Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Consensus from 60 Experts on Arms Control Priorities for Obama Admin.

We all know that when President-elect Obama is sworn into office on January 20, 2009, the list of issues vying for his time will be extensive. From the economy to Iraq to energy to loose nukes, he is going to face one of the – if not the – most challenging set of problems any incoming administration has faced in U.S. history. This is already a given. What's not, however, is exactly which priorities will top his agenda from day one.

To that end, the Center just released a report that identifies key recommendations for how the Obama Administration can address what every presidential candidate since 2000 has said is the gravest threat to international security: the spread of nuclear weapons and materials.

The report is the result of six meetings with 60 leading national security experts from backgrounds as diverse as think tanks, foundations, academia, advocacy, and Congress, which were co-chaired by the Center's chairman, Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA, ret.) and the chairman, Sen. Gary Hart (ret.), of its sister organization, Council for a Livable World.

The "clear consensus" of the group on the top three nuclear non-proliferation priorities for the incoming administration were to:

  • Provide a new direction on nuclear weapons policy, emphasizing "minimum deterrence," extension of START, and negotiations for further reductions with Russia
  • Secure all vulnerable fissile material in four years to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism
  • And ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
In addition, the group outlined a second tier set of priorities that included:
  • Negotiations with Iran without preconditions
  • Re-committing to promises made at the 1995 NPT entension
  • Conditioning further deployment of the third missile defense site on proven tests
  • And restructuring government to deal at a higher level with arms control
Find this clear, direct discussion of concrete and vital arms control priorities in its entirety on the Center's website. Find the executive summary and list of participants here.

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