UK PONI Roundtable: Extended Deterrence and Assurance in Europe

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This roundtable will discuss European security and U.S. extended deterrence and assurance.

In December 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for Russia to return to compliance with the INF Treaty within 60 days or face a formal U.S. withdrawal from the treaty. This occurred amidst existing issues surrounding the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, continued debates about the future of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe – particularly given the European focus of the nuclear weapons ban movement – and wider concerns about the reliability of U.S. alliance commitments. What implications might this series of issues have for extended deterrence and assurance in Europe? What is the future of European security and U.S. commitment to it? And is it right for Europe to address these concerns entirely to Washington, or should it do more to look East – or closer to home?

This roundtable will consider the effects of contemporary nuclear issues in both the U.S. and Europe on the extended deterrence relationship and what this means for the future of the transatlantic alliance.


  • Elaine Bunn, Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy
  • Dr. Claudia Major, Senior Associate, International Security Division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).
  • TBC
  • Chair: Tom Plant, Director, Proliferation and Nuclear Policy, RUSI

Speaker Biographies

M. Elaine Bunn is an independent consultant on strategic issues working with a number of think tanks and government organizations. From March 2013 to 20 January 2017, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy (DASD/NMD) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Prior to being appointed DASD/NMD, Bunn was a Distinguished Research Fellow in the Center for Strategic Research at National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies, where she headed a project on future strategic concepts.

Before joining INSS in 2000, she was a senior executive in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), where she worked for twenty years in international security policy. She served as Principal Director, Nuclear Forces and Missile Defense Policy, from 1993-98. During that time, she was executive director of the first Nuclear Posture Review (1994). Bunn was seconded to OSD in 2001 and 2009 to work on the second and third nuclear posture reviews.

She has published articles and book chapters on deterrence, assurance of allies, strategic planning, nuclear policy, arms control, missile defense, and preemption, and has spoken frequently on these issues at U.S. and international conferences.

Dr. Claudia Major is Senior Associate at the International Security Division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin (SWP). Her research, advisory work, publications and media contributions focus on security and defense policy in Europe and transatlantic security (EU, NATO, Germany, UK, France). Recent publications deal with Germany’s security and defense policy, NATO’s strategic adaptation, Franco-German relations in defense, and recent developments in European security and defense policy (EU and NATO).

Previously, Claudia held positions at the Center for Security Studies of the ETH Zurich, the German Council on Foreign Relations (Berlin), the EU Institute for Security Studies (Paris), the German Foreign Office and Sciences Po Paris. Claudia is member in various boards, such as the Advisory Board for Civilian Crisis Prevention at the Federal Foreign Office. She holds a diploma from Sciences Po Paris and the Free University Berlin and a PhD from the University of Birmingham (UK).


To attend

For UK PONI members travelling from outside of London, a small travel bursary is available. To apply for a travel bursary, please email, with your name, affiliation and a couple of sentences about why attending this event would be beneficial for you.

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