PONI is accepting presentation proposals on a rolling basis for our 2017 Conference Series. The PONI conference series brings together a diverse community of professionals from across the nuclear enterprise to discuss a wide range of nuclear issues. PONI conferences are unique in the high value that they place on highlighting new faces and emerging experts in the field, as panels feature some of the best and brightest young professionals. The conference presentations for the upcoming year will focus on, but will not be limited to, the topics listed in the research agenda below. Conference dates and locations will be announced in early 2017. Travel support is available for presenters lacking university or organizational funding.
Presentations proposals should be no more than 2 pages (single-spaced) and should include the following:
- Your name, organization/school affiliation and title of presentation;
- Overview of your presentation, thesis and argument;
- Brief description of how your presentation contributes to new thinking on the topic;
- Resume in a separate file.
Please submit presentation proposals to Will Pittinos at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, June 9, 2017 if you would like to present at the Fall Conference, which will take place on October 11-12, 2017 at Global Strike Command, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.
2017 PONI Conference Series Schedule
- Summer Conference – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA (June 21-22)
- Fall Conference – Global Strike Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana (October 11-12)
- Winter Conference – Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC (December 5-6)
- Capstone Conference – STRATCOM, Offutt AFB, NE (spring 2018)
PONI 2017 Research Agenda
Alliances and Extended Deterrence
Even as nuclear dangers seem to be growing rather than receding, there is deepening discontent with the very notion of nuclear deterrence, extended deterrence and alliance management. Additionally, there appears to be growing skepticism about the benefit of the internationalist system on which alliances and extended deterrence depend. Election results in the UK and U.S. implicitly rejected current policies of burden-sharing necessary for collective relationships and alliances. Should allies be concerned about what this might mean for NATO and countries that depend on the U.S. nuclear umbrella? What are the implications of potential policy shifts in alliances and extended deterrence? Presentations can examine and analyze nuclear burden sharing and shared decision-making, compare alliance dynamics in NATO and Asia, future alliance dynamics and potential changes in alliance policies in the future.
Managing Nuclear Risks in North Korea
North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal and expanding delivery capabilities are dramatically raising the stakes for crisis management in the event of deteriorating stability, control, and governance in the DPRK. Internal crises and instability in North Korea dramatically raise the risks for nuclear proliferation, loss of control, and use. Instability, in the form of weakened governance, diminished territorial control, or both could unfold over long periods of time, be highly opaque, and pose enormous risks of provocation and escalation either with North Korea or with its highly vulnerable neighbors, such as South Korea or Japan. Presentations can examine alternative pathways and timelines to instability in the region, analyze implications for nuclear security or identify technical, operational and policy options for risk management and reduction, etc.
The Next Nuclear Posture Review
The next administration will face the daunting task of drafting the next Nuclear Posture Review as the United States faces important questions about whether and how to modernize its arsenal in the face of more North Korean nuclear tests, Russian demonstration of increased capabilities, Chinese advancement across the Pacific, the threat of nuclear terrorism, South Asian challenges, and more. What should the priorities be in the next NPR? Can we afford to not modernize the triad?
Future of Arms Control
In the current security environment of heightened power competition between the United States, Russia, China, and other states, the prospects for arms-control agreements appear bleak. At the same time, the humanitarian initiative continues to gain momentum with many non-nuclear weapon states and the UN will start negotiations on a nuclear ban treaty next year. What are the prospects for future bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements and what role should the United States and other nuclear weapon states play in reaching those accords? Presentations can include implications of the humanitarian initiative, arms control options for the current security environment, or verification and technical approaches to nonproliferation, etc.
How We Talk About Nuclear Weapons
Dialogue about the nuclear enterprise has changed dramatically both in the military and public circles since the end of the Cold War. Is there a generational difference on the perceived value of the nuclear deterrent force? How do we contextualize nuclear policy in the broader security context? Presentations may include new theoretical frameworks on nuclear weapons policy, analysis and rationale development of national nuclear narratives, or recommendations on how nuclear deterrence is taught both in and out of the military.
The Evolving Nuclear Security Environment
How can the United States and the international community prevent nuclear proliferation, ensure the security of nuclear material, and maintain the integrity of the global nonproliferation regime? Presentations may cover issues such as maintaining and strengthening nonproliferation regimes and norms, combating trafficking of illicit nuclear materials, countering radiological, biological, chemical, and nuclear terrorism, the policy implications of new developments in the field of nuclear forensics and detection; etc.
Regional Deterrence Dynamics and Escalation Management
The era of the Cold War escalation ladder seems to be over. Some have called it more of a “Dr. Seuss” ladder, with cross-domain tactics, hypersonics, limited nuclear use, and terrorism complicating the understanding of an adversary’s tactics and goals. For example in South Asia, India and Pakistan have both taken a stronger posture, and continue to escalate tension with the expectation that the United States would intervene to prevent a nuclear war. But what happens if a terrorist group releases dirty nuclear bomb in Mumbai that cannot be accurately attributed as such? Or how would the United States respond to a cyber-attack on its nuclear facilities? Presentations may cover issues such as: cross-domain escalation, regional dynamics, nuclear terrorism and how it relates to escalation calculus, technologies for identifying attackers, etc.