Statement by the Deep Cuts Commission - Turning the tide: NATO, the United States and Russia need to agree on an ambitious arms control agenda

Two summits in June 2021 will set the course for discussions on nuclear arms control.

After a series of arms control setbacks in recent years, the upcoming NATO summit and meeting of the leaders of the United States and Russia can and should pave the way for meaningful talks designed to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict, lead to reductions in the role and number of nuclear weapons, and avoid a new nuclear and conventional arms race in Europe.

With the New START Treaty extended by five years, NATO members and Russia have an opportunity to re-calibrate their arms control ambitions and take crucial decisions on the format, scope, and goals of future talks on nuclear weapons reductions.

Read the Deep Cuts Commission statement here

REGISTER NOW: Briefing on the NATO summit, the US-Russian summit and the future of nuclear arms control

Setting the stage:

The NATO summit, the US-Russian summit and the future of nuclear arms control


Monday, 7 June 2021


10:00 – 11:00 AM Washington, D.C.
4:00 ‑ 5:00 PM Berlin
5:00 ‑ 6:00 PM Moscow

Please register here and you will receive the Zoom ID and password.

Two summits in June will set the course for discussions on nuclear arms control. NATO Heads of State and Government will gather on 14 June in Brussels to initiate the process leading to a new Alliance Strategic Concept. Two days later, on 16 June, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden will meet in Geneva and discuss how to restore predictability and stability in Russian-US relations, including through new bilateral Strategic Stability talks. With the New START treaty extended, NATO members and Russia have to re-calibrate their arms control ambitions and take crucial decisions on the format, scope and goals of future talks on nuclear weapons reductions.

What are the implications of these meetings for future discussions on nuclear arms control? What can and what should we expect for future nuclear reductions? How are discussions on the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture linked to the US-Russia bilateral track? How can Europeans ensure that Washington and Moscow take their interests into account?

One week ahead of the NATO summit, we want to discuss these and related questions with three distinguished members of the Deep Cuts Commission, namely

  • Sarah Bidgood, Director of the Eurasia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies,
  • Ambassador Walter J. Schmid, former Ambassador with residence in Moscow, former Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner of the Federal Government of Germany for Disarmament and Arms Control, and
  • Andrei Zagorski, Head of the Department of Disarmament and Conflict Resolution at IMEMO.

The session will be moderated by Oliver Meier, Senior Researcher at the IFSH Berlin office.


Please note that this briefing will be recorded and published.

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