Great Expectations: The P5 Process and the Non-Proliferation Treaty
In 2009, the British government established an unprecedented process of regular and sustained collaboration between the Permanent Five – also the nuclear weapon states – on nuclear disarmament and arms-control issues.
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The ‘P5 process’, as it is known, has expanded its activities since its creation. It has voluntarily become the vehicle for nuclear-weapon states to work towards their disarmament commitments enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty – pledges that their non-nuclear counterparts charge have gone largely unfulfilled. Because of this significance, all eyes are now on the P5 process. The loud and frequent demands that it demonstrate concrete outputs and significant progress by 2014 are difficult to ignore.
This paper draws upon extensive interviews with officials and experts to shed light on the largely opaque P5 process. It considers the risks in the P5’s current trajectory, as well as opportunities for the nuclear-weapon states to build upon their modest but important base of work after the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
About the Authors
Andrea Berger is RUSI’s research fellow in Nuclear Analysis and deputy director for the UK Project on Nuclear Issues. Prior to joining RUSI, she produced open-source proliferation assessments for the International Centre for Security Analysis. She also worked in strategic trade policy at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, as well as the Embassy of Canada to Germany.
Professor Malcolm Chalmers is research director and director of UK Defence Policy at RUSI. He is a special adviser to the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, and was a member of the UK Cabinet Office consultative group for the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review. He has also served as special adviser to two UK foreign secretaries.