Jeffrey LewisStrategic Posture Commission Update 2

The work of the Strategic Posture Commission appears to be proceeding. After some scheduling hiccups (I am being kind), the first full meeting was held at USIP on June 17.

Dr. Perry had earlier convened a smaller meeting on May 19 without most of the commissioners. In attendance were Vice Chairman James Schlesinger, Commissioner Keith Payne, Ash Carter and USIP President Richard Solomon. They made some decisions on behalf of the committee and met with Senator Sessions and Representative Tauscher, as well as the liaisons from Defense, DNI, Energy, and State.

One of the decisions made was the to establish five “expert working groups” chaired by non-commissioners:

• National security strategy and policies (Dr. Ashton Carter)
• Deterrent force posture of the United States (ADM Dennis Blair)
• Nuclear infrastructure (Ambassador Linton Brooks)
• Countering WMD proliferation and terrorism (Dr. Arnold Kanter)
• External conditions and trends (Dr. Gordon Oehler)

Some of these folks had lobbied to be on the Commission; perhaps this was a clever way of expanding the Commission membership.

The EWG leaders were also provided “suggested” experts for their working groups and questions to address, which were in turn presented, somewhat as a fait accompli, to the Commissioners last week.

I’d love to get a hold of both the list of working group “experts” and the list of questions — hint, hint.

armscontrolwonk [at]

(For previous posts on the Strategic Posture Commission, see May 11, 2007 March 20, 2008 and May 28, 2008.)


  1. Hans Kristensen

    That’s an interesting structure choice. Last time Ash Carter was involved in a Nuclear Posture Review (1993-1994), the working groups were:

    1. The role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security strategy.

    2. U.S. nuclear force structure.

    3. U.S. nuclear force operations.

    4. Nuclear safety and security.

    5. The relationship between U.S. nuclear posture and counterproliferation policy.

    6. The relationship between US nuclear posture and threat reduction policy with the former Soviet Union.

    Many documents from those meetings have been declassified under FOIA and are available here:

  2. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    With less than 6 months to go before appointees for the new administration will be decided, if it is a Democrat administration, it is a reasonable bet that Ashton Carter will be going back to DoD, perhaps even as Secretary of Defense.

    Will that interfere with the work of the Commission and the expert working groups?