There are several plausible reasons for nuclear weapons states to reduce their arsenals. Avoiding dangerous miscalculation with severe consequences, fostering international confidence and trust through transparent disarmament processes, and financial constraints in times of fiscal austerity, are only a few among many other arguments to seek significantly lower numbers. The rationale of downsizing nuclear arsenals is largely undisputed. What is disputed, however, is the concrete path of how to move forward. For overcoming technical and political-military impediments to further nuclear reductions, realistic assessment, creative concepts, and pragmatic solutions are needed.

The Deep Cuts project involves a trilateral Commission of experts from the U.S., Russia, and Germany. The project aims at actively participating in and contributing to the wider debate on weakened or non-functioning arms control regimes, conceptual improvements of existing stability mechanisms and a prospective analysis of destabilizing developments.

The task of the Deep Cuts Commission is to address the key challenges to significantly lowering nuclear weapons arsenals and to devise concepts on how to overcome current challenges to (deep) nuclear reductions through means of realistic analyses and specific recommendations. The profile of the Commission is unique: its trilateral German–Russian–U.S. framework offers a chance to discuss and analyze a cross section of interests of three countries that are key to international matters of arms control and disarmament. Relevant proposals that are acceptable in this framework would most likely garner greater attention. The profile of the Commission and its wide network is shaped by the inclusion of strategic thinkers, technical experts, and former military and government officials. The Deep Cuts Commissioners concentrate specifically on the concrete obstacles to nuclear reductions and devise concepts that are pragmatic, realistic, and feasible. The Commission’s purpose is to take into account the complex interdependency of current technical and political-military conditions.

Through a number of timely workshops and reports, the Commission provides decision-makers as well as the interested public with concrete policy options based on realistic analysis and sound research. Since it was established in 2013, the Commission is coordinated in its deliberations by the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH), the Arms Control Association (ACA), and the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO, RAN) with the active support of the German Federal Foreign Office.