The plan is key to prevent an escalating public backlash against future drone use Zenko 13

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The United States Federal Government should restrict the President’s authority for targeted killing as a first resort outside zones of active hostilities.


The plan is key to prevent an escalating public backlash against future drone use

Zenko 13 (Micah Zenko is the Douglas Dillon fellow in the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Previously, he worked for five years at the Harvard Kennedy School and in Washington, DC, at the Brookings Institution, Congressional Research Service, and State Department's Office of Policy Planning, Council Special Report No. 65, January 2013, “U.S. Drone Strike Policies”,‎)
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, President Obama declared: “Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. Even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war.”63 Under President Obama drone strikes have expanded and intensified, and they will remain a central component of U.S. counterterrorism operations for at least another decade, according to U.S. officials.64 But much as the Bush administration was compelled to reform its controversial coun- terterrorism practices, it is likely that the United States will ultimately be forced by domestic and international pressure to scale back its drone strike policies. The Obama administration can preempt this pressure by clearly articulating that the rules that govern its drone strikes, like all uses of military force, are based in the laws of armed conflict and inter- national humanitarian law; by engaging with emerging drone powers; and, most important, by matching practice with its stated policy by limiting drone strikes to those individuals it claims are being targeted (which would reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties since the total number of strikes would significantly decrease). The choice the United States faces is not between unfettered drone use and sacrificing freedom of action, but between drone policy reforms by design or drone policy reforms by default. Recent history demonstrates that domestic political pressure could severely limit drone strikes in ways that the CIA or JSOC have not anticipated. In support of its counterterrorism strategy, the Bush administration engaged in the extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects to third countries, the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, and warrantless wiretapping. Although the Bush administration defended its policies as critical to protecting the U.S. homeland against terrorist attacks, unprecedented domestic political pressure led to significant reforms or termination. Compared to Bush-era counterterrorism policies, drone strikes are vulnerable to similar—albeit still largely untapped—moral outrage, and they are even more susceptible to political constraints because they occur in plain sight. Indeed, a negative trend in U.S. public opinion on drones is already apparent. Between February and June 2012, U.S. support for drone strikes against suspected terrorists fell from 83 per- cent to 62 percent—which represents less U.S. support than enhanced interrogation techniques maintained in the mid-2000s.65 Finally, U.S. drone strikes are also widely opposed by the citizens of important allies, emerging powers, and the local populations in states where strikes occur.66 States polled reveal overwhelming opposition to U.S. drone strikes: Greece (90 percent), Egypt (89 percent), Turkey (81 percent), Spain (76 percent), Brazil (76 percent), Japan (75 percent), and Pakistan (83 percent).67 This is significant because the United States cannot conduct drone strikes in the most critical corners of the world by itself. Drone strikes require the tacit or overt support of host states or neighbors. If such states decided not to cooperateor to actively resist—U.S. drone strikes, their effectiveness would be immediately and sharply reduced, and the likelihood of civilian casualties would increase. This danger is not hypothetical. In 2007, the Ethiopian government terminated its U.S. military presence after public revelations that U.S. AC-130 gun- ships were launching attacks from Ethiopia into Somalia. Similarly, in late 2011, Pakistan evicted all U.S. military and intelligence drones, forc- ing the United States to completely rely on Afghanistan to serve as a staging ground for drone strikes in Pakistan. The United States could attempt to lessen the need for tacit host-state support by making signifi- cant investments in armed drones that can be flown off U.S. Navy ships, conducting electronic warfare or missile attacks on air defenses, allow- ing downed drones to not be recovered and potentially transferred to China or Russia, and losing access to the human intelligence networks on the ground that are critical for identifying targets. According to U.S. diplomats and military officials, active resis- tance—such as the Pakistani army shooting down U.S. armed drones— is a legitimate concern. In this case, the United States would need to either end drone sorties or escalate U.S. military involvement by attack- ing Pakistani radar and antiaircraft sites, thus increasing the likelihood of civilian casualties.68 Beyond where drone strikes currently take place, political pressure could severely limit options for new U.S. drone bases. For example, the Obama administration is debating deploying armed drones to attack al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North Africa, which would likely require access to a new airbase in the region. To some extent, anger at U.S. sovereignty violations is an inevitable and necessary trade-off when conducting drone strikes. Nevertheless, in each of these cases, domestic anger would partially or fully abate if the United States modified its drone policy in the ways suggested below.
Public backlash culminates in a legal crackdown that hemorrhages the targeted killing program

Jack Goldsmith, Harvard Law School Professor, focus on national security law, presidential power, cybersecurity, and conflict of laws, Former Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense, Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law, March 2012, Power and Constraint, P. 199-201

For the GTMO Bar and its cousin NGOs and activists, however, the al-Aulaqi lawsuit, like other lawsuits on different issues, was merely an early battle in a long war over the legitimacy of U.S. targeting practicesa war that will take place not just in the United States, but in other countries as well. When the CCR failed to achieve what it viewed as adequate accountability for Bush administration officials in the United States in connection with interrogation and detention practices, it started pursuing, and continues to pursue, lawsuits and prosecutions against U.S. officials in Spain, Germany, and other European countries. "You look for every niche you can when you can take on the issues that you think are important," said Michael Ratner, explaining the CCR's strategy for pursuing lawsuits in Europe.

Clive Stafford Smith, a former CCR attorney who was instrumental in its early GTMO victories and who now leads the British advocacy organization Reprieve, is using this strategy in the targeted killing context. "There are endless ways in which the courts in Britain, the courts in America, the international Pakistani courts can get involved" in scrutinizing U.S. targeting killing practices, he argues. "It's going to be the next 'Guantanamo Bay' issue."' Working in a global network of NGO activists, Stafford Smith has begun a process in Pakistan to seek the arrest of former CIA lawyer John Rizzo in connection with drone strikes in Pakistan, and he is planning more lawsuits in the United States and elsewhere against drone operators." "The crucial court here is the court of public opinion," he said, explaining why the lawsuits are important even if he loses. His efforts are backed by a growing web of proclamations in the United Nations, foreign capitals, the press, and the academy that U.S. drone practices are unlawful. What American University law professor Ken Anderson has described as the "international legal-media-academic-NGO-international organization-global opinion complex" is hard at work to stigmatize drones and those who support and operate them."

This strategy is having an impact. The slew of lawsuits in the United States and threatened prosecutions in Europe against Bush administration officials imposes reputational, emotional, and financial costs on them that help to promote the human rights groups' ideological goals, even if courts never actually rule against the officials. By design, these suits also give pause to current officials who are considering controversial actions for fear that the same thing might later happen to them. This effect is starting to be felt with drones. Several Obama administration officials have told me that they worry targeted killings will be seen in the future (as Stafford Smith predicts) as their administration's GTMO. The attempted judicial action against Rizzo, the earlier lawsuits against top CIA officials in Pakistan and elsewhere, and the louder and louder proclamations of illegality around the world all of which have gained momentum after al-Aulaqi's killing—are also having an impact. These actions are rallying cries for protest and political pushback in the countries where the drone strikes take place. And they lead CIA operators to worry about legal exposure before becoming involved in the Agency's drone program." We don't know yet whether these forces have affected actual targeting practices and related tactics. But they induce the officials involved to take more caution. And it is only a matter of time, if it has not happened already, before they lead the U.S. government to forgo lawful targeted killing actions otherwise deemed to be in the interest of U.S. national security.
Only the plan can retain allied cooperation on counter-terrorism

David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice from March 2009 to March 2011, 6/15/2011, Law Enforcement as a Counterterrorism Tool,

On the other side of the balance, certainly most of our friends in Europe, and indeed in many countries around the world (as well as many people in this country), accept only a law enforcement response and reject a military response to terrorism, at least outside of theaters of active armed conflict.76 As a result, some of those countries will restrict their cooperation with us unless we are using law enforcement methods. Gaining cooperation from other countries can help us win the war – these countries can share intelligence, provide witnesses and evidence, and transfer terrorists to us. Where a foreign country will not give us a terrorist (or information needed to neutralize a terrorist) for anything but a criminal prosecution, we obviously should pursue the prosecution rather than letting the terrorist go free. This does not subordinate U.S. national interest to some global test of legitimacy; it simply reflects a pragmatic approach to winning the war. If we want the help of our allies, we need to work with them.77

More generally, we need to recognize the practical impact of our treatment of the enemy and the perception of that treatment. This war is not a classic battle over land or resources, but is fundamentally a conflict of values and ways of life.78 Demonstrating that we live up to our values, thus drawing stark contrasts with the adversary, is essential to ensuring victory. When our enemy is seen in its true colors – lawless, ruthless, merciless – it loses support worldwide. For example, in Iraq, al Qaeda’s random and widespread violence against civilians eventually helped mobilize the population against the insurgents.79 On the other hand, when our actions or policies provoke questions about whether we are committed to the rule of law and our other values, we risk losing some of our moral authority. This makes it harder to gain cooperation from our allies and easier for the terrorists to find new recruits.

This is not simply abstract philosophy. It is an important reality in our military’s effort to defeat the enemy in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. As the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency field manual states, “to establish legitimacy, commanders transition security activities from combat operations to law enforcement as quickly as feasible. When insurgents are seen as criminals, they lose public support.”80 Adherence to the rule of law is central to this approach: “The presence of the rule of law is a major factor in assuring voluntary acceptance of a government’s authority and therefore its legitimacy. A government’s respect for preexisting and impersonal legal rules can provide the key to gaining widespread enduring societal support. Such respect for rules – ideally ones recorded in a constitution and in laws adopted through a credible, democratic process – is the essence of the rule of law. As such, it is a powerful potential tool for counterinsurgents.”81 Indeed, the U.S. military has been implementing such a transition to civilian law enforcement in Iraq, where detentions and prosecutions of insurgents are now principally processed through the domestic criminal justice system,82 and we are moving in that direction in Afghanistan, where transfer of detention and prosecution responsibilities to Afghan civilian authorities is our goal.83 I think these are principles that are well worth keeping in mind as we think about the impact of employing different tools in the context of our conflict with al Qaeda. It would not only be ironic, but also operationally counterproductive, if our partners in Iraq and Afghanistan rely increasingly on law enforcement tools to detain terrorists, even in areas of active hostilities, while we abandon those tools here in the United States.84
Allied cooperation’s key to effective drone use

Zenko 13

Micah Zenko is the Douglas Dillon fellow with the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, Newsday, January 30, 2013, "Zenko: Why we can't just drone Algeria",

CNN should not have been surprised. Neither the Bush nor Obama administrations received blanket permission to transit Algerian airspace with surveillance planes or drones; instead, they received authorization only on a case-by-case basis and with advance notice.

According to Washington Post journalist Craig Whitlock, the U.S. military relies on a fleet of civilian-looking unarmed aircraft to spy on suspected Islamist groups in North Africa, because they are less conspicuous - and therefore less politically sensitive for host nations - than drones. Moreover, even if the United States received flyover rights for armed drones, it has been unable to secure a base in southern Europe or northern Africa from which it would be permitted to conduct drone strikes; and presently, U.S. armed drones cannot be launched and recovered from naval platforms.

According to Hollywood movies or television dramas, with its immense intelligence collection and military strike capabilities, the United States can locate, track, and kill anyone in the world.

This misperception is continually reinvigorated by the White House's, the CIA's, and the Pentagon's close cooperation with movie and television studios. For example, several years before the CIA even started conducting non-battlefield drone strikes, it was recommending the tactic as a plotline in the short-lived (2001-2003) drama "The Agency." As the show's writer and producer later revealed: "The Hellfire missile thing, they suggested that. I didn't come up with this stuff. I think they were doing a public opinion poll by virtue of giving me some good ideas."

Similarly, as of November there were at least 10 movies about the Navy SEALs in production or in theaters, which included so much support from the Pentagon that one film even starred active-duty SEALs.

The Obama administration's lack of a military response in Algeria reflects how sovereign states routinely constrain U.S. intelligence and military activities. As the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's Air Force Operations and the Law guidebook states: "The unauthorized or improper entry of foreign aircraft into a state's national airspace is a violation of that state's sovereignty. . . . Except for overflight of international straits and archipelagic sea lanes, all nations have complete discretion in regulating or prohibiting flights within their national airspace."

Though not sexy and little reported, deploying CIA drones or special operations forces requires constant behind-the-scenes diplomacy: with very rare exceptions - like the Bin Laden raid - the U.S. military follows the rules of the world's other 194 sovereign, independent states.

These rules come in many forms. For example, basing rights agreements can limit the number of civilian, military and contractor personnel at an airbase or post; what access they have to the electromagnetic spectrum; what types of aircraft they can fly; how many sorties they can conduct per day; when those sorties can occur and how long they can last; whether the aircraft can drop bombs on another country and what sort of bombs; and whether they can use lethal force in self-defense. When the United States led the enforcement of the northern no-fly zone over Iraq from the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey from 1991 to 2003, a Turkish military official at the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher was always on board U.S. Air Force AWACS planes, monitoring the airspace to assure that the United States did not violate its highly restrictive basing agreement.

As Algeria is doing presently, the denial or approval of overflight rights is a powerful tool that states can impose on the United States. These include where U.S. air assets can enter and exit another state, what flight path they may take, how high they must fly, what type of planes can be included in the force package, and what sort of missions they can execute. In addition, these constraints include what is called shutter control, or the limits to when and how a transiting aircraft can collect information. For example, U.S. drones that currently fly out of the civilian airfield in Arba Minch, Ethiopia, to Somalia, are restricted in their collection activities over Ethiopia's Ogaden region, where the government has conducted an intermittent counterinsurgency against the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

Drones have damaged Al-Qaeda’s leadership, but they’re still a threat – most qualified ev

Simpson 8/17—national affairs columnist with The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper (2013, Jeffrey, “The long war against al-Qaeda isn't over,” lexis)
Just how serious is the al-Qaeda threat? Informed people can disagree, but the Canadian Security Intelligence Service did everyone a favour by convening a workshop on "The Future of al-Qaeda" and then publishing the results, including three possible scenarios. They ranged from al-Qaeda in decline, as the State Department suggested, to al-Qaeda growing incrementally, to al-Qaeda gaining rapidly in strength.

The incremental growth scenario emerged as the most likely. If that is correct, the organization will remain a threat for a very long time. Al-Qaeda has morphed or sprung offshoots to Saharan Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. It remains resilient in Pakistan and some countries in the Middle East.

Its fighters are now very much involved in the Syrian war, hoping to assist in the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad's regime and replace it with a militant Sunni alternative. And, of course, it has followers and sleeper cells in Western countries who remain a threat, witness to which were the recent arrests of men alleged to have been plotting to blow up a train between Toronto and New York.

This very loose network of affiliates persists, despite U.S. drone attacks and other actions that have killed at least 34 key al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. These losses have undoubtedly been disruptive, but the movement grows from the bottom, with new recruits coming from failing states, areas with weak governmental authority, poor economic conditions and, of course, the heavy influence of radical Islam, such as central Yemen, the borderlands of Pakistan, southern Thailand, northern Nigeria or northern Mali.

CSIS published four papers delivered at the conference, but kept the authors' names confidential.

The longest paper, dealing with al-Qaeda Central and al-Qaeda in Iraq, is the most comprehensive and sobering. It concludes that "the long-established nucleus of the al-Qaeda organization has proven itself to be as resilient as it is formidable."

Al-Qaeda's core leadership, the author wrote, "has withstood arguably the greatest international onslaught against a terrorist organization in history." Despite this, the organization has lasted for a quarter of a century. When U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan, life will be even easier for al-Qaeda across the border in Pakistan, where its key leaders live and work. The chaos in Syria has presented an opportunity for al-Qaeda to join the fray against an apostate Alawite-controlled regime backed by the Shia forces of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, both enemies of the Sunni jihadis in al-Qaeda.
Drones solve safe havens – prevents an attack in the US

Johnston 12 (Patrick B. Johnston is an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution. He is the author of "Does Decapitation Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Targeting in Counterinsurgency Campaigns," published in International Security (Spring 2012)., 8/22/2012, "Drone Strikes Keep Pressure on al-Qaida",
Should the U.S. continue to strike at al-Qaida's leadership with drone attacks? A recent poll shows that while most Americans approve of drone strikes, in 17 out of 20 countries, more than half of those surveyed disapprove of them.

My study of leadership decapitation in 90 counter-insurgencies since the 1970s shows that when militant leaders are captured or killed militant attacks decrease, terrorist campaigns end sooner, and their outcomes tend to favor the government or third-party country, not the militants.

Those opposed to drone strikes often cite the June 2009 one that targeted Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud at a funeral in the Tribal Areas. That strike reportedly killed 60 civilians attending the funeral, but not Mehsud. He was killed later by another drone strike in August 2009. His successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, developed a relationship with the foiled Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, who cited drone strikes as a key motivation for his May 2010 attempted attack.

Compared to manned aircraft, drones have some advantages as counter-insurgency tools, such as lower costs, longer endurance and the lack of a pilot to place in harm's way and risk of capture. These characteristics can enable a more deliberative targeting process that serves to minimize unintentional casualties. But the weapons employed by drones are usually identical to those used via manned aircraft and can still kill civilians—creating enmity that breeds more terrorists.

Yet many insurgents and terrorists have been taken off the battlefield by U.S. drones and special-operations forces. Besides Mehsud, the list includes Anwar al-Awlaki of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Qaida deputy leader Abu Yahya al-Li-bi; and, of course, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Given that list, it is possible that the drone program has prevented numerous attacks by their potential followers, like Shazad.

What does the removal of al-Qaida leadership mean for U.S. national security? Though many in al-Qaida's senior leadership cadre remain, the historical record suggests that "decapitation" will likely weaken the organization and could cripple its ability to conduct major attacks on the U.S. homeland.

Killing terrorist leaders is not necessarily a knockout blow, but can make it harder for terrorists to attack the U.S. Members of al-Qaida's central leadership, once safely amassed in northwestern Pakistan while America shifted its focus to Iraq, have been killed, captured, forced underground or scattered to various locations with little ability to communicate or move securely.

Recently declassified correspondence seized in the bin Laden raid shows that the relentless pressure from the drone campaign on al-Qaida in Pakistan led bin Laden to advise al-Qaida operatives to leave Pakistan's Tribal Areas as no longer safe. Bin Laden's letters show that U.S. counterterrorism actions, which had forced him into self-imposed exile, had made running the organization not only more risky, but also more difficult.

As al-Qaida members trickle out of Pakistan and seek sanctuary elsewhere, the U.S. military is ramping up its counterterrorism operations in Somalia and Yemen, while continuing its drone campaign in Pakistan. Despite its controversial nature, the U.S. counter-terrorism strategy has demonstrated a degree of effectiveness.

The Obama administration is committed to reducing the size of the U.S. military's footprint overseas by relying on drones, special operations forces, and other intelligence capabilities. These methods have made it more difficult for al-Qaida remnants to reconstitute a new safe haven, as Osama bin Laden did in Afghanistan in 1996, after his ouster from Sudan.

Nuclear terrorism causes extinction

Hellman 8 (Martin E. Hellman, emeritus prof of engineering @ Stanford, “Risk Analysis of Nuclear Deterrence” SPRING 2008 THE BENT OF TAU BETA PI,
The threat of nuclear terrorism looms much larger in the public’s mind than the threat of a full-scale nuclear war, yet this article focuses primarily on the latter. An explanation is therefore in order before proceeding. A terrorist attack involving a nuclear weapon would be a catastrophe of immense proportions: “A 10-kiloton bomb detonated at Grand Central Station on a typical work day would likely kill some half a million people, and inflict over a trillion dollars in direct economic damage. America and its way of life would be changed forever.” [Bunn 2003, pages viii-ix]. The likelihood of such an attack is also significant. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry has estimated the chance of a nuclear terrorist incident within the next decade to be roughly 50 percent [Bunn 2007, page 15]. David Albright, a former weapons inspector in Iraq, estimates those odds at less than one percent, but notes, “We would never accept a situation where the chance of a major nuclear accident like Chernobyl would be anywhere near 1% .... A nuclear terrorism attack is a low-probability event, but we can’t live in a world where it’s anything but extremely low-probability.” [Hegland 2005]. In a survey of 85 national security experts, Senator Richard Lugar found a median estimate of 20 percent for the “probability of an attack involving a nuclear explosion occurring somewhere in the world in the next 10 years,” with 79 percent of the respondents believing “it more likely to be carried out by terrorists” than by a government [Lugar 2005, pp. 14-15]. I support increased efforts to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism, but that is not inconsistent with the approach of this article. Because terrorism is one of the potential trigger mechanisms for a full-scale nuclear war, the risk analyses proposed herein will include estimating the risk of nuclear terrorism as one component of the overall risk. If that risk, the overall risk, or both are found to be unacceptable, then the proposed remedies would be directed to reduce which- ever risk(s) warrant attention. Similar remarks apply to a number of other threats (e.g., nuclear war between the U.S. and China over Taiwan). his article would be incomplete if it only dealt with the threat of nuclear terrorism and neglected the threat of full- scale nuclear war. If both risks are unacceptable, an effort to reduce only the terrorist component would leave humanity in great peril. In fact, society’s almost total neglect of the threat of full-scale nuclear war makes studying that risk all the more important. The cosT of World War iii The danger associated with nuclear deterrence depends on both the cost of a failure and the failure rate.3 This section explores the cost of a failure of nuclear deterrence, and the next section is concerned with the failure rate. While other definitions are possible, this article defines a failure of deterrence to mean a full-scale exchange of all nuclear weapons available to the U.S. and Russia, an event that will be termed World War III. Approximately 20 million people died as a result of the first World War. World War II’s fatalities were double or triple that number—chaos prevented a more precise deter- mination. In both cases humanity recovered, and the world today bears few scars that attest to the horror of those two wars. Many people therefore implicitly believe that a third World War would be horrible but survivable, an extrapola- tion of the effects of the first two global wars. In that view, World War III, while horrible, is something that humanity may just have to face and from which it will then have to recover. In contrast, some of those most qualified to assess the situation hold a very different view. In a 1961 speech to a joint session of the Philippine Con- gress, General Douglas MacArthur, stated, “Global war has become a Frankenstein to destroy both sides. … If you lose, you are annihilated. If you win, you stand only to lose. No longer does it possess even the chance of the winner of a duel. It contains now only the germs of double suicide.” Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ex- pressed a similar view: “If deterrence fails and conflict develops, the present U.S. and NATO strategy carries with it a high risk that Western civilization will be destroyed” [McNamara 1986, page 6]. More recently, George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn4 echoed those concerns when they quoted President Reagan’s belief that nuclear weapons were “totally irrational, totally inhu- mane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.” [Shultz 2007] Official studies, while couched in less emotional terms, still convey the horrendous toll that World War III would exact: “The resulting deaths would be far beyond any precedent. Executive branch calculations show a range of U.S. deaths from 35 to 77 percent (i.e., 79-160 million dead) … a change in targeting could kill somewhere between 20 million and 30 million additional people on each side .... These calculations reflect only deaths during the first 30 days. Additional millions would be injured, and many would eventually die from lack of adequate medical care … millions of people might starve or freeze during the follow- ing winter, but it is not possible to estimate how many. … further millions … might eventually die of latent radiation effects.” [OTA 1979, page 8] This OTA report also noted the possibility of serious ecological damage [OTA 1979, page 9], a concern that as- sumed a new potentiality when the TTAPS report [TTAPS 1983] proposed that the ash and dust from so many nearly simultaneous nuclear explosions and their resultant fire- storms could usher in a nuclear winter that might erase homo sapiens from the face of the earth, much as many scientists now believe the K-T Extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs resulted from an impact winter caused by ash and dust from a large asteroid or comet striking Earth. The TTAPS report produced a heated debate, and there is still no scientific consensus on whether a nuclear winter would follow a full-scale nuclear war. Recent work [Robock 2007, Toon 2007] suggests that even a limited nuclear exchange or one between newer nuclear-weapon states, such as India and Pakistan, could have devastating long-lasting climatic consequences due to the large volumes of smoke that would be generated by fires in modern megacities. While it is uncertain how destructive World War III would be, prudence dictates that we apply the same engi- neering conservatism that saved the Golden Gate Bridge from collapsing on its 50th anniversary and assume that preventing World War III is a necessity—not an option.
Causes US-Russia miscalc – extinction

Barrett et al. 13—PhD in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University, Fellow in the RAND Stanton Nuclear Security Fellows Program, and Director of Research at Global Catastrophic Risk Institute—AND Seth Baum, PhD in Geography from Pennsylvania State University, Research Scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, and Executive Director of Global Catastrophic Risk Institute—AND Kelly Hostetler, BS in Political Science from Columbia and Research Assistant at Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (Anthony, 24 June 2013, “Analyzing and Reducing the Risks of Inadvertent Nuclear War Between the United States and Russia,” Science & Global Security: The Technical Basis for Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation Initiatives, Volume 21, Issue 2, Taylor & Francis)
War involving significant fractions of the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, which are by far the largest of any nations, could have globally catastrophic effects such as severely reducing food production for years, 1 potentially leading to collapse of modern civilization worldwide, and even the extinction of humanity. 2 Nuclear war between the United States and Russia could occur by various routes, including accidental or unauthorized launch; deliberate first attack by one nation; and inadvertent attack. In an accidental or unauthorized launch or detonation, system safeguards or procedures to maintain control over nuclear weapons fail in such a way that a nuclear weapon or missile launches or explodes without direction from leaders. In a deliberate first attack, the attacking nation decides to attack based on accurate information about the state of affairs. In an inadvertent attack, the attacking nation mistakenly concludes that it is under attack and launches nuclear weapons in what it believes is a counterattack. 3 (Brinkmanship strategies incorporate elements of all of the above, in that they involve intentional manipulation of risks from otherwise accidental or inadvertent launches. 4 ) Over the years, nuclear strategy was aimed primarily at minimizing risks of intentional attack through development of deterrence capabilities, and numerous measures also were taken to reduce probabilities of accidents, unauthorized attack, and inadvertent war. For purposes of deterrence, both U.S. and Soviet/Russian forces have maintained significant capabilities to have some forces survive a first attack by the other side and to launch a subsequent counter-attack. However, concerns about the extreme disruptions that a first attack would cause in the other side's forces and command-and-control capabilities led to both sides’ development of capabilities to detect a first attack and launch a counter-attack before suffering damage from the first attack. 5 Many people believe that with the end of the Cold War and with improved relations between the United States and Russia, the risk of East-West nuclear war was significantly reduced. 6 However, it also has been argued that inadvertent nuclear war between the United States and Russia has continued to present a substantial risk. 7 While the United States and Russia are not actively threatening each other with war, they have remained ready to launch nuclear missiles in response to indications of attack. 8 False indicators of nuclear attack could be caused in several ways. First, a wide range of events have already been mistakenly interpreted as indicators of attack, including weather phenomena, a faulty computer chip, wild animal activity, and control-room training tapes loaded at the wrong time. 9 Second, terrorist groups or other actors might cause attacks on either the United States or Russia that resemble some kind of nuclear attack by the other nation by actions such as exploding a stolen or improvised nuclear bomb, 10 especially if such an event occurs during a crisis between the United States and Russia. 11 A variety of nuclear terrorism scenarios are possible. 12 Al Qaeda has sought to obtain or construct nuclear weapons and to use them against the United States. 13 Other methods could involve attempts to circumvent nuclear weapon launch control safeguards or exploit holes in their security. 14 It has long been argued that the probability of inadvertent nuclear war is significantly higher during U.S.–Russian crisis conditions, 15 with the Cuban Missile Crisis being a prime historical example. It is possible that U.S.–Russian relations will significantly deteriorate in the future, increasing nuclear tensions. There are a variety of ways for a third party to raise tensions between the United States and Russia, making one or both nations more likely to misinterpret events as attacks. 16
Most qualified evidence says an attack’s feasible

Us Russia Joint Threat Assessment May 11

ABOUT THE U.S.-RUSSIA JOINT THREAT ASSESSMENT ON NUCLEAR TERRORISM The U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment on Nuclear Terrorism is a collaborative project of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the U.S.A. and Canada Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences led by Rolf Mowatt-Larssen and Pavel Zolotarev. Authors: • Matthew Bunn. Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Co-Principal Investigator of Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. • Colonel Yuri Morozov (retired Russian Armed Forces). Professor of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences and senior fellow at the U.S.A and Canada Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, chief of department at the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, 1995–2000. • Rolf Mowatt-Larssen. Senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy, 2005–2008. • Simon Saradzhyan. Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Moscow-based defense and security expert and writer, 1993–2008. • William Tobey. Senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, 2006–2009. • Colonel General Viktor I. Yesin (retired Russian Armed Forces). Senior fellow at the U.S.A and Canada Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and advisor to commander of the Strategic Missile Forces of Russia, chief of staff of the Strategic Missile Forces, 1994–1996. • Major General Pavel S. Zolotarev (retired Russian Armed Forces). Deputy director of the U.S.A and Canada Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and head of the Information and Analysis Center of the Russian Ministry of Defense, 1993–1997, deputy chief of staff of the Defense Council of Russia, 1997–1998. Contributor: • Vladimir Lukov, director general of autonomous non-profit organization “Counter-Terrorism Center.”

The expert community distinguishes pathways terrorists might take to the bomb (discussed in detail in the next section of the report). One is the use of a nuclear weapon that has been either stolen or bought on the black market. The probability of such a development is very low, given the high levels of physical security (guards, barriers, and the like) and technical security (electronic locks and related measures) of modern nuclear warheads. But we cannot entirely rule out such a scenario, especially if we recall the political instability in Pakistan, where the situation could conceivably develop in a way that would increase the chance that terrorist groups might gain access to a Pakistani nuclear weapon A second pathway is the use of an improvised nuclear device built either by terrorists or by nuclear specialists that the terrorists have secretly recruited, with use of weapons-usable fissile material either stolen or bought on the black market.1 The probability of such an attack is higher than using stolen nuclear warheads, because the acceleration of technological progress and globalization of information space make nuclear weapons technologies more accessible while the existence of the nuclear black market eases access of terrorists to weapons-usable fissile materials. A third pathway is the use of an explosive nuclear device built by terrorists or their accomplices with fissile material that they produced themselves—either highly enriched uranium (HEU) they managed to enrich, or plutonium they managed to produce and reprocess. Al-Qaeda and associated groups appear to have decided that enriching uranium lies well beyond the capabilities that they would realistically be able to develop. A fourth pathway is that terrorists might receive a nuclear bomb or the materials needed to make one from a state. North Korea, for example, has been willing to sell its missile technology to many countries, and transferred its plutonium production reactor technology to Syria, suffering few consequences as a result. Transferring the means to make a nuclear bomb to a terrorist group, however, would be a dramatically different act, for the terrorists might use that capability in a way that could provoke retaliation that would result in the destruction of the regime. A far more worrisome transfer of capability from state to group could occur without the witting cooperation of the regime. A future A.Q. Khan-type rogue nuclear supplier network operating out of North Korea or out of a future nuclear-armed Iran could potentially transfer such a capability to a surrogate group and/or sell it for profit to the highest bidder. Global trends make nuclear terrorism a real threat. Although the international community has recognized the dangers of nuclear terrorism, it has yet to develop a comprehensive strategy to lower the risks of nuclear terrorism. Major barriers include complacency about the threat and the adequacy of existing nuclear security measures; secrecy that makes it difficult for states to share information and to cooperate; political disputes; competing priorities; lack of funds and technical expertise in some countries; bureaucratic obstacles; and the sheer difficulty of preventing a potentially small, hard-to-detect team of terrorists from acquiring a small, hard-to-detect chunk of nuclear material with which to manufacture a crude bomb. These barriers must not be allowed to stand in the way of the panhuman universal priority of preventing this grave threat from materializing. If current approaches toward eliminating the threat are not replaced with a sense of urgency and resolve, the question will become not if, but when, where, and on what scale the first act of nuclear terrorism occurs.

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