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Commentary

Deterrence of non-nuclear strategic threats: the case against deterring new technologies

The US, Russia, and the UK have explicitly stated their intention to deter non-nuclear strategic threats from new technologies with nuclear weapons. ELN Senior Policy Fellow Julia Berghofer writes that this could have destabilising effects, opening the door to new vulnerabilities and escalation risks. The N5 should discuss these policies as part of their longstanding dialogue on nuclear doctrines, and a public debate is required to explore potential alternative approaches.

23 July 2024 | Julia Berghofer
Report

Technological complexity and risk reduction: A Guardrails and Self-Assessment Framework for EDTs in NC3 and nuclear weapons decision-making

Emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs) are changing our lives – including in the worlds of defence and security. The ELN has been working since 2020 to understand how future nuclear crises may be affected by the intersection of multiple rapidly evolving new technologies. Building on years of work, this report presents a new Framework to help guide the safe use of EDTs in nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) systems, aiming to reduce risks and manage escalation.

19 July 2024 | Belén Bianco and Rishi Paul
Commentary

Never let a good crisis go to waste! The impact of great power conflict on the nuclear non-proliferation regime and what to do about it

In advance of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) 2026 Review Conference, ELN Policy and Research Director Oliver Meier argues that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has thrown the nuclear non-proliferation regime into crisis. Despite this, opportunities remain to revitalise multilateral frameworks. If N5 states are willing to compartmentalise nuclear arms control, and if the existing international organisations that govern arms nuclear control are better leveraged to build on past achievements, progress on mitigating nuclear risks can still be made.

18 July 2024 | Oliver Meier
Policy brief

The challenge of Russian dual-capable missiles

In a new policy brief, ELN Senior Associate Fellows Simon Lunn and Nicholas Williams discuss how Russia’s superior quantities of dual-capable medium and short-range missiles affect the credibility of NATO’s nuclear posture. It also highlights how NATO’s expansion, the need to engage with more Alliance members, and any potential American withdrawal from Euro-Atlantic security architecture could affect NATO’s capacity for defence, as well as the role of deterrence and assurances in this nexus. 

17 July 2024 | Simon Lunn and Nicholas Williams
Policy brief

Cloudbusting: Ways to address the growing salience of nuclear weapons in the NPT

The ambition of efforts to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons will depend on the overall trajectory of international politics. But the growing role and significance of nuclear weapons is both the result and a driver of rivalry between the nuclear-weapon states. Ahead of the 2024 NPT Preparatory Committee, this policy brief outlines what measures NPT states parties could take to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons depending on the international security environment.

16 July 2024
Policy brief

NATO’s revival of collective defence and the challenge of national commitments

As leaders gather in Washington for a three day summit to mark NATO’s 75th anniversary, ELN Senior Associate Fellows Nicholas Williams and Simon Lunn analyse the re-emergence of collective defence as a priority within the alliance, and what it means for national governments. The paper argues that NATO’s regional plans should be the subject of parliamentary scrutiny by individual national parliaments to ensure that national commitments to NATO are consistent with the resources and political aims of their respective countries.

9 July 2024 | Nicholas Williams and Simon Lunn