BASIC News: July – September 2012

Organizational changes

Washington, DC
BASIC said a sad farewell to Program Director Anne Penketh, who has now left the white and stoic marble of Capitol Hill for the more colorful sights of Paris. Everyone at BASIC has been grateful for Anne’s service these past three years and she will be missed. Anne raised our game in Washington, New York and throughout the Middle East, and led our work alongside Jaakko Laajava’s team to prepare for the official conference on a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other WMD. Anne is returning to journalism, and fortunately, will likely have reason to pass through Washington and London again.

On a happier note, BASIC will soon welcome former UK diplomat Rebecca Cousins, who will fill the position of Program Director starting on October 22. She represented the United Kingdom on a range of issues, including nuclear non-proliferation, the Middle East peace process, sanctions, and regional policy. She has a wide variety of experiences in strategic engagement with government, academia and civil society, and creative use of project work, online tools and social media. Rebecca was recently awarded an MBE by Her Majesty The Queen for her role in leading and communicating the in-country British response to the 2011 Japan earthquake and subsequent Fukushima nuclear incident.


Tim Street joined BASIC in the London office as a researcher, in collaboration with the University of Warwick Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) Collaborative PhD Studentship, funded by the ESRC. Tim has been working on peace and disarmament issues since 2005. Most recently, he worked with the Nuclear Information Service, compiling information and analysis on the United Kingdom’s Atomic Weapons Establishment. Tim will be a great support to BASIC’s research and publications activities while working on his doctoral thesis on multilateralization and disarmament among the P5 states.

BASIC Trident Commission

Principal Funders: Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Polden Puckham Foundation, Nuclear Education Trust, and the Mulberry Trust

The BASIC Trident Commission has started to draft its final report but continues to take written evidence from interested parties until the end of the year (please send submissions to rstaley (at) Check the Trident Commission website for further developments.

BASIC Trident Commissioners will be taking part in a briefing for British Parliamentarians under the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Security and Non-Proliferation in early December. The event will focus on the Commission’s work until now, with a special focus on the three briefing papers that the Commission has released.

Strategic Dialogues

Washington, DC
Principal Funder: The Prospect Hill Foundation

BASIC, in collaboration with Peter Huessy of the Air Force Association and GeoStrategic Analysis, held its second in a series of “Strategic Dialogues” to help raise the level of awareness of “big picture” issues on nuclear weapons and security policy. Early in the morning at the Capitol Hill Club, Dr. Janne Nolan of The George Washington University and Dr. Chris Ford of the Hudson Institute took on the challenge of “Making sense of the nuclear posture” before a group of about 50 people, including think tank and industry experts, Hill staffers, and government officials. The speakers covered many topics, but focused on: the need for improved understanding of what a nuclear posture is and its purpose; the United States’ role in global disarmament; deterrence and the utility of targeting based on counter-value or counterforce; and modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Please visit BASIC’s Strategic Dialogue II event page for more information on the September 18th discussion, including a brief summary, audio, and transcript.

NATO’s Nuclear Posture

Principal funder: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

BASIC’s Ted Seay wrote on the aftermath of NATO’s latest summit: “Dissecting the DDPR: NATO’s Deterrence and Defence Posture Review”. Ted examined the key decisions made (and not made) at the NATO Summit in Chicago, in relation to the future of NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements and the Alliance as a whole. The paper is the tenth in a series on NATO’s nuclear weapons policies, put together by the Arms Control Association, BASIC, and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg.

Look out for the eleventh briefing in the series on NATO’s nuclear posture in the next few weeks. This one will be based on tactical nuclear weapons and the next round of bilateral New START follow-on talks.

Looking Ahead

Principal Funders: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Prospect Hill Foundation

BASIC is organizing another closed event with policy officials and experts ahead of the 2012 Helsinki Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and All Other WMD in the Middle East, in Istanbul on October 24-25. For next Spring, BASIC will also be organizing a larger, public event to engage civil society in the Middle East on non-proliferation issues to follow on from this year’s conference in Doha.



Principal Funders: The Prospect Hill Foundation
In mid-November, BASIC will work with partners to hold a third Strategic Dialogue, which will focus on the issue of nuclear modernization. Watch BASIC’s website for more details to come.


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