The four prominent US public figures [former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, and former Senator Sam Nunn] who a year earlier called for an end to nuclear weapons repeated and expanded on their call. [See 2007.01.04] They wrote that
Progress must be facilitated by a clear statement of our ultimate goal. ... Without the vision of moving toward zero, we will not find the essential cooperation required to stop our downward spiral.
George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, The Wall Street Journal, Toward A Nuclear Free World. 2008.01.15.
The British Secretary of State for Defense, Des Browne, told the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva that the UK would propose that the N5 initiate discussion of technical challenges of verifying nuclear disarmament:
For the first time, I am proposing to host a conference for technical experts from all five recognised nuclear states, to develop technologies for nuclear disarmament.
At the centre of this offer are the skills and expertise of UK scientists at the Atomic Weapons Establishment. Those skills will form the basis of pioneering technical research into nuclear disarmament - to become a nuclear disarmament laboratory. ...
Despite significant reductions in stockpiles since the Cold War, there remain thousands of nuclear warheads worldwide. The proliferation of nuclear material, technology and weapons represents a grave threat to international security.
These challenges require a global solution. The international architecture to promote disarmament and counter proliferation is extensive, but still not sufficient. So we must continue to address these threats internationally.
Every nation, both with and without nuclear weapons, needs to contribute to this effort. Nuclear Weapons States must show forward commitment to disarmament in order to maintain broad support from the Non-Nuclear Weapons States on countering proliferation.
As one of the five recognised nuclear weapons states, the UK has made a significant contribution to countering proliferation, but this cannot be a unilateral approach. In the current circumstances, we cannot undermine our own national security. In renewing our own nuclear deterrent, we clearly set out our position in the 2006 White Paper as maintaining minimum deterrence.
The UK is determined to have a world free of nuclear weapons. But to get there we must first create an international environment that better supports disarmament. The UK has and will continue to pursue this until nuclear weapons no longer exist.
United Kingdom. Ministry of Defense. Des Browne, UK Secretary of State for Defense, remarks to the Conference on Disarmament. Laying the Foundations for Nuclear Disarmament. 2007.02.05.
Three former British Foreign Secretaries, Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind, and David Owen, and a former NATO General-Secretary, George Robertson, urge steps toward nuclear disarmament and abolition. They describe the initiative of Shultz, Kissinger, Perry and Nunn as an influential project, and declare that
Substantial progress towards a dramatic reduction in the worlds nuclear weapons is possible. The ultimate aspiration should be to have a world free of nuclear weapons. It will take time, but with political will and improvements in monitoring, the goal is achievable. We must act before it is too late, and we can begin by supporting the campaign in America for a non-nuclear weapons world.
• Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind, David Owen, and George Robertson, Start worrying and learn to ditch the bomb.
It wont be easy, but a world free of nuclear weapons is possible. Times [London], 2008.06.30.
The Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Armed Services Committee, US House of Representatives heard testimony on 17 July 2008 concerning the future of the US nuclear weapon labs. Panelists represented the labs and their managers, and the US Government Accountability Office; panelists also included a former lab director and a private critic.
• Hearing on Nuclear Weapons Complex Modernization,, US House of Representatives, House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. 17 July 2008. An agenda with links to prepared testimony was seen in July 2008 at the House website. For convenience GC.DD has combined the prepared texts into a single pdf file (about 1MB), in alphabetic order by name of presenter.
A key step in the US Congressional appropriations process is presentation of reports, including recommended expenditures by category, by the respective House and Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittees. These reports incorporate assessments of proposed programs. The American Institute of Physics summarises key points in documents available on its website, and includes pointers to the Subcommittee documents themselves:
Senate Report 110-416 ... accompanies S. 3258; see page 120-129 of the PDF version of the report that can be accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app09.html for the complete text. ...
The National Nuclear Security Administration, an independent agency within the Department of Energy, designs, produces, and tests nuclear weapons, and provides the Navy's nuclear propulsion plants. NNSA also has jurisdiction over the nation's nonproliferation program. The total FY 2009 Department of Energy request was $25 billion, of which $9.1 billion was for NNSA programs. Within this budget, $6.6 billion was requested for the weapons program. ...
AIP quotes the [then unfiled] committee report as saying, about the Reliable Replacement Warhead,
That said, the Committee remains to be convinced that a new warhead design will lead to these benefits. The Committee will not spend the taxpayers money for a new generation of warheads promoted as leading to nuclear reductions absent a specified glide path to a specified, much smaller force of nuclear weapons. Similarly, the Committee finds no logic in spending the taxpayers money on a new generation of warheads promoted as avoiding the need for nuclear testing, while the Secretary of State insists that the Administration does not support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
• [Senate] FYI The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News Number 80: July 22, 2008 Web version:
http://www.aip.org/fyi/2008/080.html (Recommended). FY 2009 Senate Appropriations Language: DOE Nuclear Weapons Program. 2008.07.22.
• [House] FYI The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News Number 81: July 23, 2008 Web version:
http://www.aip.org/fyi/2008/081.html (Strongly Recommended). House FY 2009 Funding Bill: DOE Nuclear Weapons Program. 2008.07.23
The Arms Control Association revealed a US government draft on nuclear cooperation with India which the United States will propose to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Consent of the NSG, and of the US Congress, is required if the US-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement is to take effect. ACA judges that
Generally speaking, any India-specific exemption from NSG guidelines would erode the credibility of the NSG's efforts to ensure that access to peaceful nuclear trade and technology is available only to those states that meet global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament standards. India has not agreed to abide by the standards and commitments expected of other responsible states, including full-scope IAEA safeguards, a meaningful Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement, a legally-binding ban on nuclear testing, and a halt to the production of fissile material for weapons.
• Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India [Text of Draft U.S. Proposal to NSG, August 2008]
• Arms Control Association. Note for Reporters. U.S. Proposal for India-Specific Exemption from Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines Circulated August 2008. Daryl G. Kimball (202-463-8270 x107). 2008.08.13.
In New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the East-West Institute. His title: The United Nations and Security in a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.In his remarks he offered a five-point proposal:
First, I urge all NPT [Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] parties, in particular the nuclear-weapon States, to fulfil their obligation under the Treaty to undertake negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament.
Second, the [P5] should commence discussions ,... on security issues in the nuclear disarmament process. They could unambiguously assure non-nuclear-weapon States that they will not be the subject of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. The Council could also convene a summit on nuclear disarmament. Non-NPT States should freeze their own nuclear-weapon capabilities and make their own disarmament commitments. ...
[Third] ... We need new efforts to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force, and for the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations on a fissile material treaty immediately, without preconditions. ...
[Fourth] accountability and transparency. ... The nuclear Powers could also expand the amount of information they publish about the size of their arsenals, stocks of fissile material and specific disarmament achievements. The lack of an authoritative estimate of the total number of nuclear weapons testifies to the need for greater transparency.
[Fifth] ... complementary measures [including] elimination of other types of WMD; new efforts against WMD terrorism; limits on the production and trade in conventional arms; and new weapons bans, including of missiles and space weapons. The General Assembly could also take up the recommendation of the Blix Commission for a “World Summit on disarmament, non-proliferation and terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction.
Ban also said that The very first resolution adopted by the General Assembly, in London in 1946, called for eliminating “weapons adaptable to mass destruction. Actually, the resolution created a United Nations Atomic Energy Commission and mandated the Commission to make specific proposals inter alia [c] for the elimination from national armament of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction. Not quite the same thing.
• Ban Ki-moon, The United Nations and Security in a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, as delivered, New York. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/sgsm11881.doc.htm 2008.10.24.
• UNGA Resolution 1 (I), by link from http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/1/ares1.htm 1946.01.24.