Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 129

BOOK REVIEWS language of the legal courts, and is well cited. The historical background of the formulation and progression of military governing laws over the years is extremely informative. However, I would limit my recommendation mainly to JAG students or other legal profession members. Lt. Col. George Hodge, U.S. Army, Retired, Lansing, Kansas UNMAKING THE BOMB: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation Harold A. Feiveson, Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian, and Frank N. von Hippel, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2014, 296 pages Ad bellum pace parati: Prepared in peace for war. Si vi pacem para pacem: If you want peace, prepare for peace. T hose two Latin phrases form an interesting contrast. The first phrase is the motto of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the school located just east of the Military Review offices. The second phrase graces the inside front cover of Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation. Each upholds a deep belief about our world, and a belief about what we must prepare for. Which of the two beliefs you hold may determine your reaction to this book. The authors discuss nuclear war, and how we can eliminate the possibility of nuclear war by eliminating the primary materials used to make a nuclear bomb: the fissile materials. The book is an accessible and interesting look into the mind of disarmament proponents. It is written with minimal technical language and no math. If you can remember your high school physics, you will be comfortable with everything in this book. It is interesting because it documents the world of fissile material production, storage, and security. There are 470 endnotes that MILITARY REVIEW  March-April 2016 superbly lay out the sources of information for each technical assertion made by the authors. They definitely know their subject in great depth. The book envisions a post-fissile world where all fissile materials are eradicated—or at least made inaccessible without enormous effort. The authors begin by extensively documenting their estimate of the current amount of fissile materials held throughout the world. They sum it all up to about 1,900 tons of fissile material in 2013: 1,400 tons of highly enriched uranium and 500 tons of separated plutonium. Since they estimate it only takes approximately four kilograms of plutonium or twelve kilograms of uranium to make a nuclear weapon, there is enough fissile material on earth now for more than one hundred thousand weapons. It is hard to not to agree that this is far more than is needed. Some current studies predict a nuclear winter after as few as one hundred nuclear detonations. The authors maintain that those large stockpiles may not be very safe in terms of thefts or attacks. They point to a study that postulated raiders of a storage facility could produce and detonate an improvised nuclear bomb before security forces could arrive to stop them. Even if decision makers are opposed to the complete elimination of fissile materials, they may still acknowledge a need to reduce the total quantity of those materials. The authors propose a four-step action plan for complete elimination of fissile materials. First, gain transparency of all stockpiles so we know exactly what quantities are in existence. Second, stop all further production of fissile materials. Third, eliminate the materials in an irreversible method (various methods are proposed). Finally, ensure international verification of all these actions. In principle, this is a simple plan, but the difficulty is in the execution of the steps. The vision of a world without the need for, or stockpiling of, nuclear fissile materials and thence no nuclear power plants and no nuclear weapons is thought provoking. It is also unlikely to be universally embraced, as even today there are new power plants and breeder reactors under construction in some countries still committed to nuclear 127