Nuclear Weapons

What’s the role of nuclear weapons in today’s changing security landscape—and how can we reduce their risks?


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President Obama during the 2014 State of the Union address. Photo: The White House

President Obama’s Final State of the Union: What to Expect, and What to Hope For

, director of strategy & policy

In his final State of the Union speech tomorrow night, President Obama will certainly have a lot to say about the economy, terrorism, gun control, and health care. But he is also likely to address climate change, energy, and other issues that UCS works on more directly. Here’s a look on what he’s likely to say on these issues, as well as some things he should say about them, but may not.

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Santa, Mistakes, and Nuclear War

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

On December 1, the U.S. military started its annual tracking of Santa’s flight from the North Pole.

Really. Read more >

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A Nuclear False Alarm that Looked Exactly Like the Real Thing

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

On this day in 1979, operators at the U.S. missile warning center were shocked to see their displays light up with the ultimate horror: a full-scale Soviet  nuclear attack bearing down on the United States. Unlike previous false warnings the operators had experienced, there was no mistaking the signatures of an all-out nuclear attack designed to destroy nuclear command centers, U.S. nuclear-armed bombers, and land-based missiles. Read more >

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Six Close Calls During the Cuban Missile Crisis

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

The Cuban Missile Crisis played out in the second half of October 1962. People generally know that it brought the world close to nuclear war but that in the end U.S. and Soviet leaders kept their heads and the world pulled through.

I remember as a young boy watching President Kennedy’s October 22 speech on our black and white TV set. I could tell from my parents’ reaction that things were bad. And essentially everything I’ve learned about the crisis since then has made me realize it was scarier than any of us realized. Read more >

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The Moon and Nuclear War

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

The moon made headlines last week with the appearance of a so-called “super blood moon.” Several people I talked to, though, thought that name was a bit dramatic for what they actually saw in the sky.

But 55 years ago today, the moon was a star player in a short drama that could have justified that name. Read more >

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