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NATO's Nuclear Posture

As part of its military doctrine, NATO relies on nuclear deterrence based upon the strategic nuclear arsenals of the United States and the United Kingdom. There are also U.S. B61 tactical gravity bombs based in five other member states as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements. Leaders and constituencies from NATO member states hold different views on how much emphasis the Alliance should place on the nuclear component of its military doctrine, and what the composition of the nuclear forces should look like.

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Experts Urge NATO to Reduce Role of Nuclear Weapons and Open the Door for the Removal of U.S. Tactical Warheads

More than two dozen nuclear experts and former senior government officials (including Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Gen. Bernard Norlain of France) are calling on NATO "to declare a more limited role for its nuclear capabilities that would help open the way for overdue changes to its Cold War-era policy of forward-basing U.S. tactical nuclear weapons. This would help facilitate another, post-New START round of reductions, which should involve of all types of Russian and U.S.

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Getting to Zero Update

NATO proceeded quietly with its Strategic Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, while U.S. and Russian disagreements over missile defense continued. The United States was also conducting a review of nuclear targeting. In the United Kingdom, the “successor” to the Vanguard-class submarine that carries Trident missiles officially entered “Initial Gate,” or the initial design phase.

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Getting to Zero Update

Russia and the United States have begun the exchange of information on their nuclear arsenals under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) as they assess next steps on arms control and also try to resolve their differences over missile defense. The Iranian and North Korean nuclear situations showed no signs of resolution, and instead pointed to more difficulties ahead.

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Experts Call NATO Strategic Concept 'Missed Opportunity to Reduce Role of Obsolete Tactical Nukes from Europe'

U.S. and European nuclear arms control and security experts criticized NATO's new “Strategic Concept” as a conservative, backward-looking policy, a missed opportunity to reduce the number and role of the 200 forward-deployed U.S. tactical nuclear bombs and engage Russia in a dialogue on removing all tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.

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Getting to Zero Update

The Obama Administration was hoping for the U.S. Senate to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) now that the U.S. mid-term elections are over. If the treaty is not brought to the floor before the end of the year, then prospects for the treaty dim in a Senate where more members will be reluctant to hand the President a foreign policy achievement, and votes in favor of the treaty will be more difficult to muster.

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Getting to Zero Update

The debate over Trident was heating up with questions about how the United Kingdom will cover costs during a time of tightening defense budgets. In the United States, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to the full Senate, but doubts remained as to whether the Senate would approve the treaty before the end of the year. Thirty-six members of the European Leaders Network called on NATO to increase its role in nuclear arms control just as the Alliance was circulating a draft of its new Strategic Concept, which was last revised in 1999.

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Leading Experts on NATO's Nuclear Policy and Turkish Security [JTW Interview]

"The threat perceptions of Turkey and the other NATO alliances are overlapped to some extent but not completely....... That's where the real debate inside NATO comes from; it's from differing threat perceptions."

Dr Ian Kearns, BASIC's Research Director was interviewed after the roundtable along with other particpants.

Read more: "http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/108218/-jtw-interview-leading-experts-...">

"NATO's Deterrence Posture & Turkish Security" Seminar Held at USAK

This roundtable meeting, jointly organized by the Arms Control Association, the British American Security Information Council, the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy Hamburg, International Strategic Research Organization, aimed to evaluate the role that deterrence and nuclear weapons play in Turkey's security policy and NATO's defense posture.

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SEPTEMBER 2010

This month we launched our new website, which has been designed and re-focused on our Getting to Zero programme. Later this month we expect to be announcing an exciting new BASIC initiative focused on Britain’s nuclear arsenal. Much of BASIC’s work at present (in addition to the specifics below) is geared towards the forthcoming NATO Summit in November and its aftermath, work on the Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons (an agreed objective at the NPT Review Conference), and British and US nuclear weapon policies.  

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