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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Kathleen Bailey

  • National Institute for Public Policy: Senior Associate
  • Center for Security Policy: Former adviser

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Kathleen Bailey is a former U.S. arms control official and a senior associate at the National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP), a hawkish think tank based in Washington, D.C, that has been home to a number of outspoken proponents of aggressive U.S. strategic weapons policies. A former adviser to the neoconservative Center for Security Policy and the author of various texts on non-proliferation policy, Bailey is known for her opposition to key arms control initiatives. 

Bailey has served in a number of Republican administrations. She was a member of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board (2006-2008) under George W. Bush. During the George H.W Bush administration, Bailey was assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Under President Ronald Reagan, Bailey served as the research director of the U.S. Information Agency and then as deputy assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research. In 1992-1998, she was a senior fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.[1]

Bailey is perhaps best known for her opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is widely viewed as a key treaty aimed at stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons. During the 1999 Senate debate over whether to ratify the treaty, Bailey told the Senate Committee on Armed Services that the treaty would likely “promote the spread of nuclear weapons, as well as enable Russia and others to modernize their arsenals while the U.S. arsenal remains static. … Thus, the limited political benefits of the CTBT are not worth the high cost to our national security."[2]

Her views contrast sharply with those of many highly regarded experts, including Michael Krepon of the centrist Stimson Institute, who has echoed President Bill Clinton’s claim that the treaty's aim to end nuclear testing is "the longest sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms control."In a 2011 article underscoring the “valuable benefits” of the CTBT, Krepon pointed to the fact that since the treaty’s adoption, “no permanent member of the UN Security Council has tested nuclear devices,” even if a handful of countries—North Korea, India, and Pakistan—have.[3]

Bailey has lobbied heavily for a more robust U.S. nuclear weapons program. In early 2013, she was a signatory to an open letter to President Barack Obama that criticized the president’s stated goal of “ridding the world of nuclear weapons” based on the implausible argument that this aspiration would “result in the unilateral disarmament of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.” The letter pointed to North Korean underground nuclear tests to warn that the United States could soon be confronting nuclear-armed enemies across the globe, including Iran. Despite the fact that little is known about whether North Korea and Iran have collaborated on nuclear weapons technology, the letter matter-of-factly stated that Pyongyang was “amassing” nuclear weapons know-how “together with other nations hostile to us and our allies—notably, Iran,” which it claimed “raises the possibility that the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons technologies will soon metastasize around the globe.” Signatories included a host of neoconservative pundits and rightwing policy wonks, including Frank Gaffney, Thomas McInerney, James Woolsey, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, William Graham, Paul Vallely, and Henry “Hank” Cooper.[4]

Bailey was a member of the NIPP team that produced the January 2001 study Rationale and Requirements for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control, which served as a blueprint for President George W. Bush's controversial Nuclear Posture Review.[5] According to a report by the World Policy Institute, "The Bush Administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), released in January 2002, reflects the thinking of far-right conservative organizations and nuclear weapons contractors. The NPR drew many of its findings from a report released in January 2001 by the National Institute for Public Policy, entitled, Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control. In general, the NIPP report calls future security threats to the United States unknown and unpredictable. Therefore, the report concludes that the United States must maintain its nuclear arsenal, and the ability to design, build and test new nuclear weapons. The report asserts that conventional weapons are inadequate replacements for nuclear weapons because they do not have the same ‘destructive power.’ As a solution the report recommends the development of ‘low-yield, precision-guided nuclear weapons’—in other words, a nuclear weapon the United States can actually use. The NIPP panel frowns on arms control treaties because, ‘U.S. policymakers today cannot know the strategic environment of 2005, let alone 2010 or 2020. There is no basis for expecting that the conditions that may permit deep nuclear reductions today will continue in the future.’"[6]

Bailey has also been critical of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), arguing that the treaty is not verifiable—a potentiality that the CTBT was created to remedy. In an article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Bailey wrote, "Linking the extension of the NPT with a requirement for a timetable for nuclear disarmament is not constructive. Disarmament will not eliminate the risk of nuclear war, it will do little or nothing to prevent nuclear proliferation, and it will not cement the end of the Cold War. … Because there is now no effective verification for nuclear disarmament, potential proliferants [sic] might be inspired to pursue nuclear weapons, and those nations that already have them might decide to secretly retain them."[7]

Bailey is the author of four books: Death for Cause (1995), The UN Inspections in Iraq: Lessons for On-Site Verification (1995), Strengthening Nuclear Nonproliferation (1993), and Doomsday Weapons in the Hands of Many: The Arms Control Challenge of the 90s (1991).[8]

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[1] National Institute for Public Policy, Kathleen Bailey professional bio, http://www.nipp.org/Professional/Bio's/baileyk.html (accessed 16 September 2009).

[2] Kathleen Bailey, Statement before the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, October 7, 1999.

[3] Michael Krepon, “Making The CTBT’s Valuable Benefits Permanent,” Stimson Center, September 19, 2011, http://www.stimson.org/spotlight/making-the-ctbts-valuable-benefits-permanent/.

[4] Note to Congress: Twenty Experts Ask President Obama to Reverse Course on Nuclear Cuts, https://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2013/03/04/note-to-congress-twenty-experts-ask-president-obama-to-reverse-course-on-nuclear-cuts/.

[5] NIPP, Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control, National Institute for Public Policy, January 2001, http://www.nipp.org/National%20Institute%20Press/Archives/Publication%20Archive%20PDF/volume%201%20complete.pdf

[6] World Policy Institute, Axis of Influence, World Policy Institute Special Report, July 2002.

[7] Kathleen Bailey, “Why we have to keep the bomb,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 1, 1995.

[8] National Institute for Public Policy, Kathleen Bailey professional bio, http://www.nipp.org/Professional/Bio's/baileyk.html (accessed 16 September 2009). 

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Kathleen Bailey Résumé


  • National Institute for Public Policy: Senior Associate
  • Center for Security Policy: Former adviser


  • State Department: Member, Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board, 2006-2008; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research, 1985-1987.
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Senior Fellow of Center for Security and Technology Studies, 1992-1998
  • Arms Control and Disarmament Agency: Assistant Director for Nonproliferation, 1987-1990
  • U.S. Information Agency: Research Director, 1983-1985


  • University of Illinois: PhD 


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