Jan 20, 2009

Strategic Weapons in the 21st Century

2009 Conference

The third annual Conference on Strategic Weapons in the 21st Century (SW21) will take place January 29, 2009, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. The conference is co-sponsored by Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories.

Theme: When and How Do We Hedge Against Uncertainty

International Dynamics, Policy, and Strategy Working Group
Assessing Risk and the Need to Hedge

Chairs: Ash Carter and Keith Payne

Against what developments must we hedge, and what should guide our policy to mitigate risk? What are the key threats driving policy and doctrine? Against what possible future threats do we really need to hedge? How do we hedge against uncertainty? How do we qualitatively describe the risks? Why are most countries modernizing their nuclear forces and infrastructure or proposing to? The defined threat and the options for the next administrationís threat assessments needs to be clarified. What policy objectives are we trying to achieve when we modify readiness and hedge against uncertain future developments? What is our policy on risk analysis and mitigation? How much do we need to rely on forces in being and high readiness? To what degree can we rely on the industrial base or a responsive infrastructure? What are the advantages of reduced readiness and what are the dangers? How do we calculate the lowest acceptable levels of forces and infrastructure required to assure our allies and ensure our own security?

Forces, Infrastructure, and Science and Technology Working Group
What are the Options for Hedging?

Chairs: Rich Mies and Sid Drell

What options in force readiness, infrastructure responsiveness, and R&D futures would permit hedging safely at lower stockpile numbers, fewer deployed weapons, and reduced alert levels? What forces, infrastructure, and S&T investments will be required as we reduce the number of nuclear weapons? How do you posture the forces in the absence of a well-defined threat? What are the technical challenges associated with a responsive infrastructure that is designed to support the lowest possible levels yet ensure our security against any adverse future developments? How do we address tactical vs. strategic responsiveness?

Key Issues From Contemporary Studies and Commissions
Chairs: Bill Perry and Jim Schlesinger
Panel Members: John Hamre, Larry Welch, Rich Mies, Bill Schneider, Sid Drell, Desmond Bowen

Roundtable Discussion: The Path Forward
Chairs: John Hamre and Larry Welch

What are the key issues that complicate a national consensus on strategic forces including nuclear weapons? What are the issues about which there is the most misunderstanding? Examples: What are the relationships between nuclear forces, offenses, defenses, conventional forces, and information operations? How do strategic capabilities positively and negatively influence security developments with friends and with potential adversaries? How do we deal with dual use, e.g., platforms? What is meant by hair trigger, de-alerting, etc.? What is a "new" system and what should be our policy about things that might be "new"? How near-term are the conditions required for the elimination of nuclear weapons and what should that mean for our near- and intermediate-term planning?


Frank Young said...

For most of the posts on this blog, clicking on the post title will take you to the source of the information for the post.

Anonymous said...

Now that Obama has taken office, I hope he quickly moves to replace Tom D'Agostino from his top perch over at NNSA. It's time for this guy to go. He's managed to seriously damage what little was left of the declining US nuclear weapons labs.

Anonymous said...

As if Obama gives a crap about "the declining US nuclear weapons labs." He's a Democrat, remember?

Anonymous said...

I hope that the new President,will do away with requirement that I take off my shoes, everytime I buy a airline ticket.

Anonymous said...

"As if Obama gives a crap about "the declining US nuclear weapons labs." He's a Democrat, remember?"

What an uneducated statement. Clearly the author does not know that the LANL budget actually flourished better under Democrats than under Republicans. Don't forget that FDR and Truman were both Democrats.

Maybe the author should spend some time studying history.

Anonymous said...

Why exactly is it most liberals dislike and even hate the military and nukes?

I believe it is because for the most part, we stand for everything they are against... like honor, dignity, and freedom.

And their naive zero nukes in the world idea, is an example of what Nietzsche writes:

"For, when confronted with nature and history, when confronted with the ingrained immorality of nature and history, Kant was, like all good Germans from the earliest times, a pessimist: he believed in morality, not because it is demonstrated through nature and history, but despite its being steadily contradicted by them." (The Dawn, Thoughts on the prejudices of morality., Preface (to the Second Edition, 1887), Section 3, by Friedrich Nietzsche.)

And in Latin words, e.g. a summarize of the zero nukes in the word idea:

Credo quia absurdum est.

(I belive because it is absurd.)

Anonymous said...

I am fascinated by the so-called four horsemen of the apocalypse. I've met all of them personally. Sid Drell is a self-serving, academic windbag who wants more than anything to get attention and put his name on things - particularly things he knows nothing about. He is a perfect match for LANS. Peery, seems genuinely interested in riding the fine line between total annihilation and genuine disarmament. Sometimes it is hard to tell which side of the line he is on. Nunn is a true Southern gentleman who wants what is best for the Country. Not surprisingly, we rarely see him associated with LANS. Shultz, on the other hand, is an aging Bechtel front man who's name and recognition are being shamelessly taken advantage of by corporate America and Riley Bechtel. These self-appointed horsemen are an odd mix to say the least. It bothers me a great deal how intertwined they are with LANS and LANS leadership. Obama would be wise to abandon two of the horsemen.

Anonymous said...

1/20/09 10:17 PM

I guess you didn't take the time to listen to or read a copy of President Obama's Inauguration speech, three passages from it...

"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn."


"We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."


"As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all."

Anonymous said...

"Why exactly is it most liberals dislike and even hate the military and nukes?

I believe it is because for the most part, we stand for everything they are against... like honor, dignity, and freedom.

And their naive zero nukes in the world idea, is an example of what Nietzsche writes:"

"In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point."

Friedrich Nietzsche

Anonymous said...

"Clearly the author does not know that the LANL budget actually flourished better under Democrats than under Republicans." (9:59 AM)

We'll be able to prove this thesis in the next 24 months. One of the only RIFs in LANL's long history came under the Democratic Clinton administration back in '94.

Personally, I believe all those workers at LANL who had Obama '08 stickers plastered on their cars may soon find themselves with a ticket to wait in line at the unemployment office and a big drop in their living standards. Time will tell and I could be wrong, but we'll know soon enough, won't we?

Anonymous said...

Words are cheap, 7:13 AM. Anyone can give a good speech, but it's actions that count.

Obama may become a great leader. Then, again, he may turn out to be good at rhetoric but lousy at leading a nation. No one yet knows.

Anonymous said...

There has been so much hype and hysteria for Obama-as-Messiah, that I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being hated worse than Bush after reality sinks in and people realize that they do, actually, have to worry about putting gas in their cars and making their mortgage payments.

Though he is the president, he's just a man. He can't perform magic.

Anonymous said...

But, but, but...its Obama! CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, cspan and the paperboy will be showing you the love and reporting his every bowel movement and, of course, tying every good thing that happens from now on in to his divine leadership. The world is as rosey as you want it to be, just need to find the right glasses. Stock market goes up, good Obama. It goes down because of Bush. I just heard breaking news that he is going to allow Spring to come again this year, Fall was Bush's fault, were so lucky...yipee

Anonymous said...

Obama has been President for over a day and yet he *still* hasn't fixed are crumbling US economy or brought lasting peace to the Mideast.

What's wrong with this guy? I'm starting to have some buyer's remorse.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, McCain would have had that all wrapped up by now. Not!

At least Bush wasn't Gore or Kerry. Same logic applies now. At least Obama isn't Hillary or McCain.

Anonymous said...

No, no! It's Bill Richardson who makes the seasons change in NM.

Anonymous said...

Just announced...WARS OVER....we don't need no stink'n nukes no more!

Anonymous said...

"Just announced...WARS OVER....we don't need no stink'n nukes no more!"

You need nukes when you DON'T have a war, not when you do!