Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News – April 12, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 12, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


China Urges Restraint as Carl Vinson Closes on Korean Waters
Navy Times

Iran nuclear industry on right track: Salehi
Tehran Times

Russian Navy Vessels Make Port Call in S. Korea for Friendship Visit
Yonhap

G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting: Statement on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament
G7 2017 Italy




EAST ASIA

South Korea Seeks to Assure Citizens U.S. Won’t Strike North Pre-emptively
The New York Times
Reacting to worries and conjecture spreading in South Korea of a possible pre-emptive American military strike on nuclear-armed North Korea, the government sought to reassure citizens on Tuesday that there would be no such attack without its consent.

Facing pressure from Trump, Kim Jong Un and Bashar al-Assad reaffirm their nations’ friendship
The Washington Post
North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Tuesday that leader Kim Jong Un had received a message from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that said the two nations were “conducting a war against big powers' wild ambition to subject all countries to their expansionist and dominationist policy and deprive them of their rights to self-determination.”

Despite Growing Tension, Experts See Slim Chance of U.S. Pre-emptive Strike on N. Korea
Yonhap
The recent U.S. missile strikes on Syria carried a clear warning for North Korea, but the dangerous regime armed with nuclear bombs and various missiles is a different case from Syria, apparently with little capability to retaliate, experts in Washington said Tuesday.

China’s Xi Urges Peaceful Resolution of North Korea Tension in Call with Trump
Reuters
The communication between the leaders underscored the sense of urgency as tension escalates amid concern that reclusive North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test, or more missile launches, and Trump's threat of unilateral action to solve the problem.

China Urges Restraint as Carl Vinson Closes on Korean Waters
Navy Times
China wants everyone to bring it down a notch as the Carl Vinson carrier strike group closes in on the waters near the volatile Korean Peninsula. A story on Chinese state-run television urged both North Korea and the United States to “ remain calm and observe restraint.”

China Will Get Better US Trade Deal if it Solves N. Korea Problem, Says Trump
South China Morning Post
US President Donald Trump says he gave his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping an ultimatum in their meeting last week: solve the North Korea crisis and you’ll get a good trade deal.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Saudis eager to develop nuclear program to keep pace with Iran: ex-CIA analyst
Tehran Times
Professor Paul Pillar, who was CIA intelligence analyst for 28 years, stated he Saudis have been interested all along in developing a nuclear program, and keeping pace with Iran involves part of their motivations.  It would be difficult to attribute any change in the pace of Saudi research, one way or another, to conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement with Iran. 

Iran nuclear industry on right track: Salehi
Tehran Times
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Sunday that Iran’s nuclear industry has been put on the right track.

Iran stunned by Ahmadinejad’s announcement he is running for president
The Independent
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad submitted his name for registration for the May 19 presidential election on Wednesday in an apparent reversal of earlier promises not to run. Under his administrations, Iran’s international ties were brought to an unprecedented low point and the country’s nuclear dossier escalated into a drawn-out diplomatic impasse



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Navy Vessels Make Port Call in S. Korea for Friendship Visit
Yonhap
The call at the port of South Korea's Naval Operations Command by the guided-missile cruiser Varyag and the tanker Pechenga, both 11,000-ton vessels, was the second this year to be made by Russian warships. The two vessels will stay in Busan for four days, with crew members to take part in exchange and volunteer activities with their South Korean counterparts.



SOUTH ASIA

Islamabad, India cannot remain enemies forever: Pakistan’s Security Advisor
Indian Express
Pakistan’s Security Advisor Nasser Janjua underscored the need for a non-discriminatory approach while considering Pakistan’s membership for Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG). The adviser also highlighted the importance of more high-level visits, trade and cooperation particularly in education and development sectors, as well as, visa facilitation between the two countries for improved people to people contact.



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting: Statement on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament
G7 2017 Italy
We the G7 Members remain committed to the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) endorsed by UNSCR 2231 (2015), as well as to contribute positively to the 2017-2020 review cycle of the NPT, which remains the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and a foundation for disarmament and peaceful uses.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Americans deploy nuclear sniffer plane to Okinawa
Asian Review
Japan and the U.S. are strengthening their guard against North Korea by stationing an American observation aircraft in Okinawa to detect a possible nuclear weapons test by the Kim Jong Un regime.



OPINIONS

Big debates at U.N. nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiations
Brookings, Alicia Sanders-Zakre and Steven Pifer
During the first week’s negotiation differences emerged over the treaty’s core prohibitions and institutional arrangements. It is not clear that any of the issues where differences have arisen will prove deal-breakers for some participating states. How they resolve those differences—and whether in the end they can come to consensus on a ban treaty—will shape their ability to mobilize pressure on the nuclear weapons states.

How US Strikes Could Bring Tehran, Moscow Closer
Al-Monitor, Saeid Jafari
As the relationship between Russia and the United States takes a turn for the worse, ties between Iran and Russia are seemingly improving, with disagreements regarding the future of Syria fading — at least in the short term.

Iran’s Next Supreme Leader
Foreign Affairs, Sanam Vakil and Hossein Rassam
The death of Khamenei will mark the biggest political change in the Islamic Republic since the death of the last supreme leader—Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the revolutionary founding father—in 1989. The supreme leader is the most powerful person in Iran, with absolute authority over all parts of the state. A new person in that position could dramatically alter the direction and tenor of Iran’s foreign and domestic policies.

China and North Korea’s Nukes
Real Clear Defense, Peter Huessy
The North Korean threat will not be dealt with through appeasement or “strategic patience” as we are out of time. And we can no longer let China off the diplomatic hook, and accept its protestations of innocence on North Korean nuclear weapons or its further insistence it has no leverage with the North. Business, as usual, cannot be the preferred path.

The Counterforce Compulsion in South Asia
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon
Vipin Narang stirred up a tempest at the Carnegie Endowment’s Nukefest by warning that a serious revision of Indian nuclear doctrine may be in the offing – even to the extent of entertaining pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent. Is New Delhi likely to succumb to the most extreme manifestation of the counterforce compulsion – a damage limiting, nuclear war fighting force posture?

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

US Army Exploring ‘Devastating’ New Weapon to Use in War with Russia
Defense One
The Kinetic Energy Projectile, or KEP, a tungsten-based charge moving at three times the speed of sound that can destroy anything in its path.

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program (Podcast)
Council on Foreign Relations
George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, joins CFR's James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon in examining President Donald J. Trump's options on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 11, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 11, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

N.K. vows to take ‘toughest’ military actions as U.S. sends aircraft carrier
Yonhap

Russia, before Tillerson visit, says worried USA may attack North Korea
Reuters

McMaster: Trump orders ‘full range of options’ on N. Korea
Yonhap

India, Israel Conclude $2 Billion Missile Deal
The Diplomat




EAST ASIA

S. Korea, China Warn of Strong Response to N. Korea Nuke, ICBM tests
Yonhap
South Korea and China agreed on Monday to take strong new measures in line with U.N. resolutions if North Korea conducts new nuclear and missile tests. The warning came after chief negotiators on the North's nuclear program from the two countries met in Seoul amid growing concerns that the North may carry out its sixth nuclear test and launch an intercontinental ballistic missile this month.

North Korean ships head home after China orders coal returned
Reuters
A source at Dandong Chengtai, one of China's biggest buyers of North Korean coal, said the company had 600,000 tonnes of North Korean coal sitting at various ports, and a total of 2 million tonnes was stranded at Chinese ports. Financial data shows that most of these ships have recently left Chinese coal ports, including Weihai and Peng Lai, returning to North Korea full or mostly filled with cargo.

N.K. vows to take ‘toughest’ military actions as U.S. sends aircraft carrier
Yonhap
The North's warning was made after the U.S. dispatched the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, to waters off the divided peninsula amid signs of the North's provocations. North Korea's foreign ministry warned that the country is ready to take the toughest actions to defend itself with powerful weaponry against what it calls Washington's provocations.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia, before Tillerson visit, says worried USA may attack North Korea
Reuters
Russia said it hoped forthcoming talks in Moscow with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be productive, but said it was extremely worried the United States might decide to unilaterally attack North Korea.



SOUTH ASIA

India, Israel Conclude $2 Billion Missile Deal
The Diplomat
Considered to be the largest defense contract in Israel’s Defense Industries’ history, Israel Aerospace Industries will provide advanced medium-range-surface-to-air missile defense systems to the Indian Army.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

McMaster: Trump orders ‘full range of options’ on N. Korea
Yonhap
U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said Sunday that President Donald Trump has ordered him to prepare "a full range of options" to the nuclear and missile threats North Korea poses to the U.S. and its allies.

US, China agree on North Korea nuclear threat, Tillerson say
CNN
China understands how dangerous North Korea's nuclear program has become and agrees action must be taken to stop it, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday. "President Xi clearly understands, and I think agrees, that the situation has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken," Tillerson said.

Accelerated North Korean Ballistic Missile Program Worries Congress’ Military
USNI News, John Grady
Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said he and a number of Republican and Democratic senators will soon introduce a bill to step up missile defense spending. “You’ll see a lot of bipartisan support for missile defense” with the threat growing from North Korea and evolving threat from China and Russia with their advanced cruise missiles and hypervelocity weapons.

 

OPINIONS

Poland Air Defense: The Search For the Right Missile Mix [Commentary]
Defense News
Poland’s medium-range air defense (MRAD) “Wisła” system must be able to shoot down any target, but not at any cost. That was noted by the Polish Ministry of National Defense in a letter of request submitted for the Patriot system to the U.S. government, expressing the need for an economic missile mix.

Move of U.S Warships Shows Trump Has Few Options on North Korea
New York Times, Mark Landler and Choe Sang-Hun
China’s president, Xi Jinping, did not make any public commitment to tighten the pressure on North Korea during his meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., last week with President Trump. Mr. Trump warned before the meeting with Mr. Xi that the United States would act alone against North Korea if China did not join his pressure campaign.

What if America Assassinated King Jong-un?
The National Interest,Daniel R. DePetris
We tend to believe that if we just took out the top, bad guy in the regime, all of the other bad guys in that regime will be scared straight, change their behavior and suddenly turn their governments into bastions of human rights and democracy. Killing Kim and banking on the idea that the regime would change how it does business after seven decades would be a high price to pay if that untested theory proved to be wrong. 

A Menu of Imperfect Strategic Options for South Korea
Real Clear Defense, Scott A. Snyder & Sungtae Park
South Korea has thus far been hedging. Implementing this strategy has meant that South Korea has sought to avoid joining certain US-led initiatives that would seriously antagonize Beijing,  such as a regional missile defense architecture (although this might change in the future). On such issues, South Korea has generally sought to avoid choosing.

U.S. Carrier’s Korea Mission: A Message to the World
Real Clear Defense, Demetri Sevastopulo & Tom Mitchell
Hours after the US fired a barrage of cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, the White House was quick to say that the strike sent a strong signal not just to the war-torn Arab state, but to the rest of the world.

How Likely is Another Korean War?
The Korea Herald, Yeo Jun-suk
Despite the escalating tension, Seoul’s foreign and military officials and private experts dismissed the possibility of a military clash on the peninsula, noting that an attack on North Korea carries much greater risk than the missile strike against Syria.

Defensive Deterrence is Critical to America’s Safety and Security
Real Clear Defense, Steven Bucci
This new Congress and Administration has the opportunity to take leadership and responsibility in protecting our country. We must ensure our nation is fully prepared to remove North Korea’s ability to target America.  If doing that offensively is too risky, it must be done defensively.  We must dedicate the resources necessary to improve the overall defenses of the Nation as soon as possible.



SPECIAL INTEREST

Spying on North Korea: US Air Force Keeps Eye on Kim Jong Un (Video)
Fox News
The U.S. Air Force is busy in the skies over the Korean Peninsula, a range of aircraft including F-16’s running around the clock missions and exercises. “It keeps us on a heightened sense,” says US Air Force Col. James Brotree, “ There’s always something going on so we always have to make sure we do the right things.”

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 10, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 10, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


Korea crisis deepens as the US dispatches the Carl Vinson striker group to the region
Navy Times

China, South Korea discuss more sanctions on North Korea amid talk
Reuters

White House: U.S., China will seek to ‘peacefully resolve’ North Korean nuclear threat
Politico

Kremlin, angry at Syria missile strike, says Putin won’t meet Tillerson
Reuters



EAST ASIA

Korea crisis deepens as the US dispatches the Carl Vinson striker group to the region
Navy Times
The head of all U.S. forces in the Pacific canceled a planned carrier exercises and port visits in Australia and redirected the Carl Vinson carrier strike group to the waters off the Korean Peninsula as the U.S. weighs a series of limited options for dealing with an increasingly unbalanced and dangerous North Korean regime.

North Korea says Syria airstrikes prove its nukes justified
Military Times
North Korea has vowed to bolster its defenses to protect itself against airstrikes like the ones President Donald Trump ordered against an air base in Syria. The North called the airstrikes "absolutely unpardonable" and said they prove its nuclear weapons are justified to protect the country against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war."

Ahn affirms commitment to Korea-US agreement on missile shield deployment
Yonhap
Ahn Cheol-soo, presidential nominee for the center-left People's Party, reaffirmed on Sunday he will respect the agreement to deploy a U.S. missile defense system to South Korea.

China envoy holds North Korea nuclear talks as US mulls options
Asia Times
China’s top nuclear envoy arrived in Seoul Monday for talks on the North Korean threat, as the US sent a naval strike group to the region and signaled it may act to shut down Pyongyang’s weapons program. Additionally, President Donald Trump has asked his advisors for a range of options to rein in its ambitions.

Trump must consult with Seoul over any actions on North Korea
Korea Times
South Korean politicians have expressed that the U.S. must have prior consultation with Seoul before taking any confrontational actions concerning North Korea, including launching a preemptive strike.

China, South Korea discuss more sanctions on North Korea amid talk
Reuters
China and South Korea agreed on Monday to slap tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carries out nuclear or long-range missile tests.

Australia selects Raytheon for $1.5 billion ground-based air defense system
Reuters
The surface-to-air missile system will replace the country's 30-year-old short-range capability, which is due to be retired by early next decade.

 

MIDDLE EAST

IranAir may receive first Boeing jet sooner than planned
Reuters
Iran's Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan stated that the first Boeing 777 aircraft would reach Tehran within a month. The government of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani is keen to showcase results from the sanctions deal ahead of a May election



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Kremlin, angry at Syria missile strike, says Putin won’t meet Tillerson
Reuters
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Monday that no such meeting was planned, suggesting Tillerson will follow strict diplomatic protocol and only meet his direct counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

White House: U.S., China will seek to ‘peacefully resolve’ North Korean nuclear threat
Politico
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to work with the international community to achieve a peaceful solution to the North Korea nuclear threat during their diplomatic meetings at Mar-a-Lago.

Tillerson says missile strikes carry message for others
Military Times
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack carries a message for any nation operating outside of international norms. He didn't specify North Korea, but the context was clear enough.

US Imposes New Sanctions on Eritrea’s Navy Over North Korea Links
Voice of America
A U.N. report accused the East African country of violating an arms embargo by buying military communications equipment from North Korea. In response, the United States moved to ban all equipment sales or interactions with Eritrea’s navy, under nonproliferation legislation that targets Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Trump administration warns North Korea against provocation
Los Angeles Times
With growing signs that Pyongyang may be preparing a sixth nuclear test, a U.S. aircraft carrier strike force near Singapore was diverted north toward the Korean peninsula, President Trump spoke to leaders in Tokyo and Seoul, and senior administration officials made pointed note of the “full range of options” available to counter threats to the United States or its allies.



OPINIONS

Deter and Downsize: A Paradigm Shift for Nuclear Arms Control
Arms Control Association, Justin Anderson and Darci McDonald
Nuclear arms control needs a new paradigm. The current approach, focused on deployed strategic nuclear “delivery vehicles”—long-range bombers, nuclear ballistic missile submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). If nuclear arms control is to play a key role in preventing friction between nuclear powers and reducing nuclear risks in the 21st century, there needs to be a shift in focus and an expansion in participants

Kerr on the JCPOA
Arms Control Wonk, Paul Kerr
Any individual’s confidence in the JCPOA is, to a certain extent, a function of their tolerance for risk.  After all, Iran could, in the future, reconstitute its weapons program and draw on its missile program and JCPOA-permitted enrichment work. But the available evidence indicates that Iran is probably not lying in wait to produce nuclear weapons upon expiration of the relevant JCPOA provisions.

The North Korean Nuclear Threat Is Getting Worse By the Day
Foreign Policy, William Tobey
For decades we have lived with a relatively small North Korean nuclear threat. The US and its allies tried policies ranging from bribes to coercion, but under China’s aegis, the North has flouted international law with impunity. As Pyongyang’s fissile material stocks grow, the urgency and nature of the threat is changing. Patience, strategic or otherwise, is no longer a viable option for Presidents Trump and Xi.



SPECIAL INTEREST

Syria’s Chemical Weapons Kill Chain
Foreign Policy, Gregory Koblentz
While the U.S. cruise missile strike targeted one link in the Syrian chemical weapons kill chain, it did not break the chain. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster recognized as much when he told reporters in the aftermath of the strike: “Obviously, the regime will retain a certain capacity to commit mass murder with chemical weapons beyond this airfield.”

What is a Tomahawk missile?
Military Times
The Tomahawk cruise missiles are designed to fly at low altitudes and speeds up to 550 miles per hour, giving them a strong defense against many anti-aircraft measures. The 3,500-pound explosives also contain guidance systems that can be tailored to provide further evasive capabilities.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 7, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 7, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Groundhog Day: Activity Continues at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site
38 North

Russia launches most powerful attack submarine yet
The Independent

UN strongly condemns North Korea’s latest missile launch
The Washington Post

EAST ASIA

S. Korea, U.S., Japan vow stronger defense ties against NK missiles
Yonhap
Working-level defense officials of the three countries held a video conference today discussing North Korea’s recent missile launch. They "strongly denounced" the provocation clearly violating U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban the communist nation from firing any ballistic missiles.

Groundhog Day: Activity Continues at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site
38 North
Over the past four weeks, there have been unusually high levels of activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, especially around the North Portal. This pattern of activity could mean a sixth nuclear test is imminent, but the imagery does not provide any definitive evidence of the installation of a nuclear device or the exact timing of such a test.

Pence to make trip to Asia-Pacific amid Korean tensions
Military Times
The White House said Thursday that Pence would depart April 15 on a 10-day, four-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region that will also include stops in Indonesia and Australia and a visit with U.S. troops in Hawaii.

S. Korea urges N.K. to abandon its obsession with nukes, missiles
Yonhap
North Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday released a memorandum that says the United States should be totally accountable for a possible outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula, no matter who launches a pre-emptive attack. Seoul's unification ministry urged North Korea to walk on the path toward denuclearization.

 

 

MIDDLE EAST

Russia to reinforce Syrian air defenses as Moscow wars of ‘considerable damage’ to ties with US
 The Telegraph
Russia will reinforce Syrian air defenses and is sending a missile carrying warship to the eastern Mediterranean in response to a US cruise missile strikes on a Syrian government airbase. Russia already has a range of anti-aircraft defenses in Syria, including S-400 and S-300 surface to air missile systems.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia launches most powerful attack submarine yet
The Independent
The new Yasen-class nuclear powered attack submarine, called the Kazan, is armed with torpedoes and long-range Kalibr cruise missiles. The ship was launched at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, northern Russia. The vessel has space for eight Oniks and Kalibr cruise missiles and 300 torpedoes, and can reach speeds of up to 31 knots.

 



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
 
UN strongly condemns North Korea’s latest missile launch
The Washington Post
The Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch and demanded a halt to all missile tests, stressing again that they violate U.N. sanctions and “are significantly increasing tension in the region and beyond.”



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Dozens of U.S. Missiles Hit Air Base in Syria
The New York Times
The United States fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at an air base in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians.

Pentagon Plans Next Major Missile Intercept Test for Late May
Bloomberg
The Pentagon has tentatively scheduled for late May the next intercept test of its $36 billion ground-based missile defense system -- the first in nearly three years.

Trump Hails ‘Friendship’ With China’s Xi on First Day of Summit
Bloomberg
The meeting is the first real test of the U.S. leader’s campaign promises to win in negotiations with America’s chief economic and military rival. Trump wants to show progress countering North Korea’s nuclear threat and opening Chinese markets to more U.S. goods in an effort to create jobs.

 

OPINIONS

Sen. Tom Cotton: Russia has subverted our treaty on cruise missiles for years. It’s time to act
The Washington Post
Russia’s new cruise missile is an incredibly dangerous threat to the United States and our allies. Unless we act now, Russia will only continue its campaign of aggression. Congress should heed Selva’s warning and make Russia pay for its actions. Only by increasing the costs of defying our country will we bring the geopolitical scales back to balance.

Putting the nonproliferation back in the NPT
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski
The NPT community has taken to describing the treaty as resting on three pillars, only one of which is nonproliferation. In recent years, nonproliferation has even dropped to second spot. The Trump administration is reported to be reviewing the government’s nonproliferation policy. The unhelpful aspects of the three-pillar formulations should be part of that review.

What does “nuclear terrorism” really mean?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Elisabeth Eaves
The news stories don’t always say, and sometimes they fail to distinguish among events that would look completely different from one another, if they ever came to pass. In fact, “nuclear terrorism” can refer to several possible occurrences, all of which are best avoided. But if you’re the glass-half-full type, you may take some solace in knowing that the most dire scenario is also the least probable.



SPECIAL INTEREST

North Korea has Nuclear Weapons So It Won’t End Up Like Libya
The National Interest,Edward Chang
Perhaps the most useful lesson to learn from Reagan’s war with Qaddafi is that it was ultimately inconclusive. The Libyan problem spanned the entirety of Reagan’s two terms; by the administration’s end, Qaddafi was still in power. Trump may very well be dealing with Kim through the totality of his presidency. Sobering as it may be, it is a reality worth contemplating now rather than later, for as the old song goes, “we’ve only just begun.”

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 6, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 6, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


Seoul emphasizes U.S. determination to solve N.K. nuke issue ahead of Trump-Xi summit
Yonhap

EU Expands sanctions against North Korea as Trump meets Xi
Reuters

Pakistan calls for nuclear restraint in South Asia
The Express Tribune





EAST ASIA

Seoul emphasizes U.S. determination to solve N.K. nuke issue ahead of Trump-Xi summit
Yonhap
The issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program will feature prominently in the forthcoming talks between the U.S. and Chinese presidents, South Korea's foreign ministry said Thursday, emphasizing the American side's determination to settle the drawn-out problem.

Report: China carried out naval drill near North Korea
UPI
The drills took place near North Korea, a possible sign Beijing is getting its navy ready for any potential instability on the peninsula.

North Korea may have tested new technology in latest missile
Military Times
Initial U.S. and South Korean assessments had indicated it was an advanced KN-15 medium-range missile, whose first known test by North Korea was in February. But unlike the KN-15, which uses solid fuel, the missile fired Wednesday used liquid fuel and was fired from a fixed location, rather than a mobile launcher.

S. Korea succeeds in test of 800-km range new missile
Yonhap
South Korea has successfully test-launched a new 800-kilometer range ballistic missile that can reach anywhere in North Korea, South Korean defense sources said Thursday. It could send another strong warning message to North Korea, which is continuing its nuclear and missile development in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, they said.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

EU Expands sanctions against North Korea as Trump meets Xi
Reuters
The new sanctions are aimed at the country's metalworking, aerospace and arms-related industries, and services in computing, mining, chemicals and refining, the bloc said in a statement.



SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan calls for nuclear restraint in South Asia
The Express Tribune
Pakistan has told the United Nations that peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving underlying disputes, agreeing on measures for nuclear and missile restraint, and instituting conventional forces balance.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Top U.S. general: ‘no defense’ against Russian cruise missiles
Defense News
During a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, raised concerns over ground-launched cruise missiles positioned by Moscow. “That system can range and threaten most of the continent of Europe depending on where it is deployed. ... It is a concern and we're going to have to figure out how to deal with it as a nation."

 



OPINIONS

Why it’s time for the next steps in missile defense evolution
Defense News, Thomas Karako and Ian Williams
Homeland missile defense represents a critical capability for U.S. national security strategy and the defense of the American people, yet its budget has continued to fall over the past decade, and currently accounts for less than one half of one percent of DoD spending. To outpace growing missile threats, GMD will require greater reliability, capacity, and capability improvements beyond those of today.

Common Defense Through Missile Defense
Real Clear Defense, Rebeccah Heinrichs
Providing for the common defense is one of the few explicitly Constitutionally-mandated responsibilities of the federal government and a more robust, layered missile defense system. A multilayered missile defense system would also serve as a deterrent to current and potential adversaries, and should deterrence fail; the U.S. would be protected.

Clipping Iran’s Wings
Real Clear Defense, James Durso
The Senate and House bills, Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 and Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act, enjoy bipartisan support and would impose provisions on Iran’s ballistic missile program. Iran-wary groups who support the bills do not feel the bills violate the letter or the spirit of the “nuclear deal”.

Is North Korea putting a nuclear-tipped bargaining chip on the table?
Reuters, Jack Kim
Experts now agree North Korea is closing in on the ability to hit the United States with a missile, a goal that for decades has been the subject of Pyongyang's vivid propaganda posters.

Trump presses China on North Korea; another bluff could hurt him
Military Times, Matthew Pennington
Trump's candor and unpredictability, combined with his veiled threats of possible sanctions on Chinese banks and even U.S. military action against North Korea, could provide him new leverage with Beijing. But if he's bluffing, and Xi calls him on it, that might prove damaging in future negotiations with China or in building a united front against North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Giving Trump North Korea Policy a Chance
The Cipher Brief, Dennis Wilder
It is fashionable in Washington to deride every move President Trump makes that is a departure from past U.S. foreign policy. Secretary Tillerson's terse public statement on North Korea’s KN-14 missile test was the latest example of departing from past diplomatic norms, and should be read by China and others as an indication that the U.S. is nearing the end of its patience with North Korean antics. 

Five Priorities For Donald Trump When Meets Xi Jinping
South China Morning Post, Orville Schell and Susan Shirk
Maritime tensions, trade disagreements, clashes over cyber hacking, and disputes over the treatment of foreign media outlets and civil society organizations in China were already fraying the fabric of cooperation and undermining the health of the US-China relationship.

The Debate Over Indian Nuclear Strategy is Heating Up
War on the Rocks, Sameer Lalwani and Hannah Haegeland
Many of the responses to Vipin Narang’s statement that India might be rethinking its current nuclear strategy have been dismissive. Leaving many questioning whether a shift is actually occurring;  if India possesses the requisite capabilities to enact a counterforce doctrine; or if a shift would be inherently destabilizing. One should not dismiss the significance of this potential shift in Indian nuclear strategy too quickly. The risks that growing capabilities and shifting strategic logics bring to the subcontinent are too dangerous not to warrant further consideration.

Central Asia: A Nuclear-Terrorism Nexus?
RUSI
Central Asia’s vulnerability to harboring a potential nuclear–drug–terrorism nexus poses a potential threat to international security and requires a renewed multilateral commitment and approach to combating nuclear smuggling and proliferation.



SPECIAL INTEREST

The Dirty Bomb Threat
Foreign Affairs
Of course, despite recurring terrorist attacks in the Arab world and Northern Africa, Europe, and the United States, the odds are still low that terrorists will acquire radioactive materials. But the stakes—large-scale mass death and radiation poisoning—are so high that preventing dirty bomb proliferation should be a first priority.

Factbox: North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests
Reuters
Here is a timeline of North's Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

It’s Time for Action on Syria’s Chemical Weapons, Not Pointing Fingers
Foreign Policy, Rebecca Hersman
Presidents inherit problems and unfinished business. President Barack Obama inherited two Middle East wars and an economic crisis of proportions not seen in decades. President Trump has inherited a North Korean regime undaunted by international pressure and hell-bent on acquiring missile and nuclear capabilities to threaten the United States. He has also inherited a catastrophic war in Syria in which atrocity and criminality seemingly have no limits. We can debate what should have been done in the past, but it’s far more important to act now. The United States must push for action in the Security Council and hold Russia to account for shielding Assad’s atrocities. 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - April 5, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 5, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile a Day Before U.S.-China Summit
The New York Times

New U.S. sanctions bill delayed by concern over Iran election
Reuters

New Nuclear C2 Should be Distributed & Multi-Domain: STRATCOM Deputy
Breaking Defense

The Future of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent
The National Interest, John Deutch

EAST ASIA

North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile a Day Before U.S.-China Summit
The New York Times
North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast on Wednesday, a day before President Trump was to host his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida for their first summit meeting.

Trump to press China for tougher approach to North Korea
The Hill
President Trump plans to press Chinese President Xi Jinping this week to take a tougher approach to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the White House said Tuesday.

MIDDLE EAST

New U.S. sanctions bill delayed by concern over Iran election
Reuters
A bill to slap new sanctions on Iran has been delayed in the U.S. Senate due to concerns about Iran's May presidential election, in which conservative hardliners hope to defeat moderate President Hassan Rouhani, U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday.

Trump Faces Test as Boeing Announces Deal to Sell Jetliners to Iran
The New York Times
The Boeing Company announced a tentative agreement on Tuesday to sell up to 60 737s to an Iranian airline, a transaction valued at $6 billion that angered American critics of Iran and appeared likely to test the Trump administration’s avowed hostility toward that country.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

New Nuclear C2 Should be Distributed & Multi-Domain: STRATCOM Deputy
Breaking Defense
Just like the individual ICBMs, bombers, and submarines it oversees, the nation’s nuclear command-and-control architecture is aging Cold War tech that needs replacement.

Columbia-class on track, but Navy keeps wary eye on budget maneuvers
Defense News
The Columbia-class nuclear submarine program is on track to meet its expected deadline, but the Navy is keeping a nervous eye on budget negotiations on the Hill.

Strategic Deterrence More Than Nuclear, Stratcom Commander Says
DoD News
Strategic deterrence has been the foundation of U.S. security for decades, and today’s nuclear force remains safe, secure, reliable and ready, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said on Capitol Hill this morning.

STRATCOM issues guidance for anti-drone measures near nuclear sites
Defense News
The head of U.S. Strategic Command has issued new guidance on securing nuclear weapons sites against small, unmanned systems, a bureaucratically challenging but increasingly vital security issue for the Pentagon.

OPINIONS

The Future of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent
The National Interest, John Deutch
The future role of the U.S. nuclear deterrent may not seem as urgent an issue as health care, terrorism, energy and the environment, because nuclear weapons do not touch the daily lives of Americans.

Will a New UN Treaty Transform Nuclear and International Affairs?
The Wire, John Burroughs
Is a paradigm shift now underway on nuclear weapons at the UN? That was the question posed as about 130 nations gathered this past week to begin negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 4, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 4, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Chinese wary about U.S. .missile system because capabilities unknown
Reuters

S. Korea, U.S. reaffirm ironclad alliance against N. Korea
Yonhap

Israel’s latest missile interceptor enters service
The Guardian

Tillerson to chair U.N. meeting on North Korea nuclear program
Reuters



EAST ASIA

S. Korea, U.S. reaffirm ironclad alliance against N. Korea
Yonhap
South Korea's defense minister and the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift on Monday stressed the need for a watertight security partnership between the two countries to counter North Korea's provocations.

Chinese wary about U.S. .missile system because capabilities unknown
Reuters
Chinese scientists fear that the THAAD radars are sophisticated enough to allow the United States to track tests and specific missile signatures, ultimately helping it better prepare to counter any future Chinese attack.

North Korean Defector Tells Lester Holt ‘World Should Be Ready’ (Video)
NBC News
Thae Yong Ho is the most high profile North Korean defector in two decades, meaning he is able to give a rare insight into the secretive, authoritarian regime. Thae stated that the country's "desperate" dictator is prepared to use nuclear weapons to strike the United States and its allies.

N. Korea still years away from developing submarine missiles: U.S. Pacific Fleet Chief (Interview)
Yonhap
A top U.S. naval commander said Tuesday that North Korea appears to still be years away from fully developing the technology needed for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). However, the admiral stressed the seriousness of the North's general ballistic missile capability coupled with its nuclear program.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Israel’s latest missile interceptor enters service
The Guardian
The “David’s Sling”, a medium-range interceptor, developed with United States backing, is designed to fill the gap between the longer-range Arrow missile defense system and shorter-range Iron Dome interceptor.

Fallout from Iran ‘nuclear deal’: Saudis seen becoming ‘more active’ in developing WMD
World Tribune
Saudi Arabia is concentrating on building up its civilian nuclear infrastructure, which includes acquiring nuclear facilities and partnering with nations such as Russia, South Korea, and China to exchange nuclear technology.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

United States Strategic Command Programs (Hearing)
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services
General John E. Hyten, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command gives testimony on United States Strategic Command program.

Tillerson to chair U.N. meeting on North Korea nuclear program
Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a United Nations Security Council meeting on North Korea on April 28 to discuss how the body can combat Pyongyang's banned nuclear and missile programs, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Monday.

Slow appointment of officials could affect T-X, GBSD
Defense News
Robert Rangel, who served as chief of staff for former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, expressed specific concerns that key decisions on the Air Force’s T-X trainer replacement program and its Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) nuclear ICBM replacement could be delayed if appointees from the Trump administration are not in place and up to speed by the summer.



OPINIONS

What will be in the ban?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ray Acheson
Participants in nuclear ban talks agree broadly on the core prohibitions and obligations they want to see enshrined. As discussions last week showed, though, on some provisions—like how to conduct verification and prevent stockpiling—opinions diverged.

A Guide to Putting Iran on Notice
War on the Rocks, Mellissa Dalton, Joe Federici, and Hijab Shah
The United States should holistically account for the range of Iranian objectives and activities in the Middle East. It should deter and — as needed — respond to Iranian actions that threaten U.S. interests, testing for possible areas of constructive cooperation where possible.

Possible Evidence of the Failed March 22 Missile Test
38 North, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
No commercial satellite imagery of the area is available from the day of the attempted test, but an image from March 28 shows evidence of a massive 110-meters-in-diameter irregular circular explosion scar on the secondary runway leading to the Kalma Ballistic Missile Launch Site. While we cannot be certain, it is highly probable that this explosion scar represents the announced missile launch failure, as it did not appear in imagery from March 19.

Can Bill Gates rescue the Bioweapons Convention?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Gregory D. Koblentz, Paul F. Walker
The need for international cooperation on bioweapons is greater than ever. But a shocking number of treaty members have not been paying their fair share of the budget, leaving the treaty almost $400,000 in debt. One individual alive today has the means, and potentially the inclination, to redress the convention’s immediate funding crisis. This individual, of course, is the world’s richest man and its most generous philanthropist, Bill Gates.

If Nuclear Deterrence Fails, What’s The Plan?
Real Clear Defense, Loren Thompson
Critics will say missile defenses of the American homeland can't work, that they are destabilizing, and that they cost too much. None of this needs to be true, but the obvious response to opponents of national missile defense is a simple question: "So on the day deterrence fails, what is your plan?" They don't have one.

Don’t Let the Pentagon Monopolize Nuclear Policy
Defense One, Rebecca Friedman Lissner
President Trump was correct to prioritize an NPR in one of his early executive orders. But especially since this administration’s review represents one of the last opportunities to shape the coming multi-decade nuclear modernization program, the American people deserve an inclusive and exhaustive process that reaches beyond the Pentagon.

North Korea’s nuclear blackmail: Trump, make sanctions work again
The Hill, Joshua Stanton and Anthony Ruggerio
The strategy of pleading for Beijing’s cooperation at the U.N., only to see it violate sanctions shortly after voting for them, has exhausted itself. It is time to acknowledge that China is part of the North Korea problem until Beijing shows otherwise. Sanctions against North Korea and China remain indispensable, as they are the only peaceful means for coercing the regime to disarm.

Stopping the Unstoppable: How will the U.S. Defeat Missiles of the Future
Real Clear Defense, Collin Meisel
Despite critics’ calls to shy away from investing in ballistic missile defense (BMD) to address this threat, the U.S. must continue to vigorously research and develop revolutionary BMD technologies. Otherwise, it risks allowing the balance of offensive and defensive ballistic missile capabilities to grow increasingly asymmetric as defensive technological progress becomes asymptotic.

 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Lockheed pitches 3-D printed parts for next-generation ICBM program
Defense News
Although Lockheed’s GBSD proposal laid out design and production using “tried and true” techniques, it wants to use the three year technology maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) period to isolate components or structures that could be constructed via 3-D printing.

Syria conflict: ‘Chemical attack’ in Idlib
BBC
At least 58 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 3, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 3, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


Trump national security aides complete North Korea policy review
Reuters

South Korea, Japan, US hold drill against North Korea submarines missile threats
Hindustan Times

Trump Ready to Tackle North Korea Alone
Real Clear Defense




EAST ASIA

South Korea, Japan, US hold drill against North Korea submarines missile threats
Hindustan Times
The exercise began off South Korea’s southern coast near Japan, featuring multiple naval destroyers and helicopters used in anti-submarine warfare. It was aimed at “ensuring effective response to the North’s submarine threats including the submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM),” and “demonstrates the three countries’ strong determination”, according to Seoul’s defense ministry.

Japan Eyes “Counter-Attack” Capability Against North Korea
The Diplomat
Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party submitted a recommendation for the steps Japan should take to effectively respond to an ever-heightening missile threat from North Korea. The recommendations included potential new acquisition of ballistic missile defense assets to enhance existing BMD capability; exploration of acquiring “counter-attack” capability; and protection of exclusive economic zones.

Are ‘nuclear spies’ in Japan providing Pyongyang with weapons technology?
Deutsche Welle
Ken Kato, director of Tokyo-based Human Rights in Asia and a member of International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea, is alleging that a scientist with links to North Korea is working at a Japanese university on technology required to achieve miniaturization of nuclear warheads.

Trump national security aides complete North Korea policy review
Reuters
President Donald Trump's top national security aides have completed a broad review of U.S. options aimed at countering North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, a senior U.S. official said on Sunday. The review includes a range of economic and military measures but leans towards new sanctions and increased pressure on Beijing to rein in its neighbor.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Poland Poised to Buy Patriot, Months of Negotiations Ahead
Defense News
Poland announced Friday that it was submitting a revised letter of request to the U.S. government for eight Raytheon-made Patriot air-and-missile defense batteries for its Wisla program and hoped to finalize a contract by November.

Russia adds ‘Kazan’ to its nuclear attack submarine fleet
Defense News
Russia has launched the second boat in its new Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine fleet. The launch marks an important milestone in a procurement program that began in the 1980s and Russia’s efforts to rebuild its nuclear submarine fleet.




SOUTH ASIA

India All Set to Get Missile from Israel
The Economic Times
India's first missile armed drones that will give it the capability to carry out stand off cross-border strikes are ready in Israel 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US sets deadline for NATO allies’ defense spending plans
Defense News
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned NATO allies Friday to boost defense spending or come up with plans to reach the alliance's budget guidelines within two months.

Top commander says banning nukes would make wars worse
Politico
Air Force Gen. John Hyten, head of the U.S. Strategic Command argued that nuclear weapons have prevented conflicts from escalating into large-scale wars with large numbers of casualties, pointing out that in the six years before the introduction of nuclear weapons in 1945, as many as 80 million people were killed in World War II — or about 33,000 people a day.

US Challenges China on North Korea Threat Amid Unsanctioned Missile Launches
International Business Times
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said to the United Nations on Thursday that China can and must do more to force North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile programs. "Look, can we change the way North Korea thinks? No. They're not going to cave. China can, and that's the part we want to look at, I know China says they're worried about North Korea. I know China wants to see North Korea stop with the testing. Prove it. Prove it."

Trump Ready to Tackle North Korea Alone
Real Clear Defense
Donald Trump has warned that the US will take unilateral action to eliminate the nuclear threat from North Korea unless China increases pressure on the regime in Pyongyang.

Mattis: North Korea Has “Got to Be Stopped”
Real Clear Defense
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday in a stark expression of America's top national security concern at the moment. He emphasized diplomatic means of changing Pyongyang's "reckless" agenda.

 



OPINIONS

India, Long at Odds with Pakistan, May Be Rethinking Nuclear First Strikes
The New York Times, Max Fisher
New assessments suggest that India is considering allowing for pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Pakistan’s arsenal in the event of a war. This would not formally change India’s nuclear doctrine, which bars it from launching a first strike, but would loosen its interpretation to deem pre-emptive strikes as defensive.

A New South Korean Government & Washington’s Strategic Impatience
Real Clear Defense, Sean P. Morrisroe
The U.S. also cannot rely on a South Korea that will be aligned with our goals. South Korea has lived under the shadow of North Korean aggression for decades, and a new South Korean administration may not empathize with our concern of an attack on the U.S. homeland. While we should remain committed to the defense of South Korea, North Korea’s ability to threaten the U.S. homeland is a game changer.

India and Pakistan Escalate Nuclear Arms Race
The Wall Street Journal, Saeed Shah
The nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan is intensifying, with new weaponry and more aggressive doctrines that are stoking tensions between two powers at growing risk of confrontation.

If Germany Goes Nuclear, Blame Trump Before Putin
Foreign Policy, Maximilian Terhalle
Nuclear weapons are expensive, contentious, potentially contagious, and dangerous. Germany is in no rush to get them. But if the shelter of the U.S. nuclear umbrella is removed while Russian weapons are still pointed at Berlin, it will have no choice. 

Decoding India’s Nuclear Status
The Wire, Dhruva Jaishankar
There has been much speculation that India might be reconsidering its no first use strategy, but such talk has found few takers in the government. For India, the only true purpose of nuclear weapons are as deterrents.

A Cornerstone of Peace at Risk
The New York Times, The Editorial Board
One of the big security decisions facing the Trump administration is what to do about Russia’s violation of the I.N.F Treaty. How the administration reacts will say a lot about how it views the threat from Russia and will have a profound effect on European security. An American decision to withdraw from the treaty, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or I.N.F., would be disastrous.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

North Korea’s Nuclear Strength, Encapsulated in an Online Ad for Lithium
New York Times
The online ad reads like something only a metallurgist could love: an offer to sell 22 pounds of highly pure lithium 6 every month, set for delivery from the port of Dandong, China. But it caught the attention of intelligence agencies around the world for a simple reason: Lithium 6 offers a fast way to turn an ordinary atom bomb into a hydrogen bomb, magnifying its destructive power by up to 1,000 times.   

“Nuclear” Battleships: The U.S. Navy Almost Built a Super Weapon Like No Other
The National Interest
In 1958, the Navy proposed overhauling the Iowa-class ships by removing all of the 16-inch guns and replacing them with anti-aircraft and anti-submarine missiles. The new “guided missile battleships” would also carry four Regulus II cruise missiles, each of which could flatten a city a thousand miles distant with a nuclear warhead more than 100 times as powerful as the bomb used on Hiroshima.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 30, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 30, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

EUCOM worried by Russia’s non-strategic weapons
IHS Jane’s 360

Air Force pushes B-21 advanced stealth bomber with more flexible tech approach
CNBC

U.N. looks for Trump foreign policy hints from tough-talking envoy
Reuters

S. Korea hails U.S. bill on N.K. sanctions, resolution on China’s retaliation
Yonhap




EAST ASIA

China’s Xi to meet Trump in Florida next week
Reuters
It will be Xi's first meeting with Trump and comes as the two sides face pressing issues, ranging from North Korea and the South China Sea to trade disputes.

S. Korea hails U.S. bill on N.K. sanctions, resolution on China’s retaliation
Yonhap
South Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday lauded a U.S. Congress legislation calling for tougher sanctions on North Korea and Washington's resolution urging China to halt retaliations against Seoul over a missile defense system deployment plan.

More Evacuation Drills Required in Face of North Korean Missile Threat
The Japan News
The government and concerned local authorities have conducted Japan’s first evacuation exercise for local residents in Oga, Akita Prefecture, based on the premise that a foreign nation had launched a ballistic missile.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Top US commander: Iran poses greatest global threat, demands tougher action
Business Insider
The United States has "not seen any improvement in Iran's behavior" since the nuclear agreement was inked, according to U.S. Central Command leader Gen. Joseph Votel, who warned Congress when testifying before the House Armed Services Committee. Votel opened his remarks by stating "Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to stability in this part of the world."



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

ROSATOM and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear materials transportation
ROSATOM
The Memorandum especially emphasizes the intention of the parties to strictly comply with the international safety standards related to the nuclear material management.

EUCOM worried by Russia’s non-strategic weapons
IHS Jane’s 360
General Curtis Scaparrotti, head of the EUCOM, told Congress on 28 March what alarms him most is "Moscow's substantial inventory of non-strategic nuclear weapons in the EUCOM [area of operations] and its troubling doctrine that calls on the potential use of these weapons to escalate its way out of a failing conflict".



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. Missile Defense Agency buys Lot  9 THAAD Interceptors
UPI
Lockheed Martin says the product is ideal for defending highly concentrated population centers and high-value infrastructures. It is also designed to be interoperable with other ballistic missile defense systems.

Navy, MDA Experimenting With Laser Prototypes for Surface Warfare, Ballistic Missile Defense
USNI News
The Navy and Missile Defense Agency are leveraging prototyping programs to incrementally pursue complex ideas such as a laser weapon integrated into the Aegis Combat System and a high-power laser for boost-phase kill in missile defense

Air Force pushes B-21 advanced stealth bomber with more flexible tech approach
CNBC
The Air Force's B-21 long-range strike bomber under development will feature flexible technology that will allow its capabilities to be modernized over time to stave off obsolescence. The military will be able to upgrade the aircraft's software systems as technology evolves or make changes as adversaries evolve

U.N. looks for Trump foreign policy hints from tough-talking envoy
Reuters
Nikki Haley has made a tough-talking debut as U.S. President Donald Trump's envoy to the United Nations but her counterparts on the powerful Security Council are waiting to see if that will translate into policies differing from those of the Obama administration.



OPINIONS

Realism and North Korea
The Cipher Brief, Michael Morell and Admiral Sandy Winnefeld
North Korea has no interest in negotiating a comprehensive deal with the U.S. because the regime needs the U.S. as an enemy—the elimination of an external distraction and the increased information flow accompanying a rapprochement could very well spell the beginning of the end of the regime

Vipin spills the beans
The Tribune
At a recent conference on Nuclear Policy hosted by Washington’s Carnegie Endowment this Indian-American academic spilled the beans about the true nature of Indian nuclear doctrine by questioning its fundamental aspect of No-First Use (NFU) of nuclear weapons. He disclosed that in a confrontation with Pakistan, India would use nuclear weapons first to “completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons.”

How Donald Trump Could Blow Up The World By Himself
Huffington Post, Joe Cirincione
In America there are no checks and balances on the president’s ability to launch nuclear war. He doesn’t have to ask Congress for permission, or consult with the Joint Chiefs; there is no possible appeal to the Supreme Court. He simply has to give the order to launch. As President Nixon said, “I can go into my office and pick up the telephone and in twenty-five minutes seventy million people will be dead.”

Lock them Up: Zero-Deployed Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe (Report)
The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Pavel Podvig and Javier Serrat
Today, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which “non-strategic” or “tactical” nuclear weapons would be deliberately used in a conflict in Europe. However, these weapons are still present on the continent and complicate efforts to strengthen the European security architecture.

The UN’s Nuclear Weapon Talks May Be The Most Important Thing Nobody’s Paying Attention To
The Huffington Post, Alexander Zaltchlk
The treaty text is expected to be a historic document, a landmark in collective security and international law. As a tool to force the nuclear genie back into the bottle, it is also expected to be roughly as effective as a plate of egg salad sandwiches.



SPECIAL INTEREST

Nuke Testing 101: How, and why, North Korea tests its bombs
Military Times
North Korea has proven over the past 10 years that it can be exceptionally difficult to determine from a properly set up nuclear test some of the most basic details an adversary would want to know.

Original Video Series: Iran Nuclear Deal—Part 5: The Iran Deal: What’s Next?
CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program
Jon Wolfsthal joins CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program and discusses what the future of the Iran Deal might look like under the new administration. 

Military Assessment of Russian Activities and Security Challenges in Europe (Video)
House Committee on Armed Services
Witnesses: General Curtis M. Scaparrotti Commander, United States European Command

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 29, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 29, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


Continued Activity at Key Plutonium Production Facilities at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Complex; Purpose Unclear
38 North

Russian envoy calls for restraint amid tensions on Korean Peninsula
Yonhap

CTBTO keeps close eye on N. Korea’s nuclear activity
Yonhap

US dismisses claim it is capable of launching ‘surprise nuclear missile strike against Russia’
The Independent



EAST ASIA

Continued Activity at Key Plutonium Production Facilities at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Complex; Purpose Unclear
38 North
Recent commercial satellite imagery of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center indicates activities are taking place at a number of key facilities directly related to the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Malaysia inspects North Korean coal ship for possible U.N. sanctions breach
Reuters
Malaysia briefly prevented a North Korean ship carrying coal from entering its port in Penang because of a suspected breach of United Nations sanctions. The KUM YA, was carrying 6,300 metric tonnes of anthracite coal. It was later allowed to dock, where an inspection team accompanied by an armed escort boarded the ship.

LDP panel urges government to let Japan strike North Korean missiles in event of attack
The Japan Times
Panel members emphasized that Japan should only use such long-range missiles after the North fires a ballistic missile against Japan, given the war-renouncing Constitution that limits the use of force by Tokyo strictly to self-defense. 

Japan and Australia harshly criticized for no-show at U.N. nuke ban talks
The Japan Times
A Japanese atomic bomb survivor and an Aboriginal Australian who lived through multiple nuclear tests slammed their respective governments Tuesday for not participating in U.N. negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Netanyahu to Trump: Prevent Iran from ‘ever’ developing nuclear weapons
Business Standard
The Israeli leader said that "Israel has no greater friend than America and America has no greater friend than Israel.” He also referred to Iran as the greatest threat to Israel and appealed to the Trump administration to prevent "Iran from ever ... developing nuclear weapons. That ... will always be our policy."




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE


Russian envoy calls for restraint amid tensions on Korean Peninsula
Yonhap
The top Russian envoy in South Korea called on all relevant countries to exercise restraint from any action that could heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula. In a forum held in central Seoul, Russian Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Timonin also underlined the need for the resumption of the long-suspended six-party negotiations aimed at resolving North Korea's nuclear stalemate.



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

As 120 countries push for a ban, nuclear survivors take the floor
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The high-level segment of the meeting, which invited government ministers and UN permanent representatives to speak, was scheduled to end on Monday but ran until lunchtime on Tuesday due to overwhelming interest. At the end of the high-level segment, civil society representatives were given the floor.

CTBTO keeps close eye on N. Korea’s nuclear activity
Yonhap
The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) warned that the reclusive communist country won't be able to mask its nuclear activity. With the CTBTO's International Monitoring System (IMS) no nuclear test will go undetected.

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US dismisses claim it is capable of launching ‘surprise nuclear missile strike against Russia’
The Independent
The Russian representative to a global conference on nuclear weapons has accused the US of massing missile defenses capable of launching a “surprise nuclear missile strike against Russia”. Robert Wood, the US’ permanent representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament, dismissed the claims as “science fiction”.

 



OPINIONS

The US and Russia Should Never Have Stopped Cooperating to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism
Defense One, Byron Dorgan
The current U.S.-Russia relationship is plagued by big and difficult issues. The risk of a nuclear terror attack in Washington or Moscow — or anywhere on the planet — cannot be ignored due to other disagreements.

India is not changing its policy on no first use of nuclear weapons
War on the Rocks, Abhijnan Rej
We still do not have sufficient evidence that India has reversed its no first-use policy or — for that matter — any other major tenets in its public nuclear doctrine. Indeed, at a time when there are growing calls inside India to revisit its nuclear doctrine, it is worth keeping in mind that India’s doctrine already allows considerable space for innovation.

How this country went from nuclear problem child to role model
CNBC, Nyshka Chandran
Myanmar was once a pariah state with nuclear ambitions, bogged down by international sanctions But the Buddhist-majority nation has since changed tune and become a role model for non-proliferation, offering key insights into nuclear policy

Don’t obstruct efforts to ban nuclear weapons
The Japan Times, Ramesh Thakur
The deep division in the international community exists between the 110-130 countries pursuing ban negotiations in good faith and the 40-odd group of nuclear armed states and allies who have been resisting and obstructing their efforts. It is time for the so-called realists to get real about the existential dangers of a world brimming with nuclear weapons and the urgent need to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate them.

Is Russia Building a Nuclear-Powered Supercarrier
The Diplomat, Franz-Stefan Gady
The Krylovsky State Research Center (KRSC), a Russian shipbuilding research and development institute, has been pushing Russia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) to sign off on its concept of a new nuclear-powered supercarrier, dubbed Project 23000E Shtorm (Storm). The ship will be allegedly be powered by either conventional or a nuclear propulsion and can stay at sea for 90-120 days.

Thinking Strategically About a Nuclear Ban
Real Clear Defense, Christine M. Leah
A nuclear weapons ban, whilst probably a noble and humanitarian goal, reflects misplaced idealism and an under-appreciation of fundamental strategic issues and concepts. A nuclear weapons ban addresses symptoms of a problem, not the underlying problems themselves. 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Robots sent to Fukushima keep dying
The Independent
A recent excursion failed after a Toshiba-designed robot died five times faster than was expected. The robot should be able to deal with 73 sieverts of radiation. A recently recorded level in the reactor was clocked at 530 sieverts. The radiation levels in Fukushima's unit two reactor are so high, they can kill a human in two minutes.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 28, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 28, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


North Korea tests rocket engine: U.S. officials
Reuters

Iran responds to US with ‘reciprocal sanctions’
Al-Monitor

Russia says U.S. anti-missile system to spark new arms race
Reuters

United States and Allies Protest U.N. Talks to Ban Nuclear Weapons
The New York Times





EAST ASIA

North Korea tests rocket engine: U.S. officials
Reuters
Several U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the test took place on Friday night and the engine could possibly be used in an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). 

Amid Tensions, China and North Korea Inaugurate New Charter Flight
The New York Times
The twice-weekly flight by Air Koryo will connect Pyongyang with Dandong. Traders in Dandong have complained in recent months of a slump in business as Beijing seemed to become increasing willing to tightening cross-border trade in response to Pyongyang's missile tests. On the political front, China has called for a "dual suspension" in which North Korea halts nuclear tests and the United States halts joint drills with South Korea.

N. Korea would be cheering if U.N. adopts nuclear weapons ban treaty
Yonhap
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Amb. Nikki Haley, said Monday that North Korea would erupt in cheers if the U.N. adopts a treaty banning nuclear weapons because the communist nation wouldn't be complying with such a ban while others do.

Japan abstains as nuclear arms ban talks start|
Japan Times
“Regrettably, given the present circumstances, we must say that it would be difficult for Japan to participate … in a constructive manner and in good faith,” disarmament ambassador Nobushige Takamizawa said during the opening segment of the conference. “We will continue to pursue realistic and effective disarmament measures and will work to create a security environment conducive to the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

 

MIDDLE EAST

A View from Congress: U.S. Policy on Iran (Hearing)
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Witnesses: Mr. Michael Singh, Lane-Swig Senior Fellow, Managing Director The Washington Institute and The Honorable Martin S. Indyk Executive Vice President The Brookings Institution.

Iran’s Rouhani seeks deals with new friend Russia
Reuters
Iranian arms purchases and Russian investment in the Iranian energy sector are likely talking points for Rouhani. Iranian media say he will discuss several economic agreements - potentially valuable prizes for the moderate leader, who is keen to show his people that Iran is benefiting from its 2015 deal with world powers to rein back its nuclear program in returning for an easing of international sanctions.

Iran responds to US with ‘reciprocal sanctions’
Al-Monitor
On the heels of the United States announcing new sanctions against companies and individuals transferring technology for Iran’s ballistic missile program, Iran responded with its own sanctions regime on US military companies involved in supporting Israeli settlements.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian ICBM capable of wiping out Texas is delayed
Defense News
Russia has been testing the system since last year, and it is expected it to be ready for use in 2018, but further testing on the system has been delayed.

Russia says U.S. anti-missile system to spark new arms race
Reuters
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that the USA's global deployment of an anti-missile system was a threat to world security designed to contain Russia and China.

Turkey determined to test NATO
Al-Monitor
Since deciding that it should have its own defense system instead of relying solely on NATO, Turkey has been wavering between the various offerings of its Western allies and Chinese and Russian alternatives.

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

United States and Allies Protest U.N. Talks to Ban Nuclear Weapons
The New York Times
The United States and most other nuclear powers, including Russia, oppose the talks. They come against the backdrop of increasing worries over the intentions of a reclusive North Korea, which has tested nuclear weapons and missiles that could conceivably carry them.

Pope backs global nuclear arms ban as U.N. conference sputters
Reuters
Pope Francis urged the United Nations on Tuesday to seek the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons, speaking as the United States and some other major powers boycotted a conference considering a global ban.

Negotiations to ban nuclear weapons begin, but Australia joins US boycott
The Guardian
Assistant minister to the prime minister, Senator James McGrath, told the Senate “Australia shares with the international community the goal of a peaceful and secure world free on nuclear weapons”, but that it would not be participating in the UN talks.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Air Force to explore long-term nuclear enterprise ideas at new summit
Inside Defense
Air Force Global Strike Command will host its inaugural nuclear deterrence operations innovation summit this summer to find ways to advance the service's national leadership command capabilities and nuclear command, control and communications enterprise in 2035 and beyond.

Congress’ New Iran Sanctions Bills Draws Support From Former Senior US Officials
Voice of America
Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph, Obama administration State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley and former Marine Corps Commandant U.S. General James Conway welcomed last Thursday's announcements of new Iran sanctions legislation as they attended a Washington reception on Friday.

McConnell Criticizes Iran nuke deal as “windfall’ for Tehran
ABC News
U.S. lawmakers are backing bipartisan legislation that would slap Iran with new sanctions while maintaining rigorous enforcement of the landmark nuclear deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the nuclear agreement prevents the U.S. from taking more aggressive steps against Iran. McConnell said. "Today, we can combat Iran's capability to fund, arm, and train terrorists like Hezbollah, Hamas, and its proxies in Syria."

World nuclear ban ‘not realistic’, says US ambassador to UN
BBC
Nikki Haley said national security required nuclear arms because of "bad actors" who could not be trusted."There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be realistic," she told reporters. "Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?"

 

OPINIONS

Arctic Imperatives
Council on Foreign Relations
With the Arctic "warming at twice the rate as the rest of the planet" and melting sea ice opening up this resource-rich region to new trade routes and commercial activities, the report stresses that "the United States needs to increase its strategic commitment to the region or risk leaving its interests unprotected."

North Korea’s Nuclear Posture: An Evolving Challenge for U.S. Deterrence
IFRI, John K. Warden
As North Korea’s capabilities mature, the United States, South Korea, and Japan will need to articulate a comprehensive approach to deterring Pyongyang while managing their differences to respond to North Korea’s behavior during peacetime, crisis, and conflict. 

North Korea: Stronger Kim, but Weaker Kims?
Real Clear Defense, Rod Lyon
Finding a solution to North Korea’s accelerating nuclear and missile programs grows more urgent by the day. Diplomacy’s proven ineffective; sanctions are difficult, slow and uneven; and the use of force might well beget a wider war. Is there a sleeper option—regime change? In the wake of Iraq and Libya, regime change has a bad name. But the question’s worth revisiting.

Human Costs of Nuclear War Are Driving Push Towards a Ban Treaty
The Huffington Post, Wakana Mukai
The humanitarian consequences of using nuclear weapons play a central part in the international nuclear disarmament initiative now starting. It goes beyond traditional strategic thinking about nuclear policy and appeals to the core of mankind. 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Thousands of N. Korean propaganda leaflets found west of Seoul
Yonhap
Thousands of North Korea's propaganda leaflets were found in this western port city on Tuesday, police said, in the latest propaganda campaign carried out by the reclusive country against the South criticizing the annual joint Key Resolve exercise between South Korea and the United States.

The Future of the U.S. – Japan Alliance (Video)
CSIS
Toru Hashimoto discusses the U.S.-Japan Alliance and maintained that Trump was correct in saying Japan needed to strengthen its Self-Defense Force to better defend itself. 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 27, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 27, 2017

TOP NEWS


North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Possible Vehicles Located at Tunnel Entrance
38 North

Iran Imposes Sanctions on 15 US Firms
Fox Business

Non-nuclear nations to push for international nuclear weapon ban treaty at U.N.
The Mainichi

NATO to spend 3 billion euros on satellite, cyber defenses
Reuters



EAST ASIA

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Possible Vehicles Located at Tunnel Entrance
38 North
If these vehicles are related to test preparations, they could be involved in the installation of instrumentation or even a nuclear device. However, the evidence is not definitive, therefore they may be there for other purposes as well.

North Korean missile crisis: Bishop told Australia in firing line for nuclear attack
The Australian
US General Vincent K. Brooks, commander of UN and US forces in the country, stood in front of ­Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and ­delivered some sobering news. The general told her North Korea, led by the maniacal Kim Jong-un, had developed its rocket technology to the point that Australia would soon be within range of a nuclear strike.

Major nations responsible for keeping world peace: China Vice Premier
Reuters
China's Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli comments followed media reports this week that North Korea was in the final stages of preparing for another nuclear test. Earlier this month, Pyongyang launched four ballistic missiles in response to joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises, which it regards as preparation to war.

As North Korea fires missiles, some in Japan want the ability to launch strikes
The Washington Post
An influential group of politicians is publicly arguing for technically pacifist Japan to acquire the ability to strike North Korea instead of having to rely on the United States for its defense. 

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran Imposes Sanctions on 15 US Firms
Fox Business
Iran on Sunday sanctioned 15 American companies in retaliation for restrictions that the Trump administration imposed on companies and people allegedly connected with its ballistic-missile program.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Royal Navy new aircraft carriers cannot stop Russia’s new hypersonic Zircon missiles
The Independent
The new Zircon missile can reportedly travel at five to six times the speed of sound, using a state of the art “scramjet” engine, which takes the oxygen it needs for propulsion from the atmosphere instead of a tank on board. It could be operational as early as next year, at which point it will likely be fitted to a nuclear-powered Kirov class warship as well as strategic bombers and submarines

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

NATO to spend 3 billion euros on satellite, cyber defenses
Reuters
Seeking to deter hackers, and other threats including Iranian missiles, the investments underscore NATO's recognition that conflicts are increasingly fought on computer networks as well as in the air, on land and at sea.

Non-nuclear nations to push for international nuclear weapon ban treaty at U.N.
The Mainichi
A United Nations conference to negotiate a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons is set to open at U.N. Headquarters here on March 27, with a tug-of-war expected between nuclear powers and non-nuclear countries.

Strengthening Global Nuclear Safety: CNS Review Meeting Convenes
IAEA
Significant progress has been made in strengthening   nuclear safety across the world, delegates at the Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) heard today. 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. sanctions 30 firms, individuals for aiding Iran, North Korea arms programs
Reuters
The United States has imposed sanctions on 30 foreign companies or individuals for transferring sensitive technology to Iran for its missile program or for violating export controls on Iran, North Korea and Syria, the State Department said on Friday.

Pentagon SM-3 IIA Missile Integrates New Software and Sensors
Defense Systems
The Missile Defense Agency and Raytheon have configured the emerging SM-3 IIA missile with a more “sensitive” seeker and software designed to accommodate new threat information

 

OPINIONS

Cutting Funding to the IAEA is a Horrible Idea
Foreign Policy, Jon Wolfsthal and Laura Holgate
The United States has a long-standing and continuing interest in preventing countries and terrorists from building nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the only way to interpret Trump’s proposed budget cuts for the State Department and the international programs they fund is that he couldn’t care less.

Banning Nuclear Weapons
Real Clear Defense, Matthew Costlow
In Shakespeare’s famous play of the same name, Macbeth laments the brevity of life saying, “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The same could be said of the UN effort to ban nuclear weapons. 

China’s Anti-Ship Missiles Threaten a New Arms Race
Newsweek, James Samuel Johnson
China has a new generation of stealthy, supersonic anti-ship missiles, and the U.S. is clearly worried about them. Former U.S. rear admiral Eric McVadon described them as the “strategic equivalent of China’s acquiring nuclear weapons in 1964.” 

When sanctions work—and why they fail
New York Post, Ralph peters
Sanctions rarely succeed by themselves. Applied synergistically with other actions, though, sanctions can be a powerful tool. Contrary to counter-factual claims, economic sanctions imposed on Russia after successive invasions of its neighbors have had a profound effect. 

North Korean tests augment boosting missile defense systems
The Hill, Rebecca Kheel
North Korea’s stubbornness on its missile program has given a boost to U.S. lawmakers who are pushing for more money to expand and improve missile defense systems.

The North Korean War Scare
The Washington Times, R. James Woolsey and Peter Vincent Pry
The U.S. and South Korea are conducting a routine military exercise FOAL EAGLE-17 mobilizing thousands of troops. The focus of the war game is preemptive warfare to prevent North Korea from launching nuclear missiles, including by U.S. nuclear first strikes against North Korean forces and leadership

North Korea’s leader is a lot of things—but irrational is not one of them
The Washington Post, Anna Fifield
World leaders, military chiefs and Hollywood have all painted Kim Jong-Un as an unhinged maniac. But this is not just wrong, North Korea watchers and dictatorship experts say. It also risks dangerous miscalculation. 

India and Pakistan Escalate Missile Rivalry?
Eurasia Review
Missiles replace ballots as the solution to political dispute. Therefore it is our prime responsibility to raise our voice for complete disarmament in the region and resolve our all issues by other means.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Conversations on Missiles and Nuclear Weapons Key to Rebuilding U.S.-Russian Relationship (PANEL)
CSIS
Sergey Rogov, scientific director of the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the Kremlin and Washington view each other’s moves as violations of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Weapons Treaty.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 22, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 22, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China not to attend nuclear weapon ban treaty negotiation
CCTV

Latest North Korean Missile Launch Ends in Apparent Failure
Real Clear Defense

U.S. General Urges Nuclear Upgrade as Russia Grows ‘More Aggressive’
The New York Times

Trump administration to review goal of world without nuclear weapons: aide
Reuters


EAST ASIA

China not to attend nuclear weapon ban treaty negotiation
CCTV
The choice has been made to maintain the current international arms control and disarmament regime and move ahead nuclear disarmament in a gradual and incremental way.

N. Korea says it is fully ready for ‘any war’ with U.S.
Yonhap
The North's Foreign Ministry also said that the world will soon see how significant its recent test of a large-scale rocket engine was, an apparent threat to use the engine to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S.

Officials: U.S. Expects Next North Korean Missile Launch Soon
Military Times
The officials said the U.S. has increased its surveillance over the isolated, communist country and has seen a North Korean missile launcher moving around, as well as construction of VIP seating in the eastern coastal city Wonsan. 

S. Korean Military Says Hacking Threats Growing
Yonhap
Hacking attempts on the South Korean military's computer networks have markedly increased this month amid strained ties with China and North Korea's continued belligerence.

Latest North Korean Missile Launch Ends in Apparent Failure
Real Clear Defense
North Korea's latest missile launch ended in failure on Wednesday as the United States sent a supersonic bomber streaking over ally South Korea in a show of force against the North, officials said.

B-1B Bomber Holds Attack Drill in Korea
The Korea Herald
A US strategic bomber trained with South Korean fighter jets Wednesday over the peninsula, sending a strong warning message to North Korea, according to the allies. They said the B-1B conducted an immediate deployment and simulation-based bombing drill in case of any emergency on the peninsula. 

North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear arms-envoy
Reuters
North Korea has nothing to fear from any U.S. move to broaden sanctions aimed at cutting it off from the global financial system and will pursue "acceleration" of its nuclear and missile programs. This includes developing a "pre-emptive first strike capability" and an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), said Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the North Korean mission to the UN.

 


MIDDLE EAST

Yemeni Rebels Claim Second Burkan-2 Ballistic Missile Attack
IHS Jane’s 360
Yemen's rebels claimed on 19 March that they had launched a Burkan-2 ballistic missile that targeted and hit Saudi Arabia's King Salman Air Base in Riyadh and released a low-quality video showing a ballistic missile being launched.




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

U.S. General Urges Nuclear Upgrade as Russia Grows ‘More Aggressive’
The New York Times
Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein expressed confidence that the United States’ nuclear arsenal remained effective: “I sleep very well at night,” he said. But like an aging vehicle, the general said, the arsenal is overdue for an overhaul.

Sweden preparing hundreds of nuclear bunkers amid fears of Russian attack
The Independent
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has ordered a review of 350 civilian bunkers on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, where Sweden has stationed permanent troops. The shelters are designed to protect people against the shock wave and radiation from a nuclear detonation, as well as chemical and biological weapons.




U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump administration to review goal of world without nuclear weapons: aide
Reuters
Christopher Ford, the National Security Council's senior director for weapons of mass destruction and counter-proliferation, said an examination of whether global nuclear disarmament "is a realistic goal," in the Nuclear Policy Review.




OPINIONS

Is the Indian Nuclear Doctrine Evolving?
The Wire, Seema Sirohi
India’s nuclear doctrine may appear to be undergoing a shift towards conducting a ‘counterforce strike’ against Pakistan, but some experts see this as “mind games” that could set off a worrying chain of events in the region.

The Ultimate Failure in Korea
38 North, Robert Carlin
Perhaps that is a key, this pernicious myth of the failure of diplomacy. How could it be said that diplomacy failed over the past 16 years when it was not really tried?  To so misread the accomplishments of diplomacy of those years is to slam the door on probably the only course that will lead us away from the disaster we are facing now.

Balancing Force Modernization and the Most Likely Future Wars We’ll Be Fighting
Real Clear Defense, Brad Nicholson
A well-balanced and forward-looking strategy for acquisition and development of systems and force structure should focus not only on the most dangerous threats but be heavily influenced by the most likely threats as well.

Rouhani, the Deceiver
Foreign Policy, John Hannah and Saeed Ghasseminejad
Rouhani’s presidency will no longer serve as a get-out-of-jail-free pass for their escalating aggression. The moderate vs. hardliner narrative that the Islamic Republic so successfully peddled to a credulous West has lost all currency. Contrary to the Obamians most fervent wishes, Rouhani is not the progenitor of the theocracy’s eventual transformation, but the wily instrument of its survival and regeneration. 

Rex Tillerson Has Shown No Illusions About North Korea
The New York Times
Mr. Tillerson seemed to rule out negotiations with the North and suggested that the United States might be forced to take pre-emptive military action if the North Koreans “elevate the threat of their weapons program” to an unacceptable level. This sort of talk is jarring and risky, and even though negotiations are a long shot, there is little hope of moderating the North’s position without them.




SPECIAL INTEREST

Billionaire Bunkers: How the 1% are preparing for the apocalypse
CNN
A number of companies around the world are meeting a growing demand for structures that protect from any risk, whether it's a global pandemic, an asteroid, or World War III -- while also delivering luxurious amenities.

North Korea war threat: Just how big is Kim Jong-Un’s arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons?
International Business Times
Intelligence on North Korea, which is an oppressive, secretive and isolationist country, is hard to come by. But from defectors, espionage, and its own propaganda, the rest of the world can piece together information that reveals the extent of North Korea's military capabilities. Here's what we know about the country's arsenal and military might.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 21, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 21, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea says it’s not afraid of U.S. threat of military strike
Military Times

South Korea complains to WTO over China’s response to anti-missile system
South China Morning Post

North Korea has Doubled Size of Enrichment Facility, IAEA Chief
The Wall Street Journal

Trump administration weighing broad sanctions on North Korea
Reuters




EAST ASIA

South Korea complains to WTO over China’s response to anti-missile system
South China Morning Post
South Korea has complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about Chinese retaliation against South Korean companies over the deployment of a US anti-missile defense system in the South, the trade minister said on Monday. Chinese authorities have also closed nearly two dozen retail stores of South Korea’s Lotte Group amid the diplomatic stand-off.

North Korea says it’s not afraid of U.S. threat of military strike
Military Times
A spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry slammed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent talk of tougher sanctions, more pressure, and possible military action, and said the North would not be deterred in its nuclear program." The nuclear force of (North Korea) is the treasured sword of justice and the most reliable war deterrence to defend the socialist motherland and the life of its people."

Taiwan ‘targeted by mainland China’s top medium-range missile’
South China Morning Post
The DF-16 has been deployed by the PLA’s Rocket Force as the mainland steps up its military intimidation against Taiwan, Defence Minister Feng Shih-kuan said.

US threat to strike North Korea ‘aimed at Beijing’s ears’
South China Morning Post
A pre-emptive strike on North Korea threatened by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is most likely just rhetoric to pressure Beijing, analysts say, despite the tension on the peninsula.




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia and Japan Team Up to Stop Kim Jong Un’s Nuclear Ambitions
Newsweek
Russia and Japan have promised to work together to curb North Korea's nuclear expansion, according to multiple reports Monday. Foreign and defense officials left the "two-plus-two" talk with a commitment on both sides to work to stop the North's repeated recent illegal missile tests.

Vice President Federica Mogherini at the 2017 Carnegie Nuclear Policy Conference
European Union External Action Service
Speech by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the 2017 Carnegie Nuclear Policy Conference.



SOUTH ASIA

India could strike Pakistan with nuclear weapons if threatened, says expert
Hindustan Times
There is increasing evidence that India could launch a preemptive first strike against Pakistan if it feared a nuclear attack was imminent. This first strike would not be aimed at urban centers and conventional targets of a retaliatory strike, but against Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal.

 



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

North Korea has Doubled Size of Enrichment Facility, IAEA Chief
The Wall Street Journal
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, described North Korea as rapidly advancing its capacity to produce nuclear weapons on two fronts: the production of plutonium at its Yongbyon nuclear facility and the enrichment of uranium.

 




U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. Reducing Nuclear Weapons: Air Force Deployed Missiles Drop to Lowest Level in 60 Years
Newsweek
The Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile force will reduce its nuclear missiles from 450 to 400, the first reduction in a decade, by April. The plan has long been in place. President Barack Obama renewed the deal with Moscow in 2010 and in 2014 announced he would downsize the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile force.

US Rep. Wilson backs tough talk on North Korea
Defense News
U.S. House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said Monday he was “really grateful” for Tillerson and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley for making public statements that keep military action on the table. The Obama administration’s “strategic patience” approach only fueled Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, he said.

Trump administration weighing broad sanctions on North Korea
Reuters
The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat.

 



OPINIONS

Why Freezing North Korea’s Weapons Programs Would Make Us Safer
Union of Concerned Scientists , David Wright
A North Korean freeze on nuclear tests and missile flight tests would be highly beneficial—and readily verifiable. It would prevent Pyongyang from developing a long-range missile capable of hitting the United States. It is important, of course, to work to eliminate the capabilities North Korea currently has, but a sensible first step is to keep it from increasing its capabilities.

North Korea engine test may be prelude to partial ICBM flight
Reuters, Ju-min Park
North Korea has likely mastered the technology to power the different stages of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and may show it off soon, analysts say, but it is likely still a long way from being able to hit the mainland United States.

China’s Fear of U.S. Missile Defense is Disingenuous
Foreign Policy, Abraham M. Denmark
South Korea’s general acceptance of THAAD (though some opposition certainly remains) speaks to the tremendous threat the country faces from North Korea, as well as the continued strength of the U.S.-South Korea alliance — neither of which China has been adept at addressing.




SPECIAL INTEREST

His grandfather helped bomb Hiroshima. Today he’s friends with a nuclear bomb survivor.
WEKU
What brought Ari Beser and Keiko Ogura together was a bomb. A technology more destructive than any that came before it. But they hope their shared story can be as powerful as any weapon.

China’s Evolving Nuclear Deterrent (Report)|
Rand Corporation
China is likely to increase emphasis on nuclear deterrence, accelerate nuclear force modernization, and make adjustments (although not wholesale changes) to policy.

 

 

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 20, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 20, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

North Korea Revs the Engine of its New High-Thrust Missile
The New York Times

Amid North Korea threat, Tillerson hints that circumstances could evolve’ for a Japanese nuclear arsenal
Japan Times

Tillerson says North Korea nuclear program is ‘imminent’ threat, as China urges talks
Politico


EAST ASIA

Japan holds 1st civilian missile evacuation drill
Defense News
The drill assumed a scenario of a hypothetical country firing a missile that falls into Japanese territorial waters off the coast of Akita prefecture. It came amid increasing missile threats from North Korea. 

North Korea Revs the Engine of its New High-Thrust Missile
The New York Times
North Korea conducted a ground jet test of a newly developed high-thrust missile engine, the country’s state-run news media said on Sunday, even as Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is in the region discussing tougher strategies to help end the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

Taiwan says their missiles can reach mainland China
Defense News
Taiwan has publicly claimed it’s capable of launching missiles that will hit mainland China, confirmed Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan when asked by a lawmaker.

China Pushes Back on U.S. of ‘All Options’ Over North Korea
Bloomberg
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pushed back against the tougher U.S. line on North Korea, reiterating his country’s view that the only way to rein in its reclusive neighbor is through talks.

North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station: Scud-ER Launch Site Visible; Activity at Vertical Engine Test Stand
38 North
While there is almost no activity at the rest of the test facility, it remains fully capable of conducting a launch at any time with limited warning. Identifying launch or engine test preparations remain a challenge due to the North’s extensive concealment and deception practices.

Amid North Korea threat, Tillerson hints that circumstances could evolve’ for a Japanese nuclear arsenal
Japan Times
Secretary of State Tillerson appeared to say in an interview ahead of his visit to Beijing that, with “all options on the table” regarding the North Korean threat, “circumstances could evolve” in terms of Tokyo acquiring atomic weapons.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Germany rejects Trump’s claim it owes NATO and U.S. ‘vast sums’ for defense
Reuters
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a "modern security concept" that included a modern NATO but also a European defense union and investment in the United Nations.

 


U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Rex Tillerson and Xi Jinping Meet in China and Emphasize Cooperation
The New York Times
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and President Xi Jinping of China cast aside their differences on Sunday with a public display of cooperation, sidestepping areas of disagreement even as North Korea made another defiant statement by showing off a new missile engine.

While Trump talks tough, U.S. quietly cutting nuclear force
Military Times
The reduction to 400 missiles from 450 is the first for the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, force in a decade — when the arsenal came down from 500 such weapons. The Air Force says the latest cut in Minuteman 3 missiles will be completed in April, leaving the deployed ICBM arsenal at its smallest size since the early 1960s.

Tillerson says North Korea nuclear program is ‘imminent’ threat, as China urges talks
Politico, Nahal Toosi
North Korea’s nuclear program poses an “imminent" threat that nonetheless requires the United States, China, and other countries to respond with a "staged approach" that includes sanctions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a rare encounter with the media.

 

OPINIONS

Out of Time in North Korea
The Strategist, Richard Haas
Strategic patience, the approach toward North Korea that has characterized successive US administrations since the early 1990s, has run its course.

A New Engine for a New Satellite Launch Vehicle
38 North, John Schilling
North Korea has been promising us an ambitious new space program, which will require a large new satellite launch vehicle. They have made extensive upgrades to the Sohae Satellite Launching Station to support such a vehicle.

America’s Nuclear Weapons Infrastructure Crumbling
Foreign Policy, Robbie Gramer
Much of the infrastructure that supports the U.S. nuclear weapons programs, including labs, production facilities, and weapons storage complexes themselves were built six decades ago. The aging buildings require constant upgrades and renovations to ensure the safety of the government employees handling the weapons — and secure the weapons themselves. But it’s not happening.

Low Yield Nuclear Weapons (Again)
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon
The most important threshold in warfare isn’t the yield of a nuclear weapon; it’s the first use of a nuclear weapon in seven decades — regardless of yield.

America’s Nuclear Bombers Are Old—and in Desperate Need of an Upgrade
The National Interest, Will Wiley
The United States maintains nuclear weapons in a nuclear triad made up of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and air-launched missiles and gravity bombs carried by U.S. Air Force strategic bombers. All of these platforms are aging and require modernization. 

Putting Iran on Notice Through Missile Defense
Real Clear Defense, Jonathan Bergner
The Trump Administration has put Iran “on notice” and the time has come for the U.S. to demonstrate these are more than just words.  A response should be robust and aggressive, which may include authorizing a military response to vessels buzzing U.S. ships in an unsafe and provocative manner.  But the response should also be multi-faceted – and action on missile defense should be a critical facet. 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

If a nuclear bomb is dropped on your city here’s where you should run and hide
Business Insider, Dave Mosher & Andy Kiersz
So you might be wondering, "If I survive a nuclear-bomb attack, what should I do?" Michael Dillon, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher, crunched the numbers and helped figure out just that.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 17, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 17, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program
The New York Times

Hiroshima A-bomb survivor to address U.N. nuke ban treaty conference
The Mainichi

Trump budget: an extra billion dollars for nuclear weapons
The Center for Public Integrity




EAST ASIA

Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program
The New York Times
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson ruled out on Friday opening any negotiation with North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile programs and said for the first time that the Trump administration might be forced to take pre-emptive action “if they elevate the threat of their weapons program” to an unacceptable level.

Sirens blare as Japan, fearing North Korea, holds first missile drill
Reuters
Sirens blared and loudspeakers broadcast warnings in Japan's first civilian missile evacuation drill on Friday, conducted in a fishing town by officials wary about the threat of North Korean missiles.

Trump: North Korea ‘behaving very badly,’ China not helping
The Hill
President Trump on Friday slammed North Korea and China in an morning tweet, saying North Korea has been “playing” the U.S. for years and China isn’t doing enough to help. “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!” Trump tweeted.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Dem rep: US needs plan to deal with potential Russian nuke
The Hill
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) says a nuclear war with Russia is a real possibility the U.S. should prepare for.




MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Hiroshima A-bomb survivor to address U.N. nuke ban treaty conference
The Mainichi
Toshiki Fujimori, deputy secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), is set to make a speech to delegates at the opening of a nuclear weapons ban treaty conference at United Nations headquarters in New York on March 27.




U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump budget: an extra billion dollars for nuclear weapons
The Center for Public Integrity
President Donald Trump has proposed to boost federal spending on the production of nuclear weapons by more than $1 billion in 2018 while slashing or eliminating spending on many federal programs related to diplomacy, foreign aid, and social needs, in a budget proposal that reflects the first tangible expression of his defense priorities.

The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, a political hot potato, is back
CNBC
The White House's budget blueprint released Thursday seeks to revive spending for a hotly contested facility in Nevada that would store the nation's nuclear waste.




OPINIONS

Russia’s Nuclear Menacing Shouldn’t Go Unanswered
The Wall Street Journal, William Lloyd Stearman
The Russian military last fall deployed a battery of short-range, nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, the 6,000-square mile Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania. The move raises a troubling question: Does Moscow believe there could be a limited nuclear conflict in Europe?

Out of Time in North Korea
Council on Foreign Relations, Richard N. Haass
There is a growing consensus that the first genuine crisis of Donald Trump’s presidency could involve North Korea and, more specifically, its ability to place a nuclear warhead on one or more ballistic missiles possessing sufficient range and accuracy to reach the continental United States. A crisis could stem from other factors as well: a large increase in the number of nuclear warheads that North Korea produces, evidence that it is selling nuclear materials to terrorist groups, or some use of its conventional military forces against South Korea or US forces stationed there.

 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

China rebrands cold war nuclear bunker as tourist attraction
South China Morning Post
It was a top secret Chinese nuclear facility with a deadly Cold War mission - to make plutonium for an atomic bomb - but these days its doors are wide open as a tourist attraction.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 16, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 16, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

The Latest: North Korean Diplomat Blames US for Rising Tension
The New York Times

Construction begins on Iran’s Bushehr-2 Nuclear Power Plant
Tehran Times

Tillerson: US has ‘failed’ to stop North Korea’s nuke program
The Hill





EAST ASIA

Japan Agrees with U.S. That North Korea’s Weapons ‘Not Permissible’
Reuters
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday he agreed with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs were not permissible. Tillerson told a news conference with Kishida that they had affirmed a "strong and enduring" friendship between their countries, and U.S. commitment to Japan remained unwavering.

South Korea says China lacks understanding about THAAD
Reuters
South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo told parliament China's concern about the THAAD system's radar was unfounded. "The THAAD system is the most minimum defense mechanism against North Korea's nuclear missile threats. China has been overly assessing the radar and excessively protesting against its deployment.”

The Latest: North Korean Diplomat Blames US for Rising Tension
The New York Times
Minister Pak Myong-ho (Bahk My-ung Ho') has told reporters in a rare briefing at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing Thursday that the joint exercises are aimed at carrying out pre-emptive strikes against North Korea. Pak says the drills were the reason the North had to take "extremely tough measures" to guard itself against such joint exercises that could "evolve into actual combat."

 

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran to further boost defense capabilities
Tehran Times
Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan hailed on Wednesday Iran’s military achievements in the current Iranian year which will end on March 20, saying that the Islamic Republic will continue boosting its defensive capabilities.

Construction begins on Iran’s Bushehr-2 Nuclear Power Plant
Tehran Times
The implementation of Bushehr-2 project will take 10 years. The start-up of the second unit is scheduled for October 2024 and the third unit will be launched in April 2026.




SOUTH ASIA

Donald Trump’s administration backs India’s bid to join Nuclear Supplies Group
The Independent
Donald Trump’s administration has now endorsed India’s attempt to join the organization and has vowed to work closely with the nation. A US State Department spokesperson stated "The United States supports India's full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes, and we believe that India is ready for NSG membership."

Official Says Pakistan Promises Nuclear Arms Responsibility
Voice of America
Pakistan vowed on Tuesday to work to prevent non-nuclear states from gaining the technology that would put them on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons 

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US anticipates new round of nuclear testing by North Korea
CNN
The major source of that intelligence for the US is spy satellites that survey the regime from overhead. US officials emphasize the intelligence from satellites is changing and that North Korea could test a missile or a nuclear device at any time with no warning being observed by the US.

U.S. military creates a video to improve Japan and South Korea relations amid North Korean missile tests
Military Times
The video is meant to emphasize U.S.-Japan-South Korea military cooperation to counter the growing threat of North Korea and shows U.S. B-1B bombers taking off from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, being escorted first by Japanese F-2 fighters over Japanese territory and then by South Korean F-15 fighters over South Korean territory

U.S. May Soon Increase Pressure on China to Constrain North Korea
New York Times
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will warn China’s leaders that the United States is prepared to step up missile defenses and pressure on Chinese financial institutions if they fail to use their influence to restrain North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.

Tillerson: US has ‘failed’ to stop North Korea’s nuke program
The Hill
Speaking in Tokyo, Tillerson said his visit to the region will serve as a platform to "exchange views" on a new geopolitical approach toward Pyongyang. “In the face of this ever-escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required. Part of the purpose of my visit to the region is to exchange views on a new approach.”

Breakthrough: The Missile Defense Agency Fires 2 SM-6 Interceptors at Once
Scout
Using an emerging "active seeker" technology, two SM-6 missiles were able to simultaneously track and destroy a single target, greatly improving the probability of a target kill. 



OPINIONS

The Two European Nuke Plans
The New York Times, Max Fisher and Amanda Taub
Ulrich Kühn, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that the election of Donald J. Trump had so shaken German officials and writers that some were “flirting” with an unthinkable idea: a European nuclear weapons program, meant to potentially displace the suddenly uncertain American nuclear umbrella.

Continuation of Policy by Other Means: Ensuring that US-ROK Military Exercises Don’t Increase Risk of War
Asia-Pacific Journal, Peter Hayes
It is critical that military exercises not pre-empt US political objectives while President Donald Trump comes to grips with the “multilemma” that North Korean’s nuclear breakout poses for US strategic policy.

One More Time With Feeling: Clarification on Analysis of the Next Nuclear Test
38 North
Analysis by Frank Pabian and David Coblentz on North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, which revealed its potential for additional testing with significantly higher yields. The analysis concluded that the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, contrary to previous assertions, could support nuclear tests up to 282 kilotons. It did not say the next test would be 282 kilotons.

A European Nuclear Weapon Alliance? (Letter)
The New York Times, Rick Wayman
Those advocating European nuclear weapons say they are seeking an “insurance policy.” Insurance policies pay out only when something goes wrong, which, in the realm of nuclear weapons, means it’s too late. The only way to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used is to abolish them. The world will begin an important step toward that goal this month.

 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Inside Oscar-Zero, A Nuclear Missile Bunker Frozen in Time
CBS News
Oscar-Zero was part of America’s Cold War nuclear defense shield. From 1965 until 1997, two U.S. Air Force officers were given the tremendous responsibility of working 24-hour shifts in this concrete-hardened bunker with access to keys that could launch an arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Lawrence Livermore Lab Publishing US Nuclear Weapons Test Films (VIDEO)
ABC News
These are no Hollywood effects. They're films of real U.S. nuclear tests conducted in the 1950s and 60s. They were made for science and measured to create parts of the nuclear prediction models that are still in use today.

 

 

 

 

Read more…

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…

Thursday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

U.S. Pressed to Pursue Deal to Freeze North Korea Missile Tests
The New York Times

US Navy ballistic missile intercept test fails
Defense News

North Korea, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Instability: Strategic Issues for Managing Crisis and Reducing Risk
38 North, Rebecca Hersman

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