Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News – March 15, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 15, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China’s Premier Li Keqiang Has Called for a Return to Talks on North Korean Nukes
Time

Tillerson to press China on North Korea in tough first Asia trip
Reuters

Senators Reject Call for New Nuclear Weapons, Ending Nuclear Testing Ban 

Feinstein

Tillerson looks to global effort on Iran as model for North Korea
CNN



EAST ASIA

China ready to neutralize THAAD, retired PLA general say
South China Morning Post
China knew it might not be able to stop Seoul deploying a US anti-missile system and was prepared to counter with its own anti-radar equipment, a retired PLA general said on Monday.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang Has Called for a Return to Talks on North Korean Nukes
Time
Li said China was a strong supporter of U.N. resolutions aimed at nudging the North toward ending its programs, and had "fully complied" with economic sanctions on Pyongyang.

China begins new work on disputed South China Sea island
Reuters
China has started fresh construction work in the disputed South China Sea, new satellite images show, a sign that Beijing is continuing to strengthen its military reach across the vital trade waterway.

U.S., South Korea discuss North Korean threat, China warns of risk
Reuters
The U.S. and South Korean military chiefs warned on Tuesday that North Korea could "conduct provocative actions" in response to large-scale joint drills between the two countries, as China's premier also said tensions could lead to conflict.




SOUTH ASIA

Anti-ballistic missile system for India metros soon
The Indian Express
After successful trials of two homegrown interceptor missiles in a gap of 20 days at both high and low altitudes, India is now planning to deploy the anti-ballistic missile system to protect its metros from hostile aerial attacks.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Tillerson looks to global effort on Iran as model for North Korea
CNN
Tillerson will explore with regional powers the creation of a broader international campaign similar to the Obama administration's global approach on the nuclear deal with Iran. Key to that will be more European participation.

North Korea threat looms over Tillerson’s Asia Trip
ABC News
Tillerson will find shared anxiety at North Korea's saber-rattling but less agreement about how to deal with it, and unresolved questions about how the United States and China, the world's two largest economies, can manage growing differences.

Tillerson to press China on North Korea in tough first Asia trip
Reuters
The chances of Tillerson persuading China to do more to curb North Korea's weapons programs while in Beijing appear scant, given China's anger at the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea last week, and Trump's repeated threats to impose punitive tariffs on Beijing to correct a large trade imbalance.

Senators Reject Call for New Nuclear Weapons, Ending Nuclear Testing Ban
Feinstein

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined with 12 Senate colleagues demanding the Defense and Energy departments reject a recent Pentagon report that called for new “limited-use” nuclear weapons and suggested ending the nuclear testing ban.




OPINIONS

Trump’s ‘Deterrence Bounce’ and the Dangers of Shock-Jock Diplomacy
Foreign Policy, Lori Esposito Murray

The problem is not the absence of a foreign-policy doctrine. There is, in fact, a Trump doctrine. While the country and the world immediately recognize that this president does things differently, in the art of diplomacy, words matter.

“Peace Through Strength”: Deterrence in Chinese Military Doctrine
War on the Rocks, Dennis Blasko

As China has grown stronger economically and militarily over the past two decades, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has developed a parallel understanding of the need for a strong military. Through long-term military modernization, Beijing aims to create a capable and credible military force to protect China’s core interests.

March Missiles: Predicting North Korea Provocation
CSIS Beyond Parallel, Marie DuMond

A Predata-Beyond Parallel prediction indicates there is a 43% chance of North Korean WMD activity taking place in the next 14 days. In the next 30 days, there is a 62% chance for North Korean WMD activity. Beyond Parallel defines WMD activity as nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.

Why the real quarrel between Beijing and Seoul isn’t about THAAD
South China Morning Post, Cary Huang

One big problem is that Beijing has been trying to balance efforts towards two contradictory goals – serving its geopolitical and ideological needs. On the one hand, Beijing wants to see a denuclearized Korean peninsula, but, on the other, it fears the loss of a communist ally.

Can Trump Stop Kim Jong Un?
POLITICO, Toby Dalton and John Wolfsthal

None of the options available to President Trump are attractive, but several are fraught with dangerous side effects. The worst ideas would spark an armed conflict or undermine South Korea’s confidence in U.S. security guarantees, potentially pushing Seoul to develop its own nuclear weapons.

Nuclear posture Review: Response to Russia?
The Cipher Brief, Walter Pincus

Pressure is growing for development of a new, U.S., low-yield, land-based or air-launched, tactical nuclear weapon as a response to Russia’s recent deployment of a nuclear-capable, intermediate-range, land-based cruise missile.

Nuclear missile surprises
The Washington Times, Peter Vincent Pry

Evidence continues to mount that the establishment view is wrong. They are grossly underestimating the technological sophistication of rogue state nuclear and missile programs.

China won’t solve Washington’s problem with Kim Jong Un
Defense One, Minxin Pei

Unless the upcoming April summit in Mar-a-lago reaches a grand bargain that stabilizes U.S.-China relations across the board, the risks that the Trump administration will push back against China on trade and security will remain high and China will have little incentive to help America out where North Korea is concerned. If anything, the unfolding crisis in North Korea could get far more dangerous.

Get Real on Iran’s Missile Program
War on the Rocks, Bharath Gopalaswamy and Amir Handjani

After four years during which the Obama and Rouhani administrations worked on a framework to de-escalate tensions between the United States and Iran, it’s now conceivable to envisage a situation where the war of words and posturing could escalate into a military conflict.

India is letting NSG and Masood Azhar get in the way of good relations with China
Hindustan Times
The reason why Sino-Indian relations are in a bad state has a lot to do with the way India conducts its foreign policy, rather than their much talked up geopolitical rivalry.




SPECIAL INTEREST

The Feds Are Spending Millions to Help You Survive Nuclear War
Wired
Over the last ten years the US has poured millions of dollars into technologies and treatments it hopes to never have to use, but could, in the event of a nuclear catastrophe.


Soviet-era nuclear testing is still making people sick in Kazakhstan
Public Radio International
With the help of the Americans and the Russians, Kazakhstan buried and sealed two main underground testing sites. Now they’re in the process of clearing every inch of the Polygon of radioactive remnants. It’s slow and expensive work.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 10, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 10, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Preparations for a Future Test Continue at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site
38 North

Iran successfully tests ballistic missile
Defense News

Russia denies violating nuclear arms pact with US
Defense News

 

EAST ASIA

Preparations for a Future Test Continue at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site
38 North
New commercial satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from March 7 indicates activity at the North Portal, Main Administrative Area and Command Center. The sum of these activities supports an assessment that North Korea continues to prepare the tunnels at the North Portal for a future nuclear test.

Trump administration ‘underwhelmed' by Chinese offer on N. Korea
Boston Globe
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on both sides to ‘‘flash the red light and apply brakes on both trains.’’ He proposed that the US and South Korea halt their military exercises in exchange for an end to nuclear and missile testing by North Korea. Senior Trump administration official said the US government will not use the Chinese offer as a starting point for dealing with the North Korean threat

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran successfully tests ballistic missile
Defense News
Iran's Revolutionary Guard has successfully tested a ballistic missile, Iran's Fars news agency reported Thursday. The report quotes Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division, as saying the missile destroyed a target from a distance of 250 kilometers. It said the sea-launched ballistic missile, dubbed Hormuz 2, was tested last week. 

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia denies violating nuclear arms pact with US
Defense News
The Kremlin on Thursday rejected U.S. claims of Russian violations of a landmark nuclear arms treaty, saying it has respected the pact and will continue to do so. 

SOUTH ASIA

US sanctions are affecting India-Russia defense deals; MoD source
Defense News
U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia are affecting Indian weapons procurement because Moscow is unable to furnish bank guarantees required by Indian law.

 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Over 90 Congressmen Sign THAAD resolution
Yonhap
As of Thursday, a total of 93 Democratic and Republican congressmen have signed the H. Res. 92 since it was proposed by Rep. Joe Wilson on Dec. 7.

Drones threatened nuclear facilities
The Washington Times
Drone aircraft recently carried out unauthorized intrusions over Air Force and Navy nuclear facilities, and the incidents pose a growing threat, Gen. John E. Hyten disclosed to Congress Wednesday.

Haley Demands Positive Action from North Korea Before Talks (Video)
The Voice of America
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says the United States must see "some sort of positive action" from North Korea before any discussions to lower tensions on the Korean peninsula can begin.

Statement of General Paul Selva, USAF Military Assessment of Nuclear Weapons Requirements
House Armed Services Committee
The fundamental role of U.S. nuclear forces is to deter a strategic attack against the United States, its allies, and its partners. Simply put, nuclear weapons pose the only existential threat to the United States and there is no substitute for the prospect of a devastating nuclear response to deter that threat.

Navy’s Life-Extended Nuclear Missile Achieved Milestone
Defense Daily
The U.S. Navy loaded the first two life-extended Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles on an Ohio-class submarine last month.

Sandia National Labs ensure functionality of nation’s nuclear weapons
Homeland Preparedness News
In the years since the United States ceased developing new nuclear weapons systems, Sandia National Laboratories have been conducting and developing a series of assessments for each nuclear weapons system to detect or anticipate potential functionality issues as the weapons themselves continue to age.

 

OPINIONS

A Huge Risk of Small Nukes
Politico, Philip E. Coyle and James McKeon
Deploying new, more capable low-yield weapons would only serve to heighten tensions between the United States and Russia, likely leading to a new type of nuclear arms race that no one would win, and increasing the chances that these arms will be used. The benefits are nonexistent; the heightened dangers are impossible to ignore.

No More U.S.-Russian Arms Treaties Until Moscow Stops Violating Existing Treaties and Agreements
Real Clear Defense, Keith B. Payne and Franklin C. Miller
The Trump Administration would be ill-advised to seek to negotiate new arms control treaties with Moscow until the Russian Federation complies with the treaties it has signed and demonstrates that it is a worthy negotiating partner.  To date, it has proven the opposite.

North Korea Expected to Acquire Nuclear-Armed ICBMs No Matter What Trump Does
The Daily Caller, Ryan Pickrell
“It is difficult to calculate or predict when North Korea might achieve that capability, a reliable nuclear-armed ICBM, but certainly with the pace of testing they’ve been carrying out something in the next five to 10 years seems like a reasonable guess,” Gary Samore, the former White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, told the Senate Committee on Arms Services Wednesday.

The enduring nonproliferation value of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
The Nonproliferation Review, Daryl G. Kimball
In order to realize the full potential of the treaty and close the door on testing, states need to undertake new and sustained diplomatic efforts that underscore the political and security value of the treaty for each of the hold-out states.

 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Old trucks, long hours, poor management
Los Angeles Times
The unmarked 18-wheelers ply the nation’s interstates and two-lane highways, logging 3 million miles a year hauling the most lethal cargo there is: nuclear bombs.

Lasers can detect weapons-grade uranium from afar
Phys.org
If a nuclear bomb were detonated, governments would want to know what was in it and where it came from. For the most accurate analysis, scientists would need samples collected from the blast site. But it would be safer and quicker to run this style of analysis at a distance.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - March 8, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 8, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korean Missiles Trigger Talk in Japan of Pre-Emptive Strike Ability
Wall Street Journal

Russia to Arm Nuclear Subs With New Supersonic Cruise Missile
The Diplomat

Tillerson could float military response to North Korea during Asia trip
Washington Examiner

Rising Tensions With North Korea
New York Times Editorial Board

EAST ASIA

North Korean Missiles Trigger Talk in Japan of Pre-Emptive Strike Ability
Wall Street Journal
North Korea’s advancing nuclear-tipped missile program is fueling a new push by hawkish Japanese politicians to enable Tokyo to pre-emptively attack North Korean launch sites if Japan appears under imminent threat.

Why China is so mad about THAAD, a missile defense system aimed at deterring North Korea
Washington Post
Given how angry Beijing gets about THAAD, you may be forgiven for thinking that the U.S. missile system, deployed to South Korea, is primarily aimed at China. However, Washington and Seoul have justified the system by saying it is necessary to defend South Korea from North Korean aggression.

China Tries to Defuse Tensions Over North Korea
New York Times
China tried to cool newly volatile tensions on the Korean Peninsula, proposing that North Korea suspend its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for a halt to major military exercises between American and South Korean forces.

MIDDLE EAST

Trump administration pledges 'great strictness' on Iran nuclear deal
Reuters
Donald Trump's administration pledged to show "great strictness" over restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities, but gave little indication of what that might mean for the agreement.

Amid rising tensions, Iran tests Russian-built missile system
Christian Science Monitor
Iran says it has successfully tested a Russian-made long-range missile, stoking anxieties as tensions between the nation and the United States continue to climb.

U.S. ship changed course toward Iranians on Saturday: Iran commander
Reuters
A U.S. Navy ship changed course toward Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, a guard commander was quoted as saying on Wednesday while issuing a warning.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia to Arm Nuclear Subs With New Supersonic Cruise Missile
The Diplomat
The Russian Navy will arm its upgraded Project 949A Oscar II-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarines (SSGN) with 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said.

Fearing U.S. Withdrawal, Europe Considers Its Own Nuclear Deterrent
New York Times
An idea, once unthinkable, is gaining attention in European policy circles: a European Union nuclear weapons program.

SOUTH ASIA

India's nuclear record better, but Pakistan also needs NSG: China
The Economic Times
Despite India's "cleaner record compared to Pakistan", no discrimination should be made while considering their bids to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a Communist Party of China official said.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

North Korea Tensions Pose Early, and Perilous, Test for Trump
New York Times
When the United States began deploying a missile defense system in South Korea this week, it was to protect an ally long threatened by North Korean provocations.

Tillerson could float military response to North Korea during Asia trip
Washington Examiner
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could use an upcoming trip to Asia to gauge Chinese interest in a military response to North Korea's recent nuclear weapons program tests, according to the State Department.

Facing test of resolve, Trump pushes ahead with North Korea review
Reuters
Faced with a growing test of resolve for a new U.S. president who vowed while campaigning to get tough on North Korea, Donald Trump's aides are pressing to complete a strategy review on how to counter Pyongyang's missile and nuclear threats.

Why a $1 trillion endeavor to modernize the US nuclear arsenal could get more bipartisan support
CNBC
President Donald Trump has made modernizing the nation's nuclear arsenal a top priority. Now, after years of being put on the sidelines, threats from abroad and congressional hearings scheduled for Wednesday could further highlight the need to update the country's weapons technology.

OPINIONS

Rising Tensions With North Korea
New York Times Editorial Board
The world has been wondering where President Trump will face his first national security crisis. This week it has looked as if North Korea might be the first hot spot.

A nuclear weapons ban should first do no harm to the NPT
Adam Mount, Richard Nephew for The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
Pro-ban states should insist that the new treaty contain an article reaffirming all participants’ obligations to the NPT.

Pick Up the Pace on Missile Defense
Sen. Dan Sullivan for DefenseOne
Five steps to keep U.S. defenses ahead of North Korea’s efforts to make weapons that can threaten American cities.

Trump’s Silence on Russian Missiles Makes America Less Safe
Jon Wolfstahl for Foreign Policy
Russia presents security challenges to the United States and its allies for which the Trump administration has yet to indicate any kind of a policy direction or goals.

US-Russian space cooperation: a model for nuclear security
Simon Saradzhyan and William Tobey for Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
The steps that Washington and Moscow took to transform their space rivalry into cooperation can serve today as a model for working together to help prevent nuclear terrorism, no matter how strained relations may seem.

U.S. Should Support NATO and Offer Reassurances to Russia
Kimberly Marten for Council on Foreign Relations
“[Vladimir] Putin’s aggression makes the possibility of a war in Europe between nuclear-armed adversaries frighteningly real,” writes Kimberly Marten.

SPECIAL INTEREST

During the Korea War, America Considered Attacking North Korea with Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest
In 1950, as U.S. forces retreated from China’s onslaught across the Yalu River, General Douglas MacArthur called for strategic air attacks against China.

The Doomsday Clock, explained
Vox
When Martyl Langsdorf designed the Doomsday Clock in 1947, it was just an arbitrary graphic for the first edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 6, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 6, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korea firs four ballistic missiles into sea, angering Japan and South
Reuters

Iran tests sophisticated Russian defense system
The Military Times

Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors
IAEA

S. Korea promptly coordinates with U.S. and Japan over N.K. missile provocation
Yonhap


EAST ASIA

North Korea firs four ballistic missiles into sea, angering Japan and South
Reuters
The missiles were launched from the Tongchang-ri region near the reclusive North's border with China, South Korean and some of the missiles landed in waters as close as 300 km (190 miles) from Japan's northwest coast.

Abe says latest North Korean missile launch represents ‘new level of threat
The Japan Times
During Monday’s Upper House Budget Committee session, Abe condemned the provocation as “utterly intolerable” and noted the North’s accelerating technological advancements. The prime minister also said that “Japan will continue to coordinate closely with the United States, South Korea and other countries to strongly urge North Korea to exercise restraint.” 

North Korea Missile Test Not Likely an ICBM
Voice of America
Roh Jae-chun, a public affairs officer for the South Korean military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated, “South Korea and the U.S. are closely analyzing at the moment. The possibility [of an ICBM test] is low, but it will require more precise analysis."

North Korea Missile Test Stirs Fears of Capability to Reach U.S.
The Wall Street Journal
North Korea’s firing of a burst of medium-range missiles suggests it is pushing hard toward a promised launch this year of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

S. Korea promptly coordinates with U.S. and Japan over N.K. missile provocation
Yonhap
South Korea hastened coordination with the United States and Japan on Monday after the North fired four missiles toward the East Sea.Kim Kwan-jin, chief of South Korea's National Security Office, held a phone conversation with H.R. McMaster, Washington's national security adviser, to discuss a joint response to the North's latest provocation.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran tests sophisticated Russian defense system
The Military Times
The report said the test of the S-300 system came during a recent military exercise named Damvand, the name of Iran's highest mountain. It said the test targeted various flying objects including missiles. With a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) the S-300 is capable of simultaneously tracking and striking multiple targets. 

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Kremlin says seriously worried about North Korea missile drills
Reuters
In a conference call on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated, "Definitely, we are seriously worried - these are the sort of actions that lead to a rise in tension in the region and of course in this situation, traditionally, Moscow calls for restraint from all sides.”

France condemns North Korea missile test
Reuters
France on Monday condemned North Korea's firing of four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan's northwest. A French foreign ministry statement said Paris would consult U.N. Security Council members on the issue.

 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors
IAEA
Director General to IAEA Board of Governors expresses IAEA readiness to play its part in verifying North Korea’s nuclear program.

 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump Inherits a Secret Cyberwar Against North Korean Missiles
The New York Times
The decision to intensify the cyber and electronic strikes, in early 2014, came after Mr. Obama concluded that the $300 billion spent since the Eisenhower era on traditional antimissile systems, often compared to hitting “a bullet with a bullet,” had failed the core purpose of protecting the continental United States.

US condemns ‘unacceptable’ North Korea missile launches
ABC News
The State Department said it "strongly condemns" the launches of several missiles by North Korea on Sunday, calling it a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

 

 

OPINIONS

There’s no such thing as ‘limited’ nuclear war
The Washington Post, Dianne Feinstein
Nuclear weapons present us with a paradox: We spend billions of dollars building and maintaining them in the hope that we never have to use them. Designing new low-yield nuclear weapons for limited strikes dangerously lowers the threshold for their use. Such a recommendation undermines the stability created by deterrence, thereby increasing the likelihood of sparking an unwinnable nuclear war.

Why Mess With a Nuclear Treaty, Mr. Trump?
New York Times
If Mr. Trump leaves the treaty, the United States and Russia will be free to build up arsenals that have declined by thousands of weapons since the late 1960s. That would set off a costly, destabilizing arms race. And by eliminating verification and transparency requirements, America would lose insight into Russia’s program.

Nuclear Weapons: Trust But Modernize
The Daily Caller, Peter Huessy
The nuclear modernization program of record—12 submarines, 400 GBSD missiles, 100+ new bombers, warhead production improved and streamlined, and command and control redone—is the right way forward. So to paraphrase President Reagan, yes we can trust our deterrent will work. But only if we “Trust but modernize”.

China’s Greatest Nightmare: Taiwan Armed with Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Kyle Mizokami
From Taiwan’s perspective, a nuclear arsenal would be the ultimate guarantor of national sovereignty. Even if the United States split with the country, as it eventually did, Taiwanese nukes would keep the Chinese People’s Liberation Army at bay, a deterrent not only against Chinese nuclear power, but against conventional forces as well.

Fearing U.S. Withdrawal, Europe Considers its Own Nuclear Deterrent 
New York Times, Max Fisher
Though no new countries would join the nuclear club under this scheme, it would amount to an unprecedented escalation in Europe’s collective military power and a drastic break with American leadership. Analysts say that the talk, even if it never translates into action, demonstrates the growing sense in Europe that drastic steps may be necessary to protect the postwar order.




SPECIAL INTEREST

Nuclear North Korea
Reuters Graphics
Check out this interactive timeline of North Korea’s nuclear and missile activity since 1985.

Reuters TV: North Korea’s missile launch (video)
Reuters
ICYMI: An exclusive look into North Korea’s missile launch.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 3, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 3, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China Retaliates Against South Korea for THAAD
Real Clear Defense

Air Force nuclear officer: New START treaty is ‘good for us’
Defense News

N. Korea hints at more missile launches to counter S. Korea-U.S. drills
Yonhap

EAST ASIA

China Retaliates Against South Korea for THAAD
Real Clear Defense
Beijing is banning Chinese tour groups from visiting South Korea, the latest retaliation against the planned Korean deployment of the US-built THAAD missile shield.

US, Japan, S. Korea Explore Limits to N. Korea’s Arms
Voice of America
South Korean, Japanese and U.S. officials met in Washington on Monday to discuss ways to restrict the money North Korea spends on weapons development. The three said they “explored a joint way forward toward the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.”

China expresses concern over U.S.-South Korea drill
Reuters
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated in a daily news briefing "At present the situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly complex and sensitive. The relevant side should earnestly do more to help allay the situation on the Korean Peninsula and peace and stability in Northeast Asia, not the opposite."

N. Korea hints at more missile launches to counter S. Korea-U.S. drills
Yonhap
The Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party's official newspaper, said in a commentary that "new types of strategic weapons will soar" if Seoul and Washington continue their annual war drills, which the North claims to be a preparation for a war against it.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian analyst: North Korea weapons are primarily for defense
UPI
Alexander Zhebin, a North Korea expert at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, stated "North Korea will use everything to defend themselves in case of American or a South Korean invasion," Zhebin said. "North Korea is very small, and not a very rich country. How can they challenge the United States, or attack the United States?"

 

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan looks to aviation in ambitious defense export push
Bloomberg
Nuclear-armed Pakistan is seeking to ramp up defense exports amid simmering regional tensions and a surge in the global arms trade. Pakistan expects to increase defense exports more than 10-fold to $1 billion within the next two years, targeting sales to countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Nigeria. Azerbaijan on Wednesday agreed to buy arms from Pakistan.

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

EU Seeks Ways to Address Trump’s Concerns on Iran Nuclear Deal
Wall Street Journal
Officials from Britain, France, and Germany plan to present options to the US for tightening implementation for the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement in the coming weeks.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Air Force nuclear officer: New START treaty is ‘good for us’
Defense News
Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, the service’s deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, offered support for the deal, saying, “The reason you do a treaty is not to cut forces but to maintain strategic stability among world powers. And the New START treaty allowed us to maintain [that stability]. I think there is a huge value with what the New START treaty has provided.” 

 

OPINIONS

The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Reform and Uncertainty
The Cipher Brief, Fritz Lodge
The real question now is not the alliance itself, but the strategic plan that Trump and his administration will seek to implement in the Asia-Pacific region.

THAAD: A Critical Litmus Test for South Korea-China Relations
38 North, Hee Ok Lee
As long as the ROK and China avoid a blame game over who is responsible for the North Korean nuclear problem, they will be able to manage the status quo through an understanding of each other’s positions, even if they are not necessarily in agreement. The status of the Sino-ROK relationship will come into fuller view after the upcoming ROK presidential election.

The F-35 in the Second Nuclear Age
Real Clear Defense, Robbin Laird
The F-35 is part of the evolving approach to 21st century high intensity operations, which can be characterized as an offensive-defensive enterprise enabled in part by the nuclear tip to the spear.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear Emergency Response Team Uses Top Technology to Help Prepare for Threats (Video)
U.S. Defense Department Science Blog
Watch the latest episode of Defense TV to learn more about how the CBRN team works.  This exercise simulates a real world scenario involving an unknown chemical agent.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 2, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 2, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korea vows toughest response to South Korea-U.S. drills
Military Times

White House Options on North Korea Include Use of Military Force
The Wall Street Journal

South Korea’s Lotte Duty Free says website crashed after attack from Chinese IPs
Reuters

Iran’s Major Naval Exercise, Missile Tests a ‘Standard Practice’
Voice of America

 

EAST ASIA

North Korea vows toughest response to South Korea-U.S. drills
Military Times
Annual military drills between Seoul and Washington always rile Pyongyang, which calls the defensive drills a rehearsal for an invasion. The North will "mercilessly foil the nuclear war racket of the aggressors with its treasured nuclear sword," said a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People's Army. 

South Korea worried about calls in China against South Korea firms over THAAD
Reuters
South Korea said on Thursday it was concerned about growing calls in China to put South Korean companies at a disadvantage over Beijing's objections to the planned deployment of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system.

N. Korea say it will build nuclear power unless U.S. abandons hostility
Yonhap
Calling its own nuclear capabilities the core of its self-defense, the North blasted the U.S. and South Korea for calling its latest missile test a provocation. "All the military steps taken by the DPRK in its territorial land, air and waters are the exercise of the legitimate right to self-defense to counter the persistent and brigandish nuclear threats and black mail of the U.S. and its vassal forces.

South Korea’s Lotte Duty Free says website crashed after attack from Chinese IPs
Reuters
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which overloads servers with requests, began slowing all four language versions of the website. The attack comes after affiliate Lotte International Co Ltd on Monday approved a land swap to allow the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on what was once its property, in response to the North Korean missile threat.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s Major Naval Exercise, Missile Tests a ‘Standard Practice’
Voice of America
Iranian state media said the navy drill that ended Tuesday spanned 2 million square kilometers of the Arabian Sea. The drill involved successful tests of two upgraded missiles Monday, one of them a submarine-launched cruise missile named Nasir, and the other a guided anti-ship missile called Dehlaviyeh. An Iranian submarine also successfully test fired an advanced torpedo dubbed Valfajr.

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Turkey moves to launch space agency
Defense News
The Turkish Space Agency would determine basic policies and strategies in space and aviation technologies. It will also be expected to help develop a competitive local space industry “not dependent on foreign [technology].” The agency is expected to increase Turkey’s space capabilities.

 

 

SOUTH ASIA

India and Israel team up for new army air-defense missile
Defense News
India and Israel will co-develop and produce a medium-range surface-to-air missile for use by the Indian Army at a cost of over $2.5 billion, but there is no clarity on which country will own the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) for the newly developed missile.

 

 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

White House Options on North Korea Include Use of Military Force
The Wall Street Journal
An internal White House review of strategy on North Korea includes the possibility of military force or regime change to blunt the country’s nuclear-weapons threat.

Classified U.S. Satellite Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base
Real Clear Defense
A rocket carrying a classified U.S. satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office has been launched from California. The satellite dubbed NROL-79 is described only as a national security payload for the NRO.

Senator: The Submarine is America’s ‘Strategic, Decisive Edge’
Seapower Magazine
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee stressed, “The submarine is the strategic, decisive edge we have, technologically,” Reed said. “The [Columbia-class ballistic-missile] submarine is the most critical part of the [nation’s nuclear] triad.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., contributed to this dialogue, adding “We are in a century of undersea warfare and cyber.”

U.S. allowed no exports to N. Korea last year
Yonhap
The U.S. government did not allow exports to North Korea at all last year amid sanctions against the socialist country's nuclear and missile tests both on the country level and from the U.N.

 

 

OPINIONS

America’s Pacific Posture: Staying on the Course
War on the Rocks, Brian Harding and Lindsey Ford
With growing tensions in the East and South China Seas and an increasingly unpredictable North Korea, U.S. leadership is needed now more than ever. By sustaining this posture and building on it going forward, Mattis and his team can reassure Asian partners that the United States will remain engaged as a Pacific power for years to come.

Trump and the Nuclear Threat
Real Clear Politics,Brian Kennedy
The recent test of the advanced Chinese DF-5C missile and the Iranian missile test was a stark reminder for President Trump that the potential for thermonuclear war still exists. That the United States is in this strategically inferior and unenviable position is entirely unacceptable.

Missile Defense and Defeat: Considerations for the New Policy Review
CSIS, Thomas Karako
Featuring contributions from Thomas Karako, Keith B. Payne, Brad Roberts, Henry A. Obering III, and Kenneth Todorov, this collection of essays explores how the strategic environment has evolved since 2010, and offers recommendations to help guide and inform the MDR’s development.

South Korea’s Strategic Choices: Separating the Forest from the Trees
Real Clear Defense, Scott Snyder
A careful evaluation of South Korea’s national interests, constraints, variables affecting its foreign policy, and strategic options reveals that South Korea’s future choices are constrained by many broader structural forces outside of Seoul’s control.


SPECIAL INTEREST

A visit to Russia’s secret Nuclear Labs
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Siegfried Heckler
Less than two months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, I landed on the tarmac in Sarov. I was then director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and­­ accompanied by two senior scientists from my own lab plus three colleagues from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The six of us were about to walk through the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear bomb, the technological and intellectual powerhouse behind the sophisticated arsenal that had been pointed at our country for the previous 40 years. 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 1, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 1, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

South Korea, U.S. begin large-scale annual drills amid North Korea tension

Reuters

India’s indigenous supersonic interceptor missile successfully test-fired

Hindustan Times

U.N. nuclear watchdog chief to discuss Iran deal with Trump officials

Reuters




EAST ASIA

South Korea, U.S. begin large-scale annual drills amid North Korea tension

Reuters

South Korean and U.S. troops began large-scale joint military exercise on Wednesday conducted annually to test their defense readiness against the threat from North Korea, which routinely characterizes the drills as preparation for war against it.

 

China, Russia to step up opposition to South Korean anti-missile system

Reuters

China and Russia have agreed to intensify their coordinated opposition to the deployment of a U.S. missile-defense system in South Korea. China and Russia worry that the system's powerful radar can penetrate their territory and undermine their security, disrupting a balance of power in the region while doing nothing to lower tension on the Korean peninsula.

 



SOUTH ASIA

 

India approves Army MR-SAM acquisition

IHS Jane’s 360
India's Cabinet Committee on Security, approved an INR170 billion (USD2.53 billion) joint development of a Medium Range Surface-to-Air missile (MR-SAM) system with Israel for the Indian Army.

 

India’s indigenous supersonic interceptor missile successfully test-fired

Hindustan Times
India on Wednesday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile capable of destroying any incoming enemy ballistic missile at low altitude.

 



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

 

U.N. nuclear watchdog chief to discuss Iran deal with Trump officials

Reuters

IAEA Director General Amano will meet with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other senior U.S. officials in Washington on Thursday, March 2.

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

 

Kratos MRBM target supports SM-3 Block intercept test

IHS Jane’s 360

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has disclosed details of the MRBM  target provided by the company to support the US Missile Defense Agency's first intercept test of the SM-3 Block IIA exo-atmospheric interceptor.

 

Trump declares US ‘ready to lead’ even has he warns of cost of engagement

CNN

In his first address to Congress Trump touted sanctions he slapped on Iran for a missile test, reaffirmed "our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel," and said he would "demolish and destroy" ISIS. Trump reiterated the need for NATO and other allies to contribute to shared security costs.

OPINIONS

How to stop Russia from cheating on missile treaty

The Hill, Thomas Karako

Russia must not be permitted to continue its “soft-exit” strategy of quiet violation. The Trump administration should take up the INF issue in earnest, speaking to Russia in the language of action. The United States and its allies know how to build exquisite strike assets and have a number of other proverbial knives available, should Russia fail to drop theirs.

 

Learning to Live with Nuclear Weapons Long Term

Investor’s Business Daily, Robert Monroe

Our strategy of the past sixty years — of attempting to do away with nukes — is about to thrust us into a world of horror and chaos.  We've given it a good try, and it just doesn't work. The only strategy that can save the world is for the five nuclear-weapons states to accept the responsibility of enforcing nonproliferation, using military force if necessary.

Trump’s Defense Budget Won’t Yield a Serious Military Buildup

The National Interest, Mackenzie Eaglen

If today’s modernization is tomorrow’s readiness, Trump will need to spend much more than the $54 billion in this plan to both restore readiness and recapitalize the services fleets and inventories. Most of the money will go to plugging readiness gaps, but that will lead to an imbalanced force.

 

Key Problems Trump Needs to Address on The Iran Nuclear Deal

Forbes, Amir Basiri

Addressing these key failures and taking a tougher stance against the Iranian regime and its acts of mischief can put us on the path to a safer Middle East, and by extension, a more peaceful world.


Don’t Underestimate North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal

Wall Street Journal, R. James Woolsey and Peter Vincent Pry

Experts allege Pyongyang is not yet a serious nuclear threat to the U.S. Some reports say North Korea does not have “miniaturized” nuclear warheads for missile delivery and that its weapons are primitive—even after five nuclear tests. These are dangerous delusions.





SPECIAL INTEREST

This diamond battery is made from nuclear waste

World Economic Forum
Scientists have found a way to heat the radioactive graphite to release most of the radioactivity in a gaseous form. The gas is subjected to high temperature and low pressures that turn it into a man-made diamond.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 27, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 27, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Lotte approves land swap plan for THAAD deployment
Yonhap

Iran confirms successful marine cruise missile launch
Tehran Times

Russia’s Nuclear Missile ‘Death Train’ Arriving in 2019
The National Interest

State Dept. halts plan for back-channel US-North Korea talks
The Hill


EAST ASIA

Lotte approves land swap plan for THAAD deployment
Yonhap
South Korea's Lotte Group approved a planned land swap with the military on Monday, paving the way for the installation of an advanced U.S. missile defense system between May and July as scheduled, the defense ministry said.

China say North Korea’s nuclear plan is a problem between U.S. and North Korea
Reuters
"We have said many times already that the crux of the North Korean nuclear issue is the problem between the United States and North Korea," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing.

North Korea evades sanctions with network of overseas companies: U.N. report
Reuters
North Korea is evading international sanctions with a sophisticated network of overseas companies, enabled partly by its continued access to the international banking system.



MIDDLE EAST

Iran confirms successful marine cruise missile launch
Tehran Times
The newest marine missile cruise, dubbed ‘Nasir’, was launched and hit the target successfully during the massive military drill in the country’s southern waters.

Iran’s enriched uranium stock halves after flirting with limit: IAEA
Reuters
Iran's official stock of enriched uranium has fallen by half after large amounts stuck in pipes have been re-categorized as unrecoverable under a process agreed with major powers, the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Friday.




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia’s Nuclear Missile ‘Death Train’ Arriving in 2019
The National Interest
The Barguzin “railroad combat complex,” or BZhRK, will be armed with six RS-24 Yars ICBMs, a fifty-five-ton missile that reportedly carries up to ten nuclear warheads, and is already deployed in fixed silos and mobile truck-mounted launchers. There will be five railroad missile regiments, each consisting of one train and six ballistic missiles. 



SOUTH ASIA

Indian Armed Forces Conduct Month Long Exercises
The Times of India
The exercise, TROPEX 2017, started on January 24 and concluded on February 23. The Indian Navy saw participation of its strategic assets including nuclear-powered submarine and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, besides Su-30 and Jaguar fighter jets of IAF. Aim of exercise was to test the combat readiness of the forces to deal with any possible threat.

India in elite club of countries with Ballistic Missile Shield
The Indian Express
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced the arrival of India into the elite club of countries possessing the prowess of shooting down an incoming ballistic missile as he congratulated the defense scientists for the successful trial of the ballistic missile defense system.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

State Dept. halts plan for back-channel US-North Korea talks
The Hill
Talks between former U.S. officials and North Korean representatives were scrapped Friday after the State Department denied a visa for the country’s envoy. The unofficial meeting between the two countries, which was set to take place in New York City in March, would have been the first such talks between the two countries on U.S. soil in more than five years.

Army Ground-Launched Missile hits 500km by 2027
Scout
The new weapon is designed to replace the Army’s current aging 1980’s era MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System. A key aspect of the strategic impetus for the long-range LRPF weapon is to allow ground units to attack from safer distances without themselves being vulnerable to enemy fire. LRPF missile will have a newer explosive warhead and guidance technology aimed at providing an all-weather, 24/7, precision surface-to-surface deep-strike capability.



OPINIONS

New ICBM Replacement Cost Revealed
Kingston Reif, Arms Control Association
The high end of an independent Pentagon cost estimate to design and build a replacement for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system put the project at roughly $100 billion after adjusting for inflation.

There’s a flaw in the homeland missile defense system. The Pentagon sees no need to fix it
David Willman,Los Angeles Times
A newly recognized deficiency threatens the performance of small thrusters attached to the interceptors. If a thruster malfunctioned, an interceptor could fly off-course and miss its target, with potentially disastrous consequences. 

Will China push Trump to talk to North Korea?
Katie Hunt, CNN
Beijing's point man on foreign policy, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, arrives Monday as tensions bristle with North Korea and its neighbors. Yang likely comes bearing a message for the Trump administration: It's time to talk with North Korea.

Farewell to an Arms Treaty
Stratfor
The precarious state of the INF Treaty adds urgency to questions about the potential consequences of its demise. Withdrawal by either Moscow or Washington would compel a rapid build-up of short- and medium-range missiles by both militaries, a surge of investment in missile defense, and a boost to U.S. capabilities in the Western Pacific.

Does the nuclear option make sense for Japan?
Jeff Kingston, Japan Times
Going nuclear won’t make Japan safer and won’t lighten the American security burden. A more viable alternative would be for Japan to focus on developing missile defense to make it operational at the earliest convenience, reinforce its Aegis destroyers component so as to have regular patrols for missile defense, and complement that with conventional striking capabilities to reduce the possibility of a first use.




SPECIAL INTEREST

What One Photo Tells Us About North Korea’s Nuclear Program
The New York Times
By using high-tech forensics and traditional detective work, analysts and intelligence agencies can use photos to track North Korea’s internal politics and expanding weapons programs with stunning granularity.

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 23, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 23, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

S. Korea, U.S., Japan nuke envoys to discuss N. Korean missile, assassination
Yonhap

Turkey mulls purchase of Russian S-400 air defense system
Defense News

Russia to Arm 90 Percent of Strategic Nuclear Forces With Modern Weaponry by 2020
The Diplomat


EAST ASIA

S. Korea, U.S., Japan nuke envoys to discuss N. Korean missile, assassination
Yonhap
The three countries' top envoys on the North Korean nuclear issue will sit together on Monday in their first joint meeting since the President Donald Trump administration took office last month.

N.K. condemns China over comment on missile test, suspension of coal imports
Yonhap
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that a neighboring country which often claims itself to be a "friendly neighbor" is showing an unkind attitude towards North Korea. It claimed that China downplayed the meaning of its test-fire of an intermediate ballistic missile on Feb. 12.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran says has increased precision of its long-range ballistic missiles
Tehran Times
Tehran insists that its missiles are not capable of carrying nuclear warheads and are for defense only. Iran uses its “conventional” missiles to “legitimately” defend its territory, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif stated.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

IDEX 2017: Fantom emerges with new weapons system
IHS Janes 360
Ukraine's Spets Techno Export has integrated an anti-tank missile launcher onto its Fantom unmanned ground vehicle. Full firing tests of the missile systems are set to take place in the coming months.

Turkey mulls purchase of Russian S-400 air defense system
Defense News
In what would be a snub to NATO, the Turkish government has said it may buy the Russian-made S-400 for its near-mystery program to build the country’s first long-range air and anti-missile defense system.

Russia to Arm 90 Percent of Strategic Nuclear Forces With Modern Weaponry by 2020
The Diplomat
The Russian military’s modernization efforts include new missile systems, modern ballistic missile submarines, and upgraded strategic bombers such as the Tupolev Tu-160 and Tu-95MS. 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Pacific Ocean: US Navy Submarine Fires 4 Ballistic Missiles
The Diplomat
The test launches were conducted over a three-day period from February 14 to 16 as part of a so-called  Follow-on Commander’s Evaluation Test (FCET). The primary objective of an FCET is to obtain, under operationally representative conditions, valid reliability, accuracy, and performance of the missile system for use by Commander, Strategic Command and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Minot Air Force Base bomb wing wins strategic bomber award
Associated Press
The trophy is awarded to the best performing wings in five categories. The 5th Bomb Wing won in the strategic bomber category.  It is the fifth time the bomb wing has won an Omaha Trophy, and the second time in three years. 

Pentagon studies ways to counter hypersonic missile threat from China, Russia
The Washington Times
Hypersonic missiles are under rapid development in China and Russia as a way to penetrate advanced air and missile defenses such as those developed by the Army and Navy. A major problem for current U.S. missile defenses is that all were designed from the ground up to target missiles with predictable and unchanging trajectories. 

US ‘nuclear sniffer’ plane deployed in Europe amid mysterious spike in radiation
The Independent
The WC-135 can detect and identify nuclear explosions from the air and is also used to track radioactivity after nuclear incidents. Two devices on either side of the aircraft collect atmospheric gases, filtering them to detect particles from nuclear fallout.

 

OPINIONS

As China ups heat on North Korea, U.S. faces questions
Matthew Pennington,Military Times
Years of failed efforts to stem North Korea's nuclear and missile programs have followed a usual pattern. The United States seeks tougher action from China, the North's traditional ally. Beijing urges U.S. diplomatic engagement.

The Real Nuclear News
Peter Huessy, Real Clear Defense
The Russian, Chinese and North Korean threats are real indeed and need to be taken seriously. We cannot just stand still or go backward. As the new administration says, it is about making America great again. A strong military—both conventional and nuclear-- is part of that effort.

Can a treaty banning nuclear weapons speed their abolition? (Roundtable)
Janice Sinclair, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
Outright prohibition of nuclear weapons would contrast starkly with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows five countries to retain nuclear weapons for an unspecified time—as they "pursue negotiations in good faith… on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control." What should a ban treaty entail, and could it truly succeed in speeding the disarmament process? 

SPECIAL INTEREST

3D Printing: Bringing Missile Production to a Neighborhood Near You
Nuclear Threat Initiative
Employed strategically, 3D printing could reduce cycle times in development of missiles and other military systems – and with the right printers and software – even reduce the number of skilled engineers needed for such programs.

Reviving Cold War Doomsday Devices Could Patch America’s Broken Nuclear Controls
Elaine Grossman, War is Boring
This is the third article in a three-part series on how limited foreign attacks could endanger America’s fragile command and control over nuclear weapons. Read parts one and two.

The U.S. Air Force’s New Push to Brace for War in Space
Defense News
The Air Force welcomes the discussion to realign policy, strategy and resources. By openly embracing our commitment to defend American space assets, we send a strong signal to potential foes that waging such a battle is a losing proposition, period. 

 

 

                                                                                                                     

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 22, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 22, 2017

 


TOP NEWS

China finishing South China Sea buildings that could house missiles
Reuters

Israeli Artillery Corps poised for long-ranged, improved precision strikes
Defense News

The CTBT & North Korea Discussed at Munich Security Conference
CTBTO



EAST ASIA

China finishing South China Sea buildings that could house missiles
Reuters
Building the concrete structures with retractable roofs on Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross reefs, part of the Spratly Islands chain where China already has built military-length airstrips, could be considered a military escalation.

Talks with N. Korea would give Trump same old lesson Pyongyang isn’t interested in disarming: ex-official
Yonhap
"North Korea doesn't want to give up its nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are key to its survival," Evan Medeiros, senior Asian affairs director at the National Security Council under former President Barack Obama said. "Talks for North Korea are really about getting sanctions relief, playing for time, playing for advantage, trying to get sanctions lifted."




MIDDLE EAST

Israeli Artillery Corps poised for long-ranged, improved precision strikes
Defense News
With increasing connectivity, new weaponry and a network-centric concept of operations, IDF ground forces in general — and the Artillery Corps, in particular — are taking on missions traditionally entrusted to air power. 

Turkey doesn’t see NATO compatibility issues with Russian missiles
Reuters
Ibrahim Kalin made the comment at a news conference in Ankara. Turkey's defense minister said earlier on Wednesday that talks with Moscow on procuring the missiles had "progressed significantly".

UAE to become first Arab country to join civilian nuclear club within weeks
Al Arabiya
The country’s first reactor is scheduled to be operational by May 2017, after further inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure the fuel is used only for peaceful purposes.




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia to rely less on nuclear weapons as their conventional strength rapidly increases
Business Insider
Weapons such as the long-range Kalibr cruise missiles carried by navy ships, long-range cruise missiles carried by Russian strategic bombers and the land-based short-range Iskander missiles will play an increasingly important role as a non-nuclear deterrent. 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

The CTBT & North Korea Discussed at Munich Security Conference
CTBTO
Highlights from discussions at the Munich Security Conference held February 17-19, 2017 in Germany.

 

OPINIONS

Reconsidering the reversal: South Korea’s nuclear choices
William Caplan & Kenneth Turner,The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The geopolitical factors of nearly 50 years ago bear an eerie resemblance to those seen today, making a reexamination of South Korea’s nuclear reversal a timely and useful exercise for the new administration when navigating its East Asian alliances.

The Trouble with Doomsday
Michael Ruhle, Real Clear Defense
The Doomsday Clock does not represent accurate scientific forecasting. Its major purpose is to alert the broader public about the many unresolved problems the world is facing. 

It’s Not Just ‘Strangelove’—Today’s Bombers Rely on America’s Weakest Nuclear Links
Elaine Grossman,War is Boring
The nation’s 44 B-52 and 16 B-2 nuclear-tasked strategic bombers are often termed the most “flexible” leg of the nuclear triad. In theory at least, a pilot could be ordered to return to base instead of nuking a target. By contrast, a nuclear-tipped, sea- or ground-launched ballistic missile is limited to a one-way journey that invariably ends in a mushroom cloud.

Can North Korea Launch Pearl Harbor II?
J.D. Gordon, American Military News
Though Pearl Harbor is home to Aegis ships armed with SM-3 interceptors which can shoot down incoming warheads, to reliably protect the islands, we’d need to get lucky with one off the coast and ready to launch.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Air Force Attack Drones Will Fire Laser Weapons
Scout
Laser weapons could provide drones with a way to incinerate targets without causing an explosion.

 

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - February 21, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 21, 2017

TOP NEWS

China suspends North Korean coal imports, striking at regime’s financial lifeline
The Washington Post

The rising risk of showdown between Trump and Iran
BBC News

Republican bills counter Russia’s apparent violation of nuclear arms treaty
PBS Newshour

Is China Pushing Trump to Talk to North Korea?
The New York Times, Jane Perlez

EAST ASIA

China suspends North Korean coal imports, striking at regime’s financial lifeline
The Washington Post
China will suspend all imports of coal from North Korea until the end of the year, the Commerce Ministry announced Saturday, in a surprise move that would cut off a major financial lifeline for Pyongyang and significantly enhance the effectiveness of U.N. sanctions.

China wields stick with North Korea, but is still pushing for talks
Reuters
With the suspension of all North Korean coal imports, China has wielded a big stick against its reclusive neighbor, but there is no sign it will cut off all critical links and Beijing is still promoting talks to solve the dispute over Pyongyang's program to develop nuclear weapons.

China says understands South Korean need for security, still opposes missiles
Reuters
China understands South Korea's need to protect its security but Seoul still needs to respect Beijing's concerns about the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his South Korean counterpart.

MIDDLE EAST

The rising risk of showdown between Trump and Iran
BBC News
Are the US and Iran heading for a new confrontation? After a turbulent first three weeks in which President Donald Trump described Iran as "the world's number one terrorist state" and put it "on notice", it is a question many are asking.

The UAE’s Nuclear Push
Foreign Affairs
The United Arab Emirates will soon be the first Arab state with a nuclear power program and the first to join the civilian nuclear club in more than a quarter of a century.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Republican bills counter Russia’s apparent violation of nuclear arms treaty
PBS Newshour
Republicans on Thursday introduced bills that would take steps to hold Russia in compliance with a nuclear arms treaty formed with the U.S. in 1987.

SOUTH ASIA

India, Pakistan extend pact on reducing risk of nuclear weapon-related mishaps
Hindustan Times
India and Pakistan on Monday extended their bilateral pact, dealing with reducing the risk of nuclear weapon-related accidents, for a period of five years.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Pence Says US to Hold Russia Accountable, Stand With NATO
The New York Times
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday conveyed a message to jittery partners that the Trump administration will "hold Russia accountable" and maintain steadfast support for NATO, a military alliance the American commander in chief once dismissed as "obsolete."

OPINIONS

Is China Pushing Trump to Talk to North Korea?
The New York Times, Jane Perlez
For years, the United States and others have pressed China’s leaders to suspend imports of coal from North Korea to push the reclusive state to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Why Trump Needs to Deploy Missile Defenses to Counter North Korea and Iran
The National Interest, Dan Goure
The efforts by North Korea and Iran to develop ballistic missiles capable of targeting not only its regional adversaries but the U.S. homeland are intensifying.

Trump Must Stop Putin’s Cruise Missiles
Newsweek, Michaela Dodge
Almost right out of the gate, the Trump administration is facing its first arms control challenge from Moscow. Russia has reportedly deployed its new cruise missile in an apparent violation of the Reagan-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), in effect since 1988.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - February 17, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 17, 2017

TOP NEWS

Top diplomats from S. Korea, US, Japan pledge to respond strongly to NK provocations
The Korea Herald

Iran’s Rouhani under fire as tensions with U.S. rise
The Washington Post

Australia to boycott global summit on treaty to ban nuclear weapons
The Guardian

Don’t count on China to rein in North Korea. Here’s why.
The Washington Post, Joseph Torigian

EAST ASIA

Top diplomats from S. Korea, US, Japan pledge to respond strongly to NK provocations
The Korea Herald
The top diplomats from South Korea, the United States and Japan condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch in the "strongest terms" Thursday, pledging to work together to respond strongly to provocations by Pyongyang.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s Rouhani under fire as tensions with U.S. rise
The Washington Post
A burgeoning crisis between Iran and the United States has threatened to undermine the pragmatic Rouhani, who was elected four years ago on promises to end the country’s isolation from the West. But now, amid new tensions with the Trump administration, Rouhani’s pro-dialogue approach is under attack.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Australia to boycott global summit on treaty to ban nuclear weapons
The Guardian
Australia will boycott global negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons at the United Nations next month. The global summit, to be held in New York on 27 March, will go ahead with Australia out of the room.

IAEA and EU Strengthen Cooperation in Nuclear Activities
IAEA
The European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency took steps to strengthen their cooperation in a range of nuclear activities including nuclear science applications during the fifth annual Senior Officials Meeting in Brussels this week.

OPINIONS

Don’t count on China to rein in North Korea. Here’s why.
The Washington Post, Joseph Torigian
On Jan. 2, then President-elect Donald Trump tweeted a promise that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would not be allowed to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile armed with a nuclear bomb. In a second tweet, Trump complained that China “won’t help with North Korea.”

Iran’s missile tests: What exactly did they use, and what does it mean?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Dina Esfandiary and Michael Elleman
On January 29, Iran tested a new ballistic missile that reportedly reached a distance of about 1,000 kilometers. Little is known about the missile named “Khorramshahr,” including where its technology comes from and what it targets.

How Trump Can Win in Iran
Foreign Affairs, Tzvi Kahn
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has put Tehran “on notice.” Earlier this month, Washington imposed fresh sanctions on Iran in response to its latest ballistic missile test, which defied the UN Security Council resolution tied to the July 2015 nuclear agreement.

Why the World Really Should Fear North Korea’s Missiles
The National Interest, Brendan Thomas-Noone
The North Korean missile test over the weekend has emphasized the point President Obama reportedly made to President-elect Trump shortly after his electoral success: North Korea should be at the top of the new President’s to-do list. Obama’s policy of “strategic patience” had run its course.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Debate: European Missile Defenses for NATO
Project on Nuclear Issues, CSIS
Watch the video from the PONI-Ploughshares Fund debate on whether or not the U.S. should continue to expand European missile defenses for NATO.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 16, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 16, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China mulls joining U.N. talks on treaty to ban nuclear weapons
Japan Times

SECDEF Mattis Implores NATO Allies to Spend More on Defense
Real Clear Defense

Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. to discuss N.K. nukes in Germany
Yonhap



EAST ASIA

South Korea Mulls Ballistic Missile Test
The Diplomat
In response to Pyongyang’s recent intermediate-range launch, Seoul is considering test firing a ballistic missile.

Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. to discuss N.K. nukes in Germany
Yonhap
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is to have talks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers' meeting to discuss their coordinated approach to North Korea and its nuclear weapons program.

China mulls joining U.N. talks on treaty to ban nuclear weapons
Japan Times
A senior official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry who was at a disarmament-related international meeting in Mexico City admitted Wednesday that China is considering joining the talks but said a final decision has yet to be made.

China rejects North Korea Coal shipment
Reuters
China rejected a shipment of coal from North Korea a day after the country test-fired a ballistic missile in violation of international sanctions. The move came a day after Pyongyang's test of the intermediate-range ballistic missile on Sunday, its first direct challenge to the international community.

Lawmaker calls for revision to anti-missile defense systems (South Korea)
Korea HeraldA senior South Korean lawmaker on Tuesday called for a revision to the missile defense system sought by the country by the mid-2020s as North Korean missiles will likely become harder to detect before launch. The upcoming "kill chain" strike system and the Korean Air and Missile Defense system are both designed to detect and destroy incoming missiles in the shortest possible time. 

 

MIDDLE EAST

Yemen rebels fire missile at airport in southern Saudi Arabia
Financial Times
The Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercepted Wednesday night a ballistic missile over the sky of Khamees Mushayt in Asir region fired by Houthi militias. The people of Khamees Mushayt heard loud noise when the Patriot missile intercepted the Houthi missile.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

This is the ground-launched cruise missile that Russia has reportedly just deployed
The Washington Post
The existence of the SSC-8 missile is not new. Reports indicate that the nuclear-capable missile was first tested in early 2008. In 2014, after several years of watching the development of the missile program, the Obama administration announced that Russia had violated the INF treaty.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister of Israel in Joint Press Conference
The White House
Trump: “The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions, which I've talked a lot about.  My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing -- I mean ever -- a nuclear weapon”.

SECDEF Mattis Implores NATO Allies to Spend More on Defense
Real Clear Defense
In an ultimatum to America's allies, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told fellow NATO members Wednesday to increase military spending by year's end or risk seeing the U.S. curtail its defense support.



OPINIONS

Moscow Issues its First Nuclear Challenge to Trump
Michaela Dodge, Real Clear Defense
Currently, Moscow is doing whatever it deems necessary to its strategic interest regardless of the treaty, while the United States continues to abide by it. The administration should not ponder any future arms control initiatives and nuclear weapons reduction agreements at least until this issue is resolved.

Did North Korea Just Launch a Chinese Missile?
Gordon Chang,The National Interest
The North Koreans are adept at stealing weapons tech, buying it, and getting it with the help of rogue scientists and engineers. The North Koreans did not develop this missile system completely on their own. The missile fired Sunday as a land-based missile and several months ago as an SLBM has almost exactly the same appearance and capabilities as the Chinese JL-1.

The RS-28 Sarmat and the Future U.S. Nuclear Modernization
Malcom Davis, Real Clear Defense
Russia claims the new RS-28 Sarmat heavy ICBM, being introduced as part of its nuclear modernization, can wipe out an area ‘the size of Texas or France’. They may be referring to the missile being able to deliver nuclear weapons via the South Pole rather than the traditional ‘over the north pole’ route. Whilst the RS-28 will certainly get US planners thinking about nuclear modernization, it seems unlikely that such hyperbole will have US leaders rushing for the nuclear bunkers.

Trump Inherits Nuclear Budget Time Bomb
Kingston Reif, Arms Control Association
The daunting fiscal challenge posed by current plans to upgrade America’s nuclear arsenal is now President Donald Trump’s problem. If the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review by the administration does not reshape these plans—or worse, accelerates or expands upon them—spending on nuclear weapons will pose a major threat to higher priority national security programs, to say nothing about Trump’s pledge to expand the non-nuclear military.



SPECIAL INTEREST

The Air Force’s Secret Space Plane is Not Coming Home Soon After All
Real Clear Defense
The unmanned X-37B has been in space for 636 days, flying high over places like Iran, North Korea, and China. This leads to leads speculation that the spacecraft is doing so-called intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance work, training cameras, radars, and other spying devices on the ground below.

Mistaken missile warning surprises airman at Spangdahlem Air Base
Airforce Times
Airmen at the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, got an unexpected Valentine's Day present Tuesday: A bright red computer alert warning them of an incoming missile. The alert was accidentally distributed to the entire wing that afternoon. The alert warned "MISSILE INBOUND. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!" The error was corrected eight minutes later, when officials sent out another message telling airmen to disregard the inadvertent missile warning and to resume normal operations.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 15, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 15, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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



EAST ASIA

Latest missile test improves N.K. ability to avoid pre-emptive attack: Einhorn (Interview)
Yonhap
"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/FSU/EUROPE

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.”



SOUTH ASIA

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.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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.

 

OPINIONS

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. 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 14, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 14, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korea says missile launch ‘self-defense’, U.S. demands action
Reuters

UN strongly condemns DPRK’s ballistic missile launch (VIDEO)
UN News Centre

USSTRATCOM Detects, Tracks North Korean Missile Launch
U.S. Strategic Command

EAST ASIA

North Korea displays ballistic missile improvements with test launch
Defense News
Analysts who have studied the footage and imagery of the latest test say that the Pukguksong-2 is solid fueled like its sub-launched predecessor and noted changes to the shape of the warhead/reentry vehicle, with KCNA claiming it is capable of evading interception, without providing specifics.

North Korea says missile launch ‘self-defense’, U.S. demands action
Reuters
Han Tae Song, the new Ambassador of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament a day after taking up his post." The various test fires conducted by DPRK for building up self-defense capabilities are, with no exception, self-defense measures to protect national sovereignty and the safety of the people against direct threats by hostile forces."

North Korea’s latest missile likely traveled farther than any other, Pentagon reports
Fox News
The missile traveled roughly 300 miles into the Sea of Japan but did not enter Japanese waters. It was launched on a “high trajectory” traveling for 14 minutes before splashing down.

South Korea says U.S. to deploy strategic assets for joint drills
Reuters
South Korea's defense ministry said the United States had agreed to deploy strategic assets for annual joint military exercises. It did not immediately give further details, and it was not immediately clear whether the planned deployment of strategic assets for the exercises was in response to North Korea's launch on Sunday of a ballistic missile.

MIDDLE EAST

Head of U.N. nuclear watchdog says Iran continuing commitment to deal
Reuters
 IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said "Iran is implementing the JCPOA" apart from some breaches that saw its stock of heavy water slightly exceed the limit set under agreement which have been rectified. Nuclear activities by Iran is reduced and so this is a net gain. What is important is to continue to implement" the deal.”


SOUTH ASIA

India tests ballistic missile interceptor
UPI
According to India’s Defense Research Development Organization, the PDV (Prithvi Defense Vehicle) mission is for engaging the targets in the exo-atmosphere region at an altitude above 50 kilometers. Both the PDV interceptor and the two-stage target missile were successfully engaged.


MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

U.N., Trump denounce North Korea, but no sign of any action
Reuters
The U.N. Security Council denounced North Korea's weekend missile launch, urging members to "redouble efforts" to enforce sanctions against the reclusive state, but gave no indications of any action it might take.

UN strongly condemns DPRK’s ballistic missile launch (VIDEO)
UN News Centre
Denouncing the launches as grave violations of the country's international obligations, the Council also noted that such activities contribute to the DPRK's development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension. The members of the Security Council further regretted that the DPRK is diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles while the country's citizens “have great unmet needs.”


U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump says U.S. will deal with North Korea ‘very strongly'
Military Times
A spokesman from the Pentagon said technical advancements in North Korea's ballistic missile programs, demonstrated in the latest test-launch from a mobile launcher, pose a "clear, grave threat" to U.S. security. That assessment reflected concern as well as frustration among U.S. officials, who see North Korea pushing ahead, in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with development of missiles capable of striking U.S. territory with nuclear weapons. 

With allies seeking reassurance, Mattis heads to NATO
Defense News
Mattis will leave DC on Feb. 14 for Brussels, where he will attend his first NATO ministerial. attis will undoubtedly prove a popular attraction for NATO countries seeking reassurance that the U.S. is not going to abandon them in the future. 

USSTRATCOM Detects, Tracks North Korean Missile Launch
U.S. Strategic Command
U.S. Strategic Command systems detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 4:55 p.m. CST, Feb. 11, 2017. The launch of a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile occurred near the northwestern city of Kusŏng. The missile was tracked over North Korea and into the Sea of Japan.The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.

 

OPINIONS

The Pukguksong-2: A Higher Degree of Mobility, Survivability, and Responsiveness
John Shilling, 38 North
It takes more than a single test to ready a missile for operational service. North Korea’s engineers presumably learned a great deal from this test, which appears to have been basically successful. We do not know how much more they need to learn to be confident that the new missile will function reliably in combat, and will look to the pace of future testing to gauge progress with this new system.

Missile Defense: Blocking Threats or Blocking Diplomacy
Will Edwards, The Cipher Brief
History has shown that missile defense is disruptive whenever a country’s nuclear deterrent is at stake, and the advancement of missile defense technology is likely to continue this trend. Coyle warns that “As missile defenses improve and their numbers increase, they become more threatening to the adversary. Expanded U.S. missile defense deployments only encourage U.S. adversaries to build more and more offensive weapons…” Looking forward, missile defense will likely remain a high wire act balancing between defensive necessity and trust in diplomacy. 

How Trump Could Get a Deal With North Korea
Joel Wit and Richard Sokolsky, The Atlantic
A policy that emphasizes confrontation over dialogue will almost certainly provoke bigger and better North Korean missile and nuclear tests—including a North Korean ICBM and further work to develop a hydrogen bomb. On the other hand, resorting to the failed policies of the past—a sole focus on sanctions and other steps to mount pressure on Pyongyang and Beijing—will mean going down the same dead-end road as the Obama administration.

Air Force 3-Star: Nuclear-Armed Cruise Missile, LRSO, Essential to Saving US Lives & Preventing Major Power War
Kris Osborn,Scout
Senior Air Force leaders continue to argue that engineering a new, modern Long-Range Standoff Missile with nuclear capability may be one of a very few assets, weapons or platforms able to penetrate emerging high-tech air defenses. Such an ability is, as a result, deemed crucial to nuclear deterrence and the commensurate need to prevent major-power warfare. 

 


PONI EVENT

Debate: European Missile Defenses for NATO

Thursday, February 16, 2017 4:30pm-7:30pm

The current approach to European missile defenses emerged prior to the conclusion of the agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program (JCPOA) at a time when missile threats from beyond the European theater dominated the European Security landscape. Since that time, much has changed, including the Russian annexation of Crimea and finalization of the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran. This shifting security landscape has returned the spotlight to European missile defenses – but views on the way forward diverge sharply. While some call for expanded missile defenses to bolster assurances to NATO partners, others call for pausing the program before a new site is built in Poland as a means to deescalate tensions with Russia. Thomas Karako and Frank Rose will present arguments in favor of expanding U.S. missiles defenses for NATO, and Joseph Cirincione and Philip Coyle will argue against.

RSVP Here: https://www.csis.org/events/debate-european-missile-defenses-nato

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 13, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 13, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korea Claim Successful Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile Launch
The Wall Street Journal

Japan, US condemn North Korea Missile Launch Over the Sea of Japan
Fox News

Indian Navy II-38SD MPS successfully fires KH-35 anti-ship missile
IHS Janes 360

U.N. Secretary General condemns weekend North Korean ballistic missile launch
Reuters

EAST ASIA

North Korea Claim Successful Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile Launch
The Wall Street Journal
North Korea called the missile a modified version of a submarine-launched ballistic missile it test-fired in August, and said Sunday’s launch “proved the reliability and security of the surface launched system.” The North Korean news service KCNA has announced that the launch was in fact of land-based version of the KN-11, which it calls the Pukguksong-2. 

Japan, US condemn North Korea Missile Launch Over the Sea of Japan
Fox News
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned North Korea's latest missile launch calling it, "absolutely intolerable." Abe read a brief statement in which he called on North Korea “to fully comply with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.” He said Trump has assured him of U.S. support. 

China Blames US, South Korea for North Korea Missile Launch
The New York Times
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China opposed the launch, which violated U.N. Security Council resolutions that call for an end to North Korea's nuclear and missile tests. "The root cause of the (North Korean) nuclear missile issue is its differences with the U.S. and South Korea," Geng told reporters at a regular briefing.

N.K. unveils footage of new ballistic missile launch (VIDEO)
Yonhap
The footage unveiled by the Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station showed that the missile was moved on one of the country's newly developed transport erector launchers (TEL) before being launched. The video also showed that the missile was launched at an almost vertical angle and changed direction while in flight.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Merkel denies ‘EU plan for nuclear weapons’
The Independent
The German government has been forced to deny it is interested in acquiring nuclear weapons amid calls for it to lead a European "nuclear superpower". "There are no plans for nuclear armament in Europe involving the federal government," a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

 

SOUTH ASIA

Aziz sounds alarm of ‘nuclearization’ of Indian Ocean
Dawn
Speaking at a conference, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz listed the challenges to peace in the ocean as its militarization, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, increased missile capabilities and power projection by foreign militaries, in addition to piracy, illegal fishing, human, drugs and arms smuggling, maritime pollution and climate change.

Indian Navy II-38SD MPS successfully fires KH-35 anti-ship missile
IHS Janes 360
An Indian Navy (IN) Ilyushin Il-38SD maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) has fired a Russian-built Kh-35 radar-guided anti-ship missile against a target ship in a demonstration of its long-range sea denial capability The successful 'maiden' operational firing was carried out in the Arabian Sea during the IN's "Theatre Readiness and Operational Exercise' (TROPEX) 2017.

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

U.S., Japan, South Korea request U.N. meeting on North Korea missile launch
Reuters
The United States, Japan and South Korea requested urgent United Nations Security Council consultations on North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile on Sunday, an official in the U.S. mission to the U.N. said. The official said in a statement that the United States anticipates a meeting to take place on Monday afternoon.

U.N. Secretary General condemns weekend North Korean ballistic missile launch
Reuters
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday denounced North Korea's ballistic missile firing early on Sunday, calling it a "further troubling violation" of Security Council resolutions. "The DPRK leadership must return to full compliance with its international obligations and to the path of denuclearization," Guterres said in a statement.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump says U.S. behind Japan ‘100 percent’ after North Korean missile launch
Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said late on Saturday that the United States stands fully behind Japan in the aftermath of North Korea's latest missile launch. "I just want everybody to understand, and fully know, that the United States of America is behind Japan, our great ally, 100 percent," Trump told reporters during a joint statement with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

 

OPINIONS

Dealing with North Korea
Joseph DeTrani,The Washington Times
We are at a tipping point with a North Korea that possesses nuclear weapons and is in the process of miniaturizing those weapons to fit on the tip of a missile delivery system. Eventually, with a flight tested ICBM, North Korea will be an existential nuclear threat to the U.S. We should never permit this to happen.

Belgium: The Next Missile Defense Superpower?
Michael Peck, The National Interest
Belgium has quietly made the decision to build frigates equipped with exoatmospheric interceptors that sound a lot like the U.S. Navy’s Aegis system. This would make Belgium—a country the size of Maryland—the first European nation to have the capability to destroy ballistic missiles in space.

North Korea is Trump’s Kobayashi Maru: Here Are 4 Approaches to the No-Win Nuke Test
Jon Wolfsthal, Foreign Policy
I grew up in New York, just like President Donald Trump did, so perhaps like me he became a Star Trek fan watching reruns on WPIX at 11 p.m. every weeknight. If so, hopefully he knows about the Kobayashi Maru — a test every Starfleet cadet takes to experience a no-win scenario. Frankly, I’m surprised Trump has not been forced to take the test already. While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been patient, this is unlikely to last for long.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Sustaining Alliances in the Face of Renewed Threats
Rebecca K.C. Hersman, Franklin C. Miller, and Shanelle Van, The Huffington Post
It should worry us that some see these ties as resting on uncertain ground as nuclear tensions escalate throughout Asia and along NATO’s periphery. It would behoove us to shore up these relationships, rather than take their strength for granted. We need only imagine the void that would be left by their absence to understand why the importance of the bonds amongst the P3 cannot be overstated.

Trilateral Dialogue on Nuclear Issues
CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues
The European Trilateral Track 2 Nuclear Dialogues, sponsored by CSIS in partnership with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), has convened senior nuclear policy experts from the United Kingdom, France, and the United States (P3) for the past eight years to discuss nuclear deterrence policy issues and to identify areas of consensus among the three countries. On February 9, 2017, CSIS released the consensus statement for the 2016 round of the European Trilateral Track 2 Nuclear Dialogues.

PONI EVENT

Debate: European Missile Defenses for NATO

Thursday, February 16, 2017 4:30pm-7:30pm

The current approach to European missile defenses emerged prior to the conclusion of the agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program (JCPOA) at a time when missile threats from beyond the European theater dominated the European Security landscape. Since that time, much has changed, including the Russian annexation of Crimea and finalization of the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran. This shifting security landscape has returned the spotlight to European missile defenses – but views on the way forward diverge sharply. While some call for expanded missile defenses to bolster assurances to NATO partners, others call for pausing the program before a new site is built in Poland as a means to deescalate tensions with Russia. Thomas Karako and Frank Rose will present arguments in favor of expanding U.S. missiles defenses for NATO, and Joseph Cirincione and Philip Coyle will argue against.

RSVP Here: https://www.csis.org/events/debate-european-missile-defenses-nato

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 9, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 9, 2017

TOP NEWS

Iran Fires Another Missile from Launch Pad
Military News

Russia deploys air defense missiles for massive drills
Military Times

N. Korea’s chief of missile operations absent from public eye, triggers speculations
Yonhap

 

EAST ASIA

S. Korea revises long-term defense reform plan
Yonhap
South Korea's military has revised its long-term defense reform plan to better cope with North Korean threats, including the creation of special units tasked to neutralize key figures and infrastructure should there be clear signs of the imminent use of nuclear weapons.

N. Korea’s chief of missile operations absent from public eye, triggers speculations
Yonhap
North Korea's missile operations commander did not show up for a key military event this week, an unusual absence which some observers linked to the country's alleged preparations for an intercontinental missile (ICBM) launch.

Cables reveal Chinese connection to Iran’s missiles
The Washington Times
China’s backing of Iran’s missile program was detailed in leaked State Department cables made public on the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The cables reveal that Chinese firms have provided a range of missile-related goods including specialty steel, accelerometers, ball bearings and gyroscopes.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran Fires Another Missile from Launch Pad
Military News
The missile used in Wednesday's launch was a short-range Mersad surface-to-air missile, which impacted 35 miles away, according to a U.S. official. This latest test comes less than a week after the U.S. placed new sanctions on Iran. 

New terms offered for a Turkish MEADS missile-defense system
Defense News
After giving up on an earlier decision to acquire their country’s first long-range anti-missile system from a Chinese contractor, Turkey’s procurement authorities are now mulling over the potential purchase of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).

Turkey reveals ‘Bora’ ballistic missile
IHS Jane’s 360
Turkey has made public it has been developing a long-range surface-to-surface missile system called 'Bora' (Storm). The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries stated that the Project 'B' missile system had been developed by Roketsan in order to "meet the long range surface-to-surface missile requirement of the Turkish Land Forces Command through local design and production."

Israeli Military Shoots Down Rockets Fired From Egypt
Associated Press
The military said that its Iron Dome missile defense system shot down several rockets and that no injuries were reported. Rocket attacks on Eilat are relatively rare. Islamic militants in Egypt's lawless Sinai region have been behind a number of such attacks on the city in recent years. It was not immediately clear who fired the rockets Wednesday.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia deploys air defense missiles for massive drills
Military Times
The maneuvers are the latest in a steady series of war games intended to strengthen the Russian military's readiness. The Defense Ministry said S-300 and S-400 air defense missile systems were involved in the drills Wednesday. 

Russia sends Syria its largest missile delivery to date
Fox News
The shipment of 50 SS-21 short-range ballistic missiles arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus along the Mediterranean Sea in the past two days.

 

SOUTH ASIA

India Denies Pakistan Claim of Building Secret Nuclear City
New York Times
Pakistan on Thursday claimed that its arch rival India is building a "secret nuclear city" to produce thermonuclear weapons as well as develop intercontinental missiles and stockpile nuclear material — allegations that India promptly dismissed as "completely baseless."

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Air Force Glides Toward B-52 Engine Replacement Plan
Defense News
For the past two years, Air Force Global Strike Command has worked with engine manufacturers and financial institutions to put together a business case assessment for replacing the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress’s eight Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines. That assessment shows that an initial investment in new propulsion systems can save maintenance and fuel costs in the long run, but the Air Force’s acquisition wing is still working on the best way to finance the effort.

 

OPINIONS

Trump’s nuclear options: upcoming review casts a wide net
Aaron Mehta, Defense News
Trump directed Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to “initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review [NPR] to ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.” Its wide open language, leaving Mattis with significant leeway over how the study will be run, who will be involved, and even the timetable, all factors that are certain to affect the study's conclusions.

Trump should undo disastrous nuclear policies
Bob Monroe, The Hill
President Trump must immediately issue an executive order making it clear that henceforth, nuclear weapons will be the preeminent foundation of America’s national security. Unsurpassed nuclear weapons strength – not weakness – must be our goal.  The twelve presidents before Obama, six from each party, all established a similar, or stronger, policy.

Iran’s Missile Tests Reveal Weaknesses of UN Security Council Resolution
Olli Heinonen, Real Clear Defense
Officials in Iran have vowed to continue testing ballistic missiles and dismissed claims that its program is a cover to develop long-range projectiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The United States and its allies should demand that Tehran uphold its obligation not to conduct tests of nuclear-capable ballistic or cruise missiles.

Trump tweets a red line for North Korea
George Will, Washington Post
On Jan. 1 Kim Jong Un, said that his regime was at “the final stage in preparations to test-launch” an ICBM. On Jan. 2, Donald Trump tweeted: “It won’t happen!” He thereby drew a red line comparable to his predecessor’s concerning Syrian chemical weapons. So Trump should be prepared to threaten actions that would prevent North Korea from learning from its test, actions such as shooting down the missile.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

The Future of Nuclear Weapons Will Be Networked
Flight Global
When the US Air Force’s Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber talks to the long-range standoff (LRSO) weapon, it will mark the first time a nuclear cruise missile communicates digitally with its delivery aircraft.

 

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 8, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 8, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

U.S. Strategic Command to Conduct Exercise Global Lightning
U.S. Strategic Command

Conference on Disarmament Discusses Iran’s Launch of Ballistic Missile
The United Nations Office at Geneva

NATO Troops deploy in Lithuania, underscoring commitment to defense
Reuters

EAST ASIA

Strategy to ‘destroy’ North Korea missiles to be applied during exercises
UPI
A bilateral U.S.-South Korea strategy to detect, defend, disrupt and destroy North Korea missiles, also known as 4D, is to be applied to the upcoming Key Resolve joint military exercises.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran pulls missile from Launchpad after apparent prep for launch
FOX News
New satellite imagery showed Iran preparing a Safir for launch. That missile is the type Iran has previously used to put a satellite into space. Tuesday morning the missile had been removed from the launchpad. It was not immediately clear why.

Yemeni rebels say they fired a ballistic missile at Saudi capital
Military Times
Yemen's Shiite rebels said on Monday they "successfully" fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh for the first time targeting the al-Mazahmiya army base in western Riyadh, about 650 miles from Sanaa.  

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

May refuses Netanyahu’s call to impose new sanctions on Iran
The Guardian
Netanyahu had said “responsible” countries should follow Trump in imposing new sanctions against Iran after it test-fired a ballistic missile. But May expressed her concern about Iran’s actions without saying there was a need for sanctions.

NATO Troops deploy in Lithuania, underscoring commitment to defense
Reuters
Germany and NATO on Tuesday underscored their commitment to beefing up the defense of eastern Europe's border with Russia as the first of four new batallions under the North Atlantic alliance's banner arrived in Lithuania. A NATO official said the NATO forces would participate in a major exercise in eastern Europe in June. A second official said it would include a simulated nuclear attack.


SOUTH ASIA

Nuclear terrorism is an international threat, cannot be ignored: Jaishankar
The Indian Express
While speaking at Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said the negative consequences of atomic power can not be overlooked, adding that nuclear terrorism is an international threat that should not serve national strategy.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Conference on Disarmament Discusses Iran’s Launch of Ballistic Missile
The United Nations Office at Geneva
The Conference on Disarmament this morning was presented with a draft proposal by the Romanian Presidency on the establishment of a working group on the “way ahead”.  Several delegations raised the issue of Iran’s recent ballistic missile launch. 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Army Strategy to Acquire Patriot Radar Replacement Expected Soon
Defense News
The Army is nearing completion of an acquisition strategy to achieve a 360-degree threat detection capability for its future Integrated Air-and-Missile Defense system, according to the deputy program executive officer for Army Missiles and Space. 

U.S. Strategic Command to Conduct Exercise Global Lightning
U.S. Strategic Command
Beginning Feb. 7, the Global Lightning 2017 scenario incorporates a variety of strategic threats to our nation. All USSTRATCOM mission areas will be exercised to ensure the command is ready to provide capabilities to combatant commanders around the globe. It also tests the command’s readiness to confront uncertainty and allows USSTRATCOM forces to train as they would fight.

 

OPINIONS

The Prague Agenda in a Post-Truth World
Joshua Pollack, Arms Control Wonk
Will Obama’s Prague Agenda be seen as perpetually significant, a fading historical artifact, or just unfulfilled hopes and dreams? While the conference yielded no clear consensus on Obama’s record, it provided insights into upcoming hot-button issues.

What Does Putting Iran ‘On Notice’ Really Mean?
Paul Shinkman, US News
James Stavridis, a retired Navy admiral who served as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, interprets the phrase as the administration's stating it will act at a time and place of its choosing.

The Limitations of Framing North Korea as a Risk
Danielle Chubb, Real Clear Defense
Past practice of assuming that North Korea represents a risk and acts like an outlier or 'rogue' has led to a series of policy failures. This has been evident over the past eight years of ‘strategic patience’, where placing the onus on North Korea to act – an approach which assumes that the only barrier to progress lies in Pyongyang – has seen the world stand by while North Korea has developed a significant nuclear capability.

How I learned to Hate the Bomb
Joelien Pretorius, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
Even at its best, arms control takes a contradictory approach to nuclear weapons. These weapons are bad; but if we limit them, they're good; as long as we don't limit them too much. At its worst, arms control urges humanity—to borrow from the title of Stanley Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove—to "stop worrying and learn to love the Bomb."

How Trump Can Reassure Asian Allies
J. Berkshire Miller, Foreign Affairs
The timing of Mattis’ visit was critical, coming as it did amid growing criticism from regional observers that the Trump administration was set to cast aside the United States’ pivot to Asia and focus more on threats from the Middle East. But perhaps more important was Mattis’ tone: The defense secretary did not press allies on burden-sharing but sought instead to reassure and listen to them. That was the right move. 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Countering the North Korean Threat: New Steps in U.S. Policy (VIDEO)
CSIS
Victor Cha, CSIS senior adviser and Korea Chair, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on "Countering the North Korean Threat: New Steps in U.S. Policy."

Air Force Laser Weapons to Defend B-2 Bomber
Scout
Offensive and defensive laser weapons for Air Force fighter jets and large cargo aircraft have been in development for several years now. However, the Air Force Research Lab has recently embarked upon a special five-year effort, called the SHIELD program, aimed at creating sufficient on-board power, optics and high-energy lasers able to defend large platforms such as a B-52 bomber.

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 6, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 6, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China Showcases New First Island Chain Ballistic Missile
Associated Press

Iran holds military exercise in defiance of US sanctions
Fox News

N. Korea berates recent three-way missile drills as pre-emptive strike-driven
Yonhap

US, Japan conduct successful missile interception test
CNN

EAST ASIA

China Showcases New First Island Chain Ballistic Missile
Associated Press
The two-stage DF-16 replaces the older, shorter range DF-11, with a final stage that can adjust its trajectory to strike slow moving targets and evade anti-missile defenses such as the U.S. Patriot system deployed by Taiwan. It also carries up to three warheads weighing as much as a ton and carrying conventional high explosives or a nuclear weapon. Further increasingly its lethality, the missile is believed to be accurate to within as little as 5 meters (16 feet) of the target, similar to that of a cruise missile.

N. Korea likely to watch U.S. reaction to Iran missile test before its own test: expert
Yonhap
Ken Gause, senior North Korea analyst at CNA Corp. in Washington stated "North Korea might launch a medium range missile to test the waters, so to speak. They might sit tight until the Trump administration clearly sets out its intentions toward Pyongyang," he said. "If they conduct an ICBM or nuclear test, it will indicate that Kim Jong-un has given up any hope for engaging the U.S. and needs to speed toward securing a nuclear deterrent."

N. Korea berates recent three-way missile drills as pre-emptive strike-driven
Yonhap
The recent missile alert exercise, the third of its kind carried by the three nations, was intended to tighten their combined capabilities to defend against North Korea's missile defense assets and mobilized Aegis-equipped warships.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran holds military exercise in defiance of US sanctions
Fox News
In apparent defiance of the new sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, Iran held a military exercise Saturday to test missile and radar systems. The aim of the exercise, held in Semnan province, was to “showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions.”

Iran’s missile test ‘not a message’ to Trump
Reuters
Iran said on Monday a recent missile trial launch was not intended to send a message to new U.S. President Donald Trump and to test him, since after a series of policy statements Iranian officials already "know him quite well". Despite heated words between Tehran and Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday he was not considering strengthening U.S. forces in the Middle East to address Iran's "misbehavior".

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US, Japan conduct successful missile interception test
CNN
The US Missile Defense Agency announced that the USS John Paul Jones detected, tracked and took out the target ballistic missile using its onboard Aegis Missile Defense System and a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor. The test took place Friday night off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Ryan: Iran deal will likely stay in place
The Hill
Speaker Ryan maintained that the U.S. should "expend our effort where it can pay off the most," while not ignoring the numerous transgressions with Iran.

OPINIONS

Overcoming the Wrong Détente
Axel Hellman and Michelle Shevin-Coetzee, Real Clear Defense
It is not the broader “ends” of Trump’s policies – improved relations with Moscow – that are worrying. Rather, it is the “means” by which he and a number of European leaders are pursuing this relationship that should raise concerns. More simply put, it is the wrong détente.

Has China Been Practicing Missile Strikes Against U.S. Forces?
Thomas Shugart, War on the Rocks
U.S. leaders and policymakers should understand that a preemptive Chinese missile strike against the forward bases that underpin U.S. military power in the Western Pacific is a very real possibility, particularly if China believes its claimed core strategic interests are threatened in the course of a crisis and perceives that its attempts at deterrence have failed. Such a preemptive strike appears consistent with available information about China’s missile force doctrine, and the satellite imagery shown below points to what may be real-world efforts to practice its execution.

Welcome to America’s ‘Nuclear Sponge’
Tom Collina, Defense One
The United States currently deploys hundreds of nuclear missiles across, but these ICBMs are not meant to be launched, ever. Not even in a nuclear war. Their primary mission is to be destroyed in the ground, along with all the people that live anywhere near them. Their main purpose is to “absorb” a nuclear attack from Russia, acting as a giant “nuclear sponge.” 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Iran’s Missile Test: Getting the Facts Straight on North Korea’s Cooperation
Michael Elleman,38 North
The strategic implications of Tehran’s recent missile test and the possibility of continued missile cooperation with Pyongyang vary depending on what was actually launched. Contrary to some assertions, the available evidence cannot verify speculation that the Iranian missile is similar to North Korea’s Musudan, or reports that Pyongyang exported R-27 engines to Iran.

The New Space Race
Fritz Lodge, The Cipher Brief
This shift from a bipolar to a multipolar – and heavily commercialized – system offers boundless opportunities to both accelerate space exploration and augment U.S. national security assets in orbit. But that opportunity comes with great risk, as a dizzying new array of space-based threats proliferate against everything from commercial communications satellites to U.S. military assets in space.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 3, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 3, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Mattis warns North Korea against any attack on U.S. or its allies
The Associated Press

U.S. readies sanctions on Iran after missile test
The Associated Press

Minot AFB missile wing prepares for ICBM test launch
Minot Daily News

Iranian foreign minister “unmoved by threats” from U.S.
Reuters

EAST ASIA

Japan’s Shinzo Abe asks Pope Francis to visit Hiroshima
UPI
Japan has been increasingly calling for a world without weapons of mass destruction since it observed the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing on Aug. 6. "If the pope says a prayer for bomb victims, it will be a great force for the realization of a world without nuclear weapons," Abe said.

Mattis warns North Korea against any attack on U.S. or its allies
The Associated Press
U.S. defense secretaries have long offered assurances to South Korea and Japan that its nuclear "umbrella" will protect them, but Mattis's statement was perhaps more pointed than most. He made the remarks during an appearance with his South Korean counterpart, Defense Minister Han Min Koo. 

U.S. defense chief, in Japan, reaffirms commitment to treaty
Reuters
Abe said he was convinced that, with Trump and Mattis, the United States and Japan could demonstrate to the world their "unwavering alliance". He also told Mattis Japan intends to bolster its defense and to "expand the role it can play", according to the statement.

China says resolutely opposes deployment of THAAD in South Korea
Reuters
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated China's opposition to the U.S. system at a daily news briefing in Beijing. China has consistently opposed the decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, saying it threatens China's own security and will do nothing to ease tension on the Korean peninsula.

 

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. readies sanctions on Iran after missile test
The Associated Press
The sanctions, coming in the first weeks of President Donald Trump's term, reflect his administration's desire to take a strong stance toward Iran from the start.

Iranian foreign minister “unmoved by threats” from U.S.
Reuters
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Friday that the Islamic Republic was unmoved by U.S. threats following its missile test launch and that Tehran would never initiate war. "Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people. Will never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense," Zarif wrote.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia likely to mull action if THAAD deployment goes ahead: envoy
Yonhap News
Russian Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Timonin said that the stationing of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on the Korean Peninsula will have a "dangerous" impact on ongoing efforts to secure regional peace and stability. "We will have no choice but to draw a certain conclusion once the THAAD installment is complete we will have to take certain types of countermeasures to guarantee our own security."

German minister: No sign U.S. wants to cancel nuclear deal with Iran
Reuters
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it was necessary to do everything possible to make progress on the nuclear deal with Iran and that he did not see any indications during a visit to the United States that Washington would terminate it.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Army Extends PATRIOT Missile Tech-Improvement & Ponders New Upgrades
Scout
The PATRIOT Missile Segment Enhancement improves fire-control, radar and target tracking for the weapon, which can destroy enemy drones, aircraft and Theater Ballistic Missiles.

Minot AFB missile wing prepares for ICBM test launch
Minot Daily News
A team from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base will test an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile with a launch from  Vandenberg AFB, Calif., early next week.

 

OPINIONS

Iran’s Ballistic Missile Test: Troubling But Not Cause for Provoking Confrontation
Kelsey Davenport and Daryl Kimball,Arms Control Association
Instead of provoking a confrontation with Tehran, Washington should focus its efforts on strengthening enforcement of the extensive ballistic missile sanctions on the books to continue to slow Tehran’s missile program and pursue region-wide restrictions on ballistic missiles in the Middle East.

Bring Russia to the Table and Promote America’s Security: The Art of the Deal
Stephen Blank and Peter Huessy, Gatestone Institute
The new President seeks to modernize the US nuclear deterrent, expand effective missile defenses, and significantly increase conventional military capability, while reforming and revitalizing NATO. These plans will no doubt rub up against Mr. Putin's objectives. The two urgent tasks for the new administration are: 1. formulation of strategic objectives, and 2. adoption of a strategy that gets the United States and its allies where the US would like to go. That means bringing Russia to the table from a position of US strength, rather than the calculated weakness of the last eight years.

Don’t Rip up the Iran Deal, Mr. President
George Perkovich, POLITICO
It took years, and enormous effort across multiple U.S. administrations, to pull off the Iranian nuclear deal. Political capital is hard to win, easy to lose and even harder to get back. Gambling on the deal is an unnecessary fool’s bet. Contesting Iran would be harder if its nuclear program were unconstrained and the rest of the world blamed the U.S. for it. If only a presidency were at stake, it would be merely interesting to see how this drama plays out. But the stakes here are much higher.

Europe should act fast to preserve the Iran nuclear deal
Ellie Geranmayeh, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Europe has a crucial but short window to clearly outline its position on the Iran nuclear deal in ways that could influence policymakers in Washington. In doing so, Europe should focus on preserving the agreement under existing terms as enshrined by the United Nations, and charting a course that minimizes confrontation—whether intentional or accidental—between Iran and the United States in an already turbulent Middle East.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

How to Deter New Space Threats
Todd Harrison, The Cipher Brief
Satellites now crowd our orbit with vital communications, global positioning (GPS) networks, and imaging platforms. This new age of commercialization and exploration offers many opportunities, however, it also presents the U.S. and other countries with unique security dilemmas. 

The Logic of Banning Nuclear Weapons
Beatrice Fihn, Global Politics and Strategy
If the international community is ever going to get rid of nuclear weapons, it must start by clearly rejecting them.

 

Read more…

Tuesday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

North Korea says it’s ready to deploy, mass-produce new missile
Defense News

U.N. Panel Releases Draft of Treaty to Ban Nuclear Arms
The New York Times

Iran targets Booz Allen, others with reciprocal sanctions
Defense News

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