Jeffrey LewisJanne Nolan, Me on Next NPR

Janne Nolan — author of the pretty amazing An Elusive Consensus — is giving a talk on the 2009 Nuclear Posture Review, tomorrow (Tuesday), at a Security for a New Century event on the Hill. I am joining her, which is quite an honor.

The Nuclear Posture Review

When: Tuesday, December 18 at 10:00 am

Where: Senate Russell, Room 385

Dr. Janne Nolan, professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, New America Foundation, will join us for a discussion on the Nuclear Posture Review. In 2009, the United States will undertake another congressionally-mandated Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) to reevaluate the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy. Previous reviews completed in 1994 and 2001 involved the Department of Defense and several appointed commissions, whose collective report became a guide for the budget and operation of the nuclear weapons community. The review includes policy, doctrine, force structure, operations, safety and security and arms control. The intent is to match the design of strategic forces with policy, but this can often be undermined by operational realties. Given this tension, is a wholesale review of U.S. nuclear policy even possible? What is the likely outcome of the NPR in 2009?

Janne is the talent; I am the comic relief. Should be fun.


  1. Stephen Young (History)

    I was wondering how much more you knew about the topic than what you’ve read in her book(s)!


    That said, I hereby admit to have not read more than the summary of those books in “The Nuclear Turning Point” chapter on the ’94 Posture Review.


  2. Eli (History)

    Great briefing!
    I wanted to ask something quickly but felt that questions at the session were better left to those a bit older and with a bit more experience than I.

    Specifically addressing arms control and transparency issues, do you think a new posture review should and could include a section on the strategic value such agreements have in aiding the US in posturing its forces in a more efficient manner? As you and Janne pointed out, these docs tended to focus more on conventional thinking about operational realities, do you see an opening for a document that includes more political/military mixed thinking?

  3. Stephen Young (History)

    That was actually a very good event, and I thought your talk was very useful at several levels. But you didn’t answer either of my questions:

    1. Who should serve on the Congressional Commission on the Strategic [read nuclear] Posture created by the Defense Authorization bill, which will report on December 1, 2008?

    (Ok, you pointed at Janne, a half-answer.)

    2. What are the implications or usefulness or lack thereof of the Bush administration’s “responsive infrastructure” as a deterrent? Is it better, worse, the same or irrelevant?

  4. Alex (History)

    On august the 30th, 2007, there was a complete bypass of all the procedures in place to control the strategic nuclear weapons. A series of events, involving the cooperation of at list 70 officers, allowed the take-off of a B-52 (15.700 Km range), with on board six unauthorised, active, strategic weapons (ACM, 3.500 Km range) from Minot base, N.Dk. . This “vector could reach any point on the globe with the exception of a circle about 15oo km radius around the confluence of Pacific, Indian and Artic oceans.

    There is someone who have an idea on how this event will affect the results of the NPR?

    There is hope to see a better control of those weapons?
    Any sign of consideration will be given to the article of Non Proliferation Treaty imposing disarmament to the Nuclear States “as possible”?