Executive Director John Tierney spoke with The Diplomat about global arms control and non-proliferation issues.
The Diplomat: From observation, does adding or enhancing nuclear capabilities actually deter ‘bad behavior’ by countries?
Tierney: No. It just encourages more arms racing.
The Diplomat: Let’s talk about technicalities. Can you describe what the push to develop smaller nukes is yielding in terms of new and developing technologies — their size, cost, amount of damage they can do, how long it will take to develop them, etc.?
Tierney: Smaller nuclear weapons were originally developed for battlefield use. Military planners in the Cold War then came to their senses, understanding that a nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon, no matter the yield. After all, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was technically a low-yield nuclear weapon. They may be smaller than today’s standard deployed strategic weapon, but they are still city destroyers.
The Trump administration is currently pushing for a low-yield variant to the Trident submarine-launched missile. Congress is close to authorizing the creation of that weapon and approving the funds for it. The new warhead could be fitted on a missile within a couple years. There are considerable reasons not to go down this path, destabilization being but one. Read more