BASIC closely monitored developments coming out of the recently released Trident Alternatives Review and continued to facilitate the final term of the Trident Commission. President Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin provided additional impetus for BASIC’s continuing engagement on U.S. and NATO nuclear posture issues. With ongoing uncertainties in the Middle East, BASIC followed the recent regime change in Egypt and has explored options for future work in the region.
Read BASIC’s New Blog!
BASIC launched its blog in May of this year, as a forum for further engagement. The blog aims to explore topics of interest, create a channel for discussion, and make nuclear weapons issues more accessible.
Selected Blog articles
- Egypt and the Future of the WMDFZ, Sarah Gilcrest, August 5
- Cold War Thinking and Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century, Rachel Staley, July 30
- Time for Action in Iran, Simon Heuberger, July 26
- The Great British Trident Debate: 2013 Reviews, 2014 Scottish Referendum, 2015 General Election, 2016 Main Gate Decision, Paul Ingram and Rachel Staley, June 26
- Fighting a Prevailing Cold War Mentality, Open Security, second in a series of new articles by Rebecca Cousins in Open Democracy, July 29
- Implications of President Obama’s speech in Berlin and nuclear strategy review, BASIC news analysis, Chris Lindborg, June 21.
BASIC Trident Commission
Principal Funders: Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Polden Puckham Foundation, Nuclear Education Trust, and the Mulberry Trust
- The BASIC Trident Commission is currently drafting chapters of its final report, which will be published later this year.
- John Simpson wrote the fourth discussion paper for the Commission, on Deterrence, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and UK Trident.
Reactions to the Trident Alternatives Review (TAR)
Separate from the Trident Commission activities, BASIC also responded to the Trident Alternatives Review (TAR).
- Podcast: Listen to Paul Ingram discuss the implications of the Trident Alternatives Review in an interview with the Pod Delusion, July 18
- Read Paul Ingram’s commentary on the TAR here, July 16
- Also see the broader analysis by scholar Nick Ritchie (University of York), and Paul Ingram: Trident in UK Politics and Public Opinion, July 15
PAIS/BASIC Nuclear Weapons Conference: The Future of Nuclear Weapons – Between Disarmament and Proliferation
Principle Partners: Warwick University’s Political and International Studies department (PAIS)
BASIC and PAIS held a one-day conference on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, which merged academia, policy-making, and NGOs in a forum to discuss the future of British nuclear weapons policy, and the prospects for non-proliferation and disarmament in the Middle East, June 10. Read the conference summary.
WASHINGTON, DC – BRUSSELS – MOSCOW
NATO’s Nuclear Posture
Principal funder: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
BASIC project in partnership with the Arms Control Association and Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH)
- NATO’s Nuclear Posture, Washington, DC
BASIC aimed to bring the dialogue from the Brussels and Moscow roundtables to Washington, as experts and representatives from NATO states discussed nuclear posture, burden sharing, and reassurance within the Alliance, July 25
- Prospects for Russian-U.S. Arms Control, Moscow
BASIC co-sponsored a roundtable that examined options and prospects for a follow-on to New START and cooperation on missile defense, May 16
- Engaging Russia on Tactical Nuclear Weapons, Brussels
BASIC and its project partners hosted a discussion focused on transparency and confidence-building measures between NATO and Russia, April 15
- Countdown to Chaos? Timelines and Implications of Procurement Decisions for NATO’s Dual-Capable Aircraft, Nuclear Policy Paper No. 14, Ted Seay, July
- NATO’s Nuclear Guardians: Why NATO’s bureaucracy is unable to initiate change to, or support reform of, Alliance nuclear policy, Nuclear Policy Paper No. 13, Ted Seay, May
Principal Funder:The Prospect Hill Foundation
- In July, BASIC brought together Dr. Oliver Meier, Associate of the International Security Division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and François Rivasseau, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United States, for a discussion on European Perspectives on Nuclear Burden-Sharing. The event was held at The Capitol Hill Club, with a full house of about 40 people in attendance, including Hill staffers, industry officials, diplomats, and experts. Read a summary of the discussion.
Non-Proliferation in the Middle East
Principal Funder: UKFCO
- On March 25-26, BASIC hosted its second annual Conference on Nuclear Non-Proliferation in the Gulf in Istanbul, as a follow up to the previous Doha conference. Experts and officials came together to discuss pressing regional and global non-proliferation issues, including the NPT, a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East, Iran, and nuclear deterrence.
- You can read the agenda and the press release, or final summary report.
Unjamming the FM(C)T
In Partnership with: the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and with funding from The International Security Research and Outreach Programme (ISROP) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada.
- On March 8, 2013, BASIC organized a closed roundtable between experts and officials, which addressed the political and strategic dynamics around a Fissile Material (Cut-off) Treaty [FM(C)T] negotiations and the possibility of moving talks forward, with a focus on the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE), which will meet in 2014 and 2015.
- BASIC produced a backgrounder on the FM(C)T and a report on the roundtable discussion.
Scholar Ward Wilson joined BASIC in March as Senior Fellow and Director of the Rethinking Nuclear Weapons Project. His book, Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons, is a groundbreaking rethinking of nuclear weapons based on recently uncovered and reanalyzed facts from Cold War archives.
Read his commentary on the Open Ended Working Group for BASIC’s Blog.
THANK YOU to interns Philip Kirby, Georgi Ivanov, Helen Martin, Victoria Godfrey, and Maria Looney, who wrapped up their service to BASIC during the first half of 2013. This spring and summer, BASIC’s London and Washington offices welcomed interns Anna Sliwon, Simon Heuberger, Cassandra Lee, Sarah Gilcrest, and Mac Caille Petursson.
- The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has awarded BASIC a grant to address nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East with a focus on the Gulf region.
- The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation approved a grant for BASIC to continue work related to NATO’s nuclear posture.
- The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded a grant for the ReThinking Nuclear Weapons Project, led by Ward Wilson.
Thank you to all of our funders, both institutional and individual!
BASIC will increase its activities on the Trident issue in London and Washington, especially as the Trident Commission enters its final phase. The Washington office will also be planning for two more Strategic Dialogues this fall.