Caroline Dorminey

Policy Director

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Caroline handles a portfolio of nuclear policy, arms control, and defense politics issues. She has extensive research experience and her analysis has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Axios, War on the Rocks, Reuters, The Hill, and more. She is an expert with the Forum on the Arms Trade and contributor to the Pentagon Budget Campaign. Before joining WAND, she spent two years at the Cato Institute as a Policy Analyst. She holds a Master's in International Relations from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor's in Peace, War, and Defense from UNC Chapel Hill.

Expertise: arms control, arms trade policy, defense policy, defense budget, international arms trade, force structure, weapons systems, nuclear policy, nuclear modernization

America's Nuclear Crossroads: A Forward-Looking Anthology

Edited by Caroline Dorminey and Eric Gomez

 America’s Nuclear Crossroads: A Forward-Looking Anthology is a useful reference tool for policymakers and laypeople alike as they navigate an increasingly complex nuclear security environment. The debates and policy decisions that play out over the next few years will likely affect America’s nuclear deterrence and arms control strategies for decades to come. This anthology offers a wide view of the most pressing challenges the United States is facing at this crossroads.  

America's Nuclear Crossroads

The 2019 Arms Sales Risk Index

By A. Trevor Thrall, Caroline Dorminey, and Jordan Cohen

 The United States has long been the world’s leading arms exporter. In 2018 the Trump administration notified Congress of $78 billion in major conventional weapons sales, giving the United States 31 percent of the global arms market. Over the past decade American weapons have wound up in the hands of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, sold on the black market in Yemen and elsewhere, have been used by oppressive governments to kill their own people, and have enabled nations to engage in bloody military conflicts. 

To help improve decisionmaking about arms sales we have created the Arms Transfer Risk Index. By identifying the factors linked to negative outcomes, such as dispersion, diversion, and the misuse of weapons by recipients, the index provides a way to measure the risk involved with arms sales to every nation. 


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Older Publications

October 25, 2018

CBO calls foul on wartime expense fund

Since 2001, up to 28% of the annual defense budget has been hived off from the base budget into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to pay for wartime operations. But a new study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that since 2006 at least $50 billion of annual OCO funds actually went to enduring activities — that is, those associated with running the military during peacetime.

October 12, 2018

Untangling At Last: Policymakers Take Aim at Ending Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has a big problem on its hands this week. Despite funneling significant resources into lobbying efforts and U.S. congressional campaigns, the kingdom has found itself in a pickle that it cannot seem to easily extricate itself from: the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. 

July 05, 2018

Selling American Weapons Overseas Is Risky Business

In “America Needs to Sell More Weapons” (op-ed, July 1), Alexander Benard extols the merits of increasing arms transfers, but his argument rests on several common misunderstandings about the arms trade.

June 13, 2018

A New Framework for Assessing the Risks From U.S. Arms Sales

In the past two years, Congress has tried (and failed) twice to halt American arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to that country’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war. This level of concern is historically unusual. Arms sales rarely spur much debate in Washington, where they are viewed as a critical tool of American foreign policy. 

May 02, 2018

Your Taxes at Work: Some Foreign Arsenal Assembly Required

The Trump administration finally released its updated US Conventional Arms Transfer Policy and, within about a week, notified Congress of over a billion dollars worth of sales. The new document reads very similar to the Obama administration’s policy published in 2014, with a few very important differences — one of which is the incorporation of profit into the equation.

March 21, 2018

Yemen Shows Why the U.S. Needs to Change Its Arms Sales Policy

Congress voted Tuesday on a resolution offered to end U.S. complicity in the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The sponsors, including senators from opposite ends of the political spectrum—Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah — called for the removal of American troops from hostilities in Yemen.

March 01, 2018

What the U.S. Should Do about Putin's Nuclear Threats

Vladimir Putin’s Thursday speech about Russia’s new and “invincible” array of nuclear weapons accomplished many of its objectives. It provided a strong image for a politician heading into a presidential election on March 18. It declared Russia triumphant after years of economic turbulence and military stagnation. And its assertions about the “practically unlimited range” of a new nuclear-powered cruise missile cast doubt on the viability of American missile defense systems.  

February 15, 2018

Our Military Isn't Depleted, It's Overworked

Both Congress and the White House solidified their requests for the 2018 and 2019 federal budgets within the last week to very similar effect — large increases in defense spending. But these plans have yet to be appropriated.

January 08, 2018

What to Expect From the Pentagon's First-Ever Audit

Dramatic surprises are unlikely, but the resulting information should feed better discussions and decisions about national-security spending.

May 25, 2017

The Saudi Deal Shows Just How Broken the US Arms Export Process Has Become

The Trump administration made headlines last week when it announced a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, signed with pomp and circumstance during the president’s first international trip. But even though Donald Trump’s team was thrilled, this record-setting deal is in fact another sign that the American arms sales process is broken.

August 01, 2014

China’s Navy and Conflict in the South China Sea

China’s recent boom in economic power allowed them to grow and modernize their naval capabilities. China now uses this growth in military power to support a very aggressive naval policy focused around the expansion of their territorial claims in the South China Sea, and to a lesser extent in the East China Sea. 

September 18, 2019

Some Arms Exports Are Riskier Than Others. Here’s a Tool To Tell Which Ones

The role of arms sales in American foreign policy is often framed as a win-win-win scenario. But history reveals several flaws in this logic. 

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Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen

December 07, 2018

Risky Business: The Role of Arms Sales in U.S. Foreign Policy

April 28, 2018

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