Part of the impetus to launch the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) was our concern that catastrophic risks were rising. The global security environment is experiencing monumental strains, including from the weakening of long-held norms, clear violations of the rules-based international order as exemplified by Russia’s most recent invasion of a sovereign Ukraine, mounting strains from a multiyear pandemic, the worsening effects of climate change and ecological degradation, and evolving nuclear risks.
Specifically, our fears were deepening that the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons may be increasing. Many factors have been driving this concern, including movements by several nuclear-armed nations away from mutually-beneficial arms control measures, as well as multiple nations expanding nuclear weapon capabilities and adopting policies that are increasing mistrust and miscalculation risks.
For CSR, our concerns are matched by our commitment to develop and try to advance concrete steps toward mitigating catastrophic risks.
Since the organization’s inception, the CSR team has worked with diplomatic and defense experts around the world to shape a strategic vision for how nuclear-armed nations could strengthen nuclear strategic stability while pursuing decreasing reliance on and possession of nuclear weapons over time. We have also explored specific, concrete steps toward implementing this vision that are outlined in the “Preventing Catastrophic Nuclear Risks and Exploring the Future of Arms Control” section of our website.
CSR is honored that Longview Philanthropy is supporting our expansion of this critically important work. As they announced this week, Longview is providing CSR with a $1.6 million grant to continue advancing ideas that could reduce the risk of nuclear conflict occurring and escalating.
In the coming months, CSR will continue supporting official efforts to reduce the risks of nuclear weapons use, hire additional staff to continue developing ideas to advance the strategic vision we’ve set, launch a fellowship component to our work, and start a pilot project exploring how to develop more widely-accepted calculations of the impacts of nuclear weapon use.
In the near term, hopefully Russia will end its invasion and occupation of Ukraine and hold back from enacting the nuclear conflict that it has threatened. Looking forward, CSR is grateful to Longview for supporting an expansion of our long-term efforts to reduce catastrophic nuclear risks—and for its emerging focus on these issues.