Sunday, December 21, 2008

Controlling Arms

In 2008, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation sought input from 60 scientists, academics, members of Congress, senior congressional staffers, and representatives from advocacy groups, think tanks, and foundations to assess the priorities for the next Administration on nuclear arms control and non-proliferation. The full report is available here. An excerpt:

Top Three Recommendations

1. Provide a new direction on nuclear weapons policy that emphasizes “minimum deterrence,” extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), and signal intent to pursue negotiations with Russia on further reductions.

* Issue a statement explaining a new vision for nuclear weapons policy and guidance for the 2009 Nuclear Posture Review. The statement should include the intent to pursue nuclear weapons reductions and a reiteration that the only role for nuclear weapons is “minimum deterrence” – deterring the use of nuclear weapons against the United States or U.S. allies.

* Extend START I and begin bilateral negotiations with Russia on further permanent, legally-binding, and verifiable reductions toward a goal of 1,000 deployed and non-deployed nuclear weapons per side or fewer. Send a special envoy to Russia or appoint a working group to signal U.S. intent to maintain verification provisions and move toward reductions.

2. Announce intent to secure all vulnerable fissile material in four years as the best way to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism. Accelerate and prioritize these efforts accordingly and appoint a senior official to coordinate threat reduction efforts.

3. Announce intent to seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and begin working to build the bipartisan support in the Senate needed for approval.

Next Tier Recommendations:

* Announce intent to negotiate with Iran without preconditions.

* Recommit to promises (“13 Steps”) made at the 1995 extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and re-affirmed in 2000, and announce intent to fulfill these promises in the first term.

* Condition further deployment of ground-based midcourse missile defense in Europe on further tests that can confirm the effectiveness of the system.

* Begin efforts to create a new independent agency, or reform the current State Department structure, to deal more effectively and at a higher level with arms control and non-proliferation.

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