No-First-Use (NFU) legislation is introduced in the US Congress. A number of civil society appeals are launched and events organised to promote NFU policies.
The United States, Russia and some of the other nuclear-armed States maintain the option for the ‘first-use‘ of nuclear weapons. This increases the risk of nuclear war by miscalculation, accident or crisis escalation.
There is a growing momentum in the USA, other nuclear armed states and countries allied to the USA to adopt ‘no-first-use’ policies in order to reduce the risk of nuclear war and to pave the way for nuclear disarmament.
This new wave of action includes legislation introduced into the US Congress, the launch of at least two civil society appeals, a growing number of articles and fact-sheets published by policy analysts and disarmament organizations, and some US and international events all focused on the adoption of NFU policies.
On Thursday 15 April 2021, US Representative Adam Smith (Chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (Member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee), introduced the No First Use Act to establish in United States policy and law that the US would not use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare first.
Threatening to use nuclear weapons first makes America less safe because it increases the chances of a miscalculation or an accident. There are no winners in a nuclear war, and the US should never start one — I am glad to reintroduce this bill with Chairman Smith to commit the US to not using nuclear weapons first.”
Senator Warren, sponsor of the No-First-Use Act in the US Senate
For more information see Beyond the Bomb and Daily Kos: Talking points and appeal for the US No-First-Use legislation.
a) USA appeal
Beyond the Bomb has launched an Appeal to support the US No-First-Use Bill which was introduced by Representative Smith and Senator Warren. The appeal is open for endorsement by USA citizens. Click here to join over 18,000 Americans who have already endorsed.
b) Global appeal
In October 2021, #WeThePeoples2020 launched an Appeal for a nuclear-weapons free world, point 1 of which calls on cities, parliaments and governments to “Affirm that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and therefore the nuclear armed States should stand down their nuclear forces and affirm policies never to initiate a nuclear war (no-first-use policies).”
Affirming a nuclear war can never be won and instituting a no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy are unilateral steps that President Biden can take which will immediately increase global security.
Peggy Mason, Former Canadian Disarmament Ambassador to the UN. Endorser of Protect People and the Planet Appeal for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.
NFU articles and fact-sheets
The following are some recent articles and fact-sheets on no-first-use:
- Revisiting the case for no first use of nuclear weapons, by Gareth Evans, Chair of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Former Foreign Minister of Australia. Published by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, May 5, 2021;
- Mission Possible: Revisting the No-First-Use of the nuclear weapon, by H.E. Carlo Trezza, Former Italy Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament. Published by the European Leadership Network, April 2021;
- No-First-Use, Ploughshares Fund, January 2021;
- No-First-Use Policy explained, Union of Concerned Scientists, May 2020;
- No-First-Use FAQs (facts and questions), Global Zero, 2020;
- No-First-Use talking points, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 2019.
April 29: NFU policies in the USA and Globally
The Geneva Centre for Security Policy and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) hosted a webinar in two sessions on April 29 on Nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament: Is it time for no-first-use policies in the USA and globally?. The events were co-sponsored by Peace Depot (Japan), People for Nuclear Disarmament (Australia), PragueVision Institute for Sustainable Security (Czech Republic) and the World Future Council (Germany).
Session 1 focused on NFU in the Asia/Pacific region. Click here to view the video recording. Session 2 focused on NFU in the USA, Europe and Russia. Click here to view the video recording.
Suggested reading: Revisiting the case for no first use of nuclear weapons, by Hon Gareth Evans. The article is based on the presentation Mr Evans made at the April 29 event.
Speakers for the April 29 NFU global webinar:
Presentations from the speakers:
Prohibiting First-Use of Nuclear Weapons (USA)
Sat May 15 @ 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm (EDT)
A conference organised by Peace Action Massachusetts to promote the adoption by the USA of a no-first-use policy. The conference will include break-out sessions to enable in-depth discusison with participants on key aspects to advance no-first-use including congressional strategy, supporting the ICBM Bill, reducing nuclear weapons budgets, social media and outreach/movement building. Click here to register.
No First Use Of Nuclear Weapons: Asia-Pacific Perspectives
Saturday May 22 @ 3pm-5pm (New Zealand Time)
The New Zealand Centre for Global Studies is organising this webinar in order to examine what role NFU policies can play to reduce nuclear dangers and advance nuclear disarmament in the Asia-Pacific region.
The region includes five nuclear armed countries (China, India, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia) and three additional countries under extended nuclear deterrence relationships which provide possibility of first-use of nuclear weapons (Australia, Japan and South Korea). Speakers include Professor Nobumasa Akiyama (Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo), Dr. Marianne Hanson (University of Queensland, Brisbane); Dr. Manpreet Sethi (Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi), and Dr. Tong Zhao (Senior fellow, Carnegie-Tsinghua, Beijing). Click here to register.
Global NFU campaign meeting
May 26-27. Three sessions over the two days
This global event will bring together campaigners, policy makers, academics and others to discuss strategies, share initiatives and build cooperation for a GlobalNo-First-Use (NFU) campaign with the objectives to:
a) advocate for the adoption and implementation of NFU policies by nuclear-armed States;
b) assist the USA no-first-use campaign by building necessary support from US allies in Asia/Pacific and NATO/Europe;
c) advance NFU as part of the broader objectives of nuclear risk-reduction, non-proliferation and disarmament, and as complementary to other related measures and initiatives.
This participatory event is organised by the Abolition 2000 working group on nuclear risk reduction (global), Basel Peace Office (Switzerland), Beyond the Bomb (USA), Peace Depot (Japan), People for Nuclear Disarmament (Australia), PragueVision Institute for Sustainable Security (Czech Republic), World Future Council (Germany/International) and Zona Libre (Mexico). Session 1 is timed for the Americas and Europe, Session 2 is timed for Asia/Pacific, and Session 3 is a joint session.
Registration is restricted to those supportive of NFU and interested in advancing the global campaign. Click here to apply for registration.