Sally Lilienthal, the founder of the Ploughshares Fund, died on 24 October at age 87. All who knew her agreed that she was a force of nature. Some who have heard about the Ploughshares Fund do not realize how it actually works. It does not have an endowment. It is, itself, a fund-raising organization that passes on what it collects to individuals and groups working on issues of national security, particularly weapons of mass destruction. So Ploughshares has to go out and raise money each and every year. It is a huge task and one that depended on Ms. Lilienthal’s dedication. The Federation of American Scientists has been for years a major recipient of generous Ploughshares grants. These grants have been essential to supporting, for example, Hans Kristensen’s work on global nuclear forces and policies, my own work on the future direction of nuclear weapons, and Michael Stebbins’s work on the threat of bioweapons. There are very few foundations supporting studies and analyses in the field of peace and security and Ploughshares is the only organization that is devoted exclusively to the field. Without Ploughshares, you would hear a very different chorus of voices talking about international security. The Washington Post published an obituary.
Detonating a nuclear weapon in space would not only damage U.S. assets but those of all countries, including Russia. It would set back the use of space for multiple purposes – peaceful and otherwise – by decades.
Satellite images show that the Navy has begun construction of a new nuclear weapons storage and handling facility at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
Russia is in the midst of a decades-long nuclear force modernization program intended to replace Soviet-era missiles, aircraft, and submarines with new systems.
The Sentinel program has been plagued with cost increases, flawed assumptions, and misleading arguments from the beginning; this most recent overrun demands hawk-eyed scrutiny of the program’s next steps.