Lisbeth Gronlund

Former co-director

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Dr. Gronlund received her PhD in physics from Cornell University in 1989. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Defense and Arms Control Studies Program and an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Fellow in International Peace and Security at the Center for International Security Studies at the University of Maryland. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society (APS), and was a recipient of the APS Joseph A. Burton Forum Award in 2001. She worked at UCS between 1992 and 2020. Areas of expertise: U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons policy, nuclear terrorism and international fissile material control, ballistic missile defense. Lisbeth also wrote on the Equation.

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Lisbeth's Latest Posts

US Should Extend the New START Nuclear Weapons Treaty To Make Us All Safer

Obama and Medvedev signing the New START treaty (Source: White House photo)

According to an AP News story, last Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the fate of the 2010 New START agreement, as well as potential future agreements to limit nuclear weapons.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s desire to extend New START from February 2021 until 2026 and clarified that two of Russia’s new weapon systems would be covered under the treaty. This alone should be reason for the United States to extend New START. But Russia has also said it is open to negotiating a new treaty that would limit other Russian weapons systems now under development.

This is a no-brainer. It is foolhardy for the United States to throw out something good because it wants something better, leaving it with nothing.

Read more >

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Memo to Congress: America Already Has Low-yield Nuclear Warheads

The Trump administration plans to build new “low-yield” nuclear weapons that would be launched from Trident submarines. Its rationale? It insists they are needed to counter Russia’s low-yield weapons.

This plan has resulted in a lot of confused—or perhaps deceptive—verbiage on the part of some of our elected officials. They seem not to know or neglect to mention that the United States already deploys a wide array of low-yield nuclear weapons.

Or it could be that they have their own set of alternate facts? Read more >

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Nuclear Weapons, President Trump, and General Mattis

Many people trusted that Secretary of Defense Mattis would be able to rein in the dangerous impulses of his erratic boss who, as commander-in-chief, has the authority to order the use of military forces—including nuclear weapons.

Indeed, General Mattis may have privately assured some members of Congress that he would get into the loop to restrain President Trump if it looked like a nuclear crisis was brewing. So people are naturally worried that Mattis’ resignation will put Trump back in full control of US nuclear weapons.

But regardless of what Mattis may or may not have told members of Congress, the secretary of defense is not in the decision chain for a nuclear launch and has no ability to stop a launch order from going through. Perhaps Mattis could have talked Trump out of ordering an attack in the first place, assuming he knew the president was considering such an attack, but he had neither the legal authority nor the ability to prevent one from being carried out. Read more >

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Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review: Top Take-Aways

The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), just released, lays out a policy that will make the use of nuclear weapons more likely and undercut US security.

It includes a wide range of changes to US nuclear weapons policy and calls for deploying additional types of nuclear weapons. Some of these changes can take place relatively quickly—within the time remaining in President Trump’s term—and others will take years to realize. In the latter case, however, political repercussions could occur well before completion of the effort. Read more >

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Scientists to Congress: The Iran Deal is a Keeper

The July 2015 Iran Deal, which places strict, verified restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities, is again under attack by President Trump. This time he’s kicked responsibility over to Congress to “fix” the agreement and promised that if Congress fails to do so, he will withdraw from it.

As the New York Times reported, in response to this development over 90 prominent scientists sent a letter to leading members of Congress yesterday urging them to support the Iran Deal—making the case that continued US participation will enhance US security. Read more >

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