BASIC News: May – June 2012

NATO leaders met at their summit in Chicago on May 20-21 to agree on, amongst other things, the text arising from the Deterrence and Defence Posture Review that had been 18 months in process. BASIC has been organizing roundtables around Europe, Moscow and Washington alongside the Arms Control Association, IFSH (Hamburg), and local partners to discuss nuclear-related issues with officials and others to influence the discussion. The DDPR does not close this debate, but rather opens it up over the next few years.


NATO\’s Nuclear Posture

NATO Shadow Summit III
Principal funder:  Marmot Trust, NATO Public Diplomacy Division, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

BD21421  A week prior to the NATO Chicago Summit in May, BASIC held the Shadow Summit alongside NATO Watch, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Strategy International, hosted by the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, in order to give civil society a voice on the major challenges confronted by the Alliance. This was the first NATO Shadow Summit held in Washington, the previous two held in Brussels.

BD21421  Over the course of May 14th and 15th, more than 100 experts, government officials and NGO representatives from around the world gathered to discuss issues including:

  • Afghanistan, lessons from Libya, emerging threats such as terrorism and cyber-warfare;
  • the Alliance’s nuclear posture;
  • meeting NATO’s capabilities requirements during austere times; and
  • the Alliance’s relations with the public.

BD21421  Panelists included:

  • Geneve Mantri of Amnesty International;
  • Amb. Kurt Volker of the Center for Transatlantic Relations (Johns Hopkins-SAIS);
  • Candace Rondeaux of the International Crisis Group;
  • Julianne Smithof Vice President Joseph Biden’s Office;
  • Rangina Hamidi of Kandahar Treasure;
  • Antonella Cerasino of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division;
  • Amb. Francois Rivasseau of the U.N. Secretary-General’s disarmament advisory board;
  • Harry Heintzelman, IV, of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.
basic nato shadow summit panel

Question and answer session during panel discussion on tactical nuclear weapons, Shadow NATO Summit III, in Washington, DC: May 14-15, 2012

BD21421  Journalists attended the event, which resulted in media coverage in newspapers such as Die Tageszeitung (Germany) and The Hill (U.S). C-SPAN broadcast live the panel discussions on NATO’s response to terrorism, proliferation, piracy and cyber attacks; and on smart defense and burden sharing. See BASIC’s events page for more on the Shadow Summit.


Related Publications:
Principal funders: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

BD21421  BASIC covered the release of NATO’s Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR), which formally concluded during the summit in Chicago.  BASIC issued a press release pointing out NATO’s Missed Opportunity, and Executive Director Paul Ingram summed up the results in “NATO Continues Dangerous Delay over Nuclear Decisions,” on the website of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

BD21421  Paul Ingram and Oliver Meier updated their Arms Control Today article in this briefing posted to BASIC\’s website: NATO\’s DDPR: What to Expect and What Needs to Be Done after Chicago, May 16, 2012.

BD21421  NATO’s Deterrence and Defence Posture Review and the Future of Nuclear Weapons is now available as a synthesis of the expert roundtable discussion held in Paris, in March.  The roundtable was part of BASIC’s joint project with the Arms Control Association, the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy Hamburg, and the Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques.

BD21421  Visit our ‘NATO’s Nuclear Posture’ project page for more analysis on the Chicago Summit and the DDPR.


Strategic Dialogues

Washington, DC
Principal Funder: Prospect Hill Foundation

On May 8th, BASIC, in association with the Hudson Institute, held the first in a planned series of “Strategic Dialogue” breakfasts on Capitol Hill to help raise the level of awareness of “big picture” issues related to nuclear weapons and security policy. Dr. Chris Ford of the Hudson Institute and Dr. Barry Blechman of the Henry L. Stimson Center exchanged their views on “Nuclear Deterrence: Who Needs Nuclear Weapons and Why?” before a group of about 60 people at the Capitol Hill Club.  The group included think tank experts, Hill staffers, government officials, and interested public. You can find links to listen to the discussion and read the transcript on the Strategic Dialogue event page.

Barry Blechman and Chris Ford BASIC Strategic Dialogue

Dr. Chris Ford and Dr. Barry Blechman share their views on nuclear deterrence at the Capitol Hill Club, May 8, 2010, in Washington, DC.

BASIC Trident Commission

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

BD21421  The Trident Commission will be releasing the third in a series of briefing papers in June. Authored by Bruno Tertrais, Senior Research Fellow at the Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, it examines UK-France nuclear cooperation and current policies by drawing lessons from the past. Tertrais argues that building blocks for a strong nuclear relationship exist, but many obstacles and constraints remain that limit the scope of this cooperation. Check the Trident Commission website for the publication later this month.

BD21421  The Trident Commission continues to take oral and written evidence from interested parties — please send submissions to rstaley (at) In the latter half of 2012, the Trident Commission will be writing its final report that is due to be published in early 2013.

Looking Ahead

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

BD21421  BASIC is organizing another closed event with policy officials ahead of the 2012 Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and All Other WMD in the Middle East, this time in Istanbul. BASIC will also be organizing an event aimed at Turkish civil society and its relationship to Middle East proliferation.

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