DIGITAL MAGAZINE

January 2021

DIGITAL MAGAZINE

January 2021

Cover design by Thomas Gaulkin

Introduction: Advice for a new administration facing difficult times

For this issue, which publishes just ahead of the Biden inauguration, I asked top experts to offer their pinpoint-focus suggestions to the president at shorter-than-usual, memo-like length.

Introduction: Advice for a new administration facing difficult times

For this issue, which publishes just ahead of the Biden inauguration, I asked top experts to offer their pinpoint-focus suggestions to the president at shorter-than-usual, memo-like length.

Nuclear risk

How Biden can advance nuclear arms control and stability with Russia and China

The Biden administration can take two pragmatic steps to enhance US and allied security through arms control policy. First, Biden should secure a diplomatic agreement with Russia to extend New START. And the next administration needs to begin strategic dialogues with Russia and China focused on developing practical measures to preserve stable deterrence relationships.
The NATO flag.

How Biden can say goodbye to “America First” on nuclear issues

There are three key areas where multilateral engagement will be needed with respect to nuclear policy: on Iran’s nuclear program, on US alliances, and on the spread of nuclear technology to new countries.
Rocket models are stuck in a bucket during a February protest action in Berlin against the imminent withdrawal of the INF disarmament agreement between Russia and the USA. Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa (Photo by Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

An ambitious arms control agenda requires a new organization equal to the task

An exceedingly challenging agenda of urgent, important, and diverse arms control issues awaits the incoming Biden administration. To address it, the administration should consider the creation of a new agency to focus on cooperative threat reduction.

Why Biden should push for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

President-elect Joe Biden has long supported the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. But three important factors have shifted the context in recent years, making US participation more important than ever. His administration should invest effort and resources into persuading the Senate to finally ratify it.
USS Tennessee submarine

Biden should rethink US policy on low-yield nuclear weapons

In 2019, the Trump administration deployed a low-yield nuclear weapon aboard US submarines. President-elect Joe Biden should interrogate whether this was sound policy. The process of assessing the usefulness of the low-yield warhead could present an opportunity for Biden to rebalance the US portfolio of non-strategic nuclear weapons and, in turn, alter nuclear competition with Russia and China.
Image courtesy NuclearVacuum

Why Biden should abandon the great power competition narrative

Aside from a quick extension of the New START treaty, one important step the Biden administration should consider in the realm of nuclear policy is to jettison the “great power competition” narrative that Trump officials and supporters have popularized.

How Biden can advance nuclear arms control and stability with Russia and China

The Biden administration can take two pragmatic steps to enhance US and allied security through arms control policy. First, Biden should secure a diplomatic agreement with Russia to extend New START. And the next administration needs to begin strategic dialogues with Russia and China focused on developing practical measures to preserve stable deterrence relationships.
The NATO flag.

How Biden can say goodbye to “America First” on nuclear issues

There are three key areas where multilateral engagement will be needed with respect to nuclear policy: on Iran’s nuclear program, on US alliances, and on the spread of nuclear technology to new countries.
Rocket models are stuck in a bucket during a February protest action in Berlin against the imminent withdrawal of the INF disarmament agreement between Russia and the USA. Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa (Photo by Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

An ambitious arms control agenda requires a new organization equal to the task

An exceedingly challenging agenda of urgent, important, and diverse arms control issues awaits the incoming Biden administration. To address it, the administration should consider the creation of a new agency to focus on cooperative threat reduction.

Why Biden should push for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

President-elect Joe Biden has long supported the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. But three important factors have shifted the context in recent years, making US participation more important than ever. His administration should invest effort and resources into persuading the Senate to finally ratify it.
USS Tennessee submarine

Biden should rethink US policy on low-yield nuclear weapons

In 2019, the Trump administration deployed a low-yield nuclear weapon aboard US submarines. President-elect Joe Biden should interrogate whether this was sound policy. The process of assessing the usefulness of the low-yield warhead could present an opportunity for Biden to rebalance the US portfolio of non-strategic nuclear weapons and, in turn, alter nuclear competition with Russia and China.
Image courtesy NuclearVacuum

Why Biden should abandon the great power competition narrative

Aside from a quick extension of the New START treaty, one important step the Biden administration should consider in the realm of nuclear policy is to jettison the “great power competition” narrative that Trump officials and supporters have popularized.

Climate change

silhouette of human profiles

Okay, he’s finally in the Oval Office. But what should Joe Biden do first on climate?

A noted author and environmentalist—who first warned of the effects of climate change more than 30 years ago in The End of Nature—offers some ideas to the next president.
image of green tree and meadow on left and dead tree desert on right

To build climate progress on time scales that matter, Biden should be Biden

During the 1980s, conservatives tied themselves in knots worrying about how to handle their man in the White House, before finally deciding to “Let Reagan be Reagan.” In the 2020s, progressives should “Let Biden be Biden.”
silhouette man drinking water on beach

Water recommendations for the new administration

Four key water-related priorities for the new Biden administration.
Statue of Liberty emerging from clouds

The president needs to hit the ground running on climate

The first 100 days of the presidency could help determine the state of our planet’s climate for the next 10,000 years. The president will have to win over potential allies in the middle, yet remain unafraid to play hardball with the Congress people who are captured by the fossil fuel industry.
Earth globe water fire

Climate change should be recognized for what it is: an issue of national security

President-Elect Biden should make climate change and ecological instability vital national security priorities.
silhouette of human profiles

Okay, he’s finally in the Oval Office. But what should Joe Biden do first on climate?

A noted author and environmentalist—who first warned of the effects of climate change more than 30 years ago in The End of Nature—offers some ideas to the next president.
image of green tree and meadow on left and dead tree desert on right

To build climate progress on time scales that matter, Biden should be Biden

During the 1980s, conservatives tied themselves in knots worrying about how to handle their man in the White House, before finally deciding to “Let Reagan be Reagan.” In the 2020s, progressives should “Let Biden be Biden.”
silhouette man drinking water on beach

Water recommendations for the new administration

Four key water-related priorities for the new Biden administration.
Statue of Liberty emerging from clouds

The president needs to hit the ground running on climate

The first 100 days of the presidency could help determine the state of our planet’s climate for the next 10,000 years. The president will have to win over potential allies in the middle, yet remain unafraid to play hardball with the Congress people who are captured by the fossil fuel industry.
Earth globe water fire

Climate change should be recognized for what it is: an issue of national security

President-Elect Biden should make climate change and ecological instability vital national security priorities.

Disruptive technologies

A scientist test for COVID-19.

Memo to the president: Reimagining public health preparedness and response

The Biden administration must reestablish the emergency response doctrine that proved so fragile 5 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A woman receives a physical the DayBreak Community Health Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Greg Smith/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

What Joe Biden can do to reduce racial health disparities: A conversation with Juliette Blount

Juliette Blount, a nurse practitioner, speaks to and consults with health care groups about racial health disparities and how biases can enter the medical exam room.
An autonomous ship.

How Joe Biden can use confidence-building measures for military uses of AI

The Biden administration has an opportunity to foster international cooperation on military AI to reduce the risk of inadvertent conflict while still pursuing US military leadership in AI.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before Congress about social media regulation.

Dear President Biden: You should save, not revoke, Section 230

In a “memo” to the president-elect, law professor Eric Goldman asks Joe Biden to work to understand Section 230, an important law for social-media regulation, and ensure future reforms don’t diminish the society-wide benefits the law has had.

How can the Biden administration reduce scientific disinformation? Slow the high-pressure pace of scientific publishing

To tamp down on the flow of flawed science seen during the pandemic, computer scientist and disinformation researcher Walter Scheirer believes the Biden administration can make changes to how the National Institutes of Health awards grants, reducing the importance of prolific publishing.
Biden speaks.

Biden should focus on science communication as his administration seeks to tame the pandemic

The Biden administration will need a strong communications strategy to work with state and local authorities to implement effective public health measures and oversee a critical vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
A scientist test for COVID-19.

Memo to the president: Reimagining public health preparedness and response

The Biden administration must reestablish the emergency response doctrine that proved so fragile 5 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A woman receives a physical the DayBreak Community Health Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Greg Smith/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

What Joe Biden can do to reduce racial health disparities: A conversation with Juliette Blount

Juliette Blount, a nurse practitioner, speaks to and consults with health care groups about racial health disparities and how biases can enter the medical exam room.
An autonomous ship.

How Joe Biden can use confidence-building measures for military uses of AI

The Biden administration has an opportunity to foster international cooperation on military AI to reduce the risk of inadvertent conflict while still pursuing US military leadership in AI.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before Congress about social media regulation.

Dear President Biden: You should save, not revoke, Section 230

In a “memo” to the president-elect, law professor Eric Goldman asks Joe Biden to work to understand Section 230, an important law for social-media regulation, and ensure future reforms don’t diminish the society-wide benefits the law has had.

How can the Biden administration reduce scientific disinformation? Slow the high-pressure pace of scientific publishing

To tamp down on the flow of flawed science seen during the pandemic, computer scientist and disinformation researcher Walter Scheirer believes the Biden administration can make changes to how the National Institutes of Health awards grants, reducing the importance of prolific publishing.
Biden speaks.

Biden should focus on science communication as his administration seeks to tame the pandemic

The Biden administration will need a strong communications strategy to work with state and local authorities to implement effective public health measures and oversee a critical vaccination campaign against COVID-19.

Nuclear Notebook: United States nuclear weapons, 2021

The US nuclear arsenal remained roughly unchanged in the last year, with the Defense Department maintaining an estimated stockpile of approximately 3,800 warheads. Of these, only 1,800 warheads are deployed, while approximately 2,000 are held in reserve. Additionally, approximately 1,750 retired warheads are awaiting dismantlement, giving a total inventory of approximately 5,550 nuclear warheads.

Nuclear Notebook: United States nuclear weapons, 2021

The US nuclear arsenal remained roughly unchanged in the last year, with the Defense Department maintaining an estimated stockpile of approximately 3,800 warheads. Of these, only 1,800 warheads are deployed, while approximately 2,000 are held in reserve. Additionally, approximately 1,750 retired warheads are awaiting dismantlement, giving a total inventory of approximately 5,550 nuclear warheads.

Cover design by Thomas Gaulkin

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