Debate: U.S. Nuclear Weapon Modernization

Video: Debate - US Nuclear Weapon 'Modernization'

The fourth in a debate series on a range of nuclear challenges and policy decisions the Trump administration

The Center for Strategic & International Studies' Project on Nuclear Issues (CSIS PONI) and Ploughshares Fund are pleased to invite you to 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.

Debate question: Participants will be asked to address the following question:

Does the US 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 US 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.


Hon. Ellen Tauscher, Former US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
Adam Mount, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
John Harvey, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs
Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Watch a Timely Debate on US Nuclear Weapon 'Modernization' via @CSISPONI.

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