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Op-Eds & Blogs
Oct 12, 2019 Should Dominance Be Our Immediate Space Security Priority?
In this Space News op-ed, Brian Chow and I ask should dominance be America's immediate space security priority. Our short answer is no. Instead, the United States should tackle the weightier task of preventing Russia and China from disabling our key satellites. As we explain, Moscow and China are testing spacecraft that can damage or push our key satellites out of position. The United States, though, has not prioritized dealing with this threat, which may be realized in a few short years. The Pentagon is paying far more attention to how best to organize and equip ourselves to achieve space dominance. Brian and I argue that the United States should instead prioritize working with our closest space allies to creat what the French describe as "space exclusion zones" around our most critical satellites. The French as planning to enforce these zones by using space situational awareness assets and non-space debris producing bodyguard satellites. Brian and I are that the United States should too.
Sep 22, 2019 How the 1979 Nuclear Flash Might Test Us Yet
September 22nd marked the 40th anniversary of a series of nuclear tests conducted off the coast of South Africa. Israel has long been suspected of being responsible for these tests. When these tests occured, the Carter administration was eager to deflect intelligence that confirmed they were nuclear and that suggested Israel was behind them. Since then, more information has been released making it all but impossible to deny Israel's culpability. Foreign Policy has published six pieces laying out the latest evidence. Included in those six is my own essay, "How the 1979 Flash Might Test Us Yet". In it, I explain the legal, nuclear proliferation, and diplomatic implications of the United State's unwillingness to confirm Israel's violation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which Israel signed and ratified. In fact, it is now illegal for U.S. officials to discuss this matter: They are all subject to a federal gag order. For a variety of reasons that I lay out in my piece, it's in everyone's interest that this order be rescinded.
Sep 09, 2019 The United States Should Follow France's Lead in Space
Last week, President Trump authorized the re-creation of the Air Force Space Command. Its aim is to make America great in space. In pursuit of putting America first though, it would be useful to pay attention to a smaller space faring nation -- France, which just announced its new space strategy. In the attached Space News op-ed, "The United States should follow France's lead in space," Brian Chow and I argure that the French plan is worth emulating. The French space policy calls for the development of bodyguard spacecraft.  These spacecraft would protect key satellites from possibly being attacked by robotic rendezvous spacecraft. The French also want to create space exclusion zones. Brian and I recommend that the U.S. join forces with the French. In specific, the U.S. should work with the French at the next NATO Summit this December to convince NATO to expand France's bodyguard program and to create appropriate self-defense zones around the most vulnerable, critical allied satellites. This piece, "The U.S. Should  Follow France's Lead in Space," by NPEC Executive Director, Henry Sokolski and Brian Chow, an independent policy analyst, was published in Space News.
Aug 25, 2019 What Enforcement of the NPT Now Requires
Earlier this month, it was reported that the White House wants a new deal with Iran that would eliminate uranium enrichment and the reprocessing of spent reactor fuel. Whatever Iran's answer to such a request might be, this principle needs near universal application if nuclear power is to remain compatible with international security. The reason why is simple: When it comes to enrichment and reprocessing, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cannot reliably confirm military diversions in a timely fashion. If we are serious about enforcement -- the touchstone for any effective nuclear agreement -- we have to start saying "no" to civilian nuclear cooperation with non-weapon states that are unwilling to forswear enrichment and reprocessing. This piece, "Nuclear Power Must Not Lead to Nuclear Bombs," by NPEC Executive Director, Henry Sokolski, and NPEC's Program Advisor, Victor Gilinsky was published in The National Interest.
Jul 24, 2019 Before Saving the Planet, Could We Please Get the Bill?
Although it wasn't much noticed, last week Secretary of Energy Rick Perry played both sides of the national energy-environmental debate. America, he insisted, is driving down emissions globally by exporting natural gas and developing nuclear and renewables. What he failed to explain, however, is which of these energy options is subsidized, by how much, and who is picking up the tab. Unfortunately, our government does not keep score. As David Montgomery and I explain in our piece (below), "Before Saving the Planet, Could We Please Get the Bill?" in RealClearEnergy, we've fallen into the habit of taking an "all-of-the-above" approach. This strategy ends up pushing subsidies for virtually every energy option including some of the most uneconomical ones. In the case of nuclear energy, if frequently results in subsidies for exports of reactors -- machines that can serve as bomb starter kits. However much political sense an "all-of-the-above" strategy might make, it's rotten economics, encourages bad environmental policies, and can lead to risky nuclear exports. What we need to do instead is compare costs and choose the least expensive, most profitable ways to reduce emissions first. Towards this end, David and I make a number of recommendations. The first is to hold off on any new energy commercialization subsidies, bailouts or mandates and back away from any "national security" imperatives that cannot be quantified. It would also be helpful to have The McKinsel Company and its competitors release their latest environmental economic ranking models to help clarify what steps might reduce undesirable emissions quickest and most cheaply.
Jun 23, 2019 Only Congress Stands Between Saudi Arabia and Nuclear Weapons
A piece by NPEC Executive Director, Henry Sokolski, and NPEC Advisor, Victor Gilinsky, on selling nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in The National Interest called "Only Congress Stands Between Saudi Arabia and Nuclear Weapons."
Jun 04, 2019 Why Congress Should Say No to Yet Another Fast Reactor Dream
A piece by NPEC Executive Director, Henry Sokolski, and NPEC Program Advisor, Victor Gilinsky on fast reactors in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists called "Why Congress Should Say No to Yet Another Fast Reactor Dream."
May 09, 2019 No One in the Sun- and Gas-Soaked Middle East Needs Nuclear Power
A piece by NPEC's Executive Director, Henry Sokolski, and Chief Executive of Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Mark Dubowitz, in the Washington Examiner called "No one in the sun- and gas-soaked Middle East need nuclear power."
Apr 01, 2019 End Secret Nuclear Transfers to Riyadh and Beyond
Mar 25, 2019 America's Nuclear Export Controls are Fundamentally Flawed
A piece by NPEC's Executive Director, Henry Sokolski, and NPEC's Program Advisor, Victor Gilinsky, on America's nuclear exports in The National Interest called "America's Nuclear Export Controls are Fundamentally Flawed."
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The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
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