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Theater Nuclear Weapons - A Direct Threat to European Security

BASIC has had a lot to say over the years about U.S. theater nuclear weapons (TNW) in Europe. (I will repeat here, ad nauseam for some, that it is a grave mistake to call such weapons ‘tactical’; any deliberate nuclear explosion must have strategic consequences. ‘Theater’, meanwhile, simply denotes their basing posture and connotes their intended use, from within a military theater of operations.)

New NATO Policy Publication: Countdown to Chaos?

NATO’s nuclear sharing program is in trouble. The United States has continuously maintained nuclear weapons in Europe since March 1954 (and NATO has agreed to this policy since December of that year). Since 1991, the only U.S. nuclear weapons in NATO’s arsenal have been B61 gravity bombs, designed for delivery to target by “dual-capable” fighter-bomber aircraft (DCA). These aircraft are rapidly reaching the end of their normal service lives, however, and are the only means by which NATO shares the threat of nuclear attack on potential opponents in times of crisis among several Allied nations.

Countdown to Chaos?: Timelines and Implications of Procurement Decisions for NATO's Dual-Capable Aircraft

NATO Flags

NATO's nuclear sharing program is in trouble. The United States has continuously maintained nuclear weapons in Europe since March 1954 (and NATO has agreed to this policy since December of that year). Since 1991, the only U.S. nuclear weapons in NATO’s arsenal have been B61 gravity bombs, designed for delivery to target by “dual-capable” fighter-bomber aircraft (DCA). These aircraft are rapidly reaching the end of their normal service lives, however, and are the only means by which NATO shares the threat of nuclear attack on potential opponents in times of crisis among several Allied nations.

Could the renewed focus on non-strategic nuclear weapons signal a new era in Euro-Atlantic security?

It is 22 years since the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives were announced soon after the fall of the Berlin wall. Presidents Bush and Gorbachev declared massive unilateral cuts to their holdings of short range tactical nuclear weapons, and their militaries set about the task of dismantling them.

Split: A Tale of Two Alliances

NATO & the Arab League

NATO is currently hosting its annual conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation in Split, Croatia. Participants have been considering how best to tighten the verification mechanisms and strengthen commitments states make in demonstrating they will not deploy WMD. The meeting is considering issues such as WMD terrorism, regional proliferation threats (particularly in the Middle East) and NATO’s contributions to non-proliferation and disarmament.

Roundtable meeting in Brussels: Engaging Russia on Tactical Nuclear Weapons

BASIC, in cooperation with the Arms Control Association (ACA), the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH), and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), hosted in Brussels on April 15, 2013 a private roundtable on engaging Russia on tactical nuclear weapons. Discussions focused on potential ways forward for improving confidence between Russia and NATO.

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