RETHINKING SECURITY IN THE POST-9/11 WORLD
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a day that changed the trajectory of world history in ways that we are still coming to terms with. In this special episode of Nukes of Hazard, host Geoff Wilson talks to Executive Director and former Congressman John Tierney about his experience in Congress post-9/11, his work to redress some of the worst policies that came out of these tragic events, and how we must reframe the way we think about national security going forward. Listen to Nukes of Hazard online or wherever you get your podcasts.
You can also learn more about Senior Policy Director John Erath’s September 11 experience from inside the Pentagon on our blog, along with his reflections on remembering that day: “The best way to remember the almost 3,000 people who died on September 11 is to continue to use all means available, not just force, but diplomacy, freedom of speech and dialogue, to minimize the possibility that similar attacks will occur.”
WHAT’S BENEATH THE SURFACE OF AUSTRALIA’S DECISION TO BUILD NUCLEAR-POWERED SUBMARINES
While the news that the United States plans to help Australia build and operate nuclear submarines has recently made headlines, the real story may be the one remaining below the (metaphorical) surface, writes Senior Policy Director John Erath in his latest blog post. There are cost and proliferation concerns, and this move could set a bad precedent for other non-nuclear weapons states.
REVELATIONS UNDERLINE URGENT NEED TO REFORM NUCLEAR LAUNCH AUTHORITY
Advance revelations from Bob Woodard and Robert Costa’s forthcoming book have once again brought to the surface questions about the outdated command and control system for nuclear weapons. Given the extreme consequences of any use of such weapons, it should be time to begin updating the process by which decisions are made to eliminate any possible misuse or mistake.
PROMISING COOPERATION BETWEEN IRAN AND NUCLEAR INSPECTORS
There has been no sign as to when nuclear talks with Iran may recommence, but after weeks of consultations, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have reached a deal on “the way and the timing” for UN inspectors to service cameras installed at Iran’s nuclear facilities. This deal keeps the prospects of reviving the Iran nuclear deal alive and is the first real sign of cooperative engagement by Iran since Ebrahim Raisi has come to power. Writing in War on the Rocks, research analyst Samuel Hickey co-writes that “the question now is how the hardliners, after taking control of the government, will deal with the consequences of their December law and other escalatory moves. The ball is in Tehran’s court, and there is little that Biden and the rest of the world can do besides hold their ground and wait to see what the regime decides.”
BREAKING DOWN THE JARGON: NUCLEAR PROGRAMS, URANIUM AND PLUTONIUM
According to the Critical Issues poll done by the University of Maryland, a large majority of Americans across the political spectrum believe that Iran possesses nuclear weapons. It does NOT. Iran conducts nuclear research — contrary to its international commitments — into technologies with weapons applications, but it has not yet taken steps into weaponization. Research analyst Samuel Hickey breaks down the jargon and discusses how the confusion has arisen in part because terms such as uranium enrichment, plutonium separation and fuel cycle have slipped into the common lexicon, cropping up in news stories, political speeches made by Members of Congress and the President, and even in political advertisements. Some are trying to educate while others are trying to horrify for political gain.
TOP GENERAL ARGUES FOR PENTAGON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
Gen. John Hyten said Congress can help cut wasteful Pentagon spending by eliminating out-of-date weapons programs and enacting the Pentagon budget on time. We agree. We have just published our accounting of the recent House Armed Services Pentagon budget mark-up and relevant amendments that will affect U.S. nuclear posture in the year to come. The bill, which originally clocked in at $743 billion, now authorizes $777.9 billion, a big increase from the last Trump budget of $740.7 billion. This is an outrageous amount of spending, more than even during the peak periods of the Vietnam and Korean wars, all in a year when the United States is ending its longest war by bringing troops home from Afghanistan.
MOURNING THE LOSS OF BOARD MEMBER PHILIP COYLE
The Center is mourning the loss of Philip Coyle, a long-time friend and supporter, who died earlier this month. Coyle also served as Secretary of the Center’s Board of Directors, and was a renowned missile defense and national security expert. You can learn more about him in our statement.
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