Login/Logout

*
*  

ACA’s journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent.

– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

Pressroom

Group of 4,000 Anonymous Google Employees Urging Company Not to Be “In the Business of War" Voted 2018 Arms Control Persons of the Year

Sections:

Body: 

For Immediate Release: January 10, 2019

Media Contact: Tony Fleming, director for communications, (202) 463-8270 ext 110

(Washington, D.C.)—A group of 4,000 anonymous Google employees opposing the company's work on a Pentagon project using artificial intelligence (AI), which could be used to improve drone targeting, was chosen as the 2018 Arms Control Persons of the Year for 2018.

Due to the employees’ actions, which included an internal petition to company management, Google ended its work on Project Maven when the contract expired and announced it would focus on “socially beneficial” AI and avoid work that causes “overall harm.”

More than 1,200 individuals from over 70 countries voted in this year’s iteration of the online contest.

Nine individuals and groups were nominated by the staff and board of the Arms Control Association for their leadership in advancing effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions or for raising awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons during the course of 2018.

“Technological developments that remove or reduce direct human control over lethal weapon systems could change the nature of warfare and undermine global security. Not only do governments need to work harder to develop new rules to mitigate the risks, but researchers at private institutions and tech companies have a responsibility to step-in, when necessary, to ensure their projects are used responsibly,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

“The inititiative of this group of concerned Google employees helped to change company culture and policy for the better and is an example for others to follow,” he said.

Further details on the Google employees’ response to the company’s involvement in Project Maven were reported last year in a series of articles by Kate Conger published in Gizmodo.


Arms Control Today is the monthly flagship
publication of the Arms Control Association.

Since 1972, Arms Control Today has provided
policymakers, journalists, and concerned citizens with the latest authoritative analyses on arms control proposals, negotiations, and agreements, and related national security news.

Join today and secure full access to the latest
feature articles and expert analyses!   



The runners-up in the vote for the 2018 Arms Control Persons of the Year were the founders and co-chairs of the International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group: Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva Michael Gaffey, Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations in Geneva Sabine Böhlke-Möller, Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research Renata Dwan, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in Geneva Rosemary McCarney and Founder/Executive Director of [email protected] Caitlin Kraft-Buchman. The impact group developed specific aims for expanding knowledge about the importance of gender issues and practical actions for bringing gendered perspectives into disarmament discussions.

The second runner-up was South Korean president Moon Jae-in. He was nominated for promoting improved Inter-Korean relations and a renewed dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang on denuclearization and peace that has led to a number of significant steps to decrease tensions, including a North Korean moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear testing, a halt to U.S.-South Korean military exercises, and steps to avoid military incidents along the demilitarized zone that divides North Korea and South Korea.

Online voting was open from Dec. 7, 2018, until Jan. 7, 2019. A list of all of this year's nominees is available at https://armscontrol.org/acpoy/2018

Previous winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" are:

Author:

Posted: January 10, 2019

2018 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year Nominees Announced

Sections:

Description: 

Since 2007, the Arms Control Association's staff and board of directors has nominated individuals and institutions that have advanced effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions or raised awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons.

Body: 


For Immediate Release: December 7, 2018

Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext 107; Shervin Taheran, research assistant, (202) 463-8270 ext 103.
 

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Since 2007, the Arms Control Association's staff and board of directors have nominated individuals and institutions that have advanced effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions or raised awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons.

This year's nominees are listed below. Each nominee has, in their own way, provided leadership to help reduce weapons-related security threats during the past year.

Last year, more than 2,500 individuals from over 90 countries voted in the contest, the highest number of votes from the widest range of countries in the 10-year history of the contest. A full list of previous winners is available here.

Voting will take place on the Arms Control Association's website between December 7, 2018 and January 7, 2019. The results will be announced January 10, 2019.

The 2018 nominees are:
  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in for promoting improved Inter-Korean relations and a renewed dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang on denuclearization and peace that has led to a number of significant steps to decrease tensions, including a North Korean moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear testing, a halt to U.S.-South Korean military exercises, and steps to avoid military incidents along the demilitarized zone that divides North Korea and South Korea.
     
  • European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, for her persistent efforts on behalf of the EU to ensure the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which has verifiably blocked Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons, and to preserve legitimate trade with Iran after the Trump administration violated the agreement and reimposed sanctions.
     
  • California State Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for introducing the first statewide resolution on restricting presidential “first use” nuclear launch authority (AJR 30) to be approved by a State Assembly and Senate. Similar resolutions on the subject have been introduced in other state legislatures around the country this year, including in Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Vermont.
     
  • Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) for offering amendments during the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization and appropriations process to eliminate or condition funding to develop a low-yield warhead option for the U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missile as proposed in the Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review. The lawmakers warned that the new warhead is unnecessary, could lead to unintended nuclear escalation, and could lower the threshold for nuclear use.
     
  • German Minister for Economic and Energy Affairs Peter Altmaier, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and Chancellor Angela Merkel for Germany’s initiative to cut off any new arms sales to Saudi Arabia and rescind approval for existing sales in response to Saudi Arabia’s role in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Since 2012, Germany has substantially reduced arms exports in response to human rights concerns the Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen.
     
  • A group of 4,000 anonymous Google employees for writing a letter to Google’s leadership opposing “Project Maven” a Google-Pentagon project using artificial intelligence (AI) which could be used to improve drone targeting. Due to the employees’ actions, Google ended its work on Project Maven when the contract expired and announced it would focus on “socially beneficial” AI and avoid work that causes “overall harm.”
     
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for launching a comprehensive, humanitarian-based United Nations Disarmament Agenda in May and for rolling-out an implementation plan in October. Guterres’ 87-page agenda encompasses 40 specific action items to take forward the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons and emerging methods of warfare.
     
  • Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva Michael Gaffey, Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations in Geneva Sabine Böhlke Möller, Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research Renata Dwan, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in Geneva Rosemary McCarney, and Founder/Executive Director of [email protected] Caitlin Kraft-Buchman for creating and co-chairing the International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group. The impact group developed specific aims for expanding knowledge about the importance of gender issues and practical actions for bringing gendered perspectives into disarmament discussions. The group identified priority actions and for engagement in 2018-2019.
     
  • French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for launching the “International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons” initiative in January to “name and shame” individuals connected to chemical weapons attacks. The French also contributed to winning approval in June from Chemical Weapons Convention states parties to grant the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons the authority to investigate and identify perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks.

Previous winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" include:  The disarmament delegations of Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Amb. Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica (2017)The government of Marshall Islands and its former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum (2016); Setsuko Thurlow and the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, (2015); Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (2014), Executive-Secretary of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo (2013); Gen. James Cartwright (2012); reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011), Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010); Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S.Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).

Posted: December 7, 2018

Incoming Chair of House Armed Services Committee Calls for Reducing Role, Size, and Cost of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

Sections:

Description: 

Interview with Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), incoming chair of the House Arms Services Committee

Body: 


For Immediate Release: Nov. 27, 2018

Media Contacts: Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 104

(Washington, D.C.)—In January 2019, control of the U.S. House of Representatives will shift to the Democratic Party and Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is in line to become Chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee.

In an in-depth interview with Arms Control Today, Smith signals that he will take a closer look at the Trump administration’s nuclear weapons policies and spending plans. He hints that he will seek to block plans for new, lower-yield warheads, questions the need for a “triad” of nuclear delivery platforms, and says he wants the U.S. to shift to a policy of nuclear no first use.

“Nuclear weapons are a great example of where we could save money and still maintain our national security interests,” Smith told Arms Control Today, the monthly journal of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association. “We could meet our needs from a national security standpoint with a lot fewer nuclear weapons. The path we are going down now is certainly unsustainable from a fiscal standpoint and it doesn’t make us safer,” Smith says.

On dealing with tensions with China and Russia, Smith says, “It is our responsibility as global powers to make sure that nuclear weapons are never used, and we need to have a consistent dialogue to avoid that.”

When asked about what he thinks the impact of a U.S. withdrawal or failure to extend New START would be, Smith said: “An escalating arms race which gets us into dangerous territory. I think it would be problematic to let that treaty expire."

The full interview with Rep. Smith will appear in the December 2018 issue of Arms Control Today. An advance copy is available online.

Posted: November 27, 2018

Statement of the Deep Cuts Commission on the INF Treaty Crisis and the Way Forward

Sections:

Description: 

U.S., European, and Russian Nuclear Experts & Former Officials Issue Statement on the INF Treaty Crisis and the Way Forward

Body: 


For Immediate Release: November 19, 2018

Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 104.

(Washington, Hamburg, Moscow)—In the wake of President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to “terminate” the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in response to Russian violations of the agreement, an international group consisting of high-level experts and former officials is warning of the dangers of the collapse of the treaty and urging a diplomatic resolution to the dispute.
 
Echoing the concerns of many European allies, the statement, which was published on November 16 ahead of a planned meeting between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina later this month, notes that “[t]he repercussions of a collapse of the INF treaty would be tremendous: it could trigger a new arms race, significantly increase the risk of nuclear escalation, [and] further undermine political relations between the United States, Russia and Europe.”
 
The statement was organized by the members of a 21-member German-Russian-U.S. Deep Cuts Commission, which was established in 2013 to develop proposals to overcome obstacles to sensible arms control agreements and further reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles.
 
Trump’s plan to withdraw from the INF Treaty has raised concerns about exacerbating military and political tensions with Russia and the future of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The statement notes that without either of these treaties, there would be no legally-binding, verifiable limits on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, or anywhere else in the world.
 
The signers of the statement urge the two nations to ”exhaust all cooperative options to solve the INF Treaty crisis instead of scrapping the treaty.”
 
Furthermore, the signers recommend that at the planned meeting between Trump and Putin, the two leaders should:

  • acknowledge the other side’s INF concerns and direct their experts to find a solution that resolves compliance concerns;
  • agree to relaunch immediately a genuine and regular dialogue on strategic stability; and
  • commit to begin talks on the extension of New START by a period of five years, as provided for in Article XIV of the treaty. 

The full statement is available here.
 
The statement echoes similar warnings from other leading American and European experts and former officials about the dangers of terminating the INF Treaty and the need for a diplomatic solution to resolve U.S. and Russian concerns.

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Posted: November 20, 2018

Trump's Oil Sanctions Compound Error of Violating 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal

Sections:

Description: 

Although the new oil sanctions are unlikely to change Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA in the short-term, the long-term viability of the deal remains at risk.

Body: 

Statement from Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy

For Immediate Release: Nov. 2, 2018

Media Contact: Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 102 

Iran’s commitment to continue implementing the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), faces another test Nov. 5, when the Trump administration’s biting sanctions on Iran’s oil sector come back into effect.

This move further compounds President Trump's reckless and irresponsible decision in May to violate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, despite acknowledging Iran’s compliance with the accord, and reimpose sanctions. It is another serious blow to the Trump administration’s already low credibility on nuclear nonproliferation matters.

Although the new oil sanctions are unlikely to change Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA in the short-term, the long-term viability of the deal remains at risk.

The Trump administration has falsely claimed that the JCPOA has been a failure because it did not “fix” Iran’s activities in policy areas beyond the scope of the nuclear deal, such as Tehran’s support for non-state actors. 

In reality, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has significantly reduced Iran’s capability to produce bomb-grade nuclear material, opened it up to a more robust international inspections regime, and blocked its major pathways to nuclear weapons for years to come. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Tehran is complying with the restrictions set by the JCPOA.

Worse yet, the Trump administration turned down earlier proposals from our European partners on addressing Iran’s malign activities in other areas, and the Trump administration’s overreliance on sanctions and its “maximum pressure” policy is not a viable strategy for replacing the JCPOA. The Trump administration’s approach is a recipe for conflict and increased proliferation risks in the Middle East.

We encourage the other parties to the JCPOA to continue to meet their obligations and preserve legitimate trade with Iran. The international community must fulfill UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal and called upon all states to support it, until such time as the United States comes back into compliance with the agreement and new talks can begin on win-win approaches to extend and build upon key elements of the JCPOA.

Country Resources:

Posted: November 2, 2018

MEDIA ADVISORY: Head of CTBTO Describes Inspection Option for North Korea Nuclear Test Site

Sections:

Description: 

New Analysis by CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo Published in Arms Control Today

Body: 

New Analysis by CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo Published in Arms Control Today

For Immediate Release: Oct. 18, 2018

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, publisher, Arms Control Today, 202-463-8270 ext. 107; Kirstie Hansen, CTBTO Public Information Officer in Vienna, [email protected]

(Washington, D.C.)—Earlier this year, North Korea committed to closing its nuclear test site and invited journalists to view the destruction of test tunnels at its main nuclear test site.

As Dr. Lassina Zerbo writes in a new article in the journal Arms Control Today, “although the declared closure is welcome, those present lacked the skills and necessary specialized equipment to assess the activities that took place.”

The U.S. State Department issued a statement Oct. 7 indicating that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “invited inspectors to visit the Punggye-ri nuclear test site to confirm that it has been irreversibly dismantled.” To date, it is not clear who would inspect the site and under what terms.

“The CTBTO and its technological tools,” Zerbo writes, “are uniquely placed to provide adequate verification and to monitor an end to nuclear tests in North Korea.”

Zerbo, who is serving in his second term as the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, describes in detail the technologies the CTBTO can provide to verify the closure of a nuclear test site, and, he explains the value of North Korean signature and ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) for the denuclearization process.

“The path to the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula runs through the CTBT,” Zerbo writes. The CTBT has been signed by 184 states and ratified by 167. North Korea is not yet a signatory.

A large group of foreign ministers issued a joint statement Sept. 27 organized by Japan, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands urging North Korea “to sign and ratify the CTBT as a matter of priority.”

“It is vital not to miss this opportunity to demonstrate to the world the value of the treaty and the efficacy of one of the most sophisticated and far-reaching verification regimes ever devised,” Zerbo says in the article.

The Nuclear Test Ban and the Verifiable Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” by Lassina Zerbo will appear in the November 2018 issue of Arms Control Today. It is available in advance online here

Country Resources:

Posted: October 18, 2018

Pompeo Must Seize the Diplomatic Opportunity with North Korea

Sections:

Description: 

Hesitation on the part of either side at this point could collapse the fragile diplomatic opportunity that currently exists.

Body: 


The stage is set for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to jump-start the stalled denuclearization and peace negotiations with North Korea. As outlined in the Sept. 19 North-South Pyongyang Summit Declaration, Kim Jong-un has said he is willing to permanently dismantle the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, as the United States takes corresponding measures, such as supporting a joint political declaration on the end of the Korean War.

The Yongbyon complex is North Korea's major nuclear weapons production site. It includes a 5-megawatt research reactor that produces spent fuel; a reprocessing plant that separates weapons-usable plutonium; and a uranium enrichment facility, among other facilities.

A verifiable shutdown of Yongbyon would make it harder for North Korea to further expand its fissile stockpile which could be enough for 16 to 60 nuclear warheads, create momentum for further action-for-action steps, and help buy time for the long and difficult negotiations on further steps on the road toward denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula.

As the foreign ministers of Japan, Australia, the European Union, and dozens of other states suggested in a joint statement last week, North Korea should take another denuclearization step: signing and ratifying the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and allowing experts from the CTBT Organization to visit the Punggye-ri test site to confirm its closure.

A joint end of war declaration would ease tensions, build confidence and in no way adversely affect the very strong U.S.-South Korean political and defense alliance, or the ability of U.S. forces in South Korea to deter and defend from any North Korean military provocation.

Hesitation on the part of either side at this point could collapse the fragile diplomatic opportunity that currently exists.

For further information, see the Arms Control Association’s Oct. 3 edition of the “North Korea Denuclearization Digest” available online at https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/2018-10-03/inaugural-issue-north-korea-denuclearization-digest-october-3-2018

Country Resources:

Posted: October 5, 2018

The Third Inter-Korean Summit: A Catalyst for Denuclearization and Peace on the Peninsula?

Sections:

Body: 


For Immediate Release: Sept. 17, 2018

Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext 107

This week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea will meet in Pyongyang for only the third Inter-Korean Summit, with a focus on steps to advance their Panmunjeon Declaration and on how to jump-start the U.S.-North Korean talks on denuclearization and peace, which has stalled since the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore.

Today, the UN Security Council will meet in emergency session to discuss enforcement of sanctions against North Korea designed to pressure Pyongyang to negotiate.

Arms Control Association has several background resources and experts available for interview.


QUICK QUOTES:

  • "President Trump did the right thing, trading in violent rhetoric for an opportunity for dialogue. There are dozens of reasons to distrust North Korea’s approach to negotiations and to doubt the capability of the Trump administration to negotiate a meaningful, verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. But the pursuit of negotiation is far preferable to simply sleepwalking toward war, as we seemed to be doing a year ago.” —Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, and chair of the ACA board of directors
     
  • “The Singapore summit communiqué underscores that progress on denuclearization depends on joint 'efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime' on the Korean peninsula. Kim is not going to give up nuclear weapons if he believes doing so will compromise North Korea’s security. Progress on denuclearization steps—such as a freeze on fissile material production and a declaration detailing North Korea’s program— depends on U.S. support for a joint political declaration on the end of the Korean War.” —Daryl Kimball, executive director


NEWS & ANALYSIS:


FACT SHEETS:


EXPERTS AVAILABLE IN WASHINGTON:

Contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202 463 8270 ext 110/ 202 213 6856 (mobile) to schedule.

  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, [email protected], 202-277-3478
  • Thomas Countryman, former Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and chair of the board for the Arms Control Association, [email protected], 301-312-3445

Posted: September 17, 2018

Addressing the Risks of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Through the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Sections:

Description: 

Technologies now in development could endow machines with the capacity to search for, identify, and kill humans on the battlefield or to hunt for and destroy an adversary’s nuclear deterrent systems, possibly igniting a nuclear exchange.

Body: 


For Immediate Release: September 7, 2018

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Michael Klare, senior visiting fellow, (202) 463-8270

The widespread deployment of highly autonomous weapons—systems capable of operating with minimal human oversight—is likely to transform the future battlefield, accelerating the pace of fighting and delegating many critical battle decisions to machines. Technologies now in development could endow machines with the capacity to search for, identify, and kill humans on the battlefield or to hunt for and destroy an adversary’s nuclear deterrent systems, possibly igniting a nuclear exchange.

We agree with a growing number of governmental and nongovernmental experts that the unregulated deployment of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) could lead to violations of the Law of War and international humanitarian law and increase the risk of uncontrolled escalation in a major-power crisis.

We call upon responsible states to promptly pursue multilateral negotiations on a legally-binding instrument to ensure meaningful human control over weapons of war and decisions to employ the lethal use of force.

For four years, signatory states to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)—a treaty signed in 1980 with the aim of eliminating munitions deemed excessively cruel or injurious—have sought to assess the potential dangers posed by autonomous weapons and to consider whether new measures were needed to control them. Most recently this investigative task was entrusted to a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE), which most recently met Aug. 27-31 in Geneva.

A significant number of governments have concluded that the use of fully autonomous weapons can never be reconciled with international humanitarian law and have advocated the adoption of a legally binding ban on such munitions; others have called for a nonbinding measure incorporating some basic principles on LAWS, like the necessity for ultimate human control; while a small minority, including the world’s major weapons producers, Russia and the United States, argue against any new measures regulating LAWS.

At its most recent meeting, virtually every delegation at the GGE affirmed that humans should always retain ultimate control over weapons systems, but they failed to agree on a path forward other than to continue further expert-level discussions in 2019.

Given the rapid progress in autonomous weaponry research and development and given that many autonomous weapons systems are moving rapidly toward deployment, it is past time for responsible governments to act.

Current policies and practices are clearly insufficient to address the dangers posed by LAWS. The U.S. government’s guidelines, outlined in a 2012 Department of Defense directive, says such systems should allow for “appropriate levels of human judgment” over the use of lethal force, leaving open the question of what constitutes “appropriate.”

The Group of Governmental Experts, which began their deliberations in 2016, has had ample time to investigate the dangers posed by autonomous weapons. Although important technical issues regarding definitions relating to LAWS remain, we believe that the time for discussion is over and that the dangers of deploying lethal autonomous weapons have been sufficiently demonstrated to warrant the initiation of formal negotiations on meaningful control mechanisms.

The appropriate place for these to begin is at the next meeting of the CCW’s High Contracting Parties, set for Nov. 21-23 in Geneva.

We fully recognize that there are differences among member states on what sort of limits to place on lethal autonomous weapons, if at all. But as the U.S. has argued in another negotiating forum, the Conference on Disarmament (which also operates by consensus), negotiations do not assume any particular outcome but allow for careful consideration of competing proposals.

We therefore urge United States to act more responsibly and call upon all governments represented at the CCW to support the initiation of negotiations on autonomous weapons at their meeting in November and to help craft an outcome ensuring continued human control over weapons of war and the decision to employ lethal force.

Subject Resources:

Posted: September 7, 2018

Comments from Executive Director Daryl Kimball In Response to Bolton-Patrushev Meeting in Geneva

Sections:

Description: 

At their summit in Helsinki, Putin presented the Trump administration with several proposals “to work together further to interact on the disarmament agenda, military, and technical cooperation,” incuding talks on the extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).Following the summit, Trump stated that “[p]erhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting...was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world.”

Body: 

For Immediate Release: August 23, 2018

Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 ext 104

At their summit in Helsinki, President Vladimir Putin presented the Trump administration with several proposals “to work together further to interact on the disarmament agenda, military, and technical cooperation,” incuding talks on the extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Following the summit, President Donald Trump stated that “[p]erhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting...was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world.”

Unfortunately, they did not reach any agreement on how to do so in Helsinki.

Even after a follow-up meeting to between U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Geneva, Bolton did not announce any agreement on resuming the nuclear arms control dialogue.

Now is the time to do so.

A qualitative nuclear arms race is underway—and a quantitative nuclear arms race may be just around the corner. The United States and Russia are both rushing forward with costly and ambitious plans to replace their Cold War nuclear arsenals and develop new types of destabilizing weapons.

In little more than two years, on Feb. 5, 2021, New START is scheduled to expire. Without a positive decision by the two presidents to extend the treaty by 5 years, as allowed for in Article XIV, there would be no legally binding limits on the world’s two largest arsenal for the first time since 1972. The risk of unconstrained U.S.-Russian nuclear competition, and even more fraught relations, would grow.

Russia has voiced interest in an extension of New START or even possibly further cuts in warhead numbers.

But today, Bolton said the Trump administration is still in the "early stages" of an interagency review about whether to extend, replace, or jettison New START, or pursue a different type of approach, such as the 2002 “Moscow Treaty” approach, which did not involve a adequate verification system and only applied to deployed warheads.

If Trump wants to avoid an unconstrained nuclear arms race, a prompt decision to extend New START is the logical path forward. If not, we may see the emergence of an even more dangerous phase in U.S.-Russian relations.

Country Resources:

Posted: August 23, 2018

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Pressroom