What’s next on nonproliferation and international security, in Washington and around the globe.
-- Sept. 23: Vienna’s calling. The headline-grabbing International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors will meet in the Austrian city, following the U.N. nuclear watchdog's General Conference the previous week. The IAEA has been spending ample time in the spotlight, as the world tries to make sense of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile in Vienna, officials including U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman will gather at a panel discussion titled "2012-2015 Review Cycle of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT): The State of Play," which is coordinated by the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.
-- Sept. 24: Back in Washington, speakers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies will tackle a new report dubbed "Escape from Nuclear Deterrence: Lessons for Global Zero from the Strategic Defense Initiative." Dallas Boyd, senior policy analyst at Science Applications International Corporation, and James Scouras, a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, will compare former President Ronald Reagan’s proposed nuclear-missile-defense system with current White House occupant President Obama’s wish to rid the world of nuclear weapons. “While these proposals appear to have little in common, deeper investigation reveals a number of provocative similarities in motivation and presentation,” event organizers say.
-- Sept. 24-Oct. 1: The U.N. General Assembly will conduct general debate in New York though the end of the month, when the world will be watching to see if its Security Council will endorse a U.S.-Russia-brokered deal for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. Iran’s nuclear ambitions will also be a hot topic. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is expected to meet with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton about the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear program. Observers also are buzzing about Obama and newly-sworn-in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani possibly chatting about Iran’s unclear nuclear ambitions. Visit the U.N. website for webcasts of the General Assembly.
-- Sept. 25: The Stimson Center will offer a proposed alternative to the United States' current defense strategy at a Capitol Hill briefing. The non-partisan Washington think tank plans to release a report outlining a new “Strategic Agility” plan that it says “would strengthen America's security and enable the Defense Department to cut tens of billions of dollars in annual spending.” It describes 27 specific recommendations for implementing its proposed strategy, which is intended to be an alternative to the $500 billion in decade-long sequestration budget cuts facing the Pentagon. Speakers will include Barry Blechman, Stimson’s co-founder and chairman of its Defense Advisory Committee; B.B. Bell, a retired Army four-star general who commanded U.S. Army, Europe and U.S. Forces, Korea; and Philip Odeen, a former CEO and chairman of TRW, Inc. who previously held National Security Council and Pentagon posts.
-- Sept. 26: Think big. In the Big Apple, the U.N. General Assembly is planning a High-level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament, following is adoption of a resolution last year called for such a gathering. “In deciding to hold a High-Level meeting, Member States emphasized the importance of seeking a safer world for all and achieving peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons,” Vuk JeremiÄ, president of the 67th session of the General Assembly, said in May 2013. The gathering will be closely monitored online, by websites including Reaching Critical Will, and will be webcast.
-- Sept. 26: It’ll be a significant day for the arms-control community within the Beltway. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on the nominations of Rose Gottemoeller to be under secretary of State for arms control and international security, Frank Rose to be assistant secretary of State for verification and compliance, and Adam Scheinman to be special representative for nuclear nonproliferation. President Obama announced more than a year ago he would nominate Gottemoeller to the under secretary post, and officially sent the Senate her nomination in May. She is serving the role now in an acting capacity. The White House announced its nominations of Rose and Scheinman in July, when it also officially transmitted those request to the Senate.
-- Sept. 26: “Minimum Deterrence: Examining the Evidence” is the title of a report that will be discussed in Washington at an event at the conservative Heritage Foundation that is being co-sponsored by the National Institute for Public Policy. The planned speakers are Keith Payne, the president of the National Institute for Public Policy and a former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense; Robert Joseph, a senior scholar at the institute who previously served as under secretary of State for arms control and international security; and Rebeccah Heinrichs, a visiting fellow at Heritage. The National Institute for Public Policy’s report on minimum deterrence examines President Obama’s call for a one-third reduction in the U.S. nuclear arsenal from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty levels. The right-leaning institute says the document offers “valuable insight” into the debate between advocates of a minimum deterrence posture, who support Obama’s announcement, and skeptics, who believe reduced force levels are not possible and would make the United States vulnerable.
-- Sept. 27: Back at the U.N. headquarters, the eighth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty -- or “Article XIV Conference” – will be held. The first of these Article XIV confabs was held in 1999, and since then states eager to accelerate the CTBT’s ratification have used them to call on nations that have not signed or ratified the treaty to do so. Portions of the conference are expected to be webcast.