No First Use

No First Use is a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons.

At any minute, the president of the United States can start a nuclear war with sole authority. There is no requirement for outside approval or a second opinion. If the United States were to use nuclear weapons first, a nuclear-armed adversary is exponentially more likely to retaliate with nuclear weapons. Keeping the threat of nuclear first use on the table is an outdated and dangerous policy. Supporting a No First Use stance is a step we can take toward forging a saner nuclear policy.

Learn more about No First Use

  • The Nuclear Arsenal Problem You Never Saw Coming

    Former Defense Secretary William J. Perry lambasted the policy of presidential sole authority over the nation’s nuclear weapons, saying it was “in complete contrast with the Constitution, which reserved for Congress the right to declare war.” The issue of nuclear control was back in the news...

    October 20, 2020 - By Zack Brown
  • The Button

    Get started on your summer reading! You can now order a new book from former Secretary of Defense and Stanford professor of international relations William Perry and Ploughshares Fund policy director Tom Collina. The Button is a fascinating narrative of our living nuclear history—one in which...

    May 8, 2020 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • The Coronavirus Teaches Us Not to Let Trump Press the Nuclear Button

    President Trump has swung from calling the coronavirus pandemic “totally under control” to a “national emergency” and back. Trump’s latest idea that the nation could be “...

    March 31, 2020 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Letter from Akshai Vikram, Roger L. Hale Fellow

    Coming to Ploughshares Fund last September, I underestimated just how tumultuous the ensuing months would be. Surely, nothing could be more raucous than my time at the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election cycle. Yet I quickly realized that was not to be the case. My first week...

    March 11, 2020 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • The Bomb Squad

    “We’re a small but mighty team,” Tristan Guyette told Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione. “Our goal is to end the threat of nuclear war through very intersectional work.” Guyette and Colleen Moore work at Beyond the Bomb, a grassroots campaign aimed at stopping nuclear war. “We work to...

    November 11, 2019 - By Zack Brown
  • Rep. Adam Smith and the Future of US Nuclear Weapons Policy

    To reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, stop their spread, and build peace in regions of conflict where nuclear weapons exists, Ploughshares Fund is working to stop an emerging nuclear arms race, support and extend arms control treaties, and prevent nuclear war. This is why we are...

    October 16, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Remembering Hiroshima

    Seventy-four years ago today, on August 6, 1945, a single American bomber carrying a single bomb destroyed an entire Japanese city. The atomic age had begun. A teeming wartime metropolis of a quarter million people, Hiroshima stretched over the broad, marshy flatlands of the Ota River delta, as...

    August 6, 2019 - By Joe Cirincione
  • Ben Rhodes on No First Use and Ploughshares Fund

    Watch Ben Rhodes' discussion of a No First Use nuclear weapons policy and see a video promoting that policy. We had the privilege of hearing him speak about the importance of a recent...

    June 19, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • Demand presidential candidates oppose the first use of nuclear weapons
    At any minute, the president of the United States can start a nuclear war with sole authority. There is no requirement for outside approval or a second opinion. Donald Trump’s reckless behavior is shining a light on just how dangerous this situation is. But no president should have unchecked...
    June 11, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund
  • A Nuclear Policy for All

    The legitimacy of American democracy is rooted in political participation. Since the end of World War II, however, participation in national security policymaking by citizens, and even by most elected representatives, is no longer considered legitimate. This is especially true for decisions...

    April 3, 2019 - By Ploughshares Fund