The Cold War ended two decades ago, but Russia and the U.S. still have thousands of nuclear warheads aimed at each other, ready to go off at a moment’s notice. EWI brought together leaders from Russia and the U.S. to produce new ideas that can build trust between the two countries and take these warheads off their high-alert status.

The objectives of this meeting were to:

  1. Examine why past and current efforts to de-alert nuclear weapons have been unsuccessful;
  2. Explore alternative ideas that have worked or might work; and
  3. Build consensus among U.S. and Russian policymakers to bring these ideas into practice.

Some of the questions the participants considered:

  • What is current state of operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems in the U.S. and Russia?
  • What is the principal critique of current approaches to decrease operational readiness and increase decision-making time?
  • What are the past experiences of nuclear-weapon states in de-alerting arsenals?
  • What is the relationship between efforts to de-alert and ongoing disarmament efforts? Are they complementary?
  • What de-alert approaches are acceptable to U.S. and Russia in the present context?
  • How might we operationalize these approaches?