Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear Policy News – May 11, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 11, 2017



North Korea’s ICBMs Have ‘Important Shortfalls,’ Pentagon Says

Going Under Cover: Enhanced Concealment Effort Noted at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site
38 North

Pentagon Wrestling with Closed Nuke C3 in the Cloud-Computing Era
Inside Defense

US May Send Patriot Missile to Lithuania amid Moscow Threat
Military Times


China Says It Successfully Tests New Type of Missile
Defense News
A brief statement on the ministry's website said the test took place recently in the Bohai Gulf and "achieved the intended result." It did not reveal the type of missile or provide other details.

North Korea’s ICBMs Have ‘Important Shortfalls,’ Pentagon Says
Kim Jong Un’s regime “continues efforts to expand its stockpile of weapons-grade fissile materials,” but “there is still a lot of development needed before” it can deploy a weapon such as a mobile ICBM able to reach the U.S. mainland, Navy Commander William Marks, a Defense Intelligence Agency spokesman stated.

Report: Japan Considering Buying Tomahawks for Destroyer Fleet to Deter North Korea
Late last week, a Japanese government official said the Japanese government was interested in acquiring the land-attack strike missiles as a hedge against North Korean missile attacks. “The government is eager to set aside funds to study the feasibility of acquiring the ability to strike enemy missile sites, and could do so in the draft budget for fiscal 2018,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

South Korea’s Leader Willing to Visit North, Talk to US, China
Military Times
New South Korean President Moon Jae-in said as he took office Wednesday that he is open to visiting rival North Korea under the right conditions to talk about its aggressive pursuit of nuclear-tipped missiles.

South Korea Urges ‘Parallel’ Talks and Sanctions to Rein in North Korea
South Korea's new president launched international efforts to defuse tension over North Korea's weapons development on Thursday, urging both dialogue and sanctions while also aiming to ease Chinese anger about a U.S. anti-missile system.

Going Under Cover: Enhanced Concealment Effort Noted at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site
38 North
Commercial satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from May 2 and 3 indicates a low level of activity continues around the North Portal, the tunnel where test preparations have been observed over the past few weeks. Additionally, what appears to be disruptive pattern camouflage paint has been added to the roofs of the Command Center buildings, which might be an attempt to reduce foreign capabilities to observe and monitor activities at the site from overhead.

North Korea Rattled by Commando-Carrying Guided Missile Sub
Defense Tech
“The moment the USS Michigan tries to budge even a little, it will be doomed to face the miserable fate of becoming an underwater ghost without being able to come to the surface,” the North’s propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said. That was how the North greeted the arrival of the 560-foot, Ohio-class Michigan at the South Korean port of Busan on April 25 — the anniversary date of the founding of North Korea’s army.


US May Send Patriot Missile to Lithuania amid Moscow Threat
Military Times
U.S. defense officials said a long-range Patriot missile battery may be deployed to the Baltic region later this year as part of a military exercise. The move, if finalized, would be temporary but signal staunch U.S. backing for Baltic nations concerned about the threat from Russia.


Supporting the Safe, Secure, Peaceful and Sustainable Uses of Nuclear Energy
U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
As Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna Andrew J. Schofer said in his statement today, “The world is indeed realizing the peaceful promise of the atom. This is the result of robust efforts to ensure that nuclear energy is used safely, securely, and under sound nonproliferation conditions that ensure it is not diverted for weapons use…  States that uphold their nonproliferation commitments should know that they have a strong partner in the United States toward that end.”



CIA Establishes Mission Center Focused on North Korea
The Hill
"Creating the Korea Mission Center allows us to more purposefully integrate and direct CIA efforts against the serious threats to the United States and its allies emanating from North Korea," CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "It also reflects the dynamism and agility that CIA brings to evolving national security challenges."

Pentagon Wrestling with Closed Nuke C3 in the Cloud-Computing Era
Inside Defense, Rachel Karas
The military still lacks a technical solution for next-generation nuclear command, control and communications, though the operational requirements are "in good shape," the leader of U.S. Strategic Command said.



No Time for Friction With South Korea
New York Times
In the end, neither carrots nor sticks have diverted North Korea so far from its single-minded pursuit of a nuclear deterrent, and a rift among the United States, South Korea and China would only encourage the North to barrel ahead. Mr. Moon’s openness to dialogue need not be at odds with a tough stance in Washington, if Mr. Moon and Mr. Trump meet and forge a clear and common overall strategy.

Bring Back the Nuclear Tomahawks
U.S. Naval Institute, Admiral Sandy Winnefeld and Dr. James N. Miller
An especially elegant use of such power would avoid a tit-for-tat violation of or, worse, a withdrawal from the INF treaty. Rather, Russia should feel the pinch from a capability that lies well within international agreements: a sea-based nuclear-armed cruise missile. This would require restoration of the Navy’s nuclear capability on Tomahawk cruise missiles in what was known as TLAM-Ns—Tomahawk land-attack missile-nuclear.

Trump’s North Korea Policy Just Got More Complicated
Defense One, Uri Friedman
The winner of South Korea’s presidential election on Tuesday, agrees with the American president that North Korea’s expanding nuclear arsenal constitutes a grave threat. Moon, like Donald Trump, believes sanctions on the North should be maintained. Like Trump, he’s willing to talk directly with Kim Jong Un. But they diverge on the sequencing.




North Korea Learned How to Test Nukes from the U.S.
Vice News, Keegan Hamilton
The government has indeed declassified info about America’s old nuke tests; there are even books on Amazon that describe how the underground tunnels were designed and spaced to keep nuclear blasts safely contained. In North Korea, each test creates a small earthquake, and there are standard formulas to calculate the distance between underground explosions using seismic readings. Lewis and his team created interactive 3D maps of Punggye-ri’s tunnels [see below] and overlayed them with the U.S. setup in Nevada. “It turns out you could almost perfectly just drop it right on top,” he said.

Monday's Top Nuclear Policy News

PACOM chief Harris arrives in South Korea as North likens joint war game to ‘pouring gasoline on fire’
Japan Times

Iran: Top priority to protect nuclear deal from US
Al Jazeera

Talk of ‘Preventative War’ rises in White House over North Korea
New York Times

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