< Distinguished speaker series

Madelyn Creedon, Franklin Miller, and Daryl Kimball

Do We Need More Nukes?

DATE: April 24, 2024 6:00 pm

LOCATION: World Trade Center Baltimore

Event information

The question comes straight out of the Cold War:  Do we need more Nukes?  

Our next program will feature a panel of three to discuss the U.S. nuclear deterrent in the era of great power competition. Two of the panelists, Franklin Miller and Madelyn Creedon, are co-authors of a new bipartisan Congressional commissioned study which argues that competition with Russia and China requires an expansion of the nuclear deterrent. Our third panelist, Daryl Kimball, is the head of the Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, and he argues the opposite.

Franklin Miller, who was on the Congressional commission, makes the case that the US should secure more nuclear weapons in the latest issue of the Economist. Because of “significant growth in Russian and Chinese nuclear capability over the past decade, the deterrent believed necessary…in 2011is no longer sufficient,” he writes. “It cannot credibly threaten all that Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi value. And it is not powerful enough to deter Russia and China simultaneously – a deficiency made all the more critical by the return of the Russia-China axis in recent years.”

Madelyn Creedon, who chaired the Congressional commission, says we are “in a very different strategic posture than we have ever been before, on the cusp of facing two nuclear peers.” She told an audience at the Heritage Foundation that this “a geopolitical situation for which the US was not prepared (and) we did not want.” 

But Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association, argues that any decision “to increase the number of deployed U.S. strategic nuclear weapons higher than the levels of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (of 2011) could trigger a dangerous action-reaction cycle.” China, for example, could deploy more nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and Russia “would seek to match any increases in the U.S. nuclear force.”


Please join us for what promises to be a lively debate on Wednesday April 24.


Madelyn Creedon was the principal deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) within the Department of Energy during the Obama administration from 2014 to 2017. She served in the Pentagon as assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs from 2011 to 2014, overseeing policy development in the areas of missile defense, nuclear security, cybersecurity, and space. 

Franklin Miller is a principal at the Scowcroft Group in Washington, a Washington consulting firm. In 31 years of government service, he held high positions under seven secretaries of Defense in Democratic and Republican administrations. He was directly in charge of U.S. nuclear deterrence and targeting policy from 1985 to 2001 and chaired NATO’s senior nuclear policy committee, the High-Level Group, from 1997 to 2001.  He served on the Defense Policy Board from 2008-2020.  He is a member of the U.S. Strategic Command Strategic Advisory Group. 

Daryl Kimball has been in charge of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association for more than 20 years.  He’s led ACA’s education, research, and policy advocacy campaigns on such issues as the cancellation of new nuclear weapons programs and the negotiation and ratification of the 2010 New START agreement. Other issues he’s been involved in are U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement, the conclusion of the 2015 P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran and efforts to promote entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and strengthen implementation of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. In 2004, National Journal recognized him as one of the ten key individuals whose ideas will help shape the policy debate on the future of nuclear weapons.


– Congressional Report:

The Final Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States

– Executive Summary of the Report

– Arms Control Association’s Critical Comments on the Report:


– Additional Readings: