Symbolic role of cybersecurity specialists
AI can play a decisive role in arms control in the future. | Photo: Khahn Tran | CC BY 4.0

AI for Arms Control: How Artificial Intelligence Can Foster Verification and Support Arms Control

Time and again, modern technology has enhanced arms control – with satellites, surveillance planes or more potent sensory equipment – to detect traces of forbidden substances. More recently, uncrewed vehicles found their way into the arsenals of arms control inspectors, enhancing verification. A very promising yet more difficult application will be to make use of artificial intelligence (AI) in arms control. However, many people have mixed emotions when it comes to AI, and exaggerated hopes as well as unjustified fears dominate the debate. The aim of this paper is to dispel reservations and, based on small projects, show how AI can be used in a reasonable way to enhance arms control and verification without getting caught up in hype.


The goal: to create sustainable foundations for a stable bridge | Photo: Calvin fitra Anggara via Unsplash | Unsplash License

The Art of Engineering at the NPT Review Conference. How Germany and Other Umbrella States Can Build Bridges

At the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT-RevCon) in January 2022, states parties must find a positive way to deal with a new pillar of the global nuclear architecture: the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Bridges must be built to secure the overall stability and thus strengthen disarmament and arms control. The umbrella states in particular should demonstrate their engineering skills in this regard and mediate between nuclear weapon states and TPNW states.


Das Ziel: tragfähige Fundamente für eine stabile Brücke schaffen | Foto: Calvin fitra Anggara via Unsplash | Unsplash License

Ingenieurskunst für die NPT-RevCon. Wie Deutschland und andere Schirmstaaten Brücken schlagen können

Bei der Überprüfungskonferenz des Nichtverbreitungsvertrages (NPT-RevCon) im Januar 2022 müssen die Vertragsstaaten einen positiven Umgang mit einem neuen Pfeiler der globalen Nukleararchitektur finden: dem Vertrag zum Verbot von Nuklearwaffen (TPNW). Brücken müssen gebaut werden, um die Gesamtstatik zu sichern und so Abrüstung und Rüstungskontrolle zu stärken. Gerade die Schirmstaaten sollten dabei ihre Ingenieurskunst beweisen und zwischen Nuklearwaffenstaaten und TPNW-Staaten vermitteln.


Eurofigther der saudischen Luftwaffe. | Photo: Flickr, RA.AZ | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Restriktive Regeln für Rüstungsexporte? Ein Blick in die Wahlprogramme der Parteien

Eine große Mehrheit der Deutschen lehnt Rüstungsexporte in Kriegs- und Krisengebiete ab. Dennoch zeigt der Blick in die Geschichte, dass bislang alle an der Regierung beteiligten Parteien Exporte an problematische Drittstaaten wie Mexiko, Ägypten oder Saudi-Arabien genehmigt haben.  Welche Pläne äußern die Parteien im aktuellen Wahlkampf für Rüstungsexporte – an Drittstatten, aber auch innerhalb der NATO und Europäischen Union? Dieser Blogbeitrag vergleicht die Positionen von CDU/CSU, SPD, FPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, der Linken sowie der AfD.


U.S. Navy Seizes Weapons in Gulf of Aden. Photo: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) Public Affairs | Public Domain (The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement).

Arms Transfers in the Gulf of Aden. Shining the Spotlight on Regional Dynamics

Since the outbreak of the war in Yemen in 2015, the state has seen a growing influx in the supply of weapons. These weapons are both legally and illegally provided by regional and international powers to all major factions of the conflict. While arms transfers and their effects on the conflict in Yemen have received considerable attention, a lesser known fact is that weapons are increasingly circulating between Yemen, Somalia and Djibouti – the three states adjoining the Gulf of Aden. Against this background, this text shines the spotlight on weapons flows dynamics in a highly militarized region.


Der New START Vertrag begrenzt die Zahl der Trägersysteme für strategische Nuklearwaffen. | Photo: flickr, Eric Constantineau | CC BY-NC 2.0

Bloß Neustart oder Renaissance nuklearer Abrüstung? New START um fünf Jahre verlängert

Die Verlängerung von New START ist gesichert. Damit ist die seit zwei Jahrzehnten fortschreitende Auflösung zahlreicher Rüstungskontrollabkommen vorerst gestoppt. Es ist noch lange keine Renaissance der nuklearen Abrüstung. Hierzu müssen die Risiken nuklearer Eskalation minimiert und sub-strategische Nuklearwaffen in den Blick genommen werden. Es braucht außerdem die Einbindung Chinas und ein Upgrade der bilateralen Rüstungskontrolle auf die multilaterale Ebene. Wie kann das gelingen?


The New START Treaty limits the number of delivery systems for strategic nuclear weapons. | Photo: flickr, Eric Constantineau | CC BY-NC 2.0

A renaissance of nuclear disarmament, or merely a new start? New START extended for five years

New START will be extended for five more years. This means that the unraveling of numerous arms control agreements, which has been progressing for two decades, has been halted for the time being. We are still far from a renaissance of nuclear disarmament. For this to happen, the risks of nuclear escalation must be minimized and sub-strategic nuclear weapons must be addressed. It also requires engaging China and upgrading bilateral arms control to the multilateral level. How can this succeed?


The ban is here! | Photo: Photo: ICAN | Aude Catimel

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – a Winter’s Tale

It is a truly historic event. Today, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) effectively enters into force. A treaty that was not only negotiated against the will of some of the world’s most powerful states, but also explicitly challenges deeply entrenched power structures. Whether and how the treaty can be effective depends on how its supporters and opponents approach the treaty and each other. The strategy of ignoring the treaty, as practiced by Germany and other NATO states, will certainly no longer be possible once the treaty takes effect.


The ban is here! | Photo: Photo: ICAN | Aude Catimel

Der Atomwaffenverbotsvertrag – ein Wintermärchen

Es ist ein wahrhaft historisches Ereignis. Heute tritt der Vertrag über das Verbot von Nuklearwaffen (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, kurz TPNW oder Verbotsvertrag) in Kraft. Ein Vertrag, der nicht nur gegen den Willen einiger der mächtigsten Staaten der Welt verhandelt wurde, sondern auch explizit jahrzehntelang gefestigte Machtstrukturen in Frage stellt. Ob und wie der Vertrag seine Wirkung entfalten kann, hängt nun davon ab, wie seine Unterstützer.innen und Gegner.innen mit dem Vertrag und miteinander umgehen. Fest steht: die Strategie, den Vertrag zu ignorieren, wie Deutschland und andere NATO-Staaten es praktizieren, wird mit dem Inkrafttreten des Vertrages nicht länger möglich sein.


Near an occupied military post at rebel-held Ras Lanuf, Libya's largest oil refinery, fighters have left large stockpiles of weaponry such as tank shells and assault rifle and anti-aircraft ammunition. | Photo: flickr, Al Jazeera English | CC BY-SA 2.0

From Legal to Illegal Transfers: Regional Implications of Weapon Flows to Libya

The recent denial of access to a Turkish freighter for German soldiers of the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation IRINI is the latest example of the difficulties arising from the UN-imposed arms embargo in Libya. Since 2011, countries such as Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Russia and France have continued to transfer large quantities of heavy military equipment to the North African State. In particular, Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) remain a major problem. Changes in the intensity of the Libyan conflict could lead to a growing spread of arms in the whole region and further complicate the overall security situation at the expense of domestic populations.