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Publications:  IALANA News March 2005 - Online Edition

International campaign to de-alert nuclear weapons and rescind launch-on-warning

Despite the end of the Cold War, thousands of nuclear weapons remain deployed on alert status capable of being used within minutes. In addition, the US and Russia maintain policies of Launch-on- Warning (LOW), i.e. the readiness to retaliate to a nuclear attack with a nuclear response as soon as notification of approaching missiles or imminent launch is received and prior to any detonation. To cap this off, nuclear weapon States, in particular the US, are developing new rationales and potential scenarios for the threat and use of nuclear weapons.

This triple combination of high alert status, LOW and new scenarios for threat or use, generates a very high risk of the potential use of nuclear weapons by design or miscalculation.

States agreed at the 2000 Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to take concrete steps to reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons. However, since 2000 there has been zero progress in implementation of this commitment. Thus, IALANA and others are launching an international campaign this year calling on States possessing nuclear weapons to reduce their operational status.

This could include, among other things, removing the nuclear warheads from the delivery systems (such as missiles), abandoning the launchon- warning policy and pledging not to use nuclear weapons first. Such steps would build a firebreak between the emergence of any conflict involving NWS and the possible use of nuclear weapons.

IALANA has helped draft a model United Nations resolution and an international appeal which has been endorsed by Nobel Laureates, parliamentarians, disarmament experts and civil society representatives from around the world.

For more information see http://www.lcnp.org/disarmament/policypractice/index.htm


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