nuclear posture

Getting to Zero Update

Russia and the United States have begun the exchange of information on their nuclear arsenals under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) as they assess next steps on arms control and also try to resolve their differences over missile defense. The Iranian and North Korean nuclear situations showed no signs of resolution, and instead pointed to more difficulties ahead.

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Getting to Zero Update

Experts Call NATO Strategic Concept 'Missed Opportunity to Reduce Role of Obsolete Tactical Nukes from Europe'

U.S. and European nuclear arms control and security experts criticized NATO's new “Strategic Concept” as a conservative, backward-looking policy, a missed opportunity to reduce the number and role of the 200 forward-deployed U.S. tactical nuclear bombs and engage Russia in a dialogue on removing all tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.

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Getting to Zero Update

The Obama Administration was hoping for the U.S. Senate to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) now that the U.S. mid-term elections are over. If the treaty is not brought to the floor before the end of the year, then prospects for the treaty dim in a Senate where more members will be reluctant to hand the President a foreign policy achievement, and votes in favor of the treaty will be more difficult to muster.

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Options for arms control to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in NATO

Ever since the Harmel report, NATO has been committed to a broad approach to security, including arms control, disarmament and other co-operative security tools as necessary complement to military capabilities. The declaration on Alliance security adopted by the 2009 Strasbourg summit reflects this twofold approach by restating that deterrence, including through nuclear capabilities, will remain a core element of NATO strategy, while at the same time NATO will continue to play its part in reinforcing arms control and promoting nuclear and conventional disarmament and non-proliferation.

UK and France sign landmark defence agreements

At the UK-France summit in London earlier today, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy issued a declaration and signed a formal Defence Treaty that signalled a new era of defence cooperation. Letters of intent were exchanged and a Road Map agreed for deeper cooperation in the future. Three years in the making, the arrangement focuses on joint capabilities and procurement, but also to a limited extent, operations. There are two areas of specific note in the nuclear field:

SEPTEMBER 2010

This month we launched our new website, which has been designed and re-focused on our Getting to Zero programme. Later this month we expect to be announcing an exciting new BASIC initiative focused on Britain’s nuclear arsenal. Much of BASIC’s work at present (in addition to the specifics below) is geared towards the forthcoming NATO Summit in November and its aftermath, work on the Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons (an agreed objective at the NPT Review Conference), and British and US nuclear weapon policies.  

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Prominent Europeans call for change in NATO nuclear policies

Prominent European statespeople who form a sub-group of the European Leaders Network have released a letter calling on NATO to make "disarmament a core element of its approach to providing security." In their letter, they encourage the Alliance to "review its entire nuclear policy and posture with a view to facilitating progress in arms control, in a manner consistent with effective burden sharing and alliance cohesion, effective deterrence and a demonstrable commitment to collective defence."

A Progressive Nuclear Policy: Rethinking Continuous-at-sea deterrence

The United Kingdom has maintained unbroken nuclear weapons patrols since 1968. The rationale for this doctrine of continuous deterrence has been based on several pillars that are irrelevant in today’s environment. Rather than an absolute need for continuous deterrent, there is instead a great opportunity for Britain to take the lead as the most progressive of the nuclear weapons states by reducing the readiness and size of its
strategic force. Article originally published in RUSI Journal, Vol. 155, No. 2.

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