Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear Policy News – February 15, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 15, 2017



Japan to bolster missile defenses in face of North Korean threat
Japan Times

Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump
New York Times

Nuclear modernization costs: $400 billion over 10 years
Defense News


Latest missile test improves N.K. ability to avoid pre-emptive attack: Einhorn (Interview)
"They [North Korea] are pursuing mobile, land-based missile plus submarine-based missiles and the reason is ... they want to be able to avoid pre-emption," according to Einhorn. "If you have mobile missiles that can hide or if you have submarine missiles that can hide in the ocean, then it's difficult to pre-empt. It's a huge advance for them."

Beijing Watches for How Trump Handles North Korea
The Wall Street Journal
As the Trump administration confronted its first challenge by North Korea, a weekend ballistic-missile test, China largely stayed on the sidelines, watching how the new leadership in Washington would react. China’s government waited a day before expressing its opposition to the test and urging Washington and Seoul to do more to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

Japan to bolster missile defenses in face of North Korean threat
Japan Times
The government will accelerate work to strengthen the interception of missiles. Specifically, a Defense Ministry panel headed by state minister Kenji Wakamiya is slated to study the performance and costs of the United States’ cutting-edge Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system and Aegis Ashore, a land-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system.


Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump
New York Times
Administration officials said the Russians now have two battalions of the prohibited cruise missile that violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The missile program has been a major concern for the Pentagon, which has developed options for how to respond, including deploying additional missile defenses in Europe or developing air-based or sea-based cruise missiles.

UK orders North Korea ambassador to Foreign Office over ballistic missile test
The Express
The Foreign Office spokeswoman stated, “Today, in summoning the North Korean ambassador, we have made clear that the actions of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were in direct violation of multiple resolutions, are a threat to international security and that such dangerous and destabilizing activity must stop.”


India Set to Test Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile
The National Interest
India’s new K-4 nuclear-capable, submarine-launched ballistic missile is expected to have a range of 3,500 kilometers, a serious improvement over its current operational missile of the same kind.



Nuclear modernization costs: $400 billion over 10 years
Defense News
The Congressional Budget Office released its current estimate that the current plan to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons will cost $400 billion from 2017 to 2026.

Bright light in Northern California sky was missile test
Stars and Stripes
A submarine off the coast of California launched a Trident II D-5 missile at 3:30 a.m. and another at 6:20 a.m. The Trident II is a three-stage missile with a 4,000-mile range.



South Korea Needs to Realize That North Korea Isn’t Going to Collapse
Robert E. Kelly, The National Interest
North Korea is not going to soon collapse or disappear. Ignoring it or appeasing it will not make it go away or tame it either. Nor is it primarily a problem for China, the United States, the UN and so on. This is firstly a South Korean issue, and it will be costly, domestically inconvenient, time-consuming and socially fatiguing to finally throttle North Korea into collapse.

Trump Must Respond to Russia’s New Nuclear Missile
Matthew Kroenig, The Atlantic Council
Washington and its NATO allies must act. US President Donald Trump’s administration should quickly conduct an internal policy review to weigh the available options for speedily developing and deploying a more flexible NATO nuclear posture. Some of the best options will require a decade or more to develop, but the threat is here and now, so it must also consider quicker fixes. 

The Myth of U.S. Nuclear Leadership
Matthew Costlow, National Institute for Public Policy
Everyone loves a leader. “Lead by example” says the old cliché. Yet when applied to U.S. nuclear weapons policy, this cliché has proven to be a failure. The idea’s superficial attractiveness is derived from its simplicity: U.S. reductions will lead to Russian and perhaps other countries’ reductions or arms control agreements. Cause and effect. An elegant solution to a complex problem.

Will North Korea’s Missile Launch a New U.S. Policy?
Anthony Ruggiero, Real Clear Defense
North Korea is a thorny foreign policy challenge that the Obama administration deferred with its policy of “strategic patience.” The Trump administration has an opportunity to recalibrate and make it clear to North Korea that further provocations will elicit increasingly harsh responses.

Russia Must Immediately Resolve INF Treaty Noncompliance Issue
Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Association
We call on Russia to immediately decommission the noncompliant missiles systems and return to compliance with the INF Treaty. We also urge President Donald Trump and administration officials to reiterate U.S. support for the agreement and convene another meeting of the treaty's Special Verification Commission (SVC) to address and resolve the compliance issues.

One Nuclear Step to Settle an Unsettled Age
Michael Krepon, Defense One
Important pledges can lose their effect unless backed up by deeds. The single most symbolic and practical step that states possessing nuclear weapons could take would be to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear testing for all time. 



The United States Used Depleted Uranium in Syria
Foreign Policy
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques stated armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium (DU) destroyed about 350 vehicles in the Syria’s eastern desert. However, the potential popular blowback from using depleted uranium is very real. While the United States insists it has the right to use the weapon, experts call the decision to use the weapon in such quantities against targets it wasn’t designed for — such as tanks — peculiar at best.

NATO’S Red Herring
Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
By spending more on equipment and training and sending troops to Poland and the Baltic states, NATO aims to reassure its more vulnerable members. But something of fundamental importance is missing from the spending plea and the deployment of troops: institutional memory, or what collective defense and deterrence used to mean in substance and in practice.


Tuesday's Top Nuclear Policy News


U.N. chief seeks to avoid war with North Korea, takes digs at Trump

Spain becomes fourth country to expel North Korean envoy over nuclear program
Washington Post

Trump lashes out at North Korea: ‘Rocket man is on a suicide mission’

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