The Center on Strategic Weapons (CSW) is a non-partisan institute of the CSR that explores threat reduction opportunities related to the development, diffusion and use of strategic weapons in a challenging security landscape. A team of experts launched CSW with a recognition that nuclear, biological, chemical and other strategic weapons threats are rising both due to direct changes in policies and practices globally, and as a result of increasing stress on international security institutions and norms. As strategic weapons threats rise, CSW is committed to developing achievable risk-reducing solutions.
Briefer No 1: Improving Nuclear Strategic Stability Through a Responsibility-Based Approach, Admiral John Gower, CB OBE: January 7, 2019
, “Smarter US modernization, without new nuclear weapons,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 75:1, 25-29; January 7, 2019
Hon. Andrew Weber & Christine Parthemore (2018), “The nuclear crisis makes clear: Time to reimagine arms control,” The Hill; December 28, 2018
Program 1: Preventing Nuclear Warfare
The world has entered a new nuclear arms race, and the danger is rising that nuclear weapons will be used. The United States is moving forward with plans to expand nuclear weapon capabilities by developing new nuclear options in air- and sea-launched cruise missiles and a low-yield nuclear sea-launched ballistic missile warhead, among other things. Russia is pursuing a multifaceted vision for expanding its nuclear capabilities. Countries outside of the Non-Proliferation Treaty such as India, Pakistan, and North Korea continue to advance their nuclear weapons programs.
The CSW is working to help halt this global expansion of nuclear weapons risks. For the United States, CSW is advancing ideas for a smarter path on nuclear modernization. The CSW team is also working in cooperation with NATO/European and East Asian allies and partners to develop shared definitions of nuclear strategic stability in the multipolar world and common understandings of the responsibilities of nuclear weapons-capable states.
Program 2: Reimagining Arms Control
CSW also launched a program in 2018 to reimagine arms control. As the international landscape continues to evolve, successful arms control in the 21st Century will require new approaches grounded in the mutual security interests of countries involved. Working in collaboration with governments and other think tanks from around the world, CSW is developing new arms control concepts that countries may pursue together. This work gives special attention to classes of nuclear weapons that carry the highest risks of ambiguity, escalation, and altering strategic calculations; and developing arms control ideas that could include to Indo-Pacific participants.
Program 3: Making Biological Weapons Obsolete
CSW is launching a new program focused on making bioweapons obsolete. It is becoming feasible to end the threat of biological weapons as we know it today due to multiple trends combining. These include advances in synthetic biology and gene editing, significantly reduced costs in synthesis and sequencing, the continuing spread of widely accessible materials and techniques, robotics enabling more rapid and cheaper bioproduction, the explosion in data these advances are driving, and more.
This program recognizes that making bioweapons obsolete will require policy makers to embrace the new normal of rapid technological change and the ubiquity of biotechnology. This ambitious objective will require new approaches to public-private cooperation and shifts in the biosecurity cultures of both government and industry. CSR’s work will include collaboration among diverse experts from the biotech industry, government, and non-governmental organizations.
Hon. Andrew Weber, Senior Fellow, Center on Strategic Weapons
aweber at csrisks dot org
Christine Parthemore, Director, Climate-Nuclear-Security Project
cparthemore at csrisks dot org
Rear Admiral John Gower, CB OBE, Senior Advisor, The Center on Strategic Weapons