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Policy

Scientists Urge Overhaul Of Weapons Policy

by Jeffrey W. Johnson
December 22, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 51

Three scientific organizations last week released a report urging an overhaul of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, including broadening the role of scientists working in the nation's three nuclear weapons labs to include energy security projects as well as nuclear weapons security. The report, issued by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Center for Strategic & International Studies, says a policy "vacuum" regarding U.S. nuclear deterrence must be addressed, and it calls for the next Administration to lay out a "coherent and compelling" nuclear weapons policy to overcome congressional objections that have led to slim budgets and strains on human and scientific infrastructure at the weapons complex. The report recommends a host of activities to allow the U.S. to "reestablish its global leadership in nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament." The scientists also call for reductions in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and present a "spectrum of options" to maintain nuclear deterrence without creating new nuclear weapons capabilities. The report was drawn from a series of workshops with contributions from more than 100 nuclear experts from scientific, diplomatic, and defense circles. It is available at cstsp.aaas.org.

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