'Nuclear Weapons Articles'

Fact Sheet: Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

Posted on 24. May, 2017 by .

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Taken from armscontrolcenter.org –

The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union that limited the number of ground-based anti-ballistic missile systems and sites that each side could have. Both parties also agreed not to develop sea-based, air-based, or space-based ABM systems. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the treaty was expanded to include Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

The ABM Treaty was signed in May 1972 and entered into force in October of that year. Under the Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union could establish two ABM sites: one to protect the national capitol and one to protect an ICBM launch site. The sites, each of which could have a maximum of 100 interceptors and 100 launchers, were required to be at least 807 miles (1,300 kilometers) apart to prevent the creation of a regional defense zone. The treaty did not limit the number of early warning radars that each country could deploy, but stipulated that future radars be located on the countries’ borders facing outwards.

In 1974, a Protocol to the Treaty was added to limit each side to only one ABM site.

Under the treaty, each member could verify other parties’ compliance using national technical means of verification, such as satellite reconnaissance.

The treaty also created a Standing Consultative Commission (SCC), a forum where each country was represented by a Commissioner, Executive Officer and delegation. The SCC could not impose sanctions or any other repercussions on parties that violated the treaty; instead it served as a forum in which members could raise concerns about other’s compliance. The SCC served as a vital body within which the United States and the Soviet Union remained in communication even when other diplomatic initiatives broke down.

In December 2001, the George W. Bush Administration announced that the United States planned to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. Six months later, the United States officially withdrew from the treaty in order to develop and deploy the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. This was the only time that the United States has withdrawn from a major international arms control treaty. At the time, Russia said that it did not feel threatened by U.S. withdrawal, but called the move “a mistake”.

WHY IT MATTERED

The ABM Treaty was part of the U.S.-Soviet effort to control the arms race in the 1970s. It was negotiated as part of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) that established limits for strategic offensive weapons.

The ABM Treaty codified the U.S.-Russian understanding that offensive weapons and defensive systems are linked. If a country develops an ABM system, an adversary could be incentivized to build more offensive weapons to overwhelm the defensive system. That would lead to an arms race.

Until the United States withdrew from the ABM treaty, it contributed to strategic stability and helped create the dynamic under which further reductions of U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals were possible.

Click here for a printable PDF version.  of this page

Sources: U.S. Department of State, Federation of American Scientists, Nuclear Threat Initiative.

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Restricting Nuclear Weapons

Posted on 05. May, 2017 by .

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Here is the information on a new bill submitted to the House of Representatives to prohibit the President’s first-use nuclear strike without a declaration of war by Congress. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) have introduced S. 200 and H.R. 669, respectively, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017.

The Markey bill has been co-sponsored by five Senators: Feinstein (CA), Franken (MN), Merkley (OR), Sanders (VT) and Van Hollen (MD). The Lieu bill has 32 co-sponsors.
Click here  for a list of sponsors and to track the progress of this important bill.

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UN votes to outlaw nuclear weapons in 2017

Posted on 02. Apr, 2017 by .

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An article by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weaponsicanw

The United Nations today [October 14] adopted a landmark resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. This historic decision heralds an end to two decades of paralysis in multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts.

At a meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with disarmament and international security matters, 123 nations voted in favor of the resolution, with 38 against and 16 abstaining.

The resolution will set up a UN conference beginning in March next year, open to all member states, to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. The negotiations will continue in June and July.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a civil society coalition active in 100 countries, hailed the adoption of the resolution as a major step forward, marking a fundamental shift in the way that the world tackles this paramount threat.

“For seven decades, the UN has warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and people globally have campaigned for their abolition. Today the majority of states finally resolved to outlaw these weapons,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN.

Despite arm-twisting by a number of nuclear-armed states, the resolution was adopted in a landslide. A total of 57 nations were co-sponsors, with Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa taking the lead in drafting the resolution.

The UN vote came just hours after the European Parliament adopted its own resolution on this subject – 415 in favour and 124 against, with 74 abstentions – inviting European Union member states to “participate constructively” in next year’s negotiations.

Nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet outlawed in a comprehensive and universal manner, despite their well-documented catastrophic humanitarian and environmental impacts.

“A treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons would strengthen the global norm against the use and possession of these weapons, closing major loopholes in the existing international legal regime and spurring long-overdue action on disarmament,” said Fihn.

“Today’s vote demonstrates very clearly that a majority of the world’s nations consider the prohibition of nuclear weapons to be necessary, feasible and urgent. They view it as the most viable option for achieving real progress on disarmament,” she said.

Biological weapons, chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions are all explicitly prohibited under international law. But only partial prohibitions currently exist for nuclear weapons.

Nuclear disarmament has been high on the UN agenda since the organization’s formation in 1945. Efforts to advance this goal have stalled in recent years, with nuclear-armed nations investing heavily in the modernization of their nuclear forces.

Twenty years have passed since a multilateral nuclear disarmament instrument was last negotiated: the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which has yet to enter into legal force due to the opposition of a handful of nations.

read more here

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U.N. talks to abolish nuclear weapons face uncertain future

Posted on 01. Jan, 2017 by .

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The United Nations is preparing to embark on talks to ban nuclear weapons.

Negotiations are set to begin in March and are expected to take an indefinite time to complete.

The end result is uncertain, but the 123 nations that voted Oct. 27 for a resolution within the U.N. General Assembly committee that deals with international security matters to open the talks showcase a clear frustration with the slow pace of nuclear disarmament.

The final tally showed 38 nations, including the nine nuclear weapons states and those under the nuclear umbrella, voting against the resolution; 16 nations abstained.

Read the rest f the article here

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New ICBM Cost Estimates

Posted on 26. Oct, 2016 by .

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The U.S. plans to replace Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with new ICBMs. The cost estimates for the new ICBMs have continued to increase and now range from $62 to $100+ billion. Take a look below and click here for a printable version.

New ICBMs cost estimates Final.png

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