What’s next on nonproliferation and international security, in Washington and around the globe.
-- July 29: The third part of the 2013 session of the Conference on Disarmament begins in Geneva, Switzerland, and runs through Sept. 13. The consensus-based forum has been deadlocked for years on work aimed at controlling global stocks of fissile materials. Adding to the disarray: The U.S. delegation and others boycotted the second part of the U.N.-sponsored session this year when Iran took the body’s rotating chairmanship. The allies cited concerns that Tehran has flouted its nonproliferation commitments by using an ostensibly peaceful nuclear energy program to advance toward building atomic weapons.
-- July 30: Adm. Cecil Haney goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee for a hearing on his nomination to command the military organization that would lead any U.S. strategic nuclear combat or missile defense operations. Pop quiz: Who was the last Navy admiral to take the helm of U.S. Strategic Command, which has enjoyed an unevenly spaced but numerically equivalent number of Air Force and Navy Department top leaders -- four each -- since its 1992 inception as a joint combatant command? That was Adm. James Ellis, who had his finger on the nuclear button from 2002 to 2004. If confirmed, Haney -- who currently commands the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet -- will take over from Gen. Robert Kehler. Credible word on the street is that the Air Force general is not immediately headed into retirement, making him the current focus of military parlor games to guess a next assignment.
-- July 30: John Zabko, assistant director of the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, and John MacKinney, who directs DHS nuclear and radiological policy, will discuss challenges and perspectives involved in “Preventing Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism.” The event is part of a breakfast series on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Air Force Association, National Defense Industrial Association and Reserve Officers Association.
-- July 31: A panel of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will be asking the question: “How Prepared is the National Capital Region for the Next Disaster?” The Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations and the District of Columbia will tackle Washington’s response and preparedness capabilities, regional coordination and recommendations for federal support in the even of future catastrophes.
-- July 31: The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee will hear testimony from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on oversight of his department’s strategy for the management and disposal of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.
-- July 31: Over at the House Foreign Affairs Committee -- and just as Washington awaits the Aug. 3 inauguration of a new president in Tehran and helps arm the opposition to a sitting president in Damascus -- two conservative issue experts will address “The Iran-Syria Nexus and its Implications for the Region.”
-- July 31: Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, will appear at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington to offer his assessment of counterterrorism policy.
-- July 31-August 1: The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Project on Nuclear Issues will hold a conference at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., featuring a keynote speech by Frank Rose, the deputy assistant secretary of State for space and defense policy. Additional presentations during the two-day event include nuclear proliferation; weapons modernization and stockpile stewardship; and strategic stability in Asia.
-- August 1: The drumbeat is getting louder. Did federal agencies or others drop the ball in oversight of the West, Texas, fertilizer plant that exploded in April, killing 14? The House Homeland Security Committee’s panel on cyber-security, infrastructure protection and security technologies will consider that question; witnesses were not yet announced as of press time.
-- August 1: Here come the dog days of August when it seems that everyone else is on holiday and Washington is a ghost town. That can only mean one thing: It’s time for basketball star Dennis Rodman to return to North Korea. He reportedly tweeted in May about his upcoming visit, aimed at freeing Kenneth Bae, a Korean American who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for alleged anti-Pyongyang activities. “Do me a solid and cut Ken Bae loose,” Rodman appealed via Twitter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
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