Week Ahead Feb. 24-March 2: Castle Bravo Test Anniversary; Pentagon Budget; NATO Ministers & G8 Partnership Meetings

In the coming days, the staff and editors at the Arms Control Association will be keeping an eye on the following arms control-related developments. WeekAheadSOLO

For more news and analysis on these and other weapons-related security issues, consider subscribing to ACA’s monthly journal Arms Control Today, which is available in print/digital and digital-only editions.

More information and timely analysis is available from http://www.armscontrol.org.

– the Editors at Arms Control Today

March 1: 60th Anniversary of  the”Castle Bravo” Nuclear Test in the Pacific

Ceremonies held this week in Little Rock, Arkansas and the Marshall Islands will mark the controversial March 1, 1954 thermonuclear U.S. nuclear test blast at Bikini Atoll.

Code-named “Castle Bravo,” the explosion reached a yield of 15 megaton, the largest U.S. test explosion and than 1,000 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. Dangerous radioactive fallout from the test spread over more than 11,000 square kilometers, including the nearby inhabited atolls of Rongelap, Utrik and others.

On Feb. 26, Arms Control Today will release a special “Looking Back” essay “No Promised Land: the Shared Legacy of the Castle Bravo Nuclear Test,” by April Brown, co-founder and executive director of the Marshallese Educational Initiative.

Also on Feb. 26, at 12:30-2:00 p.m., Karipbek Kuyukov, of the ATOM Project and Amb. Roman Vassilenko of Kazakhstan will speak on “Towards a World Without Nuclear Weapons Testing” at the George Washington University’s Funger Hall, Room 209, 2201 G St., NW, Washington. RSVP online.

Feb. 24: Pentagon Previews Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is scheduled to provide an early look the Defense Department’s upcoming budget request, including funding for recapitalizing the nuclear arsenal. The United States plans to spend at least $355 billion to maintain and rebuild its nuclear arsenal over the next decade, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Members of Congress are expected to push the Pentagon to evaluate alternative options for maintaining the nuclear arsenal at lower cost.

Feb. 26-27: Hagel and NATO Defense Ministers Meeting

NATO defense ministers will meet in Brussels this week to discuss a range of issues. Officials at NATO headquarters and in key capitals continue to try to work out a common strategy for seeking arrangements with Russia to address NATO’s remaining tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and Russia’s own weapons. For more background, see: “Trapped: NATO, Russia and the Problem of Tactical Nuclear Weapons,” by Oliver Meier and Simon Lunn in the Jan./Feb. issue of Arms Control Today.

Feb. 25-27:  G8 Global Partnership Working Group Meets in St. Petersburg

The G8 Global Partnership is a multinational, multi-year initiative to address the threat posed by nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological materials and expertise and the potential for their acquisition by terrorist groups seeking to launch mass-casualty attacks.

Diplomats from the 27 participating states will meet this week under the chairmanship of the Russian Federation for the first of three workshops this to coordinate their national and international counter-WMD programs. For further information, see “The Global Partnership on WMD: A Work In Progress” by Alan Heyes in Arms Control Today, April 2013.

Week of Feb. 24: Expert Level P5+1 Talks with Iran In Vienna

Experts from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran will followup the latest round of political talks on Iran’s nuclear program this week in Vienna. See: Feb. 17 U.S. State Department “Background Briefing on P5+1 Talks with Iran.”

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