Statement from the Nuclear Threat Initiative on the Election and Events at the Capitol

We congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the final certification of their election as president and vice president of the United States. The decision by congressional leaders to reconvene and conclude this constitutionally mandated process offers reason for hope after one of the darkest days in the history of our republic. All Americans must now play a role in welcoming a smooth transition, repairing the damage, and tackling the important work ahead.

NTI looks forward to working with the new administration and members of the new Congress on both sides of the aisle to reduce today’s grave nuclear and biological threats.

As we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we also must engage in the urgent work of building new capabilities to improve pandemic preparedness and reducing biotechnology risks to decrease the likelihood of future globally catastrophic biological events. For many Americans, the use of a nuclear weapon—by the United States or another nation, by terrorists, or because of a terrible accident or miscalculation—may be as hard to imagine today as a world devastated by a global pandemic was before COVID-19 struck.

It is unfortunate but undeniable that the events leading to the terrible attacks on our democracy have highlighted the urgency of putting guardrails around the sole authority of the U.S. president (whoever he or she may be) to launch nuclear weapons. We believe, as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev affirmed, that a nuclear war can never be won and should never be fought. As long as nuclear weapons exist, our leaders and the leaders of all nations with nuclear weapons have a responsibility to put in place systems and procedures to minimize the risk of nuclear use due to blunder, miscalculation or poor judgment under stressing conditions.

We urge the Biden administration to redouble efforts, including working with Russia and other nations, to reduce nuclear risks.

For more on NTI’s priorities for the incoming Biden administration and the new Congress, read:

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