September 2019: The U.S. Nuclear Posture: Challenges and Issues in Maintaining a Safe and Effective Nuclear Deterrent to Ensure Peace and Strategic Stability

September 2019: The U.S. Nuclear Posture: Challenges and Issues in Maintaining a Safe and Effective Nuclear Deterrent to Ensure Peace and Strategic Stability

September 26, 2019

Speaker: Guy Roberts

   About the Speaker:   

The Honorable Guy Roberts is a National Security and Non-proliferation senior consultant. Until May 2019, he was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs, and the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on matters concerning nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs.

Prior to that he was a National Security Consultant and an Adjunct Professor at Mary Washington University and Virginia Commonwealth University, teaching courses on arms control, non-proliferation, counter terrorism and international law. During his long career as a national security expert, he held government positions such as Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Weapons of Mass Destruction Policy, Director at the Nuclear Policy Planning Directorate for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Principal Director for Negotiations Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Additionally, he served as the legal counsel for arms control and non-proliferation in the US Department of the Navy from 2000-2003. Mr. Roberts also had a distinguished 25-year career in the US Marine Corps before retiring with the rank of Colonel, holding a wide range of assignments in policy formulation, operations and operations support, negotiations, management, litigation and serving as a policy/legal advisor both in the US and during overseas assignments.

Mr. Roberts received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Denver. He also holds masters’ degrees in international and comparative law from Georgetown University, in international relations from the University of Southern California, and in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

   Event Review:    

The United States faces an extraordinarily complex and dangerous global security environment, in which the central challenge to our prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term strategic competition with China and Russia, which seek to overturn the long-standing rules-based international order and change territorial borders. The recent Nuclear Posture Review is the first to tailor the deterrence posture to the specific threats we see and need to be addressed.

This lecture addressed our current global threat environment, how the NPR addresses it and the challenges it is confronted with. Among the biggest issues is the budget that is necessary for meeting the requirements established by the NPR and which will be determined by the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

  Some of our guests’ takeaways:  

  • Interesting fact – we no longer build Nuclear Weapons but re-purpose and keep up to date old ones.
  • The U.S. has been well served by our historical nuclear posture
  • In order to continue to benefit, the U.S. will need to appropriate funds to maintain or improve U.S. nuclear posture, and:
  • such appropriations are not significant relative to total defense spending.
  • We can be optimistic, but much work needs to be done to match the technology the bad guys are fielding.

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