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Debate: U.S. Nuclear Weapon Modernization

  • CSIS 1616 Rhode Island Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, 20036 United States (map)

The Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) and Ploughshares Fund are hosting the fourth in a debate series on a range of nuclear challenges and policy decisions the Trump administration will face in 2017. The debate series aims to provide a forum for in-depth exploration of arguments on both sides of key nuclear policy issues.

The question up for debate is:

Does the U.S. need new types of nuclear weapons to meet current or future deterrence needs?

As currently planned, the United States will modernize nearly every part of its nuclear arsenal, including replacement warheads, upgraded command-and-control systems, and other improvements across the strategic triad. Proposals have received rare bipartisan support from Congress, and many of them have either started or are expected to receive formal authorization to begin soon. The Defense Science Board recently suggested that the United States should consider enhancing its low-yield nuclear warheads. Yet, detractors argue that such modernization or enhancement programs could further increase tensions with adversaries. The event will focus on the future of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and whether the current approaches of life extension programs, stockpile stewardship, 3+2 warhead plans, and continued testing moratorium are sufficient – or potentially in excess or insufficient – to meet future deterrence needs.

Event Details

  • Date: June 29, 2017

  • When: 4:30 - 7:00 PM

  • Where: CSIS HQ