Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former U.K. Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind are co-chairing the initiative. Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, and Ambassador Richard Burt, U.S. chair of Global Zero and former U.S. ambassador to Germany, are co-directing the work of the task force. The Chicago Council has received generous support from Ploughshares Fund and the governments of Norway and Sweden for the project.
Budgetary pressures in the United States and Europe are compelling a fresh look at modernization decisions of nuclear weapons deployed in Europe. And significant decisions to bolster deterrence and defense capabilities and preparedness by NATO in recent years warrant a new look at how to reduce nuclear weapons in Europe.
“The time has come to re-examine the nuclear weapons postures in Europe and see how we can reduce the risks of deploying still large numbers of US and Russian nuclear weapons at dispersed locations,” said Daalder. The task force will provide recommendations on how to reduce these weapons stockpiles on a reciprocal basis.
Task force members include: Hikmet Çetin, former minister of foreign affairs for Turkey; Espen Barth Eide, former minister of foreign affairs and defense of Norway; Wolfgang Ischinger, former German ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom; Artis Pabriks, former minister of foreign affairs and defense of Latvia; Giampaolo di Paola, former minister of defense for Italy and former chairman of the NATO military committee; John Sheehan, former US Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic for NATO; and Maxime Verhagen, former deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs of the Netherlands.
An initial meeting of the task force took place on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in January. Its first formal meeting will be convened in London on March 10. The task force expects to issue its report by June 2014.