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Tag: nuclear issues

June 1, 2014

The Future of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Their Nature and Role in 2030

The longstanding efforts of the international community writ large to exclude weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from international competition and conflict could be undermined in 2030. The proliferation of these weapons is likely to be harder to prevent and thus potentially more prevalent. Nuclear weapons are likely to play a more significant role in the international security environment, and current constraints on the proliferation and use of chemical and biological weapons could diminish. There will be greater scope for WMD terrorism, though it is not possible to predict the frequency or severity of any future employment of WMD. New forms of WMD—beyond chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons—are unlikely to emerge by 2030, but cyber weapons will probably be capable of inflicting such widespread disruption that the United States may become as reliant on the threat to impose unacceptable costs to deter large-scale cyber attack as it currently is to deter the use of WMD. The definition of weapons of mass destruction will remain uncertain and controversial in 2030, and its value as an analytic category will be increasingly open to question.

Dec. 1, 2012

The International Atomic Energy Agency's Decision to Find Iran in Non-Compliance, 2002-2006

On August 14, 2002, at a press conference in Washington, DC, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian opposition group, drew worldwide attention when it publicly accused Iran of clandestinely developing nuclear weapons. Alireza Jafarzadeh, then-U.S. media spokesperson for the NCRI, described two “top secret” nuclear facilities being constructed in Iran at Natanz and Arak under the guise of front companies involved in the procurement of nuclear material and equipment. Noting that media attention had focused on Iran’s publicly declared civilian facilities, Jafarzadeh claimed that “in reality, there are many secret nuclear programs at work in Iran without knowledge of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” the international body responsible for verifying and assuring compliance with safeguards obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Sept. 1, 2012

The Presidential Nuclear Initiatives of 1991-1992

On the morning of September 28, 1991, then-Colonel Frank Klotz witnessed an historic moment at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. As he and other senior officers from the base bomber and missile units watched, the crews for the B-1 strategic bombers that had been on alert that day climbed into their cockpits, started the planes, and taxied one after another away from the alert aircraft parking area. That scene was repeated at all 11 Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases in the United States. By the end of the day, there were no U.S. bombers on alert for the first time in over 30 years.

April 1, 2010

The Origins of Nunn-Lugar and Cooperative Threat Reduction

In a 1999 interview, Ashton Carter, a key figure in helping to create and implement the threat reduction program initiated by Senators Sam Nunn (D–GA) and Richard Lugar (R–IN), recalled four visits between 1994 and 1996 to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) base in Pervomaysk, Ukraine. Planted in the soil of this base were the most powerful rockets mankind has ever made, armed with hundreds of hydrogen bombs and aimed at the United States. In turn, Pervomaysk was itself the target of similar American missiles and weapons. Under the Nunn-Lugar program, the missiles deployed at Pervomaysk by the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and the silos that housed them were destroyed.

July 1, 2005

Can al Qaeda Be Deterred from Using Nuclear Weapons?

This occasional paper pursues four different but complementary approaches to dissect the issue of whether acquisition of NBC/R weapons will mean employment for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.