Media Contacts: Jack Brosnan, Program Manager, Partnership for a Secure America, 202-293-8580;
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) is pleased to announce a new grant award from the MacArthur Foundation in support of an innovative bipartisan campaign to engage Congress on evolving nuclear security challenges around the world. This will be a joint program between PSA and the Arms Control Association (ACA). The award is part of a recent collaboration between the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) and the MacArthur Foundation to reduce nuclear risk through innovative and solutions-oriented approaches.
Partnership for a Secure America was selected along with 10 other grant recipients from a pool of 83 proposals.
This project seeks to improve Congressional interest and knowledge on the issue of nuclear materials security, in response to uncertain international cooperation following the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit last year. A key goal of the initiative is to catalyze enduring bipartisan commitment to this critical, yet increasingly-overlooked global threat.
“We are honored to receive this award from the MacArthur Foundation in support of PSA’s essential bipartisan work in Washington, DC,” said Nathan Sermonis, PSA Executive Director. “Capitol Hill has a crucial role to play in the nuclear security field, and we look forward to advancing bipartisan engagement among members of Congress and staff.”
In 2016, with the Nuclear Security Summit process coming to a close, Carnegie Corporation and MacArthur recognized that the progress started through the Summits remained fragile and much work was left to be done. The two foundations made a commitment – a “gift basket” pledge, in Summit parlance – to invest up to $25 million over two years “to secure nuclear materials and reduce the threat they pose.” This funding has gone toward nongovernmental efforts that provide new ideas; create opportunities for governments, industry, and civil society to collaborate; and hold stakeholders accountable.
More information about PSA’s work in bipartisanship, foreign policy, and national security can be found on our website.
Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board members William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense, and Richard Lugar, former Senator (R-IN), recently spoke at the Hoover Institution on the future of North Korea, suggesting proposals on how to approach the North Korean threat. The PSA Advisory Board members joined Michael Auslin, Resident Scholar and Director of Japan Studies at AEI, on the bipartisan panel. The panelists agreed that Kim Jong Un is a rational and successful leader who will not attack unprovoked. They also suggested that this rationality will allow the United States to take a diplomatic approach to North Korea. Diplomacy requires cooperation between South Korea, Japan, Russia, and, most importantly, China, which will be the greatest challenge in this approach.
The Kim Regime
First, the panelists discussed the Kim regime, agreeing on Kim’s rationality and success as a leader. Perry, specifically, warned against calling Kim Jong Un ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational.’ Michael Auslin supported this claim, noting Kim’s successes in stabilizing the economy, developing new technology and weaponry, and securing the future of the regime more so than in the past. The panelists agreed that Kim’s main objective is to secure his regime’s power, which indicates that Kim is rational and understands that an unprovoked attack would be suicidal for both his regime and North Korea.
Diplomacy with North Korea
Coming to a consensus on the rationality of the Kim regime, the panelists noted that the current conditions are ideal for a diplomatic strategy. Perry noted that military action can no longer eliminate the nuclear program due to mobile missiles and secrecy within the country. He suggested that the President should appoint a special envoy to meet with North Korea, but proposed that the ideal diplomatic package must include China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. Lugar suggested that the first steps in reaching diplomatic negotiations should be weakening the regime through economic means and helping North Korean citizens become better informed, noting that a better informed public would open up opportunities to work together in ways different from diplomatic negotiations. When questioned about Dennis Rodman’s role in diplomacy, Lugar joked that Rodman’s unlikely friendship could be considered this era’s ‘ping-pong diplomacy.’
Challenges of Diplomacy
The panelists agreed that one of the greatest challenges with diplomacy would be finding common ground with the various countries in the region, specifically China. Lugar compared the challenging nature of future negotiations with the Kim regime to negotiations in the past between the United States and the Soviet Union. Auslin highlighted that the United States must work harder to understand the different goals, perspectives, and capabilities of the different countries, but suggested that they can likely find common ground on nuclear nonproliferation. Perry, however, warned that the influence of the United States may be weakening as a result of our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it will allow China to take on a more dominant role within the region.
We believe that nuclear issues did not lose their relevance when the Cold War ended. Families no longer construct fallout shelters in their backyards, but the United States still grapples with the challenges of protecting nuclear material and facilities from terrorists, and preventing more states from joining the nuclear club.
Although officials with nuclear–related experience from the Cold War remain in government and think tanks, they are retiring at a growing rate, and millennials will eventually replace them. We at PSA worry that millennials are insufficiently focused on or fully conversant with nuclear issues. Based on conversations with experts inside government and out, we know we are not alone. While other global security challenges may seem more pressing, all Americans must remain mindful that more than 15,000 nuclear weapons remain around the world, most of them more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Grappling with these challenges will be a task for all generations, but we need to address them now. To encourage Americans, and particularly millennials, to think more about these security issues, we are proud to announce the release of our newest video “15,000 Ways to End the World”. Please enjoy watching it, and pass it along to your peers, colleagues, friends, and family.
This video, made with the generous support of Outrider Foundation, is one tool to help achieve a better-informed America, and alert the millennial generation to be cognizant of important national security issues.
Over the coming weeks, PSA will populate this space with more resources that you can use to learn more about nuclear policy issues.
For Immediate Release: July 19, 2016
Washington, D.C.— An international Working Group convened by Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) released its final report examining ways in which non-state sources can help fund the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) nuclear security and technical cooperation activities.
The report, Strengthening the IAEA: Technical Cooperation and Nuclear Security, includes ten recommendations on how the IAEA can partner more effectively with the private sector, the nonprofit and donor communities, and with other international governmental organizations. The report notes that IAEA’s budgets, comprised almost exclusively of contributions from its Member States, have not kept pace with new mandates and growing demands for its services, including those in nuclear security and technical assistance.
The Working Group believes that the IAEA should develop “a comprehensive strategy to diversify its revenue stream beyond reliance on state-based contributions.” The report’s completion and publication is an important milestone in a two-year project funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY).
The Working Group was composed of individuals from seventeen countries, including former senior officials from the IAEA Secretariat, former Governors or Ambassadors who represented their countries at the IAEA, and other experts with IAEA experience.
“These experts have been working tirelessly for the past several months to complete this project,” said Dr. Andrew Semmel, Project Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of PSA, “and we are happy to have completed such a challenging and worthy task.”
The report’s findings represent the views solely of the international Working Group and have not been endorsed by CCNY and do not represent a CCNY position.
CONTACT: Andrew Szparaga (202-293-8580), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two foremost experts on Iran expressed support for the interim agreement — the Joint Plan of Action — on Iran and President Obama’s current approach at a meeting on Capitol Hill today sponsored by the Partnership for a Secure America. “The policy is highly bipartisan,” said Nicholas Burns, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs under President George W. Bush and currently professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He agreed with Robert Einhorn, former State Department Special Advisor for nonproliferation and arms control in the Obama administration and currently senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, that Congress should refrain from further sanctions legislation at this time. “It is the President who negotiates, not 535,” said Burns, “and Congress should support him.”
One of the goals is to lengthen the time for Iranian nuclear “breakout.” Einhorn pointed out that without an interim agreement Iran could make significant progress, and substantially shorten the breakout timeline. He believes while each government is stressing the benefits to their country of the interim deal, a final comprehensive agreement will be very tough to achieve.
Both experts agreed that there is concern that the interim deal will open the floodgates to business activity, but stated that there is no evidence of this happening at present. Einhorn said that the sanctions will remain in place, with some benefits available for Iran, but incentives still remain for Iran to negotiate. Einhorn said the IAEA will play a major role in the final deal with Iran, although Iran must go well beyond the additional access by inspectors and information provided by an Additional Protocol. Burns added that verification is a critical issue, noting, “Don’t trust, verify.”
The event was sponsored by the bipartisan nongovernmental organization, the Partnership for a Secure America (https://psaonline.org), which includes a balanced number of Republican and Democratic luminaries such as Madeleine Albright and Howard Baker on its Advisory Board. The video of the entire meeting is available at CSPAN (https://www.c-span.org/video/?317671-1/NuclearDeal
Both former negotiators noted that while the U.S. spent years not talking to Iran and spent much of its time sanctioning, in recent months it has become routine for Iranians and Americans to sit down to talk. The U.S. has not had an official dialogue with Iran for more than three decades. The two experts said that the two sides will have to work in a way in which Iran does not have to admit guilt but still satisfies the West.