What’s next on nonproliferation and international security, in Washington and around the globe.
— Nov. 2-3: The American Physical Society is staging what it calls a “repeat performance” of a “popular technical workshop”: A “Short Course on Nuclear Weapon Issues in the 21st Century.” To be held at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs in Washington, the two-day event will feature two dozen issue experts grappling with how best to monitor implementation of arms-control treaties, what an onsite inspection for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would involve, the science and politics surrounding ballistic missile defense, a microscopic look at nuclear forensics and much more.
— Nov. 4: Women seem to be increasingly on the front lines of terrorism: Their numbers reportedly are growing as instruments of terror, but they also frequently fall victim to it. Might the gender play a unique role in fighting extremist violence? These matters are to be explored at a Georgetown University event, “Women, Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Deconstructing Myths, Discussing Realities.” The forum — cosponsored by the McCain Institute for International Leadership; Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; and the Center for Security Studies — will feature the views of four policy specialists. Among them are Jane Holl Lute, until recently the deputy secretary of Homeland Security, and Bruce Hoffman, the CSS director. Cindy McCain, described in the event listing as a “humanitarian” and perhaps better known as spouse of onetime GOP presidential nominee Senator John McCain (Ariz.), will join Melanne Verveer, who was the first U.S. ambassador for global women’s issues, in offering remarks at the Washington event.
— Nov. 4: Martin Hellman, a Stanford University professor emeritus of electrical engineering, will brief Capitol Hill staffers on the use of quantitative risk analysis in reducing nuclear threats. What the heck is that? Well, the Federation of American Scientists, where Hellman is a senior fellow, describes the QRA approach as a use of “historical data about partial excursions into the accident chain to estimate the overall risk and to highlight failure mechanisms requiring remediation.” Uh, time for a real-world example. “Had QRA been applied [at Fukushima prior to the 2011 tsunami disaster], it would have shown that the sea wall was far too low,” according to the event notice. The FAS luncheon is titled “Future Nuclear Risks and Deterrence.”
— Nov. 5: The Center for Strategic and International Studies is convening a daylong Washington conference jam-packed with intriguing topics and influential voices. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel kicks off the event as keynote speaker. Among the plentiful headliners at the “Global Security Forum“ are two former national security advisers — Zbigniew Brzezinski and retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft — discussing “Geopolitical Implications of a Reconnecting Eurasia”; a 12-star panel — that’s three retired brainiac Gens. James Cartwright, Peter Chiarelli and Ronald Fogleman — on “What Battlefield Lessons Have We Learned From 12 Years of War?”; former State Department Special Adviser for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Robert Einhorn and other thinkers on “Can a U.S.-Iran Deal Work?”; and a two-hour “Simulated Crisis in East Asia” — read North Korea — featuring too many rock-star wonks to list here. Registration is by invite only but if you are lucky enough to snare one, this is an event not to be missed.
— Nov. 6: Care to brush up on how electromagnetic pulse works — you know, those transient disturbances that can be caused by detonating a nuclear warhead in just the right way so as to knock out entire swaths of the electrical grid? Then venture right back to the Center for Strategic and International Studies for a seminar on the technology and strategy involved in generating what many simply call “EMP.” Featured speakers are Henry Cooper, who formerly directed the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization — now known as the Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency — and George Baker, who headed the Defense Nuclear Agency’s EMP effort.
— Nov. 7: The Senate Armed Services Committee is to examine the effects of sequestration on the Defense Department at a hearing in which each of the four service chiefs is to testify. Keep an ear out for yet more discussion of the risks of reduced readiness in the nuclear arsenal — as well as degradation of U.S. efforts to combat the global spread of weapons of mass destruction — as a result of congressionally mandated funding reductions.
— Nov. 7: A provocative forum on Syrian violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention juxtaposed with U.S. and Russian delays in implementing the agreement will be held at the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies. Both of the former superpowers have missed deadlines in their ongoing efforts to eliminate their Cold War chemical arsenals. David Koplow, who directs the Center for Applied Legal Studies and is a Georgetown University Law Center scholar, will offer remarks at the College Park gathering.
— Nov. 7-8: Happen to be on a boomer submarine docked at Kings Bay, Georgia? You’re in just the right place to attend a conference on “Sustaining the Triad: The Enduring Requirements of Deterrence,” sponsored by the Camden Partnership. Its slate of notable speakers includes Katrina McFarland, the assistant secretary of Defense for acquisition, U.S. Strategic Command head Gen. Robert Kehler and various other general and flag officers from the Air Force and Navy, respectively. Bonus treat: U.S. nationals may tour an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine after the discussions conclude.