Nuclear Issues

742 Items

In this photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, Russian troops load an Iskander missile as part of drills to train the military for using tactical nuclear weapons at an undisclosed location in Russia

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Journal Article - International Security

When Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Adversary Perceptions of Nuclear No-First-Use Pledges

| Spring 2024

Would the world be safer if the United States pledged to never use nuclear weapons first? Supporters say a credible pledge would strengthen crisis stability, decrease hostility, and bolster nonproliferation and arms control. But reactions to no-first-use pledges by the Soviet Union, China, and India suggest that adversaries perceive pledges as credible only when the political relationship between a state and its adversary is already relatively benign, or when the state’s military has no ability to engage in nuclear first use against the adversary. 

People practice combat skills in urban areas during a training course for national resistance of the Municipal Guard near Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 19, 2024.

AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

Journal Article - International Security

A “Nuclear Umbrella” for Ukraine? Precedents and Possibilities for Postwar European Security

| Winter 2023/24

Europe after the Russo-Ukrainian War must develop a new security structure to defend against any Russian aggression. The safest option is a non-offensive, confidence-building defense. This option includes proposals such as the “spider in the web” strategy and the “porcupine” strategy to provide for European security in a region threatened by Russian expansion—without relying on the threat of nuclear war.

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Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Mutiny in Russia: What Happened, What’s Next and What To Be Thankful For

| June 29, 2023

What drove Yevgeny Prigozhin to lead his PMC Wagner troops on a “march for justice” across southern Russia, toward Moscow? Was it a mutiny meant to overthrow Vladimir Putin and install the ex-convict in the Kremlin? Or was the owner and political leader of Russia’s most powerful private army actually — as he assured his followers — trying to convince Putin to meet his demands, which included the firing of his arch-enemies and Russia’s top generals, Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, over their poor conduct in the Ukraine war? And what made Prigozhin agree to abort the march toward Moscow, with Wagner’s reconnaissance teams reportedly spotted some 55miles south of the Russian capital, even though his demands had been left unmet? More importantly, has the rebellion weakened Putin, or has it made him stronger? And what’s next for Russia, Ukraine, and other countries whose national interests have been affected by this crisis? Finally, should we be thankful that the “march for justice” turned out the way it went? Despite having combed through hundreds of primary sources over the past several days, I still don’t have definitive answers to all of these key questions, but here’s how I would go about answering some of them if asked to do so, based on what was known as of June 29.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General, met Faizan Mansoor, Chairman, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority during his official visit to the Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria. 24 March 2023.

IAEA

Journal Article - International Journal of Nuclear Security

Assessing Nuclear Security Risks in Pakistan

| June 2023

Pakistan’s nuclear program and perceived nuclear security concerns have attracted global attention. The varying concerns range from the potential theft of nuclear weapons or materials to the unauthorized use of a nuclear device to terrorist groups taking control of the Pakistani government. The enduring debate, however, has oscillated between these doomsday scenarios and some optimistic considerations, where various quarters have shared their satisfaction over Pakistan’s nuclear security regime and its ability to deal with the emerging challenges. To address the evolving nature of these threats, Pakistan is constantly improving its nuclear security infrastructure. It has established a comprehensive legislative and institutional structure, nuclear security systems, and has also undertaken various international obligations. To further improve nuclear security perceptions, Pakistan should adopt a more transparent approach and learn from international best practices.

The 2010 nuclear security summit in Washington, DC, was aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism.

The White House

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Why Biden’s New Nuclear Security Agenda Might Not Work as Planned

| Apr. 04, 2023

Early in March, the Biden administration unveiled its 19th National Security Memorandum. While the operational part of this memorandum is classified, the White House shared a factsheet on the new strategy, which is centered around three main pillars: countering weapons of mass destruction terrorism, advancing nuclear material security, and improving radioactive material security. The three-pronged strategy aims to reinvigorate long-standing approaches to risks from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and nuclear security and introduce new ways to deal with emerging threats.

The USS Vesole, foreground, a radar picket ship, steams alongside the Soviet freighter Polzunov, outbound from Cuba, for an inspection of her cargo in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 11, 1962

AP Photo/Pool

Analysis & Opinions - Arms Control Today

The Cuban Missile Crisis at 60: Six Timeless Lessons for Arms Control

| October 2022

As the best documented major crisis in history, in substantial part because Kennedy secretly taped the deliberations in which he and his closest advisers were weighing choices they knew could lead to a catastrophic war, the Cuban missile crisis has become the canonical case study in nuclear statecraft. Over the decades since, key lessons from the crisis have been adapted and applied by the successors of Kennedy and Khrushchev to inform fateful choices.

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Presentation

Dynamics of Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threats to Post-Soviet Russia

    Editor:
  • Angelina Flood
| June 21, 2022

Simon Saradzhyan was invited to publicly brief the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee addressing the adequacy of strategies to prevent, counter, and respond to nuclear terrorism, and identify technical, policy, and resource gaps. The consensus study is a congressionally mandated analysis included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (Section 1299I) sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy).  Nearly 60 stakeholders concerned about this topic from the Department of Defense, US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, State Department, National Security Council, US Congress, the National Labs, and many non-governmental organizations were in attendance. The briefings are available at the NAS event website. Video of the presentation can be found here.