Month: January 2009

Joan Winstein joins governing board

Joan Winstein joins governing board

Joan Winstein, chief executive officer of Loan Strategies, Inc., has joined the governing board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, effective December 2008. She also consults for Financial Services Volunteer Corps, an arm of USAID that advises banks in developing countries to help them improve their lending outcomes.

What Obama should offer North Korea

What Obama should offer North Korea

As if President Barack Obama hasn’t inherited enough trouble from his predecessor, nuclear negotiations with North Korea are once again headed for trouble. In return for energy aid, North Korea agreed at the latest round of Six-Party Talks in December 2008 to complete the disabling of its plutonium program. The Bush administration, however, insisted that the disablement be verified–moving the goalposts beyond what the six parties had previously agreed to do.

A call to resist the nuclear revival

A call to resist the nuclear revival

When formulating its nuclear energy policy, the new Obama administration will have to face the reality that advances in technology, combined with politics and ideology, have made it much harder to prevent nuclear energy use from contributing to the spread of the Bomb. To avoid a future Hobbesian nuclear jungle, the United States and other world governments will need to agree on tougher nuclear controls.

Obama’s test: Bringing order to the national security policy process

Obama’s test: Bringing order to the national security policy process

During the Bush administration, funding for the Defense Department, State Department, and Department of Homeland Security more or less doubled. But in all three cases, the goal of the budget increases wasn’t to create functioning, efficient, and effective bureaucracies. Instead, it was to push a political agenda–at the cost of effective management. As a result, all three departments emerge from the last eight years less focused, less disciplined, and less effective.

Missile defense in Japan

Missile defense in Japan

Japanese security policy is at a crossroads, shifting from a traditional pacifist security policy to a more assertive security policy. As part of this shift, Tokyo is steadily moving toward the deployment of a more robust missile defense system, which the Japanese government doesn’t think contradicts the country’s “exclusively defensive defense” policy anyway. And while the debate about U.S. missile defense installations in Eastern Europe remains contentious, in East Asia, political debate about missile defense installations in Japan seems to be fading away.

A low-carbon national energy agenda

A low-carbon national energy agenda

The United States must begin immediately retooling its economy to build a low-carbon, environmentally sustainable future, which in turn can strongly influence the global economy and geopolitics. With the production and consumption of energy the largest component of the U. S. economy in terms of both the flow of money and the movement of goods, this task will require a well-coordinated, interdisciplinary focus across federal and local governments and the private sector. Our current reliance on fossil fuels–the annual U.S.

Russia’s new arms development

Russia’s new arms development

We don’t know at this point what the next U.S.-Russian arms control agreement will look like, but everyone in the international community expects it to be a step toward significantly reducing the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals. The levels set in the Moscow Treaty, which Washington and Moscow signed in May 2002, commit them to reducing the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads on each side to no more than 1,700-2,200 warheads by 2012. One would expect that a post-Moscow Treaty agreement will bring much lower numbers.

Modeling disease spread

Modeling disease spread

Many things went wrong during Britain’s 2001 foot-and-mouth disease crisis. Initial efforts at identifying infected animals, slaughtering them, and burying their carcasses within 24 hours–the tried-and-true method for containing the disease–were sluggish at best. And the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAFF), still reeling from criticism about how it handled the country’s decade-long mad cow disease epidemic, was unprepared for the severity of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Lawrence Krauss to co-chair Sponsors with Leon Lederman

Lawrence Krauss to co-chair Sponsors with Leon Lederman

Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University, will co-chair the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists with Nobel Laureate Leon Ledermen. Together they plan to re-energize a national discussion on the reduction of nuclear weapons stockpiles, and a commitment to fight proliferation and encourage disarmament efforts.

Organizing for arms control in the Obama administration

Organizing for arms control in the Obama administration

Ten years ago this March, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) was merged with the State Department. ACDA had been created in 1961 as an independent agency, in recognition by President John F. Kennedy and prominent senators such as Hubert Humphrey that the nuclear arms race warranted a separate bureaucratic structure to pursue negotiated solutions to threats to national security.

Preventing space war

Preventing space war

To initiate war in space is to invite disaster. Namely, the destruction of orbital assets such as satellites (whether military or civilian) could create an orbital debris collision chain reaction so damaging that it would make space useless for the foreseeable future. Not to mention that space debris, some of it toxic, could rain down on Earth for centuries. Even limited aggressive acts that destroy satellites are perilous calculated risks initiated by those who do not understand the dynamic low-gravity environment of near Earth space.

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