Nuclear Issues

767 Items

A member of the Czech Army takes part in an anti-terrorism drill at the Temelin nuclear power plant near the town of Tyn nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, April 11, 2017.

REUTERS/David W. Cerny

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty

| January 2019

Nuclear security around the world has improved dramatically over the last three decades—which demonstrates that with focused leadership, major progress is possible. But important weaknesses remain, and the evolution of the threat remains unpredictable. The danger that terrorists could get and use a nuclear bomb, or sabotage a major nuclear facility, or spread dangerous radioactive material in a “dirty bomb,” remains too high. The United States and countries around the world need to join together and provide the leadership and resources needed to put global nuclear security on a sustained path of continuous improvement, in the never-ending search for excellence in performance.

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Correspondence: New Era or New Error? Technology and the Future of Deterrence

    Authors:
  • Ryan Snyder
  • Benoît Pelopidas
  • Keir A. Lieber
  • Daryl Press
| Winter 2018/19

Ryan Snyder and Benoît Pelopidas respond to Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press's spring 2017 article, “The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence.”

President Trump speaks about American missile defense doctrine at the Pentagon on January 17, 2019 (Evan Vucci/Associated Press).

Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Missile Defense Review Makes US Less Safe

| Jan. 25, 2019

The release of the Missile Defense Review is important but not because of what it tells us about the Trump administration’s priorities in the next few years. Its significance lies in the openness with which its authors in the Pentagon have chosen to discuss the purpose that the system is meant to serve.

A U.S. Trident II missile launches (Wikimedia Commons).

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

Can This New Approach to Nuclear Disarmament Work?

| Jan. 23, 2019

An estimated 14,485 nuclear weapons exist on earth today — most are far more powerful than those that twisted railway ties, leveled buildings, and crushed, poisoned, and burned human beings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The majority of these weapons belong to the United States and Russia. For some in the U.S. government, including Chris Ford, assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, this number represents significant disarmament progress since Cold War highs of over 70,000 nuclear weapons. They argue the current security environment means that further reductions are not possible at this time. In contrast, for many disarmament advocates and officials from non-nuclear weapons states, this number is still far too high. They are now clamoring to ban all nuclear weapons. Because of this divide, according to Ford, we currently face a “disarmament crisis.”

Visitors walk across the Yalu River Broken Bridge, right, next to the Friendship Bridge connecting China and North Korea in Dandong in northeastern China's Liaoning province.

(AP Photo/Emily Wang)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Conflict and Chaos on the Korean Peninsula: Can China’s Military Help Secure North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons?

    Author:
  • Oriana Skylar Mastro
| Fall 2018

China’s military could play a vital role in securing or destroying Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons if the North Korean regime collapsed.

Image of China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force drill with a ballistic missile launcher

(China Military / 81.cn)

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Inadvertent Escalation and the Entanglement of Nuclear Command-and-Control Capabilities

    Author:
  • James Acton
| Oct. 29, 2018

The risks of nuclear escalation between the U.S. and China or Russia are greater than ever given the possibility of misinterpreted cyber espionage and military strikes against early warning systems. What can be done to reduce this risk?

Wargame participants seated around a table

Courtesy of the MIT Political Science Department

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Would U.S. Leaders Push the Button? Wargames and the Sources of Nuclear Restraint

| Fall 2018

Declassified U.S. wargame records reveal that nuclear nonuse is partly a result of deterrence, but also because participants worried about their reputations or thought conventional weapons would be effective.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow following President Trump's announcement of U.S. plans to withdraw from the INF Treaty. October 23, 2018.

en.kremlin.ru

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Trump’s INF Announcement: Another Gift to Putin?

| Oct. 25, 2018

Pulling out of the INF Treaty would be a strategic blunder. It would free Russia to deploy currently prohibited missiles without constraint and further undermine U.S. credibility with our allies. The United States would shoulder the blame for the collapse of one of the two remaining U.S.-Russian agreements controlling nuclear weapons. U.S. withdrawal would remove valuable verification mechanisms and introduce additional U.S. and Russian uncertainty regarding the other’s nuclear forces and intentions.