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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Events

2018 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting

Sections:

Body: 

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

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

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR SPEAKERS, PARTICIPANTS, AND ATTENDEES. AUDIO, VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPTS OF EACH SEGMENT IS AVAILABLE BELOW.

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

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

PROGRAM

9:00 a.m.

Welcome

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
Arms Control Association

9:15 a.m.

Award Presentation

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

9:45 a.m.

Keynote Address

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

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

10:30 a.m.

Morning Panel

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

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

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

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

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

11:45 a.m.

Buffet Luncheon 

12:10 p.m.

Lunch Keynote Address

"Resolving the North Korean Nuclear Crisis"

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

Moderated by Carol Morello, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Post

1:15 p.m

Afternoon Panel

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

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

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

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

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

2:15 p.m.

Concluding Panel

"Building on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action"

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

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

Moderated by Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association

3:00 p.m.

Closing

Thomas Countryman, Chair
Arms Control Association Board of Directors

 

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

Event Sponsors:
William R. "Russ" Colvin

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

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

TRANSCRIPT

Welcome
Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
Arms Control Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KIMBALL: Please join me in congratulating them all.

(APPLAUSE)

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

(APPLAUSE)

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

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

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

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

KIMBALL: Yeah, just hold it a little closer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

KIMBALL: All right, anyone else, Jackie Bernstein?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jackie Bernstein, maybe others want to speak to this.

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

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

KIMBALL: Ambassador Lomonaco, your thoughts on this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VARGAS: Yes, thank you very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, thank you very much for being here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are there questions from the floor (inaudible)?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have one here.

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

(UNKNOWN): Here, Laura, got it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DUNN: Eighty-five.

COUNTRYMAN: Eighty-five. Excuse me.

DUNN: I'm even older than you think.

HALL: Life is crucial.

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

DUNN: Eighty-five.

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

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

DUNN: Thank you, Tom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me stop at this point. Thank you.

COUNTRYMAN: Thank you very much.

Yes, Ambassador Higgie?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HALL: So, thanks to Tom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(APPLAUSE)

COUNTRYMAN: Great. Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COUNTRYMAN: Yes. Thank you.

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

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

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

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

COUNTRYMAN: Well, thank you.

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

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

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

COUNTRYMAN: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, Ryan, if you—right behind you.

QUESTION: Thank you. Is this working?

COUNTRYMAN: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

COUNTRYMAN: OK.

QUESTION: Yes.

COUNTRYMAN: Thank you.

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

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

DUNN: Welcome back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WOLFSTHAL: Thank you.

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

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

COUNTRYMAN: Go ahead, please.

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

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

HIGGIE: (inaudible).

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

COUNTRYMAN: Thank you.

Dell, any?

HIGGIE: Yes.

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

UNKNOWN: We're good. OK.

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

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

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

COUNTRYMAN: Right. Here near the front, please?

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

COUNTRYMAN: OK.

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

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

QUESTION: Me.

COUNTRYMAN: Oh, OK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was that enough on that, Tom?

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

Andrea?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts on the CTBT front?

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

HIGGIE: I'd like on the CTBT let Lew…

DUNN: No, go ahead, Dell.

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

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

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

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

COUNTRYMAN: Lew, any brief comment?

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

HIGGIE: (inaudible).

COUNTRYMAN: No, no, no.

HALL: Thank you, Dell.

COUNTRYMAN: It is not a rhetorical...

(Off-mike)

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

HALL: Sounds like a great proposition.

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

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

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

Lunch Keynote Address
"Resolving the North Korean Nuclear Crisis"

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

Moderated by Carol Morello, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Post

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

 

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

Governor, it's your turn.

(APPLAUSE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, Daryl, have I gone too long?

(APPLAUSE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORELLO: Yes, I remember those, unfortunately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORELLO: Yes, it does.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORELLO: May 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Off-mike)

RICHARDSON: Was that all right?

MORELLO: That was great. That was great.

RICHARDSON: Oh, sure?

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

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

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

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

(Off-mike)

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

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

(Off-mike)

UNKNOWN: We have one at the back.

(Off-mike)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Off-mike)

RICHARDSON: OK.

(Off-mike)

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

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

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

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

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

MORELLO: Thank you for having me.

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

(APPLAUSE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And with that, Anita?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me stop there.

REIF: Thank you very much, Anita.

Dr. Oliker?

OLIKER: So, thank you, Kingston.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll stop there.

REIF: Thank you, Dr. Oliker.

Richard?

FIELDHOUSE: Thanks, Kingston.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REIF: And just very quickly, who are you?

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

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

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

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

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

REIF: Done? OK, your time. Right.

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

FRIEDT: Well, thank you.

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

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

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

FRIEDT: Oh, okay, how about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRIEDT: Oh enforcement.

COUNTRYMAN: … is "enforcement."

FRIEDT: Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRIEDT: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

REIF: And can you just quickly identify yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNKNOWN: Right behind you, sir.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REIF: Thanks, Richard. Dr. Oliker?

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

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

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

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

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

REIF: Last word.

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

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

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

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

UNKNOWN: And they're still (inaudible).

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

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

(APPLAUSE)

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

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

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

Moderated by Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KIMBALL: So vice…

HOLGATE: The wonkiest title ever.

KIMBALL: So we'll just call you…

HOLGATE: Even among my titles.

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

HOLGATE: Yes. You may call me that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOLGATE: I don't.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KIMBALL: Okay. All right.

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

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

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

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

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

KIMBALL: Online Enrichment Monitor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KIMBALL: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

Your thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KIMBALL: Now they are, yes.

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

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

ROSENBERG: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROSENBERG: Can I just respond?

HOLGATE: Yes.

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

HOLGATE: Right.

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

HOLGATE: Absolutely.

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

HOLGATE: Absolutely.

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

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

KIMBALL: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the reason why is that any company of reasonable size, so even a regional European company wants access to use the dollar in even if they don't plan on having U.S. commercial counterparts and they want to be able to avail themselves of U.S. technology, which is ubiquitous from everything from human resources software, applications to industrial process software.

I mean the universe is very broad here as well as U.S. natural persons like any of you who might offer them counsel, legal counsels, strategic advice. I mean all of that is not permitted if you're on the wrong end of the sanctions and enforcement actions.

So, no reasonable company wants to be made the test case of this, even if their government want to stand up because they are very frustrated legitimately at being bullied by the United States and asked to capitulate on strongly-held domestic issues which, by the way, might cause them their political mandate and viability in standing where they are in Europe.

But nevertheless, the only such white channels that have existed have been within the boundaries of sanctions programs, so and tie this to Iran sanctions in 2012 on, those years in their worldwide channels for permitted purchases of Iranian oil and certain South Korean and Japanese and Indian bank.

And after a great struggle and tedious legal work it does occur when doing things like trying to deliver aid money to aid workers in Syria, et cetera, but this only comes with the blessing of the regulators and enforcement officers in the United States.

So I cannot see that happening, so unfortunately, my take away from that is it is even more important to try every last chance to keep this deal in place because that future looks like the only people who will continue to do business are people interested in violating the sanctions intentionally or circumventing them in some way or pushing China faster towards a non-U.S. because they can't really do this in Europe, but China could with the volume and liquidity and available bank funds.

And they've done it before and were sanctioned for under the Iran's sanctions regime to create a kind of carve out, a bank that will only do our own business, for example, to permit Chinese or other entities to be able to do that in violation of U.S. sanctions.

KIMBALL: Okay. Well, I told you at the beginning of the day, this was not going to necessarily be an uplifting conference by the time we were done. And those little tins unfortunately have mints in them. They don't have (inaudible), so we can make you instantly happy.

But I want to give you folks a chance to ask a couple of questions. We're running short on time. Raise your hands. I want to encourage people who've not asked a question before in the middle, Ryan (ph).

If—there is this gentleman with a mustache, who I know is very knowledgeable about Ed Levine. These issues.

(UNKNOWN): (inaudible).

KIMBALL: All right, Ryan (?), to him, please.

(OFF-MIKE)

KIMBALL: (inaudible) oh my goodness. You've shaved it okay. Ed? Your question.

QUESTION: Edward Levine, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. I just wonder in the event that the agreement falls apart or is perceived to be falling apart, what is to prevent Russia from repatriating the enriched uranium to Iran?

KIMBALL: Laura, real quick.

HOLGATE: Okay. Nothing.

QUESTION: And how would that affect the timelines for a sprint?

HOLGATE: It would certainly shrink them significantly, whether Russia really has an incentive to do that is a different question, but there is nothing as long as it goes—is kind of safeguards activity within Iran that's okay.

KIMBALL: And I would just add as we go—Mallory do you want to take the next question please?

I mean one other thing to think about is Russia has since JCPOA began lining up agreements with Iran for the construction of Russian reactors and the supply of Russian fuel to Iran, which would obviate the need, the economic need for Iran to read, constitute an enrichment, domestic enrichment program.

So it's very much in Russia's financial interest, not to mention the security interest to keep the deal in place because they're not going to—Iran is not going to need the Russian fuel if they can produce their own.

Mallory Stewart, your question.

QUESTION: Thank you. I apologize in advance for a little bit of a leading question, but it's to Ambassador Holgate. Given your experience internationally with disagreement and with other countries' reactions to it, and given the talk this morning about the DPRK watching every move that happens with the JCPOA, more broadly do you see any lasting and long-term effects to the U.S.'s credibility as an entity that can engage in political commitments that have been important throughout the history of arms control.

Moving forward, right? In terms of some of our most important agreements, political agreements have been nonbinding and how can countries take us seriously if from administration to administration we give up that capacity to allow for continuity?

HOLGATE: Well, I just even in 2016, when I was in Vienna, I was hearing from my ambassadorial counterparts of concern about the uncertainty that might come along with the change of U.S. administration and what that would mean for their ability to have confidence in my successor who by the way is among those ambassadors that has not yet been able to take up post.

So we have an extremely capable charge d'affaires but we have no ambassador in the IAEA to be sitting with counterparts, with the DG, having the kind of conversations that it takes an ambassador to have about what to expect, how to mitigate the fall out—sorry, the damage.

And…

KIMBALL: (inaudible) work for this.

HOLGATE: So, I think both very tactically in terms of the next few months in Vienna and especially in the NPT space when we have a whole bunch of challenging conversations coming up there.

How can, in fact, the U.S. be taken seriously when there is no problem with the performance against the agreement. That is the biggest concern. When the U.S. has problems, I mean there's been a lot of debate about the INF treaty, but we can say what our problem is with it.

This is—it's a fully functioning complied with agreement by our relevant parties, and even then we can't be trusted to stick with it. And that I think significantly under binds our credibility as a partner, as a leader, as a champion of norms that have been bipartisan since their very origins.

ROSENBERG: We will be remised if we didn't just note that and I think we can all agree this is actually is just the tip of the iceberg. What we ought to—and in fact, let's not miss the forest for the trees. The broad concern is that the U.S. and its traditional closest security allies risk losing little what shred is left of credibility and trust on an array of economic and security issues that they—there's entire global, legal, political, strategic framework built around close cooperation of these on an array topics. And that's the bigger cost we must bear in mind.

KIMBALL: All right. Well, that's going to be—have to be where we end this conversation on the future and challenges on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. I want to thank you both for giving us a hard dose of reality, laying out the issues.

The Arm Controls Association continues to work with Liz and Laura and many other colleagues in this room to try to encourage the White House and others to see the light on this. And we will continue to turn out our analysis and our information with the leadership of Kelsey Davenport, our nonproliferation policy director and others.

But we're about to close our meeting today. And before I turn it over to Tom Countryman who's going to give us some closing remarks, let's applaud for Elizabeth and Laura.

 

Closing
Thomas Countryman,Chair
Arms Control Association Board of Directors


COUNTRYMAN: So briefly, a couple of logistical points, several thank-yous and a couple of personal comments. First, logistically, we intend to have both audio and video of today's event posted on our website by the end of the day today.

We should have a transcript of today's event available online at our website next week. I encourage you to use your computer skills, mine are strictly 20th century, but I manage, to share either the entire event or the parts that you found most interesting with the people that you know want to learn about these issues.

A number of thank-yous. We always, every year have this event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. We want to thank them for their extraordinary support, great conference services and beautiful facility.

We want to thank those who have sponsored this event, either by sponsoring a table or by making an extra donation to enable us to put on this event. I want to thank all of our speakers today and to start with those who receive the Arms Control Person of the Year Award.

You are not just governments’ partners, you are our partners as well in the NGO community. And I think your accomplishment over the last year that we recognized today shows what can occur at the intersection of realism and idealism if you believe in it with enough, I mean a hell of a lot of hard work. So, thank you for joining us today for this.

(APPLAUSE)

COUNTRYMAN: And I want to thank all the other speakers who participated; in particular, those from the U.S. government, Andrea Hall and Anita Friedt, even as I get concerned about some of the policy statements of this administration.

I mean it when I say that I'm reassured to know that some of the best, most experienced minds in U.S. government are still hard at work on these issues with the same dedication. And I want to thank as well, of course, all of those who continue to work on these issues at NGOs and other institutions around Washington.

Let me thank also the staff team that put this event together, especially our program and policy associate that's been managing the conference, Shervin Taheran.

(APPLAUSE)

COUNTRYMAN: Our Communications Director, Tony Fleming.

(APPLAUSE)

COUNTRYMAN: I hope you have all noticed how beautiful the Arms Control Today magazine is as it has entered into the 21st century as well and the man responsible is Allen Harris.

(APPLAUSE)

COUNTRYMAN: And all the policy team, our interns—Kelly, Ryan, Matt; our volunteers—Liz and Sidra. Let me say a word about Daryl Kimball. To run this organization, you need a manager. You need a communicator. You need an analyst. You need a leader. And you need a visionary.

And Daryl has fulfilled those five roles for just one salary. For more than 15 years—

(APPLAUSE)

COUNTRYMAN: —and we try to thank him at least once a year.

KIMBALL: It's all it takes, Tom.

COUNTRYMAN: Let me say why I'm up here. On the occasion of my timely retirement last year—okay, it was unexpectedly timely—I decided that I wanted to, number one, be retired, be a little bit lazy. But number two, when I wasn't being lazy, to associate myself with the work of the Arms Control Association. I made that choice because throughout my time as assistant secretary, I saw the quality and the practicality of the analysis that they made about the issues we were grappling with and the timeliness of the work that they were doing.

And so, when I came out of government and started working with ACA, I was surprised, and it confirmed my decision, to learn that this is a fairly small NGO by Washington standards. This is not big, either in budget or in the amount of staff that we have.

And so, I was doubly astounded by the quality and quantity of work that they put out under Daryl's leadership. And it reinforced my determination to do what I can to help. As I got into it, I think I began a new learning process for myself a year ago.

How does a non-governmental organization work with other non-governmental organizations? How does a non-governmental organization work with a non-organized government?

(LAUGHTER)

COUNTRYMAN: And that issue I think has passed us. But the necessity remains to essentially wear trifocal glasses in this work. As Daryl just mentioned, the number of issues that are confronting us at once—issues on which we still have the capability to share information, analysis, and recommendations with the U.S government—are I think unprecedented. And they go far beyond the nuclear field, of course.

Issues on which we still have the capability to share information, analysis, and recommendations with the U.S government are I think unprecedented. And they go far beyond the nuclear field, of course.

And we've got to have that short-term “What is today's hot issue?” vision. We also have to be ready for how political circumstances change. Are we ready to work in a new political environment in the United States whether it's after 2018 or 2020 or sometime in the future?

Are we thinking about the opportunities ahead? And finally, do we have a very long-term vision about the inevitable technological change in the security field and whether we have the capability to make wise choices?

I think we have a fantastic team that is able to keep their eyes at three different focal lengths simultaneously. And so, and you knew I was leading up to this—I encourage your support. I welcome your support for the ACA.

I know that most of the people in this room already are a member. I hope that you would consider making additional contributions. If you're not a member, this is a great time to sign up. Those same wonderful interns and staff are still here to help you do that.

It is a bargain. It starts at just $25 a year in order to be the best-informed person on your block on all WMD issues. So, if you would like to sign up or if you're not sure about the status of your membership or you want to increase your commitment, come see Shervin.

So, thank you once again. We're united in a determination to make the world a safer place. The theme of today's meeting, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the realization of all of its goals and commitments are what unite us.

I look forward to being in touch with all of you.

Thanks.

(APPLAUSE)

END

Remarks to the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on Nuclear Weapons Launch Procedures

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By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
Arms Control Association
March 5, 2018
Annapolis, Maryland

Good afternoon. I want to commend Delegates Queen, Gibson, and Gutierrez for introducing House Joint Resolution 12, which:

… “calls upon Maryland’s Congressional delegation to take all necessary steps to establish a system of checks and balances with regard to the first use of nuclear weapons and to ensure that the President of the United States shall no longer have the sole and unchecked authority to launch nuclear weapons, except in circumstances of retaliation.”

At this very moment, the United States and Russia each deploy massive strategic nuclear arsenals, approximately 1,550 bombs on each side. Each side possesses thousands more nonstrategic warheads and warheads in reserve. These arsenals are far in excess of what it would take to decimate the other and far more that is required to deter a nuclear attack.

Executive Director Daryl Kimball testifies before the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on legislation urging its congressional delegation to support limits on presidential nuclear launch authority. (Photo: Maryland General Assembly)Worse still, each side maintains a significant portion of its land and sea-based missile forces on a prompt launch posture to guard against a “disarming” first strike.

As a result, there are roughly 800 U.S. nuclear warheads – all of which are far more powerful than the weapons that destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 – that can be launched within about 15 minutes of an order by the president and the president alone.

In most scenarios, the president would have just minutes to listen to the list of retaliatory options and decide whether or not to order one of the nuclear strike plans. No cabinet secretary, adviser, or military official has the authority to override the president’s decision. Congress currently has no say in the matter.

Current U.S. nuclear policy also allows for the possible use of nuclear weapons first, or in response to a non-nuclear attack on the U.S. or our allies, such as in a conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Continuing to vest such destructive power in the hands of one person and to maintain a prompt-launch posture is undemocratic, irresponsible, unnecessary and untenable.

Cavalier and reckless statements from President Donald Trump about nuclear weapons use and threatening and boastful comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin about his country’s nuclear retaliatory capabilities underscore the risks of a system that puts the authority to launch nuclear weapons in the hands of these individuals.

Defenders of the status quo argue that altering the current system would deprive the president of the ability to respond quickly in a crisis—including by using nuclear weapons first in response to a non-nuclear attack—and undermine the credibility of deterrence.

Such arguments ignore the fact that throughout the history of the nuclear age, there have been several incidents in which false signals of an attack have prompted U.S. and Russia officials to consider, in the dead of the night and under the pressure of time, launching nuclear weapons in retaliation.

The reality is that this “launch-under-attack” policy is unnecessary because U.S. nuclear forces and command-and-control systems could withstand even a massive attack. Given the size, accuracy, and diversity of U.S. forces, the remaining nuclear force would be more than sufficient to deliver a devastating blow to any nuclear aggressor.

In addition, retaining the option to use nuclear weapons first is unnecessary and risky. Given the overwhelming conventional military edge of the United States and its allies, there is no plausible circumstance that could justify—legally, morally, or militarily—the use of nuclear weapons to deal with a non-nuclear threat.

As then-Vice President Joe Biden said in public remarks in January 2017: “Given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today’s threats—it’s hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary. Or make sense.”

Congress and the executive branch can and should take a number of steps to reduce these dangers:

  • Requiring that a decision to use nuclear weapons be made by more than one person. This could include the president, vice president, secretaries of state and defense, and perhaps one or more designated members of Congress, such as the speaker of the House or Senate majority leader.
  • Prohibiting the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) have introduced bipartisan legislation the "Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017" that would put this policy into place.
  • Eliminating the requirement to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles under attack, which would increase the time available to consider the possible use of nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack against the United States or its allies.
  • Declaring that the United States will not be the first to use nuclear weapons and that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack. Congressman Adam Smith and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee has introduced H.R. 4415 to establish a “No First Policy” for nuclear weapons.
  • Clarify that only Congress can authorize U.S.-initiated military action against North Korea, which would likely result in a nuclear exchange, and urge the administration to “avoid actions that could contribute to a breakdown in talks, and continue to search for confidence-building measures that are conducive to dialogue,” as state in bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and Senate (H.R. 4837/S. 2016).

Your support for Maryland House Joint Resolution 12 can help push Congress to re-examine and revise nuclear decision making so that fate of millions in not decided by one person in the span of a few minutes.

Since 2001, Daryl G. Kimball has served as the executive director the independent, non-partisan Arms Control Association and publisher of the monthly journal, Arms Control Today. The Association is a national membership organization established in 1971 to provide information and analysis on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and to promote practical policy solutions to address the risks they pose.

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Daryl Kimball offered the following testimony before the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on Monday, March 5, 2018, regarding legislation introduced by Maryland delegates Queen (Montgomery Co.), Gibson (Baltimore City), and Gutierrez (Montgomery Co.).

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REMARKS: "An Assessment of the New Nuclear Posture Review," at the 2018 Nuclear Deterrence Summit

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Keynote Address by Thomas Countryman
Chair of the Board of the Arms Control Association, and
former acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

February 20, 2018
Nuclear Deterrence Summit, Arlington, VA
(Remarks as prepared for delivery.)

 

Thank you for the kind introduction.

I’m presenting my own views today, but also representing the Arms Control Association. I affiliated with the ACA because it stands for the priorities that motivated my State Department career: an effective national security policy that prioritizes reducing the risk of nuclear, chemical or biological conflict.

It’s not only appropriate today, but urgent to consider carefully the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released by the Administration February 2, and I will focus my comments on that. I would like to cover both the positive points, and to critique the major departures in policy—in both substance and tone—contained in new language and it what it chose to omit. Let me note that I have the greatest respect for the many dedicated officials—several of whom are former colleagues—who worked on the report. I have no doubt that we agree on the fundamental goals for nuclear policy—to enhance stability and deterrence and to ensure America’s allies are safe and secure. On this, we all agree, and nothing I say should be seen as disparaging them. Instead, my remarks are a contribution to an urgent debate that must be conducted in the Congress, the press and the public.

I need to say this because there has been a defensiveness on the part of some co-authors in response to critiques already offered, a gruff assertion that the NPR is more about the status quo than about change. I’ve seen old colleagues at State attempt to reinsert into the NPR policy statements that were—clearly—deliberately omitted from the document. Well, as James Acton has pointed out, it is a rule in Washington—more true in the past year —that continuation of old policies must be presented as major innovations, and dramatic policy shifts must be presented as continuity.

But please make no mistake—this is not a status quo document, and the fact that it is seen as a departure from previous policies should give the authors pause, that their words are seen in stark contrast to past approaches. Nuclear doctrine has evolved slowly—sometimes glacially—over the decades, but the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review is not just a sharp turn but in some ways a reversal of doctrine, a glacier running uphill.

The NPR gets important areas right. It restates the long-term, central objectives of nuclear doctrine: to enhance deterrence, to reduce the risk of nuclear ambiguity, to ensure that countries in possession of nuclear weapons know they cannot be employed while escaping consequences that would overwhelm any hoped-for benefit. These statements are valuable and necessary. The importance of alliances is highlighted, which is needed and welcomed. And I certainly would not contest the statement that the world is a riskier place than it was at the time of the 2010 NPR, thanks to the aggressive actions of Moscow against its neighbors and against the United States, and its violation of the INF Treaty and other agreements. Not to mention China’s behavior in the South China Sea and North Korea’s continued development of nuclear and missile capabilities. The NPR even acknowledges what most of the world knows: that the threat from Iran has been reduced thanks to the JCPOA (but then goes ahead and lists Iran as a threat anyway).

In an online debate, a former colleague asked if there was anything I liked in the 2018 NPR. I said Yes, I like the 70 or 80 percent that is largely identical to the 2010 NPR, and I assumed that he liked that much of the 2010 version. But the 20-30% that is new—or missing—is significant and must be discussed.

What concerns me most is that the NPR reverses the clear policy goal and trend of the last 50 years, through successive Administrations, of reducing the number and the role of nuclear weapons. It is crucial to examine the argument for—and the consequences of—the document’s call for new nuclear weapons and for expansion of the circumstances under which the United States would contemplate their use.

New Weapons

I find the justification for developing two new weapons—a lower-yield nuclear warhead for the D-5 ballistic missile and a new low-yield cruise missile, both deployed at sea—to be lacking. (Although the focus of the new NPR is on these low-yield weapons, I note in passing that it reverses the previous Administration’s decision to phase out the B-83, the most powerful warhead in our arsenal, and the only weapon of megaton range). The United States already possesses the most robust, survivable and flexible nuclear arsenal in the world, one that contains hundreds of low-yield weapons, capable of delivery on short order. I don’t believe there is a single U.S. official or general who would say that he would rather own the Russian arsenal than the U.S. arsenal. The argument is made that we need an additional, penetrating method of delivery in order to counter the potential use by Russia of a nonstrategic nuclear weapon in an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy.

The first problem here is that it is far from clear that “escalate to de-escalate” is, in fact, the Russian doctrine. It certainly is not contained in the official, published Russian strategy document. And it is as dangerous to read it into Russian officials’ statements and academic articles as it would be for Russia to read the details of U.S. nuclear doctrine into a Sunday morning tweetstorm.

But even if the assumption of a new Russian doctrine is correct, will the addition of one new retaliation method actually deter Russia from using a nuclear weapon (of any size) if it views its national survival at stake?

Here we enter into the most difficult and speculative issue contained in the NPR and into the central dilemma of nuclear doctrine: that the certainty of weapons use is central to the prevention of their use. That has proven to be true, so far, on the strategic level—think Mutual Assured Destruction—but it is much less clear that it will apply on the nonstrategic level. The NPR’s argument—that a more credible nonstrategic capability would be more usable, and more thinkable for the United States to employ, and that this would actually make it less likely to be used—this is a difficult argument for anyone—expert or layman—to assimilate.

It also ignores that if Russia were to threaten the use of nuclear weapons first, it would be due to its conventional inferiority relative to the United States, not a doubt about our commitment to nuclear retaliation. Even a new system does not alter that inferiority and does not change Russia’s incentive to resort to early nuclear use. If the goal is to deter Russian use, this new system is incapable of doing so because Russian threats have little if anything to do with our nuclear capabilities, but a lack of their own conventional capabilities.

Further, promising Moscow that we would only respond to nonstrategic weapons use with our own nonstrategic weapon may actually embolden Russian first use. As former Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg wrote, “..rather than deterring Russia’s theater nuclear use, the new approach could lead Russia to believe it could use nuclear weapons first without risking the homeland. In this way, the new doctrine arguably lowers the nuclear threshold.”

I am disappointed that the NPR fails to restate something the United States has said several times before: that we do not seek to undermine Russia’s strategic deterrent. In my view, the Russian approach—not only to nuclear doctrine but in all of its foreign policy—is rooted in paranoia, in President Putin’s conviction that the United States actively seeks his overthrow. Now, reiterating that we accept the reality of Russia’s deterrent would not remove his paranoia, but the failure to restate it will only deepen his conviction, with real-world consequences.

I note here that—beyond these two proposed weapons—the NPR, both explicitly and implicitly, leaves the door open for development of new capabilities, with the attendant risk of a new nuclear arms race. It explicitly lays the groundwork for the capabilities necessary to produce quickly new or additional weapons. I strongly support maintaining the unmatched technical prowess of the NNSA and our national laboratories. But, while the NNSA and its budget are currently overburdened, I see no reason to build today a capability for a major policy departure—the creation of new weapons—that could come tomorrow.

The Role of Nuclear Weapons

The 2018 NPR also reverses the long-term trend of narrowing the circumstances under which the United States would even consider employing nuclear weapons. Both in 2010 and in 2018, the NPR says that first use of nuclear weapons will only be considered under “extreme circumstances” to defend the vital interests of the United States and its allies. The 2010 document described a “narrow range of contingencies” in which nuclear weapons may deter a conventional or CBW attack.

By contrast, the 2018 NPR is far more expansive and descriptive in listing contingencies, referring in 30 places to the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks. The authors argue that explicit listing of non-nuclear attacks that could merit a nuclear response—the spelling out of the ‘extreme circumstances’ affecting vital national interests—is simply making explicit what has always been implicit. That’s not the case.

First, it fails to explain why the United States’ overwhelming conventional superiority—to include cyber offensive capabilities—is insufficient to deter and respond to non-nuclear attacks. Implicit is the message to our allies and potential adversaries that we must fall back on our nuclear capabilities because we doubt our own conventional strength. Lack of confidence in conventional strength—this is precisely a central element of Russian doctrine that we should not seek to mirror.

Second, it actually undermines our conventional advantage. Given the U.S. edge, it is patently in our interest to constantly raise the bar on the transition from conventional to nuclear.

To take just one example: the place I fear is the most likely to see nuclear weapons used would be the realization of Pakistan’s threat to use them against an attacking Indian force. The United States has sought with both those partners to decrease the likelihood of that eventuality. It does not help if the United States—more explicitly and publicly than before—endorses the transition from conventional conflict to nuclear conflict as a rational and appropriate decision.

Finally, I worry that this explicit threat by the United States will neither achieve the deterrence it seeks against conventional or cyberattack nor will it reduce the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons.

A Comprehensive Approach to Deterrence

The most obvious change in approach—at least to me as formerly responsible for nonproliferation and arms control—is the NPR’s near complete dismissal of diplomacy as an essential element of national security.

Since Eisenhower, successive Presidents have seen the negotiation of arms control agreements not as a feel-good activity, but as contributions that made Americans more secure, even when our relationship with Russia and challenging international security conditions made such efforts difficult.

Reducing the risk of nuclear war was seen as a job for the whole of government, and not only for the Department of Defense. The 2010 NPR made explicit our commitment to meet our international obligations and to work with other nations to further reduce the risk of nuclear use, to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, and to meet our disarmament obligations. The 2018 version chooses to ignore those commitments and to retreat from the long-established U.S. leadership role.

First, it fails even to mention that the United States, in ratifying the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), committed itself to pursue effective measures to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons leading to their verifiable elimination. The NPR acknowledges the importance of the NPT, which I consider to be the most effective and important international security treaty ever concluded. But it treats the NPT as having created obligations only upon non-nuclear weapons states.

I can tell you that that is not how the rest of the world views the NPT. While Washington and Moscow have eliminated 80 percent of their arsenals since 1970, their inability to move forward on arms reduction since 2010 has undermined the perception of both nations’ commitment to their binding legal obligations. This serves as an excuse for those nations who are reluctant to support stronger nonproliferation measures, and as a temptation for those nations that may contemplate their own nuclear programs.

Second, the NPR weakens the international consensus against testing of nuclear weapons. It says the United States will not seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), without offering a reason. (I am not surprised and nobody could expect the current U.S. Senate to have a serious debate on this complex topic, but the statement represents a rejection of one of the United States key nonproliferation commitments).

I’m glad the NPR supports continued funding of the CTBTO’s international monitoring system, which pays important dividends in our knowledge of other countries’ activities. But in proposing steps to re-establish our testing capabilities, it provides an alibi for other nations to break out of the global testing moratorium. This is the scientific equivalent of an own-goal. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the global moratorium on testing that it engendered, essentially cemented the U.S. technical advantage in place. The United States has conducted more nuclear tests than any other country and has—thanks to the genius of our national labs—greater capacity in computing and other means than any other country. Whether we break the taboo first with a test, or whether we simply encourage others to do so by saying “uh....we’re thinking about it,” it will provide China, Russia and others the ability to develop new weapons designs and close the technical gap faster than almost any other steps we could take (short of handing them the blueprints).

Third, the NPR all but abandons the traditional U.S. leadership in this field. It states that we “will pursue conditions” that are favorable for arms control and we “are open” to proposals for new arms control measures. This is an admission of passivity that is unworthy of a great power. This is not even leading from behind; this is leaving leadership behind.

Fourth, although it is not directly addressed in the NPR, the fact is that the United States currently lacks the credibility to lead in nonproliferation and arms control efforts. The NPR doesn’t help this when it says that future arms control agreements must be “verifiable and enforceable.”

This rings hollow when you consider first that every President who concluded arms control agreements made sure they were verifiable, but no U.S. President has—or could have—concluded an agreement that could be enforced upon the United States. And our credibility is further shredded when an agreement that is verifiable, and as close to enforceable as any nonproliferation agreement has ever been—the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action—is likely to be torn up by our own President. This fact—more than anything explicitly contained in the NPR—is the strongest evidence of a deliberate surrender of US leadership.

Fifth: it’s a good thing that the NPR says some good things about the New Start Treaty, and contradicts what our President reportedly said in a phone call with the Russian President a year ago. I’m deeply disappointed that it doesn’t explicitly support the extension of New Start until 2026. No other step could be so easily taken that would reassure the world and our own citizens about our nuclear intentions, and provide at least an opening for a conversation with a Russian government with which we have profound disagreements.

In case of non-extension, none of us should look forward to 2021 when—for the first time in 50 years—there would be no constraints on Moscow’s ability to build nuclear weapons and resume a quantitative arms race. And it would be a fantasy for anyone in Washington—or in Moscow—to believe that New Start extension should be used as a bargaining chip or held open until the other side meets certain conditions. It is a treaty of reciprocal and equal benefit to both sides, and even the world’s most brilliant deal maker shouldn’t monkey with that fact.

The Role of Congress

It’s easy to be cynical about what Congress can contribute to serious consideration of these new policies. Faced with a threat from Russia—or anywhere else— to the lives and safety of Americans, we perhaps should expect no more from Capitol Hill than “thoughts and prayers.” But we must ask for more from our elected leaders. Passing a thousand-page document that nobody has read may be a sound way to do tax policy, but nuclear policy is still more important.

It should not be taken for granted that all proposals contained in the NPR will be approved and funded by Congress. Recall that the 2002 NPR contained proposals for new weapons that were turned down by Congress.

There are also budget realities associated with replacing and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal that someday must be addressed. Collectively, we have incurred—through our representatives—a national debt equivalent to more than $60,000 for every man, woman, and child in this nation, with no apparent interest in Washington today in ever reducing that debt. Real defense spending in the latest budget, in inflation-adjusted dollars, will be higher than it was in any year between 1948 and 2008, higher than during the Cold War, Korea or Vietnam. I don’t doubt the real threats to the United States in this world. But I do want to see something more than a laundry list of all desirable capabilities. I want to see an actual effort to prioritize our defense needs within a sustainable budget and a recognition that a mushrooming national debt is itself a threat to national security.

To take just one example: if we are concerned enough about cybersecurity to threaten a nuclear response, can we allocate a little less for nuclear weapons, and a little more than the $2 billion the federal government will devote this year to hardening our critical infrastructure from cyber attack?

Can we get a reliable estimate of the costs of the new weapons systems and other measures proposed in the NPR? Do we know whether it will add tens of billions, or hundreds of billions, to the more than $1.5 trillion that the modernization program of record will expend in the next 30 years?

And let me make one comment about that program of record. I don’t doubt that our aging delivery systems are in need of renewal. But again, hard choices must be made. It is not sufficient to state, as the NPR does, that $1.5 trillion is a small percentage of the anticipated defense budget, and that it is, therefore, unsafe not to fund the program fully. The choice does not have to be either ‘do nothing’ or ‘do everything.’ It is precisely within the mandate of Congress to explore whether less ambitious and expensive choices can be made without unacceptable risk to our security.

At the same time that Congress considers budget issues, I am heartened that it is also considering—for the first time in decades—presidential authority to initiate the use of nuclear weapons. This effort began before the last presidential election and is long overdue. Three pieces of legislation before Congress today would enhance our security and deserve a full hearing:

One would make clear that U.S. first use (i.e., not in response to an attack) is equivalent to war, and would require prior Congressional approval.

One (relatively nonbinding) would declare that it is US policy not to use nuclear weapons first.

And one, specific to the case of North Korea, makes clear that the United States cannot initiate military action against the DPRK—conventional or nuclear—without express Congressional approval.

Now, I understand the reasons that any President, or any Department of Defense, would prefer to have no constraints on their freedom to take unilateral action. However, we are not—yet—in a Russian model of government, and these are matters on which the voice of Congress and of the people must be heard.

The Role of the President

A final topic: the NPR—though issued in the name of a President who probably hasn’t read it—is not meant to be specific to this Administration, but to guide future ones as well. As the Undersecretary of Defense, and one of my predecessors at State, John Rood, said in the rollout of the NPR, context matters. I agree and believe that we must consider today’s unique context in Washington. It is simply not possible to isolate the national and international reaction to this document from the statements and policies of the current President.

I am not opposed to the U.S. President making threatening statements to those who threaten us. It saddens me when the U.S. President’s words sink to the juvenile level of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Un. And that causes the world to wonder about the real purposes of U.S. nuclear plans, and whether the United States should be trusted with the world’s most powerful arsenal, one whose power it proposes to expand.

It is not only the retreat from a leadership role on so many global issues that concerns our allies. It is not only the trustworthiness of a government that unilaterally tears up agreements reached multilaterally. It is also our inability to follow through on the defense of our own interests. The President refuses to implement sanctions against Russia passed with a super-majority by the Congress in legislation he signed. Now, this may be because he has thought and studied deeply in the fields of history and geo-strategy. Or his reluctance to take meaningful action may have another cause. In either case, what would give President Putin cause to believe that we are serious about deterrence either with our current arsenal or with an expanded one? If there is no nonmilitary provocation to which we are prepared to respond proportionately, is there credibility to military “red lines”?

Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely convinced of Moscow’s desire to destabilize the United States and the West, and aware of the tools it has available to this end. But I hope you understand why I am apprehensive about enhancing the capabilities of a President who has displayed an uninformed fascination with nuclear weapons, and a studied indifference to using other means of power in our national defense.

Deterrence is of course not only to protect us but to protect our allies as well. In all my conversations with partners in Allied governments, I have never heard expressed a concern that the U.S. arsenal was insufficient to protect them, or that “gaps” in the arsenal might give a government in one of those Allied countries a reason to pursue their own nuclear weapons.

What has mattered to our allies is the conviction that the United States sees them as allies and will be true to its word. The US has more allies than any other nuclear power, not just because of our military superiority, but because of our restraint in making threats, and our credibility in making promises. I don’t believe I need to cite examples to say that both of those qualities have been undermined in the last year.

Conclusion

The 2018 NPR is a serious document, written by serious people, that seeks to take a hard look at the hard world we inhabit. I hope it will initiate a serious discussion in the public and the Congress asking whether this great change in direction ultimately enhances or damages our national security; whether we can afford every item listed as desirable; whether or not we want to pursue a whole-of-government approach, including diplomatic leadership, to reducing nuclear dangers.

To distill a complex history to a simple conclusion, our success in avoiding nuclear warfare since 1945 has been due to three factors: first, pro-active U.S. diplomatic and military efforts to negotiate verifiable arms control agreements; second, wise U.S. leadership; and third, simple good luck. I am concerned about the implications of relying only on that third factor.

Press Briefing: The Trump Administration's New Nuclear Posture Review

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Body: 


Tuesday, January 23, 2018
1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC

The transcript of the event is posted below.


Press Briefing with Thomas Countryman, Joan Rohlfing, Jon Wolfsthal, and Kingston Reif. (Photo: Arms Control Association/ ALLEN HARRIS)The Trump administration will soon formally release its revised strategy document on the role and composition of U.S. nuclear forces, known as the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

According to a leaked draft of the 64-page document, the administration calls for expanding the number of scenarios under which the United States might consider the use nuclear weapons—including in response to a major cyberattack—and it proposes the development of new nuclear weapons and capabilities for “tailored” war scenarios.

The document also reaffirms support for replacing and upgrading all three legs of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which is estimated to cost in excess of $1.25 trillion over the next 30 years and walks back U.S. commitments to pursue measures to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons.

The independent, nonpartisan Arms Control Association hosted a briefing with top experts to analyze the implications of the Trump administration's nuclear strategy. The transcript and audio recording is below.

Speakers included:

  • Jon Wolfsthal, former Senior Director, National Security Council
  • Thomas Countryman, Chairman of the Board; and
  • Joan Rohlfing, President, Nuclear Threat Initiative
  • Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament Policy, Arms Control Association (moderator)

PHOTOS:  Available here. Usage requires attribution to the Arms Control Association. 

AUDIO RECORDING: Listen here.

TRANSCRIPT:

KINGSTON REIF: Well, good afternoon everyone and welcome to today's event on the Trump Administration's Nuclear Posture Review. My name is Kingston Reif and I am the Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association.

As most of you know, the Arms Control Association is an independent nonpartisan membership organization. We were established in 1971 and we're dedicated to reducing and eliminating the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons, namely nuclear, chemical, biological weapons as well as certain conventional weapons that pose particular harm and risk to civilians.

Outside the room, you'll find copies of two of our recent issues of our flagship publication, "Arms Control Today," which include commentaries on the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review.

So, when we first conceived of this event, we anticipated previewing possible key outcomes of the NPR and the implications based on fragments of reporting and intelligence, and little did we know that a full pre-decisional draft of the document would leak, which now provides us the opportunity to discuss and analyze the review itself and the Pentagon, as we understand it, is formally slated to release the NPR in early February and the date that we are hearing is February 2nd.

At the Arms Control Association, our take is that the NPR constitutes unnecessary, unexecutable (ph) and unsafe overreach. Yes, the international security environment is less favorable than it was in 2010 when the Obama Administration conducted its Nuclear Posture Review. Yes, some of the other nuclear arm states have not been responsible nuclear citizens. Yes, technology is advancing in new and unpredictable ways and yes, the existing U.S. nuclear arsenal is aging.

But none of these justifies the direction that Trump Nuclear Posture Review proposes to take U.S. nuclear strategy. Though there are elements of continuity with the policies of previous administrations, the document aligns with President Trump's more aggressive and impulsive nuclear notions and breaks with past efforts to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons worldwide in several key areas.

First, instead of deemphasizing the role of nuclear weapons and U.S. policy, as previous Nuclear Posture Reviews have done, the Trump NPR actually seeks a greater role for them. Notably, the review proposes to enlarge the circumstances under which the United States would consider the use of nuclear weapons and explicit—to explicitly include "non-nuclear strategic attacks including major cyber attacks.”

Second, the NPR calls for new more usable nuclear weapons. These include the near-term deployment of low yield nuclear warheads on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and the longer-term development of a new nuclear armed sea-launched cruise missile. These proposals would come on top of the existing nuclear recapitalization program of record that the Trump Administration inherited from its predecessor, which according to the Congressional Budget Office will cost $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years excluding the impact of inflation.

And third, the review walks back from key U.S. non-proliferation and disarmament commitments. Arms control only gets a brief mention at the end of the document and it's generally—and it is a generally a dismissive mention at that.

So, to help us further explore these and other issues, we have assembled a topnotch panel of experts. Our first speaker, on the far right will be Thomas Countryman. Tom, I am thrilled to say, is the new Chairman of the Board of the Arms Control Association and former Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

After Tom, we will have Joan Rohlfing who is seated between the three speakers there, the President of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, excuse me and batting third will be Jon Wolfsthal, former Senior Director on the National Security Council responsible for nuclear weapons and arms control issues.

Each of our speakers will provide about 7 to 10 minutes of opening remarks which should leave plenty of time for questions from all of you. And before we get started, I just wanted to mention that we have coffee, tea, water and a selection of sodas in the back if you haven't seen them, and also if you're looking to access the wireless, the guest network is C-E-I-P guest and you open your browser and that should take you through the prompts that you need to get on the wireless and with that, the floor is yours, Tom.

THOMAS COUNTRYMAN: Thank you, Kingston. And thank all of you for coming out today. Nuclear weapons of course are technically complex and the policy that dictates their use, their strategy is perhaps esoteric, but the issue is not so complex that it cannot be comprehended by the public, by the media and crucially, in the months ahead, by the United States Congress.

The new NPR has real implications for our budget, for our leadership role and the world and above all, for our national security and it is crucial that the media and the public participate in an informed debate within the Congress on these issues.

As Kingston noted, U.S. nuclear policy has great elements of consistency. It is in many ways slow to change and you will note similarities in this draft report from what was decided by the Bush Nuclear Posture Review in 2002 and the Obama Nuclear Posture Review in 2010, but the changes are significant and have real-world implications. They are significant in their substance, in their tone, in what is added and in the striking omissions from previous posture reviews.

What concerns me most directly is the talk of an expanded role for nuclear weapons. For years, the United States under successive Presidents of both parties has consistently narrowed the circumstances under which an American President would contemplate use of nuclear weapons. For the first time in a long time, instead there is an expansion, an explicit expansion of the circumstances under which the President would consider such use.

As Kingston noted, this includes responding to non-nuclear threats including that of a massive cyber attack.

A year ago, Vice President Joe Biden, just before he left office, stood right here and spoke about the progress that the Obama Administration had made not only in narrowing those circumstances, but in reducing the role and the number of weapons in our nuclear arsenal and I’d just like to quote from Vice President Biden at that time. He said here, "Given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today's threats, it is hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary."

That remains the case today and the draft Nuclear Posture Review fails to give a convincing rationale why it has changed. It does not explain why the U.S. nuclear arsenal, still the most powerful and diverse possessed by any nuclear weapon state is insufficient to match threats on both the nuclear and the non-nuclear level.

It fails to explain why the overwhelming United States advantages in both conventional military capabilities, and yes, in cyber capabilities is inadequate to respond to threats or attacks.

It does not explain why the Russian Federation's modernization, which parallels the United States’ own modernization efforts, is so severely different from ours that it means we have fallen behind in stability. It does not even talk about strategic stability between the United States and Russia as a goal to strive for and it does not explain how the additional threat of new nuclear weapons, including new low-yield weapons on top of those low-yield weapons that we already have, will change the Russian Federation thinking or make the first use of nuclear weapons by either side less likely.

Of concern to me also is the effect on our global leadership. It essentially abandons the United States' leadership role in nonproliferation and arms control that have marked every President since Dwight Eisenhower. In speaking of the most successful security treaty the world has ever seen, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it treats this only as a nonproliferation treaty and ignores… it does not restate the binding legal obligation that the United States undertook almost 50 years ago in that treaty. That is, we are committed to pursue effective measures to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons leading to their verifiable elimination.

By failing to restate this as a goal, it has an effect upon the readiness of other nations to honor their nonproliferation obligations. And this is the final point I would like to make: this posture review does not and will not be issued in a vacuum. It is not an issue simply between the U.S. and Russia, or the U.S. and China.

Other nations look to the United States' signal to determine their own policy and the signal that is being sent is unfortunately that the United States is putting aside a legal obligation, is not going to exert the same kind of leadership on nonproliferation and arms control issues, and it also signals the utility of nuclear weapons, something that will make them more attractive to those countries that have smaller arsenals or those that have no arsenals at all.

All of this is true even if you set aside the character and the impetuosity of the current United States' President. It still has these negative effects upon our national security. For these reasons, I hope not only that the final draft that we see perhaps next week will moderate some of these difficult points, but I also hope that the United States Congress will take up the obligation that it took up with great seriousness after the last two Nuclear Posture Reviews and put a limit to the kind of dangerous development that detracts from, rather than contributes, to stability in our world.

Thank you.

REIF: Thanks very much, Tom. Joan?

JOAN ROHLFING: (Inaudible) Kingston, thank you, Tom. I have been asked to focus in particular on the new capabilities being contemplated by the posture review, but I would like to put that in a little bit of a frame before offering some observations on that.

I do want to emphasize, I think you have certainly heard us mention that this is a draft and it still has to go through a White House review. I think this is important just to emphasize that anything nuclear is inherently presidential, so I am going to speak in terms of this being a draft with hopes that it could still improve. Much like, Tom and perhaps even a little bit more pointedly, I want to say this draft posture review represents a significant departure from the direction we have been headed in for the last four administrations.

It increases our reliance on nuclear weapons. It expands their role in our security and it makes them more likely—it makes the use of them more likely.

It also compounds rather than solves some of the top level nuclear issues left over from the previous administration. What do I mean by that? It maintains the same outdated hair trigger launch posture of our ballistic missiles that puts pressure on our leaders to make a use decision without enough time for deliberation.

It proposes enhancements to our arsenal that make nuclear weapons more usable and more destabilizing. It compounds the resource challenge by increasing the cost of the modernization program by at least another 20 percent. It doesn't offer any proactive solutions for overcoming the impasse in our relationship with Russia.

It undervalues arms control as a tool to achieve our military objectives and advance our national security. We don't do arms control for the sake of doing arms control. We do it because it advances our national security. If this review stands as it is currently written, I believe it significantly increases the risk of use.

Our primary focus as a nation should be on preventing the use of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world and this posture review would move us in the opposite direction, so let me give you now a few specific examples of why that is the case starting with some of the capability enhancements proposed.

As Kingston mentioned, the review is proposing two new types of low-yield nuclear weapons. First, a near-term capability to put low-yield capacity on our SLBMs, our submarine launched ballistic missiles and then potentially, it contemplates over a longer time period a low-yield nuclear SLCM.

What's interesting about the SLCM is that we used to have nuclear SLCMs, they were taken off of deployment, off of our surface ships, off of our submarines in the 1991-timeframe by then President George Herbert Walker Bush. They were finally retired by the Obama Nuclear Posture Review in 2010, so this represents us coming you know, back full cycle to where we were at the height of the Cold War as opposed to continuing to move in the other direction.

Why do we need these low-yield nuclear weapons in the arsenal? I would argue emphatically, we do not. We already have a robust flexible nuclear deterrent today that includes low-yield options. But this draft review posits that we need more low-yield options, more low-yield capacity to restore a so-called deterrence gap at a regional level.

The premise in the review seems to be that the existing arsenal is not a credible deterrent to others unless we have this low-yield nuclear weapon. I find that argument simply incredible. The U.S. today has this robust deterrent. It is capable of being employed anywhere in the world in defense of our interest and our allies within a matter of minutes.

And as Tom said, they haven't offered a satisfactory explanation for what is the military purpose, what is the rationale for why we need this new capability? So, rather than raising the bar for nuclear use as they assert in the review, I believe it lowers the bar and makes their use more likely.

This is destabilizing, not stabilizing.

I think it's also a mistake to believe that we could use a little nuke to control escalation rather than strengthening deterrence, it therefore undermines it and it increases the risks of miscalculation. One final point on this, if we talk about deploying low-yield nuclear weapons on an SLBM, how is our adversary if they detect the launch from the ocean somewhere, a ballistic missile coming from them, how are they going to know that it's a little nuke, not a full-yield nuclear weapon, if the same platform deploys both a full yield nuclear weapon and a low-yield nuclear weapon. This is also destabilizing, I think it's fanciful to expect that there wouldn't be a full-scale attack in return for that.

So, a second point on how this posture review falls short just to emphasize some of comment that Tom made earlier about the short shrift given to arms control and nonproliferation, it mentions the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the good news is, it proposes that the administration will continue to observe the testing moratorium and will urge others to do the same, but it then undercuts that objective by explicitly noting that it will not seek ratification of the treaty. Why does this matter?

Without ratification the U.S. undermines its own ability to secure this nuclear test ban regime that's really vital to preventing new nuclear states from emerging and frankly, it preserves the U.S. nuclear advantage. Why wouldn't we want to do everything we can to ensure that the treaty is ratified so that we can sustain those benefits?

On the issue of further arms control with Russia, it offers no proactive agenda and is silent on the value of extending the New START Treaty, which is frankly critical to regulating our nuclear relationship with Russia. It ignores the value of the JCPOA and, very importantly, as mentioned by Tom, there is only a fleeting—the barest fleeting reference to a commitment to a world without nuclear weapons, but it's not stated as a goal.

This is not only a U.S. legal commitment under the NPT, but also necessary for sustaining the political support, political will for the entire nonproliferation regime and it finally quite frankly, it takes too narrow a view of the role that arms control can play. We should have a whole-of-government approach looking at arms control diplomacy as a plank in our national security strategy; not one that's an afterthought. This review focuses primarily on the military dimensions of nuclear weapons.

Let me just close by saying, coming back to where I started, which is that the policy, the proposed posture, the enhancements being sought by this posture review are destabilizing and fundamentally increase the risk of use, increase the risk of miscalculation. Deterrence may be necessary, but it's certainly not sufficient to prevent nuclear use and potential miscalculation.

Thank you.

REIF: Thanks, very much, Joan. Jon.

JON WOLFSTHAL: Thanks, I am going to be lazy and just stay here unless anybody objects. Thank you to the ACA and Kingston and also to Joan and to Tom for letting me be part of this group. I want to support everything, everything that Tom and Joan have just said about the NPR and the concerns, I share many of them.

I will—you know, we're sort of always pushed to say, it's OK to find something positive to say about the NPR. There's something good in it and you know, I was struck, and I'd actually be surprised if Tom and Joan didn't feel the same way.

The stated objectives in the NPR to enhance deterrence, to reduce the risk of nuclear ambiguity, to ensure that countries that have nuclear weapons and threatened to use them like Russia, like North Korea know that they cannot use these weapons without escaping a consequence greater than any objective they might hope to achieve are I think valuable statements.

The deterrent language in the document is actually, I would argue, something you could find probably in any other Republican NPR and there actually would have been a similar type of discussion in a Democratic NPR.

The problem is of course the document then goes completely off the rails by pursuing systems that aren't supported by either intelligence information that suggests it will be helpful in enhancing deterrence by expanding the roles of nuclear weapons. It actually, as Joan said, increases the risks of use and then the document itself is rather schizophrenic when it talks about wanting to increase the ambiguity of the circumstances under which the United States might consider nuclear use.

So, maybe that's not the nicest thing to say about the NPR, but I appreciate what they were trying to do because I think all of us appreciate the challenges that the U.S. government faces in reducing the risk of use are serious and whether there are cyber or nuclear or other challenges we face, I think we recognize that as an appropriate thing for both the Defense Department and the whole of government to be wrestling with.

The problem with the NPR is everything looks like a nuclear nail and so everything is going to be solved with a nuclear hammer and there aren't solutions to many of the problems that are identified in the NPR, the nuclear space that do come with tremendous baggage.

So, what I was asked to do is to talk about one part of that baggage, which is the budget and I guess I was in part picked on to talk about this because I worked at Monterey Institute with the kind support of the Nuclear Threat Initiative with Jeffrey Lewis and Mark Quint to produce I think, the first comprehensive report of what the U.S. Nuclear Modernization Program was going to cost, which we dubbed, "The trillion-dollar nuclear triad." I have a running joke that I get a nickel every time anybody uses that statement, so I have to pay myself.

Since then, of course, we have gotten new information, the latest CBO report suggests that cost is actually closer to $1.25 trillion and if you look at out your dollars, you're looking about $1.7 trillion. The answer is, we don't know how much the nuclear budget is going to cost and we don't know it for a couple of reasons, but the main reason is because the Pentagon refuses to put together a standalone nuclear budget.

They have been asked not once, but twice by the GAO to actually produce a nuclear budget that takes into account all of the disparate pieces from development, deployment, operations, disposal, personnel, healthcare—everything across the board and the answer from DOD, I kid you not is, "We don't want to do that because that's too hard." That's a response to the GAO.

But interestingly, we were talking about this before. In the budget document, the Pentagon takes on this argument and I think that's an opening that many people should be looking to exploit. You hear from advocates for the nuclear mission that this is affordable. This is only a small percentage of the overall nuclear budget and if you look at the document, it talks about how at the height of the Cold War in 1984, we were spending 13.4 percent of the budget or 13.4 percent of the Defense budget on nuclear, we are only looking to spend 6.4 percent of the Defense budget on nuclear.

So, it's interesting. They don't talk about exactly, you know, what the absolute number was, not including dismantlement and disposal, which Joan as refugees from the Department of Energy understand is a problem without a solution yet; but if you look at just the raw numbers are out there and some quick math, we spent roughly $50 billion in 1984, if you take the Pentagon's numbers on the nuclear mission.

They're proposing that we would spend roughly $42 billion a year on the nuclear budget in 2029, so you say, "Well, well that's actually pretty small. It's reasonable, right?" In 1994, sorry, 1984 was the height of the Cold War. We were planning to fight and win a nuclear war. Is that the environment that the Pentagon sees us being in in 2029? If it does, I'm sorry, but 6.4 percent of the budget is not going to cut it, right? I mean, Ronald Reagan was right, you can't win a nuclear war, so don't fight one. But the idea that somehow these numbers can be compared and since we are below where we were back at 84 or in 62, we're OK, ignores the budget reality that we exist in

It's not a question of whether it's affordable, it's a question of whether it is sustainable, and it is a question of whether it's advisable and if you look at the national priorities that we have on the plate, you are going to be seeing a lot of Pentagon brass and officials ask you want two new nuclear systems. Are these priorities for you? You want a new nuclear arms SLCM? Do you want that, or do you want the F-35? Do you want to modify the D5 submarine launch ballistic missile and put a small (U-warden) on it? Well, do you want to finish the B-61 Mod 12, the AirDrop tactical nuclear weapon that we have slated for deployment in Europe? Do you want this one instead?

What you see in the NPR is not a prioritization or strategy, it's a laundry list. We want every capability that's possible. We have a President who is prepared to allow us to go for all of the things that we might conceivably want to use at some point? But none of these things are going to come in on budget or on time and if you have any doubts about that then ask the question, why did Secretary Mattis, when he took the job asked to be relieved from the budget caps for the nuclear mission?

That was one of the first things he approached OMB for when he took over the job in the Pentagon. The same as his predecessors did, because they know that they can't fit that nuclear square in the round hole or sorry, the nuclear square peg into the round budget hole that they have to work with.

So, as you work through these budget priorities, you then also have to ask the question, "Where else can we be spending this money?" And I'm not going to do the traditional guns and butter, let's take it out of the NPR itself. What do they point to as the preeminent threats that they don't think we can handle with our existing nuclear arsenal and therefore, we need to develop new capabilities and we to expand the role of nuclear weapons?

Well, one of the ones that is on many people's minds is cyber. It's not explicitly mentioned in the NPR, but it's referenced in the National Security Strategy and is clearly a concern that is rightfully to be wrestled with by the U.S. government.

In the last National Cyber Strategy that the Obama ministration released, we haven't gotten one out of the Trump Administration yet, the document stated that they requested $19.5 billion in cyber capabilities in 1990s—sorry, in 2016. That's how much we were planning to spend, right? How much are we going to spend any one of the individual legs on the nuclear triad. The LRSO, the lowest budgeted item in the nuclear capability is $25 billion to $ 30 billion, total. More than we spend annually on cyber, but if we are going to threaten the use of nuclear weapons in response to a cyberattack, why aren't we investing more money in our own cyber capabilities.

If the damage that can be done to us through cyber is so consequential, yet we are the cyber superpower, right? President Obama said clearly that our capabilities are second to none. I guarantee you that Russia is more vulnerable than we are to cyber, not to say, less formidable countries.

So, it seems me instead of investing money where Russia is trying to go to become stronger, we should be playing to your own strengths, which is in conventional capability, cyber capabilities, automation, integration—the things that were talked about in the third offset of the Pentagon, as opposed to trying to re-create some Cold War nuclear capability that doesn't match up with the threats that we face today.

Two last things I'll mention. I really want to talk to as many people in the Navy as possible about this Nuclear Posture Review. There are two things that really worry me. If you've talked to any nuclear operator in the last 20 years, they will tell you without an exception that they were thrilled to be relieved of the nuclear mission on the surface fleet and in the attack submarine fleet, right?

These things were complicated, and they made the Commanding Officer's life really complicated. You had to have security on board. You had to have different operations when you had nuclear missions. This is not like going into any port, you have to actually go to special nuclear weapons ports if you're going to be handling and shipping these things. You had additional training time, additional costs were associated with that. They lost all of that. They were supposed to be investing that in conventional operations.

Now, clearly, we have some challenges in the nuclear Navy as we stand or sorry, in the conventional Navy is as we are finding out, but the idea that we're going reintroduce this thing under the surface fleet and the attack fleet is something that's going to cost money, it's going to influence operations and it's going to be a real challenge for the surface fleet and for the attacks of force, and I'm not sure they are going to be very enthusiastic about.

The second issue is and I'm getting smarter on this. Joan talked about the discrimination problem when you launch an SLBM—is it one or all of them? Remember what our subs were designed for and built for. These are $5 billion shadows. They are meant to be secret and quiet and we spent a lot of money to keep them that way. We built them so they would be our ultimate retaliatory force if, God forbid, deterrence failed and some country launched out at us, we had the ability to destroy them.

One submarine alone was enough to basically destroy most countries on earth; maybe two would be necessary if you had a major adversary. So, now we are going to take these quiet secret ships that spent their whole lives trying to disappear and we're going to launch a small tactical nuclear weapon from it, which immediately makes the whole boat vulnerable. Any time I try to talk with the nuclear Navy about well, maybe we could change operations of this and maybe we could reduce cost with that. They said, "Look, our biggest fear is Russian anti-submarine warfare capabilities. We cannot allow them to catch up and to make the oceans invisible." So, now we're basically going to have a giant dinner bell for every Russian attack sub to say, "Here it is."

And people tell me, "Look, we practiced into the Cold War. We launch. We go deep. We run fast. You have a big part of the ocean." Well, that might have been true in 1984, but Russians have been investing a lot of money in their ASW capability, and so as we ask questions in Congress of the Navy and of the military, how do they feel about these? Are these priorities? I think we also have to start asking some operational questions because they really do pose challenges that I think are going to get us into the nuts and bolts. I have gone a little long, but that should be plenty to talk about. Thank you.

REIF: Thanks very much, Tom, Joan and Jon. Great representations. Stayed within the allotted time limit which was beautiful and lots and lots to chew on—I mean, I could jump in on any of the numerous points that they made, but I'd like to open the floor to those of you in the audience for your questions and comments. The floor is yours, questions.

(UNKNOWN): We probably have mics coming too.

REIF: And we do—we will have mics coming around as well, thank you very much, (Sean). Right here, Jon.

QUESTION: Great, thank you. Jon Harper with National Defense Magazine. In terms of the cost estimates for developing a new sea-launch cruise missile and also a new low-yield warhead, you know, roughly what do think the price tag would be for that and also just, you know from a technical perspective and kind of layman's terms, can you sort of explain what would be required to actually create these new weapons?

WOLFSTHAL: Yes, and I will defer to Joan who of course has deep knowledge on how NNSA operates. What I will say is that what the draft NPR lays out is two things. One, they want to go immediately for this modified low-yield warhead for the submarine launch capability. They talk about that being a relatively low-cost option with a short timeline. The idea that's been pushed is we have thermonuclear weapons, two-stage nuclear weapons. We have a small fission primary, which has a smaller yield, a couple of kilotons, maybe less, maybe more, which then drives a second larger explosion, the thermonuclear part. That then brings up many hundreds of kilotons.

The idea would be that they would simply remove the secondary, so they would just keep the primary and put in ballast or something that wouldn't affect the trajectory or the center of gravity in the warhead. That's something that the laboratories probably could effectuate in a relatively short period of time. Relatively short—a couple of years. It depends on how they want to affect the throughput of all the other life extension programs that were currently underway.

We have a limited number of facilities. We have a limited number of staff and so, it's not clear how that would affect the life extension program for the W-88, the life extension program for the W-76, the life extension program for the B-61 Mod 12, so it would throw off some of the schedules.

The second part is that they don't say they want to absolutely go for a SLCM, they want to have a study. The study then might lead to an assessment of alternatives, which is their contracting parlance and then they would get to a record of decision, choose an option. This is many years away. It's clearly going to extend beyond the Trump term in office, assuming one term in office, it might be something that they could sort of get to a prototype later in the second term if that happens. But in terms of the actual decision-making, I'd defer to Joan if she has some thoughts on...

ROHLFING: I don't have more on the decision-making and I agree with everything you just said to the question of cost. I think I can't offer a clear answer and it really would depend, Jon, is right. You can make a relatively modest, though not trivial modification to an existing weapon to convert your SLBM weapon to be one that's low-yield in the near term. The much bigger project is the development of a low-yield weapon for a SLCM and if you assume that you're repurposing an existing nuclear package rather than trying to design a new weapon from scratch, you might find that it's in the same neighborhood of cost as the new air launched cruise missile called the LRSO that they're working on that Jon cited, about $25 billion price tag for.

If you were trying to manufacture something from—to design it from scratch, that would most likely necessitate nuclear testing. That's a whole different ball of wax, much longer program, more expensive and not to mention, the significant cost from a diplomacy and National Security standpoint if we had to resume testing to prove a new weapon design.

COUNTYMAN: And just add, Jon, quickly to what Joan has said, I mean, I think, it's absolutely right to say it would depend. I mean, if you look at the missile—potential missile for a new SLCM, the DOD, the Navy is going to do an analysis of alternatives, presumably to look at different options. It would seem to me that the lowest cost option would be some way to spin off a current or a future block of the Tomahawk missile and use that.

Whereas the most expensive option would be some kind of totally new missile that they would have to design and then on the warhead sign, warhead side excuse me, there has been talk in an article actually that Jim Miller, a former Obama Administration Pentagon official and Sandy Winnefeld, the Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff advocating for a new sea launched cruise missile. They said at least for the warhead, you could build a modified—so a modified version of the W80-4, which as Joan mentioned is the planned warhead for that the new air-launched cruise missile, the LRSO and build a few more of them and put it on a on a sea-launched cruise missile is a relatively lower cost option.

So, I think potentially, range of cost, but the point is additional costs to a program of record that as Jon already pointed out is under tremendous stress and faces a major affordability and executability challenge.

ROHLFING: And can I just follow that with one point that I would really want to emphasize. I think the largest cost is not a financial one, it's the National Security implications as we discussed of deploying a new low-yield warhead that is destabilizing and increases the chance that a nuclear weapon will be used. That I think, is the most important point that I would make about a sea-launch cruise missile.

RIEF: Additional question. Yes?

QUESTION: Thank you, Sandra Erwin with Space News. Jon, to your point about capabilities that we do need like cyber, can you be more specific. I mean, do you mean satellites? What are some of the areas where we need to be more resilient and what specific capabilities would you recommend? Thanks.

WOLFSTHAL: So, I am not a cyber expert, but obviously, working in the administration and understanding both our capabilities and vulnerabilities, I think the question is what is it that the U.S. government is worried about in terms of our adversary's ability to use cyber capabilities against us? That makes us so vulnerable and that the impact could be so significant that it could approximate nuclear.

And the Pentagon, the NPR draft talks about this. It talks about both infrastructure, I think that would mean critical infrastructure, communications, energy grid, communications, banking, nuclear early warning command-and-control is another area that is specifically cited that could somehow disrupt our ability to have a reliable deterrent and so, I would put those at the top of my list that I want to make sure that we are doing defense to the extent necessary to protect the power grid, the communications grid, banking and financial system—those are things that I wouldn't argue that losing the communications grid would be akin to say a nuclear detonation in New York.

You know, we could learn to live without our cell phones for a couple days if we had to, but obviously, the implications are dramatic if we're so vulnerable that a country could bring it down, we should be spending more to protect it and defend it and helping states helping, and helping local municipalities, and helping utilities do that. We use some of that now, but clearly more is necessary.

And then in terms of space again, I am not a space expert, but clearly as we are developing the new satellite constellation both for early warning for communications and for military operations, this is something the Pentagon has been worried about for many, many years. This is another one of the things that you constantly hear program officers and Cabinet officers demanding and asking for more resources for and yet, there's a large pot of money here that in my view isn't matched up against the threat we face.

So, just for example, and we didn't get into a lot of nuclear doctrine here because you don't want to get bored and go right to sleep, but the idea here is that the Russians are threatening to use nuclear weapons against us or our allies because somehow, they doubt our nuclear capability, our 4,000 operational nuclear weapons aren't quite enough, the 1,000-low yield nuclear weapons aren't quite enough, so we need to have some exquisite new capability that will show the Russians we're serious.

When in fact what the Russians are doing is saying, "We are conventionally inferior to you. We can't fight you in a fair fight and, so we don't want to fight fair, we want the option to escalate to the nuclear level." And the NPR draft says, "They shouldn't be convinced that they can get away with that," because we have all of these other nuclear capabilities. That's a reasonable deterrent statement.

To then spend more money for some new capability that doesn't solve that problem strikes me as being—throwing bad money after good.

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE) (Inaudible)

WOLFSTHAL: I think that like most parts of the U.S. government, this is a stovepipe product of the nuclear establishment from the Joint Chiefs, from the OSD policy, from STRATCOM that's driving this. They said that we've already got a program of record, the incremental cost will be small and therefore, let's push this.

Now, if they were put in a room with the cyber people or the ISR people or the infrastructure people or the—you know, name your list, my guess is they would lose, but because there is this demand for Nuclear Posture Review, this sort of stands up and above and that's where Congress is really going to have to come in and prioritize, but of course, they are stove-piped in Congress as well. The people that handle cyber don't handle nuclear. People who nuclear don't handle conventional, and so we will continue to see the slicing of the salami pretty thin.

REIF: Yes, right here.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for the presentation. My name is Yuki Toda from Kerala News (ph). Most of you put it out that the destabilizing effect of its NPR on not only on the National Security, but also the arms control regime. So, please, could you tell me your prospect, your kind of vision about what's the impact of this NPR on INF Treaty and also the extension of the New START and another question is now, the United States tried to create new nuclear warheads and a nuclear weapon, so the other leading country over the NPT—NPT is losing credibility or not?

COUNTYMAN: On the new START Treaty, I am glad that the draft NPR leaves open the possibility of extension of the New START Treaty for an additional five years when the initial term expires in 2021. In my view, this is the single most logical step that Moscow and Washington could take, and they could take it today, that would provide additional strategic stability and also send a valuable signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. and Russian Federation, no matter what else they say, are still interested in limiting their nuclear arsenals.

On the INF Treaty, the NPR—the draft NPR talks quite a bit about the Russian violation, which is a serious concern. It correctly describes that arms control is made more difficult if existing agreements are not honored, but I think it does not provide an easy answer any more than the Obama Administration could provide an easy answer for how to bring the Russians back into compliance with their obligations under the INF Treaty.

It links the development of a submarine-launched cruise missile with the Russian violation and suggests that the U.S. might revisit development of a submarine-launched cruise missile if Russia returns to compliance. I don't believe that that's adequate by itself to get Russia to return, but it is appropriate for this NPR to take very seriously Russia's violation of the INF treaty.

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has many challenges, the challenge posed by North Korea is by far the greatest. The challenge posed by Iran was addressed in the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action and the most significant step backwards that could be taken for the Nonproliferation Treaty is if any of the parties to the JCPOA walk away from that agreement. That would be the single biggest threat to the credibility of the NPT.

But at the same time, for this Administration to pretend that the U.S. has no legal obligation to continue to address reductions in its nuclear arsenal is damaging to our credibility not only as a leader in nonproliferation, but as a so-called leader on any of the issues that the U.S. has to deal with. It's why walking away from the JCPOA is a big challenge for the U.S. because it would signal to other countries that an agreement with the United States is not meaningful and can be easily reversed on the whim of a different President.

So, the challenges to the NPT are there and I fear that the statements contained in this draft NPR will erode the U.S. capability to lead the world on nonproliferation efforts.

REIF: Last one to—very good. Questions? Yes, right here.

QUESTION: Doug Sharp from the George Washington University. Thank you all for a great panel. I am given to reflect on Scott Sagan and Jane Vaynman's effort after the Obama Nuclear Posture Review to understand what its effects were on the nuclear posture is the attitudes about nuclear weapons of other states and I'm wondering if you could reflect on that topic, on how nuclear weapon state potential adversaries, allies and other states will react to this nuclear posture?

WOLFSTHAL: I'm thrilled you asked that question not only because Jane used to work for me here at the Carnegie Endowment, but because without a doubt, one of the best things I read when I was in government and this is including all the fine work that our intelligence community could produce was the work that they did try to understand how different countries saw the Obama NPR and to bring that into a feedback loop, so we can understand ourselves.

Did our outgoing message—was it received the way we wanted to? How did that affect our ongoing planning? And there was a significant deviation between what we planned and it then factored into a lot of our thinking, so my favorite example—this is every time we said we wanted to reduce the role of nuclear weapons, what the work that Scott and Jane put together, what Russia heard was, we want to be able to do whatever we want with conventional weapons anytime, anywhere.

Like, of course, you want to reduce the role of nuclear weapons. You are the conventional superpower. They didn't view that as a good thing. They viewed that as a very destabilizing thing that did not reassure them, so I think it would be very interesting to hear and see what foreign countries, adversaries and allies alike think about this NPR, but it gets to a fundamental problem which is, is this Trump's NPR or not?

My interpretation and I wouldn't speak for anybody else is that Donald Trump is probably unlikely to read any of this document, that this is Secretary Mattis' NPR and it's a product of him, General Selva who is the Vice Chairman, General Hyten, the Commander of STRATCOM and Rob Soofer who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Missile Defense who is very knowledgeable and I think did an excellent job sort of pulling these threads together, but it doesn't reflect Trump thinking.

And so, I don't know what our allies think, and I don't know what adversaries think because it—does Mattis runs nuclear policy or Trump? And if you have any doubts about that, just look at the NPR language itself. It says on the one hand, our commitment to our allies are ironclad and our assurances mean something, that's not Donald Trump language. And it says that any decision to use nuclear weapon would follow a deliberative process.

Does anybody believe that that is the way that President Trump will think about using nuclear weapons? It's clearly the way that our military and our civilians in the Pentagon think about it, but that's not what we would see out of this White House.

ROHLFING: I just like to add a simple kind of one sentence. I think the overall take away from this NPR is that we need more weapons and more roles for our nuclear weapons in our National Security and if the U.S. as the most powerful nation, the biggest most powerful military on earth needs more nuclear weapons for its National Security that sends a big signal that others needs them too and it really undermines our nonproliferation objectives and makes us less safe over time.

REIF: Back there in the red.

QUESTION: My name is Alicia Dressman. I am an independent consultant. When I read these section on the NPR on tailored deterrence towards Russia, which featured a very outdated view of Russia's nuclear posture, the escalated to de-escalate strategy, I don't think has been relevant in a recent National Security Strategy coming out of Russia in quite some time. I completely wrote off that there was an actual foreign-policy component that was competent and that this is more a technocratic objective introducing his new-yield low warhead.

My question to you would be, how much of the NPR introducing the—may be resuming the W80 Mod 4 redesign for a SLCM, how much of that is the NNSA perhaps looking at the DOD NNSA three plus two programs in saying, "Okay, we have efficiencies. We can open up a new assembly and maybe use nonnuclear parts from the LRSO warhead for the SLCM, because they have a similar warhead design et cetera" and how much of this comes from this grand strategy perspective of our considering, you know, nuclear threats around the globe and proposing new warheads to meet those threats? Thank you.

ROHLFING: I'll take a crack at that. I think it's both, and, but I do think it's primarily an attempt to address, perhaps a misinformed view of Russian doctrine and strategy. It's just taken as a given in this town that the Russians are seriously pursuing this strategy of escalate to de-escalate and I know among the experts, that's actually controversial and some of the experts I trust think it's not real, but I do think it is the primary driving factor behind seeking these new capabilities and then I think secondarily, as Tom mentioned, there's a component to creating some trade debate to try and get the Russians back to the table on INF.

I would put both of those things in front at the NNSA trying to expand its mission space. They already have enough on their plate and not enough resources to tackle what they have been asked to do for their program of record.

WOLFSTHAL: So, Joan is right. There is a discussion and debate about whether Russia really has an escalate to de-escalate. There is no such debate inside the U.S. government. When we looked in the Obama Administration where we continued to see what Russia is doing with their nuclear capabilities, with their capabilities of developing in violation of the INF and in addition to their statements and planning, there is a willingness to use nuclear weapons to escalate their way of a failed conventional crisis. That may not even be a dominant, it may not even be a likely capability, but is one that worries our planners and I think is appropriately worrying our planners.

I can't speak for what it's like in this administration. I could tell you that as much as we valued and looked to the input of NNSA, they were not a strategy driver in the Obama NPR, I think it's very unlikely that they were a driving strategy. I don't think you have to look too far to see who really is the brainchild of these or who is the author of these brainchild. There was a lot of input for the NPR from Keith Payne at the National Institute for Public Policy who has written about tailor deterrence. You could actually take the sections, I mean, it's almost font matching in terms of what they are putting forward.

So, these arguments have been out for a while. Frank Miller, the same who was a key official in the Bush administration for nuclear policy and defense and Brad Roberts also who worked on the Obama NPR is now at Livermore have been talking about these ideas for many, many years and I think they just found very fertile soil in the Trump Administration.

COUNTYMAN: If I could comment on that. I don't know whether or not the Russians have an escalate to de-escalate doctrine or not. It does concern me that although the authors would deny it, we run the risk of slipping back into Cold War knee-jerk responses that if the Russians have such a policy, we must match that capability and that concerns me.

I'm sure that the authors would see that comment as unfair, but there's a risk that we're moving in that direction, but the larger question about Russian statements and thinking, I think ties back to Doug's question about how other countries react and the fact is that even in the very hard world of military policy and nuclear weapons, words matter. Rhetoric matters.

What I saw a few years ago as the most negative development for strategic stability and nonproliferation in the world was the fact that Vladimir Putin started talking about Russia's nuclear weapons as a key element of national power as what made Russia great. The kind of language that the North Korean leadership uses and that you heard sometimes in the past from Pakistan or India, but most countries had abandoned that language for a long period of time.

And to have Putin again talking about nuclear weapons as what makes a country great was I think negative if the goal is to discourage still more countries from building nuclear weapons. And to have the United States President embrace that kind of language, even if less grammatically, I think further undermines our ability to discourage other nations from pursuing nuclear weapons. So, that's the part of Russian rhetoric that is separate from doctrine, but should be deeply concerning.

REIF: We're getting closer to our time and I see that we have more questions out there. I am going to take a few at a time to ensure we get more questions, so first, Daryl and if you just wait to respond to Daryl's and I'll take another one.

KIMBALL: Thanks, everybody. I'm Daryl Kimball, your host today. I wanted to draw Tom's attention and ask for comment about one part of the NPR that has gotten a lot of attention, but I think you're well equipped to address. One passage says, the United States is committed to arms-control efforts that advanced U.S. allied partner security are verifiable and enforceable.

So, I think the Arms Control Association would agree that you know, that advanced U.S. allied partner security, yes, are verifiable, yes, but enforceable. What do you think the NPR authors mean? What might that entail? To my knowledge, there isn't a single arms-control treaty that contains an enforcement provision per se. So, your thoughts about that and quickly, Joan—back to the nuclear testing issue with your experience at NNSA and your work with a guy named Ernie Moniz at MTI (sic) who used to be at the Energy Department, as you know, the NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship Management Plan also has a line and it came out a few months ago that says the United States test readiness timeline should be reduced to 6 to 10 months for a simple test. What is your interpretation of what that is about? What its implications could be?

REIF: Real quickly before responding to Daryl. Sir, right here, yes?

QUESTION: Stephanie Cooke with Nuclear Intelligence Weekly. I wanted to ask a little bit more about the clauses to do with disarmament and the ambiguity at best in these clauses. I've asked, we've talked about it with Tom Countryman and I'd like to ask if you think that that will be softened or hardened? I mean in the sense that it will become stronger in the final document.

We heard Chris Ford saying that he questioned that as a goal in April when he was at Carnegie, so you didn't mention his involvement in this review, but I wondered if someone—if you would comment on that and if you see a chance that that might be argued down so that we get stronger language on disarmament?

REIF: Well, let's take those two and then we will...

COUNTYMAN: Well, very quickly on the last point. I'm glad that Dr. Chris Ford is now in the office I previously held, Assistant Secretary for International Security in Nonproliferation. He is highly intelligent, highly experienced in this field and a substantial cut above the average appointee of this administration in any agency.

I don't know how strong his role has been. I know that he was at the White House coordinating the drafting process, but the drafting was done primarily at DOD. I don't know if it will change and maybe I'm not far enough removed from government service, but it still bothers me when things of this magnitude get leaked. As journalists, as NGOs, it's great to comment on a leaked document, but the fact is that it's now harder for there to be any changes made to this document particularly with this White House.

So, that if there is any argument still going on about particular clauses, it's probably hard for them to walk back now and that's unfortunate in my view. Very quickly on Daryl's points. The reference to future arms-control agreements is bothersome in two ways. First, because it says they have to be enforceable. There does not exist an enforceable arms-control agreement in part because no U.S. president would ever be willing to say that the United States will subject itself to enforcement action by an international body. In other words, this administration wants agreements to be enforceable on everybody else, but optional for the United States, and that's very much the White House point of view on the JCPOA.

So, it sets an artificially high standard, an impossible standard. More importantly to me is the very phrasing denotes passivity. We remain open to arms-control agreements. Maybe somebody else has a terrific idea, but no claim of U.S. leadership, no claim that the U.S. is going to press forward on arms-control agreements. I understand in part why it lists in great detail the obstacle placed by the Russians through their INF violation, but to write off the U.S. leadership role and condemn Washington to passivity on an existential question for the planet is distressing.

ROHFLING: So, let me tackle the test readiness question. I found it curious as well, Daryl, I think it sends a signal that they're adopting a much more muscular approach, that they are risk-averse, I guess, I perhaps there is some question about their confidence of enduring weapons in the stockpile. I personally don't see why you would need such a compressed timescale to have changed from—we were looking at a timeframe of years to resume testing to now, possibly six months. I'm not—it's a pretty stressful scenario to even put a test package together within that timeframe.

There are extraordinary costs associated with ramping up the capability to resume testing within six months, so it certainly wouldn't be on my list of priorities for what we should be investing in when we have so much competition for resources, so that's something I'd like to learn more about. It simply makes no sense to me.

WOLFSTHAL: And just briefly since Tom mentioned it, I'll put in a plug for an article that is out front that Rick Burton and I wrote in the National Interest on abandoning the arms-control role that the U.S. has played and how in fact, we can shape the international environment that so worries the Pentagon that they have to threaten early use of nuclear weapons and arm-control has been successful in actually reducing those threats in the past. We need to get back to thinking about shaping the environment and not having environment shape us.

In terms of the language on disarmament, so I heard Chris Ford same as you at the Carnegie conference. I actually view that as one of the ways the document has already improved. They recognized there was no need to take on a fight that had no payoff by insulting the entire international nonproliferation system and parties to it and so, I think the language could get—it could be better and I actually and Tom have a slightly different view.

I mean, I'm with you. I hate leaked documents and I wish that they hadn't come to me and I know that I got burned by documents being leaked when I was in the White House not to our advantage, but that being said, I actually did the Pentagon didn't like the reaction that there was a bit of a feedback loop going on that somehow this is worse than they thought.

Secretary Mattis had asked that the NPR do three things. Deter our enemies, reassure our allies and not upset what there is of support for modernization in the Congress and the fact that this document may not achieve all three of those goals, may lead them to consider some changes, but I don't think that necessarily spoke about what they are hearing on the language for disarmament because while it's not good, it probably will get them a passing grade among some of the countries that we have to work with.

And with Chris Ford's role, just a modification, Tom may have more information than I do. I think it was the Defense Director at the White House of the National Security Council that's coordinating the document, Mild Office, Armstrong nonproliferation had input into these particular sections, but was not a driver when it came to much of the policy.

ROHLFING: ... an issue with something, you just said Jon and surprisingly, I think you give the review you too much credit for what it does say about disarmament. I have a somewhat more alarmist reaction to it. I mean, if you actually look at the designated section that talks about arms-control, nowhere in there does it actually mention that we are pursuing a goal of a world without nuclear weapons...

WOLFSTHAL: But if you were Tom, and I've sent him in the lion's den at the NPT, you would say, "Oh of course, we recommit ourselves to the elimination of nuclear weapons." It's here in the preamble...

ROHLFING: Right, but this occurs within the context of a much broader global debate right now that's broader than just the NPT that has to do with the test ban and the absence of a reaffirmation of what the U.S. has publicly said for decades that it is committed to achieving the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons. I think that's really problematic.

WOLFSTHAL: I agree that it is problematic. It is a problem among many. I think it probably is a fig leaf for the diplomatic (inaudible)...

REIF: Excellent colloquium among colleagues there. I see a few hands raised, so let's see if we can get the final outstanding questions before we wrap. Yes, Alexey.

QUESTION: Thank you, I am Alexey Fomenkov, Second Secretary for the Russian Embassy. There have been a lot of talk here about Russians, so I was wondering whether I could say a couple of words without probably asking a question, would that be OK?

REIF: Yes, you may.

QUESTION: Thank you. So, first on escalate to de-escalate, I would like to point out that there is a standing Russian military doctrine. It's public. It's in English. And it specifically says under which circumstances Russia would consider using nuclear weapons and that is when the existence of the state is under jeopardy and when its territorial integrity is in question so that's very specific and it's much more specific than in U.S. documents, both current and supposedly, the future ones.

Also, on the rhetoric, I would like to point out that the NATO, in its documents, it says that nuclear weapons remain the supreme guarantee with security, so I would say that comparisons between Russia and North Korea would not be very appropriate in this context. Thank you.

REIF: Any of the panelists want to comment on that, you are free to do so, but let's see if we can get additional question. Greg?

QUESTION: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association Board Member. Congress in recent years has been quite skeptical of arms-control and defense spending arguments given the deficit hawks seem to go into hibernation, so I wonder if could list a comment on what the Congressional reaction will be to the NPR and is it possible that nuclear policy issues over the nuclear programs will be an issue in the fall elections to the U.S. Congress?

REIF: Like I said, one more and—yes, ma'am?

QUESTION: Hi, I am Emma Fruy (ph) from Global Zero and as I understood the NPR, there was a point about ramping up plutonium production as part of the renewal process for existing nuclear weapons. I was wondering if you could comment on the potential consequences of that and how this compares to earlier NPR's?

REIF: Let's answer those final three questions and then any closing comments that you might have.

WOLFSTHAL: Maybe just a word on the Congressional reaction, we can talk Emma, anytime you want since we're both Global Zero now, welcome. So, I won't answer her question and Joan is better suited for that anyway.

I have a prediction about politics although, I mainly worked for the Vice President who told me, "Look, you may be the smartest man in the world, but you don't know anything about politics." I think it's going to fall into two camps, Greg. I think partly this is going to fall into the resistance, right, Donald Trump can't be trusted with nuclear weapons. He is pushing for new nuclear options more usable. He wants to push the button, which is bigger than Kim Jong-un, you know, it sort would fit into that. I think this will provide plenty of fodder for that.

In the discussions we've been having, I think there is a real interest on the Hill in the programmatic side of when it comes the—not just the cost, but also just the operations. How this will impact on the DoE complex, how it would impact on the on the other parts of the modernization.

I don't think it's going to have—I don't think it's going to have a big electoral impact. I quite frankly, while, I was pleased as a lifelong arms-controller and a person who doesn't like nuclear weapons thrilled that there were nuclear commercials for the presidential election but quite surprised. I mean, I think this will fit into the narrative, but I think the real battle here is going to be on the budget for the new systems with the hope that it will inspire the Congress to exercise the oversight it should be exercising over the full suite of these capabilities.

We have now door opening on the President's authority unfettered to use nuclear weapons. I think that's been very positive and helpful for shining light in this issue. I hope we will see a similar thing on the budget, but I don't expect to rise to a very high political national level.

COUNTYMAN: In answer to Greg's question, just based on the past year, I predict that the Congressional majority will bring to this issue the same intellectual honesty, concern about deficits, non-partisanship, readiness to compromise and honest public statements that they've brought to every issue for the last 12 months.

ROHLFING: Well said. I am not going to add to the Congressional budget question, but just a quick answer to the plutonium production. The review contemplates a ramp up to production facility that could produce 80 pits per year, which is actually consistent with the program of record under the Obama Administration that's been under discussion for a while, that's been on the books as part of the outgoing Stockpile Stewardship Plan, so it's obviously an increase from the onesie, two-sie capability that we have now, but not something new.

Just one comment on the gentleman from Russia about the NATO statement, he's right. There is a statement about nuclear weapons being "the supreme guarantee of NATO's security" and what this represents is a greater emphasis on the role of nuclear weapons within the European context and I think this is a whole area, if we had more time, we could spend a whole session just talking that the role of U.S. forward deployed weapons in Europe, the role of nuclear weapons in Europe in general. I think, I would really matter have seen this review taking a completely different approach which is looking at how we can consolidate those weapons back to the United States, rather than reinforcing their role and underscoring that we need to keep them there for all.

REIF: With that, let me thank our panelists for an excellent discussion. Let me thank all of you for coming. The conversation about the Nuclear Posture Review and the Trump Administration's nuclear weapons policy has just begun as has the Arms Control Association’s engagement on this question, so keep a lookout for future events, for additional resources on our website.

My coworkers have informed me that I must conclude with two final housekeeping notes before I'm allowed off the podium. The first is a note that the transcript of this event will be available by the end of the week for those of you who are interested in consulting it and then a final note that the Arms Control Association, we have a date for our annual meeting which will be April 19th here at Carnegie and this year's annual meeting will focus on the challenges facing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and nonproliferation regime on the occasion of that 50th birthday of the treaty, so please, we hope to see you join us at that event on the 19th and with that, thank you all for coming and let's thank our panelists.

END

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The Arms Control Association will host a briefing with a group of top experts to analyze the implications of the new Trump nuclear strategy.

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Press Briefing: Pathways to a Diplomatic Resolution on North Korea

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Prospects and Pathways to a Diplomatic Resolution the North Korean Nuclear Crisis

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC

The transcript of the event is posted below.


Despite the Trump administration’s campaign of maximum pressure on the North Korean regime, Kim Jong-Un has continued to advance his country's nuclear and missile programs.

U.S. officials say they are open to talks on denuclearization, but also insist that now is time to apply more pressure to bring North Korea to bargaining table. North Korea has said it will not discuss its nuclear program so long as the United States maintains a hostile policy and joint military exercises take place in the region.

Though Washington and Pyongyang maintain a line of communication through the “New York channel,” there is no sign yet of any structured talks designed to resolve the crisis. The time available to find a a diplomatic off-ramp may be limited, especially if North Korea resumes its nuclear and missile testing.

This event—featuring three top experts in the field—will outline the growing risks posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities and whether a serious, sustained, and direct U.S.-North Korean dialogue is still possible. The speakers will assess current engagement efforts and under what conditions Pyongyang might be willing to negotiate the cessation and reversal of its nuclear program. 

Speakers will include:

  • William Perry, the 19th Secretary of Defense who has extensive experience negotiating with North Korea from his time serving in the Clinton administration;
  • Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at New America and participant in recent discussions with senior North Korean officials; and
  • Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association.
  • Daryl G. Kimball, executive director at the Arms Control Association, will moderate.

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


TRANSCRIPT

DARYL KIMBALL: All right, if I can just ask everybody to take seat? We’re going to start in about a minute or so, and silence the cell—the—the mobile phones.

And for those of you in the back, there are some seats up front. I expect there’re a few—there will be a few more people coming in, so this will be your chance to just slip in and get a seat towards the front. Thanks.

All right, well, good morning. Let’s get the ball rolling.

Welcome, everyone. My name is Daryl Kimball. I’m the executive director of the Arms Control Association, which most of you know is a nongovernmental organization that’s been in existence since 1971 to address the risks and the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

We publish the monthly journal Arms Control Today and cover a wide range of weapons-related security issues. And we’ve organized today’s forum to explore and discuss prospects and pathways to a diplomatic resolution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Now, the danger posed by North Korea is not new, but clearly since the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House in January of 2017, a bad situation has become far worse.

So far, the Trump’s administration policy of maximum pressure, occasional threats of fire and fury, military exercises, and mixed messaging about negotiations has failed to bring Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table, and it hasn’t slowed down North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing program.

And just, of course, a few days ago, North Korea’s Hwasong-15 flight test shows that the North Koreans have achieved something that Donald Trump said would not happen earlier this year, developing a long-range nuclear deterrent capability.

Now, President Trump and some of his other senior officials say time is running out before some kind of military options may be pursued. The reality, however, about military action may be far different.

It doesn’t seem as though there are any viable military options to halt or eliminate North Korea’s nuclear missile capability. So what does that leave us with? Pressure and some form of engagement.

Following that Hwasong-15 test of just a few days ago, Secretary Tillerson said, helpfully, “Diplomatic options remain viable and open for now." So that’s good to hear, but what does that mean?

Unfortunately, there are no direct talks right now going on between the United States and North Korea on a sustained basis, but as we’ll discuss this morning with our three expert speakers, there appear to be some new efforts under way to get such a process going.

So we’ve organized this morning’s session to hear from three bona fide experts about the status and the prospects and the possible pathways towards a negotiated or brokered agreement that could reduce tensions, somehow halt North Korea’s nuclear and missile program and also, in some way or another, address the security current—concerns that North Korea itself says it has.

There’s, of course, no guarantee that such an approach will work, but I think it’s fair to say that all of us here, all of our speakers, the Arms Control Association, believe this is the best option we have to address this grave situation.

So we’re, of course, very honored to have with us this morning Bill Perry, William J. Perry, the 19th secretary of defense, who is, in my opinion, one of the wisest and most thoughtful nuclear policy experts our nation has to offer.

He’s a real statesman who’s been working persistently on this issue, and it’s something that we at the Arms Control Association and, I think, every American should appreciate and admire.

He has, of course, extensive experience actually talking to real North Koreans, particularly during his time while serving in the Clinton administration.

So we’ve asked him to speak here today to discuss his perspectives on the crisis, what the risks are, what can be done to avert a catastrophic war and somehow arrive at a peaceful solution.

So we’re going to hear from Secretary Perry. I would like to invite him to come up to the podium right now to speak. And then we’re going to take some—take your questions for him.

And then we’re going to turn to our panel, and Secretary Perry is going to join two our other expert speakers, Suzanne DiMaggio, who’s a senior fellow with New America, and Kelsey Davenport, our own director for Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association.

So Secretary Perry, if I could invite you to come on up? Thank you for joining us and for your long and distinguished service to the country. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue.

WILLIAM PERRY: Thank you, Daryl. I’m going to get right to it by telling you what I think North Korea has today, which is about 20 to 25 nuclear weapons, a few of them, thermonuclear or hydrogen, and a couple hundred missiles, most of them short-range, but a few of them medium-range.

And they’re developing an ICBM, which I think has another year or two to go before it becomes operational, but I have no doubt that they will get there. So that’s the North Korean nuclear arsenal today.

We should never have let them get that arsenal. I’m going to talk about two things. First of all, how we happened—how we let that happen, very briefly, and then what we’re going to do about it.

We had, in my judgment, four opportunities to stop that development from happening, all of which, one way or another, failed. The first one went all the way back to 1994.

I have a special fondness for that one because it was the first crisis I faced as secretary of defense, so it’s etched into my memory.

I won’t go into the details of what happened in that crisis except it ended up with a diplomatic agreement called the Agreed Framework, which was negotiated by Bob Gallucci, and by which North Korea agreed to stop their nuclear program.

Basically, they shut down Yongbyon, which was their nuclear facility, and we agreed to supply—we being the United States, Japan, South Korea—agreed to supply them with two light water reactors to replace—to provide their electricity and then some, which they thought they were going to get out of their facility at Yongbyon.

These new light water reactors would not be susceptible to being easily diverted to making nuclear weapons. And the—the Agreed Framework eventually was abandoned both by—by both United States and North Korea in the early part of this century.

And while North Korea fully complied with their activities at Yongbyon, that is they shut down, basically shut down their plutonium facility at Yongbyon. They proceeded in a covert R&D program to develop a highly enriched uranium option for making nuclear bombs.

The Agreed Framework—Framework, in my judgment, probably delayed their nuclear program by almost a decade. That’s what we got out of it. But it did not stop their aspirations to have nuclear bombs and did not stop them from proceeding with an R&D program in highly enriched uranium, going to—getting a head start on how to make a bomb out of HEU.

In 1999, they conducted a early ICBM test, and that sent shockwaves, both in the United States and our allies, Japan and South Korea.

But why was it so important? It was because nobody would build an ICBM unless they were planning to put a nuclear warhead on it. It was an indication that they had kept something going in—in the nuclear program.

We didn’t know at the time what it was. We now know it was an R&D program in highly enriched uranium. But it was a very implicit indicator that it had—still had aspirations and some program for—for making a nuclear bomb.

In dealing with that crisis, I was now happily back at Stanford teaching. I had no desire to leave, but President Clinton called me and asked me if I would be his envoy for North Korea, see if I could deal with this problem.

To give you a little background about that, I thought I was a very poor choice for that task because during the previous crisis, I’d been secretary of defense.

And we had taken a very strong position that we would not permit North Korea to make a nuclear bomb—that we would not permit them to make plutonium, which was the first step to getting a nuclear bomb.

And I was a spokesman for Clinton in that regard. And we’ve said things like that many times since then, but this time we meant it. And we were—really were going to stop them if they did it. I had on my desk a plan to use a conventionally-armed cruise missile to destroy Yongbyon if they persisted in making plutonium.

It’s not so important that we were planning to do that is—as it is that North Korea believed we were planning to do it. In other words, our threat this time was a credible threat. And that’s what brought North Korea to the bargaining table, I think.

So why did he pick me to do this? I was the face of the opposition to Pyongyang. In fact, their—two days after I made my statement, the North Korean state-run newspaper had come out the headline that "Secretary of Defense Perry is a War Maniac." War maniac. I have never been called anything quite that exciting in my whole lifetime.

(LAUGHTER)

So I thought they might have a very negative reaction to my being the envoy there. But it—in any event, we—but let me just tell you about what to propose to them. It was about a tri-lateral study. I invited the Japanese and South Koreans to join me in this study.

We had a report made—but the key thing about the report, one sentence in the report, I think it’s worth repeating. It said, "We must deal with North Korea as it is and not as we would wish it to be." And that was my guideline when we went to Pyongyang to—to try to negotiate another agreement with them.

I spent four days in Pyongyang, made a very explicit proposal to them of what benefits would come to North Korea if they verifiably agreed to give up not only their nuclear program but their long-range missile program and the incentives if they would do that and the disincentives if they didn’t do it. So it was a very frank and freewheeling discussion.

And I left Pyongyang after four days believing we were very close to an agreement, that we had sort of a verbal understanding that they were willing—willing to do this.

Some months later, Kim Jong-il sent his senior military man to Washington to do the final negotiation of this agreement. He stopped off at Stanford on the way. I gave him a tour of the Bay Area, held a dinner in his honor, and then we went back to Washington.

The summary of that meeting was that he and President Clinton had a hand shake agreement on the deal we had negotiated in Pyongyang, and all of it—that was left was signing it. And Clinton wanted to sign it personally and Kim Jong-il wanted to sign it personally, so we were going to set that time in another—another month or two.

But a funny thing happened three weeks after that meeting in Washington, which was called a U.S. election, and a new administration was voted into office. Clinton decided, I think probably rightly, that he shouldn’t sign this agreement and then hand it to the new president. He should let the new president do the signing.

And at the time, we were confident that was going to happen because the incoming Secretary of State Colin Powell had said that he had liked the agreement and that he was going to bring it to a conclusion as soon as they got their new term started.

So we saw that being signed in maybe February or March of 2001. But in fact, President Bush, I think, under the strong guidance of his Vice President Cheney, decided not only not to sign it, but to cut off all discussions, all negotiations with the North.

And so for two years there was no discussion at all with the North. And they started acting out again. The Chinese became very concerned at this. So that was the second opportunity we had to stop the program, and that was aborted just before the agreement was signed.

And so then a full discussion of what I’m—of that—those meetings and what the agreement was is in my book, "My Journey at the Nuclear Brink," which you can get for 20 bucks at Amazon.

I was not only disappointed at the time; I would say I was a little bitter on all this work, all this effort on such an important problem, and it was just thrown overboard.

In 2002, the Chinese became concerned about what was going on, and proposed something called the six-party talks. You’re all familiar with that. I won’t dwell on it.

I believe they were on the wrong negotiating tactic in the six-party talks, but that’s just an opinion. In any event, the upshot of the six-party talks was during the time they were talking, the North Korean built about six or seven nuclear bombs.

In other words, all of the—while they were—while the—while we were talking, they were building. And then finally the six-party talks were abandoned. That was our third opportunity to stop them.

Last year, in 2016, I proposed once more diplomacy to deal with this problem, in particular diplomacy before they tested their ICBM and before they tested a hydrogen bomb, which I felt confident was in the offing.

I thought if we could get an agreement to stop them then that would be very well worth—it didn’t get rid of this nuclear arsenal they had, but it kept it from getting worse. And in my judgment getting a hydrogen bomb and getting an ICBM made it a lot worse.

I think we might have had that agreement a year ago, but that was never pursued. So that was the fourth opportunity we had.

That wouldn’t have stopped them entirely in their arsenal, but it would have stopped them from getting an ICBM and a hydrogen bomb because you cannot truly aspire to—to have that kind of capability if you haven’t tested it.

So as a result of those four missed opportunities, we’re now looking today at a nuclear arsenal, as I said, of about 20 to 25 nuclear weapons and building. They’re building, I think, at a pretty fast rate now with an H—an HEU capability.

I still believe that we could have averted that outcome if we had concluded the agreement in 2000. At the very least, that agreement would have stopped their program for at least another decade.

So four times we—our diplomacy was either unsuccessful, or we simply passed up the opportunity to do it. So that takes us up to today.

Let me start off with a negative statement about our options today. I do not believe that even inspired and successful diplomacy today will be successful in getting them to give up their nuclear arsenal. If that’s the aspiration for our negotiations, I do not think they will be successful.

It could have been successful in 2000. It could have been successful maybe even in 2004 during the four-party—six-party talks. Now they a nuclear arsenal, and they’re very happy with it.

I can’t quite imagine what it is we’re going to offer them to the—encourage them to simply give it up. And to say that we want them to give up their arsenal before we begin to talk is just sheer idiocy. They’re not going to do that.

Their successful test of a hydrogen bomb has now given the essential data they need to build an arsenal of those deadly weapons. And their ICBM tests have taken them far enough that, in my opinion, they’re not going to stop those tests until they have an operational ICBM whatever we offer them, whatever we propose them

So whatever opportunity we had in the past to prevent them from getting in that position, that has passed and we’re now facing a different situation. They now have a nuclear arsenal, a nuclear arsenal which will soon have both ICBMs, and hydrogen bombs in its capability.

So we must face the near certainty that North Korea will have, within a few years, the capable (sic) of delivering nuclear weapons, including hydrogen nuclear weapons, to any place in the world including, of course, the United States.

And we should not have let them get that capability, but they will soon have it as a result of our either failure in diplomacy, or simply walking away from diplomatic options we had some years ago. That’s the bad news.

Let me give you a little bit of good news in this situation. I do not believe that North Korea will use this weapon, this arsenal, in an unprovoked attack. I do not believe that.

I’m not worried about them firing a nuclear weapon at San Francisco, or if they could get the capability—range capability, they’re not going to do that.

They have endured great economic hardships to build this arsenal because they believed that it was necessary to preserve their regime, that is to sustain the Kim Dynasty. That is their over—has been from the beginning, their overriding objective.

Some—the reason some of our negotiations failed, our six-party talks, which failed, for example, is because we had the wrong understanding of what they were trying to achieve.

We offered them economic incentives, which they were happy to take, but they’re not willing to give up their nuclear arsenal for it. That is, in those days, they were not willing to give up the option of getting a nuclear arsenal.

So I say they’re not going to use this in an unprovoked attack. This regime is ruthless, it’s reckless. It is not suicidal. It is not suicidal.

They are seeking to survive, and they know that if they launch a nuclear weapon at the U.S. or its allies, that their regime will be destroyed. So that’s a little bit of good news.

However, I want to say this very clearly, this nuclear arsenal is very, very dangerous. It’s all to a me—easy to imagine scenarios—scenarios in which they blunder into a nuclear war.

They’re a reckless country. They—they all—they have a history of taking very dangerous provocations, particularly with South Korea. And if anything, this nuclear arsenal will probably embolden them to take even more provocations.

And depending on how South Korea reacts, depending on how the United States reacts, that could easily escalate into a nuclear war—pardon me, into a conventional war.

And if they get into conventional war, the North will lose. They know that. That’s why they’re building their nuclear weapons.

So they see the nuclear weapons as deterring this war, but also I’m afraid they see it as emboldening—emboldening them to take even more reckless provocations, which create the condition in which a conventional military response would take, which could then escalate into a nuclear war. That’s the scenario I see which allowed—encouraged me to say this is a very dangerous situation.

Beyond that, the United States itself could create the conditions that would cause us to blunder into a nuclear war. If, for example, we today make, as we are saying it’s on the table, a conventional military strike against North Korea, I have no doubt that they would respond with a conventional military response to South Korea. And that’s exactly the scenario we can imagine then escalating into a bigger war, then finally escalating into a nuclear war.

So that’s the very serious situation we’re faced with today, and in the beginning of wisdom and any negotiations, any actions we take, any diplomacy we take, any actions we take, is to understand what the problem is. And that, I think, is the problem.

What options do we have then? I think first of all, it’s still useful to engage in diplomacy, but only if we do it with lowered expectations. We cannot go into diplomacy thinking, as we sit down at the table, we’re going to offer them something which would cause them to give up their nuclear arsenal.

That might happen over time, but it’s not going to happen as a result of a first negotiation. No diplomacy of which I can conceive in the short term at least, is going to persuade North Korea to simply hand over its nuclear arsenal.

We had that opportunity in the past, I don’t think we have it today. The diplomacy would still be directed at the lesser, but still very important, goals of lowering the likelihood of blundering into a nuclear war.

This war, to be very clear, would be devastating. Whatever it does to the United States, it would be devastating to both South Korea and to Japan.

An all-out war with North Korea, nuclear war, even if China and Russia did not enter, which is always a possibility, but even if they do not enter, best case, could still entail casualties approximating those of World War I or even World War II.

Seoul has 20 million people or so. Tokyo has 20 million or so. Several hydrogen bombs on those two cities would destroy those two cities.

So this is a very grave consequence that we’re looking at, and we should think about if we stop focusing on whether they can have an ICBM that reaches the United States and concentrating on the very grave threat they pose today to South Korea and to Japan.

So we have a serious requirement for diplomacy not only with North Korea, but with South Korea, Japan and China. China in many ways has been a key to a solution to this problem, but we have muffed that opportunity through the years, because we haven’t understood what China’s objectives are in all this.

It’s been quite clear to me for some time that China’s objective is to avoid to having a unified Korea with American troops on their border.

And years ago we could’ve been talking with China about that and offering them assurances that we would not take advantage of that opportunity if their actions led North Korea to collapse. Besides with China, what about our two allies?

They’re going to be asking themselves right now the question, now that North Korea has hydrogen weapons, and then they will soon have weapons capable of reaching the United States, would the United States be willing to sacrifice New York or Washington to save Tokyo or Seoul?

I posed it that way because that was exactly the question asked during the Cold War by the Germans. Would the United States be willing to sacrifice Washington or New York to save Bonn or Hamburg?

If the North Koreans—if the South Koreans and the Japanese don’t ask that question, the North Koreans will ask—ask it for them, or suggest that they should be asking it.

So our diplomacy should leave no doubt in the minds of North Korea that will we honor the commitments of extended deterrence to our allies. And it should deal with the concern, the very real concerns, that the South Koreans and the Japanese are having. And that’s going to take some real diplomacy.

During the Cold War, dealing with the doubts of the Germans, we resolved that issue by deploying nuclear weapons in Germany, which was neither necessary nor desirable for military reasons, but we did it to ease the minds of the Germans.

And those of you who are old enough to remember those days, you can remember also we had this about allowing two fingers on the button, both the German chancellor and the United States president.

I want to be very clear, I do not think it’s either desirable or necessary to deploy nuclear weapons again in South Korea or to deploy them in Japan. I do think, however, that would be preferable to those countries getting an independent nuclear force.

We need to look at what develops there, and we need to have our diplomacy, first of all, focusing on solid reassurance to our allies in South Korea and Japan that the extended deterrence is real and that we will honor it.

If we can do that, if we can forestall the—the immediate crisis, then over time I think we can work with diplomacy with North Korea to start getting first to stop the building of the arsenal and then in time to roll back.

I don’t see that happening today. I think we have to stabilize the situation with our allies first. And the last thing we need to be doing today, the last thing, is making reckless threats to North Korea.

That’s that we’re going to make a surprise attack that decapitates the government, because that’s exactly the situation which can promote exactly the thing we’re trying to avoid, which is a North Korean nuclear strike.

They will not, in my judgment, use their nuclear weapons against us or against our allies unless provoked into doing it. That could be either a military attack against the North or a credible threat that we’re going to conduct a surprise decapitation attack.

Those are the things that could stimulate the North Koreans to take an act, which otherwise I believe they will not take. I’m giving you a very grim story because I think we have a very dangerous situation today, and our options for dealing with it are not really very good.

They have to start with being calm and measured in our rhetoric—have to start with very creative and serious diplomacy with our two allies. And to get a long-term solution of the problem, we have to have some really creative diplomacy with China because we’re going to eventually work—to start working this arsenal backwards.

We have to deal with the North Korean overriding goal, which is security assurance. When I negotiated with them in 2000, I gave them that assurance in various ways, which we can talk about if you’d like.

But then I was just—all I was thinking to do is to get them to give up building a nuclear arsenal. Now they have one. They’re going to be very reluctant to give it up.

And so our negotiations by the United States alone cannot do that. We have to have the United States and China making these assurances.

We have to have China—whatever agreement we would sign in North Korea has to be countersigned not only by the United States and our two allies, it has to be signed by China as well.

And it has to give assurance to North Korea that we will not conduct a military attack against them to overthrow their regime.

So there’s the near-term diplomacy of dealing with our two allies and getting them to stand firm and to believe that our extended deterrence works and to not move off on an independent nuclear arsenal of their own, which have long term, very serious consequences.

And there’s the longer term diplomacy, which has to do with China, which addresses the arsenal that North Korea has and finding ways of first all making it less dangerous so it’s less likely to be used, and secondly getting some sort—getting it stopped from getting any worse, and then finally starting to roll it back.

These are very difficult goals, but I think over time they could be achieved, but they could only be achieved in close partnership with China.

And Daryl, that’s the bad news I had to bring this audience today, and I’m open to questions about it.

KIMBALL: Well, thank you for being here. I don’t thank you for the bad news. It’s not your fault, Bill. We have a chance for some questions for you but before we do that, why don’t we trade places?

PERRY: OK.

KIMBALL: So you can have a seat, and we’ll take a few.

PERRY: (Inaudible) a good idea.

KIMBALL: All right, so we’re going to take a few minutes to take your questions for Secretary Perry on his remarks, and then we’re going to go into further depth with Suzanne DiMaggio and Kelsey Davenport and Secretary Perry on the diplomatic path ahead.

Michael Gordon—and if you could, just identify yourself, ask your question, and we have a mic so that our transcriber can pick this up.

QUESTION: Michael Gordon, Wall Street Journal. Secretary Perry, can you explain in a little greater detail what you think the first steps might be in a serious negotiation with the North Koreans?

I mean, I take your point you don’t think you can persuade them to eliminate their arsenal, denuclearize the peninsula, give up these long-range missiles that they’re developing, and that you have to begin to roll it back, but what would be the first two or three steps you think—tangible steps that might be negotiable to de-escalate the situation, if not disarm the North Koreans?

PERRY: Yes, I think the first negotiations have to be the same ones I proposed a year or two ago, but it won’t have the same results. And that is a freeze on testing, no more long-range missile tests and no more nuclear tests.

The idea is to simply keep the situation from getting any worse than it is. A year or so ago, had we been able to negotiate that, it would’ve been a very big benefit because it would’ve stopped them from getting the hydrogen bomb, and it would’ve stopped them from taking the ICBM test, which they recently conducted which I think isn’t the—could not be the last test for them, but it’s given them assurance they could—that they can make an ICBM operational.

So that would—that would be a step worth—worth taking. I don’t think we can achieve that without China as a partner in the negotiations.

And then the next step after that, if we achieved that, would be talk about the conditions in which they start rolling back what they have.

I don’t have much enthusiasm for proposing that because the objectives are limited, and doesn’t stop the main threat that they already have. I’m just—do not believe we can get any more than that today.

Our opportunity to negotiate away their arsenal under one negotiation has passed, I believe. So as I said at the start of my talk, we have to deal with North Korea as it is and not as we would wish it to be.

As it is, it has a nuclear arsenal, and it has this overriding aspiration – I have a high confidence that the regime will survive, to be sure.

Given those two goals, the best we can get right now, I think, is keeping the situation from getting worse, and then in time starting to roll it back. And even to get those two objectives, I think we have to have China as a partner in the negotiation.

And to get China, we have to have a preliminary discussion with them which assures them of our willingness to come to an agreement with them that we’re not—not going to take advantage of the situation if there ends up being a unified Korea.

I think what we should tell China is the reason we have troops in South Korea today is to protect them from the threat of a North Korean attack. That’s why they’re there. They would not be there if we didn’t have that.

And so if the North Korean danger goes away, by whatever means, we have no reason to keep our troops there any longer. That’s, I think, the issue which has China hung up, and has been hung up for some time.

So we’d have to be able to deal with that issue if we’re going to have success in bringing China into the negotiations as a partner. And I think without China as a partner we’re not going to be even to get the limited objectives that I’ve described to you.

QUESTION: OK. What would you (inaudible) be prepared to give for that initial, let’s say, freeze? Are you among those that...

PERRY: Give to China or give to North Korea?

QUESTION: North Korea.

PERRY: Oh.

QUESTION: Are you among those that see merit in a freeze for freeze, or do you, as a former secretary of defense, who—who knows what it takes to defend this—South Korea, think that would be a disadvantage to our military presence?

PERRY: No, I—I think that as long as we’re faced with the military situation we’re faced with today, we should not be talking about decreasing our military capability in North Korea. If anything, we should be looking at increasing it.

The specific issue is defending South Korea and Japan against a missile attack. And we have a ballistic missile defense systems deployed in Seoul and with—with the Aegis systems deployed around Tokyo. Neither of them, in my judgment, would be successful in defeating a deterrent attack by North Korea.

But there are various things we could do to bolster those defenses. I am not thinking that it makes any sense to have a major deployment of—of American ground troops in North Korea, but there are many things we can do in terms of air and naval component.

So air and naval and ballistic missile—and missile defense would be the three things. I just fear, though, that the—putting more batteries of our present ballistic missile defense system in South Korea is not going to do it.

Even—the system has been criticized in the past for not living up to its specifications. But my point is that even if it performs exactly as it was designed to performed, it is fundamentally susceptible to saturation.

Any missile defense system is subject to saturation. And a missile defense system that operates during free flight is very easy to saturate with decoys.

And I think we have been going on blissfully assuming that the North Koreans would not be sophisticated enough to make sophisticated decoys. I’m—my contention is if they’re sophisticated enough to thermonuclear bombs, they’re sophisticated enough to make sophisticated decoys.

So we have to assume that any missile defense system we have in South Korea or Tokyo is going to be subjected to decoys and therefore saturation attacks, and we have to deal with it.

We have to look at ballistic missile defense systems that deal with that fundamental issue and that fundamental problem. It’s possible to conceive of such systems because of the peculiar geography of North Korea, which is North Korean missile launch sites are all access—accessible, line of sight (ph) accessible from the air.

And so we can conceive of airborne missiles defense systems which could operate during a powered flight of—of firing. That would give us quite a different—that fundamentally beats the decoy problem.

So I’m not proposing a system now. I’m just saying if we want to deal with this problem we have to start off with the understanding that the systems we have over there now are subject to saturation, even if they work as they’re supposed to work, and find a way of bolstering the systems to overcome that fundamental problem. And that—technically there are ways of doing that.

KIMBALL: So why don’t we take, I’ve got a question here from Julian Borger. We’re going to take—we’re going to take one more question and then what I want to do is I want to bring our other panelists into the conversation because we are starting to get into some of the issues that we had planned to discuss, so...

QUESTION: Julian Borger from The Guardian and I just wanted to follow up on Michael’s question. What would you offer them in terms of scaling...

PERRY: The North?

QUESTION: Yeah, what would you offer the North for a freeze in—in testing?

PERRY: Yeah, well, there’s two buckets of things you would offer. One of them is a bucket of goodies, economic incentives. And we have done that in the past, and they have been very attracted to the North in the past.

Economic—North Korea is an economically deprived country and there are many things we could do that would deal with that issue. One of the most significant and important ones is, which the South has already done at least once, is helping them economically develop.

And in my mind the joint North-South facility that was built at Kaesong on the border in North Korea, as an example of things can be built on and replicated. But fundamentally we have to offer them a way of—we have to be able to find a way of providing assurance, security assurances.

That cannot be done, in my judgment, today by the U.S. alone. It has to be done in conjunction with China. North Korea might take seriously a mutual security pact between the U.S. and North Korea that is co-signed by China, but I don’t think today they would take it seriously without that.

I would not offer as a—and let me—let me be explicit about this, the freeze for freeze. I would not offer not building up a military capability. The threat is very real and our diplomacy may not succeed and therefore we have to be prepared to deter. Diplomacy is—to solve the problem, is far preferable to deterrence, but our diplomacy has failed up to this point and therefore we cannot simply give up our deterrence.

We have to be able to—in fact in my judgment, we should be building it right now. And there are ways of building in—in relatively non-provocative ways as we’re—we are talking about a defensive capability, not an offensive capability.

KIMBALL: All right, so I want to thank Secretary Perry for focusing our minds on the hard, cold realities and outlining the potential path ahead.

And—and what we’re now going to do is turn to our full panel to explore more deeply the implications of the North Korean nuclear missile capabilities for our policy objectives.

We’re going to talk a little bit more about the current status of engagement efforts, such as they are, and talk about what it might take to get these negotiations even started, because as I said in the beginning there are no sustained, direct discussions that are currently happening.

And so we’re very pleased to have with us Suzanne DiMaggio who is senior fellow at—at New America and as many of you know, has been a key participant in recent discussions with senior North Korean officials.

She’s got a long resume of experience with Track 1.5 talks, so it’s unofficial discussions with senior officials on both the Iranian nuclear issue and also now on North Korea.

And I think she visited Pyongyang earlier this year. It was in January, right Suzanne?

DIMAGGIO: February.

KIMBALL: February. And we also have with us Kelsey Davenport, who is the Arms Control Association’s director for Nonproliferation Policy.

She’s been tracking and analyzing the North Korean nuclear and missile file since 2012, and she will be going off to South Korea next week. So we are hoping there will not be any more missile tests while she travels on that airplane to—to Seoul.

So their full bios are in your program. And in lieu of set presentations from Suzanne and—and Kelsey, we’re going to—I’m going to ask them four basic sets of questions that help us get into these issues a little bit further.

And we’re really—really happy Bill Perry is able to—to join us. We had first thought he wasn’t going to be able to, so he’s now going to be a part of this—this discussion.

So the first thing I want to ask Kelsey and Suzanne to address, and maybe Kelsey you can start us on this, is given what we heard from—from Secretary Perry about North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, you know, what are some of the more—the details?

What do we think they’re trying to achieve? How might they try to further advance? And then finally—and this is a question for all of you, is there still some nonproliferation or some security value in trying to secure that halt of further nuclear and missile testing?

So Kelsey, why don’t you start off please?

KELSEY DAVENPORT: All right. Thank you, Daryl, and thank you, all of you, for coming today. It’s an honor for me to be sitting between Secretary Perry and Ms. DiMaggio, whose work I—I admire a great deal.

But to get to the—the brunt of Daryl’s question, looking a little bit more closely at what North Korea has accomplished in this most recent test, I think it’s very clear that, as Secretary Perry said, the goal for North Korea is a reliable nuclear-tipped ICBM that’s capable of threatening key cities in the continental United States along the East Coast.

And after North Korea’s July ICBM tests, you know, they weren’t there. If the July test had been flown at a standard trajectory, these missiles likely would have had a range of about 10,500 kilometers, which probably would not have allowed them to reach Washington.

And it’s questionable whether or not these missiles tested in July could have borne a full weight warhead delivered to that—to that distance.

But the test last week represented a significant technical advancement for North Korea. Looking at the Hwasong-15, it’s clear that this is not just a version of the July missile with a—with a little bit more power. This is a very different, much more advanced system.

You know, the first stage, for instance had—had two rockets. It’s very clear from the payload space that not only can this missile carry a full weight warhead but there’s also space for decoys, which as Secretary Perry mentioned, can be a critical component in trying to evade and saturate U.S. missile defenses.

So it’s clear that this—this missile is a significant advance. And if the missile had been flown on a standard trajectory, the range, even with a full weight warhead, you know, would likely still exceed 13,000 kilometers, which would put cities like Washington within range.

So there are still questions about the reliability and the accuracy of this system. And—and there are still remaining questions about whether or not the warhead would successfully re-enter the atmosphere upon, you know, a—a standard trajectory test.

You know, U.S. officials, you know, were recorded as saying that they have some doubts about whether or not re-entry from the tests last week, you know, was actually successful. So certainly, you know, more tests will be needed to actually ensure that this is a reliable system.

But the system—the fact that they’ve tested it, the fact that U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said this missile is capable of reaching almost anywhere in the world, certainly is a psychological victory for North Korea because now, you know, they can back up their bark with a little bit of bite.

You know, they can say that they have a missile capable of targeting these cities, and in the event of a crisis they could actually try and use it. And there’s no guarantee that the missile itself would fail. So certainly it’s a clear advancement.

Now, when talking about the benefits of a freeze, I think it’s important not just to think about how this would impact North Korea’s ICBM program, but also their range of missiles.

You know, certainly freezing, you know, progress on their ICBM would prevent them from actually having a sense of how reliable this system is. Freezing it before they launch it on a standard trajectory would certainly raise questions about whether or not it actually could meet those parameters.

But North Korea is not just developing an ICBM. You know, there also have been tests, you know, in the past year looking at medium range solid-fuel ballistic missiles. And activity at North Korea’s shipyard indicates that they’re still interested in developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

And building out those capabilities would give North Korea a greater range for actually delivering nuclear warheads. So halting progress on solid-fuel ballistic missiles I think would prevent them from manufacturing reliable missiles that are more difficult to track, that are harder to, you know, preempt because the—the time to launch is much shorter.

And preventing them from developing a reliable submarine-launched missile, you know, will keep them from being able to evade missile defenses in South Korea by moving a submarine essentially outside of the field of the THAAD radar.

So from a technical perspective, you know, even though North Korea has achieved this key milestone of testing a missile capable of targeting the entire continental United States, there still is benefit in the testing freeze because it would prevent that system from being more reliable and being tested on a standardized flight path.

You know, and it could prevent North Korea from making progress on these other areas like solid-fueled and—and submarine-launched systems.

KIMBALL: So let me just expand on this question a little bit, Suzanne. I—I ask you to try to offer your comments on what you think the North Koreans are trying to achieve from your discussions.

And the other question for all three of you really is, you know, given what the North Koreans have just done, how should the United States government be describing it or stating it to make—should we be diminishing this capability because they haven’t yet achieved all the technical barriers?

Or should we acknowledge what, you know, the independent technical experts appear or are—are saying, which is this is a—a viable, credible capability?

SUZANNE DIMAGGIO: Well, first let me say thanks, Daryl and Arms Control Association for organizing this event. And thanks to all of you for attending.

So there’s no doubt that the North Koreans are and have been hell-bent—can you hear me?

KIMBALL: Yup.

DIMAGGIO: Yes? Hell-bent on demonstrating that they’re capable of hitting us within a nuclear-tipped missile. The recent tests I think demonstrates that they’re well on their way to achieving this. And by the way, in my discussions with them, this position has absolutely hardened over this past year.

So I agree with the other panelists that there is no chance to negotiate a denuclearization at this time. Some experts have said it could take as long as two years to perfect that capability.

I think Sieg Hecker has an article in Foreign Affairs that makes that point, published yesterday. Secretary Perry said closer to one year, and some experts think even less. Our own national intelligence estimates put it at about a year or less now.

So the point is, though, that they already have, in my estimation, achieved a deterrence capability because we know that they can hit our allies, both Seoul and Tokyo with nuclear-tipped missiles. So that question to me, I think, is pretty much a—a done deal.

On the point of freeze for freeze, I think that what the administration should be doing now, in light of this test and, of course, the other tests that we saw earlier this summer, the two ICBM tests and the hydrogen test, is to move to aggressively pursue talks about talks, or we can call it pre-diplomacy if that’s a better term, to see what might be possible at this time.

And I think the first order of business is to try to convince the North Koreans to freeze both the testing of their missiles and their nuclear detonations. I, for one, think that we should offer not a suspension of our military exercises with South Korea but some adjustment.

In my discussions with the North Koreans they’ve been fairly consistent that one of the key pillars of the so-called U.S. hostile policies are these tests. And based on conversations I’ve had with military experts and others, it seems to me that these exercises have gotten very expansive over the past few years.

For example, we could probably respond to one of North Korea’s very key problems with these joint exercises and that is the decapitation exercises. They bring this up every time you meet them and see them, and I think there is a way for the United States to maybe not advertise that we’re doing it so openly. Maybe move it to another theatre.

Those—that’s what I mean by adjustments, not stopping the exercises, but certainly finding a way to tone—tone them down. And of course economic incentives would be other thing to offer.

It’s very interesting that after this test last week the government announced that they had achieved the goal of the completion of the rocket weaponry system development and the completing of the state nuclear force. What does that mean?

This is another thing. We should be discussing them in pre-diplomatic talks. I see it as a potential opening to aggressively pursue.

There are a couple of other openings. That leads to the question of the North Korean policy of the Byungjin line, which is the parallel development of their nuclear program with economic development.

So clearly they have made tremendous progress on the first but nothing on the latter. And I think that is another set of discussions to pursue with them.

What are their goals post-declaration? In terms of the economic development, I would make the case that Kim Jong-un has staked his credibility, not only on nuclear development but also on economic development, something he probably feels compelled to fulfill in the eyes of the North Korean people. So that’s an opening I think we should be pursuing aggressively.

The other potential opportunity at this time is—is the timing of it. We have the Winter Olympics coming up in South Korea. I think that presents a perfect opportunity to tone down these exercises, maybe even postpone them a bit.

The South Korean government has indicated a interest in doing something like that, so there is a timing element that lends itself to this sort of thinking.

And then also there’s another opening in the sense that we’re at a moment where both sides, both North Korea and the United States, in my view, can now come to the negotiating table in a position of strength. Certainly the North Koreans with these recent tests can do that.

And I would argue even the Trump administration, that has emphasized and concentrated on maximum pressure, and they’ve achieved that. They have two of the—of the strongest, toughest U.N. Security Council sets of sanctions passed this year.

They also have unilateral sanctions that have also followed up that—the multilateral sanctions. They’ve re-designated North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism and followed that up with more unilateral sanctions.

They’ve pressured a—a number of countries to cut off relations with North Korea. A number of countries are also expelling North Korean officials and so forth.

So the maximum pressure is—is working in the sense that they are moving forward with that. But it’s not working in the sense of changing the behavior of North Korea, and maybe that’s something we could talk about in a next question.

I would say the Trump administration now needs to move to what I would call a post-declaration strategy. Now that the North Koreans have said they’ve completed this program, what are our—what are our strategic objectives in this post-declaration environment? And I would have some ideas on that if we have a future question.

KIMBALL: All right. Why don’t we (inaudible) for a second? I just wanted to give Secretary Perry a—a chance to respond to this more specific question with military exercises and whether there might be a way to modify, as Suzanne DiMaggio was saying, modify the exercises in ways that make them less threatening while still providing the deterrent value and military value?

And I ask this in part because as we sit here, amiably here at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, having our coffee and talking about this, there is a major exercise going on involving U.S. and South Korean forces that is—is said to include mock attacks against North Korean missile launch sites with mock North Korean radars.

Now, is there a way in which, Secretary Perry, I mean, the United States might, as Suzanne said, modify these—these kinds of maneuvers and exercises so that they appear less threatening while we maintain our—our readiness?

PERRY: I—I would give a general guidance I think for exercises we conduct. They should be designed to strengthen the ability of U.S. and ROK forces to work together. It’s not automatic that’s going to happen.

So you have to exercise the two different—the unitives of the two different forces to work together. That’s a—a legitimate objective and exercise.

And more—more generally, you do it to strengthen your ability to respond to an attack. So to the extent our exercises meet those two tests, U.S. and ROK work together, they exercise. U.S. and ROK working together they exercise our ability our respond to attack. They are not only legitimate, I think, but I—probably under the circumstances are—are necessary.

On the other hand, there are a whole set of exercises we can take that are designed to threaten or intimidate the North. The North, I believe, are quite counterproductive. They don’t intimidate easily. So you can antagonize them, but you—you cannot intimidate them.

An example of that latter kind of an exercise is flying a nuclear bomber right up to the North Korean borders and then turning away.

We don’t—we know we can do that. They know we can do it. We don’t have to exercise doing it as a design to intimidate them, to threaten them.

And so we should avoid, I think, exercises that intimidate and threaten, first of all, because they don’t work, and secondly, in the current environment I think they’re dangerous.

So that would be the litmus test I would put to the exercises, whether they’re designed to strengthen our ability to respond to an attack as opposed to be exercises designed to intimidate and threaten.

KIMBALL: All right, thank—that’s helpful guidance and clarification.

So why—why don’t we turn to what—what I think you wanted to discuss, Suzanne, which is, you know, how and whether the Trump administration might be able to make this adjustment to adopt a—a new strategy towards North Korea in this post-, as you say, declaration of their nuclear deterrent capability environment?

And just to start, let me ask each of you to assess very briefly, I mean, your understanding of what the Trump administration’s strategy has been. OK, what is it? Because many people, I think including the North Koreans, are a bit confused about what it is.

Many members of Congress are confused. I think the American public are somewhat confused. So if you could just describe what it is.

And then also, I mean, Suzanne, if you could provide a little bit of perspective on how you, as somebody who’s spoken with the North Koreans most recently among us, how they are perceiving this?

I mean, what is their reaction to the Trump statements and the other cabinet secretaries’ statements, the whole package?

DIMAGGIO: So let me begin by just mapping out very briefly the—what I call the hits and misses between the Trump administration and the North Korean leadership since Inauguration Day.

So I think when the Trump administration came in, the North Koreans saw it as a potential opportunity, an opening to have a different relationship with the United States, mainly because there was no psychological baggage with this new administration, unlike the Iran situation where from the point of view of the Trump administration, where they are saddled with a deal that they hate—even though it’s working by the way.

In the case of North Korea, there wasn’t that baggage either. So I think the North Koreans at that time thought it could be a fresh start. And at first, there was an effort to have an interaction between North Korea and—and U.S. officials actually here in the United States in early spring.

The visas had been issued, or at least approved. But then it happened to coincide with the timing of the killing of Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un’s half-brother. And at that time the administration decided to pull back on those visas.

The next opportunity came in the late spring of 2017 and that was a meeting that took place in Oslo. So we had a Track 2 discussion at that point set up in Oslo and Ambassador Joseph Yun quietly joined us there for those discussions.

He had conversations with the leadership of the North Korean delegation, Madame Choe Son-hui and that set of discussions led to the release of Otto Warmbier.

I think at that point there was every indication that those discussions would continue, but that the outcome, the tragedy of that situation, really threw a wrench into that plan. And that is when the Trump administration backed off a bit.

And then if we look—move up to early fall, there were a few things teed up to try to restart this dialogue again. But as you’ll recall at that point, at the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump gave a very, shall we say, colorful speech at the United Nations.

It was not received well by the North Korean leadership. It included personalized insults and that derailed efforts at that time, too.

So now we’re in a situation where I do think the Trump administration would like to explore talks about talks at this stage. I think the North Koreans are assessing the timing of when to do that.

That’s why I find this statement so interesting, this declaration, that they’ve completed their nuclear force. So I think this is a time to try again to try to get something initiated and off the ground.

And as—in—in response to your question, Daryl, as I said before, I think the Trump administration has been more or less completely focused on the maximum pressure side of the coin and less focused on the engagement side of the coin.

And I would contend that this probably is as a good time as any to try to pivot to that engagement side. And, of course, this is much more of an art than a science.

As I just mapped out, there are a lot of factors that are—have to be weighed. And let’s face it. When—we’ve had a series of missed opportunities. When one side has been ready, the other side has not.

And there have been a lot more misses than hits. So when I think about maximum pressure and engagement, I think of the model of the Iran talks as a potential way to look at this.

And I think that during those talks the Obama administration before beginning the talks, I should say, really hit that sweet spot of pivoting from pressure to engagement.

And as I said, it was more of an art than a science. But it was more than just good timing. They also had a strategy in place how to build off the pressure that they built. And I don’t see that with the Trump administration. I don’t see that they have a strategy in place.

In the case of the Iranians, there were a series of secret talks to talk about all these things and map out that strategy. I think a pivotal point was when the U.S. conveyed to the Iranians that they would respond to one of their red lines, which was to allow them to enrich uranium on their soil. That was an absolute turning point with the Iranians.

We need a similar turning point with the North Koreans. We need to build off the maximum pressure that this administration has now achieved, pivot to engagement and provide an off-ramp. And we need creative thinking on what that off-ramp should be.

I think the first step, certainly, should be the freeze agreement on their testing in exchange for an adjustment in the exercises and perhaps some economic sanctions relief.

There are other things to talk about besides denuclearization. And I agree with Secretary Perry completely. That ship has sailed. I can’t imagine any scenario where the North Koreans would agree to any dismantlement of their nuclear program at this stage of the game.

That doesn’t mean we should drop it as a long-term objective. In any negotiation we enter with the North Koreans, we should insist that that remains our long-term objective. But we need to focus on what is achievable at this time.

There are also a lot of other things on the agenda we can discuss with the North Koreans. And let me just begin by one that I think is very important and that is nonproliferation.

Securing an assurance from them that they will not transfer their nuclear weapons, their fissile material, their chemical and biological weapons to third parties. That’s a point we’ve discussed in Track 2, and I think we need an official dialogue on that now.

The other thing I would think would be important to discuss with them in an official setting is what are their objectives now that they’ve reached this completion of their nuclear force? How do they see their priorities moving forward? What are their plans for economic development?

Also, they consistently tell us in Track 2 that their nuclear and missile programs are purely for defensive purposes. We need to explore that with them. What do they mean by that? What is the nuclear doctrine that they are intending to follow? Are there elements of the NPT that they see as applying to themselves?

Those are also discussions we should be having. And then along the way we should be prodding to have negotiations on a cessation in the production of nuclear materials and missiles. But I think that may take some time.

And then, of course, the longer term discussion is addressing what they call the U.S. hostile policies. How to get to a point where they feel that they have been addressed in a sincere way?

And, of course, this sort of discussion would be a much longer discussion, probably quite arduous. It could probably include some sort of peace agreement, security assurances for sure. And—but that’s something I think that also should be put on the agenda.

So my point is that even though denuclearization would not be on this initial agenda, it would be a long-term goal. There still are a lot of important issues to be discussing with the North Koreans that aim to clarify their intentions, make sure they don’t use their nuclear weapons, also prevent proliferation to third parties and so forth.

So I would say that’s a very full agenda.

KIMBALL: All right.

Kelsey, your thoughts on the same question?

DAVENPORT: Yeah, I certainly agree with what Suzanne said, but I think I would just add it’s important that when the Trump administration, you know, and if the Trump administration manages this pivot to lay out a diplomatic path for how to leverage the pressure that it’s created, that it does what it can to also take the U.S. Congress with it.

I mean, certainly the U.S. Congress, you know, will not be negotiating with North Korea, but they can help or hinder the process depending on the steps that—that Congress decides to take going forward.

And in Congress, you know, the tendency to increase pressure by utilizing sanctions, you know, certainly remains prevalent. And what—what Congress has been doing more recently with sanctions writ large is narrowing the space for which the president can offer waivers down the line if there is ever any agreement or—or movement forward with North Korea.

So ensuring that the existing measures, that any future measures continue to preserve that flexibility, that could allow the president to pull sanctions back if we get to that point where—where that’s an appropriate step to take, I think certainly will remain critical.

You know, also, you know, doing what, you know, what the administration can to, you know, assure Congress that, you know, any attempts to negotiate with the North Koreans will not weaken U.S. security alliances and will not compromise U.S. objectives I think will certainly be critical so that, you know, we also can, you know, refrain from, you know, outright criticism from Congress where possible sort of against this—this—this approach.

And—and certainly, you know, keeping Congress in the loop I think will also, you know, cut back on the instances like Senator Graham, you know, continuing to talk about, you know, war being imminent. The importance of even, you know, beginning to withdraw, you know, U.S. you know, dependents from the Korean peninsula because all of that is still picked up on by—by North Korea.

So conditioning the space and bringing Congress along for the ride, you know, in the diplomacy pivot I think is—is certainly critical.

KIMBALL: All right, thanks.

Let me—let me—speaking of sanctions, let me ask you and Suzanne a question that is coming up very soon which is how the U.N. Security Council might handle the situation in the wake of the Hwasong-15 test.

I mean, we have seen a pattern over the last couple or three years in which the North Koreans conduct a nuclear test explosion or a ballistic missile test.

There is a Security Council statement from the president, sort of a consensus statement, and then there are consultations about whether and how to tighten sanctions.

DIMAGGIO: Yes.

KIMBALL: So, you know, as you said, Suzanne, I mean, the—the last set of sanctions has been unprecedented in its scope and—and—and its strength. That’s Resolution 2375 from back in September, and so, you know, what is the wise next step given this moment?

What would your advice be to the members of the—the council? Should they be looking for ways to tighten sanctions further or implement existing sanctions better?

And I—I would also, if I were there, I would remind them that that same resolution makes it clear that all sides should pursue diplomacy...

DIMAGGIO: Yes...

KIMBALL: ... by the way.

DIMAGGIO: ... exactly.

KIMBALL: And it also says that.

DIMAGGIO: You just took...

KIMBALL: ... so...

DIMAGGIO: ... my answer, Daryl.

KIMBALL: Oh, well, OK, I’m sorry. Great minds think alike. So—but what is your advice about the overall approach...

DIMAGGIO: Well...

KIMBALL: ... of the council?

DIMAGGIO: ... based on what I’m hearing at the U.N. I don’t expect a new sanction—set of sanctions immediately. Maybe you have other information, but that’s what I’m hearing.

I think we can expect more unilateral sanctions. I think those are definitely in the pipeline. But I think you made the right point, is that resolution, that toughest resolution we’ve seen, it seems implementation has improved—improved.

Maybe it’s not perfect yet, so stressing implementation of the previous set of sanctions would be a good goal. And then, of course, that very important clause you mentioned. It really does call on the parties involved to make a good effort—good faith effort at diplomacy. And that’s really what we should be stressing right now.

And keep in mind that the top diplomat within the Department of Political Affairs at the U.N. is in Pyongyang right now as we speak. He’s been dispatched for, I think, a three- or four-day visit. It’s been a long time since a senior U.N. official, political official, has been in Pyongyang. I think maybe seven years?

I can imagine that he has some mandate to explore the potential for beginning a dialogue, maybe using the good offices of Secretary General Guterres, and I would expect that he will be received at a high level, at least the Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, maybe higher.

So that is excellent timing I think. And it’s exactly what the U.N. should be doing, senior officials at the U.N. So hopefully he’ll come back with some positive news.

But beyond that, I do think, you know, the—the idea of slapping on new sanctions—again, I don’t think that’s going to change North Korea’s strategic calculus at the moment.

Of course, the Trump administration now is trying to push the Chinese to cut off oil supplies. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Again, if someone else in this room thinks that’s going to happen, please let me know.

There’s also talk of secondary sanctions on the Chinese. And then there’s talk of the interdiction of ships in the waters of northeast Asia as another way to exert pressure.

So again, my point is pressure is a good thing when it’s part of a broader strategy, when there is a real strategy to leverage it into a changing behavior, getting concessions. And I just don’t see that this administration has that strategy yet, but I’m hoping that they’ll turn their attention to that very soon.

KIMBALL: OK.

Kelsey, on the sanctions and the future question?

DAVENPORT: Yeah, I certainly agree with Suzanne that sanctions alone are not going to change North Korea’s calculus. And actually, at a very rare and public event, the CIA said in October that that was their assessment as well, that no amount of pressure alone was going to significantly alter Pyongyang’s course.

And—and I think, you know, right now given these much more stringent U.N. Security Council resolutions and a—a more recent U.S. executive order that allows the Treasury Department to target sort of correspondent accounts from North Korea in—in— Chinese entities in particular, you know, all of that needs to be given time to work. And it needs to be given time to implement it—to be implemented properly.

I mean, one—one thing particularly in the U.S. domestic context is to respond to these North Korean provocations by continuing to pass additional sanctions, you know, irrespective of whether or not all the prior measures have been fully implemented and irrespective of whether or not the U.S. could do more to try and encourage better implementation.

So, you know, right now I think that, you know, one area that the Trump administration could be looking at is, you know, what programs have been used in the past that the State Department, at the Defense Department, at even DOE to better ensure that sanctions and export controls are actually properly enforced? And is the U.S. engaging in the type of sanctions diplomacy that it needs to build international support for sanctions?

And that was something that the Obama administration pursued very heavily in the lead up to talks on the Iran deal. And they spent quite a bit of time trying to get China, in particular, on board, with actually implementing the sanctions that were on the books.

So ensuring that—that those measures are in place, I think, is—is just as critical as evaluating whether or not we have all the sanctions, measures that—that we need.

I—I—I would also say, too, and when we talk about sanctions implementation, you know, much of the focus is on—on China, and, to a certain extent, that makes sense, because of the volume of trade that comes from China.

But North Korea, particularly when it looks at areas like, you know, proliferation financing, I mean, it—it probes the international system for weaknesses. So as focus on China, you need to—to—to ignore kind of other sort of weak spots in building up sanctions implementation, I think would be detrimental to the sanctions regime as—as a whole.

So ensuring kind of a more balanced approach to, you know, addressing weak spots, I think certainly—certainly will be key, and then complementing that with some of these other measures and programs that the United States has that can be important for counterproliferation efforts.

The Proliferation Security Initiative, for instance, you know, can play a very critical role in ensuring that there are no sort of imports and exports related to—to WMD materials out of North Korea.

They can help countries, you know, with smaller amounts of capacity to actually build up their ability to—to enforce sanctions, to enforce export controls, and to better understand measures in U.N. Security Council resolutions that give them the authority to inspect North Korean cargo, if there are concerns, you know, when, you know, these shipments sort of transit their ports.

So a better focus on implementation, I think, is—is—is—where the United States, you know, and the international community really should be focused right now.

KIMBALL: I would just add that those kinds of interdiction efforts and strengthening them could be very useful in terms of preventing the outflow of material, technology, weaponry in the future from North Korea, which is something Suzanne was—was expressing concern about. Not so much the import...

DIMAGGIO: Yes.

KIMBALL: ... but we need to think about that in terms of the longer-term strategy...

DIMAGGIO: Right.

KIMBALL: ... also.

DIMAGGIO: But also we need to keep in mind that those sort of maneuvers can be—can spiral...

KIMBALL: Yep, yep.

DIMAGGIO: ... and then escalate into skirmishes, conflicts. And when a case like North Korea, where there is no channel—I met with a senior North Korean official a few weeks ago, and he made the point that the United States and North Korea have no arrangement in place to prevent accidents. And I think that was a very good observation.

So when we’re talking about these more pressured tactics, we also have to keep in mind that they raise the stakes to heighten inadvertent conflict as well. And we need to safeguard against that.

KIMBALL: Right.

DAVENPORT: Especially when there’s so few channels for communication.

KIMBALL: Yeah. We don’t have a —a hotline agreement. We have a—a—a Twitter arrangement right now.

Kelsey?

DAVENPORT: Can I—I—just—just to add one point on—on the idea of—of—of accidents that, you know, Suzanne made me—me think of. You know, in—in—in considering accident scenarios, too, I think it’s also important to remember that North Korea is operating a reactor that produces plutonium that’s decades old, that has been stopped several times, parts of which has been rebuilt, and then restarted and then stopped and restarted and rebuilt.

And so there’s also potential for, I think, very serious nuclear accidents, sort of, at that reactor. So I think that also argues for, you know, space kind of within any negotiations with North Korea, to think about the security and safety of that facility, but also argues for the importance of contact.

Because if something happens there, it’s not just North Korea that will suffer the fallout of any type of reactor incident. That certainly will be regional.

And if there isn’t communication lines open, if—if there isn’t enough, you know, consultation in advance, both with South Korea and China, you know, that could certainly turn into a serious regional incident.

KIMBALL: All right. We’re going to take questions from the audience now. We have a microphone that Kelly will take. We’re going to start with the folks in the back, so if you could go around the giant post. Just identify yourself, ask your question, let us know who you’re asking.

QUESTION: Michele Keleman with NPR. You’re all talking about a pivot to diplomacy, but for that, you need diplomats, so I wonder if you can comment on what’s happening at the State Department? And also if you fear if—if there’s a, you know, if there is a change, Tillerson out, Pompeo in, what does that do to this strategy?

KIMBALL: All right. Any one of the three of you?

Suzanne, you want to take a whack at that, please?

DIMAGGIO: Yes. Thank you for asking that very good question.

So I think one of the major problems this administration is facing right now is the contradictory messaging it is sending out on North Korea.

So we have, on the one hand, Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson putting diplomacy first, emphasizing diplomacy. Secretary Mattis said, "Lead with diplomacy backed up by military might."

And on the other hand, then you have National Security Advisor McMaster making a case that traditional deterrence with North Korea won’t work. I don’t understand how he can make such a statement. It seems to be working.

Also, he seems to be making the case for a preventive war and other narratives that have been pushed to the fore.

And then, of course, we have our own president, who says on the one hand, he would love to meet Kim Jong-un, but on the other hand, at another time, he says diplomacy is out of the question or diplomacy is a waste of time and undercutting Secretary Tillerson, while he was in Beijing, talking to the Chinese, probably talking about our diplomatic efforts and our own president undercut him.

So clearly there’s a need for this administration to speak with one voice and stop this contradictory signaling. I think it’s high time for the president to move from what I would call a dithering approach to a real strategy and empower our diplomats to carry that strategy out.

Now, Michele, you made the point, do we have the diplomatic firepower to do that? It’s worrying. Certainly, in the case of Ambassador Yun, who is the special envoy on—a special representative for North Korea, we have a very seasoned foreign service professional in him.

But we—of course, if we go down the road that—any part of the road I just mapped out, this would require a team. It would require not only seasoned high-level diplomats. It would probably require technical, scientific, nuclear experts as well.

If we go into the economic realm, we’d need people with that expertise. And it’s very hard to imagine if Pyongyang called tomorrow and said we’re ready, we’re ready for a major negotiation, what kind of team would this administration pull together at this stage of the game?

Also, I thought it was interesting over the weekend, Michele Flournoy, at a conference here in Washington, made a very similar point about the Pentagon, how all the policy—senior policy positions in the Pentagon are basically unfilled.

And then, of course, we have to think about our allies in the region. We still do not have an ambassador in Seoul. How can that be possible at the stage we’re at right now? It just doesn’t make sense.

So this is a big concern, I think. Even if this administration gets the strategy right, and that’s a big if, who is going to carry it out?

KIMBALL: All right.

Let’s take this gentleman in the front, will take a question in the front.

QUESTION: Uri Friedman with The Atlantic. I’m wondering what you make of—Suzanne, you mentioned this a little bit already, but over the weekend, there were a lot of statements about focusing on the capability of North Korea.

So H.R. McMaster said with each test, we get closer and closer to war. And Lindsey Graham on the Sunday shows said that having talked to the administration, he understands the policy as the capability of being able to strike the United States as unacceptable.

The argument seems to be twofold, one, that Kim Jong-un is particularly provocative and reckless, and then secondly that North Korea can hold the U.S. hostage in ways that it can’t now to achieve kind of revisionist goals, that it’s not just a defense capability.

I’m wondering, for the panelists, what do you make of this assessment—assessment focused on capability? And secondly, how seriously do you take the Trump administration’s rhetoric, that this is unacceptable and something that could lead to military conflict, if they feel they have—North Korea has really demonstrated this capability in a reliable way?

KIMBALL: Secretary Perry, if I could ask you to take that on?

PERRY: Could you restate that question? I’m not quite sure—I got the statement, but I couldn’t quite...

KIMBALL: Yeah.

PERRY: ... get the question.

KIMBALL: So the—the question is what do you make of H.R. McMaster and Secretary Mattis saying this is unacceptable, and the—the theory that North Korea—has revisionist goals, that is, they may want to use their nuclear capability to blackmail the United States to advance other kinds of objectives or to prevent the U.S. from responding to other provocations along the DMZ?

PERRY: I would cite some history. President—President Bush said it was unacceptable that the North Korean would get a nuclear program. President Obama said it was unacceptable. What the hell does unacceptable mean? It means we feel bad about it if they do it, I think.

(LAUGHTER)

But there’s no evidence that any of our administrations have an action tied to that unacceptable, that is being unacceptable means you’re going to do something about it. I have—it’s evident that neither the Bush administration or the Obama administration had a plan to do something about it.

I suspect that’s true of the Bush administration, too, but I don’t know that for sure. Time will tell. And then if they do something about it, is it something stupid or something enlightened? We don’t know that either.

So I find that, basically the history is when we say it’s unacceptable it means we don’t know what—we don’t know what we’re going to do. We don’t like it, but we don’t—we don’t know what we’re going to do.

And in this particular case, they may actually have a plan for doing something, and I might not like the plan of what they—what they are going to do. So it doesn’t make—it does not make me comfortable at all.

Fundamentally, what’s been said in the past, the past two administrations, has been an empty threat. And I think the worst thing you can do in diplomacy is to make empty threats because you damage your credibility seriously.

And the U.S., as a country, our credibility has been badly damaged by our empty threats in the past in the North Korean nuclear program.

So either what Trump is doing is repeating this history of empty threats, which is bad, or he really has in mind doing something like a military strike, for example. And that could be even worse. So in either way I don’t feel very comfortable about it.

KIMBALL: All right.

Suzanne, Kelsey, you want to talk about the—the coercion theory, and—and—and—or something else?

DAVENPORT: Oh, I—I just wanted to add a—a point there. I think, in—in addition to damaging U.S. credibility, it also risks prompting North Korea to try and prove their capabilities even further.

And you don’t want to end up in a situation like China where the U.S. continued to, you know, doubt the Chinese capability, and then they actually put a warhead on an ICBM, and launched it across the country to demonstrate that they actually did have a nuclear-capable ICBM.

And North Korea has raised this idea that they might actually try and detonate a warhead, you know, over the Pacific, presumably on an ICBM.

So by continuing to sort of publicly doubt and ridicule, you know, North Korea’s capabilities, I—I think it could have the opposite effect of just pushing North Korea even further to try and prove what they actually can do.

KIMBALL: All right. Well, why don’t we take a couple of other questions.

This gentleman in the front, and then we’ll go to the back.

QUESTION: Tim Shorrock from The Nation magazine and I also write for the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism in Seoul. One of the things that’s kind of disturbed me about the war talk we hear a lot recently, is that South Korea hardly seems to be considered at all. And a lot of officials and people on TV in particular talk about war without even, you know, referencing South Korea as a country.

It’s—it’s part of—of a broader nation than is—North Korea, and but they have their own interests and desire to have peace and not to have a war there.

With—with—the question is, one, who is driving, do you think, war talk here in Washington? Who is behind—like, I know McMaster is, but there’s other people that are, you know, talking to people that get on the media that say, you know, we have to have a—a preemptive strike, that kind of thing? And so who is driving it?

And second, how much is South Korea actually being considered? I mean, I know President Trump talks to President Moon Jae-in considerably, but how much has the Korean interest, South Korean interests, really being taken into account?

KIMBALL: Well, good question. I mean, our—our—we talk about our allies, but sometimes we forget to ask them what they actually think.

So let me just ask Kelsey to just briefly describe what the South Korean government is saying in response to the situation after the Hwasong-15 test.

Maybe Suzanne, you can take on some of these other questions that Tim is asking.

DAVENPORT: Yeah, I thought it was very interesting after the Hwasong-15 test that South Korean President Moon Jae-in, you know, not only sort of directed his remarks at the North Korean regime, but also at Washington and at the Trump administration, and reiterated that the United States should not take any sort of military action, you know, that wasn’t in concert, you know, with South Korea and essentially warned against any preventative military action.

So I think that that is—is—is critical and underscores that there is legitimate concern in—in Seoul that the United States might go that route.

And—and I think that that is also, you know, manifest in—in efforts in Congress to try and ensure that the president, you know, cannot take, you know, a military strike without an authorization of—of—of the use of war.

And there have been bills introduced in both the Senate and the House that would, you know, push—that would require the President to actually come to Congress and—and get that authorization before taking any action, because there is that concern about, you know, what a preventative strike—would do in terms of retaliation against Seoul

And I think there was a very good effort in the House by Representative Ted Lieu and, I believe, Representative Gallegos to actually request from the Department of Defense, but also former officials, you know, an assessment of what North Korea’s capabilities to retaliate against South Korea and Japan and U.S. assets there would actually look like in terms of casualties.

Because, you know, when—when we talk about, you know, conventional war, you know, breaking out, you know, short of nuclear war, you know, North Korea could still try and escalate to use its large stockpile of chemical weapons.

So there are a variety of different scenarios, you know, all of which I think, you know, would be, you know, quite catastrophic to—to the region, and—and, you know, particularly to South Korea.

So I think that, you know, continuing to highlight that, you know, those—those risks, continuing to demonstrate that this is not as, you know, Lindsey Graham says, a war that would just be fought, you know, over there, that there would actually be real consequences, you know, for—for the United States, for—for personnel, you know, for our allies.

You know, is certainly critical for pushing back against sort of the war hawks here in—in—in the United States, amongst which, you know, there certainly are some—some very prevalent voices, as you noted, you know, McMaster, members in the Senate like—like Lindsey Graham.

And—and—and I think, you know, ultimately, you know, Trump himself, with his—his very vague threats, I think continues to sort of open this space for—for others to make those, you know, those—those very provocative and—and dangerous statements.

KIMBALL: Yes.

Secretary Perry?

PERRY: I’d like to give a historical note in reference to your question. In 1994, we were considering two different kinds of actions. One of them was reinforcing the American troops in South Korea, and the other was conducting a conventional strike against Yongbyon, their nuclear facility.

In the first case, I actually went to the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea on the reinforcement to get permission to do that, to get permission to reinforce the troops in South Korea and to get permission in Japan to use their airbases there as a staging for that reinforcement. We believed we had to do that in order to conduct it.

In terms of the preemptive strike, had we decided to do that, which we never did, but had we decided to do that it was clear in my mind that we had to get the authority from the president of South Korea to do that.

Not that we would have to use our bases in South Korea to do it, but the likely consequence of a strike against—against Yongbyon would be a military response against South Korea.

So because of that, I believe strongly that we had to get the authority of the South Korean president, as well as the American president, before we could take action like that.

Whether the present administration has that same view I cannot say. It seemed very clear to me back in 1994 that we required the permission of the South Korean president to do that.

KIMBALL: All right.

Suzanne?

DIMAGGIO: All right. So keep in mind when President Trump came into office, he made it very clear that North Korea was a crisis he inherited, and that he would not kick this can down the road like his previous—his predecessors did.

So that’s, I think, the framing of how he thinks of North Korea. And when you juxtapose it with the two narratives that we are increasingly hearing, especially in this town, the first that deterrence, traditional deterrence, won’t work with Kim Jong-un, because he’s just too crazy, he’s too bad, he’s too evil, even though it has worked in the past with other dictators with nuclear weapons.

And then the second narrative is that the North—North Koreans’ end – real end goal is to take—reunify the peninsula on their terms. And I think the problem with how these narratives are being presented, and I would add Ms.—Director Pompeo as someone who also articulates these points of view.

The problem is it presents a very binary choice doesn’t it? Either complete capitulation by—on our part or we have to take them out. There’s no in between, and I think what I’ve presented is there’s a lot of in between.

There’s a lot of things we can be discussing with the North Koreans to de-escalate to lower the threat. And at the end of the day if we go through this process and it becomes clear maybe they are going to take the peninsula hostage, then we can consider our military options.

But at this moment when we haven’t even stuck our toe in the water of—of diplomacy with North Koreans, I think it’s just completely irresponsible to be putting military options first.

I think the longer that we delude ourselves that there is a viable military option, the longer the current course—course of escalation will persist and intensify and the greater the chances of spiraling into a military conflict, either by design or by miscalculation.

Sure, I have it written down as a matter of fact. It’s actually I have it taped over my desk. The longer we delude ourselves that there is a viable military option, the longer the current course of escalation will persist and intensify and the greater the chances for spiraling into a military conflict, either by design or by miscalculation.

KIMBALL: All right.

We’re going to take a question from the gentleman in the back. Microphone is coming.

QUESTION: Thank you, my name is Don Kirk (ph) I’ve spent some time in—a lot of time as a journalist in Korea. Just following up on the previous question about South Korea’s role. I noticed that Secretary Perry, maybe I missed something, didn’t really mention a South Korean role in—while he emphasized China in his remarks and other people have seem to be emphasizing China, China, China.

Are we ignoring South Korea in the negotiating process? Are we downplaying them? We—we know that we want their permission, so to speak, for a preemptive strike, but what about South Korea’s diplomatic role? Why is that so underplayed here? Maybe members of the panel could address that.

KIMBALL: I will—why don’t we talk about what their role should be? And I mean let’s just also use that as an opportunity to talk about how the Winter Olympics play into this, because it’s pretty remarkable that in the middle of this crisis South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympics and is hoping that North Korean athletes will come and partake.

So on that question of South Korea’s role, Secretary Perry or Suzanne, you want to offer your—your thoughts? And I think one reason we’re not talking about it is we just haven’t gotten around to talking about it. I don’t think it’s because we don’t think it’s important, but if you could address that?

PERRY: On the—let’s take the Olympics for a moment. It’s a very interesting question, and I give a historical reference. In 2000 on the Olympics, this was just a few months after the negotiations I had in Pyongyang, the North and the South marched together in the Olympics.

It was very—we thought a very significant, symbolic action that the North was ready to become sort of a normal nation again. Of course, that never happened. The—that negotiation never was consummated, so we don’t know—don’t know whether the kind of political consequences such as that would have—would have—would have gone on.

The role of China, as I would see it, is that they could have played a very significant role in the earlier negotiations to stop North Korea from getting a nuclear weapon had we worked in partnership with them.

What we’re doing, both the Trump administration and earlier the Obama administration was we point to China and say, "You solve the problem." And China points to us and says, "You solve the problem" and neither of which is working very well.

It would seem to me that there was an opportunity then and there may be even still today for the U.S. and China to work together in a partnership on this. In any negotiation you need both incentives and disincentives which diplomats call carrots and sticks.

But with North Korea, the United States has lots of carrots but no—really no significant sticks except the threat of war which is not a credible threat—threat to North Korea.

But China has a lot of sticks, which they’re not willing to use because they are concerned with how the United States might take advantage of it.

So China could have played a very significant role in the earlier negotiations had they been brought in as a partner and had they been willing to be—function as a full partner, but that would have required prior diplomacy between the U.S. and China to make—to make that happen.

KIMBALL: Kelsey or Suzanne your thoughts?

DIMAGGIO: I just wanted to read a quote from President Moon that I thought was particularly interesting. He said we must stop a situation where North Korea miscalculates and threatens us with nuclear weapons or where the United States considers a preemptive strike.

So I thought it was very interesting that he was putting both of these scenarios side by side in the same statement. I think it gives a good sense of his state of mind and maybe South Korea’s state of mind more generally.

In the case of—and on the question of where does South Korea fit it in, I have—obviously have focused my remarks on the United States and North Korea, but clearly the South Koreans should be part of this and consulted every step of the way.

I think South Korea and North Korea need a parallel intra-Korean dialogue that, of course, the United States should be encouraging. The reality though is this. I think the North Koreans have made it fairly clear that they only want to speak to the United States at this stage.

They do not want to have discussions in this realm with others, and I think the South Koreans understand that in order to get there, in order to get to an intra-Korean dialogue there needs to be some understanding reached first between the United States and North Korea.

But absolutely the United Stated should be consulting, coordinating, cooperating with Seoul as our key ally in the region, as well as with Tokyo.

KIMBALL: Yeah.

DAVENPORT: Yeah, I would just add in terms of cooperation and coordination, we saw very clearly with, you know, the P5 plus one in their negotiations with Iran, you know, the importantce of having unity, both in terms of goals, but also, you know, agreement on—on tactics.

And I don’t think that that exists right now between the U.S. and all of the important partners in the region. So continuing to build that unity just from a process perspective I think will be very important.

And—and more specifically on this question of the Olympics, just a—a few weeks ago, you know, a South Korean official, you know, raised the idea that South Korea had been thinking about the possibility of—of scrapping or reducing joint exercises with the United States in 2018 in order to try and reduce tensions with North Korea around the Olympics.

And the—the blue house sort of later, you know, walked that back and said, you know, we haven’t—we haven’t made a decision.

But if that is something that South Korea, you know, wants to pursue I think that the United States has an obligation to consider very strongly that that—that viewpoint and to look at, you know, possibilities to—to reach that—that goal, sort of ahead of the Olympics by—by taking that South Korean concern in—into account.

KIMBALL: All right. We’re going to take one or two more questions. And we’ve got a couple right here in the middle, if you could? The gentleman in the rear, or you—you could pick? Yeah, yeah, thank you.

QUESTION: This one’s mostly for Suzanne, but I just want to expound upon something that you talked earlier about.

KIMBALL: Just identify yourself please.

QUESTION: Sorry, I’m Aaron Masler (ph) with (inaudible) Television. You mentioned that the U.N. Deputy Director Feltman is on his way to talk to North Korean officials. Do you think that could lead to, like, more Track 2 talks or some kind of official dialogue with North Korea?

DIMAGGIO: It’s he’s undersecretary general for Political Affairs, so he is the chief diplomatic person within the U.N., high level official. And by the way, he’s a former State Department official, a very seasoned U.S.—former U.S. foreign service officer.

So I am just guessing that while he’s there, and he’s already there, that while he’s there he will be discussing the press notes, that policy dialogue with North Korea. I—I doubt he’s discussing Track 2.

I think he may be discussing the possibility of using the good offices of the United Nations and maybe in particular Secretary General Guterres himself as a potential mediator in this situation. It wouldn’t be the first time the U.N. has played a role in crises situations.

But this is me just pontificating. I don’t know for sure what’s on his agenda. Of course, the U.N. has a presence in North Korea. He could simply be there to visit U.N.—his colleagues, but I think it’s more than that. And I think the press note indicates that.

KIMBALL: I think this trip by Jeffrey Feltman, the undersecretary general, comes at a critical time. It’s also clear that the U.N. Security Council has been seized with this matter for some time.

Security Council members, the permanent and the elected members are very, very concerned about the overall situation. It’s clear the secretary general is concerned.

So we’re just speculating, but this does come at an interesting time. This is not a coincidence. He’s not just talking about humanitarian aid. He’s probably talking about other issues.

The other thing I would just add is that given everything that we’ve just said about the lack of a strategy on the part of the Trump administration, the inconsistent messages, the determination by the North Koreans to press ahead, I think we also need to recognize that this situation may require, in order for it to become unstuck or to prevent it from worsening, a third-party intervention.

Neither—I can’t imagine that Kim Jong-un has ever had anybody say no to him in his life. Donald Trump is probably in the same category but in different ways. So, you know, this could potentially play a useful role. What it may be, we may not know for some time, but I think it’s a positive development.

We’ve got one other question from this gentleman here?

QUESTION: Thank you. Yonho Kim, U.S. Korea Institute at SAIS. I—I would like to follow up on the question on the role that South Korea can plan in this picture. You know, in effort to make their voices heard in this whole situation, South Korean government not only Park but the Moon Jae-in government has been seeking some kind of a multilateral security mechanism in northeast Asia.

The nickname being called NAFSE (ph) and Moon Jae-in government calls it NAFSE (ph) plus, but I—I understand the initiative has not been well-received in Washington, very strong skepticism whenever South Korean people try to talk about that in Washington.

So my question is what would it take for the—the Washington policy circle to take this kind of South Korea’s initiative more seriously?

KIMBALL: Kelsey or Suzanne, you want to try to address that not so—so easy question?

DIMAGGIO: Can I be very blunt? Great idea, wrong administration.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE).

DIMAGGIO: On our side, on the U.S. side.

(LAUGHTER)

DIMAGGIO: Great idea but I think I’ve seen no evidence from this current administration, any—that they put any value in alliance systems and mechanisms. I mean, just look how NATO was treated.

KIMBALL: All right, any other questions from this distinguished audience of experts yourselves before we conclude? No other questions? All right. Yes, this gentleman. I’m—I think I know who he is.

 

QUESTION: Greg Thielman, Arms Control Association Board. I’m wondering how we can best answer the argument of North Korea and others thinking in terms of global nonproliferation, that the United States reserves the right to engage in preventive war, unilateral preventive war, against countries we don’t like, because that message doesn’t seem to help advance the overall global nonproliferation objective.

KIMBALL: Kelsey, you want to try to take that on? First of all, do we have the right to engage in preventive war? What is the UN system suggest about that?

DAVENPORT: From an international legal perspective I would say no, but I don’t think the United States would consider itself bound by that.

And naturally, since the question came from the man who taught me just about everything I have learned in this field, I would, of course, agree with his—with—with the—the concern of—of setting sort of a—a double standard there.

I also think the—the United States’ inability to declare that the sole purpose of its nuclear deterrent is to deter against nuclear weapons. The U.S., you know, failure to, you know, move towards a—a no first strike nuclear posture.

I think all of that kind of, you know, reinforces this double standard that does make, you know, moving towards, you know, global nonproliferation efforts sort of more difficult because not only is there the concern about sort of preventative war, but it reinforces the haves versus have nots dichotomy that, you know, risks, you know, undermining the nuclear nonproliferation treaty by, you know, failing to kind of make more progress on—on disarmament.

So I—I agree that it’s absolutely a problem and connected to, I think, larger problems of posture and—and doctrine within sort of the U.S. nuclear thinking.

KIMBALL: Which will be the subject of other briefings that we will hold in the near future as the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review approaches completion and as the nonproliferation treaty states parties prepare to gather early next year.

So I just want to—just conclude with a couple of very short summary remarks. I mean, it seems as though from all that we’re hearing from our—our experts here with—some of them with vast experience, like Secretary Perry, we are truly in a new and much more difficult situation, one that we really never have seen in the history of the nuclear age.

There are messaging discipline challenges that this administration faces. There seems to be a lack of a strategy. There is a need for a strategy adjustment.

I mean, this—with the situation we’re describing here is—is very difficult, but what I think Suzanne and Kelsey and Secretary Perry in—in various ways are suggesting is that there needs to be a strategy adjustment that does not accept maybe—it acknowledges the fact that North Korea has this capability.

That we want to continue with a long-term strategy for denuclearization and a peace regime in the peninsula, but we need to focus on the interim steps necessary to initiate a dialogue to reduce tensions and to halt North Korea’s further nuclear and ballistic missile testing, which remain very dangerous and—and escalatory.

So that’s how I would summarize a lot of this—a lot of rich detail here from our speakers. I want to thank each of them for being here. I want to thank everybody for your attention today.

We’re going to have a transcript of today’s session on the armscontrol.org website in a couple of days. This—the panelists are available for you to chat with afterwards.

I want to thank them and thank all of you for being here today. Please join me in thanking them

(APPLAUSE)

KIMBALL: And we are adjourned.

Description: 

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Country Resources:

ACA-YPFP NextGen Voices: The Untold Story in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Saga

Sections:

Body: 

What: Short Film "Marshalling Peace" and
NextGen Discussion

When Tuesday, August 29
7:00-8:30pm

Where1619 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036 

On August 29 - the International Day Against Nuclear Testing - ​NextGen filmmaker Autumn Bordner joins Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) and the Arms Control Association for a​n exclusive​ showing of Marshalling Peace​. Autumn traveled to the Marshall Islands to research the lingering effects of U.S. nuclear testing conducted there during the Cold War. Her short film documents the tiny nation's legal battle against nuclear weapons​-holding superpowers​, and the​ devastating effects of the U.S. nuclear testing program on the Marshallese people.

Autumn and the Association's Executive Director Daryl Kimball will facilitate a discussion on the future of nuclear weapons threats and the ways NextGen leaders can shape today's and tomorrow's nuclear policies. YPFP's Danielle Preskitt (a former Association intern) will moderate.

The Panelists:

Autumn Bordner is a rising second year at Stanford Law School. Prior to matriculating at Stanford, Autumn worked as an environmental consultant at ICF, and as a fellow with the K1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies, a research institute that she co-founded as an undergraduate at Columbia University. Autumn is also a member of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Youth Group. In this capacity, she is working to advance the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Daryl G. Kimball became the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association in September 2001. The Arms Control Association is a private, non-profit membership organization dedicated to public education and support of effective arms control measures pertaining to nuclear, chemical, biological, and conventional weapons. Find his complete bio here.

                                                                 

Description: 

ACA and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) are hosting an event featuring a​n exclusive​ showing of Marshalling Peace and a discussion on the future of nuclear weapons threats and the ways NextGen leaders can shape today's and tomorrow's nuclear policies.

Country Resources:

The 2017 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting

Sections:

Body: 

Arms Control and Nonproliferation Restraints at Risk

Friday, June 2, 2017
9:00am to 3:00 pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Program and Speakers

9:00 a.m.

Welcome

Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Presentation of the 2016 "Arms Control Person of the Year" Award

John Burroughs, accepting on behalf of Dr. Tony de Brum and the Republic of the Marshall Islands

9:30 a.m.

Panel 1

The NPT and the Ban Treaty Talks: A Status Report

Thomas Countryman, former Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; former Assisting Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation

Ambassador Jan Kickert, Austrian Ambassador to the United Nations

Moderator: Susan Burk, head of U.S. delegation to the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and incoming member of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors

10:45 a.m.

Panel 2

Curbing the North Korean Nuclear and Missile Threat 

Michael Elleman, Senior Fellow for Missile Defence, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Suzanne DiMaggio, Director, the U.S.-Iran Initiative; Senior Fellow, New America

Moderator: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association

11:45 a.m.

 

(Luncheon Buffet)

12:15 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote

Christopher Ford
Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counterproliferation, United States National Security Council

1:15 p.m.

Panel 3

Reducing Nuclear and Security Risks with Russia 

Ulrich K¸hn, Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Fellow, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH)

Anya Loukianova, Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, RAND Corporation

Moderator: Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, Arms Control Association

2:15 p.m.

Afternoon Keynote

Izumi Nakamitsu
United Nations Undersecretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs at the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs

 3:00 p.m.

Closing

Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association


We would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their support towards this year's annual meeting and reception: Pierce Corden, Deborah Fikes, Deborah Gordon, Jan Lodal, Andrew Weber, Anonymous (2), the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Women's Action for New Directions, and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.


If you have any questions about the meeting, your registration, table or event sponsorships, or complimentary registration for congressional staff and media, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or 202-463-8270 ext. 105. 


TRANSCRIPTS:

Introduction and Panel #1

KIMBALL: All right, good morning ladies and gentlemen. Good morning and welcome to the 2017 Arms Control Association annual meeting.

I'm Daryl Kimball, I'm the executive director of the Arms Control Association. And as most of you know, we're an independent, non-partisan membership organization. We were established in 1971 and we're dedicated to reducing and eliminating the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons which would, of course, be nuclear, chemical, biological weapons as well as certain conventional weapons that pose particular harm and risk to civilians.

You can find out more about the Arms Control Association, its history, its ongoing work, and get more information and analysis about these issues through our website: armscontrol.org. And you can follow us on Twitter at @ArmsControlNow.

The latest issue of our journal -- Arms Control Today -- just went online so you can check that out there. And you can also check out our resources on our Arms Control app, which is simply Arms Control on all of the app stores.

We're very pleased to see so many of you here today; members, friends, colleagues from the diplomatic community, journalists, and we welcome those of you who are with us watching in on CSPAN. And for those of you following on social media, the Twitter handle for today's event to be part of the conversation is #armscontrol17.

So the theme of this year's Arms Control Association Annual Meeting is Arms Control and Nonproliferation Restraints at Risk. And they are; we're facing serious and in some ways unprecedented challenges this year in the ongoing task to reduce the nuclear danger.

The bedrock of all nonproliferation efforts -- the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- faces serious implementation challenges. We have key commitments and nonproliferation obligations that are unfulfilled and that's led many of the world's non-nuclear weapon states to begin negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. And we'll talk more about that later today.

With the deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations, key arms control treaties, including the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, are at risk as well as the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. And worse still all of the world's major nuclear arms states are either replacing, upgrading, or in some cases expanding their nuclear arsenals.

And last, but not least, unless we can work with our allies to engage North Korea in talks to halt and reverse its nuclear missile pursuits, its capabilities will become more dangerous in the years ahead.

So how the United States will respond to these challenges and whether the United States continues to provide global leadership is not entirely clear. And that's part of what we're going to be talking about today.

President Trump has made statements that concern key allies. He's made statements about expanding U.S. nuclear capabilities. He's been highly critical of some agreements like the New START Treaty and the Iran nuclear deal. We have a great lineup of speakers and experts and panelists to address these issues.

We're especially happy to have later this -- today senior White House adviser, Christopher Ford, during the lunch hour and the new U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Izumi Nakamitsu, who's going to be closing out the conference with perspectives from the international community and the United Nations.

But before we move to the first part of our program, I just want to give a brief bit of thanks and a shout out to some of our individual members and contributors who made today's event possible. Some of their names are on the tables here at the Carnegie Endowment for National Peace.

And that's important because we're a small organization. We try to have a big impact, but it means that your donations make a huge difference. And in response to these challenges, we are really gratified that our members have responded over the last few months. We're seeing an uptick in contributions at this very important time.

So we're very happy to have several organizations and individuals help with contributions for this conference including our colleague organization, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, which is committed to a world free of nuclear weapons; our partners at Women's Action for New Directions ñ WAND - which empowers women to be agents of change in support of disarmament and peace; and our individual sponsors for today's event; Pierce Corden, Deborah Fikes, Deborah Gordon, Jan Lodal, Andrew Weber, and two members of the Arms Control Association who wish to remain anonymous.

So thanks to you all and thanks to everyone who is here. We cannot do it without you.

And we also cannot make progress on these issues without leaders in arms control. And that's why 10 years ago we launched the Arms Control Person Of The Year award.

We felt it was important to recognize the important work of key individuals who, in various ways, in different parts of the world, have catalyzed awareness and action to deal with these weapons-related challenges. And so each year the staff and the Board of Directors nominate several individuals, about 10 to a dozen, who we think have provided notable leadership in the previous year. And then we put it all to an online vote and the top vote-getter becomes the Arms Control Person of the Year.

So it's an imperfect process perhaps, but so far our elections have been free of any cyber hacking and we think it's a free and fair process that is democratic as it can be.

And the Republic of the Marshall Islands and former foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony de Brum, garnered the highest number of votes for 2016 and they are our Arms Control Persons of the Year. Over 1,850 people from 63 countries participated in the voting this year back in December and that's a record for this contest.

Our winners were nominated and are being recognized for pursuing a former legal case in the International Court of Justice against the world's nuclear arms states for failing to meet their obligations to initiate nuclear disarmament negotiations.

And it's also important to remember the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the people there were subjected to 67 U.S. atmospheric nuclear test explosions from 1946 to 1958.

Now unfortunately, Tony de Brum, who had accepted our invitation to come here, to fly all the way from his home in the South Pacific, is unable to be with us due to health difficulties. And the Republic of the Marshall Islands ambassador is out of Washington today on official business.

So we've asked John Burroughs, who's the executive director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, who is a member of the legal team that brought the suit to the International Court of Justice, to say a few words about Tony and the significance of the case in the larger scheme of things.

So John, thanks for being with us to explain the importance of this.

(APPLAUSE)

BURROUGHS: Thank you, Daryl.

In bringing the nuclear disarmament cases before the International Court of Justice, the Marshall Islands and its then, foreign minister, Tony de Brum, showed courage and determination rooted in tragic experience. They also showed good faith in seeking law-guided solutions.

Tony and the Marshall Islands have shown similar courage and determination in confronting climate change. Tony played a catalytic role at the negotiations that yielded the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015. He helped to bring together a large coalition of nations, the High Ambition Coalition, that strengthened the agreement and perhaps even made it possible.

So in light of developments yesterday, I think I should quote a couple of things that the Marshall Islands and the High Ambition Coalition has said. President Hilda Heine said yesterday, that President Trump's intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, she said this, "While today's decision will have great impacts, we must not give up hope."

The High Ambition Coalition, convened by Marshall Islands, also released a statement, "For people around the world most vulnerable to climate change, the Paris Agreement represents the best hope for survival."

The Arms Control Persons of the Year Award, of course, was about arms control and so let me return to that. We were, of course, very disappointed that last fall, by the narrowest of margins, the International Court of Justice decided to not adjudicate the nuclear disarmament cases on their merits.

However, simply bringing the cases raised to world attention the failure of the nuclear powers to fulfill the obligation to negotiate and reach a global elimination of nuclear weapons. That was what the court said in its 1996 advisory opinion unanimously -- that's what the court said the obligation is.

For those of you who like to dig into things, the Marshall Islands pleadings are also a rich resource for the development of political and legal arguments for disarmament. In the U.K. -- a memorial in the U.K. case, the international legal team argued the merits because that's just the way that the case unfolded.

So as Daryl mentioned, from 1946 to 1958, the U.S. conducted 67 atmospheric nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands at the atolls Bikini and Enewetak. They included the first hydrogen bomb test, Mike, in 1952; and the infamous Bravo test in March, 1954: 15 megatons, 1,000 times the size of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombs.

Tony de Brum was a 9-year old boy fishing in a canoe with his grandfather when he witnessed the Bravo test 200 miles away. "The sky turned blood red", he told the International Court of Justice in March 2016.

However, the Marshall Islands cases before the International Court of Justice were not about compensation for the effects of testing. When the cases were filed in April 2014, Tony said, "Our people have suffered the catastrophic and irreparable damage of these weapons and we vow to fight so that no one else on Earth will ever again experience these atrocities."

Tony also said in accepting the 2015 Right Livelihood Award, "I have seen with my very own eyes nuclear devastation and know, with conviction, that nuclear weapons must never again be visited upon humanity. This is not just an issue of treaty commitments or international law, though it is that. And not just an issue of ethics or morality, though it is that, too. But this is an issue of common sense. How could any one common person walking down the street ever permit a possession or use of such weapons?"

So I think that the Marshall Islands and Tony de Brum richly deserve this award and I thank Daryl and the Arms Control Association very much for arranging it.

(APPLAUSE)

KIMBALL: And it's an actual award. I want to ask you, John, to help us get this to the Marshall Islands to Tony and to the RMI. Thanks a lot.

All right and thank you, John, for helping to explain and to remind us about the humanitarian impacts of the work that we're discussing here today and the interconnectedness of these issues for all of the Earth's inhabitants.

PANEL 1:

Now it's time to turn to the first panel of the day, which is the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Nuclear Weapon Ban Talks; A Status Report. And I'd like to ask our three panelists to come up to the podium. We're going to make a quick transition here. They're already mic-ed up.

As they come up to the stage, let me note that our moderator is Ambassador Susan Burk. Susan, along with panelist Tom Countryman were just selected to join the Arms Control Association Board of Directors. And Susan, among other career accomplishments, was the head of the U.S. Delegation to the successful 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

So with that, Susan, the floor is yours and we're going to begin. Thank you.

BURK: Great. Thank you. Good morning.

Our first panel today is going to tackle the challenges facing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as it approaches its 50th anniversary of the entry into force. That will be in 2020, the Review Conference. And in particular, the panel's going to address the effort currently underway, under U.N. auspices, to draft a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons leading towards their total elimination.

Now challenges to the NPT are not new and pursuit of measures to strengthen its implementation is ongoing.

The negotiations on a ban treaty are the result of growing international frustration over the pace of progress on nuclear disarmament pursuant to Article VI of the NPT. And this frustration has fueled deepening concern about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use among many nations and civil society.

Now supporters of the ban treaty believe that it will fill a legal gap in the NPT and give a boost to disarmament in a way that compliments the NPT, not competes with the NPT. Another group of states, including the NPT nuclear weapon states, are insisting that their step-by-step or progressive approach to nuclear disarmament has been and remains a proven way to reduce existing arsenals.

Now this morning, we will hear from two experienced diplomats and experts on the subject. There is a brief biography of each gentleman in your program so I will be even briefer in introducing them.

Tom Countryman, who's a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, achieving the rank of minister-counselor and he served as the acting undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security and simultaneously as the assistant secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, where I had the honor of working for him for about a year.

Ambassador Jan Kickert is Austria's permanent representative to the United Nations in New York. He was the director general for Political Affairs in the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has also served in a number of other government positions. His government, as many of you know, has been among the leaders in the humanitarian consequences movement.

Now we will start with Ambassador Kickert, who is prepared to address the goals, value, and the possible shape of a new prohibition or ban treaty. And then we'll have Mr. Countryman focus his comments on the convention, on what the convention needs to contain, what its sponsors need to do to make progress towards its goals, and hopefully to address the intersection of the ban and the NPT.

So after about 15 minutes of remarks by each, we'll open the floor to your questions. And so without further ado, I will start off with Ambassador Kickert.

KICKERT: Thank you very much and I don't think I will need the 15 minutes...

BURK: OK~.

KICKERT: ... for introduction. But rather save time for Q&A. And at the outset I also have to say I am not a disarmament specialist. I am a diplomat for decades and I happen to deal also with disarmament, but I'm not a specialist. I'm not the Austrian chief negotiator for the treaty which is going to be negotiating starting the 15th of June at the United Nations with the view of hopefully concluding such a treaty by the end of the three week span at the beginning of July.

I just wanted to explain a little bit to you how did we come here. You said the traditional role of Austria in disarmament, it's not only with nuclear disarmament. You would have always found Austria at the core group, the vanguard of any initiative be it mines be it ammunitions because we believe that a world with less weapons -- especially deadly weapons -- is a safer one and not vice versa. So this is our general approach to it. And being here, I want to give you a little bit of perspective of those countries who are behind the prohibition.

I have the feeling that the United States discuss among themselves, maybe also with other nuclear weapon states, but don't hear so much what -- what you mentioned, the frustration of all those , the bulk of the parties at the Nonproliferation Treaty. Because it has really built up this frustration. If I want to give a very, very sharp insight of being cheated.

The NPT set out a set of commitments and non-nuclear weapon states, they are sticking to that commitment of not acquiring a nuclear weapon. But on the other hand, some of the other states do not stick to that commitment.

So the whole -- the result of this treaty is out of this frustration and a feeling that there needs to be some added element so that we will fulfill the NPT in its entirety.

So how did we come to today? It all started out with the humanitarian initiative that's based on a speech of then the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger in February of 2010. And this was taken also to the Revcon in 2010 and there was also a mention then of the inherent consequences. And built on that we have three conferences in (inaudible), in Mexico and Vienna to just go in-depth and ask experts about the humanitarian consequences of the nuclear weapons.

And actually this was an extremely sobering experience. I was there in Vienna and to be honest, I was shocked to learn that the dangers of nuclear weapons are so much graver than we, than I was aware of and I think we all are aware of. And that somehow this was shoved under the carpet that the huge danger nuclear weapons pose to each and everyone on this planet. Be it in the nuclear weapon states, be it those who just happen to be near those, like Austria.

And the thing with Austria, we are situated not so far away from North Italy. I should (inaudible) anything (inaudible) of the air base there where the (inaudible). If anything happens, we will -- we will feel the consequences of -- like the North Italians as much as them.

And so it is a bit of some shocking details. And one of them I like to cite because -- because of the huge potential impact of nuclear weapons, some (inaudible) are saying that the likelihood or that the danger for our children to die from a nuclear incident is actually higher than from a car accident. Because if something happens, it will be so devastating that the numbers are -- are so huge that those who -- who die from car accidents -- the danger is smaller.

So -- and then everything about the annihilation of humankind. And that we're just damned lucky that nothing has happened until today, accident, the human error and we can never (inaudible). That nothing has ever happened. It is a wonder and we're playing Russian Roulette here and why do we want to continue that?

So this was the motivation why we pushed. And this was not by coincidence, before the 2015 NPT Revcon, which, unfortunately, yielded no results.

There is no -- from our point of view, from the non-nuclear weapon states -- no willingness of the (inaudible) from the nuclear weapon states to disarm, to fulfill their obligation under Article VI of the NPT~. And yesterday, the nuclear weapon states, you have to disarm. But then one can turn also the others around as Article VI say -- working for nuclear disarmament -- that is also an obligation for non-nuclear weapon states to help fulfill Article VI and therefore the motivation for this prohibition treaty, which has the overwhelming support of the international community.

The General Assembly Resolution was supported by two-thirds of the member states who were against this process are the nuclear weapon states, the umbrella states and those countries' informal alliances with the nuclear weapon states.

And we were actually astonished also to see the -- the (inaudible) of -- of -- of working against, lobbying against our prohibition treaty which we believe, as you said in the beginning, a compliment to the NPT.

For us, the Nonproliferation Treaty is and stays the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. But add the word "cornerstone" (inaudible) this is not the whole building. And we have had other instruments to compliment the NPT -- the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty is an example for that.

We also see how important is to have more -- more and more weapons (inaudible) have nuclear weapons (inaudible). And maybe one day we will have a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. These are all complementary to the goal. We have all committed ourselves, namely getting rid of all nuclear weapons. And I'd like to remind everybody also that the first General Assembly Resolution after the foundation of the United Nations was exactly on the issue of getting rid of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

And we believe, the proponents of the Prohibition Treaty, that it is a good instrument to go ahead, to create a legal norm prohibiting it as we have done with the biological or chemical weapons. And the argument that we always hear is that it cannot be universal and they fail that (inaudible). Then yeah, well, the biological and chemical prohibition treaties were also not universal at the beginning. Even at NPT was not universal and (inaudible) today and so we believe that our endeavor could add a very important element to our common goal of ridding the planet of nuclear weapons.

BURK: All right. Thank you very much.

COUNTRYMAN: OK~. Microphone good?

Well, thanks, Susan, Ambassador Kickert. It's an honor to be here with you and it's especially an honor to be with the Arms Control Association for the annual meeting.

Among the many public issues that the American people have to be ready to discuss and to raise their own consciousness, arms control threats of nuclear, biological, chemical weapons have to be near the top. So it's important for all of us in this room to go beyond and to do further public outreach on these issues.

Now as I started jotting down ideas a couple weeks ago, they were fairly inchoate and then I read a couple of days ago an article by George Perkovich about the draft convention to prohibit nuclear weapons. And if you have 15 minutes, it is probably better spent reading George's article on the subject than listening to me. But you're already seated and I'm already seated so we'll plow right ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

Just a few words first about the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which, as Ambassador Kickert said, is the cornerstone of the global nonproliferation regime.

There is widespread, as he said, frustration and disappointment that the goals of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty have not been achieved. And that frustration merits analysis. It merits discourse. It merits even pressure upon the nuclear weapon states to move faster to realize the commitments that they've made in Article VI.

What is not sensible is to doubt the treaty itself. What makes no sense is to say that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is the problem. That's absolutely aiming at the wrong target.

And I think that the current review process for the NPT -- the treaty -- is always at risk of being confused with the treaty itself. There is no question that the five year review cycle is a matter of great frustration to diplomats who's professional specialization is disarmament and nonproliferation. It is very difficult to get 180-some countries to come to consensus on a final document.

And that frustrates those who see that there ought to be progress. That there ought to be better reports on commitments made by both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states on the progress that they've made.

But a couple of quick points about the Nonproliferation Treaty process. An unhealthy process, an overly complex, overly ambitious and overly contentious review process is one thing.

It does not mean that the treaty itself is failing or even that it is sick. The treaty continues to be, in my view, the single treaty that in the history of the world has done more to contribute to the security of every nation in the world by greatly restricting what could have been an unbounded nuclear arms race.

And even those countries that are frustrated continue to benefit from the essential agreement at the core of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. No other treaty has done as much for the security of non-nuclear weapon states as well as nuclear weapon states.

So this leads to just one point of connection between the NPT and the convention that is currently under discussion in New York, and that is the single strongest recommendation I have for those who are drafting the treaty, is to make explicit that membership and adherence to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is a precondition for adherence to the convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

There is no inconsistency at all between the goals and what is likely to be the final language of the convention on prohibition of nuclear weapons.

I have heard the concerns by some about what they would call "forum shopping." That is that there may be countries that for political reasons are tempted to embrace the convention -- the new convention -- but then to withdraw from the NPT. It doesn't sound very logical and yet I've done enough in the nonproliferation field to know that logic does not always win over politics. And it is possible to envision a situation in which for political, tactical reasons a country like Iran or Egypt could make that choice.

Why create an issue? Why create a circumstance in which the nuclear weapon states you are trying to convince have an argument about inconsistency between the most important treaty we have now and this new convention? Just avoid the argument by including a specific recommendation. A specific requirement for NPT membership in the CPNW. And don't hide behind frustration that we're not happy with how that treaty has been implemented.

And just one very small point, Ambassador, believe me, the frustration expressed by Austria and other leaders of this effort has been heard in Washington. Whether it's being heard today, I'm less qualified to judge.

All right, let me talk a little bit about the process so far. First I want to express my great respect for what's been accomplished so far in the draft of the convention. It's at the upper end of what I thought achievable in the first session of the negotiation.

And I think it is in the direction of what Ambassador Kickert said is the task. What can non-nuclear weapon states do to help to fulfill Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty? The requirement freely accepted by the U.S. and all the other nuclear powers to work towards nuclear disarmament?

It is a contribution in that regard. What is crucial and what I'll talk about more is what can be done in the next negotiating session within the text and in the statements that states make outside of the negotiation that actually moves us closer, makes a contribution to the very long-term undertaking of achieving its purpose.

So here -- as you draft -- I've been in enough of these things to know that a draft, especially if it is going to take the form of a treaty, is going to have some incoherence because it represents compromises among different states or groups of states.

I hope that the drafters seek to avoid that incoherence by focusing on what is the ultimate goal. And the ultimate goal is to persuade nuclear weapon states that they can go to complete nuclear disarmament without damaging their own security.

Much of the argument on the margins of the convention negotiation is not about security, it is rather about political pressure -- which matters -- about morality, about establishing norms. All of those are important -- none of those are going to win the argument. The argument will be about security.

So just a few free points of advice, you don't have to pay for them, honest. First, during the negotiation and afterwards, stay on the high road. Staying on the high road does not mean assuming an air of moral superiority. It does not mean giving lectures to nuclear weapon states. It does not mean taking a disdainful attitude or accusing them of bad faith, even if that's what you believe.

And I'm very conscious of the need to avoid giving lectures even at a time when we have a president who likes to lecture our closest allies. But don't reciprocate that urge to be hectoring and lecturing.

Rather, take seriously the real security dilemmas that both nuclear weapon states and those states that you referred to as umbrella states, I prefer the term those who enjoy extended deterrence, take seriously their security issues.

Second, pick carefully the targets that you want to persuade. And by that I mean above all, don't delay, don't avoid choosing the hard targets. Again, as George Perkovich points out in his article, it's natural with a movement that depends largely upon civil society, upon NGOs in democratic countries, to start by seeking to persuade the democracies and to leave aside those nuclear weapon states -- Russia, China, and above all, North Korea, that are impervious to any kind of outside rational argument -- but to focus only on the democratic states that are part of the Western alliance or the Asian states that are under extended deterrence. This being perceived as a discriminatory movement and it risks having that used against the movement.

It will be easy for people not only in this city but elsewhere to say that this is a one sided movement that seeks to damage Western national security without addressing what is happening in -- or the nuclear policies of non-democratic countries.

And in fact, again, I think Perkovich makes this point well. It actually risks emboldening the nuclear posture and the doctrine of use of those non-democratic countries.

How do you persuade those countries? Well, I know and I think anybody who has worked in arms control as a diplomat knows that one of the built-in frustrations is that the issues that we care passionately about and that we get immersed in and become expert in seldom rise to the level of our presidents or our prime ministers.

President Obama was an exception in terms of the time and serious thought and study that he gave to these issues. But in most countries, no matter how deeply the director general for arms control feels about the issue, it is unlikely that the president or prime minister is going to raise that or make them -- make that subject a primary topic of conversation with other world leaders, particularly with the leaders of nuclear weapon states.

So there's a need not only to make sure that your national leadership cares about this issue as deeply as you do, but also cares about it enough to apply equally the outreach to all the nuclear weapon states.

Now it's not only the five recognized nuclear weapon states and the others who are outside of the NPT, but it's clear from the discussions in New York that civil society intends to focus on those allies in NATO and in -- and in Asia who are covered by extended deterrence or, as you say, a nuclear umbrella. And that's understandable.

But just a word about the practical effects that you're likely to get in Europe. You should not expect great results within NATO, whether the goal is removal of the small number of tactical nuclear weapons that the U.S. has pre-propositioned in a few European states, or whether it's convincing NATO to change its self-definition as a nuclear alliance.

It is, for me, very difficult to see any of these governments changing fundamentals of their security policy at a time when there is a genuine threat of aggression. When, in fact, European countries are occupied by their neighbor and that there is a willingness to use both conventional and non-conventional means of warfare to destabilize NATO members.

Indeed, I think a lot of European countries, members of NATO, would see a change in that policy -- declared policy of NATO as inviting additional aggression, whether overt or covert. But again, I'd like to warn the advocates of the convention against giving lectures. I know I'm giving a lecture, I've got the irony.

(LAUGHTER)

A NATO ally or the Republic of Korea or Japan facing a genuine security threat will not take well, a lesson about their defensive policy from a state that is unwilling to give the same lecture, or even condemnation, or even condemnation backed by painful action against those who perpetrate aggression, whether it's in Pyongyang or in Moscow.

Just a further point on Europe and NATO -- even if one ally or five allies decides that they would like the U.S. to remove these tactical B61 bombs, it is a limited step and it doesn't fundamentally change -- it's an important change -- but it doesn't fundamentally change NATO security policy nor does it fundamentally change the United States nuclear posture.

While I'm sure it would be welcome by advocates of the convention as an important step forward, it's important to be aware of how limited that would be.

It's a huge step from discussing or changing policy on tactical weapons to questioning what not only the U.S., but other nuclear weapon states have defined as their central purpose of possessing nuclear weapons, which is to deter anyone else using them.

So to try to sum up, what can you do to make this current effort to negotiate a convention on prohibition live up to its potential? Well, a couple of things that are in the treaty that need attention and one I think others can talk about, which is to strengthen and make specific what kind of safeguard regime would be necessary for adherence to the convention.

And as I mention, my very strong recommendation to link this to the Nonproliferation Treaty by making mandatory membership as a prerequisite.

Second, I hope that the advocates of the convention, both in the next month and afterwards, will do all they can to elaborate a verification mechanism that would give confidence to actual declarations of non-possession.

Here again, George Perkovich has some good ideas, I would add that if the nuclear weapons -- the non-nuclear weapon states would be smart, work hard on initiatives such as the International Partnership For Nuclear Disarmament Verification. It is a concrete area in which nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states can work together towards a specific goal.

Third and very difficult, requiring long-term work is to elaborate what would be the actual process of disarmament. It is not something that you can dictate to the nuclear weapon states, but it is something where you can give serious thought to how to get, step-by-step -- I know people don't like that phrase -- you'd like it better if you wrote some of the steps yourself and it would add credibility to the movement itself.

And finally, on suggestions, once this convention is drafted, I would hope that the excellent diplomats who worked on it put their attention not just on public opinion on propagating the text, but on working with diplomats and military officials who are experts not just on negotiation, but on real world security challenges.

What can be done? What would you do if you were in the position of London or Paris or Beijing or Washington? What are the security challenges that could be addressed that would give those states confidence in building down and building towards zero?

And I would even suggest something that I think is of enormous practical value which is very extensive simulations of such discussions. If the U.S. and Russia are having a hard time talking to each other about their strategic stability challenges, I think we could learn something from diplomats, from Mexico and Austria and elsewhere, playing the role of Washington and Moscow and talking to each other.

And last point, this is what I would hope would be the U.S. position, and I hope we'll hear it from Dr. Ford today, and I think it's very well summarized in an article on the same topic by Michael Krepon. And just to summarize his summary; I hope the U.S. will express understanding of the sincere motives of those who are pushing for this convention. I hope that the U.S. will offer respectfully specific concerns about the text and about what comes after.

That the U.S. can articulate in detail the circumstances under which it will be possible to build down and to move to zero. And most concretely, I hope to see the U.S. agree with Russia on the extension of the New START Treaty and reassert its commitment to further strategic arms reductions.

A lot of this is very ambitious. I think it's no more ambitious than the convention itself. I hope that the sponsors will keep their eye on the long-term calendar not just to get through June with a text that elicits champagne and hugs, but a strategy that actually addresses the real world concerns of those who feel that nuclear weapons offer them security and that can lay the basis for a very respectful partnership between the non-nuclear weapon states and the nuclear weapon states. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BURK: I want to thank you both for tuning up this issue in such a substantive and creative way. And I think ambition these days is something we all ought to strive for and positive energy.

I just want to ask one question before we open up the floor. You both focused on the ban negotiations and the ban treaty and I think we have a lot of great food for thought here and can have a conversation.

Looking ahead to 2020 and the NPT, if the negotiations are completed this year or next, the question I would have if I were active duty would be; will the nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states be able to agree to disagree on this issue when they convene for the NPT Review Conference and be prepared to move on to find common ground and also a constructive discussion of how do we -- how do they ease the growing tensions between the states?

I mean, there's real serious questions about security, instability. Tom, you made some clear references to that. Can we move with this now beyond that to again come together in a creative surge for common ground under the auspices of the NPT? And I open it up to both of you. Ambassador Kickert?

KICKERT: Again, from more a political and less of a disarmament specialist point of view, yes, I think we can.

I think -- thank you very much, Tom. I think that was extremely constructive and -- and -- and yes, we also use -- being used to be lectured so we -- we can take that. And -- but it was very constructive proposals. And I think there we find a lot of common ground.

For us and others who are in a bit of a core group, drive this process like Ireland, which we just begin -- as an outset of the NPT, we would do anything not to undermine the contrary strength of the NPT. And the suggestions you made and also on the safeguards and verification well taken. This is also our intention.

The big question is how do we integrate the nuclear weapon state at some stage? And we're not naive. We also understand the security dilemmas and discussion. And we want to keep that treaty open. And we do not -- and that maybe where we disagree a -- a bit.

We don't want to prescribe anything in this treaty to the nuclear weapon states, but once they would come in, together with them, define the circumstances that you select the landing zone.

And coming back to your question about the NPT. I think if we work on the spirit of complementarity and then look back to the goals of the NPT -- we had a 2010 action plan -- maybe we can make some progress there because the -- the -- the issue in 2015 was that -- that we looked at it and said, "What was fulfilled there?"

So I think this is not a competition. I think that's the most important w -- what we want to stress. Nothing to undermine the NPT, but something to add to it. And we would have in Austria and other countries really proponents that that we have to work together for security for all. And -- and we can have long discussions now on security, but what means that?

But I -- but I think we need to acknowledge. And our approach was always that we want security for all. Also for those in the nuclear weapon states, not just for us.

BURK: Thank you, Ambassador. Tom?

COUNTRYMAN: I think the best way to focus for success in the 2020 Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is to be less obsessive about it.

I mean a couple of things. First, we have a pattern through several Review Conferences which there is broad, painful consensus -- sometimes on an important -- important advances, sometimes on minor advances, that is then taken hostage to the issue of establishment of the WMD-free zone in the Middle East. And that is what caused the last review conference two years ago not to fail, because I don't believe it failed, but it did not reach a consensus document.

The more that we obsess about how crucial it is that we avoid another such outcome in 2020, if we label the failure to get a consensus document as a failure of the treaty, what we are doing is raising the leverage that the states that are obsessing about the Middle East zone have and raising the likelihood that we will fail to have an agreement. That's been -- so that's the first sense in which I say obsession is the enemy of focus in this process.

The second sense is a new one and it will have to do with what is likely to be by 2020 a new convention on prohibition of nuclear weapons that will already be in force by that point.

If that convention is tightly linked to the Nonproliferation Treaty along the lines I suggested, and if building out from adoption of that convention there has been a sincere effort by its advocates who engage with nuclear weapon states and the beneficiaries of extended deterrence in the ways that I suggested, there is no reason for that to become an obstacle to a meaningful conclusion at the 2020 Review Conference.

If, on the other hand, the NPT review process itself is used as a lever or as a shaming tool in a way similar to what Egypt does with the Middle East Zone, but in case with regard to the convention itself, it will be defeating to both purposes.

The nuclear weapon states that will have to one day change their policy, if this effort is to succeed, are not going to be moved by a deadlock and hand wringing over a deadlock at a conference in New York.

They're going to be moved by concrete actions and assistance in solving persistent security dilemmas. So I would hope, if we don't over think it, we can actually have a more beneficial outcome in 2020 that squares well with the purposes of this convention.

BURK: All right. Well, thank you. Great answers. And again, lots of food for thought.

We're going to open it up to questions. Is there someone with a microphone? So when you ask your questions, please identify yourself and to whom you're directing your question.

So front row?

QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is Randy Rydell with the organization Mayors For Peace.

Susan, I would like to ask you...

BURK: Wait a minute.

(LAUGHTER)

I'm the moderator.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: ... if I could draw upon your your vast professional experience and comment on the lack of any infrastructure in the government for disarmament?

There are no disarmament agencies in any of the states that possess nuclear weapons. When the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency was abolished in the mid-1990s, the "disarmament" term even disappeared from business cards and the organization charts in the State Department.

There's very little sign of institutional support for disarmament in the government. What extent is this a problem, is this a barrier, is this an obstacle to future progress in disarmament from a policy perspective?

And to Tom, I'd like to ask him: during the 1960s, the Lyndon Johnson administration was faced with the problem of whether nonproliferation should be a goal of U.S. policy. And they created the Gilpatric Commission, which produced this consensus report that, yes, it should. And that it should not -- be nondiscriminatory.

Now we hear that there's a nuclear posture review where disarmament is now being assessed as to whether it should be a goal of policy. What do you think would be the outcome of this assessment and what would be the effects if this goal is abandoned? Thank you.

BURK: All right. Well, very quickly, because I'm really not answering the questions. But the Arms Control Agency was abolished on April Fool's Day, 1999. No -- and I won't say anything further.

I think, from my experience, we always had a robust -- arms control safeguards, nonproliferation bureaucracy, and in contrast to many other countries that -- that do not, I think that gave us the opportunity to -- we had a responsibility to do more work interacting with our foreign partners, you know, through diplomacy. Engaging with foreign partners, educating, providing information and that sort of thing.

And I think, because we had this large bureaucracy, we could do that if we wanted to do that. I can't comment on today, because I've been retired now for four and a half years. But Tom can address that issue, since he's only recently departed the government.

COUNTRYMAN: Well, on your first question for Susan, what concerns me is not the absence of the word "disarmament." What concerns me is the absence of officials who are charged with implementing a coherent policy. I'm looking forward to Chris Ford speaking to us at lunch time. He's well qualified and leads this effort at the White House.

But, to actually move something ahead, we should have an undersecretary and assistant secretaries in these fields. And the Department of State has shown unprecedented lassitude in nominating anybody for any positions. Very good, fantastic, well qualified career professionals acting in those slots, but they are not in a position to move ahead on policy objectives.

Now, the nuclear posture review that the administration is undertaking, and to which it has assigned lead responsibility to the Department of Defense, is supposed to be completed by the end of the year.

I do have some concerns about it. I have no idea how it's going. I would love to be reassured by Mr. Ford today that, in fact, not only the Department of Defense but the Department of State and Department of Energy are deeply involved in the discussion. That would be reassuring.

The part that concerns you, I think, concerns me a little bit as well -- that the last time this nuclear posture review was undertaken, at the beginning of the Obama administration, nobody was putting on the table the idea that we need more nuclear weapons and more diverse types of nuclear weapons. Some people, some NGOs, some thinkers are putting that on the table this time. I'm completely unable to gauge their influence or the likely outcome.

Now, I know that, for example, on climate change, you can give a speech that says, "I love the environment. The environment is huge, it's a great thing."

(LAUGHTER)

But I am breaking a commitment that we've made. The effect is actually even more serious if the nuclear posture review were to conclude what you suggested -- that disarmament is not a goal.

That would be breaking not just a commitment to an agreement, but a binding, ratified commitment to a treaty that the United States has upheld for nearly 50 years. And that would be an extremely serious step. So let me not alarm you by speculating on how likely it is.

BURK: OK. Now that we're all depressed...

(LAUGHTER)

... over there.

QUESTION: Thank you. Richard Fieldhouse, I'm an independent consultant, but a former Senate Armed Services Committee staffer who worked on plenty of these issues.

I'm sorry to say, Susan, I'm not going to cheer up the crowd, perhaps...

(LAUGHTER)

... with my question. But Tom, I wanted to...

(CROSSTALK)

BURK: Just ask them to these two gentlemen here. OK.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: ... I'm just warning you, lowering expectations.

Tom, I want to explore the other side of what you are suggesting about trying to do things in a way that's constructive, that won't undermine the NPT through this process.

And the question is: do you see a risk to the NPT or the possibility of undermining it, if those wise, constructive steps are not taken?

Could there actually be a result that would undermine the treaty -- commitment to it, et cetera? You know, it's the darker side of how this should run. Thank you.

COUNTRYMAN: I'm not very concerned about that, to be honest. A few of my colleagues in the U.S. government last year and some of my colleagues in the governments of other nuclear weapon states said that this effort would undermine the NPT. That's hard for me to see.

As I noted, there are definitely colleagues from some foreign ministries for whom disarmament is a game, is a tactic, rather than a goal, a pursuit.

And you could expect them to at least be tempted by that idea that, if I have two different treaties to demonstrate what a great world citizen I am, I'm going to pick the less restrictive one. I think it's possible. I think it's unlikely. It depends very much upon a couple of things I already mentioned.

If it's very explicit that everybody who's signing this convention loves the NPT and wants to push forward the goals of the NPT with a new convention, and you make that not just a preamble clause but a requirement in the new convention, I think you've minimized that danger.

And then, secondly, the other thing that could create or increase what is a small risk is what I think is a very unfortunate trend among some who advocate -- who portray themselves as great advocates of disarmament, which is to say we can't do any more steps on nonproliferation, no matter how rational they are, no matter how much they contribute to global security, until the nuclear weapon states do more on disarmament.

You know, it's this vision of hostage-taking, and it really makes no sense. So if states that advocate this convention begin to be obstacles in the path of improving the safeguard system, improving the nonproliferation system, then they will be doing the work of undermining the NPT.

So these are possibilities, but I am really not that worried about it -- any fundamental inconsistency between the NPT and the new convention.

BURK: OK. And we'll give out Tom's contact information so you can get in touch with him whenever you get worried, and he'll give you a comforting pep talk.

(LAUGHTER)

Back there. Alex?

QUESTION: This is for Ambassador Kickert. I have heard some say that, when they talk to the Chinese about abolishing nuclear weapons, they said, "That's an American plot, because if everybody does away with nuclear weapons, the U.S. will be by far the superior military power because of its conventional superiority."

What can you do to convince countries like China and others? I mean, obviously, this is not, you know, something that will happen tomorrow, but what can you do to convince countries like that that this is not what's going to happen, that their security is -- is preserved even under -- even in a world without nuclear weapons?

KICKERT: I mean, I personally would not be concerned as China concerning their conventional weaponry. And then on China, I find it interesting that they have limited themselves in the amount of nuclear weapons.

They don't -- my perception is that they -- they didn't expand to -- to a degree where -- where -- where Russia is, and the United States. So I -- I think they're -- they're quite happy to have this -- this -- this, let's say, necessary, from their point of view, limited amount of that -- nuclear weapons, and don't expand further.

I mean, let's not forget, 90 percent of our nuclear weapons are in the possession of the U.S. and Russia still. So I think it is -- it is still those two countries who have the key to press forward the nuclear disarmament agenda.

China, I think, is -- is conventionally beefing up. So I don't see China as an obstacle for the abolishment. They were even a little more engaged than other nuclear weapon states.

You had total disengagement by Russia. China was at least, now, at the first phase, also there as an observer. It, through (inaudible) participated also in the Vienna conference on the humanitarian consequences.

I think it even abstained in the General Assembly when we voted on going down this prohibition path. So I'm not so concerned that China is the biggest obstacle at the end of the day.

COUNTRYMAN: That's actually -- that's a concern or a comment I've heard more often from Russian colleagues than Chinese colleagues, and it's understandable. First, neither of them take very seriously the near-term prospect of going to zero.

But secondly, of course, China is a global power for a number of reasons. For Russia, there are only two things that make Russia a global power, and that is nuclear weapons and innovative computer programming.

(LAUGHTER)

BURK: OK. Ambassador Kennedy?

QUESTION: Thank you. Laura Kennedy, and, like Tom and Susan, I was proud to represent the Obama administration in this area in both Geneva and Vienna, and also honored to join the board today along with them.

I wanted to pick up on a point that Tom made about the importance of the nuclear ban proponents lobbying equally the non-democracies as well as the democracies. And specifically, I wanted to ask about North Korea, because my understanding is that they are in, you know, part of the process.

And I'm -- if that's the case, how do you deal with that? I mean, this is a country -- I mean, theoretically, if you pick up on Tom's point about making NPT membership a key part of the treaty, you could say, "Well, gee, that would bring them in."

But don't you run the risk of, having them part of the process, conceivably either allow them to discount the pressure to deal with a very real international security threat, or conceivably bring, frankly, some -- undermine the arms control process by having, say, a North Korea part of it, whereas, you know, the U.K., the France, the Japans, the Australians not part of it?

Thank you very much.

KICKERT: I recollect North Korea voted in favor of the G.A. resolution. But they are -- I haven't seen them -- I was not there the whole time, just sneaking in and out -- participated.

And one important aspect we implemented in the rules of procedure is that it would be a majority vote and not consensus, so that those who participate in there cannot block a decision by, I would say, the sane majority.

And it was, interestingly enough, proposed by some countries who want to have it exactly their way. It was Egypt, Iran. So -- but this was thwarted. So they are -- again, I -- I don't see North Korea playing any role in there. I mean, the North Korea dilemma is a different issue, and I think it will be discussed at the next session.

BURK: Daryl?

QUESTION: Thank you, Susan. Daryl Kimball.

I wanted to just note that, in the current issue of Arms Control Today, there are two very in-depth articles on the issues concerning the prohibition treaty and verification that are worth a look as we explore this subject.

I wanted to come back to one of the questions that Tom Countryman raised about the relationship between the prohibition treaty (OFF-MIKE) mentioned, Tom, that one way to deal with this would be to have (OFF-MIKE) obligations, all of the (OFF-MIKE) the prohibition treaty (OFF-MIKE). That might be problematic for India, Pakistan and Israel.

(OFF-MIKE) by (ph) the NPT, which is one of the problems with (OFF-MIKE). One other approach, I wanted to get your reaction, Ambassador Kickert (OFF-MIKE) require states that are already members of the NPT to remain (OFF-MIKE) other approach that still leaves the door open to those countries like (OFF-MIKE).

And also, I mean, Tom, you've brought this up a couple of times. You talked about what a successful (OFF-MIKE). I've always argued that the real threat to the NPT is not (OFF-MIKE) other than the U.S. and Russia (OFF-MIKE) why (ph) that (OFF-MIKE) the conference, which is a litmus test (OFF-MIKE).

COUNTRYMAN: OK. Well, on -- on the first point, not to be flippant about it, but the problem with India, Pakistan, and Israel is not a clause in the treaty. It's a lot more fundamental.

And if we were ever to get to a point where those countries are seriously considering joining this convention, it will not be a decision based upon whether or not that NPT membership clause is in the convention. It will be a decision based upon fundamental changes in their national security perceptions.

And that's very long-term. It's not going to happen soon. And I think that the advocates of this convention would do a disservice by not making that linkage and thus opening themselves up to the criticism that they have created an alternative pathway to the Nonproliferation Treaty. So yes, you're right in a technical sense. I don't think it's a terribly important factor in my productive lifetime.

On the New START Treaty, as you all know, the New START Treaty negotiated between the U.S. and Russia went into effect in 2011. It lasts for 10 years. It has a clause for automatic re-extension by an additional five years, until 2026, if both parties agree.

President Putin has already indicated -- has already suggested this extension. President Trump, by contrast, has said -- as he has said about anything that the previous administration has done -- it's a poorly negotiated deal, and has so far refused to consider it.

I would hope that, for all the right reasons, the United States comes around in the very near future to agreeing with Russia on this automatic five-year extension. It costs nothing.

It prevents, at least for the moment, an escalation -- an arms race in the number of weapons that both countries possess. It preserves important capabilities that cannot be replaced for verification and monitoring of the deal. And it would be the single easiest and most visible step for the United States to address the legitimate concerns of countries all around the world about our actual commitment to disarmament, so.

BURK: Thank you.

OK. Other questions. In the back, right in the middle. The lady there? Sorry, can't see that far.

QUESTION: Thank you. I'm Diane Perlman, George Mason School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. So this is for Tom.

Well, the logical implication of what you're talking about, and I think the next stage for us to go to, is what's known as a second-order change. First-order changes focus on eliminating the weapons and how -- you know, the humanitarian consequences and how bad they are.

Second order of change deals with the underlying -- analyzing the underlying conflict and looking at the needs of the parties and, you know, challenging flaws in -- or raising flaws in deterrence theory, addressing spiral theory and illusion of security, but also looking at how to reduce tension and work on addressing the underlying conflicts so that nuclear weapons are, like, unnecessary or irrational.

And -- so anyway, I just would appreciate if you would address that. And also, I registered -- I got three groups accredited for the ban treaty: Mediators Beyond Borders, TRANSCEND network of conflict transformation, and Psychologists for Social Responsibility. So I want to sort of build some energy around addressing second-order change.

COUNTRYMAN: Look, I have great respect for the academic work being done. I'm not an academic. I don't think in those terms. I think that the academic work could help to inform those who are trying to bring about what you term both the first-order and the second-order change.

But to be honest, I'm not sure how I would use that terminology or that typology to advance the subject.

BURK: OK. Any other questions?

Ed

QUESTION: Edward Levine, Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation.

One of the recurrent problems under the NPT has been the feeling on the part of some states that the treaty allows them to build up as much of a peaceful nuclear infrastructure as they wish, even if that brings them to the brink of nuclear weapons capability.

And I wonder what the risks are that the convention would increase the pressure on the nuclear suppliers group to stand down and stop putting roadblocks in the way of what it sees as incipient nuclear proliferation?

COUNTRYMAN: Good question. I haven't thought about it. I think it would be tremendously counterproductive for the advocates of this prohibition to either promote or to tolerate effort of some non-nuclear weapon states who claim to the argument that you've made -- that this allows us to develop nuclear capability right up to the edge of weaponization.

That would be damning to the credibility of the movement if that were tolerated. Now, the nuclear suppliers group includes a number of countries, not only nuclear weapon states, those under extended deterrence, but it also includes those who are advocates of this process.

And I simply can't picture that the nuclear suppliers group would say, "This has changed the reality, and it allows us to have more confidence in Iran's peaceful intentions because they've signed a new convention." I don't see it happening that way. So it's an interesting risk but, I think, a small one.

BURK: OK. I think we have time for one more question.

Larry, you get the last word, or the last question.

QUESTION: Larry Weiler. I'm old enough that I -- I often think I'm in error, but I'm never wrong.

(LAUGHTER)

And I've lived through 65 years of this business. And I was asked by a group where I now reside to do a little talk on arms control. And I haven't finished preparing the talk, but I took time to go through the whole history.

And I have a couple of things to add here, and that is, if you look at where we are, from the day when we first announced the American plan to take care of nuclear weapons and look at what's been accomplished.

And it's an interesting history because it's jerks and glides and jerks and glides. And we didn't know what to do about dealing with the problem for a long time. And then we started, and we got some first steps.

And, thinking about why we moved forward and why we stopped, in large part, there's a bit of accident involved. Personalities are involved. We could have started long ago with Harold Stassen, but Allen Dulles decided that the problem with Germany was such that he had to stop his program of negotiations.

One little step -- there are three or four of them as you go down the line. But, after you look at it, where we are today we -- with the -- with the test ban -- we haven't ratified the test -- the full test ban, that's true.

But there is a -- there is a -- basically, there's a test ban, and basically, there's a cutoff. And basically, we've learned how to deal with a lot of these problems. And we've dealt with the missile problem.

What we have -- and I could go on -- we've got pretty much the first stage of the original general and complete disarmament programs that people talked about in theory.

So don't give up. It's a long haul and we've really got stage one, we've got the cutoff. We've got all these other things. So don't begrudge that we haven't gone all the way further.

I have a question, however, that I would like...

BURK: OK, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: ... my question is what is the difference -- what is the difference between the new proposal and the effect of having nuclear-free zones all over the world? I mean, just a -- it's a simple question. But what's the difference in practical terms?

KICKERT: Well, Tom is the specialist, but from the Austrian perspective, the big difference is we don't have a nuclear-weapons-free zone in Europe. And we have studied this also, this -- this proposal.

We're jealous about the other areas of the world where this -- this happens. Austria happens to be a neutral country, not in any military alliance, and we're in the middle of this -- it's a competition.

So yeah, if you would have nuclear-weapon-free zones all over the world, then we will have a nuclear-free world. And we can -- we can continue that. And if we expand it to Europe, we will be the first to -- to be happy about it.

COUNTRYMAN: Yeah, it's essentially -- those countries that have formed nuclear-weapons-free zones argue, and with great merit, that they cannot fully enjoy the benefit of security and safety that comes from living in such a zone if nuclear conflict can occur anywhere in the world.

You cannot isolate the nuclear-weapons-free zones from a place where a nuclear conflict could occur. They have a legitimate reason to raise that as a point in favor of a global ban.

BURK: OK. I think we're going to have to wrap up.

I've got to say that while I attend this group, and I know a lot of you tend to focus on the challenges, on the problems, and we're all high anxiety -- is that a Mel Brooks movie?

But I think what we're taking away -- what I take away from this panel is that we need to be -- we need to be positive, we need to be creative, we need to keep our eyes focused on the big picture and the prize and we can't afford to forget all of the accomplishments that we have over the years.

Larry summed it up: There's far more good things than there are -- and then I would say -- and we have to persist.

So let's give our speakers a round of applause.

(APPLAUSE)

PANEL 2: 

DAVENPORT: All right. We're going to get started. So, thank you all for sticking around for our second panel.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that we would be discussing North Korea today, given the increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and the North Korean Policy Review that President Trump has just completed.

So, for North Korea watchers, 2017 has certainly been an interesting year. President Trump decided to review policy toward North Korea shortly after his Inauguration. And he came back with a policy that emphasizes maximum pressure and engagement. But there has been some mixed signals on what exactly the United States might be looking for from North Korea before entering into negotiations.

South Korea also has a new president, Moon Jae-in. He has expressed an interest in talking to the North Koreans, but again, under what conditions still remains somewhat of an open question.

And then of course in North Korea we've seen a number of ballistic missile tests already in 2017, including some new systems. And all of this is leading up to the summit that Trump and Moon Jae-in will hold in Washington, D.C. later this month.

So, to help make sense of all of these developments, we're very fortunate to have with us today Michael Elleman and Suzanne DiMaggio. We're going to start today with Mike Elleman.

Mike is a senior fellow for Missile Defense at the Institute for International and Strategic Studies. He has spent some time at Booz-Allen Hamilton. He spent some time working on cooperative threat reduction programs.

And I would be remiss if I didn't add that he also has written several excellent pieces for "Arms Control Today," which I would encourage you to take a look at. And his full bio is available in your program.

Then we're going to move on to Suzanne DiMaggio. Suzanne is a director and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. She has years of experience working on Track II diplomatic initiatives on a range of issues, including nonproliferation and international security with countries like Iran, Myanmar and North Korea.

She's formerly been at the Asia Society. And she was most recently in Pyongyang in February. And she has met with the North Koreans, I believe, just this past month, in a Track II dialogue.

So, I will turn it over to Mike to get the discussion started.

ELLEMAN: Great. Thank you, Kelsey. And thank you to the Arms Control Association for the opportunity to speak here today.

I'm going to try to keep my comments as brief as possible. And Kelsey's agreed to kick me if I go over my time. It'll be good entertainment for TV anyway.

So, I want to focus on making three essential points, instead of kind of rehashing the different systems and such that North Korea is currently developing. And I want to highlight them for a reason, and I hope this comes out at the end clearly.

One, we've - well, we've seen just this new pattern of missile testing under the regime of Kim Jung-un. His grandfather, Kim Il-sung, under his reign from 1984 to 1994 -- I know he began before 1984, but they started missile testing in 1984. He conducted a total of I think it was 15 tests, about 1.5 missile tests per year.

Kim Jung Il, under his reign there were 16 or so tests. This includes a few satellite launch attempts. But they came in clusters of in 1998 you saw the Taepodong-1. And then in 2006 the Taepodong-2, along with a number of other missiles were fired in a single day. And then again in 2009 you saw a cluster of testing.

In both instances, this would be inconsistent with testing to develop new systems, even though they were attempting to develop the satellite launcher, the Unha-2, as it turns out to be. But it seemed that the rationale for testing was to train troops, you know, to create operational readiness, and for political purposes, especially the July 2006 testing.

Under Kim Jung-un we've seen this ramp-up of testing. I think he's now done -- it's at last count 78 missile launches. There may have been more that failed, I don't know. But I think the number is right around there. That's 13 to 15 tests per year. That's consistent with a missile development program.

Compare that, say, what Iran is doing. Iran on average tests maybe three to five missiles a year. They make minor modifications and test them out. They use them in war games. That is far less, and it's not enough testing to develop a new capability in a short period of time. When I say a short period of time, I'm talking three to five years.

So, it's clear to me. And what we've seen is a number of new systems emerge. And I'll talk about them in a moment. But what is clear is North Korea is trying to create new capabilities. And they're going about it in a reasonably technically valid way.

The second point I want to make is that we've seen North Korea move beyond a legacy Scud and Nodong technology. All the missiles up until Kim Jung-un came to power were basically powered by either the Scud or Nodong engine. This includes the Unha space launcher, which it uses Nodong and Scud technology.

You can see it results in a very large system. It could, in principle, be converted into an ICBM. It'd still have to be tested as an ICBM to prove it as a missile, but also to validate the reentry technologies and warhead survivability. But this would be an immobile missile.

It would be launched and prepared to launch from a fixed site. It would be vulnerable to preemption. You would probably have few in number. The preparation time is on the order of days, not hours.

In 2016, we've seen the emergence of three new propulsion systems. And I think this is very important.

One, we've seen the Musudan. This is a very different engine, much more sophisticated than the Scud, Nodong technology. It's derived from the old Soviet-era ARS-27 or SSN6 technology. It's a retired system now. But it appears that North Korea was able to import the engines at least, if not more technology.

All this technology, by the way, comes from either the Makeyev or the Isayev design builds. Makeyev is the builder of Russia's submarine launch missiles. Isayev makes the engines for I think almost every Makeyev missile. And they had a very close working relationship. So, that's -- you know, up until a few months ago I thought that was the primary procurement network for North Korea.

With this new engine that we see in the Musudan, even though that missile has failed a number of times -- I think it's out of six to eight launches it's had one apparent success and one partial success. It uses a different type -- higher energy fuels. It's a much more sophisticated engine.

With that type of technology, you can now build, in principle, a road mobile ICBM. And in fact, the presumption has been that the Musudan engines would be the main power plant for the KN-08 or the KN-14s that have not yet been tested, but they've been paraded by the North Koreans.

We've seen -- and this is very puzzling to me. I still haven't quite been able to figure out exactly what new engine this is. In September of last year, they did a ground test of a, what they call an 80-thrust engine. The statements that came out after the test was that it was destined for use on a satellite launcher.

Then earlier this year, I think it was in March, they tested the same engine, but they attached four steering or veneer engines to it that operate in parallel. And they suggested that this would be used for a new capability. And they basically said be prepared.

And lo and behold, two weeks ago they tested the Hwasong-12, an intermediate-range system. It flew to a very high altitude of I think it was 2,200 -- 2,100 kilometers, but only about 500 kilometers range. If flown on a standard trajectory this missile could reach ranges of 4,000 to 4,500 kilometers. In other words, it's a real intermediate-range missile.

It's not clear if that was the first test launch of this particular missile. There may have been one or two that occurred before that failed. It's uncertain at this point, mostly because the intelligence agencies around the world have been less than forthcoming for us -- for Seoul to rely on open source literature.

I'll talk about why this new missile is really important, along with the Musudan. But I also wanted to note that we've seen North Korea expand beyond liquid propellant technologies. We've seen them employ solid propellant motors for the Pukguksong-1 and 2. This is a submarine launch missile, and then this new land mobile system that they launched out of a canister on a tracked vehicle.

I think they're in the first steps of mastering the production of solid propellants. I believe this is indigenously produced. It was probably designed locally. It is not a copy of any known system, although it shares the central features of all first-generation submarine launch missiles.

That is -- it's two stages. It's about 1.5 meters in diameter and about 9 meters long. There are technical reasons why you come to that design solution. So, I don't think they've copied this from anyone.

But it's a worrying trend that if they master fully the solid propellant technologies, they can make any missile of any size and any range that they want in the future. It'll just take a lot of time. And I'll discuss that a bit in comments on timelines for an ICBM.

This HS-12, the engine that powers it, it's a little unclear to me. It's certainly not from the Isayev Design Bureau or Makeyev. It appears to be consistent with the RD-250 engine that was developed by Glushko. It's another Russian concern. It's now called Energomash. It's the premier engine manufacturer for space launch vehicles in Russia.

This engine was used for a number of medium-lift space launch vehicles, but also for the R-36, I think we called it the SSN-9 -- or the SS-9 ICBM, which was produced in, of all places, Ukraine, back when they were part of the Soviet Union.

This means that North Korea probably has an expanded network for illicit procurement. And this is really worrying to me for two reasons. One, this engine in particular could be the basis for an ICBM.

But two, we now know that they probably have expanded their procurement capacity beyond Makeyev and Isayev. Therefore, we don't know how large it is anymore. We don't know what else they might have. So, predicting what systems they could develop in the near term to mid term is now complicated by this diversification of sources of technology.

The other thing I would note that because HS-12, or the Hwasong-12 is the new system and it's important, you know the outrage that we always associate with any missile launch, I think that we need to stop -- or start looking at those launches which are most consequential versus those that are just kind of standard and politically oriented.

I don't worry if they test a new Scud or -- a Scud or a Nodong type system. I do worry and I do think it's important when they test Musudan or this Hwasong-12.

I would be -- I would preserve my political capital to express sanctions or other punitive measures or preventive measures, and reserve those for the missiles that matter like HS-12, like Musudan. I would -- those are far more important than even satellite launches, in my view. I think we should rethink how we express our concerns about what North Korea is doing.

I want to wrap up with timelines for an ICBM, because that's what everyone seems to be interested in these days. It's always challenging to forecast the future. A lot of things can change. But if they wanted a near-term solution, meaning something that would be operationally viable at the end of 2018, 2019, they could try to transform the Unha satellite launcher into an ICBM.

They'd have to replace the upper stages with something new, test it and then validate the design as well as the reentry technologies. So, you could see something for what I call emergency use at probably 2019 or so.

A more practical approach would be to use either the Hwasong-12 or Musudan engines to create a road mobile ICBM. They need to continue testing and more fully develop the intermediate range capability. But with a few more successful flights of Hwasong-12, I think they could, from a technical perspective, move toward ICBM testing.

When they could create that capacity and operationalize it really depends on what the requirements North Korea imposes on their systems. How reliable does it need to be, 50 percent, 75 percent, 99 percent like U.S. and Chinese systems or Russian systems? That's an open question. And that's why it's difficult to project a timeline with any real fidelity.

But assuming they want something that's as least as reliable, that it's successful most of the time, you can define most as you wish. But I think that you would have -- you would see at least a dozen flight tests with 75 percent of them being "successful." Then they would be operationally viable in my view, granted it would be under a more relaxed criteria.

That could occur in 2020 at the very earliest. 2021 is a more likely date, assuming everything went well for them. It could stretch out even further. But it might be, you know, good for emergency use, say if they were being attacked, by 2020.

Third option they have is to use this new solid propellant technology. Now, it's one thing to make solid rocket motors the size that you see in the KN-11 or Pukguksong-1 and KN-15 or Pukguksong-2. Quite another thing to build a 25- to 30-ton rocket motor for a first stage for an ICBM.

Typically, it takes countries five to 12 years to move from the size you see in the KN-11 to an ICBM size. So, it's a long-term project that North Korea would have to embark upon to create an ICBM based on solid technologies. Therefore, I would be very surprised if they had something that was operational by 2025.

I think the more likely date would be 2030. It will result in a lot of embarrassing mistakes. That's just the nature of the development. We see it with the Musudan.

So, I think that will be a long-term project. The most likely and viable system they could develop would be based on either the Musudan or the HS-12 technology. As I said, we could see that as the next president takes office in -- you know, after 2020. If it's not Trump, it's someone else.

So, I'll conclude there. And leave room for questions, comments, outrage, whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

DAVENPORT: Thank you, Mike.

And for those of you in suspense in the back, I did not even have to kick him. He stayed on time.

So, now to talk about how we might be able to address the rising tension, and to think about some of the options for engagement with North Korea going forward, I'm going to turn it over to Suzanne.

DIMAGGIO: Thanks. And please kick me if I go over, which I'll try not to do.

First, let me extend my thanks to the Arms Control Association, to Daryl, Kelsey, Kingston, everyone. It's such an important organization at this moment, maybe more important than ever. And if you aren't already supporting them, I urge you to do so. That's my pitch.

DAVENPORT: Thank you.

DIMAGGIO: Let me focus. I want to focus first on -- mostly on the policy options for the U.S.

So, as Kelsey said, the administration now has completed its policy review, and for all intents and purposes, it seems like it was a fairly cohesive interagency review. It declared that the end of strategic patience is over. I think an actual funeral was held...

(LAUGHTER)

... here in Washington. And that a policy of maximum pressure and engagement was replacing it.

Frankly, to me it still seems very unclear if this new policy is very much different from the old policy, or if it's just -- it's been given a new wardrobe. That being said, there appears to be several key elements to this policy as far as I can see. One is that it puts back on the table all options, including military action, more aggressive action.

For example, just today we know that there are naval maneuvers happening in the area of North Korea. And for the first time in a few decades, it includes two U.S. aircraft carriers.

Also, the joint ROK-U.S. military exercises that just happened in April included Navy Seals, a Special Op team that reportedly was focused on so-called decapitation exercises. So, this does seem like a little bit of a ratcheting up on that side of the equation.

And during his visit to the region in March, Secretary Tillerson's statements hinted at the possibility of a preemptive strike to destroy nuclear capabilities. He also stated that all options are on the table when questioned about a military option, opening a door to the idea of preventive war.

The problem with this approach, if we rely on it exclusively, is that when you threaten the use of force, you have to be prepared to use it. It's a major risk. The fact that we do not know how the North Koreans would retaliate.

We would imagine that they would respond in one way, shape or form. And that could escalate. It could inflict mass casualties, severe damage to our ally South Korea, as well as to our other ally Japan, and potentially to the U.S. forces that are based in the region.

And this leaves out the question how would Beijing react. A regional war? A full-scale war? We all know that there's really no military solution to the North Korea issue, and I feel very strongly about that.

The second element I see is a greater reliance on China to mount more pressure against North Korea, at least rhetorically. China, of course, is Pyongyang's biggest trading partner. Last year I think 90 percent of the total trade came from -- was China, including most of North Korea's food and energy supplies. So, it is a very unique position.

I think today the U.N. Security Council is considering a new -- a resolution, additional sanctions. While Japan, South Korea and the U.S. are pushing the more pressure, more sanctions, it seems China is resisting and is instead pushing for dialogue at an emergency meeting of the U.N.S.C. That happened last week and is continuing today.

President Trump recently tweeted that "China is trying hard" to reign in North Korea. And U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley recently stated that Beijing is using a back channel to try to stop the DPRK from testing. This indicates -- this is worrisome to me because it indicates, do they not have direct channels?

We've heard rumors of worsening relationship between the two. The fact that Kim Jung-un, since he's gained power, has not visited Beijing. He's not met Xi Jinping. So, we really have to question whether or not a reliance on China to help solve this issue is a wise approach. I'm very skeptical about it.

And of course, China's national interests are not necessarily aligned with ours when it comes to North Korea. We can go through a whole litany of things, everything from a fear that the regime's downfall could lead to a mass refugee influx. A collapse could allow U.S. troops to have direct access to the Chinese border. And of course, the recent implementation of THAAD is threatening to the Chinese.

The third element of this new policy I see is an emphasis on more sanctions. Of course, President Obama's administration also focused on sanctions as well. So, it's not necessarily new.

The fact is, is that this approach hasn't worked so far. In fact, I would argue, as was outlined in the previous presentation, as we layered on more sanctions against North Korea, we see them steadily accelerating the progress on their nuclear missiles program, in the face of increased sanctions.

There was a study done by researchers recently at MIT that found U.S. sanctions imposed against North Korea have been largely unsuccessful at curbing the country's illicit procurement. Because of, in part, North Korea has been able to adapt, there's a growing capacity to work around sanctions.

So, could sanctions and pressure on North Korea alone resolve the nuclear issue? It's very unlikely.

I think even if we look at the case of Iran, extensive sanctions on their own didn't bring the Iranians to the table. There were other factors. We can talk about them. And this is even less likely in the case of North Korea because Pyongyang is not as reliant on the global financial system as Iran.

So, in this new policy, it also leaves room for engagement. So, that's the fourth element that I see. And my thinking on this is with a new U.S. administration comes an opportunity to try to forge a diplomatic path, especially when it's clear that the current approach is not working.

Relying on a pressure-only approach is dangerous because it is inherently an approach of escalation that either leads to conflict or backing down by one side, and not necessarily to a potential political agreement, political solution. So, we risk falling into a cycle of tit for tat escalation with real potential for conflict either by design or maybe more so by accident. So, we need an off-ramp.

The Trump administration has left open room for engagement. Still remains to be seen if that will be pursued. President Trump warned in an interview in late April that a major, major conflict with the North was possible. He also said he'd prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.

Although the U.S. has explicitly ruled out talks with Pyongyang unless the government took verifiable action to freeze its weapons program. The president then said he would be honored to meet with North Korea's leader Kim Jung-un, under the right circumstances. I think these are very mixed signals, mixed messages that urgently need to be clarified.

That being said, it's interesting that following that, senior North Korean diplomat Che San We, also their lead nuclear negotiator, recently said that the DPRK is open to dialogue with the U.S. under the right conditions. South Korean President Moon has said something similar.

So, I think the task now at hand is to find out what those right conditions are. And the best way to do this of course, the only way to do it, is through dialogue. So, what's needed now is what I would call aggressive diplomacy, backed up by all the leverage that the maximum pressure that I just talked about brings.

Now, when we talk about a diplomatic approach, I do think there are some lessons to be learned from the Iran deal that might be worth considering for negotiating with North Korea. Of course, both cases are completely different. I've traveled to both countries. I've experienced it firsthand.

The biggest difference is of course North Korea has nuclear weapons. Iran has never possessed a nuclear weapon. And of course, Iran is a member of the NPT. The differences go on and on and on.

So, I'm not advocating that the JCPOA is a model for North Korea. It's technically quite different. But I do think the process of diplomacy that the U.S. pursued with Iran could offer some insights on how to begin engagement with a very strong adversary whose leadership is extremely distrustful of the United States, and of course vice versa.

There are three elements of diplomacy with Iran that I think we should be looking at. First is initiate a low-key diplomatic channel authorized at the highest level.

Prior to the start of official negotiations with the Iranians, both -- diplomats from both countries engaged in a series of meetings that were held secretly. There were 12 such meetings convened in Muscat, Geneva and New York over a period of about 16 months. This eventually led to the multilateral, P5+1 talks, and an interim agreement called the Joint Plan of Action, JPOA, in November 2013.

I think, given the level of mistrust between Pyongyang and Washington, I think it would be a good first step to try to have dialogue without preconditions to find out what is possible. We can call them talks about talks, to help clarify what those conditions that would be acceptable, what are they? How can we identify them? How to meet or overcome them? What are the non-negotiables? And then move ahead with the negotiations with our allies and others.

I think this work before the negotiations begin, that American diplomats and Iranian diplomats engaged in, really helped pave the way to not only a successful interim agreement, but then to the JCPOA, which by the way is an agreement that is working.

The second element of diplomacy with Iran I think that should be considered is to focus on a limited set of realistic objectives, not a grand bargain. The U.S.-Iran discussions, when limited to what both sides deem to be very specific, manageable set of items in the nuclear field.

And of course, the U.S. priority has placed on preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The Iranian priority was in exchange sanctions would be lifted.

So, now the U.S. really must decide on its highest priority with North Korea at this time. It must zero in on what that key goal could be. And also, something that's in the realm of achievability at this time.

So, to diffuse tensions I think the best bet would be to begin by pursuing an agreement that would freeze DPRK's nuclear missile testing. One of the key goals here would be to get IAEA inspectors, who do not currently have, and haven't for years had access to any aspects of North Korea's program, back into the country.

And when we look at the JCPOA, one of the things that's so remarkable about it is the extensive verification, monitoring requirements that come along with it. And that certainly is something to emulate.

So, suspension of testing of course is an interim step. Probably if we set the goal of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula as the end goal, this would be an interim set. It's not a solution.

As Graham Allison wrote in "The New York Times" this week, he said "Is United States national security really strengthened if a 33-year-old dictator with a record of executing his enemies can define red lines as left with an arsenal of 20 warheads and missiles that can deliver nuclear strikes against Seoul and Tokyo? We know the answer."

So, it's an important interim step, but it's not the final solution. It should be seen as part of a phased process.

The third element is what I would call pursuing a win-win approach. The U.S. and Iranians, in those early secret talks, both agree that they needed a win-win outcome, where at the end of the day, each of them could come forward and say they succeeded in filling their goals. This, of course, also came with the understanding that they would have to make compromises along the way so that both sides would be able to claim victory.

And then I think moving on, looking forward to what that phased approach might be. Bob Einhorn recently has written about this at Brookings, and I think it makes a great deal of sense.

Starting with the negotiations on nuclear freeze and missile freeze, setting the stage for an interim agreement that would freeze nuclear and missile development, and end proliferation. And then followed by further negotiations over next steps, with benchmarks that would be worked out over time.

Potential end goal could be a comprehensive regional security strategy, which I know is something Tom Pickering and Mort Halperin have been working on. That could take years.

So to conclude, I was on a panel recently and one of the experts on the panel was I think very much opposed to what I was proposing. And the reason was, is that he said we've tried this. We've tried diplomacy with the North Koreans. It's too hard. They cheat. They can't be trusted.

You know, I heard the same arguments with Iran for years. In fact, during the 35 years before the JCPOA, there were countless failed attempts, missed opportunities. And yet we now have an agreement that is working.

As Nelson Mandela put it, it always seems impossible until it's done. And I would apply that in that case. Because we've failed in the past doesn't mean we shouldn't attempt it again. We should learn from those failed attempts and move forward and try it. Test it.

That being said, there's no question the difficulties, obstacles of such an approach, the mutual demonization on both sides, the lack of interaction over years, the lack of relations, the lack of exchanges both on both the governmental level but also on a societal level, makes this all the harder.

So, I would just end on this note. If the administration decides to go down this path with any chance of success, it should also follow what President Obama did with the Iran deal. And that was put together an A team of diplomats, scientists, other technical experts to carry this out.

As I said at another event, this is not something you farm out to your son-in-law, if I may say that. So, this will require filling key staff positions, senior positions, a real negotiating team like we had with the Iran talks.

And it also means filling ambassadorial positions in key capitals throughout Asia and elsewhere. This would be a major undertaking of diplomacy.

Diplomacy is hard, especially with an adversary. But as the Iran deal showed, it's not impossible.

DAVENPORT: Thank you, Suzanne.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm now going to open it up for questions. And in addition to the standard instruction of please introducing yourself and asking a question, I'm going to ask everyone to make sure that they're really holding the microphones close, given the fact that we are trying to pick this up for the C-SPAN audience.

So, we'll start over there with Paul.

QUESTION: Thanks, Kelsey and Daryl, for a great event. Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action.

It's my understanding -- and I agree that we need to touch out with North Korea on the diplomatic front. It's my understanding that there's some several thousand remains of U.S. soldiers that are still there from the Korean War. And that actually North Korea would like to give those back.

And that is touchpoint in which I think we can get even bipartisan support here in Congress. Because as we know, no member of Congress has been not elected for bashing North Korea too hard.

So, is there a way that we could touch out? It's my understanding that the Obama administration didn't do so on that specific issue. And maybe even get support, bipartisan support, even from Republicans, bringing our -- the remains of our servicemen home.

DIMAGGIO: I'm not so sure that the Obama administration didn't approach that. I think maybe they had tried. But I'm not certain. I can't verify that.

But I think that is -- you know, the fact that the North Koreans have indicated a willingness to talk about an issue like that of course should be pursued. I think what I had proposed, a quiet channel a secret channel, I think it'd be very hard to keep it secret. But a very quiet channel would be a way to begin discussions on these issues.

The fact is, given, like I said, the high level of mistrust, any effort that can be made to build confidence, wins along the way that could help do that, gestures by both sides that could help do that. We're in desperate need of that.

DAVENPORT: Greg, here in the front?

QUESTION: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association Board of Directors.

Suzanne, I very much agree with the objective of seeking an interim freeze on nuclear and missile developments in North Korea.

One of the things that I'm wondering about, though, and this is a question for Mike, is, is there also value in pursuing as an interim a limit on the kind of testing of systems that you were most alarmed by? That is to say, would it be worth presenting to North Korea a proposal to ban any flight tests of missiles above short range, for example?

Or even allowing space launch vehicles of the Unha series, as a bone to throw to Kim Jung-un? Wouldn't that still give us a very valuable security advantage in stopping testing of all these systems that you're most alarmed by?

ELLEMAN: Thank you, Greg. That was a nice softball you threw me. We've talked about this before.

I think it would be an interesting subject to explore with North Korea, that is a flight test ban on missiles that fly over -- or have the capacity to fly over some given range. That would be the subject of part of the negotiations what it might be. But it would certainly include intermediate-range systems, which you know anything that flies like more than 2,500 or 3,000 kilometers. So, it would capture Musudan. It would capture this latest HS-12.

Why would that be important? Well, in order to develop a missile, you have to test it. And that's why we see North Korea testing missiles. If you don't test it, and you look back you know from a systems engineering approach, or you look at kind of historical data from other countries that have developed intermediate or long-range missiles. Over the course of the first five to 10 launches the failure rate is greater than 50 percent, with few exceptions. Sometimes it's even much greater than -- you know, much greater than 50 percent fail. And that's just the nature of creating new technologies and new capabilities. So, if they're not allowed to test, they can develop or create a system, but they'll have no confidence that it works. And to field it would -- they would necessarily have to accept great risk that this system wouldn't work. If it's a systemic failure, it's likely all of them will fail. If it's something different with each launch, you know, then they have a 50-50 chance of getting -- there's -- 50 percent of them might actually reach their destination. So, I think that's something worth pursuing.

Now, what would you ask -- or what would they ask for in return? I think something logical would be allowing space launch activities. You know perhaps even providing some technological assistance.

But this -- you would have to have certain restrictions on what they could use and couldn't use. I would say they would be limited to using either Scud type fuels, which are low performance. It would necessarily result in very large launchers or very large, cumbersome ICBMs or long-range missiles if they tried to convert it at some later time.

You would -- if they want to use solid strap-on boosters, you would have some limitations there. You could provide them, say, with cryogenic technology, which would be less suitable for a missile system which has to work rather rapidly, 24-7.

There's a range of things you could do. And in fact, there is a small effort going on in trying to establish what those requirements might be. You would also need transparency, which would provide us with better insights as to what -- how they think, what they're doing. And I believe it would be worthwhile.

Now, this approach is not without risk. There is a risk that things will be diverted. There is risk that they're going to learn from their experiences in developing satellite launchers that they could apply to missiles later on. But I think those risks are much less than what we have now where they're allowed to launch whatever they want and learn specific lessons and develop specific technologies that are destined for long-range missiles.

So, yes, I think this is something worth pursuing. It would be outside the nuclear track. So, you know, you could get -- kind of get by with you know, not addressing the nuclear topic while addressing something strategic. You would lead to some confidence building, greater insights, et cetera.

So, in my view this would be worth -- a risk worth taking. But one has to understand that it's not a risk-free venture.

DAVENPORT: The woman here at the middle table.

QUESTION: Thank you. Hi. I am Kathy Crandall Robinson with Women in International Security. Thank you very much to both panelists.

My question is about the THAAD missile defense that we're delivering and deploying in South Korea. And Suzanne mentioned the concern and tension that's created in China. But it's also faced a lot of very serious protests from the civil society, the grassroots in South Korea. And a lot of tension around cost and so forth with the new presidential regime.

And I'm just curious if there's any value in changing the policy, if that would help in any way in moving forward with diplomacy and engagement with China. And if at this point any change is even possible?

DAVENPORT: Great. Thank you, Kathy.

Maybe we'll start on that question first. Mike, if you could just tell us a little bit about what THAAD can do and what THAAD can't do. And then, Suzanne, if you want to talk about how THAAD fits into the diplomacy?

DIMAGGIO: OK. Great.

ELLEMAN: OK. First, I want to separate regional missile defenses like THAAD, Aegis, Patriot from national missile defense here in the U.S., which is the ground-based interceptors, the system that was tested successfully a couple days ago.

Regional missile defenses are primarily aimed at blocking conventionally armed missiles. It's much like air defense. You're trying to limit what your opponent can inflict upon you, using aircraft or missiles. And when you combine something like THAAD with Patriot, you create a layered defense. And this greatly improves the efficacy of your capacity to block say 50 of 50 missiles over a given period of time.

You know, with what we presume to be the performance capabilities of Patriot, which is demonstrated, and what THAAD is currently tested and demonstrated in the design criteria, you could have 90 percent confidence that you could block 50 out of 50. Maybe one gets through, maybe two get through. But that would allow you to sustain military operations at key facilities, things of that nature.

This would be a great improvement over a single layer based only on Patriot. So, that's why it's being introduced into South Korea, in my view.

Now, against nuclear weapons or nuclear armed missiles, you know, there's a possibility that something gets through. It's not an umbrella. You know, no missile defense provides you with a perfect defense. And that's -- we need to recognize that, especially when making decisions over potential actions.

And it's important to remember, you know a 50-kiloton device is going to kill hundreds of thousands if not a million people in very dense cities. Is that a risk worth taking?

So, in my view, if you're looking at a conventionally armed threat from North Korea, THAAD makes some sense in preserving, probably military capabilities and protecting some critical assets within the Republic of Korea. It is expensive, yes. I think they probably need two THAAD batteries, by the way, maybe three, to really create a layered defense across the lower peninsula. And they would have to use Aegis to protect against a submarine launch missile. It's not the answer to all their questions.

As to the threat to China, THAAD does not pose a threat to China's current nuclear forces. There's a limited set of circumstances where THAAD can -- the radar can detect and track an ICBM that's headed to the West Coast, primarily, of the U.S. from I think it's three launch sites in China.

The information that would be gained is really minimal because you already have so many other sensors positioned around the world and in space. So, I don't know why China is so concerned with the deployment of this particular system.

I think it's a political maneuver by China. What they're concerned about is what comes next. Are they going to be -- is there going to be a ring of THAAD radars and other sensors as part of a larger architecture aimed at China?

That's why I think they've been protesting so vehemently, and using some really pretty crass tactics, if you will, in you know boycotting Lotte Industries and things of that nature. For that reason, I think it's difficult for South Korea now to back away from the deal because it would appear, whether it's done that for that reason or not, it's caving to the Chinese.

You know, I'm not a South Korean and I can't say what they should do in these circumstances. I'm not sure that it would lead to a more cooperative China in terms of solving this particular problem. So, I'd be inclined to leave it. But that's just a personal view.

And I think we also have to keep in mind that China cannot solve North Korea problem. But the North Korea problem cannot be solved without China's cooperation. And I think we're getting some. But remember, China's priorities are no instability, no war, and then no nuclear weapons in North Korea. So, it's going to be a difficult task.

DIMAGGIO: Well, just briefly I would just agree. I think it would be difficult for ROK to back out of THAAD now.

But of course, President Moon is coming to Washington later this month. We'll see if President Trump continues to insist that the South Koreans pay for it. That might have an impact on their decision.

Also, I also agree that you know the Chinese have overstated the case. So, I think for now I would agree to leave it at this stage. But I think the process by which we've moved forward with it, and now with a new administration in South Korea, I think we need to do better to be communicating with them on what they want and how they see it, and working with them in cooperation.

DAVENPORT: I think there's a question way in the back.

QUESTION: Thank you. I'm Professor Wayne Glass from University of Southern California School of International Relations.

A depressing topic to some extent, but I have good news. We have a whole next generation of policy wonks on arms control sitting with us from the University of Southern California.

(APPLAUSE)

My other comment here is from my experience with respect to the issues with North Korea. Congress's cooperation or involvement in this process is critical. And as we look forward to new moves, maybe if you look at it from the glass half full, pun intended, that the current political galaxy in Washington with the Congress under control of the Republicans, and the White House.

There's an opportunity to engage Republicans in Congress, as we strategize and take steps forward. And given the divide between the Congress and the White House, that produces an interesting dynamic as well.

Am I dreaming? Or are we going to be able to get ahead of this curve and incorporate Congress as talks about strategy and tactics move forward? Or is this a lost cause? I'm asking for some optimism. Thank you.

DAVENPORT: Well, not to load the answer ahead of time, but...

DIMAGGIO: Well, unfortunately I think...

(LAUGHTER)

... you know when you look at there're so few issues where there's bipartisan agreement these days. Unfortunately, I think one of them is North Korea, getting tougher on North Korea. I think Iran would be the other. But it's certainly worth trying.

You know, I also think Congress is part of the problem when we look at this because in the case of Iran you see Congress, especially the Republican side, trying to actively undermine the JCPOA.

And of course, this would lead -- if I was a North Korean considering engaging the U.S., entering into discussions on agreement, an interim agreement and so forth, I would really question whether or not the United States is prepared to fulfill that agreement, given the issues that are being placed against the JCPOA.

So yes, of course, we should always engage Congress in these discussions. But at the same time, we also have to be cautious about them playing the role of the spoiler as well.

When you look at the recent hearings on the Hill, there was one hearing recently where I think among the dozen or more senators who spoke there was really only one that even mentioned the word "diplomatic engagement," which shocked me.

ELLEMAN: Yes. I would just add one thing, and that is -- I mean, I do agree, Congress should be involved and co-opted, if you will. I mean, you want their inputs.

But I would urge some caution. Is what I would be afraid of is especially the more hawkish people in the Congress opposing any attempt to maybe work out a nuclear freeze as a first step. You know, tie the hands of the administration and not allow them to negotiate kind of interim steps. That would be dangerous and unwelcomed in my view.

So, in terms of what Congress -- it's more about what Congress shouldn't do than what they should do. So, I'll leave it at that.

DAVENPORT: We have just a few minutes left. So, I'll take a question there from that middle table. Right in front of you. Yes.

QUESTION: Michael Klare. I'm on the board of the Arms Control Association.

I have a question for Mike. You spoke about North Korea's missile development. Could you say a few words about North Korea's nuclear weapons development?

Because part and parcel of the process is, are they able to develop a warhead that would fit on an ICBM? (OFF-MIKE) anything about the timeline for that process, how that's pursued?

ELLEMAN: Well, the honest answer is no, I don't. You know the nuclear program is much more opaque than the missile program.

I mean, because you have to test missiles you can track them and you can get a sense of what their performance parameters are quite easily. Even the photographs that they provide and video can -- it offers many insights into what they're doing.

My presumption right now is that they can probably fashion a nuclear warhead that can be fitted upon the Nodong missile, you know, the larger diameter systems. Nodong has a diameter of 1.25 meters.

It's unclear if that would also apply to the Scud, which has a smaller diameter of 0.88 meters. But I think it's a safe assumption that they can shrink it.

I think the larger question is would it be rugged enough to withstand the reentry environment, and that is you know it has to be rugged. And you know there will be a lot of vibrations associated with launch and reentry.

What they haven't clearly done is develop the reentry technologies for a long-range missile. And I'm speaking specifically of an ICBM. But I think -- I don't think that's the long pole in the tent for an ICBM capability. I think that would be developed in parallel. But it would have to be tested to prove it right.

So, I think that's about as far as I can go because we just don't have the knowledge. And it's the reason -- suggestion that the IAEA should -- we should negotiate their reentry into the country would be so important because you learn so much just talking to people on the ground.

DAVENPORT: I agree with Mike that they certainly are likely to be able to fit a warhead on some of these missile systems.

But I think it's also important to note that the satellite imagery demonstrates that they're still operating their reactor at Yongbyon. That there is activity at the reprocessing facility. So, it's very likely that North Korea is continuing to produce fissile material that also expands the size of its particular arsenal.

So, just very quickly at the end, I wonder if each of you could just say a few words on what you might like to see come out of the U.S.-ROK Summit that's set to happen later in June. What do you think would be a positive outcome?

DIMAGGIO: I think some clarity on what their approaches are. I think obviously in order to move forward with the diplomatic approach they have to be on the same page.

As I said, we've heard some mixed messages from our administration and President Moon's administration is fairly new. So, I think you know, a joint statement that maybe spells out what they're willing to do. Not just on the pressure side, but on the engagement side as well, would be quite important at this time.

DAVENPORT: Mike, anything you'd like to see?

ELLEMAN: What I'd most like to see is very coherent collaboration and agreement between the U.S., the ROK and our Japanese allies in the region that whatever we decide as a policy is -- everyone concurs. And everyone understands the full risks because this notion that we can apply more and more pressure, and this talk about you know, left of launch solutions for missiles, destroying them on the launchpad is -- if they're not -- our allies are not completely on board, that could result in some real surprises or disastrous results.

So, I just want to -- I want to hear them make an offer, a very coherent strategy that everyone agrees upon.

DAVENPORT: Well, I guess we will see in a few weeks what happens.

After you join me in thanking our speakers, if you could all just stay seated for a few quick announcements from Daryl about lunch and moving forward.

So, thank you both so much for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

KIMBALL: Thank you, Kelsey, Suzanne and Mike. That was a great discussion. Very helpful.

We are now ready for lunch. We're going to take a 30-minute break. And then we're going to resume as promptly as possible at 12:15.

There are two food lines. So, please jump up, get in line, bring your food back to your table, and enjoy your break. Thank you.

END

DAVENPORT: All right. We're going to get started. So, thank you all for sticking around for our second panel.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that we would be discussing North Korea today, given the increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and the North Korean Policy Review that President Trump has just completed.

So, for North Korea watchers, 2017 has certainly been an interesting year. President Trump decided to review policy toward North Korea shortly after his Inauguration. And he came back with a policy that emphasizes maximum pressure and engagement. But there has been some mixed signals on what exactly the United States might be looking for from North Korea before entering into negotiations.

South Korea also has a new president, Moon Jae-in. He has expressed an interest in talking to the North Koreans, but again, under what conditions still remains somewhat of an open question.

And then of course in North Korea we've seen a number of ballistic missile tests already in 2017, including some new systems. And all of this is leading up to the summit that Trump and Moon Jae-in will hold in Washington, D.C. later this month.

So, to help make sense of all of these developments, we're very fortunate to have with us today Michael Elleman and Suzanne DiMaggio. We're going to start today with Mike Elleman.

Mike is a senior fellow for Missile Defense at the Institute for International and Strategic Studies. He has spent some time at Booz-Allen Hamilton. He spent some time working on cooperative threat reduction programs.

And I would be remiss if I didn't add that he also has written several excellent pieces for "Arms Control Today," which I would encourage you to take a look at. And his full bio is available in your program.

Then we're going to move on to Suzanne DiMaggio. Suzanne is a director and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. She has years of experience working on Track II diplomatic initiatives on a range of issues, including nonproliferation and international security with countries like Iran, Myanmar and North Korea.

She's formerly been at the Asia Society. And she was most recently in Pyongyang in February. And she has met with the North Koreans, I believe, just this past month, in a Track II dialogue.

So, I will turn it over to Mike to get the discussion started.

ELLEMAN: Great. Thank you, Kelsey. And thank you to the Arms Control Association for the opportunity to speak here today.

I'm going to try to keep my comments as brief as possible. And Kelsey's agreed to kick me if I go over my time. It'll be good entertainment for TV anyway.

So, I want to focus on making three essential points, instead of kind of rehashing the different systems and such that North Korea is currently developing. And I want to highlight them for a reason, and I hope this comes out at the end clearly.

One, we've - well, we've seen just this new pattern of missile testing under the regime of Kim Jung-un. His grandfather, Kim Il-sung, under his reign from 1984 to 1994 -- I know he began before 1984, but they started missile testing in 1984. He conducted a total of I think it was 15 tests, about 1.5 missile tests per year.

Kim Jung Il, under his reign there were 16 or so tests. This includes a few satellite launch attempts. But they came in clusters of in 1998 you saw the Taepodong-1. And then in 2006 the Taepodong-2, along with a number of other missiles were fired in a single day. And then again in 2009 you saw a cluster of testing.

In both instances, this would be inconsistent with testing to develop new systems, even though they were attempting to develop the satellite launcher, the Unha-2, as it turns out to be. But it seemed that the rationale for testing was to train troops, you know, to create operational readiness, and for political purposes, especially the July 2006 testing.

Under Kim Jung-un we've seen this ramp-up of testing. I think he's now done -- it's at last count 78 missile launches. There may have been more that failed, I don't know. But I think the number is right around there. That's 13 to 15 tests per year. That's consistent with a missile development program.

Compare that, say, what Iran is doing. Iran on average tests maybe three to five missiles a year. They make minor modifications and test them out. They use them in war games. That is far less, and it's not enough testing to develop a new capability in a short period of time. When I say a short period of time, I'm talking three to five years.

So, it's clear to me. And what we've seen is a number of new systems emerge. And I'll talk about them in a moment. But what is clear is North Korea is trying to create new capabilities. And they're going about it in a reasonably technically valid way.

The second point I want to make is that we've seen North Korea move beyond a legacy Scud and Nodong technology. All the missiles up until Kim Jung-un came to power were basically powered by either the Scud or Nodong engine. This includes the Unha space launcher, which it uses Nodong and Scud technology.

You can see it results in a very large system. It could, in principle, be converted into an ICBM. It'd still have to be tested as an ICBM to prove it as a missile, but also to validate the reentry technologies and warhead survivability. But this would be an immobile missile.

It would be launched and prepared to launch from a fixed site. It would be vulnerable to preemption. You would probably have few in number. The preparation time is on the order of days, not hours.

In 2016, we've seen the emergence of three new propulsion systems. And I think this is very important.

One, we've seen the Musudan. This is a very different engine, much more sophisticated than the Scud, Nodong technology. It's derived from the old Soviet-era ARS-27 or SSN6 technology. It's a retired system now. But it appears that North Korea was able to import the engines at least, if not more technology.

All this technology, by the way, comes from either the Makeyev or the Isayev design builds. Makeyev is the builder of Russia's submarine launch missiles. Isayev makes the engines for I think almost every Makeyev missile. And they had a very close working relationship. So, that's -- you know, up until a few months ago I thought that was the primary procurement network for North Korea.

With this new engine that we see in the Musudan, even though that missile has failed a number of times -- I think it's out of six to eight launches it's had one apparent success and one partial success. It uses a different type -- higher energy fuels. It's a much more sophisticated engine.

With that type of technology, you can now build, in principle, a road mobile ICBM. And in fact, the presumption has been that the Musudan engines would be the main power plant for the KN-08 or the KN-14s that have not yet been tested, but they've been paraded by the North Koreans.

We've seen -- and this is very puzzling to me. I still haven't quite been able to figure out exactly what new engine this is. In September of last year, they did a ground test of a, what they call an 80-thrust engine. The statements that came out after the test was that it was destined for use on a satellite launcher.

Then earlier this year, I think it was in March, they tested the same engine, but they attached four steering or veneer engines to it that operate in parallel. And they suggested that this would be used for a new capability. And they basically said be prepared.

And lo and behold, two weeks ago they tested the Hwasong-12, an intermediate-range system. It flew to a very high altitude of I think it was 2,200 -- 2,100 kilometers, but only about 500 kilometers range. If flown on a standard trajectory this missile could reach ranges of 4,000 to 4,500 kilometers. In other words, it's a real intermediate-range missile.

It's not clear if that was the first test launch of this particular missile. There may have been one or two that occurred before that failed. It's uncertain at this point, mostly because the intelligence agencies around the world have been less than forthcoming for us -- for Seoul to rely on open source literature.

I'll talk about why this new missile is really important, along with the Musudan. But I also wanted to note that we've seen North Korea expand beyond liquid propellant technologies. We've seen them employ solid propellant motors for the Pukguksong-1 and 2. This is a submarine launch missile, and then this new land mobile system that they launched out of a canister on a tracked vehicle.

I think they're in the first steps of mastering the production of solid propellants. I believe this is indigenously produced. It was probably designed locally. It is not a copy of any known system, although it shares the central features of all first-generation submarine launch missiles.

That is -- it's two stages. It's about 1.5 meters in diameter and about 9 meters long. There are technical reasons why you come to that design solution. So, I don't think they've copied this from anyone.

But it's a worrying trend that if they master fully the solid propellant technologies, they can make any missile of any size and any range that they want in the future. It'll just take a lot of time. And I'll discuss that a bit in comments on timelines for an ICBM.

This HS-12, the engine that powers it, it's a little unclear to me. It's certainly not from the Isayev Design Bureau or Makeyev. It appears to be consistent with the RD-250 engine that was developed by Glushko. It's another Russian concern. It's now called Energomash. It's the premier engine manufacturer for space launch vehicles in Russia.

This engine was used for a number of medium-lift space launch vehicles, but also for the R-36, I think we called it the SSN-9 -- or the SS-9 ICBM, which was produced in, of all places, Ukraine, back when they were part of the Soviet Union.

This means that North Korea probably has an expanded network for illicit procurement. And this is really worrying to me for two reasons. One, this engine in particular could be the basis for an ICBM.

But two, we now know that they probably have expanded their procurement capacity beyond Makeyev and Isayev. Therefore, we don't know how large it is anymore. We don't know what else they might have. So, predicting what systems they could develop in the near term to mid term is now complicated by this diversification of sources of technology.

The other thing I would note that because HS-12, or the Hwasong-12 is the new system and it's important, you know the outrage that we always associate with any missile launch, I think that we need to stop -- or start looking at those launches which are most consequential versus those that are just kind of standard and politically oriented.

I don't worry if they test a new Scud or -- a Scud or a Nodong type system. I do worry and I do think it's important when they test Musudan or this Hwasong-12.

I would be -- I would preserve my political capital to express sanctions or other punitive measures or preventive measures, and reserve those for the missiles that matter like HS-12, like Musudan. I would -- those are far more important than even satellite launches, in my view. I think we should rethink how we express our concerns about what North Korea is doing.

I want to wrap up with timelines for an ICBM, because that's what everyone seems to be interested in these days. It's always challenging to forecast the future. A lot of things can change. But if they wanted a near-term solution, meaning something that would be operationally viable at the end of 2018, 2019, they could try to transform the Unha satellite launcher into an ICBM.

They'd have to replace the upper stages with something new, test it and then validate the design as well as the reentry technologies. So, you could see something for what I call emergency use at probably 2019 or so.

A more practical approach would be to use either the Hwasong-12 or Musudan engines to create a road mobile ICBM. They need to continue testing and more fully develop the intermediate range capability. But with a few more successful flights of Hwasong-12, I think they could, from a technical perspective, move toward ICBM testing.

When they could create that capacity and operationalize it really depends on what the requirements North Korea imposes on their systems. How reliable does it need to be, 50 percent, 75 percent, 99 percent like U.S. and Chinese systems or Russian systems? That's an open question. And that's why it's difficult to project a timeline with any real fidelity.

But assuming they want something that's as least as reliable, that it's successful most of the time, you can define most as you wish. But I think that you would have -- you would see at least a dozen flight tests with 75 percent of them being "successful." Then they would be operationally viable in my view, granted it would be under a more relaxed criteria.

That could occur in 2020 at the very earliest. 2021 is a more likely date, assuming everything went well for them. It could stretch out even further. But it might be, you know, good for emergency use, say if they were being attacked, by 2020.

Third option they have is to use this new solid propellant technology. Now, it's one thing to make solid rocket motors the size that you see in the KN-11 or Pukguksong-1 and KN-15 or Pukguksong-2. Quite another thing to build a 25- to 30-ton rocket motor for a first stage for an ICBM.

Typically, it takes countries five to 12 years to move from the size you see in the KN-11 to an ICBM size. So, it's a long-term project that North Korea would have to embark upon to create an ICBM based on solid technologies. Therefore, I would be very surprised if they had something that was operational by 2025.

I think the more likely date would be 2030. It will result in a lot of embarrassing mistakes. That's just the nature of the development. We see it with the Musudan.

So, I think that will be a long-term project. The most likely and viable system they could develop would be based on either the Musudan or the HS-12 technology. As I said, we could see that as the next president takes office in -- you know, after 2020. If it's not Trump, it's someone else.

So, I'll conclude there. And leave room for questions, comments, outrage, whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

DAVENPORT: Thank you, Mike.

And for those of you in suspense in the back, I did not even have to kick him. He stayed on time.

So, now to talk about how we might be able to address the rising tension, and to think about some of the options for engagement with North Korea going forward, I'm going to turn it over to Suzanne.

DIMAGGIO: Thanks. And please kick me if I go over, which I'll try not to do.

First, let me extend my thanks to the Arms Control Association, to Daryl, Kelsey, Kingston, everyone. It's such an important organization at this moment, maybe more important than ever. And if you aren't already supporting them, I urge you to do so. That's my pitch.

DAVENPORT: Thank you.

DIMAGGIO: Let me focus. I want to focus first on -- mostly on the policy options for the U.S.

So, as Kelsey said, the administration now has completed its policy review, and for all intents and purposes, it seems like it was a fairly cohesive interagency review. It declared that the end of strategic patience is over. I think an actual funeral was held...

(LAUGHTER)

... here in Washington. And that a policy of maximum pressure and engagement was replacing it.

Frankly, to me it still seems very unclear if this new policy is very much different from the old policy, or if it's just -- it's been given a new wardrobe. That being said, there appears to be several key elements to this policy as far as I can see. One is that it puts back on the table all options, including military action, more aggressive action.

For example, just today we know that there are naval maneuvers happening in the area of North Korea. And for the first time in a few decades, it includes two U.S. aircraft carriers.

Also, the joint ROK-U.S. military exercises that just happened in April included Navy Seals, a Special Op team that reportedly was focused on so-called decapitation exercises. So, this does seem like a little bit of a ratcheting up on that side of the equation.

And during his visit to the region in March, Secretary Tillerson's statements hinted at the possibility of a preemptive strike to destroy nuclear capabilities. He also stated that all options are on the table when questioned about a military option, opening a door to the idea of preventive war.

The problem with this approach, if we rely on it exclusively, is that when you threaten the use of force, you have to be prepared to use it. It's a major risk. The fact that we do not know how the North Koreans would retaliate.

We would imagine that they would respond in one way, shape or form. And that could escalate. It could inflict mass casualties, severe damage to our ally South Korea, as well as to our other ally Japan, and potentially to the U.S. forces that are based in the region.

And this leaves out the question how would Beijing react. A regional war? A full-scale war? We all know that there's really no military solution to the North Korea issue, and I feel very strongly about that.

The second element I see is a greater reliance on China to mount more pressure against North Korea, at least rhetorically. China, of course, is Pyongyang's biggest trading partner. Last year I think 90 percent of the total trade came from -- was China, including most of North Korea's food and energy supplies. So, it is a very unique position.

I think today the U.N. Security Council is considering a new -- a resolution, additional sanctions. While Japan, South Korea and the U.S. are pushing the more pressure, more sanctions, it seems China is resisting and is instead pushing for dialogue at an emergency meeting of the U.N.S.C. That happened last week and is continuing today.

President Trump recently tweeted that "China is trying hard" to reign in North Korea. And U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley recently stated that Beijing is using a back channel to try to stop the DPRK from testing. This indicates -- this is worrisome to me because it indicates, do they not have direct channels?

We've heard rumors of worsening relationship between the two. The fact that Kim Jung-un, since he's gained power, has not visited Beijing. He's not met Xi Jinping. So, we really have to question whether or not a reliance on China to help solve this issue is a wise approach. I'm very skeptical about it.

And of course, China's national interests are not necessarily aligned with ours when it comes to North Korea. We can go through a whole litany of things, everything from a fear that the regime's downfall could lead to a mass refugee influx. A collapse could allow U.S. troops to have direct access to the Chinese border. And of course, the recent implementation of THAAD is threatening to the Chinese.

The third element of this new policy I see is an emphasis on more sanctions. Of course, President Obama's administration also focused on sanctions as well. So, it's not necessarily new.

The fact is, is that this approach hasn't worked so far. In fact, I would argue, as was outlined in the previous presentation, as we layered on more sanctions against North Korea, we see them steadily accelerating the progress on their nuclear missiles program, in the face of increased sanctions.

There was a study done by researchers recently at MIT that found U.S. sanctions imposed against North Korea have been largely unsuccessful at curbing the country's illicit procurement. Because of, in part, North Korea has been able to adapt, there's a growing capacity to work around sanctions.

So, could sanctions and pressure on North Korea alone resolve the nuclear issue? It's very unlikely.

I think even if we look at the case of Iran, extensive sanctions on their own didn't bring the Iranians to the table. There were other factors. We can talk about them. And this is even less likely in the case of North Korea because Pyongyang is not as reliant on the global financial system as Iran.

So, in this new policy, it also leaves room for engagement. So, that's the fourth element that I see. And my thinking on this is with a new U.S. administration comes an opportunity to try to forge a diplomatic path, especially when it's clear that the current approach is not working.

Relying on a pressure-only approach is dangerous because it is inherently an approach of escalation that either leads to conflict or backing down by one side, and not necessarily to a potential political agreement, political solution. So, we risk falling into a cycle of tit for tat escalation with real potential for conflict either by design or maybe more so by accident. So, we need an off-ramp.

The Trump administration has left open room for engagement. Still remains to be seen if that will be pursued. President Trump warned in an interview in late April that a major, major conflict with the North was possible. He also said he'd prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.

Although the U.S. has explicitly ruled out talks with Pyongyang unless the government took verifiable action to freeze its weapons program. The president then said he would be honored to meet with North Korea's leader Kim Jung-un, under the right circumstances. I think these are very mixed signals, mixed messages that urgently need to be clarified.

That being said, it's interesting that following that, senior North Korean diplomat Che San We, also their lead nuclear negotiator, recently said that the DPRK is open to dialogue with the U.S. under the right conditions. South Korean President Moon has said something similar.

So, I think the task now at hand is to find out what those right conditions are. And the best way to do this of course, the only way to do it, is through dialogue. So, what's needed now is what I would call aggressive diplomacy, backed up by all the leverage that the maximum pressure that I just talked about brings.

Now, when we talk about a diplomatic approach, I do think there are some lessons to be learned from the Iran deal that might be worth considering for negotiating with North Korea. Of course, both cases are completely different. I've traveled to both countries. I've experienced it firsthand.

The biggest difference is of course North Korea has nuclear weapons. Iran has never possessed a nuclear weapon. And of course, Iran is a member of the NPT. The differences go on and on and on.

So, I'm not advocating that the JCPOA is a model for North Korea. It's technically quite different. But I do think the process of diplomacy that the U.S. pursued with Iran could offer some insights on how to begin engagement with a very strong adversary whose leadership is extremely distrustful of the United States, and of course vice versa.

There are three elements of diplomacy with Iran that I think we should be looking at. First is initiate a low-key diplomatic channel authorized at the highest level.

Prior to the start of official negotiations with the Iranians, both -- diplomats from both countries engaged in a series of meetings that were held secretly. There were 12 such meetings convened in Muscat, Geneva and New York over a period of about 16 months. This eventually led to the multilateral, P5+1 talks, and an interim agreement called the Joint Plan of Action, JPOA, in November 2013.

I think, given the level of mistrust between Pyongyang and Washington, I think it would be a good first step to try to have dialogue without preconditions to find out what is possible. We can call them talks about talks, to help clarify what those conditions that would be acceptable, what are they? How can we identify them? How to meet or overcome them? What are the non-negotiables? And then move ahead with the negotiations with our allies and others.

I think this work before the negotiations begin, that American diplomats and Iranian diplomats engaged in, really helped pave the way to not only a successful interim agreement, but then to the JCPOA, which by the way is an agreement that is working.

The second element of diplomacy with Iran I think that should be considered is to focus on a limited set of realistic objectives, not a grand bargain. The U.S.-Iran discussions, when limited to what both sides deem to be very specific, manageable set of items in the nuclear field.

And of course, the U.S. priority has placed on preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The Iranian priority was in exchange sanctions would be lifted.

So, now the U.S. really must decide on its highest priority with North Korea at this time. It must zero in on what that key goal could be. And also, something that's in the realm of achievability at this time.

So, to diffuse tensions I think the best bet would be to begin by pursuing an agreement that would freeze DPRK's nuclear missile testing. One of the key goals here would be to get IAEA inspectors, who do not currently have, and haven't for years had access to any aspects of North Korea's program, back into the country.

And when we look at the JCPOA, one of the things that's so remarkable about it is the extensive verification, monitoring requirements that come along with it. And that certainly is something to emulate.

So, suspension of testing of course is an interim step. Probably if we set the goal of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula as the end goal, this would be an interim set. It's not a solution.

As Graham Allison wrote in "The New York Times" this week, he said "Is United States national security really strengthened if a 33-year-old dictator with a record of executing his enemies can define red lines as left with an arsenal of 20 warheads and missiles that can deliver nuclear strikes against Seoul and Tokyo? We know the answer."

So, it's an important interim step, but it's not the final solution. It should be seen as part of a phased process.

The third element is what I would call pursuing a win-win approach. The U.S. and Iranians, in those early secret talks, both agree that they needed a win-win outcome, where at the end of the day, each of them could come forward and say they succeeded in filling their goals. This, of course, also came with the understanding that they would have to make compromises along the way so that both sides would be able to claim victory.

And then I think moving on, looking forward to what that phased approach might be. Bob Einhorn recently has written about this at Brookings, and I think it makes a great deal of sense.

Starting with the negotiations on nuclear freeze and missile freeze, setting the stage for an interim agreement that would freeze nuclear and missile development, and end proliferation. And then followed by further negotiations over next steps, with benchmarks that would be worked out over time.

Potential end goal could be a comprehensive regional security strategy, which I know is something Tom Pickering and Mort Halperin have been working on. That could take years.

So to conclude, I was on a panel recently and one of the experts on the panel was I think very much opposed to what I was proposing. And the reason was, is that he said we've tried this. We've tried diplomacy with the North Koreans. It's too hard. They cheat. They can't be trusted.

You know, I heard the same arguments with Iran for years. In fact, during the 35 years before the JCPOA, there were countless failed attempts, missed opportunities. And yet we now have an agreement that is working.

As Nelson Mandela put it, it always seems impossible until it's done. And I would apply that in that case. Because we've failed in the past doesn't mean we shouldn't attempt it again. We should learn from those failed attempts and move forward and try it. Test it.

That being said, there's no question the difficulties, obstacles of such an approach, the mutual demonization on both sides, the lack of interaction over years, the lack of relations, the lack of exchanges both on both the governmental level but also on a societal level, makes this all the harder.

So, I would just end on this note. If the administration decides to go down this path with any chance of success, it should also follow what President Obama did with the Iran deal. And that was put together an A team of diplomats, scientists, other technical experts to carry this out.

As I said at another event, this is not something you farm out to your son-in-law, if I may say that. So, this will require filling key staff positions, senior positions, a real negotiating team like we had with the Iran talks.

And it also means filling ambassadorial positions in key capitals throughout Asia and elsewhere. This would be a major undertaking of diplomacy.

Diplomacy is hard, especially with an adversary. But as the Iran deal showed, it's not impossible.

DAVENPORT: Thank you, Suzanne.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm now going to open it up for questions. And in addition to the standard instruction of please introducing yourself and asking a question, I'm going to ask everyone to make sure that they're really holding the microphones close, given the fact that we are trying to pick this up for the C-SPAN audience.

So, we'll start over there with Paul.

QUESTION: Thanks, Kelsey and Daryl, for a great event. Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action.

It's my understanding -- and I agree that we need to touch out with North Korea on the diplomatic front. It's my understanding that there's some several thousand remains of U.S. soldiers that are still there from the Korean War. And that actually North Korea would like to give those back.

And that is touchpoint in which I think we can get even bipartisan support here in Congress. Because as we know, no member of Congress has been not elected for bashing North Korea too hard.

So, is there a way that we could touch out? It's my understanding that the Obama administration didn't do so on that specific issue. And maybe even get support, bipartisan support, even from Republicans, bringing our -- the remains of our servicemen home.

DIMAGGIO: I'm not so sure that the Obama administration didn't approach that. I think maybe they had tried. But I'm not certain. I can't verify that.

But I think that is -- you know, the fact that the North Koreans have indicated a willingness to talk about an issue like that of course should be pursued. I think what I had proposed, a quiet channel a secret channel, I think it'd be very hard to keep it secret. But a very quiet channel would be a way to begin discussions on these issues.

The fact is, given, like I said, the high level of mistrust, any effort that can be made to build confidence, wins along the way that could help do that, gestures by both sides that could help do that. We're in desperate need of that.

DAVENPORT: Greg, here in the front?

QUESTION: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association Board of Directors.

Suzanne, I very much agree with the objective of seeking an interim freeze on nuclear and missile developments in North Korea.

One of the things that I'm wondering about, though, and this is a question for Mike, is, is there also value in pursuing as an interim a limit on the kind of testing of systems that you were most alarmed by? That is to say, would it be worth presenting to North Korea a proposal to ban any flight tests of missiles above short range, for example?

Or even allowing space launch vehicles of the Unha series, as a bone to throw to Kim Jung-un? Wouldn't that still give us a very valuable security advantage in stopping testing of all these systems that you're most alarmed by?

ELLEMAN: Thank you, Greg. That was a nice softball you threw me. We've talked about this before.

I think it would be an interesting subject to explore with North Korea, that is a flight test ban on missiles that fly over -- or have the capacity to fly over some given range. That would be the subject of part of the negotiations what it might be. But it would certainly include intermediate-range systems, which you know anything that flies like more than 2,500 or 3,000 kilometers. So, it would capture Musudan. It would capture this latest HS-12.

Why would that be important? Well, in order to develop a missile, you have to test it. And that's why we see North Korea testing missiles. If you don't test it, and you look back you know from a systems engineering approach, or you look at kind of historical data from other countries that have developed intermediate or long-range missiles. Over the course of the first five to 10 launches the failure rate is greater than 50 percent, with few exceptions. Sometimes it's even much greater than -- you know, much greater than 50 percent fail. And that's just the nature of creating new technologies and new capabilities. So, if they're not allowed to test, they can develop or create a system, but they'll have no confidence that it works. And to field it would -- they would necessarily have to accept great risk that this system wouldn't work. If it's a systemic failure, it's likely all of them will fail. If it's something different with each launch, you know, then they have a 50-50 chance of getting -- there's -- 50 percent of them might actually reach their destination. So, I think that's something worth pursuing.

Now, what would you ask -- or what would they ask for in return? I think something logical would be allowing space launch activities. You know perhaps even providing some technological assistance.

But this -- you would have to have certain restrictions on what they could use and couldn't use. I would say they would be limited to using either Scud type fuels, which are low performance. It would necessarily result in very large launchers or very large, cumbersome ICBMs or long-range missiles if they tried to convert it at some later time.

You would -- if they want to use solid strap-on boosters, you would have some limitations there. You could provide them, say, with cryogenic technology, which would be less suitable for a missile system which has to work rather rapidly, 24-7.

There's a range of things you could do. And in fact, there is a small effort going on in trying to establish what those requirements might be. You would also need transparency, which would provide us with better insights as to what -- how they think, what they're doing. And I believe it would be worthwhile.

Now, this approach is not without risk. There is a risk that things will be diverted. There is risk that they're going to learn from their experiences in developing satellite launchers that they could apply to missiles later on. But I think those risks are much less than what we have now where they're allowed to launch whatever they want and learn specific lessons and develop specific technologies that are destined for long-range missiles.

So, yes, I think this is something worth pursuing. It would be outside the nuclear track. So, you know, you could get -- kind of get by with you know, not addressing the nuclear topic while addressing something strategic. You would lead to some confidence building, greater insights, et cetera.

So, in my view this would be worth -- a risk worth taking. But one has to understand that it's not a risk-free venture.

DAVENPORT: The woman here at the middle table.

QUESTION: Thank you. Hi. I am Kathy Crandall Robinson with Women in International Security. Thank you very much to both panelists.

My question is about the THAAD missile defense that we're delivering and deploying in South Korea. And Suzanne mentioned the concern and tension that's created in China. But it's also faced a lot of very serious protests from the civil society, the grassroots in South Korea. And a lot of tension around cost and so forth with the new presidential regime.

And I'm just curious if there's any value in changing the policy, if that would help in any way in moving forward with diplomacy and engagement with China. And if at this point any change is even possible?

DAVENPORT: Great. Thank you, Kathy.

Maybe we'll start on that question first. Mike, if you could just tell us a little bit about what THAAD can do and what THAAD can't do. And then, Suzanne, if you want to talk about how THAAD fits into the diplomacy?

DIMAGGIO: OK. Great.

ELLEMAN: OK. First, I want to separate regional missile defenses like THAAD, Aegis, Patriot from national missile defense here in the U.S., which is the ground-based interceptors, the system that was tested successfully a couple days ago.

Regional missile defenses are primarily aimed at blocking conventionally armed missiles. It's much like air defense. You're trying to limit what your opponent can inflict upon you, using aircraft or missiles. And when you combine something like THAAD with Patriot, you create a layered defense. And this greatly improves the efficacy of your capacity to block say 50 of 50 missiles over a given period of time.

You know, with what we presume to be the performance capabilities of Patriot, which is demonstrated, and what THAAD is currently tested and demonstrated in the design criteria, you could have 90 percent confidence that you could block 50 out of 50. Maybe one gets through, maybe two get through. But that would allow you to sustain military operations at key facilities, things of that nature.

This would be a great improvement over a single layer based only on Patriot. So, that's why it's being introduced into South Korea, in my view.

Now, against nuclear weapons or nuclear armed missiles, you know, there's a possibility that something gets through. It's not an umbrella. You know, no missile defense provides you with a perfect defense. And that's -- we need to recognize that, especially when making decisions over potential actions.

And it's important to remember, you know a 50-kiloton device is going to kill hundreds of thousands if not a million people in very dense cities. Is that a risk worth taking?

So, in my view, if you're looking at a conventionally armed threat from North Korea, THAAD makes some sense in preserving, probably military capabilities and protecting some critical assets within the Republic of Korea. It is expensive, yes. I think they probably need two THAAD batteries, by the way, maybe three, to really create a layered defense across the lower peninsula. And they would have to use Aegis to protect against a submarine launch missile. It's not the answer to all their questions.

As to the threat to China, THAAD does not pose a threat to China's current nuclear forces. There's a limited set of circumstances where THAAD can -- the radar can detect and track an ICBM that's headed to the West Coast, primarily, of the U.S. from I think it's three launch sites in China.

The information that would be gained is really minimal because you already have so many other sensors positioned around the world and in space. So, I don't know why China is so concerned with the deployment of this particular system.

I think it's a political maneuver by China. What they're concerned about is what comes next. Are they going to be -- is there going to be a ring of THAAD radars and other sensors as part of a larger architecture aimed at China?

That's why I think they've been protesting so vehemently, and using some really pretty crass tactics, if you will, in you know boycotting Lotte Industries and things of that nature. For that reason, I think it's difficult for South Korea now to back away from the deal because it would appear, whether it's done that for that reason or not, it's caving to the Chinese.

You know, I'm not a South Korean and I can't say what they should do in these circumstances. I'm not sure that it would lead to a more cooperative China in terms of solving this particular problem. So, I'd be inclined to leave it. But that's just a personal view.

And I think we also have to keep in mind that China cannot solve North Korea problem. But the North Korea problem cannot be solved without China's cooperation. And I think we're getting some. But remember, China's priorities are no instability, no war, and then no nuclear weapons in North Korea. So, it's going to be a difficult task.

DIMAGGIO: Well, just briefly I would just agree. I think it would be difficult for ROK to back out of THAAD now.

But of course, President Moon is coming to Washington later this month. We'll see if President Trump continues to insist that the South Koreans pay for it. That might have an impact on their decision.

Also, I also agree that you know the Chinese have overstated the case. So, I think for now I would agree to leave it at this stage. But I think the process by which we've moved forward with it, and now with a new administration in South Korea, I think we need to do better to be communicating with them on what they want and how they see it, and working with them in cooperation.

DAVENPORT: I think there's a question way in the back.

QUESTION: Thank you. I'm Professor Wayne Glass from University of Southern California School of International Relations.

A depressing topic to some extent, but I have good news. We have a whole next generation of policy wonks on arms control sitting with us from the University of Southern California.

(APPLAUSE)

My other comment here is from my experience with respect to the issues with North Korea. Congress's cooperation or involvement in this process is critical. And as we look forward to new moves, maybe if you look at it from the glass half full, pun intended, that the current political galaxy in Washington with the Congress under control of the Republicans, and the White House.

There's an opportunity to engage Republicans in Congress, as we strategize and take steps forward. And given the divide between the Congress and the White House, that produces an interesting dynamic as well.

Am I dreaming? Or are we going to be able to get ahead of this curve and incorporate Congress as talks about strategy and tactics move forward? Or is this a lost cause? I'm asking for some optimism. Thank you.

DAVENPORT: Well, not to load the answer ahead of time, but...

DIMAGGIO: Well, unfortunately I think...

(LAUGHTER)

... you know when you look at there're so few issues where there's bipartisan agreement these days. Unfortunately, I think one of them is North Korea, getting tougher on North Korea. I think Iran would be the other. But it's certainly worth trying.

You know, I also think Congress is part of the problem when we look at this because in the case of Iran you see Congress, especially the Republican side, trying to actively undermine the JCPOA.

And of course, this would lead -- if I was a North Korean considering engaging the U.S., entering into discussions on agreement, an interim agreement and so forth, I would really question whether or not the United States is prepared to fulfill that agreement, given the issues that are being placed against the JCPOA.

So yes, of course, we should always engage Congress in these discussions. But at the same time, we also have to be cautious about them playing the role of the spoiler as well.

When you look at the recent hearings on the Hill, there was one hearing recently where I think among the dozen or more senators who spoke there was really only one that even mentioned the word "diplomatic engagement," which shocked me.

ELLEMAN: Yes. I would just add one thing, and that is -- I mean, I do agree, Congress should be involved and co-opted, if you will. I mean, you want their inputs.

But I would urge some caution. Is what I would be afraid of is especially the more hawkish people in the Congress opposing any attempt to maybe work out a nuclear freeze as a first step. You know, tie the hands of the administration and not allow them to negotiate kind of interim steps. That would be dangerous and unwelcomed in my view.

So, in terms of what Congress -- it's more about what Congress shouldn't do than what they should do. So, I'll leave it at that.

DAVENPORT: We have just a few minutes left. So, I'll take a question there from that middle table. Right in front of you. Yes.

QUESTION: Michael Klare. I'm on the board of the Arms Control Association.

I have a question for Mike. You spoke about North Korea's missile development. Could you say a few words about North Korea's nuclear weapons development?

Because part and parcel of the process is, are they able to develop a warhead that would fit on an ICBM? (OFF-MIKE) anything about the timeline for that process, how that's pursued?

ELLEMAN: Well, the honest answer is no, I don't. You know the nuclear program is much more opaque than the missile program.

I mean, because you have to test missiles you can track them and you can get a sense of what their performance parameters are quite easily. Even the photographs that they provide and video can -- it offers many insights into what they're doing.

My presumption right now is that they can probably fashion a nuclear warhead that can be fitted upon the Nodong missile, you know, the larger diameter systems. Nodong has a diameter of 1.25 meters.

It's unclear if that would also apply to the Scud, which has a smaller diameter of 0.88 meters. But I think it's a safe assumption that they can shrink it.

I think the larger question is would it be rugged enough to withstand the reentry environment, and that is you know it has to be rugged. And you know there will be a lot of vibrations associated with launch and reentry.

What they haven't clearly done is develop the reentry technologies for a long-range missile. And I'm speaking specifically of an ICBM. But I think -- I don't think that's the long pole in the tent for an ICBM capability. I think that would be developed in parallel. But it would have to be tested to prove it right.

So, I think that's about as far as I can go because we just don't have the knowledge. And it's the reason -- suggestion that the IAEA should -- we should negotiate their reentry into the country would be so important because you learn so much just talking to people on the ground.

DAVENPORT: I agree with Mike that they certainly are likely to be able to fit a warhead on some of these missile systems.

But I think it's also important to note that the satellite imagery demonstrates that they're still operating their reactor at Yongbyon. That there is activity at the reprocessing facility. So, it's very likely that North Korea is continuing to produce fissile material that also expands the size of its particular arsenal.

So, just very quickly at the end, I wonder if each of you could just say a few words on what you might like to see come out of the U.S.-ROK Summit that's set to happen later in June. What do you think would be a positive outcome?

DIMAGGIO: I think some clarity on what their approaches are. I think obviously in order to move forward with the diplomatic approach they have to be on the same page.

As I said, we've heard some mixed messages from our administration and President Moon's administration is fairly new. So, I think you know, a joint statement that maybe spells out what they're willing to do. Not just on the pressure side, but on the engagement side as well, would be quite important at this time.

DAVENPORT: Mike, anything you'd like to see?

ELLEMAN: What I'd most like to see is very coherent collaboration and agreement between the U.S., the ROK and our Japanese allies in the region that whatever we decide as a policy is -- everyone concurs. And everyone understands the full risks because this notion that we can apply more and more pressure, and this talk about you know, left of launch solutions for missiles, destroying them on the launchpad is -- if they're not -- our allies are not completely on board, that could result in some real surprises or disastrous results.

So, I just want to -- I want to hear them make an offer, a very coherent strategy that everyone agrees upon.

DAVENPORT: Well, I guess we will see in a few weeks what happens.

After you join me in thanking our speakers, if you could all just stay seated for a few quick announcements from Daryl about lunch and moving forward.

So, thank you both so much for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

LUNCHEON SPEAKER: 

KIMBALL: All right. Welcome back, everyone. Welcome back. And please find your seats so we can resume here at the Arms Control Association Annual Meeting with our first keynote speaker of the day. Thank you.

Once again, I'm Daryl Kimball. I'm director of the Arms Control Association. We're glad to have so many friends here for our 2017 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting.

Pleased to have with us today Cristopher Ford, who's special assistant to the president and senior director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counterproliferation Policy at National Security Council.

Chris, who has extensive experience on these issues, he's been on the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate Banking Committee, the Appropriations Committee. He served on the personal staff of Sen. Susan Collins as her national security adviser.

And before that he served at the State Department as a special representative on Nonproliferation, and was a deputy assistant secretary of State for Arms Control Nonproliferation and Disarmament Verification and Compliance during the George W. Bush administration.

And as Chris knows, and as most of you here recognize, probably the most serious responsibility for any U.S. president is reducing the global risks posed by nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation.

Why is that? Why have presidents seen that as a risk? Well, as John F. Kennedy said in 1961, "every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sort of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness."

Ronald Reagan in 1985 noted that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. And last year in Hiroshima, President Obama said, "those nations that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them."

And so, for decades, American presidents have, with varying degrees of success, Republicans and Democrats all pursued their commitment in the NPT, which we talked about this morning, the nonproliferation treaty to end the arms race, to pursue disarmament.

We have negotiated agreements that limit and cut nuclear arsenals, worked to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, ended nuclear testing in the atmosphere and underground, and sought to reduce the risk of miscalculation with nuclear weapons.

So, we're seeing many -- much progress in many areas, as Larry Weiler, one of the participants here and one of the original negotiators of the NPT reminded us this morning. But there are many challenges ahead.

And in some ways, as we heard this morning, the risk of nuclear weapons use appears to be growing due to tensions between nuclear armed states, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and as some key nuclear arms restraint measures are put at risk.

And so, even before President Trump took the oath of office and came into the White House, there were already some tough challenges and decisions to make in the area of nuclear weapons policy such as how to use pressure and diplomacy to halt and reverse North Korea's nuclear program and missile programs, how to dissolve the dispute with Russia over compliance with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, and to reengage Russia in the nuclear risk reduction process.

How to make sure that all sides abide by the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the six world powers that has been holding Tehran's nuclear capabilities in check. How do we forge international agreements about how to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which will become 50 years old, and perhaps reaching a middle age crisis, next year?

And how do we manage the rising cost of the United States' own nuclear weapons arsenal, while reviewing the United States' own requirements and policies about the role of nuclear weapons in our military strategy?

So, these are tough questions. Chris, you have an important job. Not to put any pressure on you. But these are the toughest issues that anybody in government has to deal with.

And so far, we haven't heard a lot about the administration's general approach to these issues. And speaking frankly, in my view, what we have heard from the president on these issues has sometimes created more confusion than answering the questions that we might have.

So, because of all of that, because of the importance of these issues, we're very pleased to have Chris Ford with us here today to help update us on the administration's approach on these very important issues, this most consequential set of issues.

And in discussing this event in his remarks today, I told Chris that we know that he's not going to be able to answer all of our questions. In part because some of these issues are still the subject of policy reviews. But we hope that he's going to be able to do his best to help explain the administration's approach in these tough issues.

So, with that, I welcome Chris Ford to the podium. And after Chris delivers his remarks, we'll take questions from the floor. And there are 3-by-5 cards on your chairs. And if you have questions, please jot them down.

We know there are going to be a lot of questions. Pass them to the side. And my team will collect those, and sort out some of the most interesting ones and pass them forward. So, that's the process for the Q&A.

So, Chris, thank you so much for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

FORD: Is this mine perhaps?

KIMBALL: That is yours.

FORD: Thank you very much, everybody. It's a pleasure to be here this afternoon.

That's the live one. Got it. Is this also necessary? Dear me. All right. OK.

It's great to have the chance to talk to you. Thank you very much. I'm grateful to the Arms Control Association for inviting me, and of course to Carnegie for being such a gracious host.

As indicated, Daryl asked me to say a few words about the new administration's policy on nuclear weapons. This is a challenging assignment, inasmuch as many of our policy reviews on these kinds of topics are still underway, as I outlined in my remarks to Carnegie's own nonproliferation conference in March.

The Nuclear Posture Review, for example, and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, which are being led by the Department of Defense, are, for example, still in progress. And we have also not yet completed our review of various arms control and disarmament related institutions and regimes and approaches.

These things are still ongoing. But yet of course it remains true that what our approach is to nuclear weaponry is of course a great topic.

And so, I resolve to try to be as forthcoming as I can, and also mindful of the fact that we are apparently on the record and on camera. Not something I'm all that used to being in the business of doing these days.

To try to -- to level sort of a baseline understanding of the sort of the approach that we are beginning to try to bring to these issues, and frankly to try to reign in some of what I think of as the more google-eyed assumptions that are sometimes made in media coverage about what the president has said on nuclear topics. I'd like to try to walk through some of that a little bit.

To hear some of our critics tell it, the new administration has been shackled to an incoherent series of rants across the spectrum of nuclear issues. Pronouncements and suggestions that if actually taken as guise to development of the U.S. nuclear policy, would result in essentially all but immediate catastrophe.

I hope I can persuade you that the reality does not deserve that hype. To the contrary, there are concepts and insights that inform the president's comments that will ground a sound and effective U.S. approach to nuclear strategy, an approach that I expect you will indeed see emerge in time as our various reviews and policy assessments run their course. Excuse me.

So, let's start with proliferation. The president's remarks during last year's election campaign on nonproliferation in East Asia -- on proliferation in East Asia had been widely repeated. And they've been the subject of much hand-wringing.

I've certainly seen this all over the place. They are often quoted, essentially for shock value. Apparently on the theory that they signal some kind of a cavalier attitude toward nuclear weapons and toward the challenge of proliferation.

If that's your concern, I'd urge you to reread his comments a bit more carefully. The president has spoken about the proliferation dangers that are attendant to continuing on what he has made clear he feels to be a U.S. course in recent years of relative military decline, a trajectory along which he has said our military has become depleted and our nuclear arsenal has become outdated.

In terms of our relative military position, the president has said -- I'll be intermixing quotes here from time to time, without -- I'm not going to go through the weird scare quotes thing to identify which portions are quotes, but they're all carefully sourced.

In terms of relative military capabilities, the president has said that "we are not the same country as we used to be." In his eyes, this decline has had a detrimental effect upon our reliance relationships, and upon peace and security in various regions, tense regions around the world.

Significantly, it is this impact -- it is to this impact that he has linked his widely quoted comments about potential nuclear proliferation in Japan and South Korea. "Were we to allow our downward slide to continue," he told "The New York Times," "there could come a point at which we would be unable to respond if these allies called for our help in the wake of some terrible North Korean provocation or even attack."

It is at that hypothetical point of future U.S. weakness and helplessness that the president suggested that it might conceivably make sense for those countries confronted by an existential threat to acquire nuclear weapons in order to defend themselves. "After all," he said of our allies, as we ourselves have let our strength in the world decay, I don't think they feel very secure about what's going on."

"Indeed," he declared, "if the United States keeps on its path, its current path of weakness, they're going to want to have capabilities that U.S. strength and geostrategic resolution presently keep them from needing." He made a similar point to CNN's Anderson Cooper around about the same time.

Characteristically, the president has made these points in ways that are perhaps more blunt and direct than it is usual to hear in traditional inside-the-beltway discourse. But at their core, I would argue that these comments rest upon a good deal of common sense. Moreover, they rest upon some of the same assumptions and arguments that we have heard from nonproliferation experts for years.

How many times, for example, have you heard U.S. officials or think tank scholars point out that the credibility and capabilities inherent in U.S. extended deterrence relationships are essential to assuring allies of the solidity of our alliance guarantees. And thus, also to reducing proliferation incentives in regions of the world in which U.S. allies confront the specter of aggression by a rogue state or by a large neighbor with territorial ambitions.

I, at least, can tell you that I've seen and heard that point made by many people over the years, including by scholars published by such diverse institutions as Johns Hopkins SAIS, just down the road; the Brookings Institution, next door; the National Institute of Public Policy, across the river; and the National Bureau of Asian Research. This is also a point that I have myself made, both in government and as a think tank.

And I don't think the president was wrong, also, to flag that one could imagine circumstances in which it might be reasonable for such a would-be victim state to contemplate weaponization, which is also a point that I have made myself, although not yet to David Sang or Anderson Cooper (inaudible).

However, the president's comments made very clear that the conditions of U.S. decline and weakening deterrent credibility that might make such proliferation seem reasonable to the would-be victim state is an unacceptable outcome for this administration. The whole point, in other words, is that we need to prevent proliferation for occurring for such reasons.

The president has said extremely clearly, with great clarity to "The New York Times," to CNN and in the first presidential debate in September of 2016, for instance, that proliferation is a huge threat to U.S. national security, as well as to international peace and security. He has said this in a range of contexts. I have a bunch of quotes here.

"Nuclear proliferation is the biggest problem the world has, the single biggest problem the world has. "It is one of the very, very big issues, I think maybe the biggest issue of our time." "It is the single greatest threat." "It is the single greatest threat this country has."

His quotes clearly suggest that he could hardly have been more clear that he is intently focused upon this.

Now, there are, of course, many tools with which one can, and I would argue that we must, fight nuclear proliferation.

A range of instruments that I can assure you that this administration is firmly committed to pursuing, to using, including supporting international nonproliferation regimes, securing or eliminating vulnerable nuclear material worldwide, preventing the spread of dual use and other enabling technologies and capabilities, ensuring effective safeguards on peaceful nuclear activities, and interdicting proliferation shipments, and otherwise doing all they can to slow the development of threat programs.

The president has made clear that he believes our chances of meeting the grave challenges of proliferation -- this is an important point. He's made clear that he believes our chances of meeting these challenges and arresting some of the dynamics that drive the friction are better when the United States is strong and resolute than when we are not.

So, opportunistic anti-administration hype aside, I would argue that this at its core is a gobsmackingly simple and common sensical point. And indeed, it's a central one to understanding the new administration's approach to international security policy in general, and to nuclear weapons issues in particular.

The president's underlying point about the importance of U.S. strength and resolution to the preservation of peace and security is one that resonates in fact through decades of U.S. foreign and national security policy.

Now, if applying such traditional and even Reaganite reasonings once again, the nuclear weapons arena sounds a bit novel today in 2017, it is only because it comes on the heels of years of policy, as articulated in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, in which the United States quite explicitly prioritized reducing the role of U.S. nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy over maintaining strategic deterrence and stability, over strengthening regional deterrence and reassuring U.S. allies, and over sustaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal.

I think you'll find that this sort of peace through strength idea is a leitmotif that runs through all the president's comments about nuclear weapons, as well as for how we are approaching our current policy reviews.

This recurring theme, I would say, is one that represents -- shows a deep commitment to reducing nuclear dangers. But it is also one that is anchored in appreciation for the role of American strength and resolve, sound and thoughtful U.S. posture and policy can play in helping assure national security and strategic stability.

Our approach to these issues is built upon the understanding that U.S nuclear and conventional strength, and the wise combination of assertiveness and the strength that we aspire to show in its possession, is an essential element of preserving security and peace. And is of critical importance in preventing the very nuclear catastrophes that critics of the new administration have tried so hard to depict the president as being mindlessly unwilling to countenance.

Now, the president tends to express himself differently and far more directly on such matters than most politicians and policymakers, I'll grant you that. But I would argue that you can see this understanding that I'm describing quite clearly in his remarks, which unmistakably suggest that foreign perceptions of U.S. weakness and decline in the national security arena have helped to produce a world in which aggression and conflict, and yes, indeed nuclear use, are more likely than had we remained stronger and more firm in confronting the threats that we face in our evolving security environment.

He told Anderson Cooper last year of the Obama administration, for example, that we don't want to pull the trigger. But he noted at that point in 2016 that "nobody is afraid of our president, nobody respects our president."

By contrast, he felt that a more emphatically peace through strength type approach to deterrence would help forestall some of the nuclear challenges that continued perceptions of American decline could create.

At "GQ Magazine," he made clear that he intended to ensure that our military is strong and respected. And it was this strength and respect that he felt would help prevent nuclear weapons use by deterring aggression, and would indeed help proliferation.

So, that's proliferation, declaratory policy. As for U.S. declaratory policy, the president has said that in a perfect world, everybody would agree that using nuclear weapons would be so destructive that nobody would ever use them.

Using nuclear weapons in a confrontation with an adversary would clearly be, in his view, a very bad thing, the absolute last step. And as he put it to "The New York Times," "I would very much not want to be the first one to use them."

Nevertheless, he has signaled that he understands the importance of deterrence of maintaining a degree of strategic ambiguity of not telling a potential adversary exactly when we would or would not use such tools.

Ultimately, he told Today in April of 2016, "I don't want to rule out anything." He made clear that he hoped to be the last to use nuclear weapons, and that it would be -- make sure I get this right, and that it would be "highly, highly, highly, highly unlikely that I would ever be using them."

But he emphasized that he would never rule it out. "I can't take anything entirely off the table," he said during the first presidential debate with Sec. Clinton in 2016.

Now, there is essentially nothing here, I would argue, that is not consistent with decades of well-established U.S. strategic thinking on deterrence. Notwithstanding the fact that at least our immediate predecessors publicly flirted with different approaches to declaratory policy.

And finally, the issue of disarmament, a goal toward which the Obama administration declared itself to prioritize above strategic deterrence itself, above strategic deterrence itself, above strategic stability, above reassuring our allies, and above sustaining a safe U.S. arsenal.

On this topic, the president has been rather cautious. As I noted, he has said that "in the perfect world," those were his words to "The New York Times," "In the perfect world, nobody would ever use nuclear weapons."

And I should add, by the way, that so strong are his feelings about the unacceptability of WMD use against innocent civilians, that he went through the trouble of blowing up a Syrian airfield in order to help deter further atrocities in the wake of the Khan Sheikhoun attack with sarin agent in April of this year.

But back to nuclear matters. He said of nuclear weaponry, in the first presidential debate, "I would like everybody to end it. Just get rid of it."

The president has also made it quite clear that we do not live in that perfect world to which he was referring. The real world, at least today and surely for some very considerable time yet at the least, is a much more messy and challenging one than that.

At present, for instance, as he suggested to GQ, "you have so many people out there with nuclear weapons that disarmament is simply not available. We wouldn't get rid of the weapons." Regard to a long-term future.

The president, a month before his inauguration, tweeted about -- I've never used that sentence before, by the way. It's my first speech with "tweet" in it. He tweeted about his hope that someday the world might come to its senses regarding nukes.

Until the world comes to resemble the prefect world that he described in "The New York Times," however, the president has made clear that he believes that it essential that we maintain a strong and robust nuclear posture, and that we reverse what he sees as a decline in the capabilities that underpin deterrence and support proliferation.

At present, he said, in the first presidential debate, the United States is not keeping up with other countries and modernizing our nuclear forces. Russia, for instance, has a much newer capability than we do. And we have not been updating the new standpoint, as we should've been doing.

Until the world at some point comes to its senses in a fundamentally different way, therefore, and I'll quote him, "the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability."

Now, fundamentally, I would argue that this is just another application of the Reaganite philosophy of peace through strength. That is, it represents a vision, or an instinct perhaps, about how the world works in which the maintenance and wise application of U.S. strength and resolve is not inimical to international peace and security, but rather essential to it.

This philosophy has implications that when honestly expressed, sometimes make members of the traditional arms control community squirm, such as the president's warning that he would not permit the United States to be outcompeted in the nuclear arena. If a hostile actor were determined to attempt this," he told Morning Joe last December -- that's also my first Morning Joe reference -- "we will outmatch them at every past and outlast them all."

At its core, this approach is one that is dedicated to keeping such an arms race from having to happen. And it is precisely our willingness to engage in such competition if we are forced to that he hopes will persuade potential adversaries. That for them, that path is a losing game.

I would submit that this is not a philosophy antithetical to arms control, but rather, in some deep sense, essential to arms control. For it provides a highly unattractive plan B, against which our competitors and our would-be competitors can evaluate their own situation, and which can give them a powerful incentive for constructive cooperation and engagement with us in this arena.

So, what I've tried to do is summarize what the president has actually said in public about nuclear weapons issues. And to point out how, once one puts aside the sometimes hysterical coverage that his remarks are wont to be given in the media, these comments can indeed be seen to hang together in a coherent and forceful way.

I also think one can trace a straight line from his comments to much of the work that we are now doing within the new administration to develop policies and approaches that are capable of meeting U.S. national security needs, both in today's increasingly problematic global threat environment and into a deeply unpredictable future.

The president's executive order of Jan. 27, for instance, minced no words about it being the policy of the United States to pursue peace through strength. And it directed the secretary of Defense to improve U.S. military readiness.

It also directed the preparation of a new National Defense Strategy, with the intention of giving our leadership strategic flexibility to determine the force structure necessary to meet requirements. It also directed initiation of the new Nuclear Posture Review, to which I referred earlier, to ensure that the United States' nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st century threats, and to reassure our allies.

All this work is presently underway. In addition to a broader range of policy reviews designed to ensure that we have appropriately reassessed and tailored our approaches to current and future U.S. security needs.

Because these efforts haven't yet concluded, I'm not in a position to say much more, I'm afraid. Though I look forward to doing so at some point in the not too distant future.

But I do hope that you can see that in the president's remarks can be seen some common-sensical insights about national security policy that we are today working hard to give institutional coin.

I look forward to talking about all these issues with you more further beginning in the question-and-answer session, and in much more detail as we actually conclude many of these reviews and it's possible to engage on the subject -- on the substance of their details in the months and years ahead.

But thank you for the patience of letting me talk to you, and the courtesy of having me here. It's been a pleasure to speak. And I'm looking forward to hearing what you're going to ask me.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Chris.

(APPLAUSE)

And congratulations on your first Twitter reference. It may not be your last.

FORD: No, probably not.

KIMBALL: And let me just encourage folks to pass their cards with their questions forward so that we can take those up. So, thank you very much, Chris, for giving some shape to those comments that we've heard about over the last few weeks.

And as we're collecting these, I just wanted to start out with one practical question, which came up in the earlier session about the United States relationship with Russia, and the future of one of the key nuclear arms agreements that was struck during the Obama administration that's still enforced, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. I think you'd agree that this is one of the key issues the administration will be dealing with in the course of the Nuclear Posture Review in the course of the next four years.

The administration, theoretically, has the option to negotiate a new agreement with Russia that follows onto New START, or to extend the treaty after Feb. 5, 2021 when it's due to expire. It could be extended another five years. Or, to let the whole thing go, which would be the first time since the 1970s since there wasn't a binding treaty regulating the world's two largest nuclear arsenals.

So, and President Trump has reportedly criticized New START, and reportedly spoken ill of the extension of the agreement in his first phone calls with President Putin of Russia.

So, my question is practical, straightforward. Does the administration plan to continue implementing New START? And as part of the Nuclear Posture Review and the White House review of Russia policy, and the two presidents are meeting in July, right?

(CROSSTALK)

FORD: Could be.

KIMBALL: The June 7 meeting -- maybe the G-20 meeting, are they going to be discussing options for pursuing further nuclear arms control or extending New START?

FORD: OK. Great question. When I -- well, OK. Let me just say, with respect to New START, we are first and foremost working very hard right now to make sure that we are on track to make -- to meet the central limits that would come into effect in February of next year.

We intend to meet them. We are on track to do so. It seems like it's going fine. We understand the Russians to be on track to meeting their obligations as well. So, in terms of it coming into force as scheduled, we are working to make sure that actually occurs.

Before I got into this line of work quite a few years ago, I used to think -- this is all fairly straightforward -- oh, you're supposed to come down to having x. Therefore, all you need to do between now and that point is just get rid of a bunch of those things.

Those of you who have done arms control in the real world know that it's a lot more complicated than that. And when I say that we're working very hard to make sure that we meet those central limits, there is a lot that is encoded in that.

We are working extremely hard. There are lots of very detailed interactions. There are always wrinkles and bumps and so forth along the way. But we're working those through, through the appropriate implementation mechanisms.

Both sides are making a lot of moving pieces come together in order to have this occur on schedule and as anticipated. And I'm happy to report that so far, it's looking like everything is fine. And our intention was in fact to do that. So, we're on track to meet those limits.

The question, of course, is what to do thereafter. That is a question on which I can happily tap dance because we have made an explicit decision not to address the question of extension until we have gotten through the process of our own NPR.

It did not seem intelligible to try to have a conversation about what to do in extending those limits or doing something else until we had decided what we think we need to be doing with regard to our programs of record, and the numbers and the deployment doctrine and all those sorts of things.

So, the issues that will be addressed in the NPR are necessary predicates for making a decision on New START extension. But I certainly -- to say that is not to rule anything out or in. It's just to say that that is a question which we have very carefully reserved for a point subsequent to the completion of the NPR.

So, I don't have an answer on that. But there's no a priori answer on what that's going to be. We're waiting for the processes to work their course in deciding what our process should be before we decide what constraints to put on the postures of the two.

That said, let me make two very important additional points. They're quite relevant to the future of arms control with the Russians.

One shadow, sort of somewhat darker worry, and then one much, I hope, more optimistic one. The darker question -- the darker problem, the cloud here on the horizon, for example, is of course the issue of compliance.

Arms control is something to which we remain committed and deeply attracted. But we're attracted to good arms control. We don't like arms control that doesn't make sense, doesn't provide stability and can't be enforced when people violate its terms.

Our effort is to make sure that what we do meets the criteria that we are beginning to set forth, for example, publicly in the preface, for example, to the State Department's Annual Noncompliance Report, more officially known as, help me, Harry Heinemann, the Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments. Am I -- did I get that right? Damn, it's been a long time.

So, you know, we're trying to articulate a little bit more sort of a sort of philosophy of how to approach those things. And I said a few words about that to the Foreign Policy Association in New York just a couple days ago. But, it's precisely because we like the idea of good arms control that we think it's necessary to point these things out.

And in that context, we clearly had a problem with what to do about the INF challenges that we face right now. I mean, this was, as you all know, a pivotal arms control agreement, the first agreement of any sort to eliminate an entire class of delivery systems. A very important one. Worked out under the Reagan administration and the implementation of which went very well on the whole.

There's a problem with that now, as you all have been tracking over the last few years. It has been our assessment that the Russians are in violation of that agreement. And that's not going away any time soon, it would appear.

So, we are struggling with how to deal with the INF problem. And that's obviously -- that raises questions about the future of the arms control enterprise.

Not necessarily show stopping fatal questions, but ones that definitely need to be struggled with. And we are trying to figure out what our responses need to be to the INF challenges that we face.

And more importantly, that face not just us, but our European allies. And frankly, given the legacy systems and their relocatability, threaten our allies in East Asia as well.

These are things that need to be dealt with in one way or another, responded to in one way or another and resolved in one way or another before it is possible to say too very much about the long-term future of arms control.

Good agreements are only good agreements if the other side's trustable to stick with them. And so, we're struggling with that right now a little bit.

But that's the dark part. On the positive side, in terms of the future of dialogue and engagement on these topics, I believe you probably have seen from the aftermath of the Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Moscow, that there is agreement in principle, upon some kind of strategic stability dialogue between the United States and the Russian Federation.

Exactly what form that will take, when it will occur and who will be involved is still something that we are working to figure out. But I can happily report that this is not an environment in which we are not engaging with the principle nuclear sort of rival competitor.

We're actually working very hard to try to reengage on matters that relate to strategic stability. And I say that not just through the very narrow prism of how many of which widget gets a raid against the other person's widgets. But broader questions also of how various pieces of our security postures fit together and either are conducive to or detrimental to broader questions of global peace and security.

So, we're -- we will be working those issues with the Russians, and working them as constructively and productively as we can. And this will be the first dialogue of this sort in some time. There were efforts to try to gin something like this up on the previous administration, but they're founded on Russia's invasion of its neighbors.

So, we'll see what we can do with that. And that, I hope, will be seen and remembered. And I hope I can encourage you to understand this as a hopeful and positive step that we are trying to do, even while we have -- feel duty bound to point to the challenges and to try to resolve the issues presented and the threats presented by Russia's violation of the INF Treaty.

So, these are all issues in progress. But -- or at the moment. I would love to have more to say, and I hope to at some point soon.

(AUDIO GAP)

FORD: The options mix is very broad. We are trying to figure out -- I mean, certainly in SVC is a possibility, you know, details pending. We're currently working interagency process to figure out exactly how we're going to be approaching this.

But I also think you would be wrong to conclude that this is an administration likely to be content just with another round of finger waving. The last SVC was not particularly productive on this, although one can't talk about those details for obvious reasons.

We will not just be tut-tutting. We will be taking responses that actually put meaningful pressure on them to return it to compliance. And perhaps responses that if that fails will help put us in a position to be in a safer place (inaudible) that. So, (OFF-MIKE).

We have another (OFF-MIKE). And I should say not before consulting also with our allies, which is a huge priority of course. So, this is not something we're going to -- we're not going to disappear into a room and come forth with the answer to which we will expect everyone to express agreement and concurrence.

This is a very important issue that concerns us as the United States, and also concerns our allies. And we are committed to making sure that we are in deep and close consultations with them throughout this process, which I've begun.

KIMBALL: Questions about the North Korean nuclear missile (OFF-MIKE).

FORD (?): He actually got one on his tie, but -- I've got this one.

KIMBALL: All right. All right. They complain at home that I speak too loudly. But all right.

We've got several questions about the North Korea policy review and the next steps. So specifically, can you elaborate what conditions would be needed for entering into discussions with North Korea for the purpose of ending its nuclear and missile programs?

The policy's titled Maximum Pressure and Engagement. There have been several different iterations about what those conditions might be. And it seems important to have some answers to this ahead of the Moon Jae-in visit later this month. So, on that question, can you give us some clarification?

FORD: A bit. Probably not as much as you would like. But obviously the current approach -- this is their first policy review, by the way, out of the box.

Events did not give us the luxury of sitting back and having long academic discussions about what the right answer is and how to build to this over the course of many, many months and years. We have to come up with answers and approaches very quickly.

We spent a lot of time on this. And it was, in my own view, a model of the kind of policy reviews that we aspire to do, in which options across the entire imaginable space -- and I'm not going to spell out exactly what they are, but you can picture the two ends of the continuum.

You can be sure that those two ends were in fact actively debated and explicitly discussed, as were a gazillion different options in between them. What we have ended up with, until further notice, is the policy, as you suggested, of substantially increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on the North Korean regime, while making clear that the objective of this is to re-engender serious talks about how to reduce the nuclear and missile threats that we face.

Our policy is not, repeat, not, one of regime change, but one of trying to actually get a real discussion back on again about what still remains our objective of denuclearization. We feel like we're off to a good start with the new -- with new President Moon and his administration.

They have underscored the paramount importance of the U.S. alliance relationship. And they've also underscored the policy goal of DPRK denuclearization.

President Moon shares our commitment to a policy of increased pressure through sanctions with the objective of eventually getting to talks. We think that is the right way to go. And it's very important to move in that direction.

We are working various angles to try to bring it about. One of the angles we are working more than usual is to cut off revenue streams more effectively to the regime and to its military programs, to make it feel the kind of pressure that perhaps, with a bit of luck, we'll get them to reevaluate the strategic choices that they continue to make that are bad and destabilizing ones.

And it's important also that we're trying to work very hard with China now in ways that have not yet been tried, though many attempts have been made over the years to try to encourage the Chinese to come to the conclusion that it really is in their interest to work with us in solving this problem.

I personally suspect that it has been Beijing's assumption for a long time that, in the name of stability in the Peninsula, they prize that more than what they imagine to be the alternative. They have been a little reluctant to work with us very effectively on this for years for fear of what comes thereafter.

But the point that we're trying to make to Beijing is that while they may think that the sort of festering sore of the status quo on the peninsula is better than the alternative, the status quo is not a stable, status point.

The status quo, of course, is a trajectory. And that trajectory is going downhill rather fast. The threat set is evolving. The problems are worsening, and the tensions are rising. The status quo is not stability.

The status quo is a recipe for very grave problems. And if we can convince Beijing that their interest in stability actually means they should be working with us to resolve this on a basis that is not one of regime change, but one of regime change, of course, when it comes to these threat programs, we will have made some very significant progress. And I am certainly hoping that that can be the case.

What conditions would it take to get -- what conditions would be involved in reopening those kinds of talks? There I'm going to have to play Potter Stewart for the moment. Context and details are crucially important. Hopefully this will be sooner rather than later.

But of course -- we think that we will know those -- we will know that expression of sincerity and the steps that demonstrate that sincerity if and when they take them. It's probably not a good idea to get into speculation about that at this time.

But we think this is a sober and sensible policy that builds on what's been done before, but takes things further in constructive ways, and does in fact still represent the best hope of working this out in an appropriate fashion.

KIMBALL: All right. So, given what you just said, one of the other questions we have on North Korea policy, how does this administration's policy of maximum pressure and engagement differ from the strategic patience label that was given to the previous administrations? Can you just quickly clarify what the difference is? Maybe it's a nuanced difference?

FORD: Well, I think we're less patient. The development...

(LAUGHTER)

The development of the threat doesn't give us the option of being patient over any significant period of time. You guys can read the papers as well as well as anyone. I mean, there are daily speculations about other nuclear tests.

The missile threat is developing with almost biweekly increments. My wife complains that every time we have a nice family weekend together, I start getting calls on my funky phone. Because the North Koreans are testing again. They -- you know.

KIMBALL: Welcome to the club.

FORD: Exactly.

The development of the threat set is not one that permits patience anymore. That may or may not have been true at some point. It may or may not have been wise to be patient before. I'll leave that for historians and others. We don't have that luxury. So, we are trying to do as much as we can to make them feel the imperative of a change of course as soon as possible.

KIMBALL: All right. We've got a few questions about U.S. nuclear weapons development possibilities.

There have been some voices since Election Day who've advocated for a resumption of U.S. nuclear explosive testing and possible new goals for U.S. nuclear weapons, and possible new types of nuclear weapons development.

The United States, as you know, hasn't tested a nuclear device in 25 years. We're a signatory to the conference of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. And just in this confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Tillerson said the nuclear test moratorium that's been in place has served U.S. national security interests. And he recognized the value of that in the G7 foreign minister's statement.

So, the question is, does the -- does President Trump see the nuclear -- the absence of nuclear testing as a net plus for U.S. security? And how will he help to reinforce the global taboo against nuclear testing in the future?

FORD: The easy, tap dance answer would be to say that those kinds of questions are ones that are currently under review. And indeed, that would be a true answer.

What it is that we need for our posture and our long-term, middle-term, short-term planning is a series of questions that are obviously enormously complicated for those of you who have been part of those things. All kinds of working groups are working throughout the interagency right now to try to figure all those things out as part of the posture review.

There's also a Ballistic Missile Defense Review that is sort of running in parallel to this. So, there're lots of moving pieces on this.

And I probably shouldn't get out ahead of my squeeze in that regard. But, you know, obviously testing is a derivative question from that, right. I mean, this is what point or under what circumstances might it be necessary to do that or not?

I certainly have not myself seen anything that would suggest any of the sorts of concerns with the integrity or reliability of our stockpile that might drive any kind of a near-term decision to do that. Thank goodness. I would be very unhappy if I saw those. I would be extraordinarily concerned.

I haven't seen that. I don't think there's any meaningful likelihood of us changing the test moratorium as a policy choice any time soon.

Beyond that, there are questions about whether we think it is a safe and prudent policy to foreswear a resumption of testing forever. Don't know the answer to that. We'll have to be talking further about that at some point.

KIMBALL: Don't forget, you can always pull out of treaties anyway. That's just a side comment.

All right...

FORD: Although I have great confidence that you would excoriate me for doing so.

KIMBALL: Of course. Of course.

All right. We have a few questions about the United States' own nuclear weapons spending challenges. As we've discussed earlier today, the U.S. is on track to spend in excess of about $1 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next three decades to sustain, replace and refurbish existing delivery systems and warheads.

And the last administration conducted a Nuclear Posture Review. And as part of that, they determined that the existing force size is larger than is necessary for deterrence purposes. Sought to work with Russia on deeper reductions, but did not move forward with that.

Numerous Pentagon officials announced that experts have warned about the affordability problem posed by the current approach. So, as the Nuclear Posture Review looks at options to, with the U.S. arsenal, will it assess options to alter the pace and scope of the current plans, especially if there are significant cost savings that could be achieved while meeting what are determined to be the deterrence requirements under this review.

FORD: But, I -- I shouldn't get out in front in speculating about what the Nuclear Posture Review's going to end up deciding. You can be confident that these sorts of questions are the types of things that are indeed being chewed on.

This NPR comes at a challenging point. To my knowledge, there's never been an NPR before that has occurred at such a challenging consequence or circumstances.

I mean, right now we are doing a Nuclear Posture Review at a time when we are butting up against, in terms of programmatic planning, we are butting up against the potential block obsolescence of all three legs of our triad, as well as the decrepitude of certain portions of our nuclear infrastructure, which are working fine for now, but cannot be guaranteed to work fine in the future without a fair amount of attention, I would contend.

These things coming together at the same time clearly do present suspending challenges. We see Pentagon literature talking about, I think the phrase they use is the impact, the bow wave of the modernization program will have on other aspects of military spending. And that's far from a trivial thing. It's going to be a great challenge for us.

On the other hand, it is critical that we bear in mind and always remember -- and this is important I -- point I try to make in disarmament whenever I can. To remember what a small proportion of Pentagon spending the nuclear arsenal is.

And even if you add in infrastructure stuff, which I think we will probably need to be working on as well. This is still only a few percentage points of Defense spending. And the Defense budget itself, of course is only, these days, a small fraction. It's maybe half of discretionary spending or whatever, which is itself only a small fraction of overall federal spending.

So, we should keep this in perspective, given the magnitude of the dangers and the challenges that we all face.

Will this be easy? No. Will it be -- is it doable? I think so, yes.

KIMBALL: All right. So, we have a couple of questions about how the administration will approach efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including whether there are any steps in the 2010 Action Plan, the 64-point action plan on disarmament, where the Trump administration hopes to or plans to make progress before the 2020 review conference.

And, another related question is, since you have been a key part of previous review conferences, the 2005 conference, we all understand what can look like a failed conference or a difficult conference. So, what kinds of things would you like to try to avoid happening in 2020 that might be considered detrimental to the nonproliferation system?

FORD: OK. I think you will indeed find us strongly committed to strengthening the nonproliferation regime as a whole. We are doing a review of how to do that and some of the approaches we think we need to be taking in that space.

So, hard to say exactly what we will end up choosing to do. But as I think I indicated, focus upon proliferation challenges is very acute. And we aim to do that as effectively as we can.

And I think that's the -- maybe sort of an intellectual prism that you should apply to how we approach issues such as how to handle the (inaudible) that's come up and that sort of thing.

I have said many times over the years, I think I said when I was doing our NPT diplomacy as Susan's predecessor, that I tend to think of this more in terms of looking for -- more for outcome metrics than for output metrics.

The usual -- the conventional wisdom says that if there is a failure to reach consensus on the final document, therefore it is a catastrophe. That is not necessarily the case.

Obviously, I would prefer to have a nice agree final document in any kind of a context. And we have a very important anniversary with the NPT as well.

So, the symbolic impact of this is certainly not trivial. But you know, it remains the case, as I have said many times in the saddle before, that no outcome -- no document is better than a bad one. We will be working as hard as we can to make sure we get a good one, and that is the objective.

And we think that that kind of a statement can indeed strengthen the cooperation and goodwill and constructiveness of the approach that is very important to strengthen the nonproliferation regime, which is the outcome based answer that we are seeking. But how exactly to do that in practice, obviously details matter. It remains to be seen.

Some of the issues that have circled the airfield for a while and made things problematic in that respect are not going away any time soon. Many of these debates are ones I suspect -- I suspect I could write the talking points of most of the participants in these debates now. And I suspect I could've written those talking points 10 years ago when I was doing this (inaudible) time.

But, we do hope to be able to move forward constructively and provide real outcome-based improvements to the regime, irrespective of whether it looks like we're actually checking on particular institution or formal box or not.

KIMBALL: OK. We have a couple of questions about the future of the six power deal with Iran that was struck in 2016, the JCPOA, the Joint Conference of Plan of Action.

So, in light of yesterday's announcement about the president's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, it has raised the question will he pursue a similar approach with the JCPOA? You mentioned that the administration's conducting an Iran Policy Review, which I understand is a broader review...

FORD: Correct.

KIMBALL: ... not just the JCPOA.

Is that review considering withdrawal and renegotiation of any element of the JCPOA? And if so, how is that possible, given the mechanics of this agreement? So, that's the question.

FORD: Oh, I...

KIMBALL: Or will it comply with the JCPOA for the foreseeable future?

FORD: Not to be cute, but mechanically of course it would be very straightforward. The -- you know, the question is, is it wise? Is it appropriate? Under what circumstances would you do it? And what would you do in its absence?

Those are all questions, of course, which we're chewing on right now. We are in the middle of an ongoing Iran review, as you indicated. It is a broader review than just of the JCPOA.

One of our complaints, as we see it, about the previous administration was the degree to which, having gotten a nuclear deal it was a tempting conclusion to make other aspects of Iran policy sort of hostage to that deal.

Oh, no, no, no, we can't push back quite so hard on these other things, all the many things that Iran does to cause trouble in its region, the missile development threats that are growing to friends and allies, the support for international terrorism, regional destabilization, you know, many things of that sort.

We felt that there is a -- an unwelcome reluctance to press back and hold Iran accountable on those fronts for fear that oh, my goodness, if you make them too mad they'll walk away from the deal. We are determined not to make everything hostage to the nuclear question.

But we're also determined to handle the nuclear question responsibly and wisely. And one of the things we're trying to do right now is to figure out how these moving pieces fit together. I am myself only involved in the nuclear piece of this.

Obviously, our review of JCPOA options -- and I should stress this is a full range of options. We think that it's important to have the full range, as I indicated, with North Korea, in front of us in order to be able to walk through all of them and neck down, as appropriate, to things that make more rather than less sense. We're doing that. But it's only a piece of the puzzle.

Our JCPOA work feeds into a broader question of Iran policy and strategy and regional policy and strategy. And I would dare say that the right answer on the JCPOA is it's not possible. I mean you can give me all the options in the world, but I can't tell you what the right answer is unless I know what you want to do in this broader context.

And so, what we're endeavoring to do is to make sure that domestic interagency reviews fit together in a way that provide a coherent and responsible answer. And we're not done yet. Hopefully soon.

We are working very hard to make sure that this gets resolved as quickly as possible. Don't have a timeline for you, but it is being worked very hard, I can assure you, every day.

KIMBALL: All right. And another question on the JCPOA.

Would you agree that the agreement is working as designed with respect to the nuclear program? Just this morning the IAEA -- it was reported that the IAEA has issued another report confirming that Iran is complying with its commitments.

FORD: As you probably saw Sec. Tillerson certify under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, we have certified, at least we did as of -- not long ago that Iran is -- does appear to be meeting its commitments.

You know, the bigger question is not just whether they're meeting their commitments. Although any sign of cheating would be highly problematic, to say the least.

But to make sure that we have a good feel for how to make sure that meeting those commitments, or meeting whatever commitments Iran has is in fact an adequate answer to the long-term challenges that we face in containing the threats presented by the possibility of Iran positioning itself into the indefinite future as sort of a latant or virtual nuclear weapons state.

We're very concerned with making sure that we can constrain those threats and provide answers to these challenges and thatís the purpose of the review.

KIMBALL: All right. We have a couple questions about missile defense policy.

As you know, Chris, missile defense has been a key factor in discussions about nuclear arms control reductions with Russia, and to an extent with China for many years. Last year, then Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs James Winnefeld said in a speech that we will not rely on missile defense for strategic deterrence of Russia because it would simply be too hard and too expensive and too strategically destabilizing to even try.

So, as the United States looks forward to dealing with the North Korean ballistic missile threat, and evaluates its missile defense options, how do you foresee the administration seeking to assure Russia and China that U.S. missile defenses are not designed to counter their nuclear deterrent capabilities?

And there are proposals on the Hill, as you know, for significant expansion of U.S. missile defense capabilities. And there was a decision last year in Congress to re-designate the program, the missile defense program from limited to robust, I think the word was.

FORD: OK. Well, the easy answer is that there is a Ballistic Missile Defense Review under way. And it would be professionally unwise for me to try to anticipate out in front of where that's going.

You know, again, this is part of what we view to be really the only responsible course. I mean, any new administration -- every new administration comes in and does a policy review of various sorts, pretty much every issue area.

We like to think that we are doing a deeper and more comprehensive review than is usually the case. It's -- I don't have any direct contact with those things. But my impression is that it is unusual for an administration to really -- to put the range of options on the table that we are internally.

So, you can be sure that we're thinking across this entire space. But that's not the same thing as having any preordained conclusions. It has been U.S. policy for quite some time that -- indeed, it's just been an obvious fact of reality and the laws of physics, and the laws of basic mathematics and counting that nothing that we have done in missile defense so far has posed any meaningful threat to the strategic arsenals of either Russia or China, for that matter.

And they don't act like that's the case, but you know, I can count. They can count. We all know what's really going on here. This is not about them. This is about -- we will certainly do what we think we need to do in the face of worsening threat sets from places like North Korea and Iranian missile development as well.

I have argued publicly, and I think I said this at the Carnegie event in March, that if the Russians and the Chinese are worried about this issue of ratios, about x amount of BMD versus y arsenal. I mean, granted, there's -- there are ratio issues here, right.

As they start to get close, I can see how that may be an interesting question. But you know, we'll do what we need to do in order to protect ourselves from threats that they fully appreciate the existence of in North Korea and Iran.

And from their perspective, I would urge anybody who's listening in Moscow and Beijing to rethink fairly obvious conclusion that if they are concerned about the issue of ratios between BMD and their forces, that we need to be working together to have a discussion about how to reign in the threats from North Korea and Iran.

The worst threat to their strategic arsenals, if they see BMD as a threat at all, which they say they do, the problem presented by those missile programs. And if we can work together to bring those problems under control, we will be having a qualitatively different BMD discussion.

KIMBALL: All right. We have time for just maybe one more question. And this relates to the anticipated meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin sometime in July.

And the question is that back in the 1980s, I think it was 1985, President Reagan and Gorbachev jointly declared that a nuclear war could never be won and must never be fought. Will the two presidents consider any joint language that tries to address the joint concern and commitment to avoiding nuclear conflict between the two largest countries, countries with the two largest arsenals?

FORD: I'm afraid I'm not going to put words in their mouth at this point. Sorry.

KIMBALL: Well, I'm not asking you to put words in their mouth. Is that something that might be considered as the trip is prepared?

FORD: I think the president's been very clear that what we are interested in doing with Russia is looking for areas of shared concern on which it's possible to make progress together.

There are many issues that are very challenging in the relationship. There are many problems that we -- security issues that we need to deal with that are in many cases caused by, or certainly aggravated by Russian behavior and postures in various respects.

We need to figure out how to deal with those in a constructive way, how to get through and around that in a way that doesn't compromise important security interests. And if we can find areas of shared concern and progress in moving forward together that are consistent with doing all these things, we will absolutely be doing that.

And that's true across the board of policy issues, certainly including in the nuclear realm. If it were possible and we felt that there is a way forward.

And one of the things that we're hoping to do, as I mentioned before, is reinitiate, or actually in fact make good on a process of strategic stability dialogue that will help, we hope, bring better understanding of where the two sides are coming from across a quite broad range of issues. And will help, I hope, identify areas in which it's possible to do that kind of constructive forward progress together.

So, to be continued and I hope to be able to report good progress.

KIMBALL: Well, thank you very much, Chris, for your time, for your willingness to come here and try to answer our questions, and to deliver some more information about the administration's work on these issues.

I think one thing we certainly can agree on is that we need and want effective and good arms control, and nonproliferation and disarmament. That's what the Arms Control Association has always been about.

And the question is, what is that? And how do we get there? And how do we work together, Democrats, Republicans, U.S. and world to get there. And so, we look forward to talking with you and your team more about how to deal with these challenges.

And everyone, please join me in thanking Chris Ford for being here with us.

(APPLAUSE)

FORD: Thank you. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

PANEL 3:

KIMBALL: Thank you very much. I wanted to introduce our director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, Kingston Reif, who is going to be moderating this next session on reducing nuclear and security risks with Russia.

Kingston, the floor is yours.

REIF: Thank you very much, Daryl.

And good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to our final panel of the meeting, which will examine reducing security and nuclear risks with Russia.

As everyone in the room knows, we are in a period of significant tension and some would say crisis in the bilateral U.S./Russia relationship. The causes and symptoms are multifaceted. They include the crisis in Ukraine, the buildup and exercising of NATO and Russian military forces in the common border area between the alliance's Eastern-most members and Russia, Russia's alleged violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, concern that Russia is developing new nuclear weapons and lowering the threshold for when it might consider using them, and, of course, Russian meddling in the U.S. election and those of some of our European allies.

As for arms control, it may not be dead, but it is certainly wounded. While some meaningful cooperation continues, such as adherence to the 2010 New START Treaty and implementation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, there is no ongoing dialogue on further nuclear risk reduction steps, although it was encouraging to hear from Chris Ford that perhaps some dialogue may be in the offing.

But in the absence of dialogue, this raises the odds of stepped-up competition in the areas of both strategic offense and defensive forces. Meanwhile, technological change and advances in conventional weapons and associated doctrines for their use have increased escalation dangers.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on May 14th on "Meet the Press" that the United States needs to, quote, "improve the relationship between the two greatest nuclear powers in the world," end quote. He continued, "I think it's largely viewed that if it is not healthy for the world, it's certainly not healthy for us for this relationship to remain at this low level. But I think the president is committed, rightly so, and I am committed with him as well to see if we cannot do something to put us on a better footing in our relationship with Russia."

Despite these comments, the Trump administration has yet to articulate a clear policy toward Russia or strategy to reduce nuclear risk. While President Trump has said he would like to improve relations with Moscow and that global nuclear weapons inventory should be significantly reduced, he's also pledged to strengthen and expand U.S. nuclear capabilities, denounced New START and reportedly responded negatively to Putin's suggestion to extend the New START Treaty.

To further complicate matters, much of Washington, and Democrats in particular, are likely to view any engagement with Russia with suspicion given the ongoing investigations into the Trump campaign's ties and possible collusion with Russia.

But given the stakes, namely preventing U.S./Russian confrontation and potentially nuclear conflict, cooperation on arms control should be judged on its own merits and on its own terms, namely whether it enhances U.S. security.

Here at the Arms Control Association, we have been grappling with these difficult problems and questions and working to identify potential solutions primarily through our engagement with the trilateral U.S./Russia/German Deep Cuts Commission.

Today we're happy to continue this engagement and fortunate to be joined by two outstanding experts. To my right is Ulrich K¸hn, a fellow and Stanton nuclear security fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a fellow with the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Hamburg University and his current research focuses on escalation dynamics in the NATO/Russia context and possible arms control measures.

Seated to my left is Anya Loukianova, a Stanton nuclear security fellow at the RAND Corporation. And her research interests include U.S./NATO/Russian security strategies and Euro-Atlantic security institutions. Prior to her current position, she was a program officer at the Stanley Foundation where she focused on multilateral action to strengthen nuclear security. And she received her Ph.D. in policy studies, in international security and economic policy, from the University of Maryland.

Ulrich and Anya will each provide about 10 to 15 minutes of opening remarks, which should leave plenty of time for questions from all of you. And I've asked Ulrich to begin and provide a summary from a European perspective of the current U.S./Russia security and arms control relationship, the Trump administration's approach to date, options to reduce security risks with Russia and some suggestions on how the INF Treaty might be saved.

And following Ulrich, I've asked Anya to help us make sense of Russian military, including nuclear doctrine, how it might fuel escalation and what can be done to reduce nuclear escalation dangers and address possible ways forward for bilateral nuclear arms control and nuclear security cooperation.

With that, Ulrich.

K‹HN: Thanks, Kingston.

Well, I think saving the INF Treaty, that's already a huge call, but OK. We'll see what I can do.

What I want to do during the next 10 minutes or so is that I walk you through three different areas of arms control between the United States and Russia, particularly, as Kingston said, with a view from Europe, and also thereby answering a couple of questions, such as, why do we need U.S./Russian arms control, what speaks for further U.S./Russian arms control, what speaks against it, what could be done and what has the Trump administration done so far.

As you will see, quite a lot actually speaks for novel arms control approaches in these difficult times. However, without anticipating my own conclusions and remarks, I'm unfortunately very skeptical with regards to further U.S./Russian arms control, at least in the short and maybe to mid term. And this is largely due to reasons that have not so much to do with arms control as such, but more with the general bilateral U.S./Russian relationship and the return of geopolitical competition. And maybe we can talk about that later as well a bit because I think it's important, you know, to frame arms control a bit in a larger political environment.

So let me start with the first area, that's the area of confidence and security-building measures. And in particular, I'm talking about CSBMs for the Baltic region.

So why do we need it? Obviously, the risk of military escalation is particularly high in the wider Baltic region and that is for two main reasons. One can find more reasons, but I'm just concentrating on those two. First, Russia continues to engage in high-risk tactics, such as dangerous military brinkmanship, and second, the regional military balance is very much in favor of Russia. And that creates insecurity in the Baltic states.

I just came back from a recent research trip to the Baltic states and Poland and I can tell you, yes, these guys are really afraid of what Russia is amassing close to their borders. But at the same time, that might also create misperceptions in those countries and misperceptions on behalf of NATO.

So if both sides, NATO and Russia, recognize that this situation is actually quite destabilizing and treat it as a matter of high priority, they could focus on conflict management with the aim of preventing unintended escalation.

However, what speaks against that is the pure fact that Russia reaps benefits from its unpredictable behavior. I would go as far as to say that unpredictability is a major element of the Russian strategy vis-a-vis NATO. So in essence, that would make it necessary to change the Russian calculus. Moscow must come to view the gains from cooperation and outweighing those from confrontation and unpredictability.

But that would basically mean that Washington would have to be willing to offer something significant, and with that I mean something that goes beyond the immediate arms control goals of predictability and stability and transparency. And I think we should discuss that later as well what that could be.

So against that background, what could be done? NATO and Russia already hold very tentative talks about airspace security. I think they have met three or four times on that. One of the goals here is, for instance, to have transponders switched on at all times, but that hasn't gotten very far.

Another approach could be for Washington to seek direct talk with the Russians. Here the aim could be to reinvigorate, modernize and perhaps multi-lateralize older arms control agreements. There are a couple of those that focus on risk reduction, most prominently the Incidents at Sea Agreement or the Agreement on Dangerous Military Activities.

So back in the Cold War, those were designed to prevent accidents and exactly the kind of dangerous military close encounters in exactly the kind of atmosphere that we have right now and exactly trying to address that behavior that we're seeing from Russia at the moment.

Well, have we seen any concrete policies of the Trump administration or any novel approach in that regard? That answer is pretty straightforward, not at all. So let's turn to conventional arms control in Europe. Kind of like a side theme in Washington, you barely hear it mentioned these days, conventional arms control in Europe is deadlocked at least since 2002. Efforts by the Obama administration to revive it have failed, largely because at that time the Russians had completely lost interest in it. However, today, conventional arms control is perhaps even more needed than ever. Just look at the conventional force balances in the Baltic region and also between NATO and Russia in more general terms.

So what I would like to do is let's imagine we look at the force balance at three levels. So the first level I would term the strategic balance. One of the true concerns of the Russian military today is still the conventional superiority of the combined forces of NATO and that, of course, includes the forces of the United States.

If we go down one level, we come to the regional balance. There, the regional Russian superiority in Eastern Europe, particularly in the Baltic region, is a very strong concern for NATO and the countries concerned in the region.

And if we go even one level below that to the sub-regional level, here Russia is concerned about the security of Kaliningrad. As much as we talk every day about Kaliningrad as the A2/AD bubble and the Russians amassing all that stuff there. The Russian military is concerned about their ability to hold Kaliningrad in an open conflict with NATO.

So think of this whole approach or this whole situation as a Russian matryoshka doll. You have the strategic conventional level, you have the regional ones and then you have the sub-regional ones. So at least theoretical, at least in theory, it should be possible to arrive at some kind of quid pro quo arrangement for the wider Baltic region because everyone could gain something there and everyone has concerns in the region.

What could that mean? It could mean mutual geographic limitations on manpower, equipment and reinforcement capabilities coupled with intrusive and verifiable transparency measures. Now, we're running not short of ideas in that regard. There have been a lot of recommendations. Kingston just mentioned the Deep Cuts Commission. In the last two reports, the second and third report of the commission, particularly German experts came forward with a lot of practical ideas how that could look like.

But then again, arms control policies are basically built on certain recognition that preserving the status quo is beneficial. However, the United States and Russia both view each other as challenging the status quo. That is a fact from both sides. It is also highly questionable that U.S. allies in the region, such as Poland, would agree to a regional conventional arms control regime, particularly in light of Russia's nuclear superiority in the region.

So just quickly for rhetorical reasons, has there been any novel approach of the Trump administration in that regard? Unfortunately not. And that leads me to my last point, to nuclear arms control.

As we all have learned earlier this year from media reports, Russia has not only produced more INF missiles than are needed to sustain a flight test program, but basically started to deploy some of those weapons. That is at least what we hear from intelligence assessments and some leaks that have come to the press. So these missiles are known as the so-called SSC-8. Well, while that fact alone speaks quite strongly against further nuclear arms control, an even grimmer scenario sees both sides abrogating the INF Treaty. The latest efforts at the Hill seem to point in that direction. And the consequences for Europe would be tremendously negative.

So let me make this point as clear as possible. If not carefully handled, the INF crisis has the potential of reinvigorating the Euro missiles to date of the 1980s with all the turmoil encountered at that time and also with all the potential to further undermine and split the alliance.

So I think in times of a politically weakened NATO, in times of almost no leadership from the United States, we should make sure that that is not happening. We should not allow it to split the alliance along certain lines in our response to Russia's INF violation.

So are there potential arms control solutions? Well, one option would be for the U.S. to consider reassuring Russia about the vertical launches of the European Phased Adaptive Approach missile defense installations in Romania and Poland. For a long time, Russia has complained, perhaps correctly, that defense could actually be turned into offense with our systems.

So one of the options would be for the U.S. to make it technically impossible for those launches to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles. And I'm not only talking about software fixes in that regard. This could be augmented with site visits by Russian military personnel coupled with reciprocal visits of Russian sites, making sure that Russia has deployed all non-compliant systems.

But here comes again the big caveat to that. If Russia has tested and deployed the SSC-8 on rogue mobile Iskander launchers, then according to the INF Treaty, all those launchers must be destroyed. And that just doesn't look like an option to me for Moscow because Russia has replaced almost 80 percent of its older Tochka short-range systems with new Iskander launchers. It would basically mean the Russians would have to destroy their newest generation of short-range launchers.

Having said that, the INF fallout could go even further. Without Russia returning to compliance with INF, the Senate will most likely not give its advice and consent to any follow-on agreement to New START. Again, on INF, so far, no input from the Trump administration. And before I continue along those lines, and I don't want to steal from Anya's part regarding the strategic stability and NEW Start, let me finish with that.

I agree that was a rather bleak outlook, so please excuse me for being so negative, or one could also say for being rather realistic, but I hope that Anya will provide at least some positive notes in that regard.

REIF: Thanks. Thanks, Ulrich, for ending on that cheery note.

Anya.

LOUKIANOVA: Well, thank you, Ulrich.

Thank you, Kingston.

And thank you to the Arms Control Association for bringing us together for this important discussion.

It's an honor to be here today, and not least because I very fondly recall my time as a student subscriber to the Arms Control Association when I was first getting into this field over a decade ago. So as they say sometimes, I guess, a long time listener, first time caller.

And I think as aóit takes a while, it takes a while.

(LAUGHTER)

My husband said that would work.

So as a student of policy studies, one of the first concepts you learn is the garbage can model. And we all know this, right, the garbage can model? So it's this idea that policymaking is essentially this organized anarchy because of various streams, problems, solutions, participants, who mostly look for jobs, and choice opportunities, so windows of opportunity.

And so a choice opportunity is essentially a garbage can into which various kinds of problems and solutions are dumped by the participants as they're generated. So if you look at policymaking this way, it's very important that the garbage is processed and removed from the scene. A very cynical analogy for policymaking, but I bring it up because it's very descriptive of the current smelly state of U.S./Russian and NATO/Russian security relations.

We have very many old garbage cans, we have very many new garbage cans. So we have conventional, nuclear, strategic non-nuclear, missile defense, hypersonic, cyber, nuclear materials security, counterterrorism, gray-zone issues, frozen conflicts, Syria, Ukraine, and if you're a Russian military wonk and read Russian military literature, it's something else they call weapons based on physical principles. Lots and lots of garbage cans. The problem is that none of them are being processed or even removed from the scene.

So I was kind of heartened to hear Ambassador Ford's remark about the important work currently underway at the National Security Council make good progress on some of these issues.

Getting into the summer...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We can't hear you.

LOUKIANOVA: You can't? Is that better? OK.

All right. So I hope thatówe have a lot of garbage cans. So wait, no one heard my list? I had this great list.

OK, so let me speak up. So I was heartened to hear Ambassador Ford's remarks and I just hope that we start making headway into a lot of these difficult problems we have, especially because we're getting into the summer. And what happens in the summer? Garbage gets stinky.

So we worked really hard with Ulrich to de-conflict, if you will, our remarks. So I wanted to briefly share my personal opinion about three things to stimulate discussion and Q&A.

So first, I wanted to talk about Russia's doctrinal concepts and its improving conventional capabilities at the theater level. Second, I wanted to talk about how Russia's nuclear saber-rattling around Ukraine is viewed in Russia these days. And third, I wanted to talk about the importance of arms control for strategic stability in the U.S./Russian relationship. And I know that's an issue that's really near and dear to a lot of you here.

So first, Russian military thinkers have been working for over a decade on the concept of strategic deterrence. And I think, you know, we've seen a lot of writing calling this thing cross domain coercion and kind of a lot of other things. But I believe personally that, you know, using Russian terminology for this is very interesting because it's also not what we think of as strategic deterrence.

So this Russian idea of strategic deterrence is essentially a blend of deterrence, coercion and escalation control. And it's supposed to operate in wartime and in peacetime, so there's a spectrum of conflict that they view.

And strategic deterrence relies on three types of capability. The first one is non-military means, and we've all seen and heard Russian threats, a lot of their coercive activities. We know that they're sort of highly provocative. But it also relies on strong nuclear capabilities and strong conventional capabilities.

And I think there's a debate in Washington about how low Russia's nuclear threshold actually is. But what you see in practice if you look at Russian system development with strategic deterrence is that Russia is improving conventional capabilities, including long-range precision strike with an explicit goal of reducing nuclear reliance at early stages of conflict.

So what this means is that they're thinking and planning to use non-nuclear precision strike systems as a means of escalation control. And they want to do so by inflicting deterrent damage on various military and economic targets. And so the Russians call this forceful non-nuclear deterrence.

One of the many, many challenges with this logic is that Russia's precision strike systems are dual capable, so they're use for escalation control might instead contribute to escalation. And we can talk much more during the question-and-answer session about potential nuclear use later in conflict and how the Russians look at that or their concerns about an aerospace threat from the West, which could result in limited nuclear use.

But I think personally that Russia's development of conventional systems and their maturation and how the Russians continue to think about them is really the thing to watch if you want to understand the NATO/Russian dynamic maybe fully.

So to get back to the garbage can, there is ample room, I think, in the mean time to think of ways to reduce the coercive potential of Russia's indirect uses of its conventional military forces. And to echo things that Ulrich had brought up, so some of the potential proposals by the Deep Cuts Commission, by the European leadership network on reducing the dangers of accidents and inadvertents, so kind of curbing those pathways to escalation with the Russians, are a very good place to start. Since it's clear to me personally that we're in for a period of very serious changes in conventional postures in the European theater, I view any sort of discussions about conventional arms control as pretty bleak for that reason because I think we're in for a lot of transition.

Second, across the analytical community in Russia, you see a variety of opinion on sort of, you know, the effects of Moscow's nuclear saber-rattling around the Ukraine conflict. So some Russians say that threats were a useful reminder to the West that Russia's interests need to be taken seriously, especially in places like Syria. Other Russians maintain that the Western narrative that Russia is a nuclear danger is nothing more than Western propaganda.

But still other Russians actually say that Moscow has lost legitimacy and that loose nuclear talk in the media as well as by low-level officials should have occurred much sooner. And last October, Putin spoke at Valdai where he said that, quote, "Nuclear weapons are a deterrent and a factor of ensuring peace and security worldwide. It's impossible to consider them as a factor in any potential aggression because it would probably mean the end of our civilization." He also added that, quote, "It is abundantly clear that nuclear weapons are a deterrent and many experts believe that the possession of nuclear arms by leading countries was one of the reasons why the world has not experienced a major arms conflict in the more than 70 years since the end of World War II."

Now, we can debate whether or not Russia used a nuclear shield in Crimea. I think that's a very interesting discussion. We can also wonder if Putin's statement of this sort was too little, too late. It was clearly made to an international audience, to journalists, to Western experts.

Personally, I view this as an attempt to reassure that Russia does not view nuclear weapons as tools of coercion. I think it's obvious that the proof here will be in the pudding. But I also think that there's a lot of concern in Russian circles that nuclear weapons could be used in a limited way, for instance in the North Korean context by North Korea, and that this will shatter what they view as the fundamental role of nuclear weapons in preventing great-power warfare.

So my third comment is about the importance of the nuclear arms control architecture for strategic stability in the U.S./Russian relationship. Now, I think we can disagree on whether deep nuclear cuts are practical or desirable. I personally think the Russians aren't quite interested in that. I think we all need to agree on the importance of extending New START and preserving our intrusive transparency, predictability and verification regime with Russia. And I think that's something that needs to be clear and the administration needs to make a clear statement with regard to that.

Now, Alexei Arbatov had a great piece in Survival a few months ago, I hope you've read that, where he talked about this idea, you know, Joe Nye's old idea of learning through process. So he talked about the importance of the cooperative arms control process and clarifying Soviet and America's position about arms control and actually contributing to Russian understanding about deterrence and what Americans understand as deterrence, so this kind of acceptance eventually of the American deterrence logic.

He also called for a restatement of the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And I strongly endorse that. I think if we think about substance for these strategic stability talks, this would be a very, very nice place to start.

But broadly, I'm sorry to say that I'm not cheery even. I think we're in for a very lengthy phase where both the United States and Russia as well as many other countries now are racing to develop offensive and defensive systems, nuclear, conventional, other ones, and I think these will have implications for strategic stability. But I think we also need to make sure that we preserve existing transparency and predictability, areas where we have it right now, as we try to understand the impact of these emerging destabilizing technologies.

REIF: Well, thank you so much, Anya.

And thank you to you both for some incredibly rich presentations with a lot to chew on.

Why don't we open it up to the floor to all of you for questions. Please raise your hand and I will try and pick you out. And please, again, try to ask a question.

Yes, right here. Yes, please wait for the microphone.

Q: My question is for you. What do you think the Russians are trying to accomplish with their provocative actions in the Baltic Sea where their planes come close to NATO ships or they come into NATO airspace or their submarines come into NATO waters? This seems to be going on all the time and I worry that this is going to be a spark that someday could led to inadvertent escalation. What do you see is the purpose of this? What is the strategic intent?

REIF: Go right ahead, yeah.

K‹HN: All right, thank you very much for your questions. Actually, a very excellent question because it points to the larger question of, what is behind all that? What is the Russian's strategic interest? Why the heck are they doing that, even though they know that it's pretty dangerous?

I mean, we have seen the buzzing of the Arleigh Burke-class USS Donald Cook, so you're right, this is actually pretty serious. I think the Russians have several objectives. One of the objectives is to make clear to NATO we are here, we are ready, we are pretty good armed and just don't come too close. So in a sense, it is intimidating the opponent not to move too close, not to engage in too many military maneuvers, not to send too much hardware and so on and son on.

The other objective, I think, is what I tried to point out in my remarks, is to create a sense of unpredictability, a sense where the opponent in that regard, NATO, does not know how far are the Russians going, what do they want to achieve with that. And that kind of, like, creates the image of an adversary who is very dangerous, perhaps an adversary where you cannot calculate what would be his next moves.

And I think the larger picture behind all that is that Russia is trying to, well, kind of, like, get back to a quote from Lord Ismay. The Russians are trying, when it comes to the post-Soviet space, they are trying to keep the Americans out, the Russians in and the post-Soviet states down. And they're achieving this with a strategy where they intimidate their neighbors, where they fuel conflicts in countries where there are Russian minorities. We have seen that in Georgia. We now saw it in Ukraine. And where they're at the same time projecting that, to a certain degree, upon NATO and NATO is in a difficult position to find out how far is that going, where do they really want to go? Do they want to overrun the Baltics? I don't know. Do they want to come back to the Elbe River in Germany? Or is that simply just, you know, to show, look, guys, NATO enlargement has moved far enough, no more, this is the end stop? So I think that's the larger picture.

And just quickly what you said, how to address that, well, I think a lot of communication. We need, again, communication, not just the NATO-Russia Council meeting every now and then, but we need it actually at the operational level, officer-to-officer contacts regularly, open channels. And then hopefully at some point, some mutual risk reduction agreements, which I tried to outline in my remarks.

REIF: Anya, got anything to add?

LOUKIANOVA: Yeah, just very briefly. I think when I talk about sort of non-military and sort of indirect military uses of force as part of strategic deterrence, this is exactly what that is. And I think what's not clear to me, though, is the trends over time encasing those incidents, if the Russians have actually reduced the amount of those activities over time. Because I think we're still excited about sort of what happened a couple of years ago and so we still carry the perception that kind of progresses. So it sort of lingers, the effect of their actions.

But I think sort of the other part of this is that these are the forces they have to coerce. You know, what do you use military for? You use it for coercion. That's part of deterrence, so that's what they're doing.

REIF: Right here.

Q: Working? Yes. Richard Fieldhouse.

So I wanted to get back to a comment you've made, Anya, about use of nuclear, small-scale nuclear forces for escalation control. You said we could talk about that in the Q&A so we're going to talk about that.

LOUKIANOVA: Conventional.

Q: Not conventional, nuclear.

LOUKIANOVA: Non-nuclear.

Q: The useóthe use...

LOUKIANOVA: Oh, oh, you wantóyeah, OK. OK, sure.

Q: Sort of this theory that Russia sees some limited use of nuclear weapons as a form of escalation control in a crisis during conflict. So I wanted to ask you to address that and also the question of whether you see a problem in the differing understandings of deterrence or crisis stability between the United States and Russia, including the United States with NATO.

LOUKIANOVA: Very good questions, think about it more substantively. So on theólet's not call it escalate to deescalate. So, yes, so I think as part of this idea of strategic deterrence and use of precision conventional capabilities, the Russians talk about use of conventional capabilities to send a warning, to inflict deterrent damage on specific targets to get the adversary to back down. And this is this idea, you know, proposed by Kokoshin and others for the last decade in the aim to sort of develop that conventional capability that would substitute what they use nuclear capabilities for, you know, for instance, since the 1990s, since their conventional forces were so incredibly weak.

However, I think they're still developing their precision conventional capabilities. And I think it's still not entirely clear what's going to happen to that sort of regional nuclear deterrence piece of it. It's clear that they sort of, as escalation progresses, they look at that as a possibility. But there are very few sort ofósince those articles came out in military thought in 1999, there's been few explicit discussions of it in that way. That's what I'll say.

But I think as, you know, folks understand the conflict spectrum, they think of how manyóyou know, if there's a conflict between NATO and Russia, how many conventional forces does Russia have to lose for it to get to the point where it gets desperate enough to signal with some sort of nuclear use, whatever that looks like limited, that it sort of it needs to stop now basically. I think that's still sort of a thing folks are exploring.

However, if you read Arbatov's piece in Survival, there's a specific debate going on that seems to be sort of leaking into Russian media and sort of these expert discussions about the potential of limited use in case of an airspace attack. And we've known this for a very long time. The Russians are sort of very concerned about their air and missile defense capabilities. That's the reason they've been developing them, even though, arguably, you know, it kind of undermines their strategic, you know, their nuclear deterrence.

So I think some in sort of the Russian military circles actually do think that because the United States was the country that invented the concept of limited nuclear use, you engage in that against the United States. But I think it's a highly questionable debate and I think we haven't really seen what that means sort of at the level of policy.

But the other thing I'll say is that you do have people like Patrushev who are still in sort of leadership positions on the Russian national security council. But his statements of using nuclear weapons in local and regional conflicts don't reallyóyou don't see that, as much proof of that in the military journals or in terms of leadership statements everywhere else.

REIF: Ulrich, you want to add something?

K‹HN: Yeah, just quickly, because that seems to be a debate which is going back and forth since years here in Washington. Look, we don't really know whether the Russians have this doctrine or not. And I think actually that the more interesting question is, if they have it, for what purposes do they have it? Do they have it for purely defensive deterrence purposes? Or do they have it for offensive deterrence purposes and an offensive coercion scenario, for instance?

And I would not single out the Russians so much in that regard and say, oh, my God, what are they doing? It's not new. Look, every time that a conventionally weaker power was facing a conventionally stronger power that was also nuclear armed, you have this kind of doctrine. NATO had it during the Cold War. Look at West Berlin. Pakistan has it vis-a-vis India. Even the French had something called "ultime avertissement" which is something like the final warning shot in a conventional scenario.

So, yes, I think the bigger question for us, which puzzles NATO and Western policymakers and the militaries, is, like, what are the scenarios where the Russians would employ that? And there is actually a lot of guesswork here going around.

REIF: A couple at a time this time. I saw a hand way in the back.

Q: Thank you, Debra Decker, the Stimson Center.

I've talked to lots of different people on the Russian and the American side on different areas. And we're speaking so much here like these are monolithic actors. However, if you go to the fact that the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism is jointly headed by the U.S. and the Russians or you talk to scientists who are cooperating on some research levels or if you talk to some, you know, folks in the diplomatic area who know that the Russians and the Americans did joint demarches to get the CPPNM amendment passed, and each person I talk to says, oh, that's just one little sliver of light. I say, well, what about this other one, what about this other one? So I'm wondering, you know, please give us a fuller sense of where you see levels of cooperation.

And, Ulrich, I guess you mentioned some potential areas. But I was wondering, in addition to these separate areas that I've seen cooperation on, if you could identify others and maybe we could build off of that.

REIF: And then there was question, I saw a hand up there. Yes, sir.

Q: Connor Gibbons, poli-sci major from Muhlenberg College.

I was wondering if either of you could comment on the Gerasimov Doctrine and how it applies to the current global context and nuclear policy.

REIF: Think you can describe that doctrine, too?

LOUKIANOVA: Want to do a split with me?

K‹HN: Yeah, I'm going to...

LOUKIANOVA: Yeah. Let me talk very briefly about nuclear materials security cooperation. It would have been really interesting to ask Chris Ford when he was here to sort of hear his opinion on the importance of that type of cooperation with the Russians as well as the broader international community. I think my perception has been that if you look at the budget it's not entirely clear that we have a commitment to nuclear material security the way we had it before.

But also, if you look at sort of the substance and the meat of Russian-American nuclear material security cooperation, there is really not much left. And I think that's very sad, personally, because I think we took for granted and I think the Russians took for granted the amount of transparency and reassurance actually generated by a lot of these efforts because we knew much more about Russian practices in terms of security, and they knew more about our practices, and now a lot of that stuff is gone.

So I think it's important to talk about positive examples of cooperation where it does exist, but I also think that we shouldn't overstate them.

I think the other issue here is that if you look at, in terms of bureaucracies on the Russian side and just generally this rhetoric of the new generation of people who are now becoming sort of bureaucrats, it's a rhetoric of sort of people who were not sort of part of the cooperative activities in the '80s or the 90s and I think that's a different tonal change when it comes to nuclear issues and just generally sort of much more nationalist. And so there's other aspects to this that I think are much more troubling than they are positive.

K‹HN: All right, so Gerasimov Doctrine. First of all, there is nothing like a Gerasimov Doctrine. There is a large body of thought, of intellectual, military and political thought that's going around in Russia since 10 years and some of those thoughts have the same theme and sometimes they plot into each other, sometimes they don't.

For those of you here in the audience who have dealt with Russia for many years, you know that for a full-fledged doctrine that more or less encompasses the whole society and the whole state apparatus, you need to be actually pretty organized. And the Russians are not that organized in that regard. There is a lot of stuff going on and different actors pursuing their different interests and, well, interagency competition put on top of that corruption and so on.

But nevertheless, let's talk about what can we understand under this thought of bodies. Some people have described it, as Anya pointed out, as new generation warfare, others term it strategic deterrence, others term it cross-domain coercion. What all those approaches have kind of in common is that you rely on asymmetric responses.

So it's basically a very cheap insight to say that everyone has vulnerabilities. So the United States as the military most powerful nation in the world of course also has vulnerabilities. And so this kind of doctrine is trying to exploit that along certain lines.

And I think we should not fallówe, and I mean we the West, NATO, the U.S.ówe should not fall into the trap of describing Russia as this strategic super man who can act on all fronts and who can, you know, who can tip our elections and who can intermingle there and who can destabilize whole societies and at the same time they have all these military capabilities.

Look, the Russians are trying to exploit weaknesses wherever that is possible. And if it's not working, for instance, like, in the French elections, well, then they just go on and test it somewhere else. So I would just say, yes, we should be aware.

One of the responses to this doctrine is certainly in the realm of resilience, not so much in the realm of deterrence. Because, again, when it comes to asymmetric threats, how do you want to apply deterrence in a conventional or even nuclear context to someone who is spreading disinformation in your country? It's just not possible. So make your societies more resilient.

And I think that applies not only to those countries that are being targeted by Russian disinformation propaganda on a 24/7 level, like the Baltic states, but it also applies to our societies. Why was America so vulnerable to the Russians interfering in the elections? Was it because the Russians were so good, because they were such a super man? No, I think it has domestic roots in the United States. So let's talk about that.

REIF: Anya, I know you wanted to jump in.

LOUKIANOVA: Very quickly. I mean, I think it's very important to not see into Russian behavior what we want it to be. So I would encourage you to actually go back and look at Gerasimov's own writings as they appear and sort of maybe trace them back into the military journals. Because what you see is that there's a lot of now complexity about sort of them thinking that the West thinks that Russian doctrine is hybrid, so there's a lot of sort of mirror imaging going on in terms of threat perception.

REIF: Yes, Kathy.

Q: I'm Kathy Crandall Robinson with Women in International Security.

I'm curious to know, what is the civil society, grassroots feeling, concern about nuclear weapons in Russia? And does it matter? And are there things that we should be doing to work with and reach out to civil society about nuclear weapons issues and disarmament efforts?

REIF: Sounds like that's for you, Anya.

LOUKIANOVA: Let me just say this really briefly. I mean, Russia is going through a nuclear modernization. They are going through a period where, you know, there's the perception that the West is hostile in some ways despite the fact that they still very much appreciate Western culture. And I'm pretty sure most of Russia has already seen "House of Cards," even though I have not.

So I think, you know, when a country goes through nuclear modernization, and I think we see that in nuclear newcomer countries, they're all very excited about sort of nuclear technology and tests and demonstrations, but I think there are also sort of various limits on engaging with civil society simply because I doubt that you'll find a lot of receptive aspects to that.

But the one caveat to that is that where you do find some activity is with regard to sort of the downsides of the nuclear energy program and the environmental implications that that has on sort of certain bodies of water and other parts of Russia. So there you have kind of a much more environmentalist movement and sort of that aspect of it, but I would say that that's really the only thing.

K‹HN: Well, honestly, I don't want to pretend that I'm an expert on the Russian civil society.

LOUKIANOVA: Talk about German civil society.

K‹HN: German civil society, yeah, I mean, well, the figures from the polls are very clear. I think 92 percent of Germans think that a nuclear weapons ban treaty would be a good idea. Eighty-five percentóthere was a poll from late 2016, 85 percent of them think that it would be a good thing to withdraw the U.S. B61 from German soil, which basically means denouncing extended nuclear deterrence.

At the same time, we have seen a very surprising debate within Germany a couple of months back about Germany perhaps acquiring its own nuclear deterrent or at least going together with the French for a so-called Euro deterrent. But this is, I mean, first of all, that would run into a lot of domestic German problems. I think every politician that would seriously pursue that would risk the end of his career.

But at the same time, we see a lot of pressure from other countries, including the United States, and not just on Germany, but on Europe. And I don't want to exclude that a future stronger German-French security bond, which has to develop, not only for the sake of those two countries, but for the sake of Europe, would at some point, again, seriously pursue that way.

LOUKIANOVA: I would add to that, it would be very interesting to see what that would mean for Russian debate.

REIF: Daryl, you had a question.

Actually, let me go first to Rachel over here in the corner and then Daryl.

Q: Hi, Ulrich. Could I ask you to expand a little bit about what you think could be the domino effect of failures to resolve the INF violations and how that couldóyou said that would probably spread over to the Senate deciding to not renew New START. Should President Trump seek that? And just what that would mean in terms of doing away with predictability and transparency and you've said returning to the Cuban Missile Crisis-level tensions.

REIF: Daryl.

Q: Thank you both, Ulrich and Anya.

I have a question about the upcoming meeting between the U.S. and the Russian presidents, which I was trying to get some clarity from Chris Ford about.

From Germany's perspective, Ulrich, and, Anya, maybe if you can put yourself in the shoes of the Kremlin for a moment, OK, what three things would the German government want to see either happen or not happen in that meeting between President Putin and President Trump?

And, Anya, if you can, I know it's kind of an impossible question in some ways, but I want you to try anyway, I mean, what do you think the Russians will be looking for, especially with respect to the strategic relationship? And I'm sure I'm not asking you about cyber hacking or collusion with Russia in the election, but the traditional security relationship between the two countries.

K‹HN: Daryl, a quick question, is that limited to the realm of arms control or, like, in a broader sense?

Q: Take it as you will. I mean, because, I mean, broader arms control may not be the concern of the Europeans at this point, especially since they didn't hear a reaffirmation of the United States' commitment to Article V of the NATO Charter. What three things would they like to see come up?

REIF: Yes, I think, Jeff, did you have your hand up and then that will be...

Q: (OFF MIKE)

REIF: OK, all right. So those are the final two questions, and then your responses and any concluding comments you want to make as well.

Ulrich, do you want to start in response to Rachel's question about...

K‹HN: OK. Rachel, INF domino effect, basically, what could happen are two domino effects. So the one would very much pertain to the European theater, the other one would pertain to the bilateral U.S./Russian strategic stability.

So the first domino effect, well, let's start with the worst-case scenario. Well, the Russians, they just continue to be intransigent and say, well, you know, we're not doing anything wrong here, everything is fine, whatever, and U.S. at some certain point decides to say, look, we're just going to get out of INF and we have to counter that tit for tat, we also need at least dual-capable INF missiles in Europe or maybe just go full in and say, you know, nuclear-tipped INF missiles in Europe.

I think there are actually a lot of people in Washington aware of the fact that that would be highly destabilizing, not just in a general sense vis-a-vis Russia, but what I wanted to point out also with a view to maintaining alliance unity within NATO.

So a lot of sensible people, like Steve Pifer, or my colleague John Wolfstahl have put forward some proposals, for instance saying, you know, we could station U.S. long-range bombers in Great Britain, equipped with air-launched cruise missiles, conventional. We could, you know, play the Naval card, put more U.S. ships to the European theater, which (INAUDIBLE). Others have said, look, we should concentrate on point defense for certain military installations, that is clearly linked to the concern that NATO has with regards to the Baltics and deliberate escalations on the Russians. So I think there are some opportunities.

But as you can hear already from my response, those are all military options. And as much as I like, for instance, I mean, I can just recommend the article my friend Greg Thielmann just brought forward in the latest Arms Control Today issue, we would like to see those arms control solutions. But I have a feeling that the train has already left the station in that regard, so let's look for damage limitation and let's not go too far.

And the domino effect with regards to the bilateral, well, clearly, I mean, it could be that Trump decides, well, New START is a great deal and it's not a bad deal, so let's just extend it for the next five years. He could do that, even against the background of the INF violations. But nevertheless, we would just face the same problems then five years later. Or he decides against that and then, you know, the strategic arms control mechanisms that we have in place will just wither away. And that will throw us back to a state that we have last seen in the very early 1970s and before the 1960s.

And you just mentioned the Cuban Missile Crisis. No one wants to go back to those days. So I think we have to really work hard on preserving INF.

REIF: And I'm going to, on Daryl's question, in the interest of time, whittle down from three things to one thing.

K‹HN: All right. But just, sorry, that was about the Putin-Trump meeting at the sidelines of the G20.

REIF: That's right, yeah.

K‹HN: OK.

REIF: One thing Germany would like to see.

K‹HN: Germany would like to see Trump reaffirming Article V.

REIF: Quick and easy.

LOUKIANOVA: Oh, so you let himóI know, very briefly in the interest of time, let me answer the second question first and then I'll want to make a very brief point on the first question that Rachel asked.

So in terms of the Russian list of things, sort of sanctions probably are number one, how feasible that is, yeah, I guess, but I think in terms of the broader strategic stability package, I think we all know the list. It's missile defense, probable strike and we also know that the United States is going to engage in nuclear modernization. So it would be good to have some sort of transparency and insights into how that process is going to proceed. So I think those are sort of the three things that keep the Russians interested in sort of having a strategic stability dialogue.

But very briefly on the crisis question, I think you talked about the Euro missiles crisis, Rachel brought in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Don't get your crises confused because it's actually very important in the Russian debate. The Russians actually think they're back in the Euro missile crisis, some of them at least do. They argue that, you know, EPEA launchers are, in fact, a GLCM capability and so they think they're sort of back into that discussion.

But also, if you read sort of some things that Arbatov has written for domestic consumption, not for Western consumption, there's a lot of concern that there will be an arms control collapse, but it will be different. So it would start with INF, go to START, then also include CTBT and it would then to go the NPT.

I think the Russians view the collapse as much more dramatic and much more sort of potentially consequential.

REIF: Well, on that cheery note...

(LAUGHTER)

...I want to thank both of our panelists for an excellent set of remarks and very thoughtful responses to your questions.

We are going to transition very quickly to our final keynote speaker. And I'm going to turn it over to Daryl.

CLOSING KEYNOTE:

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Kingston, Anya and Ulrich, for a great discussion.

And as they depart, let me begin the introduction of our next and final keynote speaker for the day who is going to provide another perspective on the challenges posed by nuclear and other mass casualty weapons.

We're honored to have with us the new United Nations undersecretary-general and high representative of the UN secretary-general for disarmament affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu. She comes to this position with many years of experience at UN headquarters and in the field, at headquarters on refugee issues, UN reform, development, peacekeeping. She was also before that a professor of international relations at Hitotsubashi, I think I'm saying that right, University in Tokyo

Ms. Nakamitsu, like Chris Ford, has a tough job. In her case, helping to guide the secretary-general and UN member states on the often-divisive question of how to work together to reduce and eliminate nuclear dangers and how to enforce global treaties that prohibit other weapons of mass destruction and, in particular right now, the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In her first few weeks, she has been very active monitoring the recent preparatory meeting for the 2020 Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference. She has been tracking the negotiations on the new Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty. And she's been working to build support for the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigation into the recent and terrible Sarin gas attack in Syria.

So, Madam High Representative, thank you for joining us here from New York to be here with us and to have joined us for our previous sessions today. We're very honored to have you and look forward to your perspectives. Thanks.

(APPLAUSE)

NAKAMITSU: Thank you very much, Daryl.

And I wanted to start out by saying how nice it is really for me to be back in Washington, D.C. If I could share a secret, I am very much a product of Washington, D.C. This is where I learned international relations, international politics at Georgetown and I feel very comfortable, at home here in this town.

This is also where I learned the importance and the value of high-quality, open and honest policy discussions, like the one that we are having today. Without such discussions, I would say the world community is not going to be able to tackle challenges that we are confronted with today.

So you and your colleagues at the Arms Control Association have already been very generous, very kind in terms of helping me come to grips with some of the, if you will, more arcane elements of my new portfolio. I've been on the post exactly for one month now, and those include introducing me to many of you here in this room. I am obviously feeling very humbled to speak to such a prominent and eminent group of people. And I'd like to emphasize how much I'm looking forward to working very closely with all of you in the months and years to come, especially in this very challenging environment.

But we have heard much already today and I've already learned a lot about the serious arms control-related challenges facing the international community. These are not only some of the most important issues affecting disarmament and nonproliferation, but I should say they are in fact international peace and security more broadly.

So this is where I wanted to start off. The fragile and increasingly volatile international security environments, and these are obviously as the result of regional tensions, emergence of non-state actors with global reach now, and resurgence, if you will, of some of the historical animosity, so the environment is further undermined by challenges, such as the dangerous and provocative activities of the DPRK in terms of the repeated use of missile and nuclear tests, use of chemical weapons in the Middle East and apparent drift perhaps backwards towards, into Cold War positions, including some of the worrying rhetorics we hear about the utilities of nuclear weapons.

It is often argued in this kind of environment that disarmament and arms control must be shelved until the climate improves, as if they are actually part of humanitarian diplomacy to try to soften the hard power of real politics.

Now, of course, the norms are important, including those in international humanitarian law. But I think this view fails to take into account the historic role disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation have played in the maintenance of international peace and security.

As the Arms Control Association has endeavored to demonstrate, disarmament has always been a critical component in preventing and resolving conflicts, including during the tensions of the Cold War. Disarmament is integral to any political solution to conflicts.

Disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation provide mechanisms for transparency and to build trust and confidence. They present avenues for dialogue and seek to find common ground, very important. In this way, disarmament and arms control and nonproliferation instruments enhance security for all of us. In today's complex environment, that is something I think we would do well to remember.

And if I may add, the international community benefited from an important leadership role the United States of America demonstrated in this area at critical moments in the past, which all hope it will continue to play.

The UN has obviously a long history in disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation. It is one of the pillars upon which the organization rests. From the first Genera Assembly resolution that called for the elimination of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, to the biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the UN has been a venue for dialogue, a source of technical knowledge and, if you will, an honest broker.

Multinational disarmament and nonproliferation is a web of interlocking agreements and instruments. The well functioning of each matters greatly to the maintenance of the overall credibility of the international disarmament and nonproliferation regime. Each of these instruments is a brick in the wall of our collective security. Allow one to crumble and it will damage the entire edifice.

In this relation, we are witnessing some worrying trends. Take, for example, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons fact-finding mission in the Syrian Arab Republic and the UN OPCW joint investigative mechanism. Both have been the epitome of objective, independent and technical professionalism. Of the many allegations regarding the use of chemical weapons, the technical experts at OPCW and its FFM have been able to independently confirm 30 such instances. The JIM has been able to identify three instances of use of chemicals as weapons by the government of Syria and one instance of the use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

This work is crucial in reinforcing the taboo against the use of chemical weapons and bringing to justice the perpetrators of the horrific crime against humanity. It is work that must be safeguarded and vocally supported. It should not be held hostage to any political motivation.

In this complex environment, we must be able to rely on the advice of scientific and technical professionals. And this is in fact a critical part of the overall credibility of the disarmament regime that we have built over many years in fact.

Other important examples of worrying trends in different parts of the multinational regime include the near-two-decades stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament, the financial precariousness of important disarmament instruments and perhaps most worryingly erosion of consensus over the path to a world without nuclear weapons, all of which are damaging the multinational disarmament and nonproliferation regime.

So against this broader context, let me touch on negotiations on the Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or more simply the ban treaty. I appreciate that there are definite positions on this matter, but the negotiations do reflect the overwhelming interest of the international community, more than 130 countries, in facilitating progress toward nuclear disarmament. It is a historic development as it represents the most significant multinational nuclear disarmament negotiations in over 20 years.

The ban treaty is also a product of a frustration many states feel at the slow pace of nuclear disarmament. It is the frustration that has been simmering for years as positions have widened over how best to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons. And because rhetoric, accusations of arms control treaty noncompliance and expensive modernization campaigns combined with an absence of progress on long-overdue measures, such as Fissile Material Cutoff treaty and a perceived lack of urgency in implementing successive NPT outcome documents, have all fueled this frustration.

A world free of nuclear weapons is a vision that has been subscribed to by the United States for seven decades. It has been also advocated by some of the most prominent American statesmen and women in order to enhance international and U.S. security. It is, of course, everyone's responsibility. However, if we are to find our way back to common ground, the nuclear weapon states must show the way. Their sustained commitment to this universally shared goal has undergirded much of the success over the last seven decades.

Russia and the United States as holders of the two largest nuclear arsenals have a special responsibility. Strategic dialogue, we heard quite a lot about that today, on further bilateral reductions involving all types of nuclear weapons could be a stabilizing factor between the two countries. It would also have positive impact on the overall international peace and security. This is particularly important for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The NPT is the cornerstone of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. It must remain so. It represents near-universal common ground and continues to reinforce our collective security.

I am pleased to see the draft ban treaty explicitly recognizes these facts and I really hope that this will be maintained through the forthcoming negotiations. But if a ban treaty is to become a reality, the future health of the NPT and of the overall nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime will require urgent steps towards the implementation of Article VI commitments.

It is also critical to keep constructive dialogues between those who decided not to be part of the negotiations and those who decided to be part of the negotiation of the ban treaty.

As the 50th anniversary of the NPT entry into force in 2020 approaches, states' parties have the opportunity to find common grounds on ways forward and make this a milestone anniversary to celebrate.

Ladies and gentlemen, earlier I had mentioned the UN's role as the avenue for dialogue, a source of technical knowledge and an honest broker in the fields of disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation. Let me just briefly explain how the UN is critical in these ways.

First of all, the UN is a forum for united action. The role of the UN Security Council in unanimously condemning and sanctioning in fact the illegal missile and nuclear programs of the DPRK is a prime example. Differences persist, of course, over specific measures to pursue, but unequivocal condemnation of these brazen acts is a clear signal of the unanimity in the belief that weapons of mass destruction pose a threat to regional and global security.

Second, the UN is a forum for inclusive negotiations engaging all stakeholders. This is not to say that other forum do not play a role. Regional negotiations produce the valuable nuclear weapon-free zones and bilateral negotiations reduce nuclear arsenals by around 85 percent in some cases, but only universal forums create universally binding rules and norms.

With this in mind, the UN should be the venue for efforts to bring about other measures to achieve and maintain a nuclear weapon-free world. This includes negotiations on the FMCT and bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force.

Third, the UN is a useful forum for dialogue on new issues of critical importance to us all. The enduring concerns related to WMD and conventional weapons have been exacerbated by rapid advances in technology. A suit of new issues has emerged that threatens to undermine international stability. Artificial intelligence and cyber-security will be vital to humanity's future prosperity, but they could also, if used for malicious purposes, produce global problems that require global solutions. Likewise, conversations among all stakeholders are required if we are to grapple with game-changing, dual-use technology, such as 3D printing, in ways that minimize risk while not impeding development.

My final point relates to the UN as an honest broker and custodian to protect, safeguard and implement the most fundamental values on which the UN was founded. In the field of disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation, this in fact goes beyond simply reminding ourselves of the norms. We have played the critical role of impartial referee on the implementation of treaties, such as the NPT or Chemical Weapons Convention. This role that we play I believe is a critical one in actually making the world a safer place and a role that has always enjoyed a full support of the United States.

Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude, let me go back to where I started. Government breeds security. It is not a vague hope or aspiration, but must be a concrete contribution to a safer and more secure world. We must remember the core component of the mechanisms established at the creation of the United Nations for the maintenance of collective security. It is a cause to which we must rededicate all of our efforts.

The United Nations looks forward to the continued U.S. leadership and to working very closely with all of you towards our shared goal. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

KIMBALL: Thank you very much for those remarks.

And I think we have ample time for questions from the audience. Again, raise your hand, identify yourself, and ask your question.

Q: I would like to raise a peripheral issue. And I appreciate what the UN has done because I've spent many years in New York and particularly on the nonproliferation treaty where it was helpful. But there is now a conference that goes to Geneva, a UN conference, which I think is an eyesore. I'm referring to the conference that cannot succeed because it has a voting arrangement that prevents dealing with the one subject they're sent there to deal with.

And I know that I should have asked this to the new American representative that was here earlier, but he would just tell me, well, we haven't decided what to do about that. But you're coming onboard now. I would hope that you will use your exercise, and this is sort of a snide way to put this, but would you use your influence to have some change made in the system that we have there? Because it is a travesty that there is no possibility because of the rules of moving forward on the cutoff. And I know that there's nice scenery and the wine is pretty good in Geneva, but that's about all they do and it's a waste of everybody's taxes to send people there.

Now, I'd like your comment on that.

NAKAMITSU: Yes. Well, actually, I would like to ask for your advice on what to do with the CD. I haven't been to Geneva. I am going there next week and I'll be talking to many of the Conference on Disarmament ambassadors. I have been actually already asking for advice.

I don't think it would be very easy to change. I mean, some people suggested, yes, we need to, you know, come out of the box and think, you know, interesting ways forward. Some even suggest that we open it up to everyone. There seem to be no quick fixes. We need to really put our heads together and think very creatively what we can in fact do.

But the forum, in fact, I mean, it is true that it's been stuck for more than two decades. They cannot even agree on the agenda. But in the sidelines, they are still continuing with dialogues and informal discussions.

Now, do we find that useful? Probably. In my message actually to the NATO conference, I put a tiny bit of a very positive, in our view, development that just happened a couple of weeks ago, a few months ago, which is breaking the deadlock in the disarmament commission, I think it was in March. We don't think it is an insignificant achievement. It demonstrated that perhaps because there are problems in other parts of disarmament instruments, perhaps, I hope, the member states felt that there will have to be extra efforts to demonstrate that they are willing to compromise on substantive issues.

But maybe there is hope, I don't know. But again, I would very much like to hear from you, what are the things that we could potentially think about doing? Because I'm a newcomer, complete newcomer into this community, I could potentially think very creatively without the fear that some of the more sort of experts might have. So please help us think through what we might be able to do.

KIMBALL: All right. Is that better? Thank you. So yes, being the new kid on the block can be liberating. And I just wanted to note to Larry's question that there have been creative initiatives that have been taken by like-minded governments on important issues over the last couple of decades especially because the Conference on Disarmament has been unable to agree on an agenda.

One such example was President Obama's initiative to host a nuclear security summit in 2010, there were three more. You know, that kind of initiative takes a great deal of courage, diplomatic energy. There has to be enough countries who are interested in that. But that might be another option.

I mean, the negotiation on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty is yet another example of states taking the initiative using the UN General Assembly to launch a negotiation on something of common interest.

So there are some creative approaches that might be applied to some of the issues that have been, you know, behind the beautiful bars of the CD, locked away in that body for the last 20 years.

So other questions from the floor? We have Jonathan Granoff.

Thank you, Jonathan.

Q: Thank you so much for your comments. One of the things that commends you to this is your background in actually dealing with real human catastrophe. And one of the key agendas for the next several decades of the UN will be the sustainable development goals, the 17 goals of addressing what appears to me to be real human security, addressing poverty, protecting the climate, protecting the oceans, the very lungs of the planet.

And to a large extent, the disarmament, nonproliferation, arms control agenda is siloed from the dynamic of sustainable development. But it appears to me that the standoff of nuclear weapons is an impediment to achieving those SDGs. Could you comment on the relationship between sustainable development and disarmament? Because if we can bring the two together, if we can bring the two together, there will be a lot more momentum in the field of arms control and disarmament.

NAKAMITSU: I'm not sure if I would like directly with the nuclear weapons issues. But in fact, we have been already working on linkage between disarmament in general and SDGs. In fact, there is SDG 16.4, I think, when I left UNDP just exactly one month ago, there was a farewell reception. And I sort of joked, you know, I thought I would never have to deal with SDGs anymore, but no, no, there was 16.4 which the ODA was responsible for. So we have a work plan. We have a strategy how to, in fact, you know, make progress in that.

In fact, you know, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not a single person has died from nuclear weapons. But in fact, there have been lots of casualties as a result of small arms and light weapons. So this conventional weapons disarmament aspect is something that we would definitely like to highlight much more.

It's also an area where we have been also making progress. And we need to actually advertise that. If we put our heads together and work, you know, together, we are able to make progress and achieve wonderful things. And I think that sort of positive message also in disarmament will be very important and that can be very much linked to the Agenda 2020 and SDGs. In fact, it is, in my view, a critical component of a concept also referred to as human security.

KIMBALL: There are other questions here?

Yes, Jeff.

Q: Hi. Jeff Abramson, I'm also at the Arms Control Association, but I handle the small arms and light weapons.

So I was going to ask a question that I think Jonathan and Larry framed well. Your experience and background in other areas actually I think could be quite beneficial. So I wanted to ask the question of how you think you might bring some of the work you've done to push the disarmament agenda.

I very much agree, having worked at the UN on negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty, that the UN is seen as a very siloed place and in some ways it really is. I would say you started with reminding us that some people say take a break from disarmament because the times are tough. But I would say, can we think of it the other way around? Can we use the other issues to make progress on disarmament? I would say that the humanitarian consequences is what drove the Nuclear Ban Treaty, there was a very different sort of outside-the-box human side that move that on. So if you have experiences you sort of think can bring to that.

And I want to ask more specifically about Syria. You brought this up when you talked about the chemical weapons use. I see that country as the sticking point for people who criticize the UN Security Council for not being able to do anything, people who criticize the UN and also for making it somewhat impossible for the United States and Russia to potentially cooperate, if you have some thinking on that.

Again, the idea of the refugees that came out of Syria I think at times could have driven some countries to think about we really need to get to a solution. Again, that's outside of the arms control, disarmament. So other outside-the-box thoughts you might have?

NAKAMITSU: Let me start with Syria. And that is clearly one of the, if you will, more immediate, acute priority agenda my office has at the moment. And here, what I have been emphasizing already is that this is actuallyóI mean, of course, it's about Syria, but it's not just about Syria. If this fight continues to be politicized and seen from different positions that different members of the Security Council have on the Syrian conflict, then we might in fact start to lose part of a very important disarmament regime called OPCW.

There is a reason why the international community created a technical agency, such as OPCW or IAEA, and if those entities are in fact politicized, then we will really start to lose the capacities that the nonproliferation regime, that has worked so well over the years, will start to crumble. And we want to prevent that.

So I have been already, you know, messaging this with all the relevant parties. And I won't, you know, share the details in a public session, but I think this is a line that we must really continue together with the head of JIM as well.

Now, JIM is an independent creation by the Security Council. We fully respect their independence. But the head of JIM and I fully coordinate. We see the situation very much in the same way. So we play a different role, but we try to maintain the nonproliferation regime as it was created and designed intentionally. So this is something that, you know, for us it would be very important and it actually goes beyond Syria.

And I hope there are a sufficient number of countriesóI think there are sufficient number of countries who understand this point, which is a medium to longer-term strategic point, not just about the Syrian conflict.

On your first question, I want to emphasize the point that I made in my remarks, which is that disarmament really is an integral part of any solution to political conflict. If you look at, if you study all peace agreements, and I've worked in many different parts of the world in peacekeeping in particular, there is always some elements of disarmament involved in the sort of peace treaty package. So perhaps it has not been seen so linked, so clearly linked in the UN But this issue or the important priority of coming out of a silo within the UN system is in fact a priority of the secretary-general.

He sees the UN as the organization which will be able to in fact tackle those problems much more holistically with necessary linkages made. And so I would like to make sure that disarmament will much more action part of those peaceful resolution of conflict type of thinking.

KIMBALL: Very good.

Ambassador Kennedy.

Q: If I might, I wanted to ask about the Biological Weapons Convention. I mean, you talked about the strains on the OPCW, but here you have a very important convention, the least subscribed of the three WMD treaties, an implementation support unit of three people, a disastrous review conference that, despite the efforts of many to find common ground, was stymied to the degree, I think it was largely Iran, although I was not there, so that they could not even agree the schedule of activities for the year ahead, which are vitally valued by many scientists, government officials, folks around the world.

So any thoughts about moving this important convention forward? Thank you.

NAKAMITSU: You know, when I was going through the sort of initial briefing, this is the area that really scared me a lot. I'm a born optimist, but ever since I took this position my optimism is gradually going down. No, no, no, I will keep it up. Yes, I will keep it up.

You know, perhaps the biologicalóI mean, I understand that the UN has always been trying to argue that there will have to be some sort of an implementation capacity that has to be created. But we just don't have the support, including the financial support, but also the political support to create such an independent capacity.

I mean, the convention itself is a very old one. But perhaps this is something because it's so scary to think about the actual scenario, you know, the international community is sort of trying to choose or trying to ignore the serious sort of possibilities.

We are doing what we can, I mean, through the three people, the implementation support unit which is housed within ODA in Geneva. What we are doing is to create a network of professionals. In the event something happens, then those network of professionals could be called on to investigate with a very short time frame, et cetera. So we are in fact trying to create a capacity which is not standing capacity, but standby capacity.

So, you know, we would like to be supported much more in some of those endeavors. And I will see what we can do in terms of really mobilizing political and financial support from member states or the state parties.

KIMBALL: Well, thank you very much. We have run out of time. I just wanted to express our appreciation for your work and the work of your team and all the people at the United Nations who provide a vehicle for states and civil society to work on these issues.

And, I mean, what you've described to us is a reminder that, you know, the UN helps provide tools and fora for discussion, but we've got to use them. There needs to be leadership to take advantage of those opportunities. We've got to resource the UN so that it can do its job, particularly the technical organizations like the BWC support unit, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization and others.

And I think, you know, we're going to count on you to help provide some fresh ideas. And we look forward to working with you to help forward some of those that come from civil society here in Washington and elsewhere. And we appreciate all that you are doing for us. So thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

NAKAMITSU: Thank you.

KIMBALL: All right. And I'm going to remain seated here because of the microphone issues. And I just want to say a few words in closing of today's Arms Control Association annual meeting.

It's been a great discussion. I want to thank the panelists and our moderators. I hope everybody has found the conference informative and thought-provoking and not depressing. Because as Larry Weiler said earlier, one of the true veterans of these issues, these are tough issues and they require persistence. And you can count on those of us at the Arms Control Association to continue to persistently provide information and ideas to help guide us forward.

So we also appreciate the support of everybody here and beyond who make our work possible. I want to thank all those who have been tuning in on C-SPAN and on social media. We're going to have a transcript of today's discussions and the talks available next week on our website, armscontrol.org.

If you are not a member of the Arms Control Association, and I can't believe anybody wouldn't be, please consider joining or making a donation. Donations and membership remains at the $25 level. And if you're not sure about your status, you want to renew, you are eligible for a fantastic coffee travel mug if you do it today.

I also want to welcome once again, we mentioned this earlier, I want to announce and welcome the new members to our board of directors. We've got a fantastic group that's now being augmented with Tom Countryman, Laura Kennedy, Susan Burk, Deborah Fikes, Leland Cogliani.

And I want to also just thank my fantastic staff team. They work hard, they're very professional, they're very dedicated. And I want to especially thank our program and policy associate, Shervin Taheran, for all that she did for this event, a very complex arrangement, but she tells me it wasn't as difficult as planning her wedding earlier this year.

So congratulations on that and thank you, Shervin.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, and I'm sorry for my list, Bonnie Jenkins is another new board member who is here with us today.

(APPLAUSE)

And also, thanks to the good folks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for hosting us today.

And last note, we hope to see many of you this evening at 5:00 p.m. for our informal post-meeting reception in conjunction with the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy at the 18th Street Lounge not far away. If you don't know where that is, check with the staff before you leave.

So thanks again. Thanks to our panelists. And thank you for your support to the Arms Control Association. We are adjourned.

(APPLAUSE)

END

Description: 

Arms Control and Nonproliferation Restraints at Risk
2017 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting

BRIEFING: How U.S. and Russian Leaders Can Avoid Renewed Nuclear Tensions

Sections:

Body: 

Russia and the West are on the brink of a renewed confrontation. Key pillars of mutual restraint are in jeopardy, including the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the 2010 New START agreement. Washington and Moscow are heavily investing in new and redundant nuclear systems that exceed their respective deterrence requirements. Both NATO and Russia are ramping up their defenses in the Baltic region, with close military encounters increasing the chances of a dangerous miscalculation.

Three members of the Deep Cuts Commission, a 21-member experts group from the United States, Russia, and Germany, presented their perspectives and proposals for how Presidents Trump and Putin can chart a safer course. This event was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. 

Audio of the event will be available soon. The transcript is below. 

Speakers include:

  • Sergey Rogov, Director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Walter J. Schmid, former German Ambassador in Moscow (2005-2010) 
  • Steven Pifer, Director of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative
  • Daryl Kimball, Director, Arms Control Association, Moderator

The Deep Cuts Commission's most recent report, published June 2016, is available online


This is an unedited transcript provided by CQ Roll Call.

Transcript: 

      DARYL G. KIMBALL:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Welcome to the First Amendment Lounge of the National Press Club.  I am Daryl Kimball.  I'm the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.  And as most of you know, we're a non-governmental organization that has been in existence since 1971 to address the risks and dangers of the world's most dangerous weapons.  And we are focused for many decades on the U.S.-Soviet and now U.S.-Russian nuclear balance.

      And we are one of the organizational partners of the Russian, German, U.S. expert commission on removing obstacles to achieving deeper nuclear weapons reductions known as the Deep Cuts Commission which was established in 2013.  It's led by our colleagues at the Hamburg Peace Research Institutes and we are the American partner organization.  And today, we are happy to bring folks together for a briefing on the current challenges relating to the U.S.-Russian nuclear balance.

      Since the commission was put together four years ago in 2013, and we developed a name the Deep Cuts Commission, the political situation has changed dramatically and the prospect for further progress looks dim.  And the challenges between the U.S. and Russia and for the pillars of Arms control look to be much more difficult. 

      I'm just going to provide a brief introduction to the subject we're going to discuss today.  We've got three expert speakers who are going to into more depth and then we're going to follow their presentations with Q&A with you all.

      So, just to remind everyone, as we know since 2013, Russia and the West are engaged in a period of renewed confrontation.  Key pillars of the security architecture including the 1987 INF Treaty, Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the 2010 New START agreement, and the Open Skies Treaty are all in some form of jeopardy.

      Both Washington and Moscow are investing heavily in new and redundant nuclear systems that exceed their respective deterrence requirements and both NATO and Russia are ramping up the military capabilities in the frontier region and there are close military encounters that increase the chance of dangerous miscalculations.

      So, I think one of the core messages that you might come away with today is that without renewed and sober dialogue and restraint on the part of both sides, it is quite possible that the key mechanisms that have served to regulate the U.S. nuclear relationship may disappear in the next year or two.

      So, we have three very experienced insightful experts to share their perspectives on these issues, Sergey Rogov, the Director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.  He will go first being the most senior of our panelists and coming the furthest, I think to Washington for this event.

      Ambassador Walter Schmid, former German Ambassador to Moscow from 2005 to 2010, and Ambassador Steve Pifer, Director today of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative, close colleague with whom we work with in Washington. 

      So each of them is going to provide their comments, their perspective as members of the Deep Cuts Commission on the crisis in bilateral U.S.-Russian Arms control, what they see as the most urgent two or three problems, what's at stake and what U.S. and Russian and European leaders can do and must avoid doing to help avoid further damage.  So with that, Sergey, the floor is yours. Thank you for being here.

      SERGEY ROGOV:  Thank you, Daryl. 

      It's a great pleasure and honor for me to be here today.  I spent more than 50 years studying the United States.  I never thought I would live so long.  And now, I feel like I'm 33 or 35 years younger, because, well, I spent half of my life in the trenches of the Cold War.  And I have the feeling that we are back to those trenches, since the relationship between Russia and the United States today is extremely bad.  Of course, well, the direct parallel with the Cold War may be not quite correct, but there are some common features. 

      First of all, all the stereotypes of the Cold War propaganda are back.  And this anti-American and anti-Russian propaganda is truly ugly.  And what is really frightening is that sometimes propaganda becomes a substitute for a strategy.  And the most dangerous is when political players are beginning to believe their own propaganda. 

      The second commonality is that we don't have practical normal political dialogue.  In a couple of hours, I'm going to see Ambassador Kislyak.  And I can tell you that, well, he was so badly treated, a solid professional diplomat who is doing his work has been publicly attacked as a recruiter spy, that really demonstrates how low our relations are.    Without the political dialogue, we simply cannot find solutions to the problems we face. 

      The third feature is the economic sanctions, the economic warfare.  And finally, and that is most dangerous the resumption of the arms race and the military tension between Russia and the United States when we face all kind of ugly incidents which can produce unbelievable consequences.

      So what should be learned?  I don't intend to spend the rest of my life in the trenches of the new Cold War.  I think we have to stop it and reverse it and try to build a positive relationship between Russia and the United States. That will be good not only for our two countries, but for the rest of the world, since Russia and the United States, we are still nuclear superpowers.  And while 30 years ago or 40 years ago, we had so many nuclear weapons that we can destroy the entire humanity 20 times, today, the number is smaller. 

      But we still can destroy the entire mankind three or four times.  We are locked in a very strange relationship called mutually assured destruction, so strategic stability is based on this notion.

      And right now, it seems that we cannot avoid this paradigm.  But why Russia and the United States should be forever doomed to mutually assured destruction?  Let me give you the example of the United Kingdom and France.

      They actually have enough weapons to destroy each other, 200 or 300 nuclear warheads, that's sufficient.  And the French and the British don't always like each other.  But the relationship is not mutually assured destruction. Mostly, it's cooperative relationship.

      And I wonder why Russia and United States despite the existence of nuclear weapons cannot move to a positive cooperative relationship.  That, of course, requires to avoid the total collapse of the arms control regime, because many elements of the arms control regime which we negotiated at the end of the Cold War and after it like the ABM Treaty are gone. 

      And what we have, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty today are under attack.  I presume we'll have more time to talk about specific suggestions how we can reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, how well we can engage other nuclear weapons states like China, India, the United Kingdom, France and others into some kind of the arms control regime, which probably would be different from Russian-American arms control regime, but still there should be some rules of the game.

      And this is particularly important when the international system based on the rules, institutions, multilateral institutions today is under attack.  And I won't -- trying to be a little bit diplomatic,  I won't tell you which country is driving this attack on the United Nations, on NAFTA, on NATO, on Trans-Pacific Partnership and I can continue with this list.

      And Russian-American cooperation, if we're able to resume it, will help to deal with many challenges which the present international community faces.  One of them are the weapons of mass destruction.  But there are other challenges, problems like the Islamic State. Today, Russians and Americans fight against the Islamic State in Syria, which theoretically should have made us allies like when the Soviet Union and the United States were fighting against Hitler as a common enemy. 

      So the Islamic State is a common enemy.  And each of us in one way or another is resisting it, but we are not allies.  And actually some pretty bad things happen unless we are able to find how, well not just to avoid accidents, but how to cooperate.

      There are other issues which we should be concerned, but I presume that the time which was allocated by Daryl to me has expired, so I have to stop. 

      KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you, Sergey.

      Ambassador Schmid, the floor is yours.  Thank you. 

      WALTER J. SCHMID:  Thank you, Daryl. 

      Ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure for me to address to you some problems we are talking about in the Deep Cuts Commission.  And working in this commission I can draw not only from my experience in Moscow but also from my time for 2000 to 2005 as Federal Commissioner of the Federal Government for Arms Control and Disarmament in Germany. 

      The Deep Cuts Commission is basically an arms control commission.  And before I will try to discuss some aspects of the INF Treaty, New START and the military problems related to the Baltic State, I would like to make some comments on the nature and the tasks arms control can fulfill.  Arms control is about organizing one country's security.  And in doing so, it's in some competition with unilateral defense.

      Both unilateral defense and arms control which is an element of cooperative security start by the same procedure.  First, there must be an assessment of the security threat, of the security need one country faces.

      And then at the next level, we see the difference.  Defense, unilateral defense tries to fill gaps, normally by buildup of military capabilities.  Arms control on the other hand tries to come an agreement, to come to an agreement with the adversary most likely at the lower level of weapons that existed before.  That's the ideal view.

      And it is since two centuries that one great philosopher, Immanuel Kant, illuminated the problems of unilateral defense, stating in his famous essay, Perpetual Peace, that once one country or one state tries to increase its security by military means, there is a risk that it is going to decrease the security situation of others and the adversaries.

      And as you know, the other state, the adversary has done the same procedure to face.  He has to define its security needs and then probably will end by a buildup of his armed forces.  And this, as the Cold War has shown, can lead to a buildup of arms, to an arms race and to less stability, less security for both sides.

      If it goes well, this buildup, then those states will end up at a higher level of balance.  This causes during the time of the period of the buildup, of course, some instability, and at the end of the day it's more extensive than security on a lower level, so it's a waste of money.

      And I am drawing my attention now to -- given this framework to the three problems I would like to address.  First one, INF, I think INF is an example of such, while the history, the run-up to INF is an example of such a buildup because one side in those days, the Soviet Union, introduced a new weapon.

      The German chancellor Helmut Schmidt thought we should react because this weapon was directed not against United States but against Europe.  It's a problem of Europe and also talking as a European here, you cannot reduce the INF Treaty to an issue between United States and Russia. It's also of utmost concern to Europe because we are faced with a new weapon that's directed against -- can be directed against Europe.  So, Helmut Schmidt was very nervous about this and he started a policy campaign that finally was very costly for him, because he had to pay with his job in '83 -- '82 and (inaudible).

      So what happened?  You know, this was the double solution, the two track approach.  The western countries came to the conclusion that they had to react.  They reacted and they deployed Pershing.  Then the other side realized that this, of course, caused a new problem to them because they were now confronted with rockets, with missiles that could reach their country within a few minutes. So they saw the risk of the first strike problematic.  So at the end of the day we had a buildup on both sides.  We had to pay for more than 2,000 missiles and then both sides decided that it would be better if they could abolish this kind of weaponry (inaudible).

      And that's the situation where we are today.  And I think that everybody on all sides who is talking today, the problems of the IFA, the possibility of withdrawing, thinking about it should not forget this experience, that once we didn't have the INF Treaty, we ran run into a very difficult situation.

      And those who think that because other states are not part of the INF Treaty and withdrawal from the treaty could be a good solution in order to solve these problems,  I am talking about, immediately about this, should never forget the problems I've talked about that could arise in Europe and where the Europeans don't have any interest in recreating this situation.

      Of course, INF Treaty is apart from what I have said, a bilateral issue, and it would be advisable to take other countries in.  I don't know if it's advisable to start an initiative for multi-lateralization, but it probably could be a good idea to take countries that are of interest to both sides and to Europe, in the Far East into this treaty.  And to make them concrete proposals because I could think that also countries like China, like Japan, like South Korea could have an interest not to run into this problem of this kind of conflict. 

      Second, New START, we know that this treaty finished a period where we didn't have, the binding instruments in order to face the nuclear threat.  And fortunately the New START in our view was concluded. It runs until '21.  And we would be very happy if it could be at least extended for more years to come.  And we would even be more happy if it could be improved.  And I think there is a possibility to do so.  I'm coming back to what I've said about the general nature of arms control.  First is the military as the military planner should assess the security risk and the security needs.

      And we had in 2013 a statement by the then-American President Obama who said that according to military assessment, the United States could reduce further.  And we are hopeful that the upcoming new nuclear posture will not diverge too much from the military statement some years ago. 

      This will also be positive, an extension, and probably an improvement of the treaty would also be very positive with regard to the NPT.  You know that the non-nuclear weapon states under this regime of the NPT are getting more and more unsatisfied and they are looking for alternatives. 

      We will have next week or so a conference of the "ban" countries how they are called and they passed a resolution in the United Nations where the majority of 134 votes.  So, it would be detrimental to the interest of us all if the NPT could be damaged. 

      And I can assure you, having assisted two NPT conferences, that the problem of nuclear disarmament is decisive.  If it's dealt well with, it's decisive for the mood of the conference and progress that can be made.  If we miss this opportunity, we will also face problems with the NPT which is a pillar and the cornerstone of our international security.

      The third issue I wanted to talk very briefly is the Baltics.  What we are seeing currently on all sides is a preparedness to increase military spending, increase military capabilities on both sides.  And so, we face the risk of a buildup in these capabilities in close proximity to the common border between Russia and NATO. 

      NATO, by the way, coming back to my general remarks on arms control, is committed to both aspects, to collective defense and collective security.  These are principles established in the strategic concept of NATO.  And that's why it would be advisable if we could think on both sides, before we are going to build up military capabilities to assess the concrete security risk both sides faces, and then to discuss on that basis how they could by arms control measures of a regional nature reduce tension without coming under the pressure to start a buildup. 

      And we could imagine, and the commission has proposed some technicalities we could talk about later, in order to reduce tension to dislocated forces and to work that way against the risk of a, let's say, military accident. 

      These are the three examples I wanted to illustrate a little bit in order to show you that arms control which is often being neglected in these days, sometimes ignored, is not an out-of-date instrument, but it can be very instrumental and very helpful in facing the security risks and threat we are finding today in a risky world. 

      Thank you very much. 

      KIMBALL:  Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. 

      Steve Pifer, your perspective after the Russian and German perspective on these challenges. 

      STEVE PIFER:  Yes.  Thank you, Daryl.  For 45 years the nuclear arms control regime has contributed to the security of both the United States on the one side, the Soviet Union and Russia on the other end, and it's also had broader security benefits. 

      But there are certain things now which lead people to be concerned including myself that that regime could be at risk and I'll talk about three challenges very briefly.  And my two co-panelists have already touched on these questions, but the first challenge is just you have a broad U.S.-Russia political relationship that is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War, lots of mistrust, very difficult issues. 

      The question is can you get that relationship to a point where you can begin to engage on some of these questions that relate to arms control, avoiding military activities that could be problematic.  I think you probably have to start off with small steps. 

      One step, I think, would be of urgent attention should be some kind of a military-to-military dialogue at a time when American, NATO and Russian military units are operating in close proximity at a higher tempo than the past; some kind of regime to address issues so that you avoid dangerous military incidents, that you avoid things that could lead to accident or miscalculation. 

      A second challenge is the preservation of the treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces.  That treaty was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 and it bans the United States and Russia from testing or deploying ground-based cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, and it resulted in the elimination of almost 2,700 American and Soviet missiles back by 1991. 

      The United States has charged Russia with testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile at intermediate range and as we heard two weeks ago, the U.S. military believes that the Russians have begun to deploy that missile.  The Russians have leveled several charges about American non-compliance with the treaty. And that poses a problem, can the treaty be preserved. 

      I think the Obama administration in its last several years was hoping to find a way to bring Russia back into compliance.  And I'll talk about the American violations in a moment.  That presumably is going to be much harder to do if we're now talking about Russia deploying a prohibited missile as opposed to testing. 

      You have discussions going on now, I think.  A senior American official yesterday raised the question, what leverage does the United States have to bring Russia back into compliance.  There have been suggestions on Capitol Hill about perhaps building an American intermediate-range missile.  And my guess is that would actually get the attention of Moscow.  Certainly, in the 1980s, the deployment of the American Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missile in Europe focused Soviet attention and was important to getting the treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces in the first place. 

      Personally, I would prefer to avoid steps that add to the numbers of nuclear weapons, but those who are advocating this idea I think need to answer two questions.  One, can the U.S. defense budget afford to build this missile and two, if the United States built it, would NATO agree to deploy it.  And unless the answers to both of those questions are yes, I'm not sure that's a doable option. 

      Other possibilities would be looking more at countervailing conventional capabilities.  I think I'd build on the point that while this is a treaty dispute between the United States and Russia, the real security threat, if Russia is in fact deploying an intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile, is to its neighbors in Europe and Asia. 

      And I think it would be worthwhile for the U.S. government to be doing what it can to begin to get those countries that would be directly threatened by this missile -- Germany, France, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, China and South Korea -- to begin to make this an issue on their agendas with Moscow. 

      My sense is we're probably not going to get a lot of traction making this just a U.S.-Russian issue.  We should be trying to make this an issue between Russia and the other countries for whom this missile would be a threat if in fact it is being deployed. 

      Also, there's an importance to dealing with the Russian concerns about American compliance.  I think that a couple of the Russian concerns are, probably can be handled fairly easily but there is one concern that to my mind has merit, and that is the Russian concern that the site in Romania to deploy SM-3 missile interceptors is a potential violation of the treaty or is a violation of the treaty. 

      And the argument goes, if you look at that site which is based on the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System, if you take those launchers and them on U.S. Navy warship, they can hold SM-3 interceptors but they can also hold sea-launched cruise missiles which are virtually identical to ground-launched cruise missiles.

      So, I think that's an issue the U.S. government needs to pay attention to in terms of preserving the treaty, and this will require a significant degree of political will on both sides.  Preserving the treaty at this point is going to be very, very difficult.  But if that treaty unravels, it has significant consequences and perhaps could lead to an unraveling of the overall nuclear arms control regime. 

      The third issue is the New START Treaty and what happens there.  Under the terms of New START, the United States and Russia by February of next year each are allowed no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on no more than 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers.  According to press reports in a February phone conversation, President Putin raised with President Trump the possibility of considering the extension of that treaty.  The treaty goes until 2021 but by its terms it can be extended to up to five years if the sides agree. 

      Reportedly, President Trump was a bit confused as to which treaty was being discussed and then was dismissive of it.  I hope that reflects the fact that the President is still learning about some of these questions.  It's very clear that his military supports this. 

      Two weeks ago, the Commander of Strategic Command and Vice Chairman of Joint of Chiefs of Staff in testimony on Capitol Hill made clear they support the treaty.  They like the fact that it caps the overall levels of Russian strategic forces, and they like the fact that the treaty provides for semi-annual data exchanges, thousands of notifications every year, and the opportunity 18 times a year to go and look at Russian strategic forces. That gives both sides a lot more information about the other side in a way that prevents having to make worst case assumptions. 

      Now, yesterday, Chris Ford who's at the National Security Council staff indicated that the U.S. policy would be to observe New START up until at least February, 2018 which is when the limits take full effect.  And that period runs roughly with the time where the administration will be conducting its nuclear posture review. 

      I very much hope that that review results in an agreement to continue to observe New START and perhaps to extend it to 2026.  But then, the question comes up, could you do more.  I personally would like to see us do more.  I believe it's in the U.S. security interest to further reduce nuclear weapons.  I would prefer fewer Russian nuclear weapons that could target the United States.  And my guess is that Sergey would like fewer American weapons that could target Russia.  But I'm not sure if that's going to be where the Trump administration comes out. 

      If the Trump administration would like to pursue those further reductions, my guess is they're going to have to deal with several questions the Russians have raised over the last four or five years.  One would be missile defense which will be a very tricky issue in this town.  A second issue would be Conventional Prompt Global Strike. And then, the third question might be could you begin to limit some of the capabilities of third country nuclear forces. 

      That's going to be a question though not only of preserving the arms control regime, but could you strengthen that regime.  And that's going to be a question both for the Trump administration and also for how the Kremlin wishes to pursue it. 

      Finally, just my concern about what happens if the INF treaty does collapse and if you don't get an extension of New START.  For the first time in 50 years, the United States and Russia would be in a situation in which there are no negotiated limits covering their strategic nuclear forces.  And I think potentially that has significant costs, particularly for the United States.  First of all, we lose limits on overall capabilities; we lose the transparency, we're not going to know things like how many warheads are on deployed Russian systems. 

      There is a potential for a nuclear arms race which from the American perspective is not a good idea.  My guess is the Russians can build nuclear weapons more cheaply than we can.  It's not an area of American comparative advantage. 

      Moreover, if we start this competition around 2021, it would begin at a time when the Russians have hot production lines, they're in the midst of their strategic modernization program.  Our program only cranks up in the 2020s.  And it would have a significant impact or it could have a significant impact on the U.S. defense budget. 

      We already have a strategic modernization program which the Pentagon or the Obama Pentagon said they did not know how to afford.  How do you then add to that on the nuclear side when you also have a White House that wants to have a 350-ship Navy and additional manpower for the Army and the Marines? 

      The other cost we have there is that other countries will react, in particular my concern is about China.  China has modestly increased its nuclear forces, but if the United States and Russia are in a situation where they are not limited and the limits go away, can we count on the Chinese to show restraint? 

      So, it seems to me that there are real costs to an end of that negotiated arms control regime.  It needs to be preserved, that's in the interest of the United States; it's an interest to Russia and of Europe.  But it's going to be a difficult challenge in the next couple of years. 

      KIMBALL:  Thank you much. 

      We're going to open up the floor to questions.  And as you ponder your questions, I wanted to start with a specific question perhaps starting with Steve about how specifically to solve the INF puzzle. 

      And I would just note that while there have been some Republicans on Capitol Hill who have proposed the initiation of efforts to develop a U.S. INF missile in response, there are other members of Congress, particularly the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who have said,  "No, we should not do that. That would be unwise."  And they have suggested that there be a second meeting of the Special Verification Commission, the SVC which the treaty provides for. 

      So, is that part of the solution?  What is the SVC, what could they do in this context, and can these technical people deal with this by themselves or does it take leadership from above to solve this? 

      PIFER:  The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty established the Special Verification Commission, and one of its mandated tasks is to examine issues of compliance with the treaty.  And that's the point or the place where the United States and Russia can bring together the technical expertise to solve the problems. 

      I think the first question is, is there a political will.  And if there's a political decision to try to solve these problems, you then have the technical experts who could figure out ways to do it.  In our commission, we've had some discussions, and in our third report we write about some possible solutions. 

      For example, the Russian concern about America's use of what the Russians say are intermediate-range ballistic missiles in tests for missile defense.  One way to resolve that problem, and I think it actually is a problem that both militaries would like to resolve, because both militaries are going to be using intermediate-range missiles as targets for their missile defense test, is work out language, and the SVC, the Special Verification Commission, would be the place to do this, that would say this is what is a prohibited intermediate-range ballistic missile, this is what is a permitted test missile. 

      And then perhaps you could say, and either of the sides can have no more than X number of test missiles at any one time and they have to be limited to locations that are associated with missile defense tests.  So, that's the kind of technical solution that you could work out that could solve the problem. 

      

      Likewise, again, on the question of the SM-3 interceptors in Romania, are there are certain things that you could do at that site that would say this is a system that cannot contain a sea-launched cruise missile, or could you allow the Russians periodically to come and take a look and say, okay, there are 24 launch boxes there, open that box number 1 and 16, we get to choose and show us there's an SM-3 interceptor in there, not a sea-launched or not a cruise missile. 

      So, I think those are the kinds of solutions.  It's a little bit more difficult at this point in time on the outside to come up with potential solutions for the American charge because we don't yet have a lot of detail.  But you could see possibilities for inspections, things like that that might at least begin to define exactly is there a problem here.  And then, again, if there was a political decision in Washington and in Moscow to try to preserve this treaty, the people in the Special Verification Commission could come up with ways to do it. 

      ROGOV:  Let me add a few words.  I basically agree with what Steve said.  But I'd like to mention two factors.  One is that with each arms control treaty, we always face some problems and some allegations, claims and we had the mechanism to resolve those problems and get rid of those accusations. 

      With the INF Treaty, we face a very strange situation.  When Russia was claiming that the United States is violating the INF treaty presented the facts, on American side, the position is unprecedented; the United States says Russia violated the INF Treaty.  And when we asked what are the facts, the response is you know yourself, so we are not going to tell you.  That's kind of a shell game. And unless the United States makes public what exactly it considers to be a violation by Russia, it's going to be very difficult to resolve the problem. 

      The second factor is that when the treaty was negotiated and that was what, 30 years ago, some of the new technological developments have not been taken into account.  Who, for instance, thought 30 years ago about unmanned aerial vehicles which can fly hundreds if not thousands of miles and carry a heavy payload? 

      So, well, the treaty has some elements which have to be clarified. Besides, when the INF Treaty was signed, the Soviet Union and the United States had almost 3,000 medium range missiles and the rest of the world just a few dozen.  Today, Russia and the United States don't have such missiles, land-based medium range missiles.  But China has more than 1,000.  Other countries like India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel also have medium range missiles.  And in terms of geography, that means that the missiles from those countries can attack targets on the Russian territory, but not on American territory since, as you know, there are no more medium-range Russian missiles on Cuba for, what, for 65 years, or 55.  And it's very unlikely that Russia will deploy them in Cuba. 

      So, well, we have to think how to engage other countries because, well, in a multipolar system in which we live, it's insufficient for Russia and the United States only to create legally binding arms control arrangements.  We have to think how to engage China, how to engage the United Kingdom, India, France and others. 

      And that is also a very important issue, since other nuclear weapon states say, "Oh, no, no.  Well, we are not going to get into arms control regime because we're small guys.  But you have thousands of nuclear warheads so why should we? Reduce to our level, then we shall think."  And that, of course, creates a situation when we have more and more uncertainty about what can happen in the future. 

      In particular, for instance, when we think whether China will get engaged in nuclear buildup responding to what the Chinese perceive as an American provocation of deployment of American ballistic missile defenses like the THAAD system in Korea and other places.  So, well, it's not just simply the question of the letter of the INF Treaty.  We have to think about the entire set of issues related to the INF Treaty. 

      KIMBALL:  Ambassador Schmid, you had a comment on INF? 

      SCHMID:  A short remark.  I think what Steve said and what Sergey said is very reasonable, but I wanted to make clear one point.  In order to satisfy these needs, we shouldn't run the risk to lose the treaty, because if we lose it, then of course, we are reimporting the security problem we had to solve it by the treaty.  And I think the advantage is we could have, vis-a-vis China or other countries you mentioned, would be much less than the problem we would create in Europe. 

      KIMBALL:  Right. 

      Are there questions from our audience?  We've answered all of your questions with U.S.-Russia relationship.  That's amazing. 

      Yes?  Identify yourself and tell us. 

      HERMAN:  Yes, I'm Steve Herman from the Voice of America.  Thank you, all, for coming here today.  I'm just wondering, maybe a brief elaboration on the comments that Chris Ford made yesterday concerning the nuclear posture review, and that essentially everything is on table including moving CTBT over to the executive branch to effectively kill it I guess. 

      And also, President Obama made a big deal of his goal which obviously a lot of people would consider to be utopian of zero nuclear weapons in the world.  If this administration moves away from that, what is the symbolism that you interpret in that move? 

      KIMBALL:  All right.  So just to repeat the question because we're recording it.  Question is a response to Chris Ford's comments about the nuclear reviews underway and how that affects you U.S. policy including the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  Why don't we start with Steve?  I actually have a thought on this, too, but as the American, why don't you respond to our American President's aide's comments for the VOA? 

      PIFER:  OK.  Well, first of all, let me say that it was probably natural for Chris Ford to say we're doing the nuclear posture review and I believe he also said there's going to be a missile defense posture review and everything's on the table.  I mean, that's where the administration is going to start so I would not read too much into that. 

      The important question is where do they come out at the end 12 or 16 months down the road when they finish this?  I also wouldn't read too much into the comment which did get some media play about him saying we might reconsider the end goal of world without nuclear weapons because I believe he qualified it, said, you know, is that a goal in the near to midterm?  Is that realistic? 

      I personally support a world without nuclear weapons.  I actually think American security interests would be better off in that world and that the risk of the world, of that kind of world, there would be risks there but they are less than the risk of a nuclear world.  But I would also admit that it would be very hard to get there. 

      

      So I can see an outcome where the Trump administration might say, "Yes, that's our goal."  And, in fact, President Trump said that pretty much three weeks ago.  But they may come to a different conclusion than the Obama administration came to as to how realistic it is to make that a goal that drives your near and your medium term policy approaches. 

      KIMBALL:  You know, let me just add a couple of observations, too.  I mean when President Obama on April 5, 2009 gave his speech in Prague about steps towards a world without nuclear weapons, he was not talking about a, you know, a near-term objective of achieving global nuclear disarmament.  But he was echoing the call from George Shultz, Sam Nunn, Bill Perry and Henry Kissinger issued about a year earlier, which is an echo of Ronald Reagan, of Jack Kennedy, of President Johnson, President Nixon, President Carter about the importance of pursuing the goal of nuclear disarmament.  And that goal is a treaty obligation of the United States and all of the parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty under Article 6 of the treaty and the subsequent review conference statements and commitments made. 

      And, in fact, in the year 2000, five years after the NPT was extended indefinitely, the five permanent members of the Security Council made a joint statement of an unequivocal commitment to achieving the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  It's a political statement, but it was important at the time. 

      So I would say to Chris Ford, I'll remind him that U.S. support for the goal of a world without nuclear weapons is non-negotiable.  This is not something up for review for President Trump to rethink as he sends out his next tweets.  This is a serious matter that has had a lot of consideration, bipartisan support.  And if United States does not commit to that in the long-term, it will have serious consequences across the system, particularly the nuclear nonproliferation treaty system. 

      And then just quickly on the review, the nuclear posture review, yes, as Steve said, everything is under reconsideration.  And I think what that should remind us about is that the policies that have been part of U.S. practice for several years, the 25-year long taboo on nuclear testing, no U.S. nuclear testing since September, 1992, the pursuit of further U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions, the policy that Obama put in place of no new nuclear weapons.  All of that is up for grabs again.  That does not mean that it's going to change, in fact, I think it'd be very difficult for Trump to change those things, but we should not take those policies for granted. 

      ROGOV:  Let me say a few words from a Russian point of view.  I was not at this meeting with Chris Ford, but I pay attention, as Steve said, that he claimed that the United States will stick to the START II Treaty until February 2018. 

      PIFER:  At least.

      ROGOV:  At least.  But the treaty expires only in 2021, so should I interpret this as a hint, as a message that after nuclear posture review will be finished, is finished, the Trump administration may decide to withdraw from the New START Treaty like George W. Bush did with the ABM Treaty. 

      That creates a lot of uncertainty, in particular since during the campaign Donald Trump made very contradictory statements about nuclear weapons.  Sometimes he supported no first use.  Sometimes he said, well, we shall win any nuclear arms race.  We shall always be number one. 

      Apparently, today there is no nuclear policy for the new administration, it's developing.  But the problem is that the Republican Party has almost no arms controllers left.  In 1972, it was Nixon and Kissinger and the Republicans who were launching to play the leading role in creating the arms control regime.  After Dick Luger left the Senate, are there any Republican senators who are supporting arms control regime? 

      And looking at the Republican platform, one gets the feeling that there is no arms control regime, arms control treaties the Republican Party will support.  Of course, if the Republican president, and you have now the Republican president or a Republican president, will propose some arms control initiatives, Republicans will probably support him. 

      But we see that the so-called defense hawks in the Senate and in the House already, well, threaten that they would not permit any arms control agreement, and that's in particular related to the bill which was introduced a month ago by Senator Cotton which suggests that the United States should deploy both defensive and defensive medium-range weapons and even give them to American allies, presuming Germany and others. 

      There is another element which creates uncertainty, and that, fundamental changes which the Republicans made in the National Missile Defense Act of 1999.  It was in 1999 that this act defined the purpose of the BMD as limited defenses.  So the word "limited" was dropped out last year and replaced by robust layered defenses including a suggestion that the United States should test and deploy space-based defenses. 

      Of course, well, that's a big concern for Russia and many people in Russia are beginning to believe in the worst case scenario.  Worst case scenario happens seldom, but the present uncertainty and the situation when we accuse each other of violation of legally binding obligations is not a very positive environment for preservation and strengthening of the arms control regime. 

      KIMBALL:  Ambassador Schmid? 

      SCHMID:  Coming back to your question, the zero option, I would (inaudible) what Daryl has just said.  This is stated in Article 6 of the NPT, and that's why it's not the free choice of the member states to adhere to it or not.  But there is something more to it.  This was an obligation undertaken by the nuclear weapon states.  In exchange for it, the non-nuclear weapon states renounced the acquisition of nuclear weapons.  I think we should never forget this.  This was the bargain.  And, of course, everybody knew that this objective of a zero option could only be reached step by step and not tomorrow morning. 

      But -- and I would recall what I've just said before, as soon as we face the risk that there would be no arms control instrument, of course, non-nuclear weapon states would see this as a non-compliance to the obligation of the other side under the NPT. 

      PIFER:  Just coming back to the point about what Chris Ford said yesterday, my assumption is that when he said at least through February 2018 an abundance of caution to preserve the flexibility for the administration. I personally am very confident that we'll observe the New START Treaty up through 2021 and the evidence I would offer is that we saw just a couple of days ago a press report saying that the Air Force intends to complete the removal of another 50 ICBMs by April, which would bring the U.S. ICBM force down to 400.  That is the New START planned force. 

      If, in fact, the Trump administration wanted to keep all options open after February of 2018, they might have slowed that program down to give themselves options to go beyond New START.  So I'm not sure that the administration has a decision yet about what happens after 2021, but I have a fair degree of confidence that the administration would adhere to New START through 2021. 

      KIMBALL:  All right.  Any other thoughts, questions?  Yes, sir, in the back. 

      QUESTION:  (OFF-MIKE)

      KIMBALL:  A good question.  So the question I think was do the non-nuclear weapon states of the world, the majority, do they continue to believe in forswearing nuclear weapons given some of the difficulties that we now see with respect to the nuclear armed states not fulfilling their responsibilities on disarmament? 

      SCHMID:  As you -- as you can see, today I think the way that non-nuclear weapon states would go is not to rearm as well.  But if you look at the ban initiative, they try to find ways and means in order to reinforce efforts to disarm nuclearly (ph).  You can discuss if the ways and means they found so far are adequate ones, very helpful ones. 

      We -- our German position, for instance, the government's position is that this is not very helpful.  It could damage the NPD a well and that will sure speak for the step-by-step approach.  But it's quite obvious that if even the step-by-step approach doesn't work, then there will be reactions of the new nuclear weapon states vis-a-vis the NPT.  And I don't think, this is my personal view, that they would like to rearm, but I think they will try to find ways and means to circumvent the NPT.  This could be a serious risk and this wouldn't be a positive news for all of us. 

      KIMBALL:  Yes. 

      Steve? 

      PIFER:  I would add that if you look at the two most significant nuclear proliferation challenges we seen now which would be North Korea and Iran, if the United States abandons its commitments to reduce nuclear weapons and ultimately move towards their elimination, if we move away from that, it will greatly diminish both the diplomatic and the moral authority of the United States to mobilize pressure on the part of third countries against Iran and North Korea.  So there's a very big risk in terms of our ability to contain proliferation in those cases where it perhaps is moving forward. 

      KIMBALL:  And, yes, and I would agree with that and we should also remember that we can't judge the effects of this in the short-term very well.  We need to think about the long term.  And we have to remember, the NPT was created in 1968.  There was a conference in 1995 about whether to extend it or not.  It was decided that it would be extended indefinitely.  We're now approaching the 50th anniversary of the NPT.  We have to think in these long timelines.  So what will happen 25 years from now if -- but I'll agree with Steve that it would diminish the U.S. moral authority, the Russians' moral authority if they're not making good faith progress on disarmament with respect to other states. 

      Yes? 

      QUESTION:  (inaudible) and this is about North Korea.  To what extent does North Korea's continuing development of ballistic missiles and the outcome of current confrontation over that program affect the U.S.-Russia issues, the U.S.-Russia agenda that you've been discussing? 

      KIMBALL:  Oh, I can take a crack at that, but if others want to contemplate that.  I mean I would -- I would say that, you know, if North Korea's nuclear missile program is not halted in the near term, and I think that requires pressure, more effective sanctions and engagement, if that does not occur they're going to have the ability to strike Japan, South Korea, even China and U.S. forces in the region with nuclear armed ballistic missiles.  They may not have an ICBM for several years even if they begin testing it in 2017. 

      What does that do?  I don't that affects directly the U.S.-Russia dynamics.  I think it would gravely affect U.S.-Chinese dynamics and that may, in the longer run, affect U.S.-Russia dynamics.  And what I mean is that, you know, as, if North Korea advances its nuclear and missile capabilities, the U.S., South Korean and Japanese response is going to be to install ever more capable missile interceptor systems.  Right now it's THAAD which is a relatively modest system.  The radar there actually can't detect all North Korean ballistic missile launches.  It's not the most effective system.  But there are more effective systems that are available, the AEGIS system on destroyers. 

      And if the North Koreans pursue an ICBM, I think one of the likely responses or impulses of the United States would be to bolster the ground-based ballistic missile interceptor capability in Alaska, which is actually quite minimal at the moment.

      So, you know, that is going to lead to a Chinese reaction, a very negative one.  And, you know, if China begins to increase its nuclear capabilities, I think Russia will have to pay attention, and it will make Russia far less interested in deeper nuclear reductions with the United States because it will continue, as Sergey said, to remind the world that, "Well, we don't just have the United States and NATO to worry about, we have these third countries that happen to be on our border."

      So, you know, the North Korean proliferation challenge does have serious ramifications for in the long run, the U.S.-Russia risk reduction agenda we're talking about.  Ambassador Schmid, you had some thoughts.

      SCHMID:  Just adding a question to this.  Of course, once you get North Korea with ICBMs, you need a missile defense against the ICBMs.  And this would be a worldwide missile defense.

      PIFER:  And I think just to reiterate what Daryl said.  You know, right now, the United States has a rather thin missile defense against the North Korean ICBM.  Interceptors in Alaska and California, the goal is I think to have 40 interceptors by the end of this year.  That probably doesn't threaten Russian forces or Chinese forces.

      But if the North Korean advances lead to an increase in that, even though I think -- where the U.S. military now is we accept we're not going to be able to defend the United States against a Russian attack and we probably couldn't stop a Chinese attack.  But what we may end up doing is if we have to push our numbers up to defend against North Korea, then do we lead the Chinese and the Russians to say they have to add, and we could get into this inadvertent U.S.-China cycle even though the goal of our missile defense is to stop a North Korean attack. 

      So this potentially has ramifications that go well beyond just the U.S.-North Korean balance.

      ROGOV:  So as the question deals with the Russian-American relations, I can  (inaudible).  Russia is very critical of North Korea, North Korean nuclear policy, North Korean testing.  We consider it's a very serious problem.  But at the same time, Russia is against a military solution to the North Korean challenge.

      And there is concern in Russia taking into account that the new U.S. administration speaks that the time for strategic patience is gone, that the United States may decide to run a preemptive attack on North Korean nuclear and missile facilities.  And that's right near Russian border.  So that would be a development which will have very serious consequences for Russia's security.

      Another factor is the Aegis Ashore in Europe, which the United States claims was not against Russian missiles but against Iranian and North Korean missiles.  Well, since -- as far as Iran is concerned, we have at least a 10-year grace period about the Iranian nuclear program, who is left?  North Korea.

      And it's extremely difficult for me to imagine a scenario when North Korea decides to attack with its missiles Germany.  So, well, this contributes to the Russian perception that the American ballistic missile defenses in Europe are in fact aimed against Russia.

      Can Russia play a more important role?  Since we are not providing North Korea with economic assistance or sophisticated weapons like we used to do many decades ago, we don't have much of a leverage.

      But we can work with the Chinese, engaging them to bring greater pressure on North Korea to give up some of its provocations.  But, on the other hand, if the United States says, well, that it's not going to negotiate with North Koreans, hardly Russia can do much.  But one possibility that we have a multilateral format dealing with North Korean problem like we had five plus one with the Iranian problem.

      So in my interpretation, North Korea could be one of the areas where Russia and the United States can cooperate.  But, again, well, it's very difficult right now to understand what is the new administration policy towards North Korea.

      KIMBALL:  Although I would just add, the U.S. policy towards North Korea may become clearer sooner because President Xi will be having a fabulous weekend in Mar-a-Lago and he'll be speaking with President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson.  And it is my guess -- I don't have any inside information but it's my guess that that is the point at which the U.S. policy will, you know, essentially be clarified, because this problem with North Korea is even more urgent in terms of the timing than the Russia-U.S. issues we were just discussing. 

      Other thoughts, questions?  Yes.

      QUESTION:  (OFF-MIKE)

      KIMBALL:  All right.  So the -- how could INF unraveling lead to a broader unraveling of the nuclear arms control architecture and -- that's a good question.  How could the other nuclear armed states be engaged in a nuclear risk reduction dialogue?  What are the modalities?  So let me ask you, Sergey and then Steve, to talk about the modalities on engaging third party nuclear states.  There are no easy answers as one but there are some ideas.

      ROGOV:  Well, let me start by saying that there are nuclear weapon states and nuclear weapon states.  And it's not easy to find the common denominator for other nuclear weapon states.  But I want to talk a little bit about the European situation.

      When the nuclear arms control process started, the Soviets, when Steve and I were very young, insisted that we should count in the nuclear balance and restrict not only American strategic weapons but also American forward-based tactical nuclear weapons, and there were thousands of them at the time.  And British and French nuclear weapons, since the United Kingdom and France are members of NATO.

      So, well, that was I presume our position almost at the beginning of each next tour of strategic arms reductions.  And each time, we agreed not to count American tactical nuclear weapons which could reach the Russian territory from Central Europe, and not to count the British and French nuclear weapons, but narrow the definition of the strategic stability only to the long-range ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers which the United States and Russia possessed.

      And this is related to the present problem including the INF.  As Mr. Ambassador said, Russian medium-range missiles could attack targets in Europe and in Asia.  But not on American territory.  But American medium-range weapons like Pershing II could attack Moscow, could attack other targets in the European part of the Soviet Union. 

      So, for us, they were strategic weapons.  And in this sense, the whole story of INF was the Soviet decision to agree to a complete elimination of medium-range missiles, which could cover Europe and Asia, in return for elimination of American medium-range missiles which were an element of American strategic posture playing an extremely dangerous role for us with the short flight time of 10 or 12 minutes.

      So well, in the scenario of the preemptive decapitating and even disarming strike, the Pershing IIs were quite prominent.  So, well, that means that what seemed to be a Russian concession agreeing to eliminate completely the entire class of weapons was -- I believe that was a great gain for Russian security, because we got rid of that American possibility to start a surprise attack with a first salvo of the American forward deployed weapons.

      And when we talk now about the present problems of the INF, there are some people in Russia who complain that we face thousands of medium-range missiles in Asia, but have no symmetrical system which could counterbalance those medium-ranges, not American but medium-range missiles of Russia. 

      And from time to time, there is a discussion in Russia that, well, the INF Treaty is something which may be not so good for Russia.  But if the INF Treaty collapses and the United States again deploys the new generation of medium-range missiles, it will be not in western Germany.  It will be in Estonia, in Poland, and Romania.  And the flight time to Moscow will be just a few minutes.  So that's what makes many Russia very much concerned about, well, proposals like which I've mentioned of Senator Cotton.

      (UNKNOWN):  Rubio.

      ROGOV:  No, that -- Rubio also made noises about it but Cotton introduced the bill on preservation of the INF Treaty, which actually means total abolishment of it.  So well, the -- in this scenario, Russian security will be enormously jeopardized.  Another point is -- there is a discussion that, on Russian tactical nuclear weapons.  And we have more tactical nuclear weapons than the United States, although the official number has not been announced but nobody questions that issue.

      But in Europe, Russia faces in the balance with NATO not only 200 of American forward deployed tactical nuclear weapons, but 500 of British and French nuclear weapons, which are not covered by the START Treaty.  So in terms of the Russia-NATO balance, there is a situation where not only tactical nuclear systems of Russia and the United States should be counted but also the British and French.  It's a very complicated scenario and sometimes it's forgotten, but this should be kept in mind.

      KIMBALL:  Steve, some thoughts on this and...

      PIFER:  Yes, we did actually a fairly long paper at Brooking back last August looking at the question.  I'd start out by saying that if you look at the levels of American and Russian nuclear weapons, probably 4,000 to 4500 weapons on each side.  And then compare them to third countries, the largest country would be France at 300, China about 280, the U.K. about 220.  That's a huge gap.  And I would argue there's probably room for another U.S.-Russia bilateral negotiation without getting to third countries.

      Now, having said that, if you look at what the Russian government has said going back to 2011, 2012, there seems to be an insistence on the Russian part that there has to be something done with third countries.  It's not easy.  Even though the Russian government and Foreign Minister Lavrov several times have said the next negotiation has to be multilateral, there's never been a suggestion by the Russian government as to what that negotiation would look like.

      And I think that's because it's very, very hard.  How do you get the -- let's just take the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China.  The five countries that are on the U.N. Security Council as permanent members.  How do you come up with a negotiation that deals with that?  My guess is Britain, France, and China would not have accepted if it says the United States and Russia can be up here at 4,000 and you stay at 300. 

      We're not going to be able to negotiate something like the Washington Naval Treaty of the 1920s which had different levels for different countries.  So that's a big problem.  My suggestion would be is that the United States and Russia engage in a negotiation that brings their levels of nuclear weapons down below New START, brings in all of the stuff that's not covered by the New START Treaty, non-strategic weapons.  And then the United States and Russia jointly ask the British, and French, and Chinese to say, "Look, as long as the U.S. and Russia are coming down towards that treaty that goes below New START, we, the British and French and Chinese, will not increase our weapons."

      You're going to have to narrow that gap to the point before you can get to a real negotiation where you start doing numbers because it's very difficult to see any state saying, "Sure, I'll take a number of 400 while you're allowed 4,000."  I don't see how that works.  So it's tough. 

      On the question of how the INF treaty unravels.  Here's my theory.      If we can't come to grips with the compliance issues and if, as I believe is happening, Russia continues to deploy a ground launched cruise missile of intermediate range, I think the regime is in danger.  You've already seen in Congress the proposals, one of which is to declare Russia in material breach.  Typically, you do not do that until you're saying that the violation is to such a point where it destroys the fundamental purpose of the treaty.  That declaration is typically a precursor to withdrawal from the treaty.

      Other ideas that have come in Congress, again, deploying an American intermediate-range missile basically contribute to the downfall of the treaty.  If the INF Treaty collapses, you also have proposals in Congress that would say we should defund American implementation of the New START Treaty. 

      So you could see this carrying over to the New START, it might not -- it might not end the New START Treaty, but it would make very difficult for extending the New START Treaty beyond 2021 and it would not be in the interest of either the United States or Russia in 2021 to find that the INF treaty was gone, the New START treaty was gone.  And that for the first time in 50 years, there were really no negotiated treaty limits covering U.S. and Russian nuclear forces.

      KIMBALL:  So we're running short on time, I wanted to try to sum up some of the ideas that my colleagues have expressed here in terms of a positive agenda for action.  And I'm drawing bits and pieces from several of their comments here, and I mean -- so first of all, the United States and Russia have an urgent need to reduce overall tensions.  There will be a summit between the two presidents at some point later this year.

      There are ways that they can lower the temperature through a joint statement that expresses their support for cooperative measures in other areas.  And also that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, the words of Gorbachev and Reagan from about 30 years ago, still true today.

      Another key part of reducing tensions would be to set up the kind of long term negotiation that Steve just talked about with other nuclear armed states.  A pre-condition would be to, at the very least, extend New START for another five years maintaining the existing balance and enabling if the two sides wished engage in further talks about a wide range of issues, conventional strike, missile defense, strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, over the course of that longer period when New START would continue.

      The INF treaty violations, I think we all agree here, it is absolutely essentially the two sides sit down together again to try to work through what the dispute is, how it can be resolved, that takes leadership from the top.  And in the meantime, it's important that there aren't actions like those that Steve was just describing that make a bad situation worse. 

      And not to neglect this, it is just as important, as Ambassador Schmid was describing, there are dangerous military incidents that are occurring on a fairly regular basis.  It is important to avoid those and that requires military to military conversations. 

      And there is the longer term conventional balance that we spoke about here today.  The conventional forces in Europe treaty no longer exists.  That was another key instrument to ending the Cold War but there can and should be a new dialogue on how there can be mutual restraint measures including some regional arms control limits that provide greater confidence and predictability going forward in the future. 

      And there some ideas that the German government has begun to forward in this regard that could be built upon.  So I think those are some of the key themes from our presentations today.  I hope this has been helpful.  And there's even more, of course, in the third report of the Deep Cuts Commission, which we have copies of.  So thank you very much for being here. 

      Please join me in thanking our expert speakers.

      [APPLAUSE]

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March 22 Briefing from U.S., German, and Russian Experts on Uncertain Future of Nuclear Arms Restraints and Policy Options for Presidents Trump and Putin

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A Both/And Approach: Next Steps on Disarmament and the Role of the Ban Treaty

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Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
Roundtable on “Global and Regional Nuclear Orders in a Moment of Geopolitical Uncertainty"
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 1:00-3:00 PM
United Nations, UN Delegates Dining Room

Through the years, the international nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation enterprise, though imperfect has curbed nuclear proliferation, forced reductions in major-power nuclear arsenals, ended nuclear testing by all but one state, and created an informal taboo against nuclear weapons use.

But today, there are some very tough challenges that pose a serious threat to the international nuclear order.

Tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states are on the rise. Progress on the next steps on nuclear disarmament as outlined in the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan is stalled.

Washington and Moscow are on track to replace their excessive nuclear arsenals at enormous cost; other nuclear-armed states are slowly improving their capabilities; North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, if not capped through a new diplomatic initiative, could soon give Pyongyang the operational capability to strike states in the region with nuclear weapons.

As William J. Perry, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, warned in his 2016 memoir, My Nuclear Journey; “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War.”

U.S. president-elect Donald Trump is poised to build up nuclear tensions even further.

His Dec 22 tweet that “the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear arsenal,” reported comments the next day welcoming an “arms race,” and denunciation of the 2010 New START agreement with Russia, could signal a radical shift away from decades of bipartisan U.S. policy to seen an end to the nuclear arms race and reduce nuclear stockpiles.

These trends have driven the non-nuclear weapon state majority to negotiate a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons and are putting the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—which will turn 50 years old in 2018—under tremendous strain.

In response, the leaders of all of the world’s states must redouble efforts to head-off renewed nuclear competition, reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use, and support a more energetic drive to verifiably reduce the number of nuclear weapons and their role in military and security affairs.

What Can Be Expected from the United States Under A Trump Administration?

The new administration’s approach is not yet clear but Trump’s early statements on nuclear weapons and nuclear arms control are deeply troubling.

Unlike President Barack Obama, who came into the White House with a detailed nuclear threat reduction game plan, Trump has no discernable strategy for managing today’s most daunting nuclear dangers.

And Trump has contradicted himself and his cabinet officials on whether he wants to increase or reduce the number of nuclear weapons.

In a pre-inauguration interview in January 2017 with the Times of London Trump said "nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially,” and he suggested that such a deal might be linked to the easing of sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Ukrainian territory.

But in response to President Putin’s suggestion that New START should be extended for another five years, Trump reportedly denounced the treaty as “one-sided.”

Sorting out what the actual Trump administration policies on nuclear weapons actually are will take some time. In January, Trump ordered his Defense Secretary James Mattis to lead a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the fourth since the end of the Cold War.

The review will be completed just as the Trump administration is making decisions on key nuclear policy matters with long-term implications.

Before the end his term Trump, along with Russian president Vladimir Putin will need to decide whether to:

  • extend the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and is monitoring regime past its February 2021 expiration date for another five years;
  • negotiate a follow-on agreement;
  •  or go forward without legally-binding, verifiable limits on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.

Trump’s suggestion that the United States must increase the “capacity” of its nuclear stockpile could encourage some hawkish members of Congress to seek to overturn the Obama-era policy of “no new nuclear warhead designs” and approve funding for the development of new types of “more usable” nuclear warheads.

A December 2016 Defense Science Board report prepared for the new administration recommends "a more flexible nuclear enterprise that could produce, if needed, a rapid, tailored nuclear option for limited use," ostensibly for a conflict in Europe with Russia.

Other members of the House and Senate, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) have introduced legislation to restrict funding for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, which is responsible for monitoring global compliance with the CTBT.

The bill also calls on Congress to declare that a Sept. 23, 2016 UN Security Council resolution does not “impose an obligation on the United States to refrain from actions that would run counter to the object and purpose” of the CTBT, which bans nuclear test explosions.

The bottom line is that the pillars of the global nuclear order cannot be taken for granted.

What Can Be Done?

Doing nothing is not an option. More energetic and creative approaches are necessary to overcome old and new obstacles.

Every responsible member of the international community—nuclear and nonnuclear weapon states, governmental and nongovernmental leaders—have an important role to play in encouraging the Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump to respect and uphold their past nuclear risk reduction commitments and to seek ways to further reduce the role, salience and number of nuclear weapons.

I would highlight two near term priorities—both of which deserve attention and support:

1. Reduce U.S.-Russian nuclear tensions. When Trump and Putin meet later this year, the two leaders could reduce worries about nuclear missteps by reaffirming the statement by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev from 1985 that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” and that “given the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons, the fundamental purpose of nuclear weapons, so long as they exist, should be to deter the use of nuclear weapons.”

In addition, they should be encouraged to:

  • Reaffirm the Commitment to the CTBT: Building on UNSC Resolution 2310 that was approved in Sept. 2016, the two leaders should also be encouraged reaffirm their commitment to the quarter-century-long U.S. and Russian moratoria on nuclear weapons test explosions and the prompt entry into force of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which both have signed but only Russia has ratified.

Failure by either side to stand by their CTBT commitments risks further nuclear tensions.

  • Extend New START and Seek Deeper Cuts: As President Barack Obama noted in his final press conference, “[T]here remains a lot of room for both countries to reduce our nuclear stockpiles.” With up to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons allowed under New START, Russia and the United States can safely cut their bloated nuclear stockpiles further without negotiating a new treaty.

By agreeing to extend New START and its verification provisions by five years, to 2026, Trump and Putin could confidently pursue further, significant parallel reductions of warhead and delivery system inventories by one-third or more and still meet their respective nuclear deterrence requirements.

This step would ease tensions and reduce fears of a new nuclear arms race, plus it would reduce the skyrocketing price of nuclear weapons.

  • Address the INF Treaty compliance dispute. Russia’s deployment of ground-based cruise missiles prohibited by the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is a serious matter. Trump said on Feb. 23 he would take up the issue with Putin when they meet. New U.S. or NATO nuclear-capable missile deployments are in appropriate. Rather, the two sides should discuss the U.S. evidence at another meeting of the treaty’s Special Verification Commission and to work to resolve all outstanding compliance issues. 

If Moscow continues to deploy the banned ground-launched cruise missiles, U.S. and NATO leaders should insist that the weapons would need to be counted under the limits set in the next round of nuclear arms reductions.

2. Further Reducing the Salience of Nuclear Weapons Through the Ban Treaty: Of course another important new step that can further reduce the salience of nuclear weapons is the forthcoming negotiation of a new instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

Fundamentally, the initiative aims to spur action on nuclear disarmament and risk reduction and to further delegitimize their possession.

Although most of the world’s nuclear-armed states will likely boycott the negotiations, the process and the final product could help strengthen the legal and political norm against their use—a worthy goal, especially in light of the uncertainty surrounding U.S. nuclear policy under Trump’s leadership.

Contrary to some skeptics, this process is not a “distraction,” nor will it undermine the NPT, as some fear – so long as ban treaty advocates recognize its value and its limitations and so long as the nuclear weapon states do not continue to suggest that the ban treaty is the source of the nuclear nonproliferation regime’s problems.

Let’s be clear: the stresses and strains on the NPT are due to the actions of North Korea, the inability of the major nuclear armed states to make progress on disarmament commitments, the technological arms race by the nuclear weapon states, and the failure of key states in the Middle East to agree on the agenda for a conference on a WMD-free zone in their region – not the ban treaty negotiations.

In order to attain a world free of nuclear weapons, it will be necessary, at some point, to establish a legally-binding norm to prohibit such weapons. As such, the pursuit of a treaty banning the development, production, possession and use of nuclear weapons is a key step along the way.

Yes, this is a challenge to the unsustainable and dangerous concept of security based upon the threat of nuclear weapons use, which can produce catastrophic destruction far beyond the borders of the warring parties.

To achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons and to avoid the use of nuclear weapons, states that possess nuclear weapons and those in alliance with nuclear-armed states can and must shift away from nuclear deterrence to conventional military deterrence. This process is already underway. United States strategy of “extended deterrence” to allies in Europe against potential Russian aggression, and to U.S. allies in Asia has increasingly relied on non-nuclear elements, including forward U.S. conventional presence and effective theater missile defenses.

The participation of key middle powers, such as Japan and the Netherlands and Sweden, would help improve the quality of the outcome.

This new process has the potential to further delegitimize nuclear weapons and strengthen the legal and political norm against their use—a worthy goal.

Those states and NGOs involved in the negotiation – and we plan to be among them – have some difficult work ahead. To be effective, the instrument will need to:

  • Specify which activities related to nuclear weapons possession, nuclear sharing planning, development, production, and testing are prohibited. If not already set out in an existing treaty (such as the CTBT), each of these prohibitions must be effectively verifiable, even if this negotiation does not elaborate and set out the monitoring and verification regime to verify compliance, which could be a task for a future comprehensive nuclear weapons elimination convention.
  • Be consistent with existing treaties that prohibit or limit certain nuclear weapons-related activities, including the CTBT, the current nuclear weapons free zone treaties, and the NPT. In order to compliment, rather than undermine these other pillars of nonproliferation and disarmament, the new treaty should require that states parties also adhere to the disarmament and nonproliferation-related obligations of these agreements.
  • Provide for pathways by which states that now possess nuclear weapons, or are part of alliances with nuclear-armed states, can support the new nuclear weapons prohibition treaty before they become a full-fledged member of new instrument. For example, negotiators should also consider protocols to the main treaty that nuclear-weapons possessor states could adopt that prohibits states armed with nuclear weapons, or in a military alliance with a nuclear-armed state, from threatening or using nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear weapon state in good standing with its nuclear weapons ban treaty, NPT, and CTBT obligations.

The negotiators should seek a formula that is meaningful but also draws the widest possible support from states participating in the negotiation. Consensus should be the goal but not a requirement for agreement on the final outcome.

At the same time, advocates of coming nuclear weapons ban treaty must recognize it is not a substitute for necessary, progressive steps on nuclear disarmament.

The new prohibition treaty can help delegitimize nuclear weapons as instruments of national power and further clarify that their possession and use is inconsistent with international law.

But without follow-through pressure for concrete nuclear restraint and disarmament measures, the process will necessarily lead the nuclear-armed states to act with urgency to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations.

As the 2016 UNGA resolution on launching the talks noted:

“…that additional measures, both practical and legally binding, for the irreversible, verifiable and transparent destruction of nuclear weapons would be needed in order to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.”

Thank you for your attention.

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Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball at the “Global and Regional Nuclear Orders in a Moment of Geopolitical Uncertainty” roundtable, Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the United Nations Delegates Dining Room

The Role of NGOs in the New Nuclear Age

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The Role of NGOs in the New Nuclear Age
Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
26th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues
Nagasaki, Japan, December 2016

Thank you Akira. Thank you to the organizers and hosts of this very important conference.

It is an honor to be here once again in Nagasaki for this important gathering.

As several other panelists and speakers have noted, civil society has an important role and responsibility to play in the cause of disarmament. 

The rebuilt Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, Japan. It was 500m from the hypocenter of the world’s second atomic attack on a city. Urakami was the largest Catholic cathedral in the eastern hemisphere before it was destroyed on August 9, 1945. (Photo: Arms Control Association)For decades, citizen diplomats, scientists, physicians, students, and concerned people the world over have successfully pushed their leaders to achieve nuclear disarmament.

But there are tough challenges ahead.

Tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states are on the rise once again, and progress on nuclear disarmament is stalled.

Nuclear-armed states are engaged in technological arms race.

North Korea may soon have an operational arsenal of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles that can hit all of East Asia.

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is under increasing stress.

The election of Donald Trump to the White House will not make things any easier.

Unlike President Barack Obama, who came into the White House with a detailed nuclear threat reduction game plan, Trump has no discernable strategy for managing today’s most daunting nuclear dangers.

As a result, Mr. Trump cabinet appointees will likely have wide latitude in determining policy, which could mean that the administration seek significant changes in established U.S. nonproliferation and disarmament policy.

Hard-won nonproliferation, nuclear risk reduction, and nonproliferation successes, and even the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons, cannot be taken for granted.

What can NGOs do in these difficult times?

As we have successfully done years past when nuclear dangers were growing, we must:

  • act with even greater urgency to defend and build upon past disarmament and nonproliferation gains, particularly the CTBT; INF and New START;
  • The successful and effective Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) is at risk. I would note that the Israeli PM has in an interview aired Sunday said that he would advise Mr. Trump on ways to unravel the JCPoA. Responsible diplomats and experts understand that such actions would set back the nonproliferation and disarmament cause. Civil society groups in Israel, the United States and elsewhere must counter such developments.
  • continue to make the security case for deeper nuclear reductions, removing weapons from prompt-launch status, banning nuclear testing, preventing new warhead development;
  • encourage meaningful diplomatic engagement with North Korea to cap its nuclear weapons and missile capabilities and reduce tensions in the region;
  • strengthen ties with governmental and nongovernmental partners around the globe. In the United States, a number of NGOs are discussing the formation of a new, cross-sector “Campaign to Reduce and Eliminate Nuclear Dangers;"
  • engage with new constituencies and stakeholders who have not been engaged on the nuclear weapons and disarmament issue, particularly members of the younger generation in the nuclear armed-states and nonnuclear weapon states; and
  • put meaningful pressure on government officials to advance practical, concrete nuclear risk reduction and disarmament initiatives.

There are many different NGOs and strategies. Each is valuable and has something to offer. Each has their approach and policy prescription. There is no all-in-one solution.

The Negotiation of a Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

One important new step that can reduce the salience of nuclear weapons is the forthcoming negotiation of a new instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

Contrary to some skeptics, this process is not a distraction, nor will it undermine the NPT, as some fear.

The strong support for negotiations on a ban treaty needs to be understood as a logical international response to the underwhelming pace of progress by the world’s nine nuclear-armed states on nuclear disarmament in recent years.

Let be clear: these underlying trends are what threaten the NPT, not the ban treaty negotiations.

In order to attain a world free of nuclear weapons, it will be necessary, at some point, to establish a legally-binding norm to prohibit such weapons. As such, the pursuit of a treaty banning the development, production, possession and use of nuclear weapons is a key step along the way.

This new process has the potential to further delegitimize nuclear weapons and strengthen the legal and political norm against their use—a worthy goal.

The coming ban treaty negotiations are not an all-in-one solution, but do represent an important new contribution.

Those states and NGOs involved in the negotiation – and we plan to be among them – have some difficult work ahead. To be effective, the instrument will need to:

  • Specify which activities related to nuclear weapons possession, planning, development, production, and testing are prohibited. Each of these prohibitions must be effectively verifiable, even if this negotiation does not elaborate the monitoring and verification regime.
  • Compliment and perhaps enhance existing treaties that prohibit or limit certain nuclear weapons-related activities, including the CTBT, the current nuclear weapons free zone treaties, and the NPT, among others.
  • Provide a pathway or pathways for states that now possess nuclear weapons or are part of alliances with nuclear-armed states to join the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty.

The negotiators should seek a formula that is meaningful but also draws the widest possible support from states participating in the negotiation. Consensus should be the goal but not a requirement for agreement on the final outcome. States such as Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, and China that expressed some reservations about the initiative should nonetheless participate in the negotiations.

The coming ban treaty negotiations are not a substitute for necessary, progressive steps on nuclear disarmament, Nor will the process necessarily lead the nuclear-armed states to act with urgency to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations.

Repeating the mantra that “we must patiently pursue a step-by-step approach on disarmament” does not constitute an effective or responsible strategy.

Diplomats, NGOs and political leaders can and must do better.

Certainly, the nuclear-armed states—particularly the United States, Russia, China, India and Pakistan—can and should do more to overcome old obstacles and animosities to advance disarmament and nuclear risk reduction measures. But we cannot count on these governments to provide leadership.

Middle powers, including Japan, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, Brazil, Poland, Malaysia, and others, have an important role to play to provide leadership and fresh ideas on key nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation initiatives.

One way to bridge the growing divide on disarmament and to create new momentum might be to convene a series of conferences or a series of “summits” that bring together high-level representatives of nuclear and nonnuclear weapon states for disarmament discussions and outside of the moribund Conference on Disarmament.

Achieving and maintaining a world without nuclear weapons requires bold and sustained action.

As President Obama said earlier this year when he visited Hiroshima: “we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.”

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Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball at the 26th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues, Nagasaki, Japan, December 2016

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