"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative

Backgrounder: Pompeo-Lavrov to Discuss Nuclear Arms Control



State Dept. says Secretary will explore “a new era of arms control” in Sochi meeting. But first, the U.S. and Russia should extend New START to maintain a foundation for more ambitious future efforts, say security experts.


For Immediate Release: May 13, 2019

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

(Washington, DC)—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Sochi, Russia Tuesday, May 14 to discuss what the State Department calls a “new era” in “arms control to address new and emerging threats” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Two weeks ago, senior administration officials told reporters that Trump had directed his administration to seek a new arms control agreement with Russia and China. One official told CNN that the agreement should include: “all the weapons, all the warheads, and all the missiles.” The officials criticized New START, which will expire in February 2021 is not extended, because it only limits U.S. and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons.

Pompeo acknowledged May 6 that such an agenda might be “too ambitious," noting "there are just a couple years left before New START expires. It may be that we have to do that on a bilateral basis.”

China is estimated to possess roughly 300 nuclear warheads, of which some 100 are deployed on intercontinental-range ballistic missiles. China has never been a party to any agreement that limits the number or types of its nuclear weaponry.

The United States and Russia possess far larger arsenals, estimated at 6,500 warheads (of all types) each. The two countries currently deploy roughly 1,400 New START accountable warheads on a variety of long-range delivery systems.

President Trump told reporters May 3 at the White House: “And China — I’ve already spoken to them; they very much would like to be a part of that [a trilateral nuclear arms control deal].”

But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said May 6: "China opposes any country talking out of turn about China on the issue of arms control and will not take part in any trilateral negotiations on a nuclear disarmament agreement.”

U.S. officials also say they want to limit Russia’s stockpile of some 2,000 sub-strategic warheads in central storage inside Russia. The United States possesses several hundred, including approximately 180 deployed in five European NATO countries that can be delivered on fighter-bombers.

Russia is open broader arms control talks with Trump, but it has a long list of grievances about U.S. policies and weapons systems.

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, suggested April 26 Moscow’s response would depend on the nature of any U.S. proposals. “Further steps towards nuclear disarmament will require creating a number of prerequisites and taking into account many factors that have a direct impact on strategic stability” including missile defense systems, cyber weapons, weapons development in space, and advanced conventional arms, he said.

A large number of Democratic Senators and some Republicans, have expressed strong support for New START extension. Last week, the Democratic Chair and the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs introduced a bill urging the extension of New START.


“At first glance, a broader nuclear arms control deal with Russia and China may sound promising. But the Trump administration does not appear to have a plan or the capacity to negotiate such a far-reaching deal, which would likely take years. Agreement on the extension of New START, which will be difficult enough, should be the first step forward."

- Kingston Reif, director of disarmament and threat reduction policy

“Without extending New START, there will be no legally-binding, verifiable limits on the world’s two largest nuclear stockpiles for the first time since 1972. The risk of an unbridled arms race would grow. Extending New START would provide a necessary foundation and additional time for any follow-on deal with Russia that addresses other issues of mutual concern.”

—Daryl G. Kimball, executive director


Iran’s Countermoves on Iran Nuclear Deal Are a Predictable But Worrisome Response to U.S. Sanctions



Statement from the Arms Control Association notes that the proliferation threat will grow over time if European powers do not respond.


Statement from the Arms Control Association

Proliferation Threat Will Grow Over Time If European Powers Do Not Respond

For Immediate Release: May 8, 2019

Media contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director (202-462-8270 x107); Kelsey Davenport, Nonproliferation Policy Director, x102

(Washington, D.C.)—Iran’s threat to violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a very worrisome but predictable response to Trump's dangerous decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal one year ago. The Trump administration’s systematic campaign to deny Iran any benefits from the agreement has driven the leadership in Tehran to take these retaliatory steps.

From Iran's perspective, there is very little incentive to continue complying with the nuclear deal if Washington’s actions block the promised sanctions relief and if other key European states, along with Russia and China, do not work harder to facilitate legitimate commerce with Iran.

The initial steps that Iran announced—that it will no longer abide by limits on its stockpiles of low enriched uranium and of heavy water—could possibly result in Tehran violating its commitments in the coming months, depending on the rates of production. These steps may result in a technical breach of the JCPOA, but do not represent a near-term proliferation threat.

Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, gave the other parties to the JCPOA (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and China) 60 days to help it thwart American sanctions on oil sales and banking transactions or Iran would take additional measures.

The steps that Iran threatened to take down the road if the Europeans, Russia, and China fail to compensate for U.S. sanctions pose a more serious proliferation risk.

If these states fail to deliver sanctions relief, Iran says it will resume construction on the unfinished Arak nuclear reactor. This may be done on the basis of the modified, more proliferation resistant design Iran agreed to in the nuclear deal and pose less of a threat. Even if Iran pursued the completion of the reactor based on the original design, which would produce enough plutonium for about two nuclear weapons per year, construction would take time. Furthermore, Iran does not have a reprocessing facility to separate plutonium from the reactor’s spent fuel.

If the Europeans and the Chinese do not take more serious steps to allow for legitimate Iranian petroleum exports and banking transactions, Iran threatened to take more consequential measures, specifically resuming uranium enrichment to levels above the 3.67 uranium-235 level allowed by the JCPOA. This step is a more serious proliferation risk that would shorten the time it would take Iran to accumulate enough nuclear material for a weapon.

The most responsible path forward in the face of the Trump administration’s gross violations of the nuclear deal is a more robust and effective effort by the European powers, Russia, and China to facilitate legitimate trade with Iran. It is also in Iran’s interests to exercise restraint, continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency with respect to its safeguards commitments and obligations, and refrain from taking further steps that threaten to reignite a nuclear crisis and increase the risk of conflict.

Iranian press reports indicate that Iran’s leadership is threatening to withdraw from the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) if the JCPOA file is referred again to the UN Security Council. Under Article X of the NPT, "a state may withdraw from the treaty, requiring three month's advance notice should "extraordinary events" jeopardize its supreme national interests.”

The NPT, under Article II, obligates Iran an all other non-nuclear weapon states "not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

Withdrawal from the NPT by Iran would be extremely counterproductive for Iran and global security. All sides need to comply with the JCPOA and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and respect their solemn legal obligations under the NPT.

Country Resources:

Trump Move to Withdraw from Arms Trade Treaty Counterproductive



Security experts weigh in on counterproductive Trump move to withdraw from Arms Trade Treaty


For Immediate Release: April 26, 2019

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

In a speech before the National Rifle Association, President Donald Trump declared today that the United States would be "revoking the effect" of the U.S. signature of the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), and taking the treaty back from the Senate. The treaty which entered into force in December 2014, is the first global treaty to regulate the conventional arms trade. The Obama administration signed the treaty in 2014, and the treaty is before the Senate for consideration for ratification.

Key security experts and former officials sharply criticized the move as misguided, counterproductive, and dangerous.
The ATT establishes common international standards that must be met before states authorize transfers of conventional weapons or export ammunition and weapons parts and components. It aims to reduce the illicit arms trade, reduce human suffering caused by illegal and irresponsible arms transfers, improve regional security and stability, and promote accountability and transparency by state-parties concerning transfers of conventional arms.
The treaty came into force on December 24, 2014 and has a total of 101 states-parties and 135 signatory states.


"The President's action today is yet another mistaken step that threatens to make the world less safe, rather than more secure. The ATT, if ratified by the U.S. Senate, would not require the United States to change anything in its law or procedures. It is sad, but to be expected, that this president opposes efforts to require other countries to meet the high standards of U.S. military export decisions."
   —Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation and lead U.S. negotiator on the Arms Trade Treaty

"In rejecting the Arms Trade Treaty, Donald Trump joins the ranks of the leaders of the only three states—Iran, Syria and North Korea—who voted to oppose the adoption of this common-sense treaty."
   —Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation and lead U.S. negotiator on the Arms Trade Treaty

“President Trump’s decision to unsign the ATT is misguided and not consistent with U.S. national security or economic interests. The ATT was intended prevent the irresponsible and illegal transfer of conventional arms to commit violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. By turning its back on multilateral diplomacy yet again, the United States is disregarding global norms and allowing nefarious actors to trade weapons with impunity. Walking away from a treaty that includes nearly all of the United States' closest allies and partners, the United States is instead choosing to be in the company of governments that routinely flout responsible transfer controls."
   —Rachel Stohl, managing director, Stimson Center, and former consultant to the UN ATT negotiations

"In contrast to the Trump administration’s false claims about the Arms Trade Treaty, the treaty text explicitly says that each country is responsible for implementing the treaty in accordance with its own constitutional law. The United States already has the most detailed legislation that govern the substance and process of U.S. arms sales. The ATT simply requires the rest of the world to raise their process and standard to something that approaches the United States' level.”
   —Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association.




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

New Report Highlights Costs of and Alternatives to Trump's Nuclear Weapons Spending Plans



The report outlines the Trump administration’s nuclear spending plans, explains why they are financially untenable and potentially destabilizing, and assesses three less expensive alternatives to the plans.


For Immediate Release: April 12, 2019

Media Contacts: Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 104

(Washington, D.C.)–A new report from the Arms Control Association describes how the mounting costs of the Trump administration’s plans to replace the U.S. nuclear arsenal are unnecessary, unsustainable, and unsafe.

The report comes as Congress considers the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget request for national defense and amid growing concern about the rising price tag of the nuclear spending plans, the Trump administration’s proposals for more usable nuclear capabilities, and the crisis in the U.S.-Russian arms control relationship.

The report assesses options to reduce spending on nuclear weapons that would save as much as $300 billion over the coming 30 years, while still maintaining a devastating nuclear force that can deter nuclear attack by any adversary.

“The United States maintains a larger and more diverse nuclear arsenal than is required to deter and respond to a nuclear attack against itself or its allies,” said Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association. “The simple fact is that the planned spending to maintain and replace the arsenal will pose a significant affordability problem, and threaten other national security priorities,” he noted.

The United States currently plans to spend nearly $500 billion, after including the effects of inflation, to maintain and replace its nuclear arsenal over the next decade. Over the next 30 years, the price tag is likely to top $1.5 trillion and could even approach $2 trillion.

The new report, U.S. Nuclear Excess: Costs, Risks, and Alternatives, outlines the Trump administration’s nuclear spending plans, explains why they are financially untenable and potentially destabilizing, and assesses three less expensive alternatives to the plans.

The alternatives analyzed in the report would free up at least an estimated $29 billion to $282 billion from fiscal year 2017 to 2046 that could be spent on more pressing national security priorities. The bulk of these savings would occur over the first 20 years of the 30-year period.

“Changes to the nuclear replacement program could make it easier to execute and ease some of the hard choices facing the overall defense enterprise, while still leaving a force more than capable of deterring nuclear attacks against the United States or its alliance partners,” Reif added.

The report urges Congress to take steps to enhance its understanding of the budget challenges posed by the spending plans and the policy assumptions underlying them. These include:

  • holding in-depth hearings on U.S. nuclear weapons policy and spending;
  • requesting a National Intelligence Estimate on the sufficiency of the U.S. nuclear arsenal; and
  • calling for a report on the cost of the Pentagon’s major nuclear and non-nuclear acquisition programs over the next 20 years.

The Arms Control Association has repeatedly raised concerns about the need and affordability of the nuclear weapons spending plans, argued that these plans pose a threat to other military priorities, and suggested more cost-effective alternatives. The new report released Friday builds upon a 2014 Arms Control Association report titled The Unaffordable Arsenal: Reducing the Costs of the Bloated U.S. Nuclear Stockpile.

Bipartisan National Security Officials Call on Congress to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism



Congress needs to take immediate action to step up efforts to secure worldwide nuclear and radiological materials globally to prevent any possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack, say a bipartisan group of national security officials.


For Immediate Release: April 2, 2019

Media Contacts: Jack Brosnan, Program Manager, Partnership for a Secure America, 202-293-8580; Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy. Arms Control Association, 202-463-8270 ext. 104; Tony Fleming, Director for Communications and Operations, Arms Control Association, 202-463-8270 ext. 110

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Today Partnership for a Secure America and the Arms Control Association released a bipartisan statement calling for Congress to focus greater attention on one of the most pressing national security issues of our time: prevention of nuclear terrorism

Statement signatories include former officials such as: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; Secretary of State George Shultz; Senators Richard Lugar, Slade Gorton, and Nancy Kassebaum Baker; New Jersey Governor and Chair of the 9/11 Commission Thomas Kean; and House Foreign Affairs Committee and Intelligence Committee Chairman and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee Hamilton. These national security and foreign policy leaders joined two-dozen other high-level officials calling for US leadership in securing nuclear and radiological material worldwide.

A full list of signatories is included at the bottom of this release.

Today 22 countries hold 900 tons of weapons-usable nuclear materials. A single terrorist attack using just a few pounds in a homemade explosive could cause mass casualties and untold global financial chaos.

“In the U.S. there has been an erosion of congressional expertise and experience, and successive administrations have proposed shrinking budgets for core nuclear material security and nonproliferation programs,” the statement notes. “Historically, Congress has been the source of bipartisan innovation and support to advance global nuclear security. It must happen again.”

Congress needs to take immediate action to step up efforts to secure worldwide nuclear and radiological materials globally to prevent any possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack. We recommend five simple legislative proposals to promote congressional leadership on nuclear security:

“The Office of Management and Budget should be required to prepare an annual report summarizing the aggregate U.S. budget for nuclear security and non-proliferation programs; a blue ribbon, bipartisan congressional commission should be established to develop a comprehensive strategy to prevent, counter, and respond to nuclear and radiological terrorism; a program of activities should be designed to prevent nuclear theft and trafficking in North Korea; periodic hearings should be held with government and non-governmental nuclear security experts; a sustained effort should be pursued to promote a mandatory international system of monitoring, reporting, and accountability in all countries with nuclear and radiological materials and the facilities that house them.”

The bipartisan statement released today draws from a report published last July by Partnership for a Secure America and the Arms Control Association titled Empowering Congress on Nuclear Security: Blueprints for a New Generation. The report assesses current congressional staff attitudes about nuclear security and explores the role of Congress and case studies in congressional leadership on this issue. The report also offers action items for lawmakers in enhancing nuclear security efforts and reducing global stockpiles of nuclear materials.

This statement was written in collaboration with Partnership for a Secure America, with funding provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

This statement was signed by:

Howard Berman, 
Congressman (D-CA) 1983-2013;

ADM Dennis Blair, 
Director of National Intelligence 2009-10;

Tony Blinken,
Deputy Secretary of State 2015-17;

John Brennan,
Director of the CIA 2013-17;

Michael Chertoff, 
Secretary of Homeland Security 2005-09; 

Jack Danforth,
Senator (R-MO) 1976-95;

Michèle Flournoy, 
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy 2009-12;

Slade Gorton, 
Senator (R-WA) 1981-87, 1989-2001;

Chuck Hagel,
Secretary of Defense 2013-15;

Lee Hamilton, 
Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99;

Gary Hart, 
Senator (D-CO) 1975-87;

Rita Hauser, 
Chair, International Peace Institute 1993-2012;

Carla Hills, 
US Trade Representative 1989-93;

Nancy Kassebaum Baker, 
Senator (R-KS) 1978-97;

Thomas Kean,
Governor (R-NJ) 1982-90;

Joe Lieberman,
Senator (D-CT) 1989-2013;

ADM Sam Locklear,
Commander PACOM 2012-15;

Dick Lugar, 
Senator (R-IN) 1977-2013; 

VADM Mike McConnell, 
Director of National Intelligence 2007-09;

Don McHenry
Ambassador to UN 1979-81;

Mike Morell,
Deputy Director of the CIA 2010-13;

Janet Napolitano, 
Secretary of Homeland Security 2009-13;

John Negroponte, 
Director of National Intelligence 2005-07; 

Leon Panetta,
Secretary of Defense 2011-13;

Tom Pickering, 
Undersecretary of State 1997-2000;

Jay Rockefeller, 
Senator (D-WV) 1985-2015; 

Mike Rogers, 
Congressman (R-MI) 2001-15;

George Shultz,
Secretary of State 1982-89;

Anne-Marie Slaughter, 
Director of Policy Planning, US State Department 2009-11;

Frances Townsend, 
Homeland Security Advisor 2004-08;

Kenneth Wainstein
Homeland Security Advisor 2008-09;

Frank Wisner, 
Undersecretary of State 1992-93.

Congress Has Opportunity to Halt Dangerous Firearms Export Changes



Statement from Jeff Abramson, non-resident senior fellow for arms control and conventional arms transfers


Statement from Jeff Abramson, non-resident senior fellow for arms control and conventional arms transfers

For Immediate Release: Feb. 8, 2019

Media Contacts: Jeff Abramson, (646) 527-5793

The Trump administration will soon publish final rules that would likely expedite how certain firearms and military-style weapons are sold internationally. Congress can and should seek to block these changes, which exacerbate the export of U.S. gun violence problems abroad.

On Monday, mildly revised versions of rules first released for comment in May were presented to Congress, starting a 30-day review period.

Specifically, the proposed rules relate to the first three categories of the United States Munitions List (USML) maintained under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), whose lead administrator is the Department of State. Under the new rules, nonautomatic and semi-automatic firearms and their ammunition currently controlled under the USML would move to the Commerce Control List (CCL) to become part of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), whose lead administrator is the Commerce Department.

Under the new rules, Congress would lose its ability to provide oversight on many firearms sales. In 2002, Congress amended notifications requirements so it would be informed of potential commercial sales of firearms under USML category I when they were valued at just $1 million, but no such notifications exist for items on the CCL. In recent years, Congressional involvement has helped forestall firearms transfers to repressive forces in Turkey and the Philippines.

At the core of these proposed changes is the mistaken belief that firearms do not merit tighter control because they are neither high-tech nor provide unique military advantages. In reality, they are some of the weapons most often used to commit abuses and extend conflict around the world. These weapons, used in the mass shootings at Sandy Hook, the Pulse nightclub, Las Vegas, and Parkland, are not the commodities that the United States should make easier to export. Exported and trafficked into Mexico and Central America, for example, U.S.-origin small arms are already falling into the hands of human rights abusers and criminal organizations.

In 2017, the administration notified Congress of more than $660 million of proposed firearms sales regulated under the USML, according to the Security Assistance Monitor. The value of transfers that would be subject to the new rule is not yet clear as that data cannot be fully disaggregated.

A bill introduced Friday by Representative Norma Torres (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Chair Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and others would simply prohibit the changes.

If not halted or significantly changed, the new rules would continue the cynical approach of the Trump administration to treat weapons as any other trade commodity, threatening to undermine long-term global security and upsetting decades of more responsible U.S. arms transfer policy.

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



For Immediate Release: January 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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


For Immediate Release: December 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


For Immediate Release: Nov. 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


For Immediate Release: November 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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