Jeffrey LewisGeneva, We Have a Workplan

The UK Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament, John Duncan, tweeted the news:

After more than a decade of deadlock the Conference of Disarmament today took the historic decision to restart work.

It is so nice to have a US Administration that is not collectively insane.


  1. Nihon daihyo

    It was quite the moment in the CD this morning, after hearing from Ukraine, North Korea, Morocco and Iran, the Algerian president of the CD asked the Conference if there was any opposition to the adoption of its programme of work, and with no name plates going up he brought the gavel down super quick. Now comes the tough job of getting the atrophied Geneva disarmament machinery re-working and FMCT negotiations under way, which won’t be occurring until next year. Either way, Geneva is back in business, yiiirrhaaa.

  2. Azr@el (History)

    Hurray! And not a moment too soon, especially with opportunist such as Toshio Tamogami on the rise.

  3. Yossi

    The old saying goes that God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal. Nuclear weapons perform a similar function at the state level and that’s probably why the great powers push the nonproliferation agenda. It’s especially funny when Sam Colt’s country which still supports citizens right to carry arms is so eager to eliminate the weapons of others.

  4. Ray Acheson (History)

    Definitely great news. The programme of work to which they agreed – the first since 1999 – is a balanced and realistic compromise. For details on the process of adopting this programme, check out the Reaching Critical Will CD Reports from the last couple of weeks (or years), at

  5. J House (History)

    But the question is, is this admin collectively insane enough to allow Iran to go nuclear, DPRK perfect their weaponry and kick off a nuclear arms race in the ME and Pacific Rim, all while abandoning missile defense?

  6. Nick Nolan (History)

    “collectively insane”. Another good band name.

  7. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    J House:

    You are entitled to your opinion, but what is the factual evidence for your claim that the Obama Administration has “abandoned” missile defense?

    That’s a calumny. Back it up with evidence.

  8. Azr@el (History)

    It’s not a matter of Obama’s administration abandoning ABM, aka the son of Star Wars, it’s more the case that ABM won’t allow itself to be abandoned. Too many jobs, too much money, too many powerful backers, if the DPRK and IRI quit being the straightmen for this comic farce, as the Soviets did nearly two decades ago, well we’ll just have to find another justification: Asteroid defense anyone? Godless pinko Islamo-fascist asteroids that is 😉

  9. bradley laing (History)

    If the government has been collectively insane for years, why did the Bush administration send so many nuclear warheads for dismantlement?

    Is it simply that the W62 warheads were going to be junked anyway, and that would have happened without SORT?

  10. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Actually, yes, the reductions under SORT were those that came out of the 2002 NPR — we would have made them with or without a treaty.

    As for dismantlements, the number slowed to a crawl under the Bush Administration, picking up slightly at the end.

    In their defense, the decrease in the dismantlement rate was programmed in the under the Clinton Administration to free up space at Pantex for LEPs.

    “Collectively insane” referred to the refusal to seek a verifiable FMCT, by the way.

  11. Anon

    “In their defense, the decrease in the dismantlement rate was programmed in the under the Clinton Administration to free up space at Pantex for LEPs.”

    “Free up space”?

    If you knew the actual workload capacity/mix that PX is sized to handle, you would understand what a laugher that statement is 🙂

  12. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    I take it you are skeptical of the Pantex Process Model?

  13. Bart

    I entirely agree with you, Jeffrey, about the Bush Admin’s “Collective insanity” but would add that the failure to pursue a verifiable FMCT was but a very small facet of that insanity.

  14. anon

    “I take it you are skeptical of the Pantex Process Model?”

    Setting a self-imposed speed limit of 20mph has nothing to do with the designed performance characteristics of the vehicle. PPM, though, is a useful tool for allowing the contractor to maximize his profits.

  15. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Ha ha. Ok.

    Well, I only now what I read in the papers. Or, in this case, the operations research and the management sciences journals.

    The community could use a nice critique of the PPM, since it underpins this argument that we are constrained by bays and cells, as well as qualified personnel.

  16. Anon

    Well, I’m certainly partial to your referenced reading material.

    As far as SNL’s involvement with PPM; they’re first rate talent in my opinion. Their earlier work with PREP was imo, rather irrelevant but, their modeling effort was as usual impeccable.

    As for a critique of PPM, the results would be a function of who sets the speed limit assumptions: (NNSA, B&W, DNFSB, et al).

    Using the limits established by the original (modern) design criteria for Bays & Cells will produce a much different result than today’s arbitrary limits.

    But, alas, it’s not about science & engineering – rather the ugly reality of politics.

  17. MWG

    Here’s how the Bush Administration came to its “collectively insane” position of supporting an FMCT without verification.

    First, the NSC produced a nonproliferation strategy that included FMCT, but DOD snuck in what turned out to be a poison pill about satisfying U.S. national security requirements. DOD and its agents in the State Department (particularly John Bolton and Paula DeSutter) set out to demonstrate that this was an oxymoron, i.e. that an FMCT meeting U.S. national security requirements did not exist.

    The Bush Administration spent a long time reviewing its position on FMCT, to decide what measures were required for effective verification and whether the United States could accept those measures. The review bogged down and was never completed. The NSC chose to end the deadlock by asserting the conclusion: Effective verification is not practically achievable, even with intrusive measures that would endanger U.S. national security.

    In the end three alternatives were considered: no FMCT, an FMCT with imperfect verification measures, and an FMCT without verification. To understand the argument about the dangers of verification, see Paula DeSutter’s latest argument against CTBT.

  18. scud

    On the FMCT verification debate – I’m a little surprised by the singularization of the Bush administration here. I remember some of the good Carnegie experts somewhere around 2006 (including one who’s in the White House now) saying that yes, indeed, we’ve looked at the verification issue and we don’t think that there could ever be a credible verification mechanism. Was collective insanity that widespread in Washington?

  19. Anon

    “The community could use a nice critique of the PPM”

    I think it would be more productive to conduct an in-depth review of NNSA & its Contractor.

    Disposing of 1 weapon per day along with the other minimal workload is a pitiful performance record.

    The mix of weapons awaiting Disposal/Dismantlement is among the easiest.

    It should be a breeze to dispose of 1500/year (5 day-2shift).

    It’s not a technical issue; it’s about politics and profits.

  20. Nihon daihyo

    Azr@el, I think it is a bit much to say the influence of Toshio Tamogami is on the rise. Not only was he forced to resign his position of Chief of Staff of the ASDF after his controversial essay, but he was also ordered to retire from the SDF. Hardly an indication of a rising star!