Annette Heuser and Walter Slocombe, members of the Strategic Advisors Group (SAG), address the critical issue of NATO’s nuclear policy and offer recommendations for its inclusion into the new Strategic Concept.

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Internal divisions within the Alliance will complicate decision-making on nuclear issues. The United States and the United Kingdom, the two states with nuclear weapons officially available to the Alliance, have adopted a policy of combining “Global Zero” as a long-term goal, progress in arms control and a diminished role for nuclear weapons, with maintaining a strong strategic nuclear deterrent in the interim. France, the other NATO nuclear state, remains committed to the independence of its deterrent. Several NATO allies, including Germany, seek to distance themselves from nuclear weapons by, among other measures, ending the current nuclear sharing arrangements. In contrast, some of NATO’s new members perceive Russian territorial aggression as a continued threat and view proposed reductions in the Alliance’s nuclear presence, nuclear missions or nuclear reliance as a weakening of the overall NATO security commitment and a danger to their own security.

Strategic Advisors Group:

To tackle the tough issues facing NATO and the transatlantic community, the Atlantic Council created the Strategic Advisors Group (SAG). Co-chaired by Atlantic Council Chairman Senator Chuck Hagel and Airbus CEO Tom Enders, the SAG is comprised of North American and European preeminent defense experts. Founded in 2007 by then-Atlantic Council Chairman General James L. Jones, General Brent Scowcroft, and former Norwegian Minister of Defense Kristin Krohn Devold, the SAG provides timely insights and analysis to policymakers and the public on strategic issues in the transatlantic security partnership through issuing policy briefs and reports, hosting strategy sessions for senior civilian and military officials, and providing informal expert advice to decision-makers.

The SAG and its activities are generously sponsored by the Scowcroft Group, EADS North America, and Airbus.