About Open Nuclear Network
Open Nuclear Network (ONN) is an apolitical non-governmental organisation established in Vienna, Austria, in 2019. Its mission is to reduce the risk of the use of nuclear weapons in response to error, uncertainty or misdirection, particularly in the context of escalating conflict.
Adversarial States involved in “nuclear flashpoint” contexts, i.e. conflicts in which nuclear-armed States are involved, are at risk of runaway escalation that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons, especially where there is a history of mutual distrust. This lack of trust is exacerbated by asymmetric information about capabilities and intentions due to:
- the lack of shareable, timely and reliable information not produced by an intelligence community of one of the parties to the conflict;
- the absence of informed, credible and neutral outside engagement prior to or during a crisis;
- a deficit in positive engagement among adversaries; and
- the latent risk of military escalation, compounded by internal miscalculation or an externally-generated false positive.
As conflict escalates, the problems associated with distrust and limited communications are compounded by the need for decision makers to make difficult choices within ever shorter time periods.
The security of all States can be increased by ensuring that decision makers in countries engaged in such conflicts have access to high quality, shareable open source information that enables them to make the best decisions in the face of conflicts. How can this be achieved?
ONN as a Solution
ONN offers one mechanism for reducing the risk that nuclear weapons are used in the course of conflict escalation: a transparently non-aligned, data-driven, civilian programme committed to building relationships and sharing information across national and alliance boundaries.
ONN is building a state-of-the-art user-friendly software platform (Datayo) and populating it with relevant open source data from diverse sources updated in near real-time. Using this platform, ONN analysts will have efficient and timely access to a varied set of curated data to produce credible analyses in connection with targeted conflict contexts and identify opportunities for constructive engagement. These analyses will be delivered to decision makers in relevant countries either directly by ONN staff or through its Engagement Network.
The Engagement Network is a team of credible and trusted influencers with whom ONN will co-create strategies for engaging decision makers in countries involved in targeted conflicts. This will give decision makers access to independently generated and unclassified information, which can be used as a common basis for dialogue and conflict de-escalation, thereby reducing the risk of nuclear weapons use in response to error, uncertainty or misdirection.
During its first year of operation, ONN will be focussing primarily on the Korean Peninsula. Should this effort prove successful, ONN will expand the scope of its activities to other conflict contexts.
How is ONN funded?
ONN is a programme of the One Earth Future Foundation (OEF), a private non-profit foundation established in Colorado and funded by a Canadian entrepreneurial philanthropist, Marcel Arsenault, and his wife, Cynda Collins Arsenault. OEF is committed to peace through governance, fostering sustainable peace by building effective networks. Its mission is to catalyse systems that eliminate root causes of war. OEF has been granted ECOSOC Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.
OEF is an operating foundation, not a granting foundation. It is structured as an incubator of diverse semi-autonomous programmes, each of which works on sustainable solutions to a specific problem, whether it’s reintegrating FARC rebels in Colombia, connecting Somali businesses to lenders abroad or developing cooperative solutions for maritime security.
Given the mission of ONN, it was decided to establish ONN in Vienna, Austria, the home of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-BanTreaty (CTBT), the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs in Vienna (UNODA) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as of the diplomatic missions whose focus is on nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and conflict resolution. Anticipating the possible expansion of an OEF presence in Europe, the office was registered with the Austrian Government in April 2019 as “One Earth Future Austria” (OEF Austria).