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"Right place, wrong time for new nukes"
The editors of the Bay Area’s Tri-Valley Herald question the Bush Administration’s decision to proceed with developing the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) at Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National laboratories. Creating new, expensive nuclear warheads, when scientists argue that our current stockpile has a projected lifespan of 85-100 years, is a poor use of U.S. resources. Given the growing national debt and critical domestic issues, “proceeding with the development of RRWs is a decision that should be put off until another time.”
Tri-Valley Herald Editorial, March 11, 2007
With the war in Iraq deteriorating, it would appear that the U.S. is on the verge of starting a new conflict with Iran. The author argues that the Bush Administration is somewhat secretly reconfiguring its priorities in the Middle East based on intelligence that claims Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Congress is certain to provide more oversight and is likely not to support an effort by President Bush to enter into an armed conflict with Iran.
The New Yorker Seymour M. Hersh, February 25, 2007
"Irresponsible in Space"
The authors of this editorial, which originally appeared in Defense News, argue that the Chinese government’s shooting down of its own satellite has resulted in substantial debris in low-Earth orbit, increasing the potential for collisions in space. “One or more of the 300-plus satellites below the Chinese debris cloud…an investment of more than $100 billion, could become road kill.” Rules for the use of space are needed given satellites are used every day to save lives. “Space, like military activities here on Earth, needs a code of conduct to promote responsible activities and to clarify irresponsible ones.”
Defense News - Michael Krepon and Michael Katz-Hyman, February 5, 2007
"Busywork for Nuclear Scientists"
As the Bush Administration presses to develop new nuclear weapons, including the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW), it will become increasingly difficult for the U.S. to restrain the “nuclear appetites” of countries like Iran and North Korea. With costs in the billions, The New York Times questions the need for new weapons like the RRW, given recent studies indicate that plutonium in the current arsenal should last for 100 years. Weapons labs are insisting that weapons can be built without testing them, but the Times suggests that no president would “stake America’s security on an untested arsenal.” President Bush should focus on reducing the numbers of nuclear weapons in the U.S. and elsewhere, and Congress should not spend any further resources on these programs.
The New York Times Editorial, January 15, 2007
"Report: Nukes not so rusty"
Despite claims by President Bush that the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal is out-of-date, a panel of respected scientists is reporting that U.S. weapons plutonium should remain usable for at least 90 years. “Administration weapons officials cited plutonium aging as the leading justification for a plan to replace the entire arsenal with new warheads and bombs,” specifically the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). This study may prove that the nation’s weapons labs can be modernized without spending billion of dollars on new bombs and warheads.
The Oakland Tribune Ian Hoffman, November 29, 2006
"North Korea Talks"
Whether North Korea’s decision to return to multi-lateral negotiations about its nuclear program will actually result in the “dismantling [of] the North’s atomic arsenal remains to be seen.” Over the past year, North Korea has refused to participate in such discussions and then tested a nuclear warhead in October. The six countries involved in nuclear talks signed a “framework agreement” last year calling for North Korea to disassemble its program in exchange for guaranteed security. Now it is up to Kim Jong Il to determine whether he is truly interested in eliminating its arsenal or he is simply “buy[ing] more time to develop missiles and nuclear warheads.”
The Washington Post Editorial, November 1, 2006
"Flexing Our Muscles in Space"
According to this New York Times editorial, “The Bush Administration has adopted a jingoistic and downright belligerent tone toward space operations” as it signals its intent to oppose any treaties that might govern space. This hostile Bush policy could not only undermine international efforts to cooperate on civilian space projects but could also spark a new arms race. Rather than moving toward space supremacy, the Administration would do well to explore treaties to keep space weapons-free in order to protect U.S. and global national security.
The New York Times Editorial, October 21, 2006
"When Outlaws Get the Bomb"
With North Korea having tested a nuclear weapon, “the rules that governed the nuclear road during the cold war and its immediate aftermath have become irrelevant, replaced by the law of the jungle every state, rogue or otherwise, for itself.” Around the globe, nations worry that a nuclear arms “domino effect” could ensue with Arab and Asian nations, in particular, jumping on this dangerous nuclear band wagon, not to mention terrorist organizations.
TIME Magazine Bill Powell, October 15, 2006
"The ongoing failure of imagination"
Graham Allison warns in this Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article that “a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States is more likely than not in the decade ahead.” The author cites “the failure of imagination,” denial and fatalism as contributing to the rising threat. He explores the “who, what, where, when and how” of the risk of a nuclear terrorist attack on the U.S., and argues that the threat is “preventable.” Allison offers a strategy of three no’s to reduce that risk: no loose nukes, no new nascent nukes, no new nuclear weapon states. He concludes by urging states, particularly Russia and the U.S., to embrace a comprehensive global response to the threat of nuclear terrorism, such as the creation of “a new Global Alliance against Nuclear Terrorism.”
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Graham Allison, September/October 2006
"Club can’t shake its fatal attraction"
On the 61st anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this editorial laments the risk of rising nuclear proliferation. According to the editorial: the so-called nuclear weapon states are not undertaking their obligations under the NPT; non-nuclear weapon states are considering the possession of nuclear arsenals; the CTBT has yet to enter into force; and, the cases of North Korea and Iran have become complicated. At the same time, the U.S. is seeking cooperation with India on the civilian use of nuclear energy, which might become a model for other “gray states” to possess both nuclear energy and weapons. The momentum is likely to result in the expansion of the “nuclear weapon club” and its members have the responsibility to halt the present situation particularly by reducing their own arsenals. Japan must play a unique role in pursuing a nuclear weapons-free world.
The Japan Times Editorial, August 6, 2006
"U.S. will gain much by leading efforts to reduce nuclear arms"
Steve Andreasen, Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council from 1993 to 2001, suggests that President Bush should resume nuclear downsizing talks with Russia. The author provides evidence that Russian President Putin is also interested in further downsizing the global nuclear arsenal. Andreasen argues that a renewed focus on this matter will not only decrease the global threat of proliferation, but will also lend international credibility to U.S. leadership, ultimately aiding Washington’s effort to restrict the attainment of nuclear programs by rogue states.
The Mercury News Steve Andreasen, July 14, 2006
"Does North Korea’s Taepodong-2 ballistic missile pose serious threat?"
This report discusses the most recent North Korean missile launches and indicates that they do not yet pose a great threat to other countries. According to Jim Walsh, security and nuclear weapons expert with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Building an intercontinental ballistic missile is, arguably, the most difficult engineering feat you can take on - more difficult than building a nuclear weapon. Countries that built nuclear weapons, built nuclear weapons before they were ever able to build an ICBM, because it is much more difficult.”
Voice of America News Andre de Nesnera, July 6, 2006
"Rethinking nuclear safeguards"
Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, writes in The Washington Post: “Either we begin finding creative, outside-the-box solutions [to nuclear proliferation and arms control] or the international nuclear safeguards regime will become obsolete.” ElBaradei calls upon the international community to recommit to disarmament, tighten controls on uranium enrichment and plutonium separation practices, and cooperatively and realistically address the U.S.-India nuclear controversy.
The Washington Post Mohamed ElBaradei, June 14, 2006
"What about weapons we already have?"
Hans Blix, the head of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission and former head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, writes that the 27,000 nuclear weapons in the U.S., Russia and other nuclear states many of which are on hair-trigger alert should be of grave concern to foreign ministers. He questions why the U.S., U.K. and other nations are now developing new nuclear weapons rather than working to stop the proliferation of these weapons. Blix suggests that the recommendations from the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission be embraced by the U.S. and other countries.
The Philadelphia Inquirer Hans Blix, June 4, 2006
"Whose missile shield is it, anyway?"
Slate.com Columnist Fred Kaplan writes about the Bush Administration’s plans to build a new site of missile defense interceptors in Europe in order to stop the perceived threat of Iran launching a nuclear missile. The author argues that the U.S.’s expensive, ineffective missile defense program should not be extended to new sites given the “grave flaws and incalculable uncertainties” with the current system. Evading missile defenses would be easy for “clever foes” who would simply resort to detonating a nuclear bomb in the U.S. or elsewhere.
Slate.com Fred Kaplan, May 23, 2006
"What we know about Iran"
David Isenberg, senior research analyst at the British American Security Information Council, makes a case in for why Iran’s nuclear program is not an immediate threat. Current evidence and available intelligence do not support the Bush Administration’s claims about Iran’s development of nuclear technologies. “Invading and occupying Iran is simply not an option,” writes Isenberg, as such moves would surely escalate into a war.
TomPaine.com David Isenberg, April 25, 2006
A former nuclear arms treaty negotiator, Max M. Kampelman, writes in The New York Times that he has “never been more worried about the future” for his children and grandchildren than he is today. His chief worries are the increasing numbers of countries with nuclear weapons and the threat of terrorist use of such weapons. The author’s ultimate conclusion is that President Bush should ask the United Nations General Assembly to resolve to support the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, with the United States leading the way.
The New York Times Max M. Kampelman, April 24, 2006
This Harper’s Magazine piece on the dangers of nuclear “bunker busters” was originally printed in December 2004, but is still timely today. The author, Benjamin Phelan argues that “bunker-busting nuclear weapons are a wasteful and dangerous delusion.” The weapons don’t perform as they were designed and the notion that they are “low-yield” is a dangerous misconception. A 1-kiloton bunker buster, which is relatively small on the nuclear bomb scale, “could eject about 1,000,000 cubic meters of radioactive soil” upon detonation at 50 feet underground. Phelan concludes that deterrence is not an acceptable reason for the U.S. to build these weapons.
Harper’s Magazine Benjamin Phelan, April 17, 2006 (originally printed December 2004)
"U.S. rolls out nuclear plan"
The Bush Administration intends to build 125 new nuclear weapons per year by 2022 while “retiring” older bombs that the Pentagon deems as no longer reliable. The plan also includes consolidating all U.S. plutonium into one facility to more easily defend against terrorist attacks. Critics of the Administration’s proposal have expressed concern that building new bombs will result in global nuclear proliferation, making the nation less safe. Further, they argue that the U.S.’s current nuclear arsenal is safe and reliable.
Los Angeles Times Ralph Vartabedian, April 6, 2006
"The real chemical threat"
In a case of art imitating life, the TV series “24” is currently focused on the threat of chemical terrorism, just as a chemical weapons terrorist attack on the U.S. remains plausible. While the television show’s plot has these weapons stolen from a U.S. airport hangar, in reality a theft is likely to occur in Russia, which has a 40,000 metric ton stockpile of chemical weapons. In order to protect national security, the U.S. must help Russia lock up its chemical weapons, as well as eliminate them quickly and safely.
Los Angeles Times Paul F. Walker and Jonathan B. Tucker, April 1, 2006
"India nuke deal meets wary Congress"
U.S. Senate hearings will soon be underway about a potential nuclear deal between the U.S. and India that could dramatically change global nonproliferation efforts. Under the agreement, India would separate its civilian and nuclear energy programs over the next eight years in return for receiving U.S. civilian nuclear expertise and fuel. India’s primary goal is to grow its reactor program. Due to India’s unwillingness to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, some members of Congress would like to restrict the country’s ability to produce plutonium, given nuclear weapons proliferation risks.
The Christian Science Monitor -- Peter Grier, March 24, 2006
"Need for new U.S. nuclear arsenal disputed”"
Despite a push from the Bush Administration to build more than a thousand replacement nuclear warheads, scientists say that existing warheads may have a longer useful life than previously believed. Some researchers say that nuclear fuel could last for more than 100 years, considerably longer than the 45- to 60-year minimum lifespan for plutonium estimated by the weapons labs. If true, Congress will be hard-pressed to approve Administration plans to create a new generations of nuclear warheads, given the apparent reliability of plutonium pits.
San Francisco Chronicle James Sterngold, March 21, 2006
"The rise of U.S. nuclear primacy"
For 40 years, relations among the major, global nuclear powers have been shaped by their common vulnerability, a condition known as mutual assured destruction (MAD). With the U.S. nuclear arsenal growing rapidly while Russia's deteriorates and China's remains small, the authors assert that the era of MAD is ending and the age of U.S. nuclear primacy has begun.
Foreign Affairs Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, March/April 2006
"Rods from God"
The United States is attempting to “wage war in space,” according to this San Francisco Chronicle op-ed author, violating the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which is intended to maintain peace in space. The U.S. envisions developing kinetic-powered rods and dropping them from space to destroy a rogue nation’s underground facilities. The likelihood of these rods or any other space weapon succeeding in its mission is small. Instead, the U.S. would waste tremendous financial resources and space-based communications systems could be crippled as other countries attempt to “fight back in space.”
San Francisco Chronicle John Arquilla, March 12, 2006
"U.S. deal said to let India expand nuclear arms"
The United States and India are considering a landmark nuclear agreement that would allow India’s expansion of its atomic weapons program, which could result in Pakistan and China increasing and modernizing their respective arsenals. The agreement could disintegrate because of a proposed “separation” plan that would open India’s civil nuclear facilities to U.N. inspections while allowing military facilities to be off-limits. India has an estimated 50 nuclear weapons now and a goal of 300-400 weapons within a decade.
The New York Times Reuters News Service, February 15, 2006
"The ramifications of making ballistic missiles more usable"
Steve Andreasen, director for defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council from 1993 to 2001, points out that President Bush is proposing to spend $2.5 billion to arm long-range ballistic missiles on submarines with conventional instead of nuclear warheads. The author argues that Congress should think carefully about “whether making these missiles more ‘usable’ will increase or diminish global security.” If the U.S. arms long-range ballistic missiles with conventional weapons, there is reason to believe that other nations with long-range nuclear missiles will follow our lead. Given there is no way to determine if a missile heading toward a country is armed with a nuclear or conventional warhead, the risk of a mistaken nuclear retaliatory launch increases.
San Francisco Chronicle Steve Andreasen, February 14, 2006
"A Plan for Nuclear Waste"
Former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter decided that the U.S. should forgo spent-fuel reprocessing based on cost concerns and proliferation risks. Now, 30 years later, the Bush Administration has indicated its desire to begin recycling plutonium, further complicating disposal of radioactive waste and increasing public concern about nuclear power expansion. Authors John Deutch and Ernest J. Moniz write: “A successful waste-disposal program has to survive many administrations; a program based on reprocessing will not.”
The Washington Post John Deutch and Ernest J. Moniz, January 30, 2006
"Rumblings Over The Bomb"
U.S. plans to develop the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) “could significantly damage our national security,” according to physicist and consultant Robert Civiak. At the same time that there is global cooperation to halt Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the U.S. is moving forward with plans to create new nuclear weapons like the RRW. Any replacement warhead will likely be required to undergo nuclear testing, leading to a new arms race as other countries follow suit. The author argues that the RRW program is not needed because the existing nuclear stockpile is reliable, flexible and capable.
San Francisco Chronicle Robert Civiak, January 24, 2006
"Global Cleanout: Reducing the Threat of HEU-Fueled Nuclear Terrorism"
In the January/February 2006 issue of Arms Control Today, Alexander Glaser and Frank von Hippel discuss the threat of terrorists acquiring highly enriched uranium (HEU) to make a nuclear weapon. The authors state that the minimal security around many facilities with nuclear stockpiles, coupled with the relative ease of making gun-type radioactive weapons, make the threat legitimate. Glaser and von Hippel propose blending down current stockpiles of HEU in order to decrease the risk of proliferation and they discuss past efforts to do so by the world’s nuclear powers.
Arms Control Today Alexander Glaser and Frank von Hippel, January/February 2006
"Upgrades planned for U.S. nuclear stockpile. Agency leader expects significant warhead redesigns"
The administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Linton Brooks, has indicated that the U.S. plans to modify its existing nuclear stockpile to make warheads “safer and more reliable.” Brooks has signaled that the new effort, called the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program, will involve the creation and production of a new generation of weapons, despite Congressional approval for only limited upgrades to its nuclear weapons program. Representative Ellen Tauscher (D-Walnut Creek) believes this is meant to be “about tinkering at the margins of the existing weapons system, nothing more.”
San Francisco Chronicle James Sterngold, January 15, 2006
"Options Running Out After Iran Snub"
The author, Jephraim Gundzik, reviews the actions leading up to the current situation with regard to Iran’s nuclear program. As a result of these events, Gundzik argues few options are left to those parties attempting to resolve the issue. He points out, as one of the remaining possible developments, Israel's decision to “mount a major military strike against Iran.”
Asia Times Online Jephraim P. Gundzik, January 7, 2006
"Iran Says It Will Resume Nuclear Fuel Research"
Iran has announced its intention to resume nuclear fuel research intensifying the risk of a confrontation with the United States and Russia. An Iranian official said the research would be carried out in coordination with the International Atomic Energy Agency and won't involve uranium enrichment. The U.S., Britain and other European nations have expressed concern with Iran's intent to resume nuclear research, particularly if the work includes enrichment-related activities.
The New York Times John O'Neil, January 3, 2006
"A high-stakes nuclear gamble"
Author Leonard Weiss chief architect of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978 expresses concern with Bush Administration plans to provide nuclear energy assistance to India, as it could increase the risk of terrorist access to nuclear weapons and sends a confusing message to other countries interested in acquiring nuclear materials. Given India’s history of secretly exploding a nuclear device in 1974 and its refusal to allow inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency, any efforts to help India would weaken U.S. national security.
Los Angeles Times Leonard Weiss, December 30, 2005
"The Second Last Chance: American Power and Nuclear Nonproliferation"
William C. Potter, director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, argues that the nonproliferation regime is in trouble due to U.S. ignorance on the subject of proliferation. Potter states that “complacency and ignorance may, in fact, be today’s greatest proliferation challenges.” To combat these, the U.S. should create more venues “for training the next generation of specialists or for introducing our future leaders to the subject.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education December 2, 2005
"U.S. alters nuclear weapons policy. Congress rejects ‘bunker busters’ for more reliable arms"
Congress has for the second year in a row denied funding for the development of “bunker buster” weapons, while approving $25 million in research funding for the “reliable replacement warhead” or RRW. Congress must approve any further resources beyond initial research into the RRW. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is concerned that the Bush Administration “continues to try to reopen the nuclear door” and that “we must remain vigilant in ensuring that the RRW program does not lead to the development of new nuclear weapons and the resumption of nuclear testing.”
San Francisco Chronicle James Sterngold, November 28, 2005
"Of Madmen and Nukes"
Since the beginning of the nuclear age, U.S. presidents have amassed nuclear weapons and developed policies intended to make the threat of their use credible. To this day, the U.S. maintains an antagonistic nuclear posture and a wide-range of options for possible nuclear weapons use. Other nations have also developed nuclear weapons and strategies for their use in the name of defending and advancing national interests. Given U.S. conventional military dominance, the end of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry, and the danger of nuclear proliferation, Daryl Kimball argues in this Arms Control Today editorial that large U.S. nuclear arsenals and an expanding global role for nuclear weapons are not necessary, justifiable, or sustainable.
Arms Control Today Daryl Kimball, November 2005
The race to create space weapons appears to be on, according to Popular Science Editor, Dawn Stover. The weapons likely to inhabit space could include “space planes capable of striking targets anywhere in the world in a matter of hours,” spy satellites and smaller microsatellites. Developing this capability poses technological and political problems, as other countries worry about the U.S.’s intent to use these weapons in a confrontational manner. The U.S. goal is to gain “space superiority,” but our nation may have the “most to lose by starting an arms race in space.”
Popular Science Dawn Stover, October 2005
"The Nuclear Taboo"
Nobel laureate Thomas C. Schelling argues in this Wall Street Journal opinion piece that it is merely “good fortune” that a nuclear weapon has not exploded anywhere in the world in 60 years. He chronicles the positions of U.S. presidents and other world leaders over the years and their perspectives about the use of nuclear weapons. Now, as countries like India, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea threaten to further develop weapons programs or terrorists move to acquire weapons, the author wonders whether these nations and individuals will truly be inhibited or deterred from using them.
The Wall Street Journal Thomas C. Schelling, October 24, 2005
"A Tale of Two Missile Defense Systems"
In an op-ed that first appeared in Space News, Victoria Samson with the Center for Defense Information points out that while much has been made of the Ground-based Midcourse Missile Defense deployment in Alaska and California, another country has already had a nationwide missile defense deployed: Israel and the Arrow Weapon System. Samson contrasts the different attitudes the countries had toward designing their systems, doing so "to illustrate that there are other ways in which to develop a working missile defense system."
Center for Defense Information Victoria Samson, October 10, 2005
"Warheads Aren’t Forever"
Stephen I. Schwartz addresses the controversial issue of developing a new generation of nuclear weapons in this Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article. Schwartz expresses concern that even though some members of Congress are changing their opinions about nuclear reform, “the United States is on the verge of committing itself to churning out a new generation of nuclear weapons” rather than focusing on “a comprehensive review of the underlying rationale for the U.S. stockpile.” The author discusses the Reliable Replacement Warhead program initiative, assesses both pros and cons of the proposed program, and considers who stands to benefit most from its implementation.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Stephen I. Schwartz, September/October 2005
"The Status of CTBT Entry Into Force: the United States"
Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, notes in this article that the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is overdue. He offers a number of options to secure the treaty’s entry into force and suggests a “multifaceted approach,” which would include maintaining the U.S. test moratorium, and blocking new U.S. nuclear weapons research. Kimball concludes that “achieving CTBT entry into force requires a substantial shift in attitudes about the value of the test ban and new nuclear weapons in the White House and the Senate, as well as effecting changes in government policy in India, Pakistan, China, and Israel.”
Arms Control Association Daryl G. Kimball, September 2005
"U.S. Goes Missing"
Bennett Ramberg a former State Department official in the administration of President George H.W. Bush writes this op-ed in The International Herald Tribune arguing that President George W. Bush is undermining nuclear nonproliferation efforts by not participating in the annual Conference on Facilitating the Entry Into Force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The United States remains one of 11 countries with nuclear power and research reactors that has abstained from ratifying the CTBT. The current Bush Administration’s position on the treaty and its development of new nuclear weapons will prevent progress toward global peace.
The International Herald Tribune Bennett Ramberg, September 21, 2005
"Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan"
A draft Pentagon doctrine calls for maintaining an aggressive nuclear posture with weapons on high alert to strike adversaries armed with weapons of mass destruction, preemptively if necessary. Nearly four years ago, the Bush administration unveiled its Nuclear Posture Review, claiming that it would significantly change United States nuclear policy and reduce the role of nuclear weapons. Experts believe that the new U.S. nuclear doctrine does not achieve the Administration’s goals. The doctrine, the first formal update since President Bush took office, is entitled “Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations” and has been influenced by the Nuclear Posture Review and other directives published by the Bush administration since 2001.
The Washington Post Walter Pincus, September 11, 2005
"When Do We Say When?"
The Center for Defense Information’s Victoria Samson argues that a missile defense system is too ineffective in protecting the U.S. from intercontinental ballistic missile attacks to justify its continued funding by Congress. With current costs of $92.5 billion and only a 50% success rate during heavily scripted tests, Samson suggests that that program be shut down altogether. The author believes that appropriations should be diverted from this failing program to projects that actually strengthen national security.
Center for Defense Information Victoria Samson, August 12, 2005
"The fatal lure of missile defense"
An upcoming event being held in San Francisco that brings together advocates for building a U.S. missile defense system highlights the billion-dollar costs of a program that doesn’t work and is likely to lead to nuclear proliferation around the world. Congressional opponents of the missile defense system are attempting to cut funding for the program. Meanwhile, the system has been deployed in Alaska and California, as costs escalate and the U.S. attempts to exert its global dominance.
San Francisco Chronicle Marc Pilisuk, August 1, 2005
"Shunning the Table"
The Bush Administration states that it takes the threat from nuclear terrorism more seriously than any other nation, yet consistently moves to block treaty negotiations that could limit the amount of nuclear weapon materials made available to terrorists. In addition to resisting foreign treaties, the U.S.’s lack of willingness to engage in direct talks with certain nations worries our country’s allies and jeopardizes world peace.
The American Prospect Wade Boese, July 18, 2005
"Radical nuclear weapons overhaul recommended"
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing the creation of a new generation of expensive nuclear warheads, putting the United States in the position of manufacturing increased numbers of warheads while scaling back weapons labs at Livermore, CA, and Los Alamos, NM. The recommendations laid out in a DOE report "...would amount to the most sweeping restructuring of the way the United States produces nuclear weapons since the years right after World War II..." Supporters of nuclear nonproliferation believe that the current U.S. arsenal is sufficient, that it would be costly and wasteful to build new weapons, and could cause other countries to proliferate.
San Francisco Chronicle James Sterngold, July 15, 2005
"Hobson defies Bush on bombs"
Representative David Hobson (R-OH) continues to oppose the Bush Administration's plans to develop nuclear "bunker buster" bombs, earth-penetrating weapons designed to destroy underground targets. For the second year in a row, Hobson who chairs the House Appropriation Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development has defied the White House and opposed funding for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP, or "bunker buster.") Hobson believes that developing such weapons sends the wrong message to other countries and could lead to nuclear proliferation.
Dayton Daily News Jessica Wehrman, June 20, 2005
In this New York Times op-ed, the author writes of President Bush's "radical" plan to deploy weapons in space and the proliferation issues that could result. For example, if a space weapon were to damage Russia or China's communications abilities, these countries could react in kind. U.S. military and commercial satellites could become more vulnerable. The Administration's prefers the notion of "space control" over arms control.
The New York Times Frances Fitzgerald, June 3, 2005
"Weapons in Space"
As the White House lays the groundwork for seizing military superiority in space, newspapers across the country including the New York Times are writing editorials condemning this alarming shift in policy. While space remains, for now, a peaceful place, the Bush Administration's plans for global dominance are costly financially and for their potential to trigger an arms race.
The New York Times Editorial, May 24, 2005
"The 50-Year Shadow"
In 1955, Joseph Rotblat, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning physicist, joined Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and 8 others in signing the Russell-Einstein Manifesto which warned of the "dire consequences of nuclear war." Now, 50 years later, with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference occurring in New York, Rotblat reminds readers of the perils of nuclear weapons.
The New York Times Joseph Rotblat, May 17, 2005
"US Weighs Its Role In Weapons Development"
Congress continues to debate whether to modernize the nuclear stockpile, including the possibility of resuming nuclear weapons testing. As the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference approaches in May 2005, there are concerns that the U.S. does not intend to maintain its commitment to reduce its current nuclear arsenal of 5,000 warheads. In addition, the Bush Administration has sought funding to build new nuclear weapons, which is facing opposition in Congress.
The Christian Science Monitor Peter Grier, April 20, 2005
Former President Jimmy Carter makes a case for strong United State implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) when it comes up for review in May. He accuses the U.S. of being the "major culprit" in eroding the NPT because of its withdrawal from existing treaties and drive to develop new nuclear weapons. Carter urges the U.S. to remove missiles from hair-trigger alert, honor the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, stop developing a missile defense system, and strengthen nuclear nonproliferation efforts in the Middle East.
The Washington Post Jimmy Carter, March 28, 2005
"Livermore's 'bunker buster' a line in the political sand for Bush policy"
This Argus article focuses on the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP, or "bunker buster"), a new nuclear weapon that has the capability of burrowing deep underground. The Bush Administration would like to fund development of the RNEP, while arms control advocates believe the weapon's utility is questionable. Opponents of the RNEP argue that creating such a weapon could lead to nuclear proliferation by other nations.
The Argus (CA) Ian Hoffman, March 20, 2005
"Nuclear weapons and national security"
In this Utah Daily Herald opinion piece, Vanessa Pierce of Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah), chastises U.S. Representative Chris Cannon (R-UT) for his recent position of support for the resumption of nuclear testing. Speaking on behalf of fellow "Downwinders," people who live downwind of the Nevada test site, Pierce quotes a report stating that "there can never be 100-percent assurance that an underground nuclear test will not leak radiation." Cannon is disloyal to his constituents by supporting nuclear testing given his own district ranks 23rd out of more than 4,000 counties nationwide for radioactive fallout exposure
Utah Daily Herald Vanessa Pierce, March 15, 2005
"U.S. Gives a Cold Shoulder To Treaties"
The Bush Administration is following a trend of opting out of or reversing international treaties from a global treaty to ban mercury use, to the Kyoto Protocol, to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty which could "endanger America's standing in the world and hindering efforts to resolve global problems." While not the first president to shun treaties, President Bush is potentially alienating foreign allies and lessening the U.S.'s ability to influence international debates.
Los Angeles Times Evelyn Iritani, March 13, 2005
"U.S. sets example: Go for the nukes"
In this Letter to the Editor, Kirsch Foundation staff members Kathleen Gwynn and Susan Frank point out the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration urging Iran and North Korea to halt their nuclear weapons programs while continuing to strengthen the U.S.'s own arsenal.
San Jose Mercury News, Letter to the Editor March 3, 2005
Roger Speed and Michael May argue in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the Bush Administration's policy of preemption via military force to reduce or stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in particular with the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons, could undermine U.S. security. The authors suggest that both negative and positive assurances by nuclear states to non-nuclear states, a reduction of nuclear dangers, and nuclear disarmament through verifiable agreements are needed to prevent nuclear proliferation. (Source: Nonproliferation Issues)
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - Vol. 61, No.2, March/April 2005
"Rocket Fails to Launch in Test Run"
The nation's newly deployed missile defense system experienced its third straight test failure when an interceptor rocket did not launch from its pad in the Marshall Islands. Since 2002 when President Bush announced he would deploy the anti-missile system by 2004, there has not been a successful intercept test. The overall missile defense program is expected to cost more than $50 billion over the next five years.
The New York Times David Stout, February 14, 2005
"Worst-Case Mentality Clouds USAF Space Strategy"
Theresa Hitchens with the DC-based Center for Defense Information makes a case for why the U.S. should halt its current strategy to exert space dominance. Claims by space weapons enthusiasts that U.S. space assets are vulnerable are off the mark and dangerous. "Careful probing of even the most ardent space weapon proponents reveals that no one seriously believes major threats to on-orbit systems exist today." By developing space weapons and escalating the militarization of space, the U.S. risks accidental war.
Defense News Theresa Hitchens, February 14, 2005
"Rumsfeld Seeks to Revive Burrowing Nuclear Bomb"
Despite Congress cutting nearly $30 million last year to fund the development of an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon, called a "bunker buster" or Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is seeking $10.3 million in President Bush's budget to resume study of these weapons. Representative David Hobson (R-OH), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water, led the charge in 2004 to cut all money for researching the RNEP. "Opponents of the proposed new weapon have argued that sealing off underground facilities could be done as well with smart, precision-guided conventional weapons."
The Washington Post Walter Pincus, February 1, 2005
"Rude awakening to missile-defense dream"
Scott Ritter, a former intelligence officer and weapons inspector in the Soviet Union and Iraq, writes in The Christian Science Monitor about the U.S. Administration's historical and current efforts to deploy a missile defense system. Ritter points out that the Russians have developed the SS-27 Topol-M, a weapon which essentially renders the U.S. missile defense system useless because it "can defeat any intercept capability." Billions of dollars are being spent on a system that "will never achieve the level of defense envisioned." The author suggests that the U.S. should pursue arms control treaties instead of a missile defense system.
The Christian Science Monitor Scott Ritter, January 4, 2004
"The Naked Shield"
This New York Times editorial takes the Bush Administration to task for attempting to deploy an expensive missile defense system that experienced another test failure in a series of failures since the program was created. The newspaper suggests that the U.S. instead spend its funds on defending our ports, borders and nuclear weapons facilities rather than on this "rush toward failure."
The New York Times - Editorial, December 16, 2004
"Missile defense going on line. Is it ready?"
In this editorial, the Denver Post contends that U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system are "premature" given its lack of success in tests, high cost, and potential to trigger a new arms race. Critics of the system argue that countries like China and Russia could use decoys to fool it or easily overwhelm U.S. missile defenses. By making the missile defense system operational, "homeland defense efforts [could be given] a false sense of security," leading to dangerous consequences.
Denver Post Editorial, December 7, 2004
"The cold war's nuclear legacy has lasted too long"
Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) argues in this Financial Times op-ed that the likelihood of an accidental nuclear attack should be of grave concern even though the Cold War has long ended. He highlights the dangers of Russia's aging early-warning networks and the hair-trigger alert posture of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces. Nunn offers solutions to these issues including the removal of all nuclear weapons from hair-trigger alert status and de-emphasizing the role of nuclear weapons in our national nuclear security.
Financial Times Sam Nunn, December 6, 2004
"A test for Bennett"
The Senate is poised to vote on whether the U.S. should develop new nuclear weapons. The Salt Lake Tribune argues that the U.S. cannot effectively dissuade other countries from building nuclear weapons if we are researching and creating new ones of our own. The House has voted no and the Senate will soon decide whether the U.S. should pay for more R&D into nuclear "bunker busters" and other weapons. Residents of Utah and Nevada are particularly concerned about these developments, given they live downwind of the Nevada test site, where nuclear testing could resume if the research gets to that point.
Salt Lake Tribune Editorial, November 16, 2004
"The Faith-Based Missile Shield"
In this New York Times editorial, the writers argue against the Bush Administration's ill-considered plans to deploy an "exorbitantly wasteful" missile defense system in the United States. An untested, delay-plagued project, the system is decried by dozens of retired admirals and generals, and the newspaper calls the missile shield a "fantasy."
New York Times Editorial, October 10, 2004
"All's Fair in Space War"
The U.S. military has started to plan for combat in space, as evidenced by a new unclassified Air Force report called "Counterspace Operations," which details what American weapons would be used in a space battle and which targets might be attacked. In order to maintain "space superiority," the U.S. would potentially cause damage to civilian satellites not to mention the political ramifications of a space fight. This Wired article goes on to illustrate the consequences of current military planning to dominate space and conduct assaults that could be "politically catastrophic."
Wired Noah Shactman, October 1, 2004
"Our Worst http://www.sltrib.comNightmare"
With the U.S. Senate poised to approve or deny funding for new nuclear weapons, the resumption of nuclear testing remains a concern particularly for residents of Utah, given their proximity to the Nevada Test Site. This Salt Lake Tribune editorial argues that Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) should be defending Utah by voting against spending money on the development of new nuclear weapons, which could lead to testing.
Salt Lake Tribune Editorial, September 28, 2004
"Test of Missile Defense System Delayed Again"
With Pentagon plans to begin operating a limited ballistic missile defense system by year's end in Alaska, important elements of that system will not be flight-tested until after the November election. The system designed to send interceptors into space to destroy enemy warheads hasn't been tested in two years and its effectiveness continues to be questioned. Of eight intercept tests, five were hits but none occurred under realistic testing conditions.
The Washington Post Bradley Graham, September 14, 2004
"Nuclear testing an American issue"
The Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, continues its series on the dangers of nuclear weapons with this editorial stating that nuclear weapons testing "should never again be allowed to happen." The writers argue that the resumption of nuclear testing should worry all Americans, not just Utah residents, who live downwind of the Nevada Test Site. Legislation proposed by two Utah congressional legislators would require studies before testing can resume, while others in Congress want to stop the prospect of nuclear testing outright. The U.S. is telling other nations to shut down their nuclear programs while still developing new nuclear weapons. The editorial writers maintain that testing isn't needed and could start another arms race.
The Daily Herald (Utah) Editorial, September 5, 2004
"Making and testing more nukes a bad idea"
In this Utah Daily Herald guest opinion, Daryl Kimball, executive director of the DC-based Arms Control Association, warns that building a new series of earth-penetrating nuclear weapons makes the United States less safe. Rather than focusing on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and reducing the possibility that they may be used for nefarious purposes, the Bush Administration is moving forward with plans to develop, and potentially test, a new generation of these weapons. President Bush is attempting to secure millions of dollars to reduce the time needed to resume testing (to 18 months). The U.S. Senate still has a chance to stop this from occurring, acting as the House of Representatives did earlier this year when it cut funding for new nuclear weapons.
The Daily Herald (Utah) Daryl Kimball, August 16, 2004
"Politics, science hold future of nuclear arms"
The majority of the U.S. Congress appears to support President Bush's continued push for the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons, according to this Santa Fe New Mexican article. Opposition to the Administration's plans is growing among some unlikely members, including Representative David Hobson (R-OH). As chairman of a powerful appropriations subcommittee, Hobson is working to cut funding for new nuclear weapons until the Department of Energy thoroughly analyzes the nuclear-weapons complex and modern security threats.
Santa Fe New Mexican Jeff Tollefson, August 3, 2004
In June, India and Pakistan agreed to a major new nuclear testing ban that is expected to lower tensions between the two neighbors. This historic treaty presents the U.S. with an opportunity to show leadership by agreeing to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that the Senate refused to ratify in 1999.
San Francisco Chronicle Steve Andreasen, July 1, 2004
"The Great-Grandson Of Star Wars, Now Ground-Based, Is Back On The Agenda"
This New York Times article highlights the Bush Administration's plans to implement a ground-based missile defense system in 2004, despite the fact that the system is unreliable, expensive, and untested in realistic settings. Previously known as the Strategic Defense Initiative or "Star Wars" during President Ronald Reagan's tenure when it was envisioned as a space-based program the missile system is intended to guard against Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles launched by a rogue state. However, opponents argue that the high cost, in the hundreds of billions, and the lack of testing makes the missile system "a scarecrow, not a real defense."
New York Times Carl Hulse and William J. Broad, June 8, 2004
"U.S. to Make Deep Cuts in Stockpile of A-Arms"
In a surprise move, the Bush Administration has decided to unilaterally reduce the number of deployed warheads by one half over the next eight years. Though the warheads will be removed from active duty, they will be stored rather than destroyed and available for future activation.
New York Times Matthew L. Wald, June 4, 2004
"Scientists: Bunker-Busting Nukes Are Unreliable"
Despite testimony from scientists that bunker-buster nuclear weapons are technically not feasible and could cause more civilian casualties than traditional weapons, Congress has decided to continue funding their development.
Defense News William Matthews, May 3, 2004
"Playing a dangerous game"
The U.S. Department of Energy's current budget request paints an alarming picture of nuclear weapons research. By focusing on creating more useable nuclear weapons, the U.S. runs the risk of sparking further nuclear proliferation.
Nature Editorial, April 1, 2004
"Saving Ourselves from Self-Destruction"
Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, writes of the importance of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and a global commitment to disarmament in this New York Times op-ed. With proliferation on the rise, countries that feel vulnerable will pursue secret weapons programs and a vast supply network exists that would make it easy for those nations to acquire nuclear weapons. ElBaradei states convincingly: "We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security."
New York Times Mohamed ElBaradei, February 12, 2004
"Bush moves toward 'Star Wars' missile defense"
Disregarding widespread international opposition, the Bush Administration has revealed its 2005 budgetary plans to fund a national missile defense system that would be operational by 2012. The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency is seeking $47 million to begin "technology development" of space-based weapons, despite widespread international opposition to the weaponization of space.
Reuters Jim Wolf, February 2, 2004
"Congress stalls Bush plan for nuclear weapons
Project chief accused of ignoring lawmakers"
This San Francisco Chronicle article highlights the actions of two influential members of Congress who have criticized the Bush Administration's plans to update America's nuclear stockpile by building a new generation of smaller, low-yield weapons. Representative David Hobson (R-OH) and Representative Peter Visclosky (D-IN) sent a letter censuring Linton Brooks, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, for sending a letter to weapons lab chiefs urging them to actively develop new weapons, apparently ignoring the concerns of Congress.
San Francisco Chronicle James Sterngold, January 31, 2004
"Missile Defense System Doubts"
According to this article quoting the Pentagon's chief weapons tester, the Defense Department won't know whether its multibillion-dollar missile defense system will be able to accomplish its mission when it becomes operational in Alaska in September.
Los Angeles Times Paul Richter, January 22, 2004
"Libya Ratifies Nuclear Treaty"
In January, Libya committed to banning nuclear tests and gave monitoring permission to international agencies through its ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). In approving the CTBT, Libya took a major step toward proving its sincerity regarding reducing its weapons of mass destruction capabilities.
Washington Post Associated Press, January 15, 2004
"Bush's Security Policy has a High Price"
The authors of this op-ed argue that the recently published Bush Administration's "National Security Strategy Policy" falls short on substance in addressing the growing crises around the world. With thousands of soldiers remaining in occupied Iraq, the U.S. may not be prepared to respond appropriately to a terrorist event on a magnitude similar to September 11. The authors claim that the U.S. either needs to ready itself for a long occupation in Iraq or reverse current national security policy.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Charles Knight and Marcus Corbin, January 4, 2004
"No new nukes to U.S. arsenal, Nunn urges
Ex-senator says move may hurt nation's security"
This Atlanta Journal-Constitution article highlights former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn's (D-GA) criticism of the Bush Administration for moving closer toward the development of new nuclear weapons. Nunn believes that America's security is at risk unless our nation cooperates and works multi-laterally to protect against the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution George Edmonson, December 17, 2003
"'Mini-nukes' a big problem"
By creating a new class of more useable nuclear weapons, the United States would bring the world closer to the next nuclear assault. The development of mini-nukes could result in a false belief that fewer civilians would be killed by their implementation, thereby reducing the taboo currently associated with such an arsenal.
Japan Times Editorial, November 28, 2003
"Bush's battle to dominate in space"
Plans by the Bush Administration for U.S. proliferation of space weapons threatens to create a new arms race. Despite objections from China and the United Nations, the United States has dismissed the idea of any new treaties aimed at limiting space weapons, while signaling intent to withdraw from earlier accords.
Boston Globe James Carroll, October 28, 2003
"Bush's Dangerous Nuclear Double Standard"
In this Los Angeles Times commentary, Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) warn that U.S. policies pursuing new nuclear weaponry could lead to global conflict. By further developing a nuclear arsenal at home while admonishing the world to stop nuclear proliferation, the United States loses its credibility and reduces the probability of halting the spread of nuclear weapons.
Los Angeles Times Edward Kennedy and Dianne Feinstein, September 23, 2003
"Huge Political Fallout for 'Mini-Nukes' "
Developing a new class of nuclear weapons would hurt the United States' credibility in the international community while decreasing global security. Steve Andreasen, a former National Security Council defense policy and arms control director, argues that new nuclear weapons would be considered more usable, thus lowering the threshold for nuclear warfare.
Los Angeles Times Steve Andreasen, August 7, 2003
"U.S. The Leader In War Plans For Space"
As space weaponry and technology become increasingly important in the battlefield, the United States has positioned itself to maintain and increase its supremacy. As the Iraq War demonstrated, satellite imaging and communications are critical tools in modern warfare. Understanding the role of space in modern conflicts, the U.S. military gives space superiority a high priority in its planning.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Jack Kelly, July 28, 2003
"Senators OK Millions For Nuclear Arms Work"
Bush Administration requests for funding nuclear bunker busters are being debated in Congress. Facing the largest budget deficit in the history of the United States, the House of Representatives has shown an inclination to significantly reduce the appropriations for these weapons, whereas the Senate has voted in favor of the Administration's requested funds. Nuclear disarmament advocates vocally oppose the development of new, more "useable," atomic weapons because they could lower the threshold for nuclear warfare by the U.S. and other nations.
Philadelphia Inquirer H. Josef Hebert, July 17, 2003
"Space-Based Missile Defense: Not So Heavenly"
Defense Department plans to develop a missile defense system would succeed only by spending billions of dollars and creating a flawed system according to this opinion piece in Space News. Theresa Hitchens, Vice President and Director of the Space Security Project at the Center for Defense Information, cites numerous studies demonstrating the near impossibility of creating a functional missile defense system and provides realistic cost estimates for an attempted deployment.
Space News Theresa Hitchens, July 21, 2003
"Bush pushes for next generation of nukes"
This USA TODAY article highlights the Bush Administration's ongoing efforts to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons and resume nuclear testing. After eleven years of a moratorium on nuclear testing, the current Administration has taken a different tack than the first President Bush, who enacted the 1992 moratorium.
USA TODAY Tom Squitieri, July 7, 2003
This New York Times editorial illustrates that recent action by Congress to overturn a decade-old law banning development of new nuclear weapons is "unwise" and fraught with danger. So called low-yield and "bunker buster" weapons may seem tempting in order to destroy hard-to-reach targets. However, by manufacturing new weapons, the U.S. could be leading the world into a growing nuclear proliferation crisis.
New York Times Editorial, June 2, 2003
"No More Nukes"
This Washington Post editorial highlights the dangerous precedent that the U.S. would set by developing new nuclear weapons. The proposed, more "usable" weapons would lower the threshold for a nuclear conflict and could spur a new worldwide arms race.
Washington Post Editorial, May 26, 2003
"Disarmament in tatters/U.S. undermined arms control system that was already deadlocked"
The Bush Administration has set a dangerous precedent by unilaterally and forcibly disarming Iraq, according to this San Francisco Chronicle article. Previous American foreign policy involved engaging the international community and forging treaties, whereas the current Administration has focused on withdrawing from such agreements. These actions have significantly weakened the ability of institutions to protect world peace and limit weapons of mass destruction.
San Francisco Chronicle James Sterngold, April 6, 2003
"Bush's war on (or with?) nuclear weapons"
Naila Bolus, Executive Director of the Ploughshares Fund, asserts that the Bush Administration has set a dangerous precedent by threatening nuclear attack on non-nuclear states. By changing a long held international tenet and removing incentives for countries not to pursue weapons development, the Bush administration could spark widespread nuclear proliferation. Additionally, Bolus argues that by aiming to create smaller and more usable nuclear weapons, the United States further lowers the threshold for initiating a nuclear strike.
San Francisco Chronicle Naila Bolus, March 16, 2003
"Bush frees cash to secure Soviet arms"
President George W. Bush signed an executive order releasing about $500 million to the former Soviet Union for the purpose of securing weapons of mass destruction. The allocation, previously frozen by Congress, will be used to eliminate stockpiles of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
USA TODAY Peter Eisler, January 14, 2003
"Star Wars by '04? Forget It"
According to this report in BusinessWeek, the early missile defense program planned by the Bush Administration will weaken rather than strengthen national security. Far from being an effective shield in 2004, the system would create an artificial sense of safety when deployed. Furthermore, the program threatens national security today by pushing North Korea and others to expedite nuclear weapons production before the U.S. program comes online.
BusinessWeek Stan Crock, January 7, 2003
"Bush gives go-ahead to missile defence"
In a policy move covered by domestic and international media, the Bush Administration announced plans to attempt the deployment of a ballistic missile defense system. President Bush's proposal calls for ten missile interceptors to be online in a new Alaskan facility by 2004. The controversial program has failed three out of eight tests and will likely cost hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming decades.
BBC News December 17, 2002
"Invitation to Terrorism"
The risk of unsecured nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union presents an enormous unaddressed threat to the United States. Though the federal government has focused significant resources to combat the threat of terrorism, many experts suggest that the threat of unsecured weapons has not received attention proportional to its danger to national security.
San Jose Mercury News Daniel Sneider, December 15, 2002
"U.S. ponders resumption of nuke-weapons test"
The San Jose Mercury News reports on a Bush Administration memo that considers the resumption of live nuclear weapons tests in the United States. In addition, a defense authorization bill passed by Congress in 2002 advises the national laboratories to prepare to conduct atomic tests within six months of notification.
San Jose Mercury News Dan Stober and Jonathan S. Landay, November 15, 2002
"Pelted by paint, downed by debris:
Missile defenses will put valuable satellites at even greater risk."
In this Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article, Joel Primack writes how the space near Earth is littered with debris, and how the weaponization of space would significantly magnify that problem. When an explosion occurs in space, the debris does not dissipate over time the fragments become "tiny satellites traveling at about 27,000 kilometers per hour, 10 times faster than a high-powered rifle bullet." The author argues that weapons should not be introduced in space and offers other solutions in order to avoid tragic consequences for the environment, and the planet.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Joel Primack, September/October 2002
"A Deeply Flawed Review"
Joseph Cirincione, the Director of the Carnegie Non-Proliferation Project, reveals the major defects of the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). He comments that the suggested policies of the report further entrench U.S. military policy in a Cold War mindset. Also, the NPR might be in direct opposition to the United States' obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and actually encourage other countries to further develop weapons of mass destruction.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace May 16, 2002
"Treaty Offers Pentagon New Flexibility"
The New York Times reviews the details of the new U.S.-Russia Nuclear Treaty. The treaty's main constraint is that neither country has more than 2,200 warheads active at the end of 2012, the date the agreement automatically expires. Lacking in the treaty are provisions relating to permanently dismantling nuclear weapons as opposed to simply storing them, as well as timelines for any such actions.
New York Times Michael R. Gordon, May 15, 2002
"Nuclear Plans Go Beyond Cuts: Bush Seeks a New Generation of Weapons, Delivery Systems"
A recent Washington Post article provides an overview of the Bush Administration's policy goals contained in the recently released Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The NPR recommends sharp increases in the pace of nuclear weapons development and deployment. Specific aspects of the plan include expanding the capacities of U.S. nuclear weapons plants and the creation of new missile, submarine, and heavy bomber designs.
The Washington Post Walter Pincus, February 19, 2002
"Disarmament's Glacial Pace"
This Los Angeles Times editorial piece urges the United States to work with Russia in reducing operational nuclear warheads. The United States has taken many warheads offline; however, an unspecified number are kept in storage, providing a constant threat to the peace process. The LA Times points out that both Russia and the U.S. currently maintain above-and-beyond the necessary number of nuclear warheads. Although both countries are slowly paring down their respective arsenals, there should be a binding treaty in place that shows good will and cooperation in the effort to staunch a nuclear war.
LA Times January 26, 2002
"Missile Defense Test's Value Questioned"
Bradley Graham of the Washington Post reports on the controversial testing of a prototype missile defense system. A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) states that the tests have essentially been the same, with each mock warhead carrying a transponder that helps guide the interception missile to the target. This article explores the purpose and future of the United States' missile defense system.
Washington Post, Bradley Graham - December 2, 2001