Andrew

Difficult Conversations: Fingers off the Button

Andrew Futter

On Thursday 5 May 2022, Prof Andrew Futter, Dr Cameron Hunter, Dr Olamide Samuel, Marion Messmer & Dr Matthew Bolton participated in the Difficult Conversation Series. ‘Fingers off the Button’ was the fourth installment of the series.

The panel primarily considered questions regarding nuclear weapons in the UK.  

View the recording of this session, by clicking the link below. 

Defence Concepts and Capabilities: from Aspiration to Reality

Andrew Futter

On Tuesday 17 May 2022, Andrew Futter gave evidence to the UK House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee on the subject: Defence Concepts and Capabilities, from aspiration to reality. View the recording of this session, by clicking the link below. 

Deterrence, disruptive technology and Disarmament in the Third Nuclear Age

Andrew Futter

We are living in an era of flux in the global nuclear order where nuclear risks are changing and the methods, mechanisms and frameworks that have been devised to manage the nuclear condition are under pressure. A perfect storm of rapid widespread technological innovation and the emergence of a global system of great power nuclear competition is calling into question how we prevent future nuclear use, and whether the traditional organization of global nuclear politics around a “managed” system of nuclear deterrence and mutual vulnerability, can continue to provide stability and peace in the ways that many believe it has in the past. At the same time, technological and geopolitical shifts are unfolding in a global normative nuclear environment where dominant hegemonic ideas of past control are being challenged – both theoretically by the emergence of the academic field of “critical nuclear studies” and practically through agreements such as the 2017 Nuclear Ban Treaty.The result is pervasive, and has implications for how we think about nuclear weapons and the way that we keep ourselves safe (whether this be through better managed deterrence and stability, or by a renewed drive towards abolishing nuclear weapons entirely). This suggests that we may be at a pivotal moment in our nuclear history where political choices about the nature of our nuclear future, nuclear deterrence, and especially nuclear disarmament, will be fundamental to what lays ahead.

"The Global South: Access to Nuclear Technologies and the Ban Treaty"

Andrew Futter & Olamide Samuel

Conventional wisdom holds that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the “ban treaty”) is about reinvigorating the push for nuclear disarmament and seeking justice for those adversely impacted by nuclear testing. Yet, there is hardly any indication from the nine current nuclear-armed states that they are serious about nuclear disarmament, and the countries responsible for nuclear weapons tests have failed to offer assistance or compensation to the victims. But by focussing only on frustrations about disarmament and nuclear testing, and by implications a very “Western” view of nuclear politics, both supporters and detractors have overlooked other national interests in states’ decisions to sign the ban treaty, especially the interests of states from the global south. ..

Prof. Andrew Futter

Principal investigator

Dr Olamide Samuel

Research Associate

Cambridge Center for Existential Risk workshop : War Gaming and the Third Nuclear Age

1st March 2022

March 1 2022, Prof. Futter presented a talk titled ‘War Gaming and The Third Nuclear Age’ at the Cambridge Center for Existential Risk. 

You can download the presentation here:

Professor Andrew Futter

Disruptive technology and nuclear risks

Andrew Futter

Hype and fear have arisen about how certain technological developments are impacting the current nuclear order. New weapons systems and support facilities, potential vulnerabilities and associated destabilising dynamics could all place considerable strain on the global nuclear balance and accompanying architecture. This article examines five disruptive dynamics, explains their intricacies and nuances, and puts them in political and strategic context. The nature of nuclear risk is changing (in many cases for the worse), and there are a number of pressures which could have significant negative implications for escalation, stability and order if left unchecked. But these phenomena remain fundamentally political, and there are political mechanisms which can help reduce risks. Accordingly, while the risks posed by disruptive technologies to the nuclear order are real and growing, they should not be insurmountable.

Professor Andrew Futter

TNA Project Runs procurement politics simulation

12th January 2022

The Third Nuclear Age Project Team ran a simulation of the politics of technological procurement.  The players were briefed on their starting positions and then were left free to choose whatever technologies they felt their team required to maintain national security over the long-term. This closed game was part of a process of developing and refining scenarios for future events with stakeholders.

Held at the imaginary “ERSATZ” classification level, the players took on the roles of senior defence procurement bureaucrats in the fictional region of “Archipelagia.” Each turn simulated 3 years of in-game time, allowing players to see the consequences of their procurement decisions and respond to their regional rivals. Competition was intense, and the players’ decisions resulted in a deteriorating security environment. At its conclusion, the game designers extrapolated how a military crisis in the region would play out in light of the new weapons capabilities that the players had selected.

Feedback from the players was incredibly positive, highlighting requirements and implications for the methodology of future games.

The finale session gave players an overview of actions taken by the game designers and their opponents – actions that were otherwise secret while the game was in progress.

The briefing was delivered by the fictional superpower’s military featured in the game.

A nuclear nuclear age in South Asia?

Observer Research Foundation Expert Brief

Andrew Futter & Francesca Silvestri

Andrew Futter & Francesca Silvestri explain how  changes in global nuclear politics, particularly growing power rivalry and advancement in military technologies are impacting South Asia.

A new nuclear age in South Asia?


Professor Andrew Futter

Dr Francesca Silvestri

More Publications

UK nuclear weapons in a Third Nuclear Age

European Leadership Network Policy Brief (February 2022)

Andrew Futter

Are we on the cusp of a new chapter in the UK’s nuclear story? Rapid technological change and a return to nuclear great-power competition suggest that the contours and central dynamics of our nuclear world are – at best – in flux. These dynamics are challenging long-held beliefs about global nuclear order and governance: beliefs upon which UK nuclear and deterrence thinking have traditionally been based. While we might still only be at the beginning of a “Third Nuclear Age”, this shift in the global nuclear condition is already having an impact on UK national security thinking. At a minimum, it necessitates a frank debate about the role of UK nuclear weapons and the ways, ends and means of UK deterrence, in what seems likely to be a much-changed nuclear environment in the years ahead.

https://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/commentary/uk-nuclear-weapons-in-a-third-nuclear-age/ 

Professor Andrew Futter

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