Front and Center: 11/22-12/6

FRONT & CENTER

An update on arms control, national security & politics from the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

November 22 – December 6WHAT’S NEW:

Diplomacy Extended: On November 24th, Secretary of State John Kerry stepped to the podium in Vienna to report that negotiations have brought the parties very close to achieving a comprehensive deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, but that more time was needed. The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation released a statement praising the progress made by our negotiators, and urging Congress to stand this one out. Read the press release on our website, and read more about the extension on our blog. [12/24]

The Bulldozers in Congress: As soon as news of the extension hit, a few of the likely suspects in Congress began calling for yet more sanctions on Iran—which would effectively scuttle the negotiations. To learn more about how their plans are already backfiring, read our blog on Wednesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, which featured these bulldozers. Want to help us foil their plans to throw a wrench in diplomacy? Sign the Council for a Livable World’s petition to urge Congress to let the experts at the table do their jobs.

How Low Can We Go: The current U.S. stockpile of 5,000 nuclear weapons is an improvement compared to the 30,000 we once maintained during the Cold War. But in reality, our nuclear force is still significantly higher than what is needed for deterrence, and much more costly than what we can afford. In a recent article published in the National Interest, Center Chair Lt. Gen. Robert Gard and Scoville Fellow Greg Terryn make a convincing case for adopting a minimal deterrence strategy in order to save big both in terms of risk and in budget. [12/1]

READ:

Center & Council Board Members Defend the Extension With Iran
We’re beyond fortunate to have Council Board Member Jim Walsh and Center National Advisory Board Member Ed Levine as respected voices on the complex negotiations with Iran. Since the announcement of the extension last week, Jim has offered his expert analysis, including in this op-ed and article. For his part, Ed went live at the Brookings Institution to discuss the road ahead. Stay tuned for more from Jim and Ed as the negotiations go forth!

What You Need To Know About This Year’s NDAA
The NDAA is the single largest authorization bill that Congress considers, and gives the Pentagon and the national security programs of the Department of Energy the legal authority to fund and operate their activities. Although the House passed its own version in May, the Senate has not, and both chambers have agreed behind closed doors to a 1600-page compromise defense bill for Fiscal Year 2015. Luckily, our policy experts have put together a “Cliff Notes” version to tell you all you need to know about the final bill. Be sure to check out the NDAA FY 15 summary on our website. (You can thank us later!) [12/4]

Senator Feinstein Speaks Out on Nuclear Reductions
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a longtime ally on our issues, has yet again proved her dedication to reducing the threat of nuclear weapons by publishing an op-ed in the Washington Post. (Spoiler alert: The current arsenal is unaffordable and unnecessary.) Not coincidentally, this week, Council for a Livable World was one of nine organizations to have had the honor of awarding the Senator for her leadership on nuclear security issues. Read more about Senator Feinstein’s article and her tremendous leadership on our blog. [12/5]

PanelClimbing the Ladder toward Nuclear Security
Yesterday, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller took the stage in Prague—the same place where in 2009, President Obama announced his pledge for a nuclear-weapons free world—to announce a new disarmament project. The State Department will partner with the Nuclear Threat Initiative to bring together experts on disarmament verification from around the world to “better understand the technical problems of verifying nuclear disarmament, and to develop solutions.” On our blog, Sarah Tully points to this project as a rung on the tall ladder that Obama must climb to solidify a strong legacy on nuclear security. [12/5]

How to Save $160 Billion
Yesterday, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller took the stage in Prague—the same place where in 2009, President Obama announced his pledge for a nuclear-weapons free world—to announce a new disarmament project. The State Department will partner with the Nuclear Threat Initiative to bring together experts on disarmament verification from around the world to “better understand the technical problems of verifying nuclear disarmament, and to develop solutions.” On our blog, Sarah Tully points to this project as a rung on the tall ladder that Obama must climb to solidify a strong legacy on nuclear security. [12/3]

Obama Tells Chuck: To the Left, To the Left
To put it simply, November 24th was a busy day at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation office. Just as news of an Iran extension surfaced, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced his resignation. Be sure to read as Sarah Tully discusses how Hagel’s successor (likely the recently nominated Ash Carter) will be forced to deal with a tight ship at the White House, and a projected budget that’s on course to bust the caps. Stay tuned for more analysis on what Carter may do for our issues. [11/26]