Middlebury Institute of International Studies
To the many colleagues, supporters, alumni, and friends of CNS:

It goes without saying that we are living through challenging times. Without doubt, our foremost concern is that all of you are reading this in good health, and in the relative safety of your own homes.

We at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, including the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and the larger Middlebury community, have moved all of our daily operations online.
Though many of our immediate upcoming events have been canceled, we are working to revitalize some of these programs in a virtual format.

  • All preparatory materials for the VCDNP Short Course on Disarmament for Practitioners online, and they are now available to all, not just accepted participants.
  • Our Critical Issues Forum for high school students in Japan, Russia, and the United States, too, has moved to a virtual format, allowing these inspiring young people to showcase their work and engage with each other. 
  • Our International Safeguards Course is still scheduled for June 1–5, but it will be conducted online, as may the corresponding internships at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. For more information, contact George M. Moore or follow us on Twitter.
Our research continues apace, as well. Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing various reports, op-eds, webinars, and other content on our site, in social media, and on other digital platforms. Dr. Paul Jackson's recent webinar on the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, is informative viewing for everyone.
We are reminded at this time of the magnitude of our loss with the 2018 passing of our friend and colleague, Raymond Zilinskas, who led the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program for many years. Ray had dedicated his life to the study of epidemiology and virology, and we will be re-sharing several of his relevant works—such as his review of the popular film, Contagion—on our social media channels.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay informed, and stay well.
Very truly yours,
Bill Potter
Stumbling into a Crisis
In 2018, East Asia Nonproliferation Program Director Dr. Jeffrey Lewis published a book titled The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks against the United States: A Speculative Novel. As the title suggests, it's a fictitious account, written in the style of a retrospective government report, of a nuclear attack on the continental United States.

Dr. Lewis spoke with John Krzyzaniak of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about his thoughts on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, and the similarities to the nuclear crisis that unfolds in his book. In both the real world and the fictional world of his book, he sees a disaster exacerbated by dysfunction within the White House—a product not only of staffing inadequacies but also of senior advisers who are more focused on managing the president than on managing the crisis itself.
Nuclear Inspections in Iran: A Potential Victim of COVID-19?
To date, Iran is one of the hardest-hit areas affected by the novel coronavirus. Senior governmental officials have tested positive, including several fatalities.

While Iran has not yet banned foreigners from entry, it is possible that International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi could decide to suspend inspection visits to protect the health of his inspectors. Should he do so, it could metastasize concerns about Iranian nuclear proliferation.

Writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Scientist-in-Residence George M. Moore notes that, "Whether Iran would attempt to use the cover of COVID-19 to begin a dash for a nuclear weapon is uncertain. However, the loss of 'eyes on the ground' would heighten the worst fears about Iranian proliferation, dim prospects for cooperation, and increase the risk of miscalculation regarding Iran's nuclear potential and intentions."

CNS & PIR Center Lauded on UN Website
In a story posted on the website of the United Nations, the Dual Degree Master's program in Nonproliferation Studies, established in partnership between the PIR Center (at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations ) and CNS (at MIIS), was lauded as an exemplar of the goals established in the 2002 UN Study on Disarmament and Non-proliferation Education (A/57/124).

The program gathers together inspired young people from Russia, the United States, and Europe to equip them with strong knowledge of historic and current trends in the disarmament, nonproliferation and arms control regime. It provides them with a unique opportunity to interact with international professionals and experts and learn a variety of perspectives on how to sustain this regime.

Possible Verification of Safeguards in North Korea
VCDNP Senior Fellow John Carlson has published a new paper with the  Stimson Center ‘s  Project 38 North  that focuses on the importance of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) safeguards system in possible approaches for reducing North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and associated infrastructure.

Mr. Carlson writes that part of this process would entail a freeze on the production of fissile material, followed by a commitment to permanently cease these activities and to disable and dismantle the facilities involved through a step-by-step process, with the ultimate objective of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. This process would also necessitate the application of safeguards to all peaceful nuclear activities; progressive rollback of the nuclear arsenal, with fissile materials transferred irreversibly to safeguarded peaceful use or disposal; and verification measures for possible undeclared nuclear activities.
Essay Competition
The  Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe  (OSCE) and the  Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy  at the University of Hamburg, together with the VCDNP , the  Moscow State Institute for International Relations  (MGIMO University) and the  Geneva Centre for Security Policy  (GCSP), are launching  an essay competition  to encourage innovative thinking and help create a new generation of professionals studying challenges and opportunities related to conventional arms control and confidence- and security- building measures.

Three winners of the competition will receive cash prizes of up to €3,000 and a certificate signed by the OSCE Secretary General. They will also travel to Vienna for an all-expenses paid trip to attend and present their essays at a meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation.
Cross-collaboration in the Nonproliferation Field
Collaboration across nations, institutes, and fields is the cornerstone of effective nonproliferation policy and training. Experts from CNS and VCDNP regularly work with partners in government and nongovernmental organizations on wide-ranging issues of weapons of mass destruction. In the past month alone:

James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

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