What’s next on nonproliferation and international security, in Washington and around the globe.
— March 31: Discussion panelists Robert Einhorn, Frank von Hippel and Dennis Ross converge on the Brookings Institution in Washington for an event examining “The Iran Negotiations: Requirements for a Final Deal.”
— March 31: The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the “humanitarian consequences” of nuclear arms will be the focus of a panel discussion sponsored in Washington by the Arms Control Association, in cooperation with the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Speakers include Ambassador Desra Percaya, who represents Indonesia at the United Nations, and four arms-control issue experts.
— March 31: Thomas Countryman is off to Tennessee. The assistant secretary of State for international security and nonproliferation will discuss “Global Security and U.S. Foreign Policy” at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. It’s not Countryman’s alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis — Go Battling Bears! But, hey, not every institution of higher learning has an Institute for Nuclear Security like UT’s, in the backyard of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
— April 1: No April Fools allowed at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to discuss Energy and Defense department proliferation-prevention programs, first in open and then in closed session. Senior officials involved in combating weapons of mass destruction, representing both agencies, will testify.
— April 2: U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, fresh off of accompanying President Obama to the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, appears before the House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee to discuss his agency’s fiscal 2015 budget request. His department includes the semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the U.S. atomic-weapons complex and engages in global efforts to stanch proliferation.
— April 2: What happens after the estimated 3,000 members of the press, 53 world leaders and untold numbers of issues experts and support staff all return home after spending March 24 and 25 in The Hague? They focus on “Creating a Legacy for the Nuclear Security Summit” — the topic of a panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Sharon Squassoni, who directs the CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program, will discuss the matter alongside Kenneth Luongo and Sarah Williams, both with the Partnership for Global Security.
— April 2: The U.S. House Armed Services Committee hears testimony from three top combatant commanders: Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, who leads U.S. European Command; Adm. Cecil Haney, who heads U.S. Strategic Command; and Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who commands U.S. Forces Korea. Anticipate the brass, respectively, to discuss indications that Russia’s recent incursion into Crimea will expand further into eastern Ukraine, the cheating and other scandals that have plagued the Air Force’s nuclear-missile sector, and the spate of missiles recently test-launched by North Korea in apparent violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions.
— April 2: Two Pentagon civilians, a pair of three-star general officers, and a congressional watchdog: It adds up to five noteworthy witnesses testifying about U.S. ballistic missile defense policies and programs at the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.
— April 3: Back at the House Armed Services Committee, lawmakers will hold a hearing on the results of the Pentagon’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, which recently indicated a renewed Defense Department focus on combatting terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Witnesses are Adm. James Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Christine Wormuth, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for strategy, plans and force development.
— April 3: Speaking at a discussion sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, Air Force Undersecretary Eric Fanning will almost certainly take on some tough questions about his service’s struggles with ethics scandals in the nuclear-missile cadre. The off-the-record session is titled, “Leadership in the Air Force: Understanding Future Challenges and Managing Change.”
— April 3: The House Homeland Security Committee’s panel on counterterrorism and intelligence will hold a hearing to assess “Terrorism in the Caucasus and the Threat to the Homeland.” Witnesses were not yet announced by press time.
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"Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene—needs to be declared," according to a panel of scientists. "The new epoch should begin about 1950, the experts said, and was likely to be defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests, although an array of other signals, including plastic pollution, soot from power stations, concrete, and even the bones left by the global proliferation of the domestic chicken."
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has requested documents from the CEO of Mylan, "the pharmaceutical company under fire after raising the price of EpiPens more than 400 percent since 2007." Meanwhile, top members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are pressing the FDA on the lack of generic competition for EpiPens.
Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.