Statement by the Deep Cuts Commission: The United Kingdom’s damaging decision to build up its nuclear force and how to respond

The Deep Cuts Commission believes the United Kingdom’s new nuclear policies to increase the limit of its overall nuclear stockpile to 260 warheads and to make its nuclear posture more opaque complicate efforts to advance multilateral nuclear arms control and nonproliferation efforts. To reduce and reverse the negative implications of the changes to the United Kingdom’s nuclear policies, nuclear weapons states collectively should take steps to support Russian and US arms control efforts and intensify discussions on nuclear risk reduction.

Read the Deep Cuts Commission Statement here

Statement by the Deep Cuts Commission: Preserve the Open Skies Treaty

The Open Skies Treaty is under imminent threat. Deep Cuts Commission calls on the current treaty-parties and the United States to work to preserve the accord and its benefits for European and trans-Atlantic security. The Open Skies Treaty remains a valuable confidence- and security-building measure to reduce the risk of misunderstanding or miscalculation. Read the Deep Cuts Commission Statement here


Enhancing Strategic Stability: New START and Beyond

After extending the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the Biden administration should seek to engage Russia in negotiation of a follow-on agreement and use that to draw third-country forces into the arms control process. It should also weigh how to handle other issues that can affect nuclear relations. Read Deep Cuts Commissioner Steven Pifer's recommendations here

Where Next on Nuclear Arms Control?

For nearly five decades, nuclear arms control has been an exclusive enterprise between Washington and Moscow. The resulting agreements have provided significant constraints on the U.S.-Soviet (later, U.S.-Russian) nuclear relationship while mandating substantial reductions in their arsenals. However, since the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which reduced U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces to levels not seen since the 1960s, no further progress has been made. The U.S. government has decisions to make: is it prepared to accept a world in which nuclear weapons go unconstrained, or do the reasons that led Washington to pursue limits on nuclear arms for more than 40 years remain valid? Read the latest publication by Deep Cuts Commissioner Steven Pifer here

OUT NOW: Deep Cuts Issue Brief #15 on points of convergence between the TPNW and the NPT

The TPNW and the NPT

On October 24, 2020, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) reached the 50th ratification needed for it to become legally binding. The treaty will enter into force after 90 days on January 22, 2021, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations will convene a first meeting of states parties within one year. Also in 2021, states parties to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) are scheduled to meet for the 10th Review Conference which was postponed from May 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both meetings will tackle the crisis in nuclear disarmament and arms control – but from different angles. This paper looks at possible convergences between the NPT and the TPNW: How can the international community ensure complementarity between the two treaties? How can states parties to the NPT and the TPNW jointly advance nuclear disarmament, to their mutual benefit? And how could such cooperation be constructively reflected in the outcome of the 10th NPT Review Conference?

Read the latest Deep Cuts Issue Brief by Lina-Marieke Hilgert, Angela Kane, Anastasia Malygina here

Getting Back into Nuclear Arms Control and Nonproliferation

The nuclear arms control field has been in difficult shape in recent years. A series of treaties and agreements have ended with the prospect for new ones slim. The State Department’s institutional capacity has dimmed, as well, particularly as far as Foreign Service ranks are concerned. But the salience of the nuclear challenge has not lessened. Despite drawdowns of some 85 % in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals from their historic highs, the two countries still maintain some 90 % of the world’s nuclear weapons whose use would end life as we know it. While China’s nuclear arsenal is vastly smaller, it is by no means decreasing. The North Korean nuclear challenge is as real as ever. The U.S. decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal has gravely shortened the time in which Iran could mount a nuclear weapons breakout. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan continue to be at loggerheads. Read Deep Cuts Commissioner Laura Kennedy's analysis of how to move forward regarding nuclear arms control and non-proliferation challenges here

Policy Recommendations for the New U.S. Administration

In the latest Arms Control Today, the monthly journal on nonproliferation and global security by the Arms Control Association, experts advise the new U.S. President Joe Biden on arms control and international security. Among others, Deep Cuts Commissioners Steven Pifer and Andy Weber gave their input. Read more here

Biden’s First Challenge: Extend New START

U.S. President Donald Trump and his team failed to resolve a dispute over Russian noncompliance with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and bungled talks to extend the last remaining U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control agreement, the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which is due to expire February 5, 2021. As a result, the top foreign policy priority of President Joe Biden, once he is sworn in, must be to dispatch a senior representative to reach agreement with Russia on a clean, five-year extension of the treaty and begin follow-on nuclear disarmament talks on the backlog of issues the two sides have failed to resolve since New START was concluded. Read the latest article on this matter by Deep Cuts Commissioner Daryl G. Kimball here