Reports & Papers

11 Items

A satellite view of Shigatse, Tibet, home to the PLA’s 6th Border Defense Regiment, near the China-India border.

Maxar Technologies / CNES Airbus via Google, used with permission

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

The Strategic Postures of China and India: A Visual Guide

| March 2020

Fueled by aggressive rhetoric from both capitals, Indian and Chinese ground forces engaged in a standoff between June and August 2017. The Doklam crisis, as it became known, stimulated introspection among officials and experts in both states about the future of their relationship. Politically, both strategic communities largely concluded that the peaceful resolution of border disputes is now less likely, forecasting more rivalry than cooperation. Militarily, Indian discussions on the strength of its military position against China in their disputed ground frontier areas have converged on the view that China holds the conventional and nuclear edge over India in this domain.

Based on our analysis of data on the location and capabilities of Indian and Chinese strategic forces and related military units, we conclude that this assessment of the balance of forces may be mistaken and a poor guide for Indian security and procurement policies. We recommend that instead of investing in new nuclear weapons platforms that our analysis suggests are not likely to be required to deter China, New Delhi should improve the survivability of its existing forces and fill the gap in global arms control leadership with an initiative on restraint and transparency.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Security Science, July 2015

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

When Did (and Didn’t) States Proliferate?

| June 2017

In this Project on Managing the Atom Discussion Paper, Philipp C. Bleek chronicles nuclear weapons proliferation choices throughout the nuclear age. Since the late 1930s and early 1940s, some thirty-one countries are known to have at least explored the possibility of establishing a nuclear weapons program. Seventeen of those countries launched weapons programs, and ten acquired deliverable nuclear weapons.

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Pantex Plant is the only U.S. serial  production facility.

NNSA

Report - Nuclear Threat Initiative

Innovating Verification: New Tools & New Actors to Reduce Nuclear Risks

    Author:
  • Verifying Baseline Declarations of Nuclear Warheads and Materials Working Group
| July 2014

Part of NTI's Innovating Verification reports series, Verifying Baseline Declarations of Nuclear Warheads and Materials analyzes how baseline declarations can contribute to near- and long-term arms control and non-proliferation goals and how to verify them without compromising sensitive information.

Paper

Strengthening Global Approaches To Nuclear Security

| July 1, 2013

Despite substantial progress in improving nuclear security in recent years, there is more to be done.  The threats of nuclear theft and terrorism remain very real.  This paper recommends learning from the much stronger national and international efforts in nuclear safety, and in particular taking steps to build international understanding of the threat; establish effective performance objectives; assure performance; train and certify needed personnel; build security culture and exchange best practices; reduce the number of sites that need to be protected; and strengthen the international framework and continue the dialogue once leaders are no longer meeting regularly at the summit level.

Paper - American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Nuclear Collisions: Discord, Reform & the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

    Authors:
  • Wael Al-Assad
  • Jayantha Dhanapala
  • C. Raja Mohan
  • Ta Minh Tuan
| April 2012

Nearly all of the 190 signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agree that the forty-two-year-old treaty is fragile and in need of fundamental reform. But gaining consensus on how to fix the NPT will require reconciling the sharply differing views of nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. Strengthening the international rules is increasingly important as dozens of countries, including some with unstable political environments, explore nuclear energy. The result is an ever-increasing distribution of this technology. In this paper, Steven E. Miller outlines the main points of contention within the NPT regime and identifies the issues that have made reform so difficult.

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

Ensuring Strategic Stability in the Past and Present: Theoretical and Applied Questions

    Author:
  • Andrei A. Kokoshin
| June 2011

In the Foreword to this paper by Andrei Kokoshin, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison writes: "The global nuclear order is reaching a tipping point. Several trends are advancing along crooked paths, each undermining this order. These trends include North Korea’s expanding nuclear weapons program, Iran’s continuing nuclear ambitions, Pakistan’s increasing instability, growing doubts about the sustainability of the nonproliferation regime in general, and terrorist groups’ enduring aspirations to acquire nuclear weapons. Andrei Kokoshin, deputy of the State Duma and former secretary of Russia’s Security Council, analyzes these challenges that threaten to cause the nuclear order to collapse in the following paper."

Paper

Beyond Optimism and Pessimism: The Differential Effects of Nuclear Proliferation

| November 2009

Matthew Kroenig examines the effect of the spread of nuclear weapons on international politics in a Managing the Atom Working Paper.  He observes that the spread of nuclear weapons threatens some states more than others, and proposes a theory of nuclear proliferation that examines the differential effects of proliferation.  He argues that the threat nuclear proliferation poses to a particular state depends on that state’s ability to project military power.  The spread of nuclear weapons is worse for states that have the ability to project conventional military power over a potential nuclear weapon state because nuclear proliferation constrains their conventional military freedom of action.

Report

Funding for U.S. Efforts to Improve Controls Over Nuclear Weapons, Materials, and Expertise Overseas: A 2009 Update

| June 2009

Andrew Newman and Matthew Bunn assess the Obama administration's fiscal year 2010 budget request for programs to improve controls over nuclear weapons, materials, and expertise worldwide. Funding for U.S. Efforts to Improve Controls Over Nuclear Weapons, Materials, and Expertise Overseas: A 2009 Update concludes that the request is a "steady as you go" budget and recommends that Congress and the administration work together to establish a $500 million contingency fund that could be used flexibly on a range of nuclear security programs.

Report - Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Pakistan Can Defy the Odds: How to Rescue a Failing State

| May 2009

"Is Pakistan collapsing? How far are the Taliban from Islamabad? Can al-Qaeda grab the country's nuclear weapons? These are the types of questions raised every day by the American media, academia and policy circles. And these are critical issues, given the nature of the evolving crisis in Pakistan. The approximately two dozen suicide bombings in 2009 so far, 66 in 2008, and 61 in 2007, all of which have targeted armed forces personnel, police, politicians, and ordinary people not only in the country's turbulent northwest but also in its major urban centers, indicate the seriousness of the threat. A major ammunition factory area located close to some very sensitive nuclear installations in Wah (Punjab) was targeted by two suicide bombers in August 2008, an act that sent shudders across the country's security establishment...."

Paper - Institute for Nuclear Materials Management

Reducing Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threats

| July 2007

Urgent actions are needed to prevent a nuclear or radiological 9/11.  Terrorists are actively seeking nuclear weapons and Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDDs) and the materials to make them.  There are scores of sites where the essential ingredients of nuclear weapons exist, in dozens of countries worldwide.  There are thousands of sites worldwide where radiological materials exist.  Many of these sites are not sufficiently secured to defeat the kinds of threats that terrorists and criminals have demonstrated they can pose.  A dangerous gap remains between the urgency of the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism and the scope and pace of the U.S. and world response.  While the gap has narrowed significantly in recent years, much more needs to be done.  This paper describes the nuclear and radiological terrorism threats, analyzes the actions taken so far to address these threats, and recommends further actions going forward.