you think that’s going to affect the tenor of future arms controls talks with them? How do you see cooperation over Iran developing? Do you see that this arms control process might bleed into other issues with the Russians or are you a little concerned that Putin may play the nationalism card a little harder than Medvedev did? Thanks.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: I – as far as Russian policy is concerned, I see a great deal of consistently, frankly. And if you’re interested in the official Russian articulation of their policy, it’s very useful to look at, first of all, the remarks that Putin published – they were published under his name – in some of the top Russian newspapers right before the election; also, he put out an election platform. And since that time, he has – his administration has published a foreign policy – their first foreign policy – a statement of policy after he entered into the presidency.

And there’s an emphasis in each of those documents on continuing the arms control agenda, continuing arms control work. Now there aren’t any details laid out there, but I do think it is important that that kind of emphasis has appeared, and also a very positive perspective on implementation of the New START Treaty. So there’s been a very positive and, I would say, practical approach to implementation of the New START Treaty.

So as far as the traditional nuclear arms control environment, I see a continuity there with the way this issue was approached since the late ’60s, early 1970s. And the Soviet Union, when – even though there were ups and downs in the relationship, both Washington and Moscow saw nuclear arms control to be in their national security interest. So with fits and starts, and sometimes the negotiations would halt for a while – certainly they did during the 1980s for a while – nevertheless, they would continue up again after perhaps a pause. So I don’t really see at the moment a difficulty in that realm.

I will say that the cooperation with Iran at this point has actually been very, very solid, and Russia’s playing a leading role. As you all know, Russia will be hosting the next meeting to talk with the Iranians in the P-5 plus one process. So there will be, I think, many opportunities for Russia to continue to play in moving that agenda forward. So all in all, I think one has to recognize that political transitions sometimes cause things to slow down a bit. But nevertheless, in terms of the overarching agenda and the willingness of the Russian Federation to engage on it, I have not seen a problem there.

MR. KIMBALL: All right; thank you.

Ambassador Pickering, I think you had a question. And then if there’s anyone in the back who wants to ask a question, you need to ask your – raise your hand now so that we can get the microphones to the back. Thank you.

Q: Rose – Tom Pickering, Hills and Company. Thank you very much for everything you do, and thank you very much for the speech. I would just remark on the last question that I think New START had a great deal to do with reset. And I think that that’s a piece that the arms control community shouldn’t ignore, and that it plays back into arms control attitudes.

With respect to your speech, an unfair question: What are your top three priorities and why? (Laughter.)

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Top three priorities are – well, they’re hard to pick out, because I really had my – have my top six priorities, which you kind of heard this morning. But I think in terms of – I’ll tell you quite honestly, I think that New START implementation is going along very well. So I kind of – I say, all right, we don’t not pay attention to that, but it’s going well. And that’s a good thing. But I do think a lot about where we go from here on for the reductions.

I think a lot about the conventional arms control regime. It’s kind of interesting, but CFE was a spectacular success. It was such a spectacular success that we all forgot about it. And we haven’t been thinking about conventional arms control for some time. But CFE is past its sell-by date, to be quite honest. It’s a great treaty. I am glad it is enforced still according to its terms. But it was negotiated when we had the Warsaw Pact and NATO ranged against each other in Europe. We need a different type of conventional arms control regime in Europe today. So that also preoccupies my thinking quite a bit.

And let me cheat a bit and say it’s a combination of those P-5-related issues – which include the FMCT, which I would put in my third diplomatic priority. But I’m going to cheat further and say there’s a fourth, which is the domestic priority of getting the CTBT ratified. So I went from three to four.

Q: And just – since you did just mention the CTB again, I mean, if – as many of us in this crowd know, the long-awaited National Academy of Sciences study on the technical issues related to the CTBT was released in March. You know, what’s your sense of what those findings tell us about some of the issues that were at the center of the debate in 1999? And how much better does that put the treaty in position going forward for serious reconsideration?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: There were two major issues in 1999 that affected senators’ decision making about ratification of CTBT. One had to do with the verifiability of the treaty. And the NAS study addressed verifiability of the treaty. We welcomed their conclusions. We thought that they were in line with the evidence that we had seen without having such a deep dive in technical terms as the academy took. But just on the face of it, I mentioned in my remarks that the IMS system is now over 85 percent complete. When the IMS system was looked at back in 1999, it was barely off the ground at that point. So just if you look at the – you know, what physically is available now to verify the treaty, there’s just so much more there.

The other major issue, of course, was the Stockpile Stewardship Program and the efficacy of science-based stockpile stewardship in comparison with nuclear explosive testing. Again, in 1999 the Stockpile Stewardship Program was just barely off the ground. You may recall I was working in DOE at that point as the assistant secretary responsible for nonproliferation programs. So I was watching the process of getting stockpile stewardship off the ground. And it was a very, very good process, but it was still a baby. Now we can say that the baby’s matured into early adulthood. And I think that it has proven its mettle in terms of showing that science-based stockpile stewardship can really preserve the security, effectiveness and safety of the arsenal without explosive nuclear testing.

So those are the two big changes that have occurred. Of course, the NAS study was focused on the verifiability issue, but again as I mentioned, I think it basically accords with what we could see just by looking at, you know, the physical evidence of what’s accumulated since 1999 in the IMF system.

MR. KIMBALL: Thanks. Right here, we have a question, Ben, and then over here.

Q: Thank you. I would like to ask you about the Arms Trade Treaty.

MR. KIMBALL: If you could just identify yourself, please.

Q: Daria Kondike (sp), I’m from the European Parliament Defense Committee. And I would like to ask you about the Arms Trade Treaty because at the European Parliament we are debating whether it should be a strong treaty which everybody not signs and – or whether it could be a weaker treaty which everybody signs. Now, what is the U.S. position and under which conditions would you sign?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, if there’s some code word in strong versus weak treaties I should probably know what it is. But in general, the United States would sign up to treaties when they are strong. And I will emphasize that our view is that it is a treaty that covers arms trade per se. There is a legitimate trade in armaments – in conventional arms internationally. And so we see a real importance in ensuring that that trade is carefully regulated. And so that’s the value that we see in an Arms Trade Treaty.

But we do believe that there is a legitimate trade in conventional arms, and so would not support if it’s treated as more a nonproliferation treaty, that we should not have any kind of trade in these weapons. That is not our position.

MR. KIMBALL: And those negotiations on the ATT, as it’s called, begin at the United Nations on July 2nd, and go for about four weeks. And the Arms Control Association will be paying close attention to that.

All right, we have another question here and then we’re going to go to the back row. So Ben, if you could bring the microphone up to Trine, and then in the back.

Q: Trine Flockhart from the Danish Institute for International Studies. You mentioned the inclusion of nonstrategic nuclear weapons in future arms control in the next step. And I was going to ask you – because as I understand it, it’s a Russian precondition for even talking about these weapons, that they are first withdrawn from Europe. So do you have any evidence that perhaps the Europeans will be willing to withdraw the weapons from Europe in anticipation of arms control negotiations? It’s a bit of chicken-and-egg problem.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, you know, it’s very interesting about that Russian condition. That has been a condition in place since the Soviet Union. It’s not a new condition. It is a very, very longstanding condition that also called – we used to call “tac nukes”–tactical nuclear weapons or nonstrategic nuclear weapons must be withdrawn to CONUS, to the continental United States, before they’ll even talk about reductions in this arena.

So like, you know, any number of conditions that can be piled up in advance of negotiations, I think we have to be very careful about considering them as chicken-and-egg problems. We just have to work them – the Russians clearly aren’t going to come to the negotiating table unless they see a negotiation to be in their national interest. We would not either, nor would we expect our NATO allies to join us in an effort to negotiate such a treaty unless they, too, joined in seeing it as in their national interest. But I just simply don’t treat these conditions – and the Russians have piled up some other conditions on the table – I don’t see them as a chicken-and-egg problem. I see them essentially as issues that must be worked in the run-up to negotiations, and we’ll see where we get. They may see an interest over time in enhanced transparency, in understanding further what’s going on in, for example, former Warsaw Pact facilities that have now been closed out and no longer hold nuclear weapons. They may be interested in learning more about that. Let’s work the issue and see where we get, and then we’ll see what we do about it in negotiations. But I would just urge us all – it gets a bit – sometimes you can kind of scratch your head because you hear some Russian commentators, you know, piling up what look like conditions after conditions. I’d be very cautious about treating them as big blockages. We just need to work them is all.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, we’re going to move to the lightning round of questions. I think we’ve got time for two or three more. And I’m going to ask the folks to raise their hands.

Q: (Off mic.)

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, well, we could take two or three at the same time. Go ahead, sir, and then we’re going to go to the next one and then Rose will take a couple at the same time.

Q: I’m Peter Pereni (ph). I worked on and struggled with the issues of conventional arms control negotiations for about two years ending in 2009, and in particular what to do about CFE in Gates’ office. Now that we find barriers to do with the basic structure of the new treaty even, which is apparently unacceptable in many respects to Russia, as well as regional issues that have gotten in the way of our ratification like Moldova, Georgia, mutual concerns in other areas – this is kind of an unfair question, but I’m wondering what sort of paths one might explore, whether it’s a totally new treaty or whether one begins with small political confidence-raising steps, perhaps in regions of tension, and then builds up to something bigger. And I know you said you were just exploring, you know, ideas, so I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I’m curious as to what’s in play and what one hears, whether the most promising approach is a global solution or a piecemeal, more political solution or some combination.

MR. KIMBALL: Let’s see what Rose has to say about that, all right? And then Natalie Goldring, over here, if you could – the microphone to the right. Thank you.

Q: Natalie Goldring, Georgetown and the Acronym Institute. Appreciate your endorsement of the Arms Trade Treaty, even if it didn’t make your top four. I’d like to ask you a question about consensus. The U.S. has insisted on it in the Arms Trade Treaty process. Some of the same skeptics you’ve encountered in the SMCT process are also present in the Arms Trade Treaty process and playing the same role. How do you think we can keep the U.S. insistence on consensus and keep the skeptics from using it to derail the treaty?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Actually – shall I take those two?

Let me come straight to Natalie’s question. You know, the reason why it’s not in my top four is, as far as my heavy lifting is concerned, at least at the moment, Roberto Moritan has done a fabulous job preparing a way. The reason why we’re talking about a four-week negotiation is that we think there’s a real shot at getting this thing done in four weeks. There are many difficult issues to get through in July, and you know, it’s not a done deal. But I would say that the ground is very well prepared. And again, it’s thanks to the work of the nongovernmental community, but also the work of our negotiators in the prepcom that we’re in such good shape.

So that’s why – it’s not because I don’t consider it important and significant from a policy perspective; it’s because – you know, just in terms of my own personal heavy lifting. We’ll see. Maybe July 31st will come and I’ll be up in New York all night long. We’ll see what happens. But at the moment I’m very positive about the preparatory work that has gone into it so far.

But your question about consensus is a very important one. For those of you who don’t know the arrangement for decision making in the ATT negotiations is that as a matter of substantive decision making, such decisions must be made by consensus. Procedural decisions can be made by a majority kind of approach. So it’s a different approach. We’ve been quite hesitant about it, although we were willing to see how it works in this context because it’s difficult, many times, to draw a bright line between substantive process, and we’re concerned about that causing difficulties going forward. But we’ll see how it goes. Let’s see how it goes this July and see where we go from here. And that’s all I can say to you at the present time on that.

As far as conventional arms control, Peter, those questions are very, very good ones. I will say that we’re looking at a rather broad spectrum now. So you’ve made some mention of, you know, not being able to ratify a treaty or, you know, there’s – at the moment, we’re taking a very broad-ranging look at this – at this arena of conventional arms control. We have a solid foundation in that the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty is still in force, according to its terms. I look particularly, given my experience on New START – New START and CFE, conventional arms control, are much different. Obviously, conventional arms control is multilateral. New START was bilateral. But in both cases I think we have accumulated some excellent experience in terms of the verification and inspection regimes which we need to bear in mind. They’ve been great in raising confidence and may play a role in the future. But at the same time, I think we need to look very broadly at what the purpose of conventional arms control in Europe is these days – we’re not dealing with two alliances arranged against each other – what the regional security situations are, and furthermore, overall, the way Europe is, you know, handling military forces these days is much different. There’s a lot of budget cutting going on. There’s a lot of effort at having, you know, shared capabilities across borderlines. And so we just need to think, I think, in a very broad-ranging way about where we want to go on conventional arms control. So that’s the effort we have under way in government now. No decisions have been made, but we are taking a very, very serious look at it. And I expect this summer we’ll be coming to some decisions about how to proceed. So if any of you out there have any ideas on this – on this agenda, we would welcome the chance to talk to you about them.

MR. KIMBALL: An invitation.

All right. And speaking of persistence, let’s go for our last question to Mr. Larry Wilder (sp) in the back there who has persisted on these issues longer than most. For those of you who don’t know, Larry was one of the nonproliferation treaty negotiators. So Larry, your question.

Q: Yes. Well, I was negotiating, as I mentioned to you on an earlier occasion I think, on the nonproliferation treaty 57 years ago. Time flies. (Laughter.) I’m getting older.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: When you’re having fun.

Q: I have another unfair question. What is your estimate of whether or not we’re any closer to getting the necessary votes in the Senate than we were years ago on – the CTB.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, you know – again, Larry, I have had a very interesting experience in watching the ratification of the New START Treaty, because up until the final week, we didn’t have any votes aside from – well, we had the Democratic side of the House; we had Senator Lugar. But in terms of specific votes on the Republican side of the ledger, we didn’t know. You just got to work it. And again, I found that one of the most valuable aspects of the New START ratification debate was that the senators were willing to really take a serious look at the treaty and to really consider their responsibility under the Constitution with regard to the national security of the United States in giving their advice and consent to treaties.

To make a long story short, they wanted to hear the details. They delved into the inspection regime in ways I never would have predicted. They delved in – and you know, a lot of attention went to the budget side and the concern about the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration and so forth. But to me it was very impressive how much they wanted to understand the details of the treaty and how it would improve our national security, our confidence with regard to what the Russians are doing in their strategic arsenal, and overall enhance predictability with Moscow.

So my view is this is the time we need to get the word out there about what the CTBT can do for us, what it will do to enhance our national security. We need to ask all those concerned, both inside and outside of government, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, to take a serious look and be ready to listen, to get some questions answered and to debate. But we’re not asking anybody at the moment to say yea or nay. And in fact, I hope people will not say yea or nay right now but have a very, very serious and intensive debate on the merits of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, thank you. I think we’re drawing to a close here. I think your time is up. I want to thank you very much for joining us here once again.


MR. KIMBALL: And I hope to have you back again. We’ll take up your invitation for ideas on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. We always have space in Arms Control Today for more ideas on that long-running issue. And we will promise to persist, which is a very important admonition from you, given –

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: And Calvin Coolidge.

MR. KIMBALL: And Calvin Coolidge. (Laughter.) We’ll have to use that one in the future. So thank you very much, Rose. (Applause.)

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ACA Senior Fellow speaks at Brookings on Missile Defense



Missile Defense: Cooperation or Contention?  Ballistic Missile Threats to NATO and U.S. Response

Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association
Brookings, Washington, D.C.
May 17, 2012

Now that NATO has achieved the first tangible step toward the missile defense goals it established at Lisbon, I want to take a close look at the threat that inspired it.

Missile Threat and Missile Defense Response Not New

The threat to NATO Europe and to the U.S. mainland from ballistic missile attack by hostile countries is hardly new.  It existed throughout most of the Cold War.  The U.S. twice adopted programs to provide for defense of its population from missile attack, and twice abandoned this objective.

Cost-benefit analysis showed that such defenses could be defeated by relatively inexpensive counter-measures and proliferation of warheads.  The Nixon administration also realized that limiting Soviet defenses by treaty would head off a potential threat to the credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.  For three decades, the 1972 ABM Treaty limited the number and location of strategic ballistic missile defenses and prohibited deployments designed to defend the national territory.

The New Threat

There was, of course, a new ballistic missile threat that arose in the late 1990s -- from newly emerging states of proliferation concern.  At the top of our list, were North Korea, Iran, and Iraq – later dubbed “the axis of evil” by the George W. Bush administration.  The 1998 Rumsfeld Commission on the Foreign Ballistic Missile Threat had identified each country as being capable of building an ICBM within five years of a decision to do so.  A 1999 National Intelligence Estimate projected that North Korea would test an ICBM by the end of that year, and that within the next 15 years, North Korea, probably Iran, and possibly Iraq would pose an ICBM threat.

Amplified by a North Korean satellite launch attempt in 1998, these grim assessments created a political tidal wave that profoundly affected the course of U.S. strategic and arms control policies for years to come.

In the Missile Defense Act of 1999, the U.S. Congress committed the nation to “deploying an effective national missile defense system (against a limited missile attack) as soon as technologically possible.” In the wake of 9/11, President Bush secured strategic missile defense procurement and accelerated deployment.  He also announced U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and voiced a commitment to activate strategic defenses by 2004.

In providing more than $8 billion per year over the last decade, the Congress has not challenged the dubious technological premises of the strategic missile defense program, which have been exposed in numerous studies.  (For example: by the GAO (Government Accountability Office); the National Academy of Sciences; the Defense Science Board; the Pentagon’s own Director for Operational Test and Evaluation.)

It’s all about us

For many members of the U.S. Congress, missile defenses in Europe are “all about us,” and based on an ahistorical understanding of the offense-defense relationship and a superficial analysis of actual threats.

Declining Threat

In spite of the ubiquitous rhetoric about the “growing ballistic missile threat,” the threat posed by Moscow has actually decreased dramatically from its Cold War peak and the large ballistic missile inventories of the Warsaw Pact Allies are gone.  Also gone are the fears of Iraqi nuclear-tipped ICBMs appearing by the end of this decade.  As for North Korea, it has just suffered the fourth consecutive long-range missile launch failure over a 14-year period.  It will be years before North Korea poses a direct threat to the U.S. continent – or to Europe.

And let us not forget the end of the missile threat from Libya, the only country, which ever launched a ballistic missile attack on a NATO member.


The only country that could pose a new potential missile threat to Europe in the foreseeable future is Iran.  Although it has demonstrated satellite launch capabilities, it hasn’t yet conducted any long-range missile flight tests and is not likely to have an operational ICBM before 2020.

Iran is currently concentrating on medium- and short-range missiles.  Their presumed targets would be Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, or U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Without nuclear warheads, or improved guidance systems, Iranian missiles pose a very limited threat to military bases, oil facilities, and cities in the region, and virtually no threat to specific point targets like the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona.  Against short- and medium-range missiles with conventional warheads, missile defenses can limit damage and casualties and, even if technically deficient, can provide a psychological boost to threatened populations.

Strategic/Non-Strategic Missile Defense Distinction

There is an important distinction between strategic and non-strategic missile defenses.  For strategic, successful intercepts are much harder; the consequences of failure much more catastrophic; and the impact on strategic arms control often fatal.

Once upon a time, Washington and Moscow took great pains to differentiate these categories.  U.S. and Russian delegations even negotiated language in an ABM Treaty protocol in 1997 demarking the boundary between the two.

For proponents of strategic missile defenses, there was a reason to blur the distinction.  Conflating “strategic” with “theater” prejudiced the ABM Treaty, obscuring the fact that most of the things we wanted to do to defend against actual rogue state missile threats were already permitted by the treaty.

Theater and Tactical Missile Defenses Beneficial

This ancient history is relevant to our discussion this morning because the tactical and theater missile defenses NATO is deploying benefit Europe without damaging arms control.  Patriots, THAADs, and SM-3 Bloc I interceptors correspond to the threat NATO faces and the potential threat on the horizon.  While some of the locations for basing these systems may be politically unpalatable to Moscow, they are not militarily threatening.

The mobile and networked anti-ICBM capabilities intended for EPAA phase 4 are another matter.  And when U.S. officials reaffirm our commitment to timely deployment of all four phases, it raises questions about whether the schedule would really be adapted to any diminution of the threat.

I’m concerned about NATO heading into a cul-de-sac with plans for achieving full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces.”

Historical Rhyme

This language takes me back to my days in high school.  In 1967, Secretary of Defense McNamara announced plans for building the Sentinel ABM system, to protect the U.S. population from the emerging nuclear threat of a rogue and unpredictable China.  Sentinel lasted 18 months, before being replaced by the Nixon administration’s Safeguard ABM system, oriented toward the protection of U.S. ICBM sites from counterforce attack.

Safeguard used the same interceptors and the same radars as Sentinel, but the new U.S. administration had changed the ABM mission, virtually overnight from population protection to ICBM protection, and the target set from a small number of unsophisticated future Chinese missiles to the enormous ICBM/SLBM arsenal of the superpower Soviet Union.

Now fast forward.  The Republican candidate in our current presidential race, who opposed the New START treaty and still regards it as a mistake, has just asserted that Russia is “without question, our number one geopolitical foe.”  Senator Kyl, the GOP’s leading spokesman on strategic issues said this week that: “The Obama administration should make no pledge that would pre-empt a U.S.-led shield capable of thwarting any missile ‘that might be launched at us,’ not just an accidental launch or one from a nation like Iran or North Korea.”

We have another potential change in administrations coming.  How should Moscow evaluate U.S. assurances on missile defense in Europe?

With that rhetorical question hanging, I will yield the mic to David [Hoffman].


Prepared remarks by ACA Senior Fellow Greg Thielmann at Brookings on May 17, 2012 on "Missile Defense: Cooperation or Contention?  Ballistic Missile Threats to NATO and U.S. Response."

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Updating Nonproliferation Criteria for U.S. Nuclear Trade



By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director Arms Control Association

Prepared Comments for Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and the Foreign Policy Initiative Forum on
“Tightening Nuclear Nonproliferation Rules: What Congress’ Role Should Be”
May 16, 2012

Since the beginning of the nuclear age, efforts to exploit nuclear technology for energy and for profit have complicated the task of reducing the nuclear weapons threat.

The 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) grants states the “right” to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, so long as states forswear nuclear weapons and comply with safeguards against the diversion of nuclear technology and materials for weapons purposes. The NPT also obliges the nuclear weapon states not to assist—directly or indirectly—other states’ with the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The United States has long sought to improve international safeguards standards and prevent the spread of the most sensitive dual-use nuclear technologies—particularly enrichment and reprocessing technologies.

The U.S. Atomic Energy Act (AEA) and the 1978 amendments have set an important global benchmarks for the terms under the United States and others should enter into peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements. And as matter of policy, the United States has sought to prevent the transfer of enrichment or reprocessing technology, which can be used to make nuclear bomb material.

With renewed interest in nuclear energy and the possibility that still more states may wish to pursue enrichment or reprocessing capabilities, it is time to:

  • update the U.S. standards for civil nuclear trade to raise the barriers against proliferation, and
  • ensure that those standards apply to all states with whom we negotiate or renegotiate so-called 123 agreements.

The current policies of the Barack Obama administration to pursue nuclear cooperation agreement on a case-by-case basis creates an uneven set of standards and a mixed-message that undermines the administration’s own efforts to establish tougher nonproliferation rules that apply to all states.

The administration is currently engaged in discussions with several states on possible bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements, seeking somewhat different nonproliferation standards and guarantees with each. That is a mistake.

With the ill-conceived U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation deal, we have already seen how the exemption created for India from the global nonproliferation rules has given others a cynical excuse to break the rules and lobby for their own exemptions. And we have seen no new action by India to improve its nonproliferation and disarmament record as a result.

It is time to reconsider and pursue a better way for future nuclear cooperation deals.

H.R. 1280, authored by Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Howard Berman, Brad Sherman and others, offers a very useful way forward.

It is not perfect, but it is something the administration should support and work with Congress to improve.

The bill would add several new requirements to the nine key requirements already in Section 123 of the AEA.[i] Among the most important new requirements that would be added are:

  • the application of the IAEA additional protocol. Dozens of states have not yet approved an additional protocol, including Algeria, Egypt, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, whose ambassador to Washington recently threatened that his country would build nuclear weapons if Iran does; and
  • a pledge not to acquire enrichment or reprocessing capabilities/facilities.

I would also suggest that the bill should be strengthened by:

  • clarifying that the recipient state must allow for the application of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) under the terms of the most up-to-date IAEA revisions, which today are known as code 3.1. Why is this important? Some states, including Iran, have a CSA in place but don’t allow IAEA to operate under the updated code 3.1 revisions;
  • requiring termination of U.S. nuclear cooperation in the event the recipient state conducts a nuclear test explosion, is found to be in violation of its IAEA safeguards obligations, or acquires enrichment or reprocessing equipment from sources other than the United States.

H.R. 1280 would not require that states renounce their option to pursue enrichment or reprocessing—which some refuse to do because they claim it is their right under the NPT to do so—but would incentivize those that do by “fast tracking” the Congressional review and approval process for civil nuclear cooperation agreements with countries that meet the new and higher set of standards, including a no enrichment or reprocessing pledge, as the United Arab Emirates has done.

Agreements with states that cannot meet the higher set of standards would be subject to a more rigorous process requiring affirmative Congressional approval.

Article IV of the NPT may, in the view of some states, give them a “right” to pursue peaceful nuclear technology, but the United States also has a right, an NPT responsibility, and an interest not to engage in civil nuclear trade that don’t meet a higher set of standards than those spelled out in the 1968 NPT.

Some nuclear energy industry lobbyists suggest that because states will not want to give up their option to pursue enrichment or reprocessing in the future, H.R. 1280, if enacted, would drive these countries seek nuclear commerce from other nuclear suppliers and put U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage.

That’s farfetched and it suggests that we should lower the bar against proliferation in order to simply give them a perceived competitive edge.

H.R. 1280 is a very reasonable and common sense approach that would simply put into U.S. law the standards that all nuclear supplier states have already agreed are essential to preventing future proliferation.

In addition, the new and important NSG rule adopted in June 2011—that bars enrichment and reporcessing technology transfers to states without CSAs, have not joined the NPT, do not have an additional protocol in force, or to states in proliferation sensitive regions—makes it highly unlikely that other nuclear suppliers can even offer to transfer enrichment or reprocessing technology or equipment to these states.

For instance even in the case of India, which is actively seeking more advanced enrichment and reprocessing technology and which could use it for its nuclear weapons program, cannot obtain such technology from the U.S., France or Russia under the new NSG rule.

If we are to succeed in limiting the number of states capable of producing nuclear bomb material, all states must be willing to provide responsible leadership and restraint. In the near future, there is no economic rationale for new states to enter the civil uranium-enrichment or plutonium-separation arena.

It is time for the Congress to act and for the Obama administration to provide pragmatic input rather than stiff resistance to this bill, which is fully consistent with the President’s broader nonproliferation strategy and goals.




[i] Section 123(a) lists nine criteria that an agreement must meet unless the President determines an exemption is necessary. These include guarantees that:

  • Safeguards on transferred nuclear material and equipment continue in perpetuity;
  • Full-scope IAEA safeguards are applied in non-nuclear weapon states;
  • Nothing transferred is used for any nuclear explosive device or for any other military purpose, except in the case of cooperation agreements with nuclear weapon states, in which the United States has the right to demand the return of transferred nuclear materials and equipment, as well as any special nuclear material produced through their use, if the cooperating state detonates a nuclear explosive device, or terminates or abrogates its IAEA safeguards agreement;
  • There is no retransfer of material or classified data without U.S. consent;
  • Physical security on nuclear material is maintained;
  • There is no enrichment or reprocessing by the recipient state of transferred nuclear material or nuclear material produced with materials or facilities transferred pursuant to the agreement without prior approval;
  • Storage for transferred plutonium and highly enriched uranium is approved in advance by the United States; and
  • Any material or facility produced or constructed through use of special nuclear technology transferred under the cooperation agreement is subject to all of the above requirements.

Prepared Comments by Daryl G. Kimball for Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and the Foreign Policy Initiative Forum on “Tightening Nuclear Nonproliferation Rules: What Congress’ Role Should Be”
May 16, 2012

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ACA Senior Fellow speaks about Territorial Missile Defense at Paris Conference



Territorial Missile Defense and
Reassurance of Flank States

Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association

“NATO’s Future Deterrence Posture: What Can Nuclear Weapons Contribute?”
Paris, France
March 6, 2012

The Lisbon Summit Declaration of November 2010 included a decision “to develop a NATO missile defence capability to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces…”  And it invited Russian cooperation in this task.  The stated target of these systems was “the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles.”

Evolution of U.S. Missile Defense Objectives

I am going to begin with some blunt talk about the achievability of territorial defense against ballistic missile attack, based on the American experience.  The United States has, at various points, vigorously pursued such defenses.

Missile defense was first directed against Soviet attack; then it was reoriented as a defense against a much smaller Chinese attack; then population defense was dropped, in favor of defending ICBM fields.  The U.S.-Soviet ABM Treaty, signed in 1972, limited the number and location of such defenses and specifically prohibited deployments designed to provide defense of the national territory.   Although the U.S. “Safeguard” strategic missile defense system was compliant with that treaty, it was scrapped for cost-effectiveness reasons only nine months after becoming operational.

During his two terms as president, Ronald Reagan revived America’s interest in missile defense with his dream of “rendering ballistic missiles impotent and obsolete.”   Reagan launched his “Strategic Defense Initiative” in 1983 and promised the exploitation of new technologies, including the use of exotic space-based weapons.

His administration buttressed its case for the weapons by pointing to Soviet violations of the ABM Treaty and by portraying Soviet missile defense research and development efforts as evidence that the Soviets were themselves preparing to break out of the treaty.

Soviet Missile Defenses

For their part, the Soviets had long sought to defend their capital and national leadership against U.S. air attack – targeting first bombers, and later ballistic missiles.  In the 1960s, they began deploying a ring of strategic missile interceptors with nuclear warheads around Moscow.  Yet they never succeeded in creating a reliable and effective missile defense; U.S. warheads and the options for countermeasures were too numerous and the radars on which the Moscow system relied too vulnerable.  The Reagan administration’s depiction of Soviet R&D development efforts on energy weapons turned out to be greatly exaggerated.  Moreover, when the Soviets were caught building the Krasnoyarsk radar – a major, albeit technical, treaty violation – they were ultimately forced to dismantle it.

A vestige of Moscow’s ABM system remains to this day, but the Russian Federation is now far behind in strategic missile defense technology and harbors few illusions about the feasibility of territorial defense against ballistic missile attack.

America Keeping the Faith

Not so the United States.  America retains its faith-based approach to strategic missile defense.  Having invested well over $100 billion since Reagan launched what critics dubbed “Star Wars,” total expenditures for missile defenses over the last decade have been running roughly $10 billion per year, even though the stated mission objective is now confined to dealing with “simple” ballistic threats from newly emerging, nuclear weapons states.  The Reagan era program was downgraded under the presidencies of the elder George (H.W.) Bush, and Bill Clinton, who limited yearly expenditures to around $1 billion.

But an alarmist report by the Rumsfeld Commission on ballistic missile threats in 1998 and an attempted satellite launch by North Korea using a three-staged rocket a few months later had a huge impact on public and congressional perceptions.  By March 1999, the U.S. Congress had passed a bill by large margins in both houses, declaring it to be the policy of the United States “to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack.”  Three consecutive U.S. presidents have now embraced this policy.

In the year 2000, President Clinton judged the technology not sufficiently ripe for deployment, but that turned out to be merely a bump in the road toward implementation of a territorial missile defense policy.  Ready or not, the new administration of George W. Bush wasted no time in withdrawing from the ABM Treaty and deploying the first strategic missile defense interceptors in Alaska and California by the fall of 2004.

It is important to note that the threat against which these strategic missile defenses were developed has not materialized.  The Rumsfeld Commission predicted that Iraq, North Korea, and Iran could each have ICBMs by 2003, but nine years later, none of them do.

Where are the ICBMs? -- In Russia and China, of course!

Not in Iraq.  Saddam’s ballistic missile threat had already been cut short by the First Gulf War.  Even before the March 2003 invasion, Saddam was being forced to destroy the most capable ballistic missiles left in his inventory – the short-range  al-Samouds.

Not in North Korea.  The DPRK has conducted two flight tests of the Taepo Dong 2 ICBM class system.  The first flight in 2006 failed shortly after launch.  An attempt to launch a satellite with the same booster rockets failed in 2009.  Last week, North Korea announced agreement to a moratorium on further long-range missile launches.

Not in Iran. The Islamic Republic has not yet conducted any flight tests of an ICBM.  Senior U.S. military officials have indicated Iran is currently concentrating on development and deployment of medium-range ballistic missiles with ranges of roughly 2,000 km.  Iran’s last MRBM test occurred more than one year ago.

Current ballistic missile threats from hostile proliferants come not from long-range systems, but from those with ranges below 3,000 km.  Theater ballistic missile defenses are potentially useful against such shorter-range missiles topped with high explosives – to mitigate losses to civilian populations, military forces, and infrastructure – but they do not affect the strategic balance.

Opportunity Costs

Unfortunately, U.S. determination to protect the option of deploying strategic ballistic missile defenses of the national territory, has not only diverted attention from acute threats to U.S. forces and regional allies, it has also carried heavy opportunity costs.  The United States missed two chances to negotiate significant cuts in strategic offensive arms – with the Soviet Union at Reykjavik in 1987 and, with Russia in the late 1990s during efforts to bring START II into effect.  Depending on how we handle missile defenses in the months ahead, we may be on the verge of missing a third chance.

I’ve tried to be frank in describing the nature of the ballistic missile threat we face, taking note of the exaggerations that plague our public discussion of the issue.  I must be equally frank in acknowledging that delusional thinking about strategic missile defense is now deeply engrained in U.S. declaratory policy and public consciousness.

Articles of Faith

The Missile Defense Act of 1999 remains our political charter, even if its evidentiary foundations are built on sand.  Domestic political dynamics are conspiring against rational course correction.

Opponents of New START ratification found missile defense an effective line of attack against the treaty.  Even the treaty’s recognition of “the interrelationship between strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms,” was depicted as a shameful concession to Russian negotiators.

Every defense policy shift or budget reduction is now judged by according to whether it implies a failure of commitment to the cause of strategic missile defense.  Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney last week accused President Obama of just such a failure.

But would they work?

Last October, Secretary of Defense Panetta referred to the existing strategic missile defense system as “very remarkable.”  Senior military figures have joined the official chorus attesting to its effectiveness against future Iranian or North Korean missiles.

Yet none of the ongoing tests of these systems have occurred under operationally realistic conditions. U.S. intelligence officials have acknowledged that any state capable of building an ICBM can also build simple decoys to spoof missile defenses.  But U.S. strategic missile defenses have never demonstrated the ability to discriminate decoys and other clutter.  The Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation reported in January: “To date [the system] has demonstrated a limited capability against a simple threat.”  He also noted that the last two flight tests had failed.  The last successful test under carefully controlled conditions was in 2008; the next test has been postponed to allow for causes of the last failure to be addressed.

Russian Concerns

Moscow does not seem particularly troubled by the 30 U.S.-based strategic interceptors.  However, the advanced Aegis systems planned for the later phases of Obama’s European Phased Adaptive Approach have caused acute concerns.  Whether real or feigned, Russia has reacted with alarm to the prospect of seeing European-based and highly mobile strategic interceptors on its periphery by the end of the decade.

Moscow has demanded legal assurances that U.S. missile defenses are not intended to threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent.  For the reasons to which I alluded, such formal assurances have not been forthcoming, and if they were, they would probably be rejected by the Senate.

Presidential campaigns in the United States and Russia have not created a propitious climate for reaching political compromise.  But it may yet be possible to secure agreement on a blueprint for cooperation prior to NATO’s Chicago Summit in May.  The more cooperation that can be achieved, the less threatening U.S. missile defenses will seem to the Russians.


NATO’s upcoming Deterrence and Defense Posture Review provides an opportunity for progress.  Several of you were involved in drafting a joint letter to NATO Secretary General Rasmussen last July.  Among other things, the letter suggested the DDPR reiterate NATO’s assurance that its current and future missile defense capabilities are not “targeted” at Russia’s strategic forces and that NATO member state missile interceptor deployments would be designed and configured to address third party missile threats as they emerge.  Such a written assurance could form the basis of a missile defense cooperation framework.

There have been a number of creative ideas for making cooperation concrete.  A Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative (EASI) Working Group chaired by former senior officials of the United States, Russia, and Germany, have recommended pooling and sharing data and information from early-warning radars and satellites in Cooperation Centers staffed by U.S., NATO, and Russian officers working together.  The latest issue of Arms Control Today features in its cover story a proposal by Dean Wilkening to build a joint ballistic missile early warning radar in central Russia.

Guidelines to Consider

Let me end by listing my own conclusions on the subject of our panel.

All NATO states have enormous stakes in the success of U.S.-Russian negotiations to further reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles.  U.S. missile defense forces are more likely to be an obstacle rather than an inducement to Russian movement in the desired direction.

Russia’s attitude is not pathological.  Russia is doing what the United States did when the tables were reversed.  During the Cold War, U.S. fears about Soviet ABM systems helped stoke the large increase in U.S. ballistic missile warheads.  It was only after the 1972 ABM Treaty capped strategic missile defenses that the path was opened toward eventual reductions in deployed offensive warheads.

Russia responded favorably to Obama’s European Phased Adaptive Approach as a substitute for Bush’s “Third Site” plan.  Future deployments were tied to actual rather than theoretical ballistic missile threats and strategic missile defenses in Europe were not anticipated before the end of the decade.

But if phases 3 and 4 of Obama’s plan are truly “adaptive,” then they must be contingent on the actual progress and intent of Iran’s ballistic missile program.  This link must be made convincing and explicit to the Russians. Moscow must be able to see something other than immovable dates for the deployments and vague place-holders in the matrix showing the number of interceptors to be deployed.  As it is, Moscow sees the quantity of advanced SM-3 interceptors as infinitely expandable and NATO’s “territorial defense” language as pointing toward Russia’s strategic forces – not those coming from Iran during the next 6-8 years.

If U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe are tied to the level of threats from the Middle East, then they should not be expected to address other security concerns.  European flank states should enhance their security through other measures, which do not gratuitously provoke their large eastern neighbor.

Alternative ways to strengthen the alliance bond might include: periodic presence of U.S. and other NATO troops for training purposes; active participation in alliance institutions and activities; and greater political integration within the EU.

Reasons for Hope

U.S. missile defense efforts have the potential of derailing continued progress in reducing the bloated nuclear arsenals of the Cold War.  But I see two reasons to hope for a different outcome:

-- First, fiscal pressures on the U.S. defense budget will force the Administration and the Congress to get off the Cold War autopilot.  They will create strong incentives for the U.S. military to shift resources away from political programs like strategic missile defense toward those, which can increase military capabilities that count in the real world.

-- Second, Europe is now a player at the missile defense table.  NATO has offered political support, real estate, and financial resources for the Phased Adaptive Approach.  Europe therefore has a new ability to tame some ill-considered American instincts.   I hope it will actively seek to influence U.S. policy when that policy veers in a direction, which provides a net loss to the security of the alliance.

I’ve seen it happen before with regard to INF in the 1980s.  The Europeans – particularly the basing countries (Germany, the UK, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands) – made it very clear to a reluctant Reagan administration that it could not have one part of the Dual-Track Decision (deploying new weapons) without the other (seeking to reduce that category of weapons through arms control).

I think we need Europe’s help again.

Thank you for your attention.


Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association, delivered March 6, 2012 at the Salle de la Commission de la Defense in Paris at a conference sponsored by the: Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg; Institut de Relations Internationales et Strategiques; British American Security Information Council; and Arms Control Association.

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Diplomatic Strategies for Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran



Thursday, February 9, 2012
9:30am to 11:00am

The Henry L. Stimson Center Conference Room
1111 19th St, NW, 12th Floor
Washington, D.C.

Amid rising tensions over Iran's nuclear program, the key parties engaged in the issue have all said they are interested in a diplomatic solution to the current impasse. In a letter on behalf of the P5+1 last October, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton called on Iran to return to serious talks on the nuclear file. Iranian officials have said they are ready for talks and are preparing a formal response.

With the possibility that the seven countries will meet once again in Istanbul, the site of their last unproductive meeting one year ago, what are the prospects for progress? What are the two sides likely to propose and how would such proposals address concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions?

Please join the Arms Control Association and guests for a discussion of these and other critical questions related to diplomatic efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.


Ambassador James Dobbins is the director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center. Dobbins has held State Department and White House posts including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President, and Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans. He represented the United States at the Bonn Conference in 2001, which involved negotiating with Iranian officials on establishing a new Afghan government.

Peter Crail is a Nonproliferation Analyst with ACA focusing on nuclear and missile proliferation. He has been following arms control and nonproliferation-related issues since 2004, working at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Center for Nonproliferation Studies before joining ACA in 2007. His recent essay, "Charting a Diplomatic Path on the Iran Nuclear Challenge," is available online here.

Dr. Jim Walsh is an expert in international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security Studies Program (SSP).  Dr. Walsh's work on international security focuses primarily on nuclear weapons and terrorism, and he is one of a handful of Americans who has traveled to both Iran and North Korea for talks with officials about nuclear issues.

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of ACA.


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone.  Grab your seats.  Close the door in the back.  Thank you.

I’m Daryl Kimball, the director of the Arms Control Association.  I want to welcome you here to the Henry L. Stimson Center.  Thank you to the Stimson Center for the facilities here today.

The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization and our goal, our mission, is to provide information about weapons-related threats and practical policy options to deal with those threats.  And we’re here today for a briefing on diplomatic strategies for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.

And, as you all know, we’re here this morning at a very critical juncture.  We’re deeply concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the rising tensions over its nuclear program, and the absence of progress toward sustained negotiations on the confidence-building steps that are necessary to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

The latest IAEA report that was issued in November underscores that Iran was engaged in a comprehensive nuclear weapons-related research program which was halted in 2003 after being exposed, but since then some weaponization-related activities have resumed.

And also, as we know, the IAEA and U.S. intelligence findings show that Iran is steadily improving its uranium enrichment capabilities and already has some of the expertise needed to build nuclear weapons.  But those same assessments also make it clear that a nuclear-armed Iran is neither imminent nor is it inevitable.  Sanctions on Iran’s nuclear missile sectors have helped slow progress, buy time, and helped improve negotiating leverage, but sanctions alone are not going to turn – change Tehran’s behavior.

Military strikes against Iranian nuclear targets – which is not the subject specifically of this session – widely believed and known not to be able to permanently halt Iran’s nuclear program and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, which is why responsible leaders in Washington, in Paris – Nicolas Sarkozy made a statement yesterday – and elsewhere continue to underscore the importance of a diplomatic solution to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

And we meet here also on potentially the eve of another round of P5+1 talks with Iran.  As you all know, back in October there was a letter sent on behalf of the P5+1 group – the U.S., the U.K., France, China, Russia, Germany – on behalf of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, inviting Iran to another round of serious talks on the nuclear issue.  Iranian officials have said they’re ready for talks on numerous occasions in the last few weeks, but a formal written response is still – has still not arrived, apparently.

So, with that as backdrop, we’ve got three very expert speakers today who are going to address some key issues related to the diplomatic situation, both in terms of the substance and the process.

And some of the questions that we’re going to address are:  What are the two sides likely to propose in another round of talks, and how would such proposals address concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions?  How should the P5+1 prioritize the confidence-building steps necessary to address the most urgent proliferation problems?  How can we increase the chances for progress in a sustained negotiation, not just a one-off meeting?  And what incentives would move Iran to take the nuclear confidence-building steps that we’re seeking to deal with our concerns?

So, to address these and other issues we’ve got three great folks.  Leading off is the Arms Control Association’s very own Peter Crail, who is our nonproliferation analyst and Iran nuclear specialist.  I’d also note that out on the table, if you haven’t picked it up already, is his recent essay, “Charting a Diplomatic Path on the Iran Nuclear Challenge.”  That’s a very useful review of where we’ve been and where we might go on the topic.

We also have with us Ambassador James Dobbins, who is currently the director of the RAND International and Defense Policy Center.  RAND and Jim Dobbins and several of his colleagues just issued a very good report on the Iranian issue that I would recommend to you.

Jim has held State Department and White House posts, including assistant secretary of state for Europe, special assistant to the president, and special advisor to the president and secretary of state for the Balkans.  And he represented the United States at the 2001 meeting that involved negotiations with Iranian officials, on establishing a new Afghan government.  So he’s one of the few people with direct experience negotiating with the Iranians that you’ll find on the Washington think tank circuit today.

And last but not least is Dr. Jim Walsh, who’s a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the security studies program there, and his work focuses on nuclear weapons and terrorism.  And he has also had numerous interactions with Iranian officials on the nuclear issue.

So each of our speakers is going to take about eight, nine, 10 minutes or so, and then we’ll turn to you for your questions and we’ll get into discussion.

So, with that I’ll turn it over to Peter.  Do you want to come up here or you want to – you might want to come up here.

PETER CRAIL:  Thank you, Daryl.

Thanks, everyone, for coming this morning.  I wanted to start off with a bit of a scene-setter, discussing proposals that have been offered and might be floated in the future to address the Iran nuclear issue.

The starting point for this discussion is the fact that both sides say that they are willing to talk.  As Daryl had mentioned, we did have a letter delivered on behalf of the P5+1 by Lady Ashton last year, and we are awaiting a formal response from the Iranians, who have said that they are in the middle of sending a letter.  And while we are still waiting for that, it would seem difficult for them to back away from that position at this point.  So I think we can expect a response in the near future.

Now, President Obama had also said recently that his focus is on resolving the nuclear issue diplomatically because, quote, “The only way over the long term we can assure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon is by getting them to understand that it’s not in their interest.”  And I think that’s important because we aren’t just talking about the best way or the most peaceable way, but really the only way.  And that’s because other methods won’t resolve the issue.

As we’ve heard from the U.S. intelligence community, Iran already has the technical capacity to build a nuclear weapon if it decided to do so.  So even an effort to eliminate a few of Iran’s existing nuclear facilities doesn’t deal with that overall technical capability.

So it’s likely in the coming weeks that we’ll see new talks in Istanbul, and the question is, what are they going to talk about?

Ashton’s letter said that the P5+1 is still open to prior proposals that have been issued on the Iran nuclear issue.  And what she’s referring to is a set of proposals that were initially offered in 2006 and updated in 2008.  And while it’s been four years since there have been any serious discussions on these proposals, they have remained on the table during that time.

Now, if there is going to be any diplomatic resolution of the issue, it’s ultimately – these proposals are ultimately going to be a starting point for some kind of resolution.  And the proposals essentially involve three basic elements.

First, Iran is required to suspend enrichment and other sensitive nuclear fuel activities, Iran is also supposed to adopt the IAEA’s additional protocol to provide expanded access to the agency, and last, Iran must cooperate with the IAEA to resolve outstanding concerns, which essentially means work that Iran has done and may continue to be doing related to nuclear warhead development.

Now, suspension is the issue that gets the most attention, but it also seems to be the issue that creates the most confusion.  And it’s also been deliberately misconstrued by Iranian officials.  It’s intended to be a confidence-building measure for Iran to demonstrate that it will not misuse its enrichment capability, but also to allow negotiations to proceed without Iran escalating the situation during the time that – until a long-term solution is reached.

It’s not intended to be a permanent halt to Iran’s enrichment program.  In fact, the proposal includes a review mechanism to determine when Iran has taken enough steps to provide confidence that its nuclear program isn’t going to be misused and complied with all of its obligations so that Iran can enrich again.  I think it’s important to note that these proposals were agreed by all P5+1 countries, including in 2006 and 2008 by the Bush administration as well.

Secretary Clinton had recently made this clear last year when she told a House Foreign Affairs panel that Iran could enrich again, quote, “under very strict conditions and having responded to the international community’s concerns.”

The IAEA additional protocol is important because it provides the agency with expanded access to a full range of Iranian nuclear activities, or most of Iran’s nuclear activities.  The additional protocol alone probably won’t be enough, and there will likely have to be some additional measures taken, at least on a temporary basis, by Iran to provide greater assurance that its nuclear activities will not be misused.  But the additional protocol is going to be essential to any long-term resolution.

And, finally, in terms of Iran’s nuclear warhead work, as the U.S. intelligence community and as the IAEA has stated, it was mostly halted in 2003 but some elements may have continued since then.  Iran needs to cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation, and I think the most important thing here is that the investigation makes sure that whatever activity had gone on in the past and may be occurring now will not occur in the future.

In return for these steps, the P5+1 have said that they are prepared to discuss a broad range of benefits and areas of cooperation with Iran, and these include things like a full suite of nuclear cooperation, including guarantees to provide nuclear fuel for Iranian nuclear reactors, cooperative efforts on Afghanistan and drug trafficking, WTO membership, a regional security dialogue, and of course a lifting of sanctions.

Now, it may take some time to convince Iran that this kind of arrangement is a better path than a path towards nuclear weapons, and it may be that it will not be possible to convince Iran of that.  But it still has to be a key part of a strategy to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, for the very reason that the president mentioned.

Aston’s letter had also said that the initial objectives of the P5+1 is to engage in a confidence-building exercise that could help lead to a longer-term negotiation.  And that exercise right now is focused on halting Iran’s enrichment of to 20 percent.

Why is this important?  Enriching uranium to 20 percent carries out about 90 percent of the work that you need to do to create weapons-grade material.  And that means that the timeframe for Iran to produce nuclear weapons would be significantly shortened the more it stockpiles a level at 20 percent.

Now, Iran says that it’s doing this to make fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes, and they do need fuel for that reactor.  The problem is they can’t make it themselves safely.  And they’re also making far more 20 percent material than they need for that reactor, supposedly for reactors they plan to build in the future but likely cannot build.

Iran’s effort to carry out this work at the Fordo facility, which was revealed in 2009, appears to be – also appears to be moving forward the Israel clock towards military action.  So, we are risking a situation – the situation coming to a head in short order, and finding a way to back away from that and to buy time to avoid a catastrophe is becoming increasingly important.

The P5+1 are reportedly preparing to offer Iran a proposal to provide Tehran’s Research Reactor with fuel and also to hold off on any additional sanctions, in return for Iran halting 20 percent enrichment and exporting the 20 percent material that it’s already produced.

On the Iranian side, senior officials including Iranian President Ahmadinejad have said that they’d be willing to stop 20 percent enrichment if they received fuel for the reactor, even calling enriching to 20 percent uneconomical for them.  That’s a pretty serious admission and it does suggest that there could be room for an opening if Iran can deliver and if Iran believes that we can deliver, but there’s only one way to find out.

To finish off, the proposals that have been put on the table and maybe floated in the future will naturally require some back and forth and can’t be take-it-or-leave-it propositions.  That’s what a negotiation is about.  But what’s important is that there is some engagement in the first place and that the proposals include essential elements that will severely limit Iran’s ability to misuse its nuclear program, while also demonstrating to Iran that it stands more to benefit from cooperation than continuing on a path towards nuclear weapons.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Peter.

And now we’ll turn to Ambassador Dobbins.  And I’ll try to pull the microphone as close as I can.

JAMES DOBBINS:  OK.  It’s such a small room, I think people can hear.

Well, my expertise is more on the process of negotiating, including negotiating with Iran, than with the details of the current nuclear talks, and so I will concentrate a bit on the context rather than the content of these talks on which both of my colleagues here – all three of my colleagues here – are more expert.

I think that there’s – looking at what we want from Iran, what we might get from Iran, you have a range that ranges from what we’d really like to see, which is Iran abandoning its effort to achieve a full nuclear fuel cycle at the top.  That’s what we’d like to see.  A minimum that we absolutely need to see is that Iran does not actually build, test and deploy nuclear weapons.  And in between is a median point, which is that Iran is fully in compliance with the NPT in all respects, which doesn’t require it to abandon the nuclear fuel cycle, but still is more than just not building and deploying nuclear weapons.

My colleagues and I at RAND have released a couple of studies in the last few weeks.  One looks at the Iranian-Israeli relationship and concludes, not surprisingly, that it’s very dangerous.  And the second looks at American policy toward Iran, and it suggests that, given the current political configuration in Iran, the lowest of those is the most you’re likely to achieve over the next year or two.

That is, actually dissuading them from crossing the nuclear threshold and building, testing and deploying nuclear weapons; that over a longer timeframe, with a change to some degree in the political constitution in Iran, that you may be able to bring them into full conformity with the NPT.  And that should certainly be our objective, and we certainly shouldn’t dismantle the regime of sticks mostly, but also carrots, that we’re using to induce them to do that.

And we also conclude that the highest of those thresholds is unlikely to be achieved under any regime since even the democratic opposition in the country strongly supports Iran’s right to achieve a full nuclear fuel cycle.

Now, what are our concerns about Iran?  Why are we worried about their nuclear program?  I’d say that there are three levels of concern, three things we’re concerned about.  One is the proliferation, the example they’re setting, and the possibility that a number of other countries in that region, countries that see themselves as peers and competitors with Iran, would feel compelled to do the same.

The second is that the possession of a nuclear weapon would embolden them to be even more provocative, not so much in terms of conventional aggression as in terms of the kind of subversive support for Hezbollah and Hamas and terrorist attacks and other kinds of activities in which they’ve sought to destabilize the Middle East for the last 30 years.

And then the third level would be that they would actually use nuclear weapons.  I think this is actually the least of our concerns, although it would be the most serious if it occurred.  And although it’s not quite admitted, it’s probably the least of Israel’s concerns that they would actually use a nuclear weapon against either the United States or Israel, or indeed anyone else.

Now, as has been mentioned, there is – you know, the United States and Israel have both made clear that the military option is not off the table.  And, again, I think we need to examine the utility both of the threat of force and the actual use of force.

What’s called coercive diplomacy – that is, explicitly threatening to use force in order to achieve some diplomatic objective – has a poor record, that the usual response of the recipient of that threat is to get their back up and to make it more difficult for them to accommodate whatever it is that you desire.  And I think we only have to look at our recent history in this regard:

In 1990 we told Saddam Hussein that if he didn’t evacuate Kuwait we would expel him.  He didn’t.  We had to deliver on the threat.  In 1999 we told the president of Serbia, Milosevic, that if he didn’t evacuate Kosovo, we would bomb him and his – bomb him and his country indefinitely until he did.  He didn’t do what we asked him and we were compelled to deliver on that threat.

Just two years later we told Mullah Omar that if he didn’t give up bin Laden we would invade and overthrow his government.  He didn’t comply with our request and we had to deliver on that threat.

Two years after that we went back to Saddam Hussein and told him that if he didn’t demonstrate to us that he’d abandoned his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program we would invade and overthrow his government.  By then it must have been a pretty credible threat, given his experience and his observation of other experiences, and yet he didn’t comply and we had to deliver on that threat.

So I think the argument that we need to threaten force in order to achieve our objectives is flawed, and that it actually has a counterproductive purpose.  Now, I think the threat of force is absolutely legitimate in order to give fair warning and sustain public and international support.  If you attack, that you haven’t attacked out of the blue; you gave warning; you gave your opponent an opportunity to avoid it.  If that’s the intent, then it’s perfectly sensible.  But one shouldn’t anticipate that it actually helps achieve your diplomatic objective.

In terms of the utility of the use of force, I think we have to ask what it is we fear from Iran.  And this goes back to what I said about the consequences of the Iranian nuclear program.  It’s not that we feel that Iran is going to engaged in conventional aggression, either using nuclear weapons or backing up invasion of neighboring countries with the threat of nuclear arms.  Iran hasn’t engaged in conventional aggression, cross-border aggression, for several hundred years.  And it doesn’t have any serious territorial claims.  And none of its neighbors, with the exception of Abu Dhabi and a few islands in the Gulf, has any serious concern that they’re going to be invaded and overrun by Iran.

What Iran has done, and is continuing to do, and does pose a serious threat, is the threat of subversion, its appeal to disgruntled elements of regional populations – Shia minorities, rejectionists in the Palestinian population – its ability to fund them, to influence them, to arm them.  That’s what Israel fears, principally.  That’s what most of the other states that neighbor Iran fear, principally.

And so, I think – and the U.S. policy since 1979 has been a policy of containment, of containing Iranian influence.  And I think one has to question whether, in the aftermath of a military strike – which would presumably set back the Iranian nuclear program for a few years – whether they would be more difficult or less difficult to contain.

Would an Iran that had suffered what most of the world would regard as an unprovoked military strike from either Israel or the United States be more difficult for the United States to contain or less difficult?  I think it would probably be more difficult as they gain sympathy with neighboring populations.

And if they played their cards carefully and didn’t over-respond to that, they could well break up the international coalition which the Bush and then Obama administrations have been successful in forming an international coalition that has mounted a very serious and still escalating set of sanctions.

So I think that one has to question the utility of force, not just in terms of how many months or years it set backs the Iranian program, but whether it harms or hurts our ability to continue to contain Iranian influence in the region.

Now, in terms of the negotiating process, I mean, my experience is based on a career in government in which I had numerous occasions to negotiate, including arms control negotiations with Soviet apparatchiks, Somali warlords, Caribbean dictators, Balkan war criminals, Afghan mujahedeen, and, incidentally, Iranians, who I negotiated with quite intensively and, to my own surprise, quite successfully in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the establishment of the government in Iran – I mean government in Kabul.

It’s my judgment that the kind of single-event, high-profile annual diplomatic confrontation of the sort we’re now going to see the latest repetition, you know, are unlikely to make substantial progress.  They’re simply exposed to too much scrutiny, too much press attention, too much media attention, too much political attention for either side to move very much or very significantly.

In my judgment, and in my experience, these kinds of talks aren’t going to make much progress until the press loses interest in them.  That’s certainly what happened in the arms control negotiations.  They met.  They met for several years.  You know, after every meeting they’d say what happened, and eventually, you know, you didn’t hear about it anymore until you’d actually achieved something, and then it became news again when the sides revealed that they had achieved something.

And so, I do believe that one of the – the most productive things that could come out of the current session would be an agreement to meet more frequently, to meet very frequently, to meet every week until we’d solved the problem, and have a frequency of such meetings – bilateral meetings as well as multilateral meetings – in a context where eventually they would become routine.

They would be subject to less scrutiny, pressure, and where the two sides could begin to explore possible accommodations in a way that’s virtually impossible to do in sessions of the sort that we’re going to see where three-quarters of it is – consists of mutual recriminations before they even seriously turn to the business of the day.  It’s a rehearsal of everything the other side has done to demonstrate its bad faith.

And so, I would hope that there would be some kind of commitment to meet more frequently and more regularly.  And I think that alone would be a step in the right direction, although I believe there are offers and possibilities on the table which, as was earlier suggested, might have some confidence-building content and also some de-escalation of the tension content, and it’s not impossible that something like that might be achieved, although I’m not all that optimistic.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much for that reality check.

Now to Jim Walsh.

JIM WALSH:  So I’m sitting in my hotel room last night and I’m watching Fox News, and who do I see on the big screen in my hotel room but Donald Trump—he of the art of the deal and Romney endorser.  And he’s talking about Iran, and what is he saying?  I think it’s pretty noteworthy.  He’s saying:  We can get a deal with Iran.  Now is the time for diplomacy.  We have the leverage.  We’ve got the cards.  Iran is weak.  Now is the time to deal.

Now, you know, as someone who has personally sat across the table from Iranians discussing nuclear issues, I thought that this was noteworthy and, you know, it presented a delicious moment in my mind imagining a row of Iranian clerics sitting across from Donald Trump – (laughter) – negotiating.

And it also occurred to me that this is an opportunity for even additional U.S. leverage, that President Obama should threaten to appoint Donald Trump – (laughter) – as lead negotiator at the P5+1.  And that may, you know, expedite and take advantage of opportunities that I actually do believe that we have now.

But I raised “The Donald” because I want to talk about the larger context of diplomacy here.  And I must say, you know, I don’t live in D.C. but I am struck by the fact that we currently live in a bizarre world where it is commonly, commonly believed that Iran has a full-blown weaponization program, that an Iranian bomb is inevitable and that it’s coming to a theater near you very soon – all three propositions that are directly contradicted by the last threat assessment offered by the DNI, Mr. Clapper.

It is also a world in which when we talk about diplomacy, a world in which the only choices being actively discussed are sanctions and military attack and diplomacy is redefined as nothing more than sanctions.  I think this is dangerous and unhelpfully narrow, and that we need to revisit what it means to have diplomacy.

There is no – there’s going to be no resolution of this problem, of the Iranian nuclear threat, without diplomacy.  It is the only solution.  And I say that not as some lefty dove but based on what I know about international relations and the history of dealing with adversaries.

Sanctions alone are not going to achieve our purpose here.  They’re not designed to achieve that.  Sanctions are a means to an end, and that end is a political settlement that gets us what we need, gets the Iranians what they need, but where both sides are able to live with something in a more peaceful environment.

You know, it is rare in modern history that states, particularly states like Iran, say:  Oh, you know, you’re right.  I’m terrible.  I shouldn’t be doing any of this stuff.  You know, the pressure is too much.  I give up.  You know, very, very rarely in international relations do you see that.  More common is pressure is applied as a means to achieve a diplomatic settlement, as in the case of Libya.

Libya was sanctioned for decades, but in the end it was a political settlement that led to the removal of their nuclear program.  We had political settlements with Ukraine, with Kazakhstan, Belarus, other countries that went from having nuclear assets or nuclear programs that were of concern to a point where they were no longer a concern.

And, frankly, short of invading Iran and putting hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground, making it the 52nd state and murdering every physicist and scientist in Iran, you are not going to be able to change the fact that Iran knows how to make a centrifuge and will make centrifuges if they want to.

The only way they’re going to not continue down a path towards a – you know, towards a nuclear weapon, if that’s where they’re headed – and, by the way, that remains unknown – is if they themselves decide to make that decision as an act of national self-interest where they see that they have benefits from that, and they end up in a happier, better place.  The only way you do that is through a political settlement, and that requires diplomacy.

You know, and I believe personally that this is the right time.  I and Donald Trump – (laughter) – believe that this is the right time for diplomacy.  Iran has been under pressure.  It is weakened both regionally with the problems in Syria and its economy, and its own domestic contestation problems that, again, the intelligence community referred to in its most recent report.  So now is the time to cash in on that situation to use that leverage to get a deal that satisfies U.S. concerns and satisfies Iranian concerns.

Now, we can continue down this path and just pressure, pressure, pressure and not actually do anything, and that risks that at some point the circle turns and Iran is in a better position, we are in a weaker position, and that’s the wrong time to negotiate.  Now is the time to have meaningful diplomacy to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

And as I look out across the range of options, you know, obviously we’re in a very difficult circumstance.  We’re entering a presidential election year.  The Iranian regime is under its own domestic pressures.  It is weakened.  Countries tend to be cautious in both these circumstances when there are elections, and they have Majlis elections in March and they’re under some pressure.

So the question is, what can be done?  What, in the words of Tom Donilon, is an effective, pragmatic choice that can be made to advance the cause of nonproliferation?  It seems to me, ironically, the best thing that could be done most quickly to point this in a different direction is to being to talk to Iran about its fall offer to cap enrichment at 3 (percent) to 5 percent, that it would no longer engage in enriching uranium to a level of 20 percent.

Now, a lot of people are going to have an allergic reaction to that, primarily because it’s Iran’s proposal, and therefore if it’s Iran’s proposal it must be problematic or it must be rejected.  But I think there are strong nonproliferation arguments for taking a strong look at this, both because of its feasibility, its practicality, and its downstream implications.

And, now, some may wonder – well, Ahmadinejad mentioned this before coming to the U.N. Security – not the Security Council – General Assembly meeting last September – is it really a deal; is it really a sincere offer?  You know, he’s mercurial and who knows what his standing is?

It’s my understanding, based on discussions with Iranians who have direct knowledge of these events and who have proven reliable sources in the past, that the proposal that Iran no longer engage in 20 percent enrichment and to limit enrichment to 3 (percent) to 5 percent, which cannot be used for a nuclear weapon directly, that that proposal was voted on and accepted by the Supreme National Security Committee in Iran, of which the supreme leader is the chair.

So I don’t think this is Ahmadinejad shooting off his mouth.  I think the fact that he, the foreign minister and the Supreme National Security Committee have signed off on this means that there is a real possibility.

And let’s be clear about what that represents.  Iran is saying, we will limit our enrichment to 3 (percent) to 5 percent, at least in principle.  That’s what is to be discussed.  You know, in my world, in the nonproliferation and arms control world, we call that a cap, you know, like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is a cap, like the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty is a cap, like the way in which you achieve arms control over time is you cap, freeze and roll back.

And I won’t go into it now – I don’t want to take up a lot of time; I want to go into question and answer – but I think that’s a very powerful tool.  It has a proven track record.  It puts Iran in a very difficult situation where it would be crossing its own line that it established and therefore could expect significant consequences if it did so.

So I think this is a very interesting idea.  I know there’s going to be an allergic reaction to it because they proposed it rather than us, and of course everything they propose – we propose they have an allergic reaction to.

But I think if we’re going to be grownups about this and if we’re going to head off what is one can only see a worsening set of situations regionally, then we better sit down and begin to talk and take advantage of all the investment and pressure and all the things that we’ve done for the past decade while we have this window and opportunity to do so.  So let me stop there.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.

Let me thank all three of you for being very disciplined in the time amount.  I think it’s unprecedented at an Arms Control Association event.  (Laughter.)  So that’s a good sign.

So, with that let me just stop and invite you all to ask your questions.  If you could identify yourself, ask a question, not make a 10-minute speech.  We already had those.  And let’s start with Howard.

Q:  Howard Morland.  Is this on?

MR. KIMBALL:  That is on.

Q:  I tried to get Greg (sp) to ask my usual question about U.S. and Israeli nuclear weapons in the region and he turned me down, so I’ll ask my second question instead.

I agree with Dr. Walsh.  The only way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons by force is invasion and occupation – regime change like what we imposed on Iraq and Afghanistan.

With all the talk of, you know, all options being on the table, and the saber-rattling by Israel, it seems to me that Israel, by attacking Iran, could draw the United States into the same kind of war we were in with Iraq.  If we didn’t want them to do that, we could make it clear that we will shoot down their planes and other things: cut off aid, stop vetoing the Security Council things.

If we don’t do that, I think that sends a message that if Israel starts the war, we will, in fact, finish it the way we finished it in Iraq with invasion and conquest.

MR. KIMBALL:  So, your question –

Q:  My question is, if you want a diplomatic solution, you’ve got to stop Israel from attacking.  What leverage do we have over Israel to prevent Israel from attacking Iran?

MR. KIMBALL:  Ambassador Dobbins, Jim, do you want to take this on?

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, I think Israel’s threats have little effect on Iranian behavior.  They do have an effect on American and European and other behavior.  They’re in effect threatening us and others to embroil us in a war we don’t want.

And that’s a rather effective threat, which I think in part explains the degree to which the international community has been willing to pile on sanctions, including sanctions that directly affect commerce and economic activity in some countries – not the United States particularly, but others.

So in this case the threat has some utility, from Israel’s standpoint, and is unlikely to be abandoned.  Whether they, in fact, believe that an attack on Iran would be in their interest is unknown.  There appears to be a substantial division in Israel with much of the military and intelligence establishment believing an attack on Iran by Israel would be counterproductive.

So I don’t think we should assume that these threats necessarily preview an attack, but it’s a serious concern.  I think the Bush administration gave Israel a straight and clear directive not to attack, and I think that had an effect several years ago.  I think the Obama administration is discouraging Israel from doing this, in part by explaining the alternatives that the administration is pursuing.

I do believe that in the end, if the Iranian political establishment in the end concludes that an attack would serve some useful purpose from their standpoint, there does need to be a clearer signal that they’re doing it at their own risk and they can’t expect us to indemnify them from the consequences.

MR. KIMBALL:  And, Jim, if you could also address, you know, the question of how these implied and direct threats affect the negotiating – potential negotiating dynamics.

MR. WALSH:  Yeah.  Well, I think they cut both ways.  You know, threats can motivate the mind, focus the mind for those who would rather think about other things.  That can be a positive effect.

It can also have a negative effect in that it can – it reinforces those who will be arguing for pursuing nuclear weapons development in Iran, the nasty elements.  They can turn to the supreme leader and say, I told you so.  We better do this faster rather than sooner.  We better cross – you know, we better make a decision.

Iran has not yet made a decision to develop nuclear weapons.  That is what, with high confidence, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded, that Iran has yet to decide to become and – build nuclear weapons and become a nuclear weapons state.  It’s keeping that option open but it hasn’t made that decision yet.  And so, one has to be careful that threats and other actions don’t produce the very outcome you seek to avoid.

And if I can just for one moment more – when people talk about the consequences of military strikes on Iran, they talk about the price of oil, regional instability, Iranian retaliation.  As a very narrow-minded nonproliferation guy, that’s not what I most fear about a military strike, regardless of who carries it out against Iran.  It seems to me that the biggest danger – and you look at this historically and with an evidence-based approach – is that you will produce a decision to go for the bomb.  Following an attack, Iran will definitely decide to pursue a nuclear weapons capability.

You saw, as a consequence of the 1981 Osirak attack Israel took against Iraq, that prior to 1981 Iraq’s nuclear program was one of several exotic weapons programs.  It wasn’t doing so well.  It was mismanaged.  Israel attacks Iraq.  Saddam releases scientists who had previously been in prison, makes it job one, and then starts, you know, going for it.  And I fear that a military attack against Iran, when it has not yet made a determination about its nuclear future – wants to be in the game, hasn’t decided – well, then they’ll decide and it will produce the very thing we seek to avoid.

And it’s not just me saying that, and it’s not just the historical evidence.  If you look – you know, the most important journal on security studies among academics is the Journal of International Security, a referee journal.  And the summer issue had an article that evaluated the 1981 Osirak attack and its consequences.  And I think, you know, for those of you who can stand footnotes and obtuse academic language, I recommend that summer edition, to take a look at it.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thank you.

Other questions?  Yes, Harry?

Q:  Harry Blaney, Center for International Policy.

It seems to me that the crux and the key element of all of this debate is essentially trying to find a way in which the Iranians make a decision that building a nuclear weapon is not in their interest, let’s say, absent an attack on them, which is a game-changer certainly.

The issue that seems to me to be at work is how can we convince them, or have them convince themselves, either by actions or diplomacy like Jim talked about, that that is more dangerous for them and their long-term interests, and for their own stability in the region and other reasons to make that – to make that a conclusion of their own?  Thank you.

MR. DOBBINS:  I’ll take a try.  I mean, the Iranians have a nuclear program with a weapons potential for some combination of a desire for influence, prestige and security.  And so I think that they can only be persuaded to abandon that objective by persuading them that they will have less influence, less prestige and more insecurity if they cross the threshold.

In other words, telling them that they can’t cross the threshold really doesn’t persuade them that crossing the threshold is a bad idea; it just concentrates them on how to do it.  Telling them that if they cross the threshold they will be further isolated, further penalized and further subject to domestically based upheaval is the best way of dissuading them from doing that.

In a sense, by saying that it’s unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons, we deny ourselves the ability to make the argument that if they actually had nuclear weapons they will find themselves more isolated, more penalized, and more vulnerable to domestic regime change.  And so I think that we need to begin making that case.

Now, we are doing some things that are clearly premised on them having a nuclear weapon.  I mean, the decision to put an immense amount of money into building a ballistic missile shield for Europe is clearly linked to nothing but an Iranian nuclear weapon.  We’re certainly not trying to defend Europe from Iranian conventional missiles, and the system won’t work against the Russians.  So it’s only directed toward that.

So we’re putting a lot of money into deterring a threat that we’re currently saying is unacceptable.  We’re beginning to do the same thing with the Gulf States, offering them ballistic missile defense.  We’re doing the same with Israel.

But being somewhat more explicit about the consequences of crossing that threshold in terms of would it lead to an oil embargo, would it lead to a blockade – I mean, those are the potential steps that the international community could take.  And it might be worthwhile starting to talk about those steps as consequences of an Iranian explicit decision to build and test a nuclear weapon.

MR. CRAIL:  Just to add to what Ambassador Dobbins said, I think this is where the sanctions regime does have some utility in that it shows Iran that if it’s facing the serious pressure that it’s facing now before they make a decision, to think of the consequences – the pressure that they’d face if they were to actually pursue nuclear weapons.

I’d also say, in terms of convincing Iran not to make the decision to pursue nuclear weapons, I think we also have to look at the decision that Iran has made and the decision that Iran hasn’t yet made.

The decision that it has made is to have a fairly robust nuclear program, including specifically enrichment.  And, you know, I’d say from a nonproliferation standpoint, someone that doesn’t want to see enrichment technology maybe, you know, spread, it’s quite unfortunate, but Iran has been fairly successful in framing the issue, enrichment, as a – you know, as a right, and that’s something that has gotten quite a bit of sympathy within the international community.

So, efforts to try and prevent Iran from having any nuclear capability at all, or any nuclear fuel capability, is not likely to be successful because that is something that is not only the decision that the Iranian leadership has made but is also something that has quite a bit of support within the Iranian population.  What doesn’t seem to have the same degree of support is preventing an actual nuclear-armed Iran.  So I think that that’s a clear line that has to be drawn.

MR. WALSH:  Can I just add, briefly, two points?

One is to underline Jim’s point.  And here I’m going to read the one sentence from – I wish everyone would read it – you know, the latest report by the DNI threat assessments.  And they say:

We judge Iran’s nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran.  Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige and influence, as well as international and political security environment when making decisions about the nuclear program.

Again, this is something to be decided.  It’s subject to their own aims and interests.

Secondly, I want to underline the importance of prestige and domestic politics going forward.  Jim mentioned it.  My own experience in Iran and with Iranians, they think of themselves as the center of Southwest Asia.  They don’t have a lot of patience for others in the region.  They think they have a special place there.

And so, I think prestige is very important, and I think domestic politics is very important.  And so, as much as some people – understandably, given Iran’s human rights records and its other behaviors – would like to lecture Iran and like to have it cry uncle before arriving at some political agreement, that is exactly the approach that is likely to fail.

Iran – if we’re going to have a successful deal – you know, we’ve had deals with the Soviets, deals with the Chinese, deals with all sorts of unsavory types.  The way those deals work is people walk out.  Your adversary walks out of that deal and is able to turn back to its own people and say, we won, just like we turn to our own people and say, we won.

So, for a country that is very status conscious, a country that is under political challenge at home, we cannot take an approach that we’re going to grind their face into it.  We need to be pragmatic and focus on the bottom line and achieve our objectives and let people – let the atmospherics and the cosmetics be what they want to be, because the most important thing is getting a result at the end of the day, but we’re not going to get a result if we try to embarrass or otherwise show up a regime that is fragile and seeks status.

MR. KIMBALL:  Let me ask each of you a question about this particular facet.

Jim Walsh, as you said, Iran is taking a cost-benefit approach, and we’ve talked about the costs.  There have been some benefits that have been outlined in the P5+1 offer, though obviously those have not been sufficient.

So my question is, maybe to Jim Dobbins, how does one arrive at a point where you understand your negotiating adversarial partner’s interests, and what it is that can get them to yes, because sometimes that’s not always apparent.

And to what extent could positive security guarantees be part of a package in the long run?  What other kinds of incentives might be helpful in order to lead the Iranians to take at least some of the basic confidence-building steps from a nonproliferation hawk’s point of view that are important?  And maybe that’s for Jim Walsh and Jim Dobbins.

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, I mean, the fact that we don’t actually know what the Iranians want is a reflection of the fact that we’re not talking to them.  Now, by that I don’t mean that if we asked them they’d necessarily tell us.  But what I mean by that is that countries don’t make up their mind what they want until they have to.  And it’s only through a process of intense, iterative, repeated negotiation, discussion, that countries make up their mind what they really want.

So you won’t get the Iranians to tell us that here’s their, you know, rank, ordered set of objectives, and here are the things they’re prepared to give up to achieve those objectives, until you put them in a situation where they’ve thought through that themselves and understand the benefit of communicating it and make the decisions that would be necessary to articulate it.  And you’re not going to do that with one meeting a year and trading press statements in the intervening 364 days.

You know, so a process of negotiation may not yield agreement.  It always yields information.  Engagement will yield information even if it’s completely sterile in terms of achieving accommodation.  And more information leads to better policy, and better policy leads to better results.  So I’d support engagement even if I didn’t believe it would have the slightest chance of succeeding in achieving an agreement simply because both sides would be operating on the basis of better information.

But I also believe that the process of negotiation can bring countries to make decisions which they’re not – haven’t currently made and may not even be currently inclined to make through that process of narrowing down their objectives as they engage in an iterative mutual process.

MR. WALSH:  I think that’s brilliant.  I couldn’t add anything to it if I wanted to.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

OK, we have some other questions.  Here in the middle, please?  Jackie (sp), if you could –

Q:  Hi.  Raymond Parham (ph) from the – (inaudible) – Institute.  I just want to follow up on Daryl’s point, the point that both Ambassador Dobbins and Dr. Walsh made, that Iran does want influence and prestige and security.

You know, most probably the 2003 proposal that came through the Swiss ambassador in Tehran detailed what Iran wants.  How can we – what can we offer the Iranians in terms of increased influence, because that’s what they want in the region – increased prestige and increased security – to get them to, you know, give up potentially wanting – (inaudible) – nuclear weapons?

MR. WALSH:  Well, I don’t know about increased influence.  I mean, that’s for the countries in the region to work out amongst themselves.  But certainly with regard to prestige and security, those are more tractable elements that the U.S. and the international community can have.

Now, I’m going to give an example.  It’s a bad example, as it turns out.  But early in U.S. proposals they mentioned entering into the WTO, all right?  That’s sort of both an economic thing but it’s also a matter of prestige.

You know, I think we have to look – we have to brainstorm and think creatively about ways which we can take a country that has been internationally isolated, diplomatically isolated, and then provide them opportunities to show leadership on the international stage and in the regional stage so that they can enjoy the benefits of the spotlight and the prestige and reinforcement that comes from that.

You know, and that’s pretty cheap.  You know, as far as cutting a deal goes, it’s not, you know – it’s not money, it’s not – the U.S. and all countries in the world over time cut deals all the time where there’s money and there’s guns and there’s this and there’s that.

Sort of throwing people a bone and allowing them to take the spotlight and feel good about their place in the region, and to be able to communicate to their domestic constituencies that they’re an important country, you know, that’s relatively cheap, I think.  And so, I think there are lots of ways to be creative about that.

And on security, in terms of improving their security, whether it’s negative or positive security assurances, creating regional architectures, security architectures, I’m still a big fan of when it comes to the nuclear problem of multilateralization of Iran’s nuclear program, where they’re still an owner – a leader in that program but there are other countries that participate in that, you know.

And I’m in favor of that both because I think that’s a doable deal at some level, and I’m in favor of it because it puts eyes and ears on the ground and we can know better what’s going on in Iran, if it’s internationalized.  I like it, and Iran should like it, because it reduces the chance that third parties are going to execute military strikes.  You know, if there are French and British and American engineers on the ground working at sites, I think others are going to be loath to bomb them.

So I think, you know, there are different ways to get at different pieces of this, some of which we can have influence on and others, you know, less so, and that will be determined by the parties in the region.

But, you know, so far I would say 90 percent of our effort has gone into sanctions.  Ninety percent of the talk has gone into sanctions – understandable, but this is not a sanctions-only problem and we’re going to have to devote some mental and other resources to the other pieces of this, and now, to be ready down the line, to be able to execute something that would be effective.

MR. DOBBINS:  Now, what country – what Middle Eastern country currently has the most prestige and the most influence?  Turkey.  Why?  Because it has the most successful economy in the region and because it has the most successful polity, because it’s been able to bring together democracy and religion in a way that appeals both to its own population and to the populations of the region.

I think it’s demonstrable and, indeed, clear that if Iran – that a prosperous, politically attractive Iran that was in conformity with its international obligations and was not a threat to its neighbors would almost certainly enjoy more influence and more prestige than does an isolated, penalized pariah state.

MR. KIMBALL:  I think we had a question right behind you.  Speak up.

Q:  You mentioned – somebody mentioned the domestic situation in Iran and how that affects their motivations.  And given the divisions in Iran right now, and based on your knowledge of those processes, how do you assess the actual ability of Iran to negotiate the deal, keeping in mind that there are experiences where the deal was made and then it was just slapped back at home for reasons having nothing to do with – (inaudible)?


Q:  And my second question has to do with the regime change, because in addition to talking about sanctions and military attack of nuclear facilities, what happens a lot in Washington is senior officials or others dropping lines about the desirability or either possibility of regime change, given the Arab Spring.  How do you think that affects Iranian threat perception and what should be done to sort of improve – (inaudible)?

MR. WALSH:  I can take the one on domestic division.

You know, we talk a lot about domestic divisions in Iran here.  I think we – many people who read the newspaper have in their minds that the domestic divisions are the Greens versus the government, and really – I mean, the Greens, wherever they are, whatever their status, certainly disagree with the government.  But the core fissures in the government are among the leadership, among the conservative leadership at the top of the pyramid.

But even though those exist, just like they exist in Washington today between certain parties, nevertheless – and, in fact, you could argue more so in the case of Iran because it’s a semi-authoritarian state – the supreme leader is, in George Bush’s words, “the decider.”  And if the Supreme Leader gives his imprimatur and says yes to something, then those who are battling below him – Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad, those who want to run for president in 2013 – they’re going to fall in line if the supreme leader gives the OK.

And so, what you have with the Tehran Research Reactor deal in the fall of 2009 is you have Jalili going, appearing to sign off on an agreement with Bill Burns, but without having gotten prior approval from the supreme leader.  And then when that got back to Tehran, you had Kayhan newspaper and conservative elements attack it, and then the thing fell apart.

And remember, so just like here – not exactly like here but somewhat like here – they come back from that meeting with a deal, and who’s going to benefit from that deal politically, domestically in Iran?  Well, it’s Ahmadinejad.  So who’s the number one – you know, what’s going to happen?  All of Ahmadinejad’s opponents pull out the knives.  They want to deny him a victory, a political victory, just like Congress and the president do that to each other here.  But I am told by my Iranian colleagues that as a consequence of that fiasco, now they’ve formalized and regularized the process.

Remember before I mentioned that this – this 3 (percent) to 5 percent cap, no more 20 percent enrichment, was approved by the Supreme National Security Committee?  It’s my – I am told – I haven’t sat in on any of these meetings, but I am told that that now is the formal regular process, that when it comes to negotiations with the P5+1, that before Iran signs off, it’s got to go through the committee and receive its approval, which gives the implicit approval, and perhaps in some cases the explicit approval, of the supreme leader.

So, I think if the supreme leader signs on to something – and of course he’s suspicious about the U.S. and all the rest, so that’s no easy task, but if one were able to achieve that, he certainly has the wherewithal to ensure that Iran follows on on its commitments.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  On this area an unrelated question.  I mean, Peter, perhaps you can elaborate a little bit on our understanding.

But, you know, as you said, and I said at the outset, the Ashton letter was sent in October.  The P5+1 are waiting for a formal written response.  The foreign minister of Iran and others have said we are interested in talks and – I’m paraphrasing – a response is forthcoming.  What – you know, why might that response be delayed, and what kind of response is necessary in order to get that next round of talks going?

MR. CRAIL:  To address that quickly, what the P5+1 seem to be seeking is simply a formal response on behalf of the supreme leader in particular to say that they are seriously interested in holding talks on the nuclear issues, and that’s essentially it.  You know, after the latest round of talks in Istanbul in which Iran had come with preconditions about lifting sanctions and recognizing an explicit right to enrichment, which were not helpful to negotiations.

I get the impression that, you know, those involved in the negotiations were very disillusioned with the whole prospect and were not willing to – what they want to do, you know, by all means, is to avoid another repeat of that.

And so the idea is to seek from Iran to make sure that when the Iranians say that they’re interested in negotiating, that’s not just something that’s being said by some officials here and there, that it is something that has the blessing of the supreme leader.  But I don’t sense that there are any necessary preconditions beyond simply saying that they want to talk about the nuclear issue.

I did want to address the question about regime change, though, in that I think it’s important that, particularly when we’re talking about the sanctions that we’re putting in place, that there are, especially in Washington, competing aims for the sanctions.  You have many members of Congress saying, well, the aim of sanctions is regime change.  We’re trying to, you know, suffocate the regime to such an extent that it’s ultimately going to fall.

On the other hand, I think you have a far more helpful message saying we’re out for – we’re not out for regime change specifically; we’re out for behavior change.  And that is exactly what the role of sanctions are.  The sanctions are being put in place because of the violations that Iran has committed regarding its nuclear program, regarding human rights and a whole host of things.

And if you want to show that the sanctions are genuinely tied to that behavior, then you can’t go and say, well, we’re out to change your regime, because then there’s no incentive for Iran to change its behavior in the first place.  They’re going to say, whatever it is that we do, you’re going to be after us anyway, so why should we change our behaviors or engage in negotiations?

Now no one should be under any illusions that even if there was a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, that the U.S. and Iran are going to be buddy-buddy friends again.  You know, there are a host of concerns that we have and that many other countries have regarding Iran’s activities, including human rights, including terrorism and many other things.

So we don’t necessarily have to say that we are we’re now comfortable with this regime.  I think what is what we say is that any change in regime is ultimately up to the Iranian people, it’s not up to us, and that we aren’t going to take proactive steps to try and make that happen.  We are going to continue to voice the legitimate concerns that we do have about Iranian activities, but if Iran is willing to change its behavior, we’re willing to work with them in those areas.

MR. WALSH:  Let me dot that “i” and say that when people on the Hill say our policy should be regime change, that plays into the hands of the hardliners.

They are doing a favor to the hardliners in Tehran, and they’re calling – they make a negotiated settlement far more difficult because then the supreme leader, who is already skeptical based on his experience of U.S. relations, as we are skeptical about Iran – both parties have reason for doubting the other – when they read in a newspaper our folks saying – and they’re, you know, chairman of a committee or whatever, and they say, our policy is regime change, then they say to themselves, well, these offers of negotiations are a trick.  This is just meant to play us.

And it makes it even more difficult to have a direct and real conversation about substance and, you know, one where each party, though suspicious, would have enough confidence to actually do something.  So I think those are very unhelpful.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, we’ve got folks around the horn here.  Yep, go ahead.

Q:  Thank you.  You talked about – (off mic).  I was wondering if you expect anything to happen in the WMD-free zone.  Do you think Iran and Israel might show up and could there be any result – (off mic)?

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, why don’t we take one more question and then we’ll deal with both questions?  Right here.

Q:  To continue –

MR. KIMBALL:  And if you could just identify yourself, please.

Q:  I’m Rex (ph) – (off mic).

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Q:  To continue that conversation you just had on U.S. domestic forces, for the last 30 years there have been institutions and careers created to overthrow Iran.  And I completely believe – I agree that these people have disrupted any kind of negotiations.

So my question is, to what extent can institutions and people who are, I think, dedicated to the overthrow of the regime – to what extent can they disrupt these ideas of negotiation that we’ve seen?

MR. WALSH:  I’ll probably let Jim take that one.  I’ll take the first one on WMD-free zone.

You know, the WMD-free zone in the Middle East is the “little engine that could.”  You know, I’ve actually been involved in this somewhat and, you know, it comes out of – partly out of, what, the 1995 NPT Extension Review Conference, and I was there for that.

And when people passed it at the urging of Egypt, people thought, you know, Iran and Israel aren’t going to participate in this baby.  But they have not exercised any sort of veto.  They have participated in the preliminary stages.  So it’s actually gotten farther along than people expected.

Do I expect this to make great and rapid progress?  No, I don’t.  But I look at it like the movie, “A Field of Dreams,” which is, you know, “Build it and they will come.”  You know, it’s not going to happen today, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but these people should be meeting and they should be working.

Believe me, there’s a tremendous amount of work that you would have to do.  We are so far from having any sort of real agreement.  You know, all sorts of instrumentalities and understandings have to be worked out and, you know, a ton of stuff.

So it’s a good thing we have a lot of time.  It’s a good thing this thing isn’t going to happen overnight because there’s a lot of stuff to work out.  But I give credit to Israel and Iran and to the other parties in the region for continuing this process.  And we should just let it bubble along.  And each year that it moves forward I think is a victory, and then hopefully somewhere down the line, if we’re able to resolve some of these other problems, it will actually turn out to be a useful institution.


Jim, do you want to try to take –

(Cross talk.)

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, on the WMD-free zone, my understanding is the Israeli position is that they’re prepared to consider a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the context of a comprehensive Middle East peace, and that if a comprehensive Middle East peace can be achieved, that this is something they’re willing to consider.

So, my guess is they’ll come and they’ll express that and say, you know, our conditions are we’re not going to have a free zone when half the countries in the region are still theoretically at war with us.  Now, whether they would actually deliver on that, even in the context of Middle East peace, is another question, but I don’t think the U.S. is going to press them to do so, other than in that kind of context.

You know, on regime change, I mean, I don’t think we can guarantee the Iranian regime against internally generated demands for reform of a sort that would, in fact, change the nature of the regime anymore than we could protect Mubarak.  And I don’t think we can protect them against legitimate, overt and legal activity in the United States on the part of people who advocate that sort of thing.

I think what we could do, and probably would do in the context of an Iran that otherwise ceased to seriously threaten our interests in the region, would be to back off from any official activities of a covert or even overt nature that were designed to destabilize the regime.  And I think we probably would do that.

And I think that in the context of an Iran that abandoned its nuclear program and its support for terrorist regimes in the region, we would probably cease whatever support – and I don’t believe we’re actually providing support to violent groups that seek the overthrow of the Iranian regime.  I think, in fact, we’ve quite resisted efforts by some rather prestigious Americans to embrace rather than to – rather than to castigate and limit the activities of those kinds of groups.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, I think we’ve got a couple of other questions that we can fit in here in the time we have.  Up front, Jackie.  And was there another – OK.

Q:  I’m Jim Finucane from Georgetown University.  In following up on Professor Walsh’s comments about more meetings, I’d like to ask a question about costs and benefits to the U.S. of formally establishing diplomatic relations with Iran.

MR. KIMBALL:  So, how might we create a pathway to do that, Mr. Dobbins and Jim?

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, you know, I mean, Iran has a mission in Washington, and of course they have a mission in New York, so mere parity would suggest that there would be advantages to us to have some kind of diplomatic outpost in Tehran for intelligence collection if nothing else.

If you’re talking about diplomatic recognition, I mean, the main obstacle to it is that the Iranians would refuse it under current circumstances since the legitimacy of the regime is largely based on their opposition to the, you know, Grand Satan.  So there would have to be a significant change in the nature of the relationship, and probably in the nature of the regime before they would be prepared for full diplomatic relations.

And there are obstacles in the United States, too.  There are a number of unresolved issues dating from the seizure of our embassy that would need to be addressed in some fashion.  But I think it indubitably would be in the U.S.’ interest to have the kind of outpost and communications we had with the Soviet Union throughout its existence, and with China after Nixon’s opening with China, even though under Mao and Stalin those were far more erratic, far more irrational, and far, far more dangerous regimes than Iran.

MR. WALSH:  I agree totally with Jim, both the last point about relative danger.  I mean, China under Mao with nuclear weapons – wow, I think that was arguably the most dangerous regime in human history, or modern history.

And I agree with the first point that Iranians aren’t ready for that now.  That’s part of where they are in terms of their domestic politics.  But you raised an important issue that we will turn to again, because eventually the Iranians are going to change their mind or something, and then this issue is going to come up again:  Do we recognize them?

And I get this when I work – in my work on North Korea all the time:  Should we have formal recognitions?  And, you know, then there’s this debate about is it something you do out of the box to help create, both for crisis management reasons but also to create a condition where you can pursue strong negotiations – you know, we have formal diplomatic relationships with every other tyrant and dictator in the world, you know – or is it a reward, you know, something you give at the end of a process?

And we’re going to have that – whenever this becomes a live possibility, we’re going to have that debate here about whether to do it or not.  In the meantime, I would like to see us – you know, this is at such modest cost – at least consider some of the proposals that have been made – for example, to allow direct flights between Tehran and New York from Washington.  Yes, it’s going to be a headache for, you know, the Department of Homeland Security, blah, blah, blah, blah, but, you know, I consider that an administrative problem, not a national security problem, and the details can be worked out.

So I think there are some steps along the way that we could take now until such time as both the Iranians and the United States are in a position to be able to address that.

MR. KIMBALL:  But, all that said, that’s not necessary to put into place the sustained negotiations that Ambassador Dobbins was talking about that are going to be necessary to –

MR. WALSH:  Not at all.  I mean –

MR. KIMBALL:  – begin to resolve the –

MR. WALSH:  In 2003, Iran suspended its enrichment program.  We didn’t have relations with them then.

MR. KIMBALL:  Exactly.  Right.

All right, final questions and then we’re going to wrap up.  So, right here, please, and then –

Q:  Thank you.  My name is J.D. (ph).  I’m with the Osgood Center for International Studies.  The question is, so does it ultimately fall down to the threat of Iran having nuclear weapons is its legitimate – its influence in the region versus Israel?  Is that what it comes down to?

MR. KIMBALL:  And then, Tim, why don’t you bring it over here to this gentleman?

Q:  Thank you.  (Inaudible).  I’m a retired foreign service officer.  Turning back to the issue of kind of formal relations, we do have an interests section in Tehran, but there are no Americans there –

MR. KIMBALL:  Right.

Q:  It’s apparently a unit – I forget which country, Kuwait or Dubai, something like that –

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah, it’s the Swiss.

Q:  – where there are Americans who would be ready to just come right in there –


Q:  – Farsi speakers and so on.  And I’m a little perplexed as to why it hasn’t happened.  The Bush administration floated the idea.


Q:  I understand that some – the Obama administration looked at this fairly carefully and so on, and nothing happened.  Ambassador Dobbins has referred to the same problem.

But you would think that the advantages would overcome every qualm.  So why isn’t it happening?  It would be so easy and so much to our advantage in really helping people who were, from time to time, captured and detained by the Iranians.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just very quickly, yeah.

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, I think it’s a good question.

I think the Bush administration inched up to this, apparently were in conversations with the Russians, who were prepared to broker an agreement.  I mean, the Iranians would have to agree, so they would have to issue visas for the people to come, and it’s not certain that they would although there were signals that they would.  There were statements suggesting that they would.

And then, as I understand it, the Russians invaded Georgia.  Our relations with Russia collapsed.  And it was late in the Bush administration and they didn’t feel like, you know, pursuing a controversial issue.

I think it’s disappointing that the Obama administration didn’t pursue this.  I think in its early years it was sincere in a desire to engage Tehran, but it was inept and it missed several opportunities, and this would have been one of them.

MR. KIMBALL:  Peter, Jim, do you want to –

MR. WALSH:  Yeah, on this issue, you know, that’s not the frame I look at it through.  I’m a simple, narrow academic who focuses on nonproliferation.  So I don’t – I don’t want to see a situation somewhere down the road where Iran becomes a nuclear weapons state.  It’s as simple as that.

And I don’t want to see the other countries in the region get nuclear weapons, and I don’t want to see other countries in other regions acquire nuclear weapons, and I want the countries that already have nuclear weapons to stay on a glide path to fewer and fewer.

So, I’ve really got tunnel vision on this one.  So I – you know, there are other reasons to want better relations with Iran, but I really look at it through the nuclear prism, and so my first concern is preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and having those nuclear weapons states that maintain arsenals to give those arsenals up.

MR. DOBBINS:  I think Israeli concerns are driving the American debate, clearly, but the concerns of the Gulf States is driving a lot of the regional debate.  The solidarity of the Arab League in wanting to overthrow the regime in Syria, the Assad regime, is almost entirely a function of their antipathy towards Iran, and Israel has nothing to do with that.

But the fact that the entire Arab League is supporting regime change in Syria is a reflection of their concerns about not just the Iranian nuclear program but that among other things.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, to wrap up, I mean, let me just underscore some of the points that the speakers made earlier that I think bear emphasizing, which is that – I mean, the reason why we pulled this event together, we’re speaking out about this right now, is we are deeply concerned about the path that Iran is on.

A nuclear-armed Iran is not inevitable, it’s not imminent, but we need to act with greater urgency.  And you know, as we’ve outlined, the limits of sanctions, the counterproductive effects of military strikes and the fact that they won’t ultimately stop a nuclear-armed Iran, we see sustained diplomacy as the essential strategy that needs to be deployed here.

And we are deeply concerned about the fact that it has been over a year now since the last P5+1 meeting in Istanbul.  And that meeting itself, as Jim Dobbins said, was not only not successful but it was not designed for success.  We need sustained diplomacy.

And most urgently, you know, as Peter Crail and Jim Walsh were outlining, given that Iran is now enriching uranium to near 20-percent levels, ostensibly for the Tehran Research Reactor, it brings it that much closer to a so-called breakout scenario.

And so that really does need to be the focus for U.S. strategy and diplomacy, and that should be one of the reasons why we act with greater urgency.  And that requires that the president speak out more frequently, that, in my view, the administration not wait for the Iranians but to seek out every opportunity to engage on these issues, on the nuclear issue with the Iranians.

And that’s why Congress also needs to do much more to support the diplomatic track and avoid unhelpful actions that simply emphasize the punitive side, because in order to make the pressure work, we actually need to have the negotiations begin.

So those are some – my summary points.  I want to thank each of our speakers for their great presentations and everyone for your attention.  We will have, next week sometime, a transcript of this event for those of you who want to –

MR. WALSH:  Can I sanitize my part?

MR. KIMBALL:  You can – we can go back and revise your remarks, Jim – (laughter) – but I think you were quite clean in your remarks.

So I want to thank everyone.  Have a good week, and we will see you once again at another Arms Control Association event.  (Applause.)



The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.


Amid rising tensions over Iran's nuclear program, the key parties engaged in the issue have all said they are interested in a diplomatic solution to the current impasse. In a letter on behalf of the P5+1 last October, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton called on Iran to return to serious talks on the nuclear file. Iranian officials have said they are ready for talks and are preparing a formal response.

Country Resources:

Briefing on the Future of the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal: Issues and Policy Options



Friday, January 20, 2012
9:30am to 11:00am

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Choate Room

The Pentagon's new strategic guidance released on Jan. 5 by President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta said: "It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy."

In the coming weeks, President Obama will review options for revising the presidential guidance that determines the U.S. nuclear force structure and nuclear employment policy.

The process creates an opportunity for the president to fulfill his April 2009 pledge to "put an end to outdated Cold War thinking," reduce the enormous cost of maintaining and modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and open the way for deeper U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons reductions.

Please join ACA for presentations from three leading experts on the issues and the options for the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.


Morton Halperin served served in the Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton administrations working on nuclear policy and arms control and was a member of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, which released its report in 2009.

Hans Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists and co-author of "Reviewing Nuclear Guidance: Putting Obama's Words Into Action," in the November issue of Arms Control Today.

Amy F. Woolf is a specialist in nuclear weapons policy at the Congressional Research Service. She is the author of "Modernizing the Triad on a Tight Budget," which will appear in the Jan./Feb. issue of Arms Control Today.

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of ACA.

To RSVP contact Tim Farnsworth at [email protected] or call 202-463-8270, ext. 105


The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL: Well, good morning and happy New Year.  I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association.  We’re an independent membership-based organization.  We’ve been around since 1971.  We’re dedicated to providing information about the risks posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons – and nuclear weapons are among those most dangerous weapons, if you didn’t notice already.  And we’re also dedicated to offering practical policy options for reducing and eliminating those risks.

Welcome this morning to our briefing on the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  We’re going to be discussing a number of timely issues, but to start let me just bring you back to April 2009, when President Obama spoke in Prague about his vision and the steps for a world without nuclear weapons.  And he said in that speech that he would put an end to Cold War thinking by reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.

And a year later, in the administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, that report outlined the national security rationale for U.S. nuclear weapons.  And that document, among other things clarifies that, quote, “The fundamental role of U.S. nuclear forces is to deter nuclear attacks against the U.S. and our allies and partners,” unquote.

Now, in the next few weeks President Obama, his national security staff, with support from the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, are engaged in a so-called post-NPR analysis – post Nuclear Posture Review analysis – a classified review of the requirements for how the military should plan for the potential use of nuclear weapons, the requirements for the number of nuclear weapons, and the requirements for the strategic forces that carry those weapons.

And earlier this month, the administration offered a tantalizing clue about what might be in the works in this review when the president and Secretary of Defense Panetta released the Pentagon’s new strategy for United States defense on January 5th.  And that document says, quote, “It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory, as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy.”

So this is an important juncture in the president’s and the nation’s decision process about the future of U.S. nuclear weapons.  And we’ve organized this event to help explain some of the issues and choices before the president and, to some extent, before the Congress on these matters.  And we’ve got a great set of people who’ve got vast experience on this issue.  Very glad all of them are with us this cold, January morning.

And to start us off, we’ll hear from Hans Kristensen who’s the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.  He is the co-author of an article in the Arms Control Association journal, Arms Control Today titled “Reviewing Nuclear Guidance:  Putting Obama’s Words into Action,” which is out on the table outside, which lays out a number of these issues very, very well.  Hans is going to explain why the presidential nuclear guidance process is so important and what it involves.

Next we’ll be hearing from Mort Halperin, who many of you know.  He has served in the Johnson, Nixon and Clinton administrations, working in nuclear policy and arms control issues, and was a member of the congressional commission on the strategic posture of the United States, which released its report in 2009, I believe.  Mort is going to be outlining several steps that the president could take to rethink and revise Cold War nuclear weapons strategy in the weeks and months ahead.

And because all of this involves decisions about the future force structure and the costs related to the nuclear weapons force structure, we’ve asked Amy Woolf from the Congressional Research Service to provide us with an explanation of the current plans for maintaining U.S. strategic submarines, ICBMs and strategic bombers, and to explain some of the policy implications of the likely downsizing or the deferral of modernization programs as the Pentagon and the Congress face important budget decisions in the coming year and in years ahead.

And then after all of that, I’m going to be offering a few brief thoughts on how the administration could – if it makes the right policy choices on nuclear weapons strategy – can reduce the cost of maintaining our stockpile of nuclear weapons while still maintaining a formidable nuclear deterrent.

So each of our speakers is going to have about 10 minutes and they’ve defied my request to come up here to the podium.  They’re each going to be speaking from their seats, which is actually fine.  And then we’re going to take your questions, I’m sure we’ll have a lively discussion because we’ve got a very knowledgeable and expert audience here today.  So with that, Hans, the floor is yours.  Please start us off.

HANS KRISTENSEN:  Thank you and thanks very much for the invitation to come and talk about this – what’s so important and what’s at stake.  Yes, this is where the – potentially the rubber meets the road here in terms of the president setting his guidance, his ideas for what – how the military should plan for the potential use of nuclear weapons, and then it goes through a long and complicated process, obviously, to get from his desk to the war planners who are – that are actually drawing up the designs, so to speak, for the – for the various plans.

And we have a couple of indicators.  Obviously National Security Adviser Donilon and STRATCOM Commander Kehler, they’ve both spoken early on to this particular process.  Donilon talked about potential changes in targeting requirements and alert postures.  And General Kehler talked about a review – how to review and revise the nation’s nuclear strategy and the guidance on the roles and missions of nuclear weapons.

And so before I go into it, it’s important to think about two things going on right now.  I think there is one element of all this implementation stuff and analysis that has to do with implementing the NPR, the Nuclear Posture Review, a finished product, so to speak, that they’re now producing what’s called an NRP implementer – an actual document that will tell the military, the various services, what has to be implemented out of that document and when. That is one particular plan.

Back in 2001, that particular document took about 14-or-so months to produce from the point that the NPR was completed to the point it was distributed to the services.  So we’re about at the time where that document should be finished now.  And the other one has to do with additional reductions beyond the NPR and New START, if you will, horizon, in addition to what we have already agreed to.  And it seems to me that that’s where most of the targeting review that we’ve been hearing so much about is relevant.

And as Daryl said, we’re now at the end of a 90-day analysis of options.  It’s a very much smaller process than we saw during the Nuclear Posture Review, involving much fewer people.  But as far as I understand, the president now – or the National Security Council has now been given these options.  And they’re reviewing it, preparing for the president to see.  I haven’t heard that he has seen, but it’s very close.

And based on that, obviously, he will decide – choose among some of these options.  And back to the National Security Council, I assume it will go for some form of rewrite or maybe a new presidential guidance to the military for the mission.  And there’s several steps it has to go through and it’ll take a long time, but it’ll go through a lot of interpretation.  The president’s guidance will go through a lot of interpretations.  It’ll be analyzed.  Some people cynically say once in a while it’ll be watered down.

And the first step is the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where they used to produce this document that was called the Nuclear Weapons Employment Plan.  It’s now a different document.  They have merged about half-a-dozen different, previous forms of guidance documents into one that’s called “The Guidance for the Employment of the Force.”  Once that document is complete, it includes a wide variety of options, scenarios that the war planners have to plan for, objectives of particular strike plans.

There is actually one document that has been released in full from the past of this process, back from 1974 – one of these documents that you can go in and you can see in enormous details what kind of categories of targets in which country would have to be struck for what purpose, et cetera; what are the rules and principles for doing it and withholding forces, et cetera.

Once that document is complete, it’ll go to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and they will, based on that and the presidential guidance, build what’s called the Nuclear Supplement to this Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan.  That’s a document that allocates the forces, so to speak, to the services to carry out the mission.  And with that in hand, the commander of STRATCOM, he issues his guidance to what’s known as the Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike.  That’s the unit at STRATCOM of 400 people or so that are actually building the nuclear strike plan and maintaining the strike plan.

That is now known as Strategic Deterrence and Global Strike.  It’s operations plan 8010.  It was first published in 2008.  And the current version that is in effect is a change to that plan that was issued in February 2009.  Now, this document, even though it came in 2009 – or this plan, it’s based on previous guidance – guidance for the employment of the force that was issued in May 2008, I think it was.  And also it actually goes all the way back to the presidential guidance that was issued by George Bush in 2002.  So we still have to see the visions and the policies, if you will, of Obama administration policies make their mark on the strategic war planning.

Now, there are a couple of issues of how that review can – some of the considerations, for example, how can they reduce the role of nuclear weapons?  I mean, we know about slashing warheads and delivery systems here and there, but there are other drivers that determine requirements, both the number of warheads and characteristics of delivery systems, et cetera.  And for example, one is how many target categories do they have to aim at.  How many target categories of what kind do they have to hold at risk, so to speak, or be able to hold at risk with nuclear forces?

If you choose to launch nuclear weapons, what kind of damage expectancy are you required to achieve with a strike?  It can be greater or lower, it will affect the requirements to force capabilities, et cetera.  What degree of alert posture do you need to have?  How great a portion of the forces will have to be able to launch on prompt notice?  Can you live with less?  We’ve already taken a lot of nuclear weapons off the force over the last decade and a half.  Can you go lower?  How low?  Can you even take entire groups of weapons out of the alert posture?

Can you relax the counterforce focus in the war plan?  It’s very much sort of force-on-force planning, if you will, using nukes to hunt down nukes and other military forces, of course.  But can you relax that drive in the force, so there is less war fighting, if you will, force-on-force planning, and come up with some other form of how to define a sufficient deterrent posture.

And then, of course, how many options do you need to offer the president?  I mean, there seems to be this drive after the end of the Cold War here that, because of the concern of proliferation, the number of options that the president has to be offered seems to have proliferated.  And so the question is, can you reduce that – how many things we’re asking the military to be able to do with the nuclear forces?

And then, of course, as was embedded in the Nuclear Posture Review itself, the discussion about how can you reduce the role of nuclear weapons?  Can we move toward a sole purpose of nuclear forces?  Can you reduce the requirement for the portion of the nuclear posture that has to deal with conventional, chemical, biological scenarios and just focus entirely on just responding or deterring to a nuclear attack?  It’s clearly the intention described in the Nuclear Posture Review that the United States should move in that direction.

And then, of course, there is the issue of the forces themselves.  How will this drive back and affect the force posture?  Amy will talk a lot more about that.  You know, we’ve already heard a little about it in the news.

Does the U.S. still need a triad?  The NPR says it does.  Others have been saying that as we go to lower numbers, we might have to re-evaluate the need for a triad; and in which case, what legs should be cut?  Most people sort of automatically tend to say, oh, the bombers.  How would an all-ballistic missile nuclear-posture look and how would it function, et cetera?  These are thoughts that have to be entertained during this process.

Does the U.S. still need to keep upward toward 800 warheads on alert, which is an enormous force given what’s out there.  And what kind of modernizations will be necessary or what is appropriate, if you will?  No other nation is building more than 8 ballistic missile submarines, so why do we need to build 12?  The Brits have some; the French have some.  Russia’s ICBM forces is declining toward somewhere near the range of 200 by the early 2020s.  So why do we need to keep up to 420?  So these are some of the thoughts that have to be worked through on this.

And then, of course, finishing on what Daryl mentioned from the Prague speech, how does this new review match the pledge in Prague to put an end to Cold War thinking?  That’s a high bar.  And nobody really has defined what that means.  But with that, I’ll pass it on to Mort and I look forward to your questions.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Hans.

Mort Halperin.

MORTON HALPERIN:  Good morning.  Exactly the question I want to talk about:  What does it mean to put an end to Cold War thinking about the kind of nuclear force that we need?  Because I want to suggest that the answer to that is really the answer to only one question, which is:  What kind of force do we need to be able to deter a large-scale surprise Russian attack?

You may remember during the Clinton administration, President Clinton had a line in his speeches that said:  And we no longer target Russia with our nuclear forces.  And I was talking to a political guy in the White House and he said, you know, that’s the biggest applause line in all of Clinton’s speeches.  And I said, well, think of how much applause you would get if you actually did it.  (Laughter.)  And he was actually quite startled by that and said, but, haven’t we done it?  And I said, no, we haven’t done it.

And I want to suggest we still have not done it; that is, the size of the force is utterly unaffected – the need for how big it has to be is utterly unaffected by the purposes of nuclear weapons, because even if we think we’re going to use them first in certain scenarios, that requires a force far smaller than what we think we need to deter a surprise attack.  And even if you went to no first use, a sole purpose, the force size would still be guided by this single requirement, which reduces the largest size force, which is a force sufficient to deter a large-scale Russian surprise attack on the United States.

The Nuclear Posture Review deliberately did not answer that question.  Because they wanted to get on with the [New] START negotiations, they took the answer from the Bush administration, which produced a number small enough that they could negotiate the START treaty.  So that was literally not analyzed and, in my view, is what we need to come to grips with now, because until we change that requirement, we will not get agreement on the possibility of going below the New START numbers.  And of course, even if we did go to agreement on that number, we would still have the question of whether we can do it without the Russians.  But it would certainly make it possible to propose to the Russians to negotiate a lower number, and I want to come back to that at the end.

Now, what I’ve said is that we have not in fact changed that requirement at all.  It is still done the same way – and you had a little bit of it explained to you.  We now have one of the documents which shows it.  What it says is that in order to deter a Russian surprise attack, we need to be able to absorb that attack and respond by destroying targets in Russia.  And it then lays out a set of targets that we need to destroy, none of which are, quote, “cities,” in the sense that we don’t target cities, and I think that’s an issue we don’t have to deal with.

We never will target cities and it makes no difference, because many of the things we target are in cities.  And so if you think destruction of population is what’s important to deter, we get that by targeting these targets.  But it specifies, as was suggested, what kind of targets we need to hit, with what degree of destruction of the set.  If there are 2,000 bridges, do we have to destroy 2,000 or only half?  And with what confidence do we need to have that we will destroy each bridge; and what level of destruction of each bridge or other target will we have; and whether we need to put two different warheads on it – that is, one from one part of the troika [ie, triad] and a second one from another part of the troika.

The nuclear guidance that the military has answers all of those questions.  And it has not been changed since the end of the Cold War.  The basic structure and the basic answers are the answers that we gave when the Soviet Union existed and Russian troops were in Berlin.  Now we have made some changes in those numbers, but we’ve made them incrementally.

There is a famous story – maybe apocryphal, but I think real – of Cheney, when he was secretary of defense, wanting to make some change in the nuclear force structure; I think it was taking some bombers out of the strategic war plan.  And he was told that he couldn’t do that because then we could not re-meet the requirements for deterring a Russian nuclear attack on the United States.  And he said, what do you mean?  And they explained it to him.  And he said, well, what if I take this category – I think it was bridges – and say, you only have to destroy them with one strategic system and not two?  And they said, well, that’s fine.  If you do that, then we can go to this lower number.  And he said, OK fine, I will make that change in the nuclear force posture.

The changes have all been made that way, incrementally, when the purpose was to be able to justify a particular reduction.  I would argue that we need to start from scratch.  We need to ask ourselves the question:  Under what circumstances might the Russian leadership wake up and say, oh, it’s Easter Sunday; the Americans are at rest; we can launch a surprise attack and it will be successful?  What would have to be going on in the world that would make that even conceivable?  And how much certainty of how much destruction of Russia would the Russian leadership have to have in order to not be tempted to launch that attack?

I think if we ask that question and we really ask it over again – not say, what can we change in the current posture – but asking that question.  Given the current state of Russia, given the state of our relationship, given the places where we confront them, we would come up with a substantially lower number as a requirement for strategic nuclear forces.  And I think that’s what we need to do.  I hope that’s what we are now in the process of doing.  But I am skeptical that that is what we are doing.

Now we also need to confront one other question, which is in the presidential guidance.  Presidents, beginning I think back in Roosevelt’s time, have told the military that there needs to be a requirement for prompt launch.  Now prompt launch is a euphemism for going, if not a close second, to going first – that is, to launch when we believe there is a Russian attack coming, or at least as soon as bombs start to land.  There is presidential guidance that the United States needs to have a capacity for prompt launch, which drives a number of factors in the kind of forces we need and how much they need to be on alert.

I would suggest that the president ought to tell the military that not only there is no requirement for prompt launch, but he does not intend to do prompt launch; that he intends, if there is a threat of a nuclear attack, to make sure there actually is an attack; and even if there is an attack, that he wants the time to assess it and decide how he will respond in kind.  That will probably produce more requirements for commander control and for survival – particularly survival of the president, which is the hardest piece of this – but it will also make changes in the kind of strategic nuclear forces that we need.

Now, if we engage in this kind of exercise, which I think is the most important one that we could do, then I think we will reach the conclusion that we need a substantially lower number of deployed nuclear weapons than the 1,500 in the [New] START treaty.  I think we easily could conclude that the number could be a thousand or even lower than a thousand weapons.  And I think we could then propose to the Russians an amendment to the New START treaty which doesn’t change anything but the number of deployed strategic weapons.  And I think we could go to a thousand without worrying about China – and without worrying about the Russian tac nukes, because we would still leave in place the U.S. nondeployed weapons, which numerically roughly balance out the Russian tac nukes.

I think also, just to make sure I say something controversial, that we ought to agree that, if we go to a thousand, we will leave the troika intact, because I believe the major bar for the U.S. going to a thousand is not these actual calculations, but the fear that everybody has who is interested in a particular part of the troika – that if we go to a thousand, their part of the troika will come under threat.  So everybody opposes it, fearing their part would be attacked.  I think with a thousand we still could and should have the troika, and agreeing to that in advance – I think it would make it possible to go through this exercise I’ve described in a real way and come out with new numbers.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thanks very much, Mort.  That’s very helpful.  And now Amy Woolf, on the triad – or the troika, as Mort has been referring to it – and the questions therein.

AMY F. WOOLF:  Good morning.  Thank you, Daryl.  My goal, contrary to what Mort just said, is to not say something controversial.  (Laughter.)  For those of you who don’t know, I work for the Congressional Research Service, and we are nonpartisan, unbiased, required to be so by law.  And therefore – and we provide analysis and information to Congress; we don’t offer opinions or advocate outcomes.

So I’m going to start with a disclaimer:  If I happen to let an opinion or an advocacy point slip out, do not attribute it to CRS.  CRS does not support that.  That’s me personally, and I’m in a bit of a box here, because you have something that I wrote personally in front of you.  So you’ll evidently be aware of the fact that I have opinions.  But I’m going to try not to say something controversial.

As Daryl said, I’m going to talk primarily about the triad, and its aging, and the modernization programs that are planned for it and some specifics on the programs – not deep details on the budget; you can look those up, and I’ll tell you who actually knows them – so not me.  But I’m going to talk about the programs and how much they cost, and then weave in a little bit of how you should think about saving money on those programs.

I’m not going to tell you, you should save money; that’s an opinion.  I’m not going to tell you how to save money – but the sorts of things you should think about if you’re trying to save money.  And I’ll wrap up with some of the policy issues that you ought to think about if you want to change the force to save money.  And both Mort and Hans addressed those policy issues, so I’m again just going to give you a way to think about it, rather than answers to the questions.

First I’m going to start by talking about the triad.  And I know everybody here knows what the triad is.  We have ICBMs, land-based long-range ballistic missiles; SLBMs, submarine-launched long-range ballistic missiles; and heavy bombers based in the continental United States that can reach anywhere around the world.  During the Cold War, analysts agreed that each leg was recognized to have strengths and weaknesses, and argued that we should keep the triad so that we could offer redundancy, maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses across the force – complicate attack planning, enhanced deterrence, all those phrases that were used to justify keeping three legs of the triad during the Cold War.

At the end of the Cold War in the ‘90s, we started to hear another justification for keeping the triad as we were reducing our forces.  And that justification was a hedge:  If something should go wrong in any one leg of the triad, as we were bringing the redundancy down by reducing numbers and reducing systems – and if anything should go wrong in one leg of the triad, we had a hedge of having another leg of the triad that could fill in while we fixed the problem.  If we found cracks in the fuel on D5 missiles, we could replace those, repair those while the ICBMs could hold up the deterrent for the time being.  That’s the hedge.

Both of those arguments are still made today:  the redundancy, the synergy, the strengths-and-weaknesses argument and the hedge argument.  The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review re-affirmed that the United States intended to maintain a triad for those two reasons.  And the New START treaty was written with the maintenance of the triad in mind.  In other words, the Pentagon decided we should maintain a triad early in the NPR process; told the New START negotiators, make sure the treaty is written so we can maintain the triad; and when the president submitted his report and officials testified on how the United States would size and structure its force under the New START treaty, top line:  We will maintain the triad.

Now, the problem is, all three legs of the triad are aging.  They can be extended; they have been extended.  You know, you like to hear that the B-52 bombers are older than the pilots.  As a matter of fact, they’re older than the pilots’ fathers.  They’re probably as old as the pilots’ grandfathers.  We can maintain these systems to a certain degree – less true for the submarines than for the bombers or the ICBMs, but we stretch them out.

The fact that they are aging means that the Pentagon, in each of the services, is individually deciding on ways to replace each leg of the triad.  This is not seen as a broad strategic goal, although some would argue it should be.  It is seen as something each service needs to do to replace its aging leg of the triad.

The Navy is replacing the ballistic missile submarines because, at 42 years, they will fall out of the water.  You can’t fall out of the water; they will have to come out of the water.  (Laughter.)  And that’s based on the reactor age.  Each submarine goes through an engineering and reactor overhaul, and at the end of the second 20-year cycle you’re done.  They have to come out.  The bombers have been upgraded, maintained, extended.  The ICBMs just went through a major life extension program where all the rocket motors were repoured and the guidance packages were repaired.  Everything has been upgraded.  But at some point in time, the services all expect them to collapse, and you need new ones.

So let me talk specifically about the modernization programs for each leg of the triad.  And then, as I said, I’ll talk about what you might want to think about if you want to cut these.  First, the submarines:  Currently we have 14 Ohio-class submarines.  They will start coming out of the fleet in 2029 because of this aging problem with the reactor cores.  The current plan is to build 12 of a new class of submarine, and each of the 12 new submarines will have 16 launch tubes on it.  The current submarines have 24 launch tubes, but under New START we’re only going to use 20 launch tubes per submarine.  So we’ll have 12 new submarines with 16 launch tubes per submarine.

The FY 2012 budget contains just over a billion dollars in research and development funding for the new submarine.  If you look at the out-years of the budget, that number for research and development ranges from about 1 billion (dollars) to about 1.15 billion (dollars) or 1.2 billion (dollars), for a total of about 10 (billion dollars) to $11 billion in research and development over the planning years of the submarine.  The procurement funding – the long lead time procurement funding for the submarine – starts coming in in about 2015 or 2016, at about 700 (million dollars) to 800 (million dollars).  It will ramp up eventually, but the long lead time funding comes in.

In FY 2010, the Navy thought that each of these 12 submarines would cost, on average – not including the first submarine, which has to carry the cost of the research and development and design money – about 6 (billion dollars) to $7 billion – way too expensive.  So they’re trying to bring down the cost to about 4.9 (billion dollars) to $5 billion on average for submarines two through 12.

They’re succeeding; they’re down to about 5.7 billion (dollars) for the second submarine and hope to bring it down further.  And they’re doing that with design changes and by using technologies off the shelf rather than newly developed.  One thing they’re doing is building a reactor that can live through the whole life of the submarine, which would again be 40 years.  And therefore you don’t need the reactor overhaul in the middle, which can be expensive.

So they’re trying to bring down the cost, but you’re still looking at a submarine program that, as the arms control community likes to say, will cost $350 billion over the life of the submarine – which, by the way, is 50 years – 50 to 70 years, depending on – from the first boat going in the water to the last boat coming out of the water.  So that 350 billion (dollars) is not in the next 10 years.  In the next 10 years we’re looking at about 10 (billion dollars) to 12 billion (dollars) in R&D costs and some procurement costs.

This program of 12 submarines would allow the Navy to continue to deploy their submarines in two oceans – we have a base in the Pacific and a base in the Atlantic – and to maintain what is referred to as continuous at-sea deterrence, with two to three submarines on station in the Pacific and two submarines on station in the Atlantic.

To maintain that operational deployment pattern, you need 12 submarines, or the Navy would tell you, you need 12 submarines – because at any given time, you have those submarines on station – which means they’re in range of the targets they’re supposed to shoot at and ready to shoot; prompt response – that you would have that, you’d have some submarines going out to be on station, some submarines coming back in, and some submarines in port for restocking and crew rest.  Ohio-class submarines currently spend about 70 out of 90 days at sea.  So if you do the math – and the Navy does the math – to maintain the current kind of deployment pattern we have, with the three submarines on station in the Pacific and two in the Atlantic, you need about 12 submarines.

Cost reduction proposals for this program include both delaying the advent of the first submarine in a fleet – as I said, you need to start buying the new submarine, building the new submarine, about 2019 to bring it in in 2029 when the first Ohio-class comes out.  But if you delayed it a couple of years, the first Ohio-class could come out in 2029, and the new one would not go in until 2030 or 2031 or a little later.  That would bring your fleet down below the 12 at sea, but they think they might be able to manage with a two-year delay.  That’ll save you some money in the next 10 years by allowing you to slow down the R&D and delay the long lead time procurement.

You could also reduce the number of submarines in the long run.  That won’t save you any money in the near term, because you still have the R&D and the design money.  For the near term, it doesn’t matter how many submarines you buy in the long term.  It’s like putting an addition on your house; the cost of the architect is the same whether or not you put on three rooms or five rooms.  So it doesn’t matter.  But that’s a decision you could make later to save money in the life-cycle cost of the program, to have fewer submarines.

Let me turn now to the next-generation bomber.  Right now we have, under New START, planned 60 bombers in the fleet under New START; that would be 20 B-2s and 40 B-52s.  The Air Force plans to procure between 80 and 100 new – what they call next-generation bombers, first expected to enter into service in the middle of the next decade, 2025 or thereabouts.  Now, the current bombers are likely to remain in the force to between 2030 and 2040.  So, you ask, why do they need a new bomber in 2025?  Has nothing to do with the nuclear mission.  Bombers are what is known as the long-range strike force for the long-range strike mission, of which they are looking at a family of systems.

Right now there’s $197 million in the FY 2012 budget for R&D on the new bomber.  That’s not very much.  But they expect the new bomber – depending on how it’s designed, whether it’s manned, unmanned, nuclear or not nuclear – 550 million (dollars) per copy, which could bring it to 60 (billion dollars) to $70 billion for the fleet – depending, again, on how many they buy and how they design it.

Now it’s important to note that the Air Force really, really, really, really wants this bomber for conventional missions.  And the Air Force has already said that, in an effort to save some money in the early years, it’s not going to put the nuclear capability on the bomber right away.  That means hardware and software to be able to carry, communicate and launch nuclear weapons.  It’s possible the Air Force could delay this problem to save some money in the near term.  It’s possible it could never put nuclear capability on this bomber.  We’d then, as Hans said, go to a dyad.  Or we could keep the old bombers for a long time.

But it’s also worth remembering that any effort you make to save money in the bomber as a way to save money on nuclear weapons really messes with the Air Force’s plan to build – (chuckles) – a conventional bomber.  And, therefore, anything that you might do on the nuclear side bothers them on the conventional side.  And anything that you might do on the conventional side doesn’t really save you money on the nuclear side.

Finally, the ICBM modernization program:  As I said, over the last 15 years, the Air Force has done a lot of work to refurbish, rebuild and extend the life of the Minuteman III ICBM.  Originally it planned to replace that in about 2020; now we’re looking at 2030.  One could argue they could stretch it even further.  If they don’t, they’re going to be buying new ICBMs about the same time they’re buying new submarines and buying new bombers, and that’s unaffordable.  There really is no cost estimate on how much a new ICBM would cost because they’re still studying what a new ICBM would look like.  But if one wants to save money on ICBMs, one would either stretch the program or buy fewer.

But that’s what you need to think about, as I said – I’m going to talk about how you think about this.  If you want to reduce the amount of money you put into the budget in the next year – or the next five years or the next 10 years – on any of these modernization programs, you’re talking generally about slowing them down, stretching them out.  The budget funding – the money in the budget for the next several years is all R&D and design money.  You don’t start procurement money until the next FYDP, which is five to seven years out.

If you do that, if you slow them down, you don’t actually save money on nuclear weapons.  You may actually cost more money in the long run; you just do it later.  But if you’re trying to reduce the amount of funding in the budget – the budget request, which is what everybody seems to be trying to do in the Pentagon right now – you want to bring down the budget request – you stretch the nuclear programs.

One reason you stretch nuclear programs, beyond saving money in the near-term budget, is because eventually you may decide you don’t need them as much, and you buy fewer of them in the long run.  And that’s where you reduce the cost of nuclear weapons in the long run.  But again, how many you buy in the long run is not a decision you need to make now.

I could remind you that, at one point in time, we were going to buy over a hundred B-2 bombers –132; dropped to 75; dropped to 21.  We were going to buy 200 peacekeeper ICBMs; dropped to a hundred; dropped to 50; stopped there.  We were going to buy 24 Ohio-class submarines; dropped to 21; dropped to 18.  We did buy 18, took four out, made them conventional cruise missile carriers; now at 14, dropping the next submarine to 12.  It does seem that the longer you wait, the less you need.

So that may be one – (chuckles) – benefit if you’re looking for a way to reduce long-term costs:  Drag it out now, and eventually you buy less.  But if you’re looking to save money in the budget request now, the number that you eventually buy isn’t going to change that.  It’s whether or not you buy it sooner or buy it later.  And you can be pretty certain that in the budget debates they’re having in the Pentagon, they are talking about delaying some of these programs to reduce the amount of money you need in the budget request.

Finally, I’d like to conclude with some policy issues.  As both Hans and Mort talked about, the size of our force is strongly driven by the presidential guidance on how we need to operate and execute that force.  A lot of people like to think about nuclear weapons as an arithmetic game.  The treaty allows us to have 1,550 warheads.  How can we allocate those warheads across a smaller force – fewer ICBMs, fewer submarines – so that we don’t have to spend all the money on the ICBMs and the submarines and the bombers?

We can have those warheads and concentrate them on a smaller number of systems.  But that’s not how we operate our nuclear force.  We don’t operate our nuclear force based on arithmetic; we operate it based on guidance.  And the guidance says we need to be able to launch promptly against a wide range of targets.

As Hans said, the range of targets – the geographic spread of them – has probably increased in the last 20 years, not just looking at Russia, or Russia and China, but looking at a greater number of countries for counterproliferation reasons.  If you decide that you don’t need to spread your force and operate it the way we operate it, with a prompt response requirement, with keeping the submarines on station requirement, with other requirements that lead to keeping weapons on a wider number of ICBMs and bombers – if you change those requirements, you may be able to change how you operate the force.

If you change how you operate the force, you may be able to reduce the number of delivery systems that you purchase, with or without reducing the warhead numbers.  But wouldn’t it make sense – and this is an opinion – to make the decision about changing how you operate the force before the budget forces you to do it, because the budget has forced you to reduce the number of delivery systems?

Right now, we’re kind of in that crossover point.  The administration is looking at changes in the guidance that might allow you to change how you operate the force and, therefore, buy fewer systems.  But the budget pressures, which may win the day, are putting a lot of pressure to buy fewer systems or buy them later, which may then force you to change how you operate the force.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Amy.  That was a very helpful overview of the many issues and considerations.  And I just wanted to offer some thoughts about how, with respect to the policy issues and the budget decisions, the president and the Congress might go about doing this.  And there’s an op-ed by my research director Tom Collina and I in the Christian Science Monitor that outlines some of these ideas.

But let me just say, in taking all this into consideration – if as Mort Halperin suggested, the president does indeed undertake a zero-based review of targeting requirements, starting from scratch, and looks again at the old Cold War requirements for prompt launch, it’s pretty clear that the United States could significantly reduce the number of targets and, therefore, reduce the number of deployed U.S. nuclear warheads to – as he said and I agree – 1,000 or below.

And we’ve got to keep in mind that no other county has any more than – other than the U.S. and Russia – 300 strategic warheads.  And that country is France, by the way.  And China possesses no more than, maybe, 50 nuclear warheads on long-range ballistic missiles.  So even at these lower force levels, there’s still more than enough firepower to deter a nuclear attack, or perhaps other types of attacks by potential adversaries.

So in our view, the view of the Arms Control Association, I mean, these changes are prudent and they’re long overdue.  And I would agree with Amy that, ideally, the policy should be adjusted before the budget, rather than having the budget drive the policy.  But as we said at the outset, the process that is now entering the post-NPR analysis should be concluded this year.  And the budget decisions that the Pentagon, the White House, OMB and Congress need to make will be made this year, and next year, and the year after, because these weapons systems are not built in a single fiscal year.

So let me just outline an illustrative scenario.  And there are six ways to Sunday to reconfigure the strategic forces and save, in the many ways that Amy outlined.  But if the president and the Congress did just three things, we could save at least $45 billion over the next 10 years and still maintain a strategic deployed nuclear force of over a thousand nuclear weapons.

First step would be to downsize the number of nuclear-armed submarines by reducing the overall fleet from 14 to eight or fewer boats, and building no more than eight new Ohio-class submarines.  That would save roughly $27 billion over the next 10 years, and as much as $120 billion out of the total estimated cost, $350 billion, over the life of the program.

Secondly, we could and should delay the new strategic bomber program.  As we heard, the B-52s, the venerable B-52s, and the B-2s will be in service for several decades more.  There is no rush to pursue this new bomber, at least for nuclear warfighting and deterrence purposes.  And by doing so, according to the Pentagon, we could save $18 billion over the next decade.  So 27 plus 18, that’s 45.

Additionally, third, we could and should reduce the number of land-based nuclear-armed Minuteman III three missiles.  That would achieve some marginal operating and maintenance savings.  Just, for instance, one squadron could be retired or removed from each of the three missile bases, and we would have a force, instead of 420, to 300.  And this would more reasonably align the size of the U.S. ICBM force with that of Russia, and save hundreds of millions of dollars in operations costs.

So those are just three ways to do this, and we think that the president and the Congress need to take a hard look at these options as they connect up with the nuclear policy decisions that the president is going to be making in the next few weeks.

So with that, let me stop.  And I hope that you have enough information and provocative ideas to stimulate your questions and suggestions.  We’ve got a very well informed audience here, so let me open up the floor to your questions.  We have a microphone here.  If you could raise your hands, identify yourself, ask your question, we’ll try to answer it and have a discussion.  So why don’t we start over here?  Kelsey, with –

Q:  Yeah, hi.  I’m Susan Cornwell with Reuters.  There wasn’t any discussion of missile defense, and I just wondered if you deliberately left that out.  If – you know, but as a potential point for cost savings, do you want to make any comments on that?

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, we didn’t include it because we’d have to have a two-and-a-half hour session, and perhaps longer.  Well, I mean, obviously the U.S. missile defense programs are another huge cost element in the defense budget, consuming close to $10 billion if you calculate all the different programs together.  There are some in there that are clearly ripe for removal, like the MEADS program, which is a technically troubled and slightly unpopular program at this stage.

And I’m not sure off the top of my head what the exact figure is, but I think there are billions that could be saved over the next decade if that program is phased out.  But I think we’ll save our fire and our critique about missile defense programs for another day.  But that’s obviously another key part of the Defense Department’s calculations about how to save hundreds of billions over the next decade.  Does anybody else want to weigh in on that?

MR. KRISTENSEN:  I just, perhaps, want to remark that it does, obviously, have an effect on the type of nuclear relationship, as well, we’re trying to establish both with Russia, but also China – because those two countries look at missile defense capabilities – growing missile defense capabilities – as something that have an effect on what kind of nuclear forces they think they need.  So it does have an effect on their long-term planning as well, just to remark there.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, right up here?

Q:  Hi, I’m Sameera Daniels, of Ramsey Decision.  I come at this from a lay perspective, because I don’t consider myself an expert.  But there’s a broader question as it relates to Hans Kristensen’s question posed about Cold War thinking.  And I’m wondering to what extent – and this is for any of you – whether you think that we’ve been able to distinguish what this Cold War thinking is.

And, you know, it’s set off in some of the reports – you know, we have to get beyond Cold War thinking.  Have we really identified, you know, the distinctions in a way that is coherent, and then translated that into a practical – I don’t see that.  And I actually do read the reports.  So this is a persistent question that I’ve had.

MR. KIMBALL:  So what is Cold War thinking and how do we move beyond it?  And it depends a lot on what it is.

MR. HALPERIN:  Well, I think it’s two things, one which I discussed, which is the notion that there is a serious possibility of a surprise Russian attack and that we need to design our force to deter the Russians from deliberately deciding to launch an attack on the United States.  That is clearly, in my view, Cold War thinking.  And it is the thing, as I’ve suggested, that drives the whole process.  So changing that would be enormously important.

The other form of Cold War thinking was the notion that we had a conventional deficit, and therefore we needed to use, or threaten to use nuclear weapons first in various scenarios involving conventional attacks and biological and chemical weapons.  And there the administration has moved very far by saying that our goal is to get the sole purpose.  They should get the sole purpose.  We should understand that nuclear weapons have the sole function of deterring their use by others.  So those are, I think, the two dominant elements of Cold War thinking which we need to change.  And if we did change, we’d make a big difference.

MS. WOOLF:  There’s also the problem that Cold War thinking in the rhetoric, versus Cold War thinking in the planning, are two very different things.

The Bush administration went a long way in its rhetoric to get past Cold War thinking.  In their Nuclear Posture Review in 2001, they specifically said, Russia is not an enemy.  We are no longer going to size and structure our nuclear force as if Russia were a smaller version of the Soviet Union.  Instead, we’re going to size and structure our force so that it can address the capabilities of anybody who might have capabilities that can threaten us.

Q:  But that doesn’t change –

MS. WOOLF:  Now, yeah, two things happened after that.  If you’re – when they did that – when they said anybody could be a threat, and we’re going to make our capabilities responsive to their capabilities, all of the sudden you’re not reducing your own capabilities.  You just have a different excuse for maintaining your capabilities.

Also, they said that Russia was not a threat and we weren’t going to structure our force and size our force as if Russia were the Soviet Union – but if you added up the warhead numbers, you could not imagine using 2,000 – 2,200 warheads against anybody except Russia.  So there’s a disconnect between the rhetoric of changing Cold War thinking and the planning of changing Cold War thinking.

And what Hans has been struggling with, in describing this to you, is how do you make that connection and go from changing your rhetoric, which this administration is trying to change as well, to actually changing your planning?  And lots of people have lots of reasons why we don’t make that leap very well, and I’m not going to offer an opinion.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  Yeah, I just wanted to say that one big problem, of course, is that the way it is – as many people in Congress have experienced on many occasions, is that it is very, very hard to get any insight to how the actual planning, on the planning level, is taking place, and how the presidential guidance is being interpreted in terms of the actual strike plan.  And it’s a very, very small group of people that are actually allowed to see the war plan, for that matter.  And so it’s hard to get a detailed critique going on of the requirements and the principles in that type of planning.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, I would posit that there’s a kind of cultural concept of what Cold War thinking is.  And part of it is the concept that we might be willing to engage in an actual nuclear war, and wage a nuclear war.  Deterring a nuclear attack is one thing, waging a nuclear war is another thing.

And that is actually still part of the plan.  And I think what we have to recognize here, in early 2012, is that Dmitri Medvedev is not Josef Stalin, and Dmitri Medvedev is not going to countenance the possible annihilation of tens of millions of Russian citizens, let alone hundreds.  And the same for the United States president.  So, I mean, it is a different day and age in that sense.  But the war plan is still, on a technical level, a plan for possibly waging a nuclear exchange between these two superpowers.

MR. HALPERIN:  I want to make the distinction, which I think is very important and often overlooked, between the war plan and the requirements of the forces that we need to deter.  They’re entirely different things.  The war plan is developed from the forces we have at every – in any given moment.  And it’s developed against the potential targets that potential adversaries have at that moment.  And you simply use the forces in the most effective way.

What drives back to the requirements is this requirement for prompt launch.  But the question of what size force we need and what targets we need to be confident that we could destroy is a question of what deters the enemy, and is entirely separate from the question of what the war plan is doing with the weapons.  So you don’t actually have to see the war plans to come to grips with this question of what kind of force, with what capability to destroy what targets, do we need to deter a Russian attack.

MR. KIMBALL:  Other questions?  David?  Here it comes.

Q:  My name is David Hoffman, with Foreign Policy magazine.  I’d like to ask all of the panel – you know, sort of the theme of today is, Obama’s got some new decisions to make.  And if you look back at the last couple of years, you know, in his campaign he promised to do something about alert status and then he decided not to.

Amy mentioned the strategic reserve.  And if you look back really far, you know, half of that reserve was created for geopolitical uncertainty, Bill Perry said in 1994 – even if you look even further back, at all of the SIOP plans that predate the present one and how little presidents have actually been able to change them.

My question to you is, does President Obama have a lot of room – the willpower or the inclination to make change here?  Or is he going to be carried along by the same sort of inertia that’s characterized the past?  And should he have more unilateral action?

And I mention this because one of the reasons not to move unilaterally, it’s always posited that we have to move bilaterally.  And so I ask all of you, should Obama’s decisions wait for some kind of bilateral arrangements with the Russians?  Or are there things that he can do unilaterally, or should do, in alert status, in strategic reserves, or in force structure or in targeting?  Is there any room for him to move?

MR. KIMBALL:  Mort and Hans, you want to –


MR. KRISTENSEN:  Go ahead.  I’ll go after you.

MR. HALPERIN:  I think that the move he has to make unilaterally is on what, roughly, is alert status, which is the requirement for prompt launch.  That’s not something you negotiate with the Russians.  You can’t.  I think the president needs to say to the military, I do not have a requirement for prompt launch – which does not mean that some of the forces won’t be capable of prompt launch.  They obviously will be.

But the requirement for a large-scale prompt launch drives a good deal about the question of how many submarines need to be on station at any given moment, for one example, describes – it affects a lot of things.  That has to be changed unilaterally.  The president ought to do it.  I do not believe that would be a major political issue in the United States.  He’s not telling the military to change anything.  He’s just saying don’t do the alert status because you have a presidential requirement.

On the strategic reserve, what I think we’ve said, which I think is right, is that the strategic reserve has two purposes.  One is geopolitical and the other is for massive failure.  But it turns out, since one of those requirements comes from the Department of Energy and the other comes from the Department of Defense, we have the same number to do both tasks.  So we don’t have some number in the strategic reserve for geopolitical changes and some number for catastrophic failure.  It’s the same number.

And each department has said it’s enough because they’re assuming it would all be used for their purpose.  So you’d have to change both to change the number.  Now, I think we can change it.  But what we’ve said is, when the modernization of the nuclear production facilities is moving along and has reached a certain point, then we can reduce that number.

I don’t think it’s urgent, in my view, because the other role of that force is that it balances, in numbers, the Soviet tactical nuclear forces.  And if we’re ever going to get agreement on the Russians to reduce their tactical nuclear forces, we need, I think, to say we will reduce that force at the same time.  In terms of moving bilaterally, what I’ve suggested is, once the president decides we can do the deterrent function with a thousand and not 1500, which was the conclusion that came out of accepting the Bush rationale, then I think we should negotiate that with the Russians.  And I think we could negotiate with the Russians one more agreement before we get to all these complicated issues, which, as I said, leave the treaty exactly the way it is, just change the number of overt weapons to a thousand from 1500.

And whether the president will do it or not, you know, I wouldn’t bet on it.  But I think if he understands what the precise issues are and how little cost it would be to him politically to do it, he would do it at least in December, if not in October.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  I just – if the past is any experience or any guidance, I think, you know, what he decides will be modest.  I mean, it’s just always the way that it had been in the nuclear business.  Nobody goes in and makes giant, huge, fast decisions.  But I think, looking to the future – the future horizon, I think it’s very important that what he does do is something that puts down the stakes for the road that he is signaling that we’re interested in traveling.

And so I think it’s important that what comes out of it is not sort of a signal to other nuclear powers that now for the next couple of decades, you know, it’s going to be the same as we’ve done in the past, just as – just at lower numbers.  We’ll slice a little here, slice a little there, relax this requirement here, but the thrust of it is the same.  It seems to me that if putting it into Cold War thinking has to have any meaning on, yes, we have not defined it, and nobody has a good explanation or probably, more importantly, everybody has their own opinion about what it means.  But if you – if that sentence means anything, it seems to me that there has to be something more than just slicing a little here and slicing a little there.

MS. WOOLF:  I agree with Hans that any changes you see now are going to be modest.  They were modest in 2001.  They were modest in 1994.  But modesty adds up.  When you ask if the president can do this unilaterally or bilaterally, I know you meant, does he have to do this by negotiating with the Russians?  I think if you’re doing – waiting for a bilateral agreement with the Russians, you’re going to be waiting a long time.  When I heard bilaterally, I think does he – can he do this alone, or can he – does he have to wait and do this with the Pentagon?   Can he do this alone, or does he have to wait and do this with the Congress?

Does he have to wait and do this with the Pentagon, and there are some things he can do unilaterally and require that the Pentagon follow along?  I think he would be very, very cautious in doing that.  Just historically, the president has always, in these Nuclear Posture Review situations, taken a lot of guidance from the Pentagon.  But as Hans said, you kind of need to push forward and stop just slicing at the edges.

Now, unilaterally or bilaterally with Congress is a whole different issue.  And in the current political environment, I would be very, very surprised to see the president do anything more than modest, because of the political pushback and because of the makeup of the debate in Congress.  There aren’t a lot of members of Congress who pay attention to these issues, but those who do have very strong opinions.  And I’m not certain he wants to get into that debate with Congress right now.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, I would just quickly add that – I mean, while – in my observation of President Obama and the White House and their work on nuclear weapons policy issues, in talking with some of the people who advise him, he is very engaged on these issues.  He’s very knowledgeable, I think probably more so historically than most American presidents.  So I think, you know, he will have – when the time comes to make these decisions about the nuclear weapons guidance, he will have the tools to make what I would consider to be the right decisions and to unpack some of these issues.

And I would just add, with respect to, you know, your unilateral – can he do this unilaterally question, David, that, you know, these decisions are unilateral decisions, in the sense that these are presidential decisions about the purpose of nuclear weapons, the employment policy, the conditions under which we would.  They’re influenced, of course, by all these different factors, but these are his decisions.  And how the decisions are implemented in arms control strategy or how the force is structured are decisions, perhaps, for later.

And I would just add to one of the things that Mort said, which is that, you know, if the president decides that U.S. defense requirements do not – defense needs don’t require such a large force or such a large force on prompt launch status, he can decide in this classified process that we can go lower.  And that will set up a formal negotiation with Russia in later in 2012 or 2013.  Or the other thing he could do very easily, and I would propose, is that he invite the Russian leadership to reciprocally reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads within the New START framework, below the 1550 ceiling that New START establishes.  And that would be a way in which to accelerate the process.  We would still have the transparency and monitoring and verification benefits of New START.  And even as they do that, there could be a formal negotiation involving all types of nuclear weapons – deployed and nondeployed, strategic, nonstrategic.

The next negotiation with Russia, involving all those different types of nuclear weapons, is going to be much more time-consuming than New START.  The process for ratifying that treaty is going to be equally complicated.  And in my view, there’s no reason to wait another 5, 6 years to take another cut from what is, you know, by any reasonable definition, a Cold War-sized U.S. and Russian nuclear force.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, Paul.  And then, we’ll go back around the horn.

Q:  Yeah.  Paul Walker with Global Green USA.  Thank you all for a very interesting discussion.  All of us – I’m sure for most of us in the audience, it’s kind of déjà vu, too, because we’ve being doing these angel – angel with devil counting on the head of a pin sort of calculations, you know, for several decades now.

But I wanted to ask you a question about the triad or the troika, Mort as you say, versus a dyad.  I mean, we all know that we’ve thought about going to a dyad for, at least, 20 years since the end of the Cold War.  And I know the Department of Defense, in their first Nuclear Posture Review, was challenged a bit back in the early 90s to do this and potentially recommend going to a dyad.  In the end, they didn’t.  And in the discussions, I think probably a lot of us had, we realized that it was the political pressures that were really brought to bear – the ICBM caucus, the sub and shipbuilding caucus, and the Air Force, you know, bomber caucus.  If we didn’t have those political pressures up on Capitol Hill and all the domestic constituencies for sort of nukes for jobs, you know, in bringing the bacon back home in the districts, would any of you think, at this point, it might be worthwhile to go to a dyad?  And if so – or even a single – a single nuclear force – and if so, which one would you choose to give up?

MS. WOOLF:  If they were not told to do so, the services would gladly give up some of their nuclear capabilities.  Over the years, the services have gladly given up their nuclear capabilities.  Nuclear weapons, for portions of the corporate Navy and the corporate Air Force, are a pain in the neck.  They take time, money, resources, training, crews, people.  They would probably gladly, at this point in time, reduce their roles.  Top of the list would – not my choice, but I think what the Air Force has already said would be to not have to exercise the bombers in a nuclear mission, but they are told otherwise by the Pentagon, by the Office of Secretary of Defense, by the civilians.  So if it were up to the Air Force, it is highly – it’s highly likely – it is possible that we would lose the bombers from the nuclear mission.  They’ve never considered them – the nuclear mission to be critical to their desire to have lots of bombers, and that would probably go.

Second, although I don’t think the Air Force would choose to get out of the ICBM business, if they were required to find the money to buy a new ICBM, they may buy too few of them to sustain a fleet.  So that might be the second to go, if the Air Force were put in the position of having to pay lots and lots of money and not having the money.  The ICBM fleet also cost them lots of human beings.  And they are under severe personnel restrictions right now.  The Navy – the submarine fleet is somewhat protected in the Navy.  It’s – they’ve taken nuclear weapons off the surface fleet and off the attack submarines.  The ballistic missile submarine fleet is somewhat protected by having its own protectorate strategic programs office.  So I think if we left it up to the services over the next 50 years and the budgets got really tight, we’d have all-SLBM fleet.  But I have no personal opinion on which way we should go.

MR. HALPERIN:  Yeah.  I have a different view of this.  First of all, my view is that you do not save any money by cutting out a weapons system, that the amount of money the Pentagon wants to spend is infinite.  And it is determined by the political process of what number they can get and not by adding up the weapons systems that they say you want.  So I think it is a false notion to say if we cut out the submarines or the bombers or the missiles, we save so much money.  What we do is make that same amount of money available to the Pentagon for other purposes, which, in my view, are much less valuable than these weapons.

I would not get rid of the triad even if you could get rid of this political pressure, which of course is you can’t, and therefore is, in my view, a sufficient reason to keep it, because it keeps – what happens is, as I’ve said, people fight going to lower numbers because they fear they’ll lose their leg of the triad, and there’s no way to get rid of that.  But also, my view is the most important thing is to get to lower numbers and to get off the requirement for prompt launch and the notion that we need to do prompt launch because otherwise we don’t have a survivable force.  And I think having the triad makes it easier to argue that we can go to lower numbers and that we can come off prompt alert and not worry about being able to do prompt alert.

So I would never get rid of the triad, myself.  I think it helps us get to lower numbers, which is, in my view, the important thing.  It helps us to get off the requirement for prompt launch.  Those are two important values.  And no matter what size the Pentagon budget is, I would still rather spend the money on the triad.  There are lots of different ways that the services would want to send their money.  I would trade the submarines for aircraft carriers in a minute.  I would trade the nuclear capability of a small number of bombers for this overall size of the bomber force in a second.  And the ICBM force, simply not expensive.  We can extend the life of it.  So my view is there’s not big money here.  And the triad makes it easier to argue to go to a smaller force less required to be on alert, and those are the important values.

MR. KIMBALL:  I would agree with Mort, that one can make the prudent, necessary changes to nuclear policy and reduce the number of forces, get rid of prompt launch, and have a triad.  The Arms Control Association produced a report in 2005 that outlined a force of 500 deployed strategic warheads on a triad.  So, I mean, that’s possible.  Getting rid of a leg of the triad is not necessary or even preferable in order to get to that point.

But I would say, Mort, that, you know, it – from a broader defense strategy standpoint, it does matter whether we spend $45 billion on pursuing a new bomber and a new fleet of nuclear arms submarines, because that’s $45 billion that might not be spent on destroyers that the Navy wants to build or flak jackets for the troops we want in the field.  I mean, there are some Hobbesian choices that the Pentagon is facing and, of course, Hobbesian choices that the federal government as a whole are facing about how to spend federal tax dollars.  So you know, $45 billion that’s not necessary to achieve the goal of maintaining a formidable deterrent is $45 billion that we ought to save over the next decade, in my view.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  I just want to remark, also, that I think it’s – rather than – I’m less interested in the issue of whether to continue a triad or not, than trying to reduce the requirements to the forces that are on the three legs.  And think hard about, how do you, in those three legs, reduce Cold War thinking.  And so I think that’s kind of where we are – we’re at now.  But I do think it’s interesting that we’ve seen, within the last year, two senior officials – one from the White House and one from the Pentagon – both say that if you reduce to certain levels, at some point, you will have to make a decision about a triad.  I don’t personally know whether that’s true or not, but I think it’s very interesting that they say it.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we still have a lot of questions.  Why don’t we go over here, and then we’ll come to front.  And then, we’ll try to get folks in the peanut gallery.  Thank you.

Q:  Howard Morland.  I understand that deterrence requires the credible threat of actually detonating a nuclear weapon in enemy territory, and that for credibility, you would have to have some practical goal that would be accomplished by doing this.  So can anybody describe the situation in which the detonation of a U.S. nuclear weapon in foreign territory would improve that situation?  And what would the target set be?  Why would it have to be nuclear weapons to destroy the target set?  And how would the situation be improved after we detonated these weapons?

MR. KIMBALL:  It’s a philosophical question.  Mort, you’re best at those I think.

MR. HALPERIN:  Yeah, I actually believe we need to start having a debate about precisely this question, and that what we ought to say is that we deter a nuclear attack on the United States or its allies or those we offer our nuclear protection to by the – by the certainty of a prompt and decisive military attack on the country that launches the attack, and that we ought to get away from saying that at least initially that would certainly be a nuclear attack.

I mean, for example, if the North Koreans dropped a nuclear weapon on South Korea, it is hard to imagine a nuclear attack on North Korea that would in the interest of South Korea or the United States or anybody else, including the people of North Korea, who obviously will have had nothing to do with that decision.  And so the response to that, in my view, I think needs to be a prompt conventional attack, which removes the leadership of the country, which holds them accountable for it, and which destroys all of their nuclear capability – none of which you need nuclear weapons for, and none of which would nuclear weapons be particularly good at.

Now that’s a radical change in our thinking, because it says not only should we not respond to conventional attacks with nuclear weapons, but we shouldn’t necessarily respond to nuclear attacks with nuclear weapons.  But I think, given our overwhelming conventional forces, and given the countries that are likely to use nuclear weapons against us, that we need to start having that debate.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Let’s take three or four questions at once then we’ll try to answer them.  If could try to be brief because we’re running out of time.

Q:  Thank you, yes.  Francesco Fabian (sp), I’m a – (inaudible) – diplomat.  I am interested in knowing your thoughts about this withdrawal – the B-61 – I mean, the nonstrategic nuclear weapons that are in Europe – 200 more or less – that are, frankly, to my view, they seem to be absolutely obsolete in a way.  They do not guarantee any deterrence for European countries.  Deterrence is guaranteed more by their alliance with the United States and the old system of weapons, as Mr. Halperin was saying.

So what are you doing to – and it seems to me that everyone is convinced in America to withdraw those weapons, by the way.  There – and there’s no objection to that.  So what are you doing in order to get that moving?  Because it seems that it is – it’s happening very, very slow, and is expensive, makes no sense.  We – (inaudible) – modified to transport those weapons that are obsolete.  I mean, is a ridiculous situation, frankly.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Let’s take a couple more questions – then Bruce.

Q:  Tom Callan (sp) with Defense Group Incorporated.  Got a question or two on China, and with their heavy increase in their research and develop and military, and their open-source stated comments that the use of a high-level nuclear explosion for an EMP does not, in their opinion or definition, cross the nuclear threshold, why is China being summarily dismissed in virtually all the discussions this morning?

MR. KIMBALL:  And Bruce.

Q:  Bruce MacDonald, U.S. Institute of Peace.  I – there have been some defense commentators who have pointed out that the – Russia’s strategic nuclear forces have been declining – were declining regardless because of age and maintenance issues and that sort of thing.  My question is, what is the – do we know what the projection is for a continued decline in Russians’ nuclear forces, sort of regardless of negotiations, and what options or opportunities might that present?

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Those are good questions.  Hans, why don’t you take a whack at the Russia’s future forces and maybe China, and then we’ll come around.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  Well, Russia is in the middle of an overhaul, obviously, of its nuclear force structure – mostly important emphasized by the withdrawal within the next 10 years of all the old ICBMs, including SS-18 and SS-19.  So by the early ’20s we’re going to have a force on land that’s entirely of the new Topol-M and the RS-24.  There’s no way that Russia’s production as planned of ICBMs can offset that withdrawal – that reduction.  So we’re going to see the Russian ICBM force go significantly down, probably to around 200 I think, within that time frame.

They’re thinking about building a new heavy ICBM, liquid fuel, to replace the SS-18 on the other side of the mid-’20s – perhaps earlier, but we’ll see what they can do.  But that’s sort of what’s on the pipeline on that.  On the sub force, they’re basically replacing the old Delta III with a new Borei class and the Bulava ballistic missile, which eventually will also replace the Delta IV.  So they’re going toward some form of sub force that will probably dwindle to about eight or so in the long term.

On attack nukes, there’s a lot of focus on disparity.  Much of the Russian attack nuke force is very, very, very old.  And I think a significant portion of it will be withdrawn, not only because the systems are too old but also because some of the surface ships and even submarines that are currently equipped with nuclear will be converted to non-nuclear, more capable systems, for the kind of scenarios that they will do.  So I think we’ll see a significant reduction in that over the next decade or so.

Oh China – there was a question about China as well.  Why has it been omitted?  I didn’t intend to omit it, but it’s a factor in the U.S. planning, absolutely, and it has been increasingly so over the last decade and a half.  The U.S. is very focused right now, of course, on the general, overall, military modernization but also of what the impact will be of them modernizing of their longer-range forces.  But whatever they do, it is a significantly smaller force than we even have after the Russian nuclear forces will decline to where we can foresee them going in the foreseeable future.  So it’s just a very, very different factor to plan for.

On the B-61s in Europe, well, I’m for withdrawing them.  I don’t think that’s a secret.  But – and I think they’re – you know, the end of a posture that used to be there and serve a purpose but doesn’t anymore.  And now we just have a lot of officials and some departments of defense who can’t get over it and sort of decide where we move now.  And – but I understand it will take some time.  There are people who are concerned about the effect that it will have.  And so there’s a transition process, I guess.

But it comes back to another issue also – which was mentioned also, about the – where are we going in terms of reducing the triad or what have you.  And it is clear in the Nuclear Posture Review that at least, in the way I read it, that part of the thinking of what are bomber – long – the heavy bombers, the purpose they serve, partly, is also in the form of extended deterrence missions, if you will.  So there is some sort of a mission there that is related to the future of nuclear weapons in Europe as well, but I certainly do not think it requires deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe anymore.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Mort, on China and Amy and –

MR. HALPERIN:  Let me just say one quick thing on Russia.  At the risk of Cold War thinking, I think it is important to try to prevent the Russians from building the new, large, liquid fuel, strategic missile which would have multiple warheads on it, and which would – is not a good weapons systems to have.  And that’s one of the reasons I think it’s urgent to try to get a proposal with the Russians, whether we do it by a treaty amendment or by unilateral steps, to go down below a thousand deployed warheads, because I think it would make it more likely that the Russians would not deploy the new missile.

On China I think it’s clear that whatever number of nuclear weapons you think we need to deter China, it’s a far smaller subset of what we need to deter Russia.  So the problem of China does not really come into this kind of discussion until we get to much lower numbers.  When we start getting to 500, then we need to bring the Chinese in, get them to be transparent, get them at least to agree not to increase beyond their numbers.

As far as Europe, it’s clear those weapons are militarily irrelevant.  We ought to say that publicly, and then be guided by our European allies as to what to do.  But I think – the U.S. has sort of said it publicly if you hunt, but if we say that publicly, clearly and loudly, the political situation in Europe will make it, I think, impossible for the Europeans not to say, well, then please take them out, which is clearly what we should do.

MS. WOOLF:  On the B-61s in Europe, although the United States over the years has had several rounds of reducing nuclear weapons in Europe unilaterally, this administration and every other administration has said that a decision on whether or not to keep those weapons there is an alliance decision, a NATO decision, not a U.S. decision.  And to say that everybody agrees that they should go home is not true in alliance circles.  There are some who would like to keep them, so the – keep them in Europe.

So the alliance decision and the strategic concept was that although NATO remains a nuclear alliance, it would further consider how many and what types of weapons to keep as a deterrent, and it’s in the middle of doing that right now in the Defense and Deterrence Posture Review.  The other thing the alliance said that it would look for opportunities for arms controls reductions with Russia, to bring down both the Russian numbers and the U.S. – NATO numbers of nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

Given the disparity in numbers, that’s hard to imagine how it would happen.  So NATO has kind of put itself into a box that would make it very hard to make a decision to take them out, but that decision could come.  It’s a NATO decision, though, not a U.S. decision, even though the U.S. has made that decision in the past.  This time around we’re waiting on NATO.

MR. KIMBALL:  Those are all very good answers.  I’ll just add that the Arms Control Association, the British-American Security Information Council, will be coming back to you with further information, ideas, analysis on the tactical nuclear weapons issue as that DDPR, as it’s called, decision point approaches just before the NATO summit in Chicago.

We are at the end of our time here.  I want to thank all of our speakers for some great presentations about a very important issue.  I want to thank the audience for your rapt attention.  And I want to encourage you to continue to check in to the Arms Control Association about these issues.  There will be a transcript of this session out on our website, armscontrol.org, in several days.

Thanks and have a good morning. (Applause.)




The Pentagon's new strategic guidance released on Jan. 5 by President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta said: "It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy."

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