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"[Arms Control Today] has become indispensable! I think it is the combination of the critical period we are in and the quality of the product. I found myself reading the May issue from cover to cover."

– Frank von Hippel
Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
Arms Control NOW

Pentagon Budget Delays Significant Decisions on Trimming Excessive, Expensive Cold War Nuclear Forces

HMS Vanguard launches US-supplied Trident II D5 SLBM off Florida in October 2005. (Image Source: FAS.org.) By Daryl G. Kimball (Note: this post was updated on Jan. 27) Today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta issued a whitepaper outlining the budgetary implications of the Obama administration's new defense strategic guidance and Congressionally-mandated deficit reduction measures, including the effect on some U.S. nuclear weapons strategic delivery systems. The Jan. 5 strategic guidance review correctly states that: "It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller...

Negotiating with Iran: "Buy Low, Sell High"

By Greg Thielmann U.S. policy-makers grappling with the Iranian nuclear challenge require the same psychological insight required for success in playing the stock market. The advice, "buy low, sell high," may be obvious, but it is difficult to apply in practice, because investors' emotions lead them in exactly the opposite direction. When stock prices are rising, one feels good and wants to hold on to stocks in order to maximize the higher returns; when the prices are falling, one feels like selling before any more value is lost. The trick is not to be too greedy or too desperate and let the...

Don't neglect the Biological Weapons Convention

Paul van den IJssel of the Netherlands, president of the 2011 BWC Review Conference, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (Image Source: U.S. Mission to Geneva) By Oliver Meier The December 2011 review conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) demonstrated the danger of the bioweapons ban drifting into irrelevance. Standstill was the motto of the meeting. Only incremental improvements on some procedural issues were achieved. Between now and the next review conference in 2016, it is going to be near to impossible to take decisions that will strengthen the treaty...

The New U.S. Defense Strategy: Toward A Smaller, Less Costly Nuclear Force

By Daryl G. Kimball and Tom Z. Collina This morning, President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta unveiled their new defense strategy that is designed to yield some $450 billion plus in budget savings that must be achieved over the next decade. Their presentations did not detail specific programs that will be cut or trimmed, but instead they outlined a general vision that will guide the administration's defense budget decisions. Panetta said that the plan will maintain a "safe and effective nuclear deterrent," but did not explain how many nuclear weapons will be required for deterrence or...

Who Is Your Pick for the "Arms Control Person" of the Year?

By the Arms Control Association Staff The business of tracking and combating the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons is often filled with grim news and frustrating setbacks. Often lost in the mix are the good deeds that lead to arms control successes. We believe it is important to recognize key individuals and institutions that best exemplify leadership and action in pursuing effective arms control solutions. This year, we've identified ten worthy nominees. Each, in their own way, has provided the leadership necessary to help reduce the threats posed by some of the world's...

Senate Approach on Iran Sanctions May Prove Counterproductive

By Benjamin Seel The different approaches to Iran sanctions of the Senate and President Obama's administration were on full display in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room on Dec. 1. The Senate approach, articulated in the form of an amendment to the FY 2012 Defense Authorization Act sponsored by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), will "require sanctions on financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran," and will cover both foreign commercial and state owned banks. Central banks will be targeted only after the Obama administration has...

Clinton Stresses Transparency in Address to BWC Review Conference

By Daniel Horner On Dec. 5, the parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) began a review conference in Geneva that is scheduled to end Dec. 22. The BWC members meet every five years to assess the functioning of the treaty, which came into force in 1975 and has 165 parties. Clinton at the BWC review conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal (Image Source: AP) One noteworthy element of the meeting's opening days was the Dec. 7 address by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first time a U.S. secretary of state has spoken at a BWC review conference, according to the...

Indonesian CTBT Ratification Should Prompt Action by Eight Remaining Hold-Outs States

By Daryl G. Kimball Today, the Indonesian parliament approved the ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, bringing the number ratifications necessary for entry into force down from 9 to 8. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa We hope to "create new momentum so that the other countries in a similar position to Indonesia can also follow suit in beginning their ratification process," Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in September 2011. "We want our country to be at the vanguard of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," said Hemly Fauzy, the...

“It is Almost Certain that the U.S. Will Not Test Again,” Says Former NNSA Administrator

Amb. Linton Brooks, the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration during the George W. Bush administration, said there is practically no chance of the United States resuming nuclear testing. Brooks, speaking at an ACA-sponsored Nov. 28 event on “The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at 15: a Status Update,” described the political bar to testing as “too high” and stated that testing is not the best use of time or resources. Brooks expressed his confidence in the NNSA's Science Based Stockpile Stewardship and Management program ability to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear arsenal...

Indonesian Ratification of the CTBT Provides New Momentum for Entry Into Force

Today, the Indonesian parliament approved the ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, bringing the number ratifications necessary for entry into force down from 9 to 8. We hope to “create new momentum so that the other countries in a similar position to Indonesia can also follow suit in beginning their ratification process,” Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in September 2011. “We believe that [the] CTBT is one of the main instruments for nuclear disarmament,” he said. “Indonesia will use its good relations to promote the Treaty in Asia and the Middle East and...

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