Women. Power. Peace.

Press Room

For immediate release

Contact: Erica Fein, Director of Government Affairs

(202) 544-5055 x 5 | efein@wand.org

Trump Budget Harms Women, Lines Defense Contractors’ Pockets

May 23, 2017, Cambridge, MA/Washington, DC -- Statement of Megan Amundson, Women’s Action for New Directions Executive Director, on the Trump Administration Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request

By dramatically cutting the social safety net and diplomacy to pay for the military, President Trump has made his priorities loud and clear: he supports defense contractors over the working class, weapons and war over diplomacy, a new generation of nuclear weapons over the next generation of people.

The proposed budget would particularly impact women and their families, who rely on the social safety net for economic stability and security, and, in some cases, to break the cycle of poverty. Massive divestments from medicaid and supplemental nutrition assistance, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, cuts to education loan programs, and a paid family leave proposal that excludes too many from the system are just a few of the policies in this budget that directly target women in the United States. This budget would also cut diplomatic initiatives that promote women’s equality abroad, which research shows is one of the keys to national growth and stability.

The tradeoff in this budget is women’s health and well-being for increased spending on the Pentagon, which received a $54 billion increase over the Budget Control Act caps. This budget continues the recent practice of stuffing the Pentagon coffers without requiring accountability. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is justifying the slashed social safety net and diplomacy spending by saying that programs aren’t working. But he refuses to look into massive waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon. For the last several decades, the Pentagon has spent over $60 billion dollars on canceled or failed weapons programs with virtually no consequences, for instance. Why isn’t the Trump Administration looking into what’s not working in these programs?

WAND calls on Congress to reject the Trump budget proposal out of hand and work together to invest in programs that allow the American people the chance to pursue their dreams, escape poverty, save for their children’s education, and retire with dignity. They should fund diplomatic initiatives that fight extremism, increase women’s empowerment, and support children’s nutrition. This is not only the just thing to do; it builds stability abroad, which is in America’s national security interest. WAND urges Congress not to make any grand bargains that increases defense spending at the expense of women and families.


 

March 27, 2017

For Immediate Release

Press contact: Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director | 202-544-5055 x5 | efein@wand.org

Statement: WAND Supports Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Negotiations at the United Nations

Women’s Action for New Directions Executive Director, Megan Amundson, sent the following statement regarding the Nuclear Ban Treaty negotiations, which will take place in two sessions at the United Nations in 2017; one beginning today and going through the week to draft the treaty and the other from June to July over a three week period to negotiate the treaty.

“Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), which was founded as a women’s nuclear disarmament organization, supports the effort at the United Nations to make nuclear weapons illegal under international law. The militarization of U.S. foreign policy -- including the reliance on nuclear weapons that would indiscriminately kill civilians -- is unacceptable. These policies have created conditions at home where, for example, politicians have consistently provided the Pentagon over half of all monies appropriated by Congress each year while shortchanging investments in social safety net programs and diplomacy. Moreover, the secrecy and undemocratic nature of nuclear weapons have undoubtedly contributed to a society in which questioning the use of the military and weapons of war is seen as unpatriotic.

“While the nuclear weapons-possessing states continue to cling to their weapons of mass destruction, WAND stands with the nuclear have-nots who are unwilling to wait for incremental progress. It is not quite enough for the United States to claim progress on reducing the numbers of weapons since the Cold War peak given that it and the other nuclear-armed states are investing anew in their nuclear arsenals. For its part, the United States will spend $1 trillion dollars over thirty years to sustain and rebuild a nuclear arsenal that the military says exceeds security requirements.

“As an organization that works within a nuclear weapons-state, we have a duty to support all efforts to delegitimize nuclear weapons and expose their dangers to the public to ensure that they are never used again. We are greatly disappointed that the United States refuses to attend the nuclear ban treaty negotiations, stating that the idea was ‘unrealistic.’ Most efforts worth pursuing start out as unrealistic - until people sit at the table and negotiate.”

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For Immediate Release 

March 8, 2017

WAND Calls for Equal Representation for Women in National Security Discourse and Peace Negotiations

Statement from Megan Amundson, WAND Executive Director

Today, International Women’s Day, women across the country are striking, their absence designed to advocate for fair and equitable wages and full, equal participation in our culture and economy. In honor of this day, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) calls for equal representation for women in national security discourse and peace negotiations.

In regions of conflict, women and children are the most vulnerable to violence and data shows that women’s participation in preventing conflict and negotiating peace treaties makes for a more lasting peace. Yet women remain the least represented in negotiations of peace treaties globally. Further, despite progress over recent decades, women are remarkably underrepresented in national security, nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and diplomacy discourse. A 2015 report on women’s representation in disarmament, for example, showed that of 194 states participating in disarmament conferences between 2010 and 2014, 160 delegations were made up of majority men, and less than 20 percent of all statements were given by women.

Prospects for women’s equal participation in the United States looks worse in the Trump era. Even before Donald Trump was sworn in, his transition team requested documentation about State Department programs and personnel that work on reducing gender-based violence and promoting women’s economic and political advancement.

One of Trump’s first acts as President was to sign an Executive Order reinstating the so-called Global Gag Rule, which bans “foreign nongovernmental organizations that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling health clients about abortion or advocating for abortion law liberalization.” Despite the clear fact that the order is entirely about women’s reproductive health, not one woman was in the room when he signed it.

To this day, of the nine members of the Principals Committee of the National Security Council, not one is a woman. Of the thirteen statutory and general members, just UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is a woman. Further, Stephen Bannon, the president’s chief advisor and a member of the Principals Committee, oversaw publication of countless anti-woman articles when he was chair of Breitbart media and has a personal history of misogyny.

As women rise up to be heard around the world, it is absurd that the president is working to undermine those voices in every aspect of national security and foreign policy discussions. The president tweeted today that he has ‘tremendous respect for women,’ but in practice he shuts women out of every policy debate that involves our rights. It’s disgusting.

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About NSC Watch

After news broke about Steve Bannon’s unprecedented role on the National Security Council, WAND launched NSCwatch.org to monitor his influence. The focus of the project continues to expand as more details about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia and its influence over the election surface. The website is designed to keep the public informed about troubling developments at the NSC and what they can do to express their concerns and hold their elected officials accountable. Twitter @NSC_Watch.

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org

Press Contact

Diane Russell, National Security Political Director

(207) 272-9182 l drussell@wand.org


March 6, 2017

For Immediate Release

WAND Release on Second Trump EO to Ban Muslims and People from Certain Countries 

Immigration policy that discriminates based on faith and nationality

Continues to threaten United States national security interests

March 6, 2017 — In an effort to correct the judicial concerns around the constitutionality of his first Executive Order banning immigration, travel and refugees from Muslim-majority countries, President Donald Trump today issued a similar Executive Order designed to meet the legal threshold outlined in the previous court cases. Legality aside, there remain national security concerns for implementing such a ban. 

“America is strong abroad when it is strong at home. President Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigration and Middle Eastern nationals from entering the United States will only divide and weaken us,” said Women’s Action for New Directions Executive Director Megan Amundson. “A religious test dressed up as a security measure not only undermines our values here at home, it sends a message that America opposes the entire Muslim religion and does not distinguish between extremism and more than one billion people who worship peacefully.”

It was widely reported that the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, Stephen Bannon, had been instrumental in drafting the original Executive Order to suspend the U.S. refugee program, immigration and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Bannon has a long history of Islamophobia, anti-semitism, misogyny , and ethno-nationalism, which appear to have deeply influenced White House and national security policy-making to date. It is unclear to what degree Bannon influenced the changes in the new version.

“This new executive order, same as the old one, plays into the hands of extremists and shows the rest of the world that the Trump administration has no serious solutions for combating radicalization in all its forms,” said Diane Russell, WAND National Security Political Director.

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About NSC Watch

After news broke about Steve Bannon’s unprecedented role on the National Security Council, WAND launched NSCwatch.org to monitor his influence. It will do so as long as he remains on the NSC. Additionally, the focus of the project continues to expand as more details about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia and its influence over the election surface. The website is designed to keep the public informed about troubling developments at the NSC and what they can do to express their concerns and hold their elected officials accountable. Twitter @NSC_Watch.

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org

Contact:

Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director

(202) 423-3463 l efein@wand.org


March 2, 2017

For Immediate Release

WAND Calls on President Trump to Demand Sessions’ Resignation

In the wake of Washington Post and New York Times stories detailing new intelligence that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath about his communications with Russia during the election, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) executive director Megan Amundson made the following statement:

“President Trump should demand the immediate resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. One Trump administration official has already been asked to step down for lying about communication with the Russian government. Now allegations have surfaced that Attorney General Sessions also had contact with Russian officials during the campaign. Sessions lied under oath when he denied contact with the Russians, which makes it impossible for the public to trust that their highest law enforcement officer will in fact uphold, enforce, or even follow the law.

“What’s more, Sessions has said he will not recuse himself from Department of Justice investigations about Russian contacts with Trump campaign officials. One can assume that he has taken this position on the investigation because he too has something to hide. If President Trump wants the public to trust that he is acting in the interest of the American people and working to uncover the truth about Russia’s full influence on our election, he should demand that Sessions resign immediately.”

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Press Contact

Erica Fein | (202) 544-5055 x 5 | efein@wand.org

About NSC Watch

After news broke about Steve Bannon’s unprecedented role on the National Security Council, WAND launched NSCwatch.org to monitor his influence. The focus of the project continues to expand as more details about the Trump administration’s ties to Russian influence over the election surface. The website is designed to keep the public informed about troubling developments at the NSC and what they can do to express their concerns and hold their elected officials accountable. Twitter @NSC_Watch.

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


Feb 28, 2017

For Immediate Release

Trump speech gives no extra details about harmful budget proposal

WAND particularly concerned about cuts to State, AID

During tonight’s address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump reiterated his desire to provide more money for the Pentagon, already the largest federal agency in the U.S. Government. Earlier this week, the White House indicated that it would seek to increase security-related spending by $54 billion relative to budget projections and decrease spending on other federally-funded programs by the same amount. While key Members of Congress have said this budget is dead on arrival, these details are useful insofar as they provide insight into Trump’s vision for America.

As a national women’s peace and security organization, WAND is particularly concerned about cuts to the Department of State and Agency for International Development (USAID), which Trump has proposed to cut by 37 percent. In particular, programs that benefit women and girls may be on the chopping block, given the transition team’s “tasker” into these programs.

Erica Fein, WAND’s nuclear weapons policy director, said “The entire State Department costs less than one percent of the federal budget, yet it puts America in the position to lead, to influence global outcomes, and to keep Americans safe. Particularly when it comes to promoting women’s inclusion in combating terrorism and post-conflict re-building, research suggests that small investments help promote stability and achieve a more lasting peace. Such programs are not only for the benefit of in-country participants, but for all Americans, who have a vested interest in a stable and secure world.”

In addition, Trump provided few details about how he would pay for the increase to defense-related spending.He did say, however, that he will seek the help of Congress to lift the sequestration caps on defense spending. Since the enactment of the Budget Control Act, Democrats have remained firmly committed to the parity principle -- any increase above the cap for defense should see an equal increase to domestic programs. Lifting the cap for only defense would break this principle.

“If President Trump were serious about strengthening our already robust military, he would first see to it that he could accurately assess its assets - beginning with an audit of the Pentagon,” said Diane Russell, WAND’s national security political director. “It is impossible for the Pentagon to know what it truly needs if it doesn’t know what it actually has.”

“Paying for a Pentagon increase by gutting diplomacy and social safety net programs takes our national security in the wrong direction, making us less safe. Other agencies have very important roles in projecting American strength worldwide, reducing threats.” Russell concluded.

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Contact:

Diane Russell, National Security Political Director

(207) 272-9182, drussell@wand.org

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release 

February 23, 2017

Bullying Doesn’t Work With Nuclear Weapons

Washington, D.C. -- Today, President Trump suggested in an interview with Reuters that the United States has "fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity" and that “if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.” Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director for Women’s Action for New Directions, made the following statement in response:

“Whether it’s his relationship with women, his dealings as a business owner, or his heated phone calls to foreign leaders, President Trump seems to think that acting as a bully is an effective strategy. But when it comes to nuclear weapons doctrine, this won’t work. Stability over volatility and diplomacy over threats are really what keep the peace.

“Moreover, President Trump is creating a problem where there isn’t one. Contrary to his misleading statements, the United States is already at the top of the pack. Suggesting otherwise is dangerously provocative -- and guess what, nobody wins in a nuclear war. The goal of the United States should be to influence other countries to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear war rather than inciting a nuclear arms race.”

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Press Contact

Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director | (202) 455-5055 | efein@wand.org

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release

February 21, 2017

WAND Statement on Appointment of H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor

Washington, D.C./Cambridge, MA --WAND Executive Director Megan Amundson made the following statement on President Trump’s appointment of H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor:

“It remains to be seen how H.R. McMaster will execute U.S. national security policy on behalf of all Americans. Reports indicate that he was chosen, in part, due to  pressure by more hawkish Republicans, such as Sens. Tom Cotton and John McCain. Moreover, while he has a long and esteemed military career, he is not an experienced policy-maker.

“It is important to have at least the appearance of a functioning executive branch. McMaster’s appointment certainly adds to that. However, the biggest question for the National Security Council, and the Trump administration in general, is: how much influence and autonomy will the National Security Advisor ultimately have when Steve Bannon is at every NSC meeting.

“As a woman’s organization,  WAND remains steadfast in our opposition to Steve Bannon on the National Security Council. His anti-woman, Islamophobic, ethno-nationalist beliefs are already playing out in dangerous ways, including the immigration and refugee ban on Muslim-majority nations; the round-up of immigrants that is breaking up families across the United States; and the turn toward Russia and away from our traditional allies.

“Extreme ideology has no place in the White House. We hope that McMaster’s appointment marks a larger change, one in which the American people can have confidence that decisions about national security are made based on facts and input from all relevant and qualified stakeholders.

Until Bannon is removed from the National Security Council, WAND will continue to monitor his influence through NSCwatch.org, a website designed to keep the public informed about troubling developments at the NSC and what they can do to express their concerns and hold their elected officials accountable.”

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Press contacts

Diane Russell, National Security Political Director (207) -272-9182 | drussell@wand.org

Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director (202) 544-5055 x 5 | efein@wand.org

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


Women’s Action for New Directions Calls on Trump Administration to Uphold New START

For Immediate Release

February 9, 2017

A breaking Reuters article states that President Trump denounced the 2010 U.S.-Russia arms control agreement, known as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The Treaty places modest limits on both countries’ deployed nuclear arsenals and establishes verification and transparency measures which help to maintain stability between the two nations.

WAND Executive Director, Megan Amundson, released the following statement in reaction to the Reuters article:

“If the reports are true and President Trump is considering ways to exit the New START Treaty, he is taking our country down a very dangerous road. The Treaty was strongly supported by the military, including seven commanders of U.S. nuclear forces from President Reagan to George W. Bush, who wrote in 2010 that the Treaty, ‘will enhance American national security’ in a number of ways.

“To put it in terms he understands, the agreement is a ‘tremendous deal’ for the United States because it places limits on Russia’s nuclear forces and provides unique access to Russian nuclear forces that can not be obtained through intelligence capabilities. Meanwhile, the United States maintains a strong -- some would even say excessive -- deterrent capability. On the other hand, without the agreement, Russia will be able to grow its nuclear arsenal with no limits. Our military and diplomats will lose unique insight about Russian nuclear capabilities. This would be a ‘bad deal’ for U.S. national security.

“President Trump should not only reconsider the value he places on the 2010 agreement, but also signal his intent to continue with arms control agreements with Russia. The United States only stands to gain security from the stability, transparency, and intelligence these agreements provide.

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Press Contact:

Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director

(202) 544-5055 x 5

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org

For Immediate Release
January 30, 2017


WAND Statement on Steve Bannon's Appointment to the

National Security Council 

Unprecedented move minimizes legitimate national security voices while elevating propaganda leader

WAND Executive Director, Megan Amundson, responds to President Trump’s Order to Put Stephen Bannon on the National Security Council:

“President Trump’s placement of Stephen K. Bannon on the National Security Council (NSC) is unprecedented. Never before has a political adviser been given such a prominent role in national security decision-making, and for good reason: political advisors are unqualified to make complex and nuanced national security decisions, which is why the NSC exists. Bannon is advising the President on decisions based on his extreme, white-supremacist ideology instead of a facts-based approach to protecting the interests of the United States.

“Bannon is added to the NSC while the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence roles are minimized. The Secretary of Energy, responsible for our nation’s nuclear stockpile, was removed completely from the NSC. This is not how government with an interest in protecting our country operates.

“Bannon’s influence is already remarkable: He directed the creation of the Executive Order to ban refugees and other immigrants based on nationality and religious belief. Additionally, multiple media outlets have reported that he overruled guidance by the Department of Homeland Security in its interpretation of that order by saying that it would apply to lawful permanent residents of the United States. These actions immediately spawned protests in airports across the country over the weekend, with courts imposing a temporary injunction on sections of the ban.

“President Trump is giving Bannon increasingly broad authority to silence diverse and qualified perspectives on policy making. What makes this particularly egregious is Bannon’s overarching worldview. As the head of Breitbart media, he proudly gave a platform to a fringe white supremacist movement. In August 2016, he was quoted in the Daily Beast as saying, ‘I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.’ In just over a week in President Trump’s term, he is already achieving his goal.

“Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle cannot stay silent in the face of this development. Americans all over the country are rightfully concerned about Bannon’s influence over President Trump, and they should be. Members of Congress are elected to be the voice of their constituents and advocate for their best interests, and WAND demands that they denounce Bannon and call on President Trump to remove him from the White House without delay.”

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Press Contact

Jessie Calkins, Communications Director  | 617.401.2820, jcalkins@wand.org

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release

January 25, 2017

WAND Statement on Trump Executive Order to

Ban Muslims and Certain Nationalities

Immigration policy that discriminates based on faith and nationality threatens national security

“For 240 years, the United States’s strength and security has been bolstered by the Constitution, which guarantees certain unalienable freedoms to its citizens. America is strong abroad when it is strong at home. President Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigration and Middle Eastern nationals from entering the United States will only divide and weaken us,” said Women’s Action for New Directions Executive Director Megan Amundson. “It will undermine American interests abroad by alienating our allies and partners while stoking hatred among our enemies. How can we eliminate extremism if we ourselves institute extremist policies?”

“From North Korea’s nuclear program and Russian aggression to instability in the Middle East, the new Administration faces a complex set of national security challenges,” said Diane Russell, WAND National Security Political Director. “A ban on Muslims and Middle Eastern immigrants and refugees will do nothing to address these issue. Rather, it will give credence to fanatical recruiters, undermine U.S. national security, and weaken our efforts to fight violent extremism abroad. We are stronger as a nation when we stand grounded in the principles enshrined in our Constitution, of which freedom of expression -- including religious expression — is the first.”

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Contact

Jessie Calkins, Communications Director

617.401.2820, jcalkins@wand.org

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release

January 20, 2017

Organizations Marching for #NoNukes in National Women’s March

"Women for the Human Race, Not a New Arms Race."

Groups Concerned President Will Continue Call for New Arms Race

January 20, 2017, Washington DC - On January 21, 2017, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), an official partner of the Women’s March on Washington, Global Zero, Peace Action, Win Without War, Union of Concerned Scientists, Citizens for Global Solutions, and Peace for Iran are bringing together a contingent of marchers to stand with women from across the country who march with the message, "Women for the Human Race, Not a New Arms Race."

“This march is all about protecting the advancements women have made over the decades, and to advocating for the wide variety of issues women care about. With the long history of women leading movements to oppose dangerous nuclear weapons policies,we couldn’t be more proud to march alongside women fighting on a host of issues” said WAND Executive Director Megan Amundson. “Women Strike for Peace (WSP) and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) led nuclear abolition movements during the Cold War. Tens of thousands of women marched to ‘End the Arms Race, Not the Human Race’ during Women Strike for Peace. These direct actions produced a number of victories, such as ending above ground and under-sea nuclear testing, limiting the arms race, and pushing for other major treaties.

“The fight hasn’t ended, especially with a president who has shown such outright disrespect toward women,” said Amundson. “President Trump has already shown that he will prioritize war with other countries over the needs of women and people of color here in the United States. We won’t be silent and sit idly by — we will carry on the struggle of our sisters and take their voice into the next generation. ”

As a march co-sponsor, WAND is joined by allied organizations Global Zero, Peace Action, Win Without War, Union of Concerned Scientists, Citizens for Global Solutions, and Peace for Iran in bringing supporters from around the country to march in DC and in sister marches as the next generation of this movement with the message: "Women for the Human Race, Not a New Arms Race."

"Nuclear weapons are the ultimate tools of terror, oppression and violence, and the ideas that prop them up are dehumanizing and divisive,” said Meredith Horowski, Campaign Director at Global Zero. “These systems of money and power that preserve the nuclear status quo exploit and threaten the most vulnerable amongst us -- including women, people of color, and marginalized communities globally. We march today to show that we do not consent, we will not be silenced, we will fight for the future of women everywhere -- a future free from nuclear weapons."

“Women have felt the brunt of armed conflict throughout history and a nuclear war could decimate families overseas and right here at home in a matter of minutes,” said WAND Nuclear Weapons Policy Director Erica Fein. “We march for women everywhere to keep families safe from the increasing threat of nuclear war.”

The Women’s March is a grassroots-driven effort being organized by diverse community of individuals. Cornerstones of the march are protecting human rights, dignity, and justice. Organizers have been clear that all people are invited and welcome to participate in the march.

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About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction |wand.org

 

Available for Comment at the Women's March

Diane Russell
National Security Political Director
Cell/Text: (207) 272-9182drussell@wand.org

Erica Fein
Nuclear Weapons Policy Director
Cell/Text: (202) 423-3463, efein@wand.org

Group Location

Meeting at 9 AM at The Spirit of Justice Park | Corner of New Jersey Ave.  and C St. SE. (Steps from Capitol South Metro).

Proceeding to march starting point (Independence Ave. and 3rd St. SW) at 9:30 AM.

Press Contact in advance of event

Jessie Calkins
Communications Director
617.401.2820jcalkins@wand.org

For Immediate Release

January 17, 2017

Press Contact

Jessie Calkins

Communications Director

617.401.2877, jcalkins@wand.org


WAND Statement on Donald Trump’s “Nuclear Weapons Deal” Comments to Times of London

In an interview with the Times of London, President-elect Donald Trump indicated a willingness to lift U.S. sanctions on Russia, potentially in return for reductions to Russia’s nuclear arsenal. The Times reported Mr. Trump as saying, “They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it.”

Women’s Action for New Directions Executive Director, Megan Amundson, made the following statement in response:

“Though the President-elect made no details available about what a potential arms-reduction deal would look like, WAND would welcome an agreement to reduce both U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles, which make up 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. However, we would not condone an agreement that trades away American interests, such as abandoning official U.S. policy opposing Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine.

“Given President-elect Trump’s eagerness to associate with Vladimir Putin, his willingness to jeopardize or outright dissolve long-standing U.S. policy toward Russia, and his previous comments encouraging both a renewed arms race and the spread of nuclear weapons, WAND remains skeptical of his intentions. We urge him to release more details of a potential nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia.

“We are pleased the President-elect now believes that ‘nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially.’ Recently, Vice President Biden announced that the United States has made an almost 10 percent reduction to it stockpile of weapons, continuing a consensus under Republican and Democratic administrations to decrease the size of the nuclear arsenal. ’ At the same time, however, the United States is beginning to upgrade its nuclear capabilities and planning to maintain its oversized nuclear arsenal for decades to come at a cost to American taxpayers of at least $1 trillion.Moreover, it is planning to keep an arsenal larger than President Obama and his military advisers have said is necessary for U.S. security needs. These plans undermine U.S. global leadership in ridding the world of nuclear weapons, and we urge Mr. Trump to reverse them, irrespective of a potential agreement with Russia.”

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About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release
January 12, 2017

State Lawmakers Call for Cabinet Nominees to Embody Civilian Leadership Free From Conflicts of Interest

General Mattis Requires Congressional Waiver to Serve as Defense Secretary Questions Persist About His Financial Ties to Defense Contractors

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate considered the nomination of General James Mattis (USMC, Ret.) for Secretary of Defense. Recently, more than 130 state lawmakers from more than thirty states signed a letter to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer calling on them to oppose any Cabinet nominees who “undermine the core American philosophy of civilian leadership.”   Further, it called on the U.S. Senate to oppose nominees with conflicts of interest. The letter was sponsored by the Women Legislators’ Lobby (WiLL), a program of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), a women’s organization advocating for progressive national security.

“What sets our republic apart from other countries is our commitment to civilian control of the government, including the military,” said Megan Amundson, WAND Executive Director. “In addition to serious questions about his conflicts of interest, General Mattis has not been out of the military long enough to meet the legal requirement for retired officers to serve as Secretary of Defense. Given this, we are disappointed that a waiver was rushed through the Senate, and will similarly be rushed through the House, rather than thoroughly debated.”

The letter reads in part, “While we strongly respect the experience and credentials of our military’s active and retired generals, we urge you to oppose nominees who would undermine the core American philosophy of civilian leadership.”

In a very disappointing move, the Trump transition team prohibited General Mattis from appearing before a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, although he agreed to do so and was scheduled to do so. This move has prevented the Congress from doing its job to ensure that nominees are being fully vetted and from putting the public interest above political expediency.

Addressing conflicts of interest, state lawmakers were also clear, “We urge you to oppose nominees whose personal or professional interests might conflict, or have the perception of conflict, with the interests of the public they serve.”

Earlier this week, the Project on Government Oversight sent a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain and Ranking Member Jack Reed asking them to look closely at potential conflicts of interest pertaining to General Mattis, citing his membership on the board of both General Dynamics and Theranos and his more than $1 million compensation from General Dynamics, the fourth largest defense contractor.

Legislators signing this letter hail from more than thirty states, including Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The letter is endorsed by the Arms Control Association, Courage Campaign, Global Zero, National Priorities Project, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Peace Action, Tri-Valley CAREs (Livermore, CA), and Win Without War.  More than 7,000 similar letters have been sent by regular citizens to their U.S. Senators.

The full letter with list of signing lawmakers can be viewed here.

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About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org

Press Contacts

Diane Russell
National Security Political Director
Cell/Text: (207) 272-9182, drussell@wand.org

 

Jessie Calkins
Communications Director
617.401.2877, jcalkins@wand.org

_________

 

For Immediate Release
Thursday January 12, 2017

WAND Urges Senate to Reject Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State

Following the confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, WAND Executive Director, Megan Amundson, released the following statement opposing his nomination:

“Rex Tillerson showed that he is unprepared and unqualified to the be country’s next Secretary of State. His views, combined with his lack of experience in diplomacy and public service, could easily lead the country into another unnecessary war. His job is to stop war, not start it.

“WAND has outlined five core principles on which nominees should be judged: deference to diplomacy over military intervention, respect for arms control, respect for civil liberties, avoidance of conflicts of interest, and support for civilian-led government. Based on the confirmation hearing, we cannot confidently attest to Tillerson’s willingness to uphold a single one of them. We are specifically concerned about the following:

  • Tillerson would not commit to recusing himself from decisions related to Exxon’s business dealings outside of the one-year mandatory period, calling into question his desire to put Exxon’s significant economic interests over the country’s.
  • Tillerson took a hard-line position on Iranian uranium enrichment that could undermine progress on the historic nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which prevents Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Notably, he stated Iran should not be allowed to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, a position staked out by the Bush administration that contributed to the nuclear crisis.
  • Tillerson demonstrated no commitment to human rights. When pressed by Senator Marco Rubio, the nominee would not call Vladimir Putin a war criminal, despite wide consensus that he has ordered executions of his political opponents, journalists, and civilians in various conflict zones, including Syria. Nor would he readily condemn the blatant human rights violations by governments around the world, as in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
  • Tillerson would not rule out the creation of a Muslim registry, a Trump proposal that would undermine the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
  • Tillerson took an aggressive, hostile position on Chinese behavior in the South China Sea, stating that China should be barred from the islands it created there. Given China’s own hardline position that it has territorial claims to the South China Sea, Tillerson’s stance could set up an early military confrontation between the United States and China.

“As the chief diplomat of the United States, the Secretary of State is responsible for using the diplomatic, economic, political, legal, and cultural power of the United States to prevent conflicts. In each of the above instances,Tillerson’s positions could escalate crises and draw the United States into war.

“WAND urges the Senate to reject his nomination for Secretary of State.”

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About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org

Press Contacts

Jessie Calkins

Communications Director

617.401.2877, jcalkins@wand.org

 


Previous Statements:

Monday, January 9, 2017

More Than 100 State Lawmakers Sign Cabinet Nominee Letter to McConnell and Schumer

Oppose Nominees Who Violate Key American Principles

Washington, DC, January 9, 2017 – More than 125 state lawmakers from across the country signed a letter to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer calling on them to oppose Trump nominees whose views or behavior violate key American principles and norms: diplomacy over military intervention; arms control; civil liberties; public officials free from conflicts of interest; and civilian leadership. The letter was sponsored by the Womens’ Legislative Lobby (WiLL), a program of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), a women’s organization advocating for progressive national security.

“Whether it is violating someone’s fundamental civil rights or watching critical dollars get spent on war overseas when our bridges and schools need funds at home, state lawmakers understand the direct impact poor federal policy choices have on their local communities,” said Megan Amundson, WAND executive director.

The letter reads in part, “As the U.S. Senate considers Cabinet appointments in the next Administration, we ask that all nominees are evaluated around five principles core to maintaining American strength abroad and at home. These include deference to diplomacy over military intervention, respect for arms control, respect for civil liberties, avoidance of conflicts of interest, and support for our sacred civilian-led government.”

“Here in Portland, ME, parents are organizing to convince the city to fund four new elementary schools because ours are falling apart,” said Diane Russell, WAND national security political director and former state representative. “I served eight years in the Maine House and I can tell you there’s no money at the state level to help because we have sent that money overseas. It is hard to see how I can support Cabinet nominees, like State nominee, Rex Tillerson, with conflicts of interest that could damage broader American policy goals like combating climate change and challenging Russian aggression. We need a Secretary of State who will put diplomacy first and keep more of our money at home.”

Tillerson has spent his career enriching Exxon Mobil, through which he has developed a personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2011, Putin, an autocrat who has quashed dissent in his country, awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship. In 2014, Tillerson expressed disappointment at U.S. sanctions on Russia for Russia’s annexation of Crimea.  “While Tillerson has taken steps to untangle his interests with Exxon’s, we hope and expect that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will investigate and determine all possible conflicts of interests. If Tillerson’s  answers are not complete and satisfactory, his nomination should not move to the Senate floor,” said Erica Fein, WAND’s nuclear weapons policy director..

In the 1980s, the Republican-led Senate voted against confirming now Senator Jeff Sessions as a judge because of racially insensitive comments he had made. He has since voted repeatedly against civil rights for the LGBT community, against women’s rights, and has not denounced the idea of  a Muslim Registry proposed by then-candidate Trump.

Secretary of Energy nominee, Gov. Rick Perry, famously couldn’t remember the name of the Department of Energy, but claimed he planned to eliminate it if president. Sixty percent of the Department’s  budget relates to nuclear weapons and has most recently been run by trained physicists. The most recent Energy Secretary, Ernie Moniz, had a major role in negotiating the nuclear agreement with Iran, providing vital technical support.  It is essential the Department be led by someone who understands its major role in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons around the globe, not to mention someone who doesn’t philosophically believe the agency should be dismantled.

Legislators signing this letter hail from Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

The letter is endorsed by the Arms Control Association, Courage Campaign, Global Zero, National Priorities Project, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Peace Action, Tri-Valley CAREs (Livermore, CA), and Win Without War.  More than 6,000 similar letters have been sent by regular citizens to their U.S. Senators.

The full letter with list of signing lawmakers can be viewed here.

 

# # #

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org

 

Press Contacts

Jessie Calkins

Communications Director

617.401.2877, jcalkins@wand.org

 

Diane Russell

National Security Political Director

Cell/Text: (207) 272-9182, drussell@wand.org


Contact:

Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director

efein@wand.org

(202) 544-5055 x 5 (office) // (202) 423-3463 (cell)

WAND Urges Against More Trump Nuke Tweets

January 3, 2017 --Cambridge, MA, Megan Amundson, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions issued the following statement in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s tweet about North Korean long-range missiles. Trump’s tweet erroneously stated that North Korea had suggested it was in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States. North Korea’s statement on Jan 1 said, rather, that it was in final preparations for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“WAND urges President-elect Donald Trump to immediately cease tweets and off-the-cuff remarks about nuclear weapons; the risk of nuclear war is too great.

“Mr. Trump’s latest ambiguous and provocative tweet about North Korea has left us all on edge. He has now promised that North Korea will not develop a long-range ballistic missile despite very little existing leverage to control North Korea’s actions. This leaves open the question of whether he means to signal that he would use force to carry out this promise. For a President-elect who has chosen to not receive regular national security briefings, he is dramatically changing US foreign policy through 140 character missives.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons development is one of the most pressing diplomatic situations of the moment. We urge the President-elect to take every possible measure to avoid escalating this crisis into a conventional or nuclear war. In the coming months, Congress must demand answers from Mr. Trump’s cabinet appointees about how they will address the threat of North Korea developing nuclear capabilities and whether they would risk American lives and those of our allies in a war with North Korea.”

# # #

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


WAND Response to Trump’s Latest Nuclear Weapons Tweet

WAND Vows to Oppose New Nuclear Arms Race

December 23, 2016 -- Megan Amundson, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions made the following statement after President-elect Donald Trump confirmed to “Morning Joe” hosts, Mika Brezezinski and Joe Scarborough, his desire to put the United States in a new arms race. His exact quote as reported by the hosts was, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass. And outlast them all.”

Statement

“Donald Trump’s recent comments on nuclear weapons -- encouraging an expansion of U.S. nuclear capabilities and entry into a new arms race with a belief that the United States can win -- sets our country on a dangerous path before he has even been sworn into office.

“Yet, while it is of no comfort, Trump is in some ways simply confirming an arms race that is already underway. With very little public understanding, the United States is already investing significant taxpayer money into these weapons of mass destruction. Current plans call for spending $1 trillion over 30 years modifying and upgrading the arsenal, enhancing the bomb’s and missiles’ capabilities, and building thousands of new weapons systems. Moreover, the public record shows that the Department of Defense has justified these plans with a Cold War-like mindset: the final Obama budget is focused on investing in new weapons to counter Russia’s aggressive policies. [The Intercept]

“Trump is destabilizing our relationships with many of our allies in provocative 140 character tweets that are often reversing decades of sound foreign policy - and he hasn’t even taken office yet.

“We cannot tolerate a reversal of decades of bipartisan policy to reduce the nuclear arsenal.  As Trump threatens a nuclear arms race, much of the international community will vote at the United Nations in 2017 to make nuclear weapons illegal. We know what kind of devastation these weapons reap; we must demand that our government actively eliminate them -not invest in a new generation. It is a fantasy to believe that we will be more secure with a larger, fancier nuclear arsenal meant to outmatch adversaries.

“WAND is already working with the public, state legislators, and many members of Congress to reverse the current course for our nuclear arsenal. In 2017, and in light of Trump’s dangerous talk, we will be redoubling our efforts to hold our elected officials accountable for reducing nuclear dangers. If any good is to come from the latest Trump outburst, it is to awaken the public about the need to eliminate nuclear weapons.”

# # #

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org

Press Contacts
Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director
efein@wand.org

Diane Russell, National Security Political Director
drussell@wand.org


For Immediate Release

Contact:
Jessie Calkins, Communications Director
jcalkins@wand.org
617.401.2820

WAND Response to Washington Post Pentagon Spending Investigation

The Pentagon Should be Held to Same Accountability Standard as Other Federal Agencies

December 7, 2016 – In a scathing investigative article, the Washington Post reported that the Pentagon’s leadership quashed an internally directed report that found $125 billion in wasteful spending on high-cost contractors and other types of “administrative waste in its business operations.” While the revelations of the report being buried are disappointing, this is nothing new. In fact, since 1990, every government agency has been required to undergo an audit. The Pentagon continues to be the only federal agency that has not conducted a full audit, let alone passed one.

The lack of Pentagon accountability makes it difficult for Congress to make educated, informed budgeting decisions. Each year, over half of federal taxpayer dollars go directly to the Pentagon, crowding out investments in domestic priorities.

“National security begins with domestic security. In the states, we see crumbling infrastructure, a drug addiction epidemic, and a lack of investment in our communities, at the same time housing, health care, and child care costs are soaring. State lawmakers across the country are struggling to balance their budgets and provide critical safety and domestic services while Pentagon leaders are intentionally burying any evidence of waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money to protect their budget,” said Megan Amundson, WAND Executive Director.

“We all agree that the government should keep Americans safe. However, when we could wipe out the total amount of outstanding student loan debt - $1.3 trillion - with the cost of the failed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, we have a clear obligation to spend taxpayer money more wisely,” said Georgia State Senator and President of the Women Legislators’ Lobby (WiLL), Nan Grogan Orrock. “The Pentagon should be held to the same standards of accountability and outcomes as any other government agency.”

WAND urges Congress to take two steps: First, pass legislation that requires the Pentagon to be able to be audited or face financial penalties. Second, commit to channeling wasteful Pentagon spending toward domestic investments in our states.

The election demonstrated a desire for a significant change from business-as-usual. This report provides an opportunity to correct course and restore the power of the purse to the people of this country.

# # #

About Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is a grassroots advocacy organization that empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs in our communities. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


Contact:
Jessie Calkins, Communications Director
jcalkins@wand.org
617.401.2820

WAND Applauds United Nations Vote on Nuclear Ban Treaty

October 28, 2016 Washington, DC/ Boston, MAOn October 27, 2016 The United Nations First Committee voted on a resolution to move forward with multilateral negotiations for a nuclear weapons ban treaty in 2017. This vote is the next step in a several-years-long global movement to raise awareness about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use and legally prohibit nuclear weapons in international law. WAND has issued the following statement in response:

“WAND fully supports action at the United Nations that could lead to a treaty to ban nuclear weapons in international law. We have long argued that nuclear weapons must never be used again and must ultimately be eliminated,” said WAND Nuclear Weapons Policy Director Erica Fein. “The countries, civil society organizations, and activists around the globe that have revitalized the global discussion on nuclear weapons are to be congratulated for this milestone vote today.”

The U.S. government has indicated no support for a potential ban treaty. “The United States has always tried to have it both ways, rhetorically championing a step-by-step process for nuclear disarmament while maintaining a prominent role for nuclear weapons in defense planning. A demonstration in hypocrisy, the United States is poised to spend approximately $1 trillion sustaining and building up its nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years,” explained WAND Executive Director Megan Amundson.

“Non-nuclear nations have long been frustrated with the United States and other nuclear powers trying to play both sides. When the United States signed onto and ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1968, the road to disarmament seemed clear. Today, disarmament progress has stalled and there are indications that we’re moving backward. It is our hope that this new movement spurs clear and concrete steps in the United States toward disarmament,” Amundson continued.

“Nuclear weapons have no place in a modern, globalized, and interconnected society. Their use in one place, Pakistan or India, for example, would reverberate around the globe,” elaborated Fein. “We support any efforts to further stigmatize these weapons.”

“Despite U.S. opposition to the humanitarian initiative and a legally-binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons, it is our hope that the United States will send a delegate to the negotiations in 2017,” concluded Fein.

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Women’s Action for New Directions, Inc.

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Inc. empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs. WAND, Inc. is a 501 (c)(4) organization with grassroots members around the country. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release

Contact:

Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director
efein@wand.org
202.544.5055 x 5

Jessie Calkins, Communications Director
jcalkins@wand.org
617.401.2820

WAND Applauds First Debate’s Discussion of Nuclear Weapons; Urges More

Washington, DC, September 27, 2016 ─ WAND Nuclear Weapons Policy Director, Erica Fein, makes the following statement in response to the first U.S. presidential debate on September 26, 2017 at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York:

“Last night’s debate moderator, Lester Holt, should be commended for asking the candidates about nuclear weapons. His question clearly shows how important this issue is to the public and how consequential it is to the presidency. At the end of the day, both candidates left us wanting more.

“Donald Trump appeared not to entirely understand Holt’s question – if the candidates would adopt a position of no-first-use of nuclear weapons. In the same breath, Trump suggested he’d never conduct a nuclear first strike and that he’d leave all options on the table. Someone who doesn’t have the wherewithal to understand basic policy questions is not fit to be President and commander of the nuclear arsenal.

“Hillary Clinton equivocated, never explicitly answering Holt’s question. Rather, she spoke about America’s commitment to its allies. A no-first-use policy would not break America’s vow to protect our allies in a crisis, but it would lower the risk that nuclear weapons are used too quickly in a crisis scenario.

“The discussion was a good first step, but the candidates need to go further. They must clarify their positions on nuclear weapons use, explain to the American people whether they support the trillion-dollar program to rebuild the nuclear arsenal in its Cold War image, describe what they will do to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack, and make plain how they plan to ensure that the nuclear stockpile continues to be reduced given the stalemate with Russia.

“Just one nuclear weapon has the power to kill millions of people, a fact too often left unsaid in modern times. With the prospect of a Trump presidency, the public has reawakened to the severity of this issue. We have the right to know, and indeed must demand, exactly where our next president stands on this issue and how she or he will ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.”

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Women’s Action for New Directions, Inc.

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Inc. empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament, and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs. WAND, Inc. is a 501 (c)(4) organization with grassroots members around the country. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release

Contact:
Erica Fein, Nuclear Weapons Policy Director
efein@wand.org
202.544.5055 x 5

WAND Applauds United Nations Resolution on Nuclear Testing

Washington, D.C./Boston, MA, September 23, 2016 ─ Today, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) considered and passed a resolution (2310) reinforcing the global taboo against nuclear weapons testing. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, all nuclear weapons-possessing states, also issued a statement reaffirming the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). 

Women’s Action for New Directions applauds today’s United Nations resolution and accompanying statement supporting the global taboo against nuclear testing made by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

The resolution does three main things. It reinforces the global prohibition on nuclear testing, established in 1996 when international negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty were concluded and the treaty was opened for signature. It calls on all nations that have not done so to ratify the test-ban treaty. It praises the International Monitoring System, a network of 283 global monitoring stations that provide public data to all CTBT member states.

The resolution poses no legally-binding prohibition on nuclear testing and does not circumvent the Senate’s ability to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. A global ban on nuclear testing advances U.S. national security and helps prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

“Without Senate action on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, this U.N. resolution is a constructive solution for exerting pressure on any nation seeking to test nuclear weapons,” explained WAND Nuclear Weapons Policy Director, Erica Fein. In addition to supporting a global test-ban, the resolution underscores the importance of the International Monitoring System (IMS). “It is hard to downplay the value of the International Monitoring System. In a world where trust among nations is lacking, having a neutral arbiter, like the IMS, is critical,” Fein continued.

In anticipation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), along with 10 co-sponsors, and Congressmen Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Mike Rogers (R-AL) introduced legislation that would defund the organization that houses the International Monitoring System. “It’s difficult to fathom that anyone would seek to take away the capability to detect and deter tests, built up over decades,” said Fein.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. “The Senate has had twenty years to ratify the test-ban treaty, signed by President Clinton in 1996. The Senate should do its duty to ratify the treaty,” stated WAND Executive Director Megan Amundson. “In the meantime, this U.N. resolution is an essential step to solidify America’s commitment not to explosively test nuclear weapons and to prevent other countries from conducting these tests. We can’t afford to wait another 20 years. America must lead; this resolution shows that it still can,” concluded Amundson.

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Women’s Action for New Directions, Inc.

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Inc. empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs. WAND, Inc. is a 501 (c)(4) organization with grassroots members around the country. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release

Contact:
Jessie Calkins, Communications Director
jcalkins@wand.org
781.643.6740

WAND Urges Reinforcing Test Moratorium in Wake of North Korea’s Nuclear Test

Washington, D.C., September 9, 2016 - Yesterday, North Korea conducted a nuclear weapons test. This is North Korea’s fifth nuclear test and its second one this year alone. The test was confirmed by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna and the U.S. Geological Service. Erica Fein, WAND Nuclear Weapons Policy Director, has issued the following statement in response:

“Women’s Action for New Directions strongly condemns North Korea’s nuclear test. North Korea’s reckless, provocative, and dangerous behavior jeopardizes the security and safety of its own citizens, heightens regional tensions, and further isolates itself from the rest of the world.  The United States and the international community must double down on diplomatic efforts to prevent North Korea from expanding its nuclear arsenal.

“The United Nations Security Council is considering a U.S.-initiated resolution to reaffirm the global prohibition on nuclear weapons testing. No country other than North Korea has conducted explosive nuclear tests since 1998. It is imperative that this moratorium be reinforced swiftly and forcefully.

“This U.N. resolution is a constructive solution for exerting pressure on any nation seeking to test nuclear weapons while the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty languishes in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, some Senators are determined to continue to play spoiler at the expense of U.S. national security. Rather than reconsider the Test Ban Treaty, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and 32 other senators have threatened to remove funding for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which detected North Korea’s nuclear test.

“The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization houses the International Monitoring System, the most important and credible means we have to detect, confirm, and deter nuclear testing.

“For 20 years, the U.S. Senate has failed to move the ball forward in strengthening the global norm against nuclear testing. Senators must consider that without the test-ban treaty ratification, they are not enabling the United States to bring its full leverage to bear over North Korea or the rest of the international community.

“A return to nuclear testing would be devastating. Women, in particular, have historically mobilized against nuclear testing because of strong concerns about the future safety and health of our planet and its inhabitants. To stem the nuclear threat, we don’t need hyperbolic partisanship, we need U.S. leadership. The U.N. resolution is an important step in that direction.”

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Women’s Action for New Directions, Inc.

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Inc. empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs. WAND, Inc. is a 501 (c)(4) organization with grassroots members around the country. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release

Contact:
Jessie Calkins, Communications Director
jcalkins@wand.org
781.643.6740

WAND Encourages Possible United Nations Resolution on Nuclear Testing

Boston, MA, August 4, 2016 – Women’s Action for New Directions supports a possible United Nations (UN) resolution reaffirming the ban on nuclear testing, reported on today in the Washington Post. A global ban on nuclear testing advances U.S. national security and the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons.

In 2012, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) confirmed that the United States derives no benefit from nuclear explosive testing. A universal test ban helps stop the spread of nuclear weapons; nascent nuclear weapons states and established nuclear powers seeking to prove new concepts benefit from being able to test explosively.

Republican Senators have been quick to protest this news. “The Senate has had twenty years to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) signed by President Clinton in 1996, yet they have failed to do so. The Senate should do its constitutionally mandated duty to ratify the treaty. In the meantime, this is not a political gimmick by the President, it’s an essential step to solidify American security and our commitment to a treaty signed 20 years ago,” stated WAND Executive Director Megan Amundson.

National Security Spokesman Ned Price explained that a UN initiative would maintain the Senate’s constitutional role; yet Republican Senators are already talking about defunding the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). Over the past 20 years, the CTBTO has installed 283 monitoring stations that make up the International Monitoring System (IMS) around the globe.

“It would be a disastrous mistake to defund the CTBTO. These stations are the most important means we have to detect and deter nuclear testing. The monitoring stations have consistently picked up North Korea’s nuclear tests and they make it virtually impossible for any nation to cheat,” explained Nuclear Weapons Policy Director Erica Fein.

Since 1999, when the Senate last took up CTBT ratification, much has changed. There is now the proven track record of the science-based stockpile stewardship program which helped the NAS affirm there was no need to test explosively. The expansion and demonstrated capabilities of the International Monitoring System have also been developed since that time. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist by training, and Secretary of State John Kerry have expressed strong support for CTBT ratification. All three National Lab Directors, those in direct charge of the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons, agree that the United Stated does not need to explosively test.

Amundson concluded, “We don’t need hyperbolic partisan responses to initiatives that improve international security, we need leadership to stem nuclear proliferation. This initiative and CTBT ratification are in the best interests of American security regardless of political ideology.”

 

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Women’s Action for New Directions, Inc.

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Inc. empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs. WAND, Inc. is a 501 (c)(4) organization with grassroots members around the country. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org


For Immediate Release

Contact:
Jessie Calkins, Communications Director
jcalkins@wand.org
781.643.6740

WAND Condemns Trump’s Cavalier Nuclear Ignorance

Boston, MA, August 3, 2016 - This morning on the MSNBC news program Morning Joe reported today that the Republican Presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, asked an unnamed foreign policy advisor why we cannot use nuclear weapons. Megan Amundson, WAND Executive Director, has issued the following statement in response:

“The United States has possessed nuclear weapons for 71 years. During that time the world has been spared from nuclear annihilation only by sheer luck. From the Cuban Missile Crisis to recent nuclear missilier scandals the U.S. nuclear arsenal has always been fraught with peril.

“The nuclear weapons in our arsenal today are 10-20 times more powerful than the ones dropped on Japan. A nuclear war would cause unimaginable human suffering and destroy the planet. It cannot be overstated how damaging a nuclear war would be. And the use of nuclear weapons has never been taken lightly by those who have influence on their use: until today.

“The President, and the president alone, holds the key to the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This is why Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s continuous questioning of why we would not want to use nuclear weapons is so terrifying. These comments show why Donald Trump is unfit to handle nuclear weapons, and in turn lead the United States.

“Trump’s comments underscore why the United States needs a “No First Use” policy. This policy would make it clear that that the United States would never use nuclear weapons first under any circumstances.  Reports indicate that President Obama is already considering making this policy change in his final months in office. He should declare a No First Use policy without delay.

“A No First Use policy removes ambiguity around crisis situations. This policy decreases the risk of a deadly miscalculation and escalation. It serves to demonstrate that nuclear weapons are for deterrence only. They are not an option for fighting wars. Over the long term this policy helps to keep new countries from seeking nuclear weapons.

“Trump’s reported comments show that he is unfit to lead the United States. Indeed, no one person should be trusted with an arsenal that can destroy the world many times over. This is especially true in the case of Donald J. Trump.

“Trump's hand on the nuclear switch would ensure the mutual assured destruction of yesteryear.”

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Women’s Action for New Directions, Inc.

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Inc. empowers women to be agents of change to reduce violence and militarism, support nuclear disarmament and redirect excessive Pentagon spending to unmet needs. WAND, Inc. is a 501 (c)(4) organization with grassroots members around the country. Twitter @WomensAction | wand.org

 

 

WAND | Women’s Action for New Directions

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