Eryn MacDonald


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Ms. MacDonald received her MA in International Relations and Comparative Politics from Cornell University in 2009, specializing in China. Before coming to UCS in 2011 she worked at the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) program, and was an instructor at Endicott College teaching courses on international relations. Areas of expertise: Nuclear weapons complex, China

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Eryn's Latest Posts

President Obama Can Still Reduce Stored Nuclear Weapons & Fissile Materials

It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over

During the summer and fall, reports appeared that President Obama was considering actions he could take to make a major impact on U.S. nuclear weapons policy before leaving office in January. While the situation has clearly changed since Trump became the president-elect, this still does not mean that Obama’s hands are completely tied. Read more >

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Money Problems for Minuteman Replacement

Cost estimates of the plan to replace the U.S nuclear stockpile continue to increase on several fronts. The latest Arms Control Today reports that the cost of the replacement for the Minuteman III (MMIII) missile, called the ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD), may rise to $100 billion or more.

The article cites an “informed source” who says that this brings the total cost to acquire, operate, and sustain the system over its expected 50-year life span to $238 billion.

Read more >

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On Nuclear Weapons, You Can Never Say Never

There’s been an unusual debate going on over the past couple of weeks in the United Kingdom after Jeremy Corbyn—head of the Labour party—declared that if he were to become Prime Minister, he would not use nuclear weapons. Not everyone was happy with his statement, but it also seems not everyone understands how nuclear deterrence works. Read more >

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You Don’t Make Deals Like this with Your Friends: Arms Control and the New U.S.-Russian Tension

In recent days, Congressional opponents of the Iran agreement were unable to stop it from going into effect. This is a big win for the Obama administration, which—after two years of negotiations with European allies, China, Russia and Iran—worked hard for months to convince Senators to support the historic agreement. Read more >

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A Dose of Reality: Rising Costs for Nuclear Weapons

In a previous post Stephen Young and I looked at the overall changes in cost estimates for the NNSA’s 3+2 program to replace the entire nuclear weapons stockpile. As we noted, the FY16 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP) shows a significant increase in cost estimates for most life extension programs (LEPs) when compared with the FY15 SSMP, which showed a largely unexplained drop in cost estimates from those in the FY14 report. The newer cost estimates for individual programs have now increased to what may be a more realistic level, although don’t be surprised if there are further increases to come. Below is a look at some of the changes to individual LEPs from FY15 to FY16. Read more >

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