October 19, 2007

Reducing Nuclear Threats and Preventing Nuclear Terrorism

By Michèle Flournoy

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted the National Security Advisory Group (NSAG) for a panel discussion on the recently published paper on a new comprehensive strategy for reducing nuclear threats and preventing nuclear terrorism.

Panelists at the event included:

Speakers:

Michèle A. Flournoy, President and Co-founder of Center for a New American Security

Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Principal of The Albright Group LLC

Franklin C. Miller, Vice President of The Cohen Group

Dr. Ashton B. Carter, Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

The Honorable Robert Einhorn, Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS

 

The event took place on Friday, October 19, 2007 at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC to discuss the new report, “Reducing Nuclear Threats and Preventing Nuclear Terrorism.”  The report was completed by the National Security Advisory Group, directed by Wendy R. Sherman, Principal, The Albright Group LLC and Robert J. Einhorn, Senior Advisor, International Security Programs, Center for Strategic and International Studies. The panel included Michèle Flournoy, President and Co-founder of CNAS; Franklin C. Miller, Vice President of The Cohen Group; Dr. Ashton B. Carter, Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs, Harvard University; and Mr. Einhorn.

With Michèle Flournoy moderating, Mr. Einhorn first laid out the basics of the report, Mr. Miller and Dr. Carter provided their own statements, and then the entire panel answered questions from the audience.  The report establishes that the Unit ed States is facing a very different nuclear threat in the post-9/11 world than it did during the Cold War and that the gravest current nuclear threat is the possibility that terrorist groups acquire nuclear weapons. The report also holds that the US must be wary of nuclear weapons acquisitions by countries hostile to the US, as well as for the continuing possibility for nuclear proliferation.

The report contends that there is a pressing need to shift priorities and create a new strategy for reducing nuclear threats, specifically by reviving international arms control and non-proliferation efforts and denouncing policies like the doctrine of preventive war. There was some dissent and commentary on the report from Mr. Miller and Dr. Carter. Mr. Miller thought that lowering our nuclear weapons capacity would send the wrong message to potential nuclear proliferators and would decrease our deterrence to other nations.  Both Mr. Miller and Dr. Carter agreed that there was a key distinction between a state having a nuclear weapon and that state posing a threat to the US’s national security.

 

 

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