PONI Debates the Issues Blog

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(Brig Gen Michael Lutton flying in a B-52H flight simulator, courtesy U.S. Air Force)

If you had told me six years ago when I was studying mechanical engineering that I would one day accompany an Air Force brigadier general to a U.S. strategic bomber and missile base, I would have thought you were completely insane. But back in February 2017, that is exactly what I did when I traveled to Minot Air Force Base (AFB) in North Dakota with five other National Nuclear Security…

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North Korea successfully tested a new intermediate range ballistic missile on Saturday – the Hwasong-12. Images released by the country’s state media suggest that the test involved a more advanced missile first revealed at a military parade in Pyongyang last month. Since assuming power in 2011, Kim Jong-Un has embarked on an…

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The United States currently does not lack energy supplies. Far removed from high oil prices in 2008, the natural gas bubble has depressed fossil fuel costs and put substantial economic pressure on other energy sources. Nuclear energy, in particular, has felt the stress more than other alternative energy supplies: it was not included in the list of “Qualified Renewable Energy” sources in the…

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With strategic competition in South Asia shifting to the maritime space and nuclear weapon states increasingly relying on sea power, the Indian Ocean region (IOR) has become a theatre for trilateral security competition between India, Pakistan, and China. Developments over the past several years showcase the complicated nature of the situation in the IOR, and lead to a number of difficult questions about strategic stability. What are the drivers of nuclear…

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Toshiki Fujimori, a Hiroshima bomb survivor, addresses the first session of negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons at the United Nations. Photo courtesy of Alicia Sanders-Zakre.

The controversial negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons kicked off its first session last week at the United…

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The collapse of the USSR signaled a shift in dependence from conventional forces to strategic and non-strategic nuclear weaponry in the Russian Federation. The decade of growth experienced from 1999 is leading to a new paradigm of deterrence for the Russian Federation. This blog post explains the evolution of nuclear and whole-of-state strategic doctrine.
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Last fall, I visited the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS—formerly known as the Nevada Test Site), a sprawling 1,300-acre complex in the picturesque desert and foothills outside Las Vegas. The NNSS once hosted facilities supporting Cold War nuclear testing and development programs. Veterans of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National…

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The World Customs Organization (WCO) serves as the sole international customs organization, providing leadership in re-orienting the global customs community to the valuable contributions it can make in national security. Customs authorities manage the movement of goods, money, and people, and play a key role in the prevention and detection of smuggling restricted goods. As the customs community single multilateral/international organization, the WCO provides leadership to focus on issues…

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Photo courtesy of UK Ministry of Defence, https://www.flickr.com/photos/defenceimages/8950656444/ In the aftermath of the British vote to leave the European Union, it has become apparent that extricating the United Kingdom from decades of EU membership will be no simple task. Nowhere is this reality clearer than in the realm of nuclear security. With Scotland having voted to remain in the EU by a significant margin, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland has stated that a second referendum on Scottish independence from the UK is highly likely. Among the many economic and…

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Last week (June 20-23), the UN Security Council held open consultations on the comprehensive review of Resolution 1540, which mandates that all 193 UN members must adopt and enforce effective laws to keep WMDs out of the hands of terrorists. UN member states, along with representatives from international, regional and sub-regional organizations, and non-governmental organizations, engaged in an open dialogue to reflect on the resolution’s achievements and to develop new ideas for improving…

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On July 30th, 2015, a 5.2 earthquake shook the city of Mersin and was felt all the way to Turkey’s eastern border. Ten days earlier, a devastating wildfire in the Gulnar district caused damage to more than 60 acres. Why does this matter? Turkey is in the pursuit of acquiring its first nuclear power plant in the Gulnar district, Akkuyu, only 50 miles from Mersin.

In addition to environmental concerns, the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant poses broader security risks as well. Under…

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The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Center for Strategic and International Studies or the Project on Nuclear Issues. The content of this web site does not constitute an endorsement by or opinion of the Department of Defense or any sponsor of the Project on Nuclear Issues.