The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is the Council’s affiliated 501(c)(3) research organization.
THE FUTURE OF ARMS CONTROL: ANNUAL CONFERENCE RECAP
The Council’s sister organization, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, hosted its annual conference September 19 with both in-person and virtual attendees, including hundreds of supporters like you.
The theme was the future of arms control, and our expert speakers discussed critical topics including involving China in arms control negotiations, the changing role of arms control, using technological advancements in treaty verification and more.
0:01: Opening remarks by Executive Director and former Congressman John Tierney
8:13: Keynote address by Sen. Ed Markey
21:12:Panel 1: Adjusting to a World Where Russia Is Not Following New START, featuring Amb. Rose Gottemoeller, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO; Dr. Togzhan Kassenova, Center board member, author, and Senior Fellow, Center for Policy Research at SUNY-Albany; and Center Senior Policy Director John Erath; moderated by Julian Borger, World Affairs Editor at The Guardian
1:20:32:Panel 2: Arms Control Relevance, featuring Alexandra Bell, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance at the U.S. Department of State; Ankit Panda, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Dr. Mahsa Rouhi, Research Fellow at National Defense University; moderated by David Sanger, White House and National Security Correspondent for The New York Times
2:24:30: Keynote address by Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi
2:46:00: Closing remarks by Executive Director and former Congressman John Tierney
Fighting in Ukraine continued over the past month as Ukraine’s counteroffensive seems to have gained pace, gradually overcoming Russian defenses and numbers, enabled in part by superior western technology.
Ukrainian defenses have successfully intercepted a number of Russian missile attacks, but as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg remarked on September 19, Ukraine remains in urgent need of additional air defenses, including maintenance and spare componentry in order to provide more adequate coverage. Denmark and the Netherlands have agreed to supply Ukraine with F-16s, and the United States has agreed to send a new package of military assistance including additional air defense and artillery munitions, mine clearing equipment, medical vehicles and a plethora of small arms. Meanwhile, the 31 M1 Abrams tanks the United States previously supplied will be deployed to the battlefield soon, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to the United States last week to deliver a speech at the United Nations condemning Russia’s actions and warning against the global consequences of failure to muster collective action. He met with House and Senate leadership on September 21 before meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House. Ukraine has continued to signal a commitment to anti-corruption, with Zelenskyy replacing his defense minister and six deputy ministers within the defense ministry as Western leaders have expressed concern over misuse of aid in military recruitment and overspending on procurement of food and supplies.
DEFENDING THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY
High-level United Nations meetings took place in New York City this week. Among the topics and statements covered during the meetings was the need for states to continue to support the global nuclear testing moratorium effectively in place under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Council Executive Director John Tierney joined 87 organizations and high-level individuals in a statement calling for the reinforcement of the CTBT.
Council Advocacy Coordinator Connor Murray also recently briefed Dr. Robert Floyd, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, (CTBTO) on dynamics surrounding the CTBT in the U.S. Congress.
In 2017, a small but influential group of conservatives in Congress secured inclusion of language in the defense spending bill that restricted U.S. funding for the CTBTO’s Preparatory Commission outside of activities related to the International Monitoring System (IMS). This language undermined U.S. participation in the organization despite even the Trump administration’s support for the well-established voluntary nuclear testing moratorium. Longtime Council endorsee Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL-11) has long championed efforts to remove this restriction.
FUNDING DEFENSE AMIDST A LIKELY GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Despite all of the discord in the House of Representatives, work continues on both sides of the Capitol complex on Pentagon authorization and funding legislation. After a month of little action, staff-level negotiations have begun on the annual National Defense Authorization Act between the House and Senate.
The Council’s sister organization, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, recently published a comparative analysis of the House and Senate versions. The measures contain modest increases in nuclear budgets rather than efforts to eliminate unnecessary or wasteful spending.
It is unclear if, or when, there will be comprehensive action on government funding legislation for fiscal year 2024. The fiscal year ends on September 30 and, without additional action, programs will continue to be funded at last year’s levels until new legislation is passed. For a reminder of what last year’s levels are, you can refer to the Center’s analysis of the fiscal year 2023 appropriations legislation. The chances of a government shutdown continue to persist.
WITH IRAN, HOSTAGE AGREEMENT DOES NOT NECESSARILY EQUAL RETURN TO NUCLEAR AGREEMENT
U.S.-Iran tensions have seemingly cooled a degree or two this past month with the release of five detained Americans as part of an agreement struck by the Biden administration that would allow Iran controlled access to $6 billion in frozen oil revenues. It remains to be seen how much of an impact this swap will have on nuclear issues.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the United States must continue to “demonstrate good will” in order to return to the 2015 deal.
UNKNOWN SENATE RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS DOWN TO TWO
Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) recent announcement that he will not run for reelection leaves only two Senators who have not decided whether to seek another term in 2024. It is not a total surprise that Romney will not run for reelection; as conservative as he is, he has been out of line with the current hardline wing and faced a serious primary challenge if he had run again.
The two remaining holdouts present interesting dynamics for the makeup of the Senate. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who late last year switched from Democrat to Independent, has not divulged her election plans. If she runs, she is likely to face a three-way race against Democrat Ruben Gallego and one or more Republicans.
Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) plans similarly remain up in the air. If he runs again, Manchin may also consider changing his party affiliation, as being a Democrat is largely seen as a negative in West Virginia these days. Sen. Manchin also continues to toy with the idea of a third-party bid for President.
NEW CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS WITH MORE COMING SOON
The Council has been hard at work vetting and endorsing candidates who are running for election or reelection in 2024. At this time, we have endorsed 12 candidates and we’ll announce new endorsements in the coming weeks.
You can also find bios and donation links for all of candidates on our respective House and Senate candidate list pages. As a reminder, the Council is now and has always been nonpartisan; unfortunately, like nearly every other issue in Washington today, nuclear arms control has become an issue that is perceived as partisan and that therefore often limits who we endorse.
On top of this, Kim Jong Un traveled to Russia and met with Vladimir Putin in a historic multi-day summit that saw him tour Russian nuclear and industrial facilities and discuss potential arms transfers. Senior Policy Director John Erath spoke with VOA Korean and New Zealand’s Newshub about the implications of this meeting, noting that North Korea’s weapons are bad copies of Chinese weapons, which were bad copies of Russian weapons to begin with.
This should be highly embarrassing for the Russians, who have always prided themselves in their military, Erath said, but while what Russia is getting from North Korea is concerning, what North Korea might get from Russia is equally concerning. Still, it all signals Russia’s war is not going well and it is increasingly desperate and isolated.
As election season begins, the Council is still hard at work on its advocacy on Capitol Hill. Have you considered making a monthly donation to support our efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear threats through political action? You can donate as little as $1 a month. Become a monthly supporter today!
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