UK PONI Roundtable: NATO nuclear policy

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This roundtable will discuss NATO’s approach to nuclear policy, planning and deterrence. 

Recent challenges to strategic stability in the Euro-Atlantic region, such as Russia’s development of new nuclear capacities, its violation of the INF treaty and the consequent likelihood of US withdrawal, highlight the continuing impact of nuclear weapons on European defence and security.

Set against an increasingly complex geostrategic picture, where bilateral models of deterrence and stability are challenged by the spread of advanced technologies and by the advancement of nuclear programmes in states outside the NATO-Russia axis, this motivates renewed thinking about the place and practice of nuclear deterrence within NATO.

How has NATO adapted its approach to nuclear issues in the face of these emerging challenges? What impact does the combination of a more multipolar world and more widespread advanced technology have on NATO’s nuclear planning and deterrence capabilities? And how do these questions relate to wider issues of fragmentation within Europe, concerns over the reliability of US alliance commitments under President Trump, and the sympathy in many NATO state populations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the wider ban movement?

This roundtable will discuss NATO’s nuclear policy and planning, the complexities of alliance management within the policy process, and its responses to these challenges to its nuclear posture.


  • Jessica Cox, Director, Nuclear Policy Directorate, NATO International Staff
  • Chair: Tom Plant, Director, Proliferation and Nuclear Policy, RUSI


Ms. Jessica Cox serves as Director, Nuclear Policy Directorate at NATO HQ in Brussels, Belgium.  She provides policy support to the Secretary General and others at NATO HQ on matters related to NATO nuclear deterrence, chairs the Nuclear Planning Group Staff Group, and will chair the NATO-Russia Council Nuclear Experts Group (work currently suspended). Prior to her NATO assignment, Ms. Jessica Cox was a policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (OSD Policy).  She recently completed two years detailed to the National Security Council as the Director for Arms Control. 

Prior to joining the National Security Council, Ms. Cox was Director of Russia Policy and Conventional Arms Control Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (OSD Policy).  She has also served as the Country Director, Pakistan Policy; Country Director, Iran; and Policy Analyst, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction. Ms. Cox came to OSD Policy from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), where she was the Deputy Country Manager, Republic of Georgia for the Biological Threat Reduction Program. Ms. Cox attended Georgetown University Law Center and received her Juris Doctorate in 2008.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Travel bursaries:

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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