Council Front and Center: February 04

What’s News:

Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight, Signaling Concern Among Scientists 

On Jan. 26, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced they were advancing the hands of their Doomsday Clock by thirty seconds to reflect their belief that the world is in serious danger of nuclear annihilation and faces other pressing threats. At two minutes and thirty seconds to midnight, the setting is the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1953. To learn more, click here.

Lawmakers Introduce Bill Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons

Members of Congress re-introduced a bill in both Houses to prevent the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a congressional declaration of war. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Ma.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Ca.) re-introduced the bill to highlight the fact that, right now, the President has sole authority to launch nuclear weapons. Get the details here.


Trump Administration Clarifies Iran’s Missile Test Not a Violation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) 

During a not-for-attribution briefing, senior Trump Administration officials offered clarifying remarks distinguishing between Iran’s recent ballistic missile test and the nuclear agreement with Iran (known as the JCPOA). To know more, read Senior Fellow John Isaacs Nukes of Hazard blog post here.

Former UK Defense Secretary Lord Browne Discusses Nuclear Cyber Security 

The Center interviewed Lord Des Browne, Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Vice Chairman on the command, control and communications systems of nuclear weapons in the United States and abroad. As the UK’s former Defense Secretary, Lord Browne is a renowned expert on nuclear cyber security. To read the interview, click here.

The Treaty on Open Skies 

The Treaty on Open Skies allows for members of the treaty to conduct unarmed observation flights over the territory of other states to foster inter-military transparency and cooperation. The Open Skies Treaty is a particularly important treaty for nuclear weapons deployment transparency. Learn more by reading the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s factsheet here.

China’s Happy to Sit Out the Nuclear Arms Race 

Though China is modernizing its nuclear arsenal, it has not participated in the recent nuclear saber-rattling like the U.S. and Russia. To know more about China’s “minimal deterrence” approach to nuclear weapons policy, click here.


Sign our petition 

Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Ca.) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Ma.) introduced H.R. 669 and S. 200, a bill intended to prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first-strike without a declaration of war by Congress. As it stands, the President can simply launch a nuclear weapon on a whim. No one can stop him.

No one person, regardless of who it is, should have the sole authority to end civilization as we know it. That’s why we are asking you to sign our petition to tell Congress you support H.R. 669 and S. 200, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. To add your name to our petition, click here.


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