Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News – June 27, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea Can Produce Hydrogen Bomb But Is Not Likely To, Stanford Professor Says
International Business Times

Russian Navy test-fires submarine-launched missile
Defense News

House bill threatens Russia with nuclear treaty suspension
The Hill

EAST ASIA

North Korea Can Produce Hydrogen Bomb But Is Not Likely To, Stanford Professor Says
International Business Times
North Korea is advancing the development of hydrogen bomb and is capable of producing tritium, an important component in making hydrogen bombs, Siegfried Hecker, a nuclear scientist and professor at Stanford University, said Tuesday. The reclusive country has threatened the U.S. with hydrogen bomb and claimed last May that it successfully tested the atomic weapon.

Japan, U.S. to mull quicker missile defense upgrades, deployment of Aegis Ashore
The Japan Times
Japan will consider increasing the pace of upgrades to its ballistic missile defense system in cooperation with the United States as the allies race to meet the threat posed by an effective increase in the speed of North Korean missiles, a Japanese government source said. 

Foreign minister says Seoul has no plan to reverse THAAD deployment
Yonhap
South Korea will not reverse the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, its top diplomat said Monday, reiterating the government's stance apparently aimed at easing uncertainty surrounding the agreement with the United States reached by the previous government. 

North Korea at the top of agenda as South Korea’s new president comes to D.C.
Washington Post
During his upcoming visit to the U.S., Moon Jae-in will be going to the White House for what is shaping up to be a challenging summit, with the leaders taking sharply different approaches to dealing with North Korea and a continuing disagreement over an American antimissile system deployed to South Korea.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Navy test-fires submarine-launched missile
Defense News
The Russian military says it has successfully test-fired a submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile.  The Defence Ministry said the Yuri Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine launched the Bulava missile Monday from a submerged position in the Barents Sea. The ministry said the missile's mock warheads reached their designated targets on the opposite side of Russia — the Kura shooting range on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.

Trump will start ‘No win arms race’ with Russia by scrapping nuclear missile deal, warns Moscow’s Defense Committee Chief
Newsweek
Russia will respond if the U.S. pulls out of a key nuclear disarmament pact, warned a leading defense official in Vladimir Putin’s ruling party, despite allegations that Russia has repeatedly violated the treaty.

NATO’s senior military officer: Russia threat growing on all fronts
Politico
NATO’s senior military officer said the alliance was confronting efforts by Russia to increase its military capabilities on virtually every level and allies were on guard to prevent any repeat of the Kremlin’s military intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

SOUTH ASIA

Mexico, India to hold disarmament meet
The Hindu
India and Mexico have agreed to hold an important conference on regional and global disarmament. The meeting would be headed by the Joint Secretary of the disarmament division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) from the Indian side. It was taken up during the seventh meeting of the Mexico-India Joint Commission (JCM) and the fourth round of Foreign Office Consultations held on June 23 in Mexico City.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump eager for big meeting with Putin; some advisers wary
Military Times
President Donald Trump is eager to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin with full diplomatic bells and whistles when the two are in Germany for a multinational summit next month. But the idea is exposing deep divisions within the administration on the best way to approach Moscow in the midst of an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. elections. 

Trump administration welcomes financial watchdog’s Iran sanctions reprieve
Al-Monitor
The Donald Trump administration expressed support today for an intergovernmental watchdog’s decision that rewards the Iranian financial system for its relative progress combating money laundering and terrorism financing. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) voted last week to continue suspending countermeasures on Iran indefinitely, while keeping the country on the banking advisory body’s black list. 

House bill threatens Russia with nuclear treaty suspension
The Hill
The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) stipulates that should the Russians violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and fail to comply within 15 months of the bill’s enactment, “the U.S. would no longer be legally bound by the treaty as a matter of domestic law,” according to a summary of the bill.

White House threatens Syria over possible chemical attack
Politico
The White House, in a rare high-stakes gambit that took some national security veterans off guard, announced Monday it has evidence that Syria is preparing to launch another chemical attack and warned that it will “pay a heavy price” for doing so. 

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Has South Korea renounced “nuclear hedging”?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Lami Kim=
The nonproliferation community may hail the Moon administration’s nuclear-free energy policy, as some view South Korea as a potential nuclear aspirant given the nuclear threats coming from its northern neighbor. Moon’s promise to reconsider South Korea’s pyroprocessing program and to phase out nuclear power may send a signal that Seoul is no longer pursuing a strategy of “nuclear hedging” that lies somewhere between nuclear pursuit and nuclear rollback, and is instead abandoning any future capacity to build nuclear weapons. 

Don’t Believe the Hype About European Defense
War on the Rocks; Luis Simon
Those invested in the notion that the European Union can become strategically autonomous interpret pretty much whatever happens out there as a catalyst for greater European defense cooperation. Every time there is some sort of global crisis or “external shock,” catalyst-related narratives pop up — there are just too many politicians, officials, and pundits in Europe who lust after such narratives.

Donald Trump’s bloodlust for war in the Middle East risks chaos
The Guardian; Trevor Timm
Lost among the deluge of stories about the Russia investigation and the Republicans’ push to take healthcare away from millions of people, the Trump administration is laying the groundwork for a disastrous regional proxy war against Iran in Syria, and possibly beyond.

SPECIAL INTEREST

The Terrifying Tale of the Russian Nuclear Submarine That Sank Twice
The National Interest
Under the conditions of the Cold War, Soviet workers, soldiers, and sailors of the Soviet Union did as well as they could. But the immense pressure of the Cold War inevitably produced accidents, often in the cutting edge systems that the Soviets needed most. K-429 sank because the Soviet leadership grew paranoid about American military advantages, and then sank again because the Soviets lacked the resources to maintain basic port facilities.

Middle East turmoil is disrupting a vital resource for nuclear energy, space flight, and birthday balloons
The Washington Post
The diplomatic and trade embargo on the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Qatar is creating devastating ripple effects around the globe, including in one little-noticed market: helium.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 22, 2017

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

EAST ASIA

U.S. Pressed to Pursue Deal to Freeze North Korea Missile Tests
The New York Times
The Trump administration has come under growing pressure to open negotiations on a temporary freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests in return for reducing the American military footprint in the Korean Peninsula, according to American officials and foreign diplomats.

South Korea president calls on China’s XI to do more on North Korea nuclear program
Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday China should do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear program and he would call on President Xi Jinping to lift measures against South Korean companies taken in retaliation against Seoul's decision to host a U.S. anti-missile defense system. In an interview with Reuters ahead of his trip to Washington next week for a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Moon said 'strong' sanctions should be imposed if North Korea tests an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or conducts a sixth nuclear test.

MIDDLE EAST

Israel Just Launched A Containerized Ballistic Missile From the Deck of A Ship
The Drive
Though the concept has yet to find its big break, defense contractors continue to expand on the idea of highly mobile weapon systems that meet the size and weight restrictions of standard shipping containers. Now, Israel has tested such a system and says it has buyers already in line.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

NATO F-16 warned away from plane carrying Russia’s defense minister, reports say
Air Force Times
A NATO F-16 fighter approached and was then warned away from a jet carrying Russia's defense minister over the Baltic Sea Wednesday, according to the Washington Post, citing reports in Russian media. The incident occurred over the Baltic Sea in northeastern Europe, according to reporters traveling with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, in international airspace crowded with Russian and NATO jets, the Washington Post reported.

Russian diplomat cancels meeting over new US sanctions
The Hill
Russia's deputy foreign minister has cancelled a scheduled meeting with Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the Under Secretary of State for political affairs, the State Department said Wednesday. According to the AP, Ryabkov said in a statement that "the situation is not conducive to holding a round of this dialogue" with the U.S.

SOUTH ASIA

India eyes breakthrough on U.S. surveillance drones ahead of Modi trip
Reuters
India is pushing for U.S. approval of its request to buy a naval variant of the Predator drone, officials said, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to revitalize relations with Washington when he meets President Donald Trump for the first time. Securing agreement on the purchase of 22 unarmed drones is seen in New Delhi as a key test of defense ties that flourished under former President Barack Obama but have drifted under Trump, who has courted Asian rival China as he seeks Beijing's help to contain North Korea's nuclear program.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Navy ballistic missile intercept test fails
Defense News
The U.S. Navy conducted a failed ballistic missile intercept Wednesday with its SM-3 Block IIA off the coast of Hawaii. The destroyer detected and tracked the target on the AN/SPY-1 phased array radar but was unable to intercept it. It was the second test of this latest iteration of the SM-3. The John Paul Jones successfully shot down a target in February with it. That test was the first intercept using Baseline 9.2C.

Scrutiny intensifies over safety at US nuclear weapons lab
Associated Press
The safety record at the U.S. laboratory that created the atomic bomb is facing intensifying criticism as work ramps up to produce a key component for the nation’s nuclear weapons cache. A series published this week by the Center for Public Integrity cites numerous internal reports and other documents outlining federal regulators’ concerns about safety lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory over the years, including spilled plutonium and workers positioning plutonium rods in a way that could have been disastrous.

Mattis backs Trump tweet on China, North Korea
Politico
President Donald Trump “represents the American people’s view of North Korea,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday, backing up Trump's tweet declaring that China had failed in trying to ease the threat posed by North Korea.

Bipartisan House leaders unveil resolution endorsing NATO’s Article 5
The Hill
Bipartisan House leaders have introduced a measure reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s mutual defense clause after President Trump declined to do so in a speech abroad last month. Top leaders, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), unveiled the resolution on Wednesday.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

The North Korea Instability Project: North Korea, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Instability: Strategic Issues for Managing Crisis and Reducing Risk
38 North, Rebecca Hersman
All too often discussions of instability, insurgency and regime collapse are used interchangeably to describe the catalyst of a potential weapons of mass destruction (WMD) crisis in North Korea. In fact, these are related, but discreet phenomena with critical distinctions that need to be made when considering related WMD risks.

This Is How Great-Power Wars Get Started
Foreign Policy, Emile Simpson
In the last month, for the first time since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, the United States has directly attacked Syrian government forces or proxies — not just once, but at least four times. The urgent question now is less about Syria than Russia, which in response to the latest of these incidents, in which a U.S. fighter plane shot down a Syrian jet, threatened to target any U.S.-led coalition aircraft flying over Syria.

The ban treaty: A big nuclear-weapon-free zone?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Sebastian Brixley-Williams
The nuclear weapons states seem to have accepted the idea that a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons—known informally as the ban treaty—could indeed be the result of a UN conference being held this June and July in New York City. Nevertheless, some observers maintain that even if a ban treaty were to be negotiated, it would cause harm by distracting from and competing with progress in existing disarmament efforts—such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which already mandates all signatories pursue complete disarmament.

Trump’s tweet on China and North Korea: What did he mean?
The Washington Post, Barton Swaim
Of course, political language is never one-dimensional, especially not in the sphere of foreign relations. The things diplomats and their principals say in public to and about each other never mean exactly what they seem to mean, even (or especially) when they seem to mean very little. Every pundit knows this. Yet for some reason, most of them interpret Trump’s tweets more or less the way you interpret your washing machine’s warranty agreement. The words mean only what they seem to mean, nothing more.

SPECIAL INTEREST

In The Event Of Attack, Here’s How The Government Plans ‘To Save Itself’
NPR
Several years ago, when Garrett Graff was working at Washingtonian magazine, a coworker brought him a lost ID badge that he’d found on the floor of a parking garage. The badge led Graff to stumble onto one of the government bunkers designed to protect U.S. leaders in the event of a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon attack. The result of that curiosity is Graff's new book Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 21, 2017

TOP NEWS

China Counters Trump, Says North Korea Efforts ‘Indispensable’
Bloomberg

NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg warns Russia during Baltic military drills
Deutsche Welles

Russia’s Military Precision Strike Capability Prioritizes Iskander-M
Eurasia Daily Monitor

EAST ASIA

US spy satellites detect activity at North Korean nuclear test site
CNN
US spy satellites have detected new activity at North Korea's underground nuclear test site for the first time in several weeks, two US officials told CNN. The activity appears to involve some modifications around one of the tunnel entrances to an underground test area.

China says it is making unremitting efforts on North Korea nuclear issue
Reuters
China said on Wednesday it is making unremitting efforts on the North Korean nuclear issue, after U.S. President Donald Trump said Beijing had tried but failed to persuade Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear weapons program.

China Counters Trump, Says North Korea Efforts ‘Indispensable’
Bloomberg
China hit back at U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying its efforts on North Korea have been “indispensable.”China has “played an important and constructive role” in seeking peace on the Korean peninsula, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing. China strictly implements United Nations Security Council resolutions and isn’t the crux of the North Korean issue, he said.

Washington, Seoul face growing rift over North Korea
Nikkei Asian Review
Ties between the U.S. and South Korea have cooled after a special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested scaling back joint military exercises, even as Washington ramps up its rhetoric on Pyongyang over the death of a college student. "If North Korea suspends its nuclear and missile activities, then we may consult with the U.S. about scaling down ... joint exercises and training," Moon Chung-in said at an event in Washington on Friday, local time.

S. Korea, China agree to maintain close communication on THAAD
Yonhap
Senior officials from Seoul and Beijing agreed on Tuesday to have frequent and close communications on the controversial deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, Seoul's foreign ministry said. The agreement was reached during a high-level strategic dialogue in Beijing between Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam and his Chinese counterpart Zhang Yesui, according to the ministry.  

MIDDLE EAST

Russia Wants US Explanation for Downing Jet
The Associated Press
Russia says it is waiting for the U.S. to explain its decision to shoot down a Syrian warplane. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that Moscow had asked for a "detailed explanation" of Monday's downing of a Syrian Su-22 bomber.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg warns Russia during Baltic military drills
Deutsche Welles
The deployment of battle groups to the Baltic countries and Poland aimed to send a clear message that "an attack on one NATO ally will trigger a response from the whole alliance," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday. In an interview with DW's Teri Schultz at the site of the exercises in central Lithuania, Stoltenberg said the drills were part of a response to "a more assertive Russia."

Russian fighter comes within feet of Air Force recon plane
Air Force Times
A Russian fighter flew "within several feet" of an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea Monday, the latest in a series of alarmingly close encounters between the two militaries.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Gen Hyten wants Pentagon nuclear modernization efforts accelerated
IHS Jane’s
The United States officer in charge of its nuclear arsenal wants the Pentagon to accelerate its nuclear modernisation efforts. "I have a safe, secure, [and] reliable [nuclear] deterrent today and I will as long as I'm in command," US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) chief General John Hyten told reporters on 20 June following an Air Force Association (AFA)/Mitchell Institute breakfast on Capitol Hill. "The commanders who come after me, they need the same capability, which is why I want those schedules moving left."

Energy Sec Rick Perry warns Fukushima could happen here if US doesn’t deal with its nuclear waste
CNBC
Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Tuesday warned that the United States could suffer a nuclear disaster like Japan's Fukushima catastrophe if it does not find a solution for its nuclear waste. The Trump administration believes that solution is a long-delayed plan to store all of the country's nuclear waste at a facility located deep inside Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

Anti-nuclear bomb activists arrested at U.S. mission to U.N.
Reuters
More than a dozen activists were arrested for disorderly conduct after they blocked the entrances to the United States mission to the United Nations on Monday to protest Washington's decision to boycott negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Russia’s Military Precision Strike Capability Prioritizes Iskander-M
Eurasia Daily Monitor
As Russia’s Armed Forces await the details and specific implications of the new State Armaments Program to 2025 (Gosudarstvennaya Programma Vooruzheniya—GPV), there is widespread expectation that the military will receive more high-precision strike systems to complement its efforts to develop greater operational capabilities. Among these, the Iskander-M road-mobile theater ballistic missile system raises serious concerns for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), not least due to its deployment in Kaliningrad and the fact that it is capable of carrying either a conventional or a nuclear warhead.

Mapping the Threat of North Korea
The Atlantic
For decades, undeterred by sanctions and international isolation, North Korea has been increasing the power and range of its arsenal of missiles. The missiles shown here include those already in the Kim regime’s arsenal—the Scud series, the No-dong, and the KN-02—and those in development.

Trump Is on a Collision Course with Iran
Politico, Dennis Ross
Rarely has the Middle East been more baffling. Amid this confusion, Iran is pressing ahead to strengthen its grip on Syria, even as Trump goes after ISIS.

Fox News host indulges in warmongering on North Korea
The Washington Post, Eric Wemple
“The Fox News Specialists” — a newish panel-discussion show — grappled on Monday with the news that Otto Warmbier, an American who’d spent 17 months imprisoned in North Korea, had died after being sent home. Now that North Korean barbarity was directly affecting the United States, said host Eric Bolling, perhaps it’s time to do something more about this longtime threat. 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Scientists just took a major step towards achieving nuclear fusion
Wired
With the potential to provide almost limitless energy, free of any radioactive by-product or greenhouse gases, nuclear fusion is the goal many are aiming to achieve. Creating a system to harness the power of nuclear fusion is proving difficult, however. Now, researchers think they have taken a step closer to that goal.

How a Refrigerator Led to Einstein’s Please for Atomic Bomb Research
National Geographic
Albert Einstein is perhaps most famous for introducing the world to the equation E=mc2. In essence, he discovered that energy and mass are interchangeable, setting the stage for nuclear power—and atomic weapons. His part in the drama of nuclear war may have ended there if not for a simple refrigerator.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 20, 2017

TOP NEWS

Student’s Death Puts Trump Back to Square One on North Korea
Bloomberg

Russia Warns U.S. After Downing of Syrian Warplane
New York Times

Can China Actually Restrain Kim Jong-Un?
The Cipher Brief

EAST ASIA

Otto Warmbier dies days after release from North Korean detention
The Washington Post
Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half, died Monday afternoon, days after he returned home in a coma, his parents announced.

Student’s Death Puts Trump Back to Square One on North Korea
Bloomberg
The death of a 22-year-old college student in Ohio on Monday has dashed any hopes of a quick detente between the U.S. and North Korea.

North Korea looms over talks between China and US
South China Morning Post
China’s willingness to help rein in North Korea’s nuclear threat ­poses the biggest source of uncertainty in ties with the United States, as heightened tensions on the ­Korean peninsula look set to dominate a bilateral security gathering in Washington on Wednesday. Alongside North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship, top officials from both sides will also attempt to bridge widening gaps over divergent security interests, which pundits believe are the “weakest link” of Sino-US relations that could lead to conflict if not properly managed.

U.S. commander says more combined drills with S. Korea needed
Yonhap
A top U.S. military commander in South Korea said he can't overemphasize the need for more combined exercises between the two countries, citing the seriousness of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction threats. "I am never satisfied. I want to do more training." said Maj. Gen. Theodore D. Martin, the commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division. "I want all training to be combined just like we got a saying, 'Train like you fight.' We want to get to very high-level live-fire exercises."

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Warns U.S. After Downing of Syrian Warplane
New York Times
Long-running tensions between the United States and Russia erupted publicly on Monday as Moscow condemned the American military’s downing of a Syrian warplane and threatened to target aircraft flown by the United States and its allies west of the Euphrates. The Russians also said they had suspended their use of a hotline that the American and Russian militaries used to avoid collisions of their aircraft in Syrian airspace.

White House says it retains right to self-defense in Syria; Moscow warns Washington
Reuters
The White House said on Monday that coalition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria retained the right to self-defense as Russia warned it viewed any planes flying in its area of operations as potential targets. Russia, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said it would treat U.S.-led coalition aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River in Syria as potential targets and track them with missile systems and military aircraft. It stopped short of saying it would shoot them down.

NATO Holds Military Maneuvers In Poland, Near Lithuania Border
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|
NATO has held its first war games focused on defending a land corridor along the Polish-Lithuanian border sandwiched between Russia's Kaliningrad exclave and Kremlin's close ally, Belarus. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said on June 19 that the drills sent a "strong message of NATO readiness and commitment to ensure security of the region."

UNITED STATES

Cummings: Flynn didn’t disclose foreign contacts on security clearance form
Politico
Michael Flynn didn’t list any interactions with foreign government officials on his application last year to renew his security clearance, despite indicating in a speech days after submitting the application that he had had extensive contacts in Saudi Arabia and other countries, according to a letter Monday from two senior House Democrats. The letter requests documents from Flynn’s consulting firm and from two businesses that Flynn worked with to promote a U.S.-Russia joint effort, financed by Saudi Arabia, to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Can China Actually Restrain Kim Jong-Un?
The Cipher Brief
On June 21, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis will meet with their Chinese counterparts, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, Chief of Joint Staff of the People’s Liberation Army in Washington for the inaugural session of the U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue. The top U.S. priority at the dialogue is finding common ground with China on curbing North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile development.

Potential Savings in the Defense Budget
Huffington Post, Ivan Eland
Trump has promised to overhaul a nuclear arsenal that he has called “obsolete.” Barack Obama left him an expensive program―$1 trillion over 30 years—to revamp the nuclear triad of bombers, land based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Upgrading the oldest and most vulnerable of the legs of the triad—the land-based ICBMs—would be among most costly parts of the Trump administration’s military buildup.

SPECIAL INTEREST

What Would Happen in the Hours and Minutes after the US Bombed Iran?
Vice
Over the weekend, a report claiming that the Saudi coastguard had killed an Iranian fisherman, an announcement by Iran that it had fired multiple ballistic missiles into eastern Syria to target ISIS in retaliation for an attack in Tehran, and the shooting down of a Syrian plane by a US-led coalition only heightened tensions in the region. This state of affairs has some people very worried. In the Independent, businessman and human rights activist Andrew McCleod warned that Trump is on track to nuke Iran inside of two years. That's probably an exaggeration, but how much of an exaggeration?

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 19, 2017

TOP NEWS

Russia lets fly over nuclear war games as NATO surrounds Baltic fleet in Kaliningrad
The Times

Safety lapses undermine nuclear warhead work at Los Alamos
Washington Post

Top North Korean Nuclear Negotiator Met With U.S. Diplomats
The Wall Street Journal

EAST ASIA

Top North Korean Nuclear Negotiator Met With U.S. Diplomats
The Wall Street Journal
More than a year, American diplomats have held secret talks in Pyongyang and European cities with North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator, hoping to free U.S. prisoners and even establish a diplomatic channel to constrain North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea Accuses U.S. of ‘Mugging’ Diplomats at JFK Airport
Bloomberg
North Korea has accused U.S. officials of assaulting a delegation at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport by forcibly seizing a diplomatic package they were carrying. The KCNA report comes during a period of escalated tensions with the U.S. over the regime’s weapons programs, and shows how difficult it will be to move toward talks.

New South Korean president vows to end use of nuclear power
The Guardian
South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to phase out the country’s dependence on nuclear power, warning of “unimaginable consequences” from a Fukushima-style meltdown.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

NATO war game defends Baltic weak spot for first time
Reuters
U.S. and British troops have carried out the first large-scale NATO defensive drill on the border between Poland and Lithuania, rehearsing for a possible scenario in which Russia might try to sever the Baltic states from the rest of the Western alliance.

Russia lets fly over nuclear war games as NATO surrounds Baltic fleet in Kaliningrad
The Times
Operation Sabre Strike 2017 includes the first full deployment of America’s strategic nuclear bombers and a simulated air assault by the Royal Marines in the Baltics. Russia’s Baltic fleet is based in Kaliningrad and the territory also plays host to a deployment of Iskander short-range ballistic missiles with a 300-mile reach capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

SOUTH ASIA

India, China hold talks for strengthening strategic partnership, mutual dialogue
Hindustan Times
India on Sunday said it looks forward to strengthen its strategic partnership and mutual dialogue with China as the two sides held talks in Beijing amid differences over a host of issues including the USD 50 billion CPEC and India’s NSG membership bid.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Safety lapses undermine nuclear warhead work at Los Alamos
Washington Post
An extended shutdown of the nation’s only scientific laboratory for producing and testing the plutonium cores for its nuclear weapons has taken a toll on America’s arsenal, with key work postponed and delays looming in the production of components for new nuclear warheads, according to government documents and officials. 

Trump expresses fury over S. Korea’s decision to delay THAAD deployment: senior official
Yonhap
U.S. President Donald Trump expressed fury over South Korea's decision to delay the full deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system pending an environmental assessment, a senior official said Sunday. Trump showed the reaction when he discussed the matter with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the White House on June 8.

This week in Congress: NDAA and new Pentagon leaders
Military Times
The Pentagon takes a step closer to filling a pair of key leadership posts and the House takes a step closer to passing a new defense authorization bill this week. Meanwhile, officials from the House Armed Services Committee will start their annual work on the defense budget with six subcommittee mark-ups of the defense authorization bill.

Defense Secretary Mattis explains what war with North Korea would look like
Business Insider
Asked on Thursday by Rep. Tim Ryan of the House Appropriations Committee to explain why the US doesn't just go to war to stop North Korea from developing the capability to hit the US, Secretary of Defense James Mattis painted a grim scenario. "It would be a war that fundamentally we don't want," Mattis said, but "we would win at great cost."

Raytheon to leverage hypersonic R&D for new generation AAM solution
IHS Jane’s
Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) is expected to leverage its expanded research in hypersonic weapons technologies to inform the development of its next-generation air-to-air missile solution as a follow-on to the current AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) capability.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

‘The war after Isis’: has Trump opened the door to conflict with Iran?
The Guardian
US forces have opened fire on Iranian-backed forces in Syria three times in the past month, amid mounting tensions that observers and former officials worry could easily turn into an unplanned, spiraling conflict.

How to Deal With North Korea
The Atlantic, Mark Bowden
The myth holds that Korea and the Kim dynasty are one and the same. It is built almost entirely on the promise of standing up to a powerful and menacing foreign enemy. The more looming the threat—and Trump excels at looming—the better the narrative works for Kim Jong Un. Nukes are needed to repel this threat. They are the linchpin of North Korea’s defensive strategy, the single weapon standing between barbarian hordes and the glorious destiny of the Korean people.

Prevent nuclear catastrophe: Finally end the Korean War
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Masako Ikegami
The long-simmering confrontation between the United States and North Korea has reached a moment of unprecedented tension. The risk that unintended war will break out due to misjudgment is high. Indeed, as others have observed, East Asia is witnessing a “Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion.” One of the most unthinkable options for the Korean Peninsula—but perhaps the most promising—is for the United States and China to finally pursue a formal end to the Korean War. 

Don’t believe the hype about Russia’s hypersonic missile
Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton
Hypersonic missiles designed to avoid defense systems are a modern development in the long-running military arms race. Russia’s Zircon missile could enter arsenals as early as 2018. Despite headlines to the contrary, not enough about the missile is known yet to definitely claim that it poses an uncounterable threats ships in the sea.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News-June 16, 2017

Nuclear Policy News –June 16, 2017

TOP NEWS

U.S. Accuses Chinese Company of Money Laundering for North Korea
New York Times

U.S. concerned about Baltic incidents in forthcoming Russian war games
Reuters

UN Closing in on Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons
Voice of America

EAST ASIA

U.S. Accuses Chinese Company of Money Laundering for North Korea
New York Times
United States prosecutors accused a Chinese company on Thursday of laundering money for North Korea and said they would seek $1.9 million in civil penalties, as American efforts to put pressure on the isolated country continue to affect Pyongyang’s neighbor and biggest benefactor.

Hiroshima mayor calls on U.N. to adopt nuclear weapons ban treaty
Japan Times
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui on Thursday strongly called for the adoption of a treaty to legally ban nuclear weapons during the second session of a U.N. conference for negotiations on the pact that runs through July 7. “I am speaking today as mayor of Hiroshima — the first city (in the world) attacked by a nuclear weapon — to share the earnest wishes of hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) for the elimination of nuclear weapons,” Matsui, 64, said in his address at the session.

Their life disrupted, South Korean grannies vow to fight THAAD till the end
Reuters
In Soseong-ri, a small farming village of about 80 residents in southern South Korea, a band of elderly women is at the forefront of protests against the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system next to their neighborhood.

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. Senate’s Iran sanctions are a breach of nuclear deal: senior Iranian official
Reuters
The U.S. Senate's decision to impose new sanctions on Iran is an "unquestionable" violation of a nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Tehran and six major powers including the United States, Iranian media quoted a senior Iranian official as saying.

Turkey gives Rosatom go ahead to build nuclear plant
Reuters
Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) won approval from Turkey's energy watchdog on Thursday to go ahead with building its $20 billion Akkuyu nuclear power plant in southern Turkey.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

U.S. concerned about Baltic incidents in forthcoming Russian war games
Reuters
The United States is concerned about possible Russian incursions along NATO's Baltic borders during large Russian military exercises in September and will send more troops to the area, the commander of U.S. troops in Europe said on Friday. Officials expect the exercise, in which Russian ally Belarus will also take part, could involve nuclear weapons training. Nuclear-capable mid-range modern Iskander missiles will be again deployed in the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad during the exercise, the officials said.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN Closing in on Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons
Voice of America
The president of the U.N. conference drafting what could be the first treaty to ban nuclear weapons expressed confidence Thursday that with “the necessary political will” more than 130 countries supporting the initiative can reach agreement by the July 7 target.

United Nations Conference to Negotiate Legally Binding Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons Will Hold Second Substantive Session, 15 June – 7 July
United Nations
The second substantive session of the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading towards Their Total Elimination will open in New York on 15 June, under the Presidency of Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez (Costa Rica).

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

United States, China to meet on North Korea on Wednesday
Reuters
U.S. and Chinese diplomatic and defense chiefs will meet Wednesday for a security dialogue that Washington says will focus on curbing North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. The talks in Washington will involve U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis as well as China's top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, and General Fang Fenghui, chief of state of the People’s Liberation Army, the U.S. State Department said.

Senate overwhelmingly passes new Russia and Iran sanctions|
Washington Post
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill Thursday that would step up sanctions against Iran and Russia, in the process delivering a rebuke to President Trump’s policies toward Russia and Europe with a veto-proof majority.

Sanders: New Iran Sanctions could blow up nuclear deal
The Hill
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slammed the Senate's decision on Thursday to levy new sanctions on Iran, saying that the penalties could put the 2015 nuclear deal at risk. He said in a statement after the vote that, while he fully supported penalties against the Kremlin for its efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, the Iran sanctions could have dangerous consequences.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Of Mothballs and Modernizations
Real Clear Defense, Steven Wills
There have been recent discussions in maritime news outlets and the blog world regarding the possible reactivation of U.S. warships from the “mothball” fleet. Such ships could be used to help build the fleet to the 350-ship mark endorsed by the Trump administration and numerous defense experts. While perhaps an inviting prospect on the surface, such an undertaking is problematic and is not a good choice for increasing the size of the fleet in anything but a short-term assessment.

Can women save the world?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Elisabeth Eaves
We don’t have to turn to fiction to find women trying to save the world from weapons of mass destruction. In fact, the history of women-led peace movements is exceptionally rich.

How to Normalize Pakistan’s Nuclear Program
Foreign Affairs, Gaurav Kampani and Bharath Gopalaswamy
Since the 2005 Indian–U.S. Civil Nuclear Agreement, a number of notable nuclear arms control analysts and scholars have called for mainstreaming Pakistan into the nuclear nonproliferation regime, meaning the de facto acceptance of Pakistan as a nuclear weapons power. The failure of the United States to drive a hard nonproliferation bargain with India, these arms control advocates argue, has undermined the nuclear nonproliferation regime, a mistake that should not be repeated with Pakistan.

As Trump Bets on China’s Help on North Korea, Aides Ask: Is It Worth It?
New York Times, Mark Landler
There is no foreign leader on whom President Trump has placed a bigger bet than Xi Jinping of China. But a growing number of Mr. Trump’s aides fear that the bet is not paying off. China has not significantly tightened the pressure on North Korea since Mr. Trump met with Mr. Xi in Palm Beach, Fla., in April.

Why North Korea is testing so many missiles
The Economist
It is as if Kim Jong Un wants to be seen to be flinging his explosive toys about with ever more abandon. In recent months his rocketmen have fired off missiles in one test after another, often with the young, overfed dictator gleefully looking on. Korea-watchers are increasingly wondering what’s behind the ballistic frenzy.

The inconvenient truth about North Korea and China
Washington Post,Andrei Lankov
For the past 25 years, every new U.S. president has promised to do something about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Some have tried negotiations, others have emphasized pressure. Neither approach has worked so far. Trump hopes to cajole China into joining him in a tough sanctions regime. The problem is that Beijing has valid reasons not to be too harsh on Pyongyang.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Mini Particle Accelerators Make Cancer Treatment Safer for Everyone
Wired
Dalnoki-Veress and Pomper are working as part of an international coalition to replace cobalt and cesium machines with linacs in order to improve safety and security. Some participating groups include the IAEA, physics laboratory extraordinaire CERN, the International Cancer Expert Corps, and more.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 15, 2017

TOP NEWS 

Jim Mattis says he’s open to rethinking triad, nuclear cruise missile
Washington Examiner

U.S. shipping terminal reopens after ‘dirty bomb’ threat
CNBC

Cuts could leave Trident nuclear base at risk of attack, says police boss
The Guardian

EAST ASIA

S. Korea calls for peace, reconciliation on inter-Korea summit anniversary
Korea Herald
South Korea on Thursday urged North Korea to seek reconciliation and peace as the two rivals marked the 17th anniversary of their first summit. On June 15, 2000, leaders of South and North Korea held a historic summit in Pyongyang, which produced a landmark joint declaration on reconciliation. Seoul's unification ministry said that a spirit of reconciliation expressed in the declaration takes on a significance for the current grave inter-Korean ties.

Moon: Seoul is ready to hold talks if N. Korea stops provocations
Yonhap
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday Seoul is willing to hold talks with North Korea if it stops further nuclear and missile provocations. In his message to mark the 17th anniversary of the historic inter-Korean summit in 2000, he said Seoul remains ready for comprehensive talks on lasting peace on the peninsula if the North gives up its nuclear programs.

Tillerson says U.S. pressed China to act on entities doing illicit business with North Korea
The Washington Post
The Trump administration has asked China to act against several Chinese entities suspected of doing illicit business with North Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday. North Korean ally China is the “capstone” of an international pressure campaign to hold North Korea to account for rogue missile and nuclear development, Tillerson said during testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Cuts could leave Trident nuclear base at risk of attack, says police boss
The Guardian
Proposed budget cuts to a police force responsible for protecting the Trident nuclear base and other defence sites are “frightening” at a time of heightened security concerns, their representative Eamonn Keating is set to warn in a speech.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. shipping terminal reopens after ‘dirty bomb’ threat
CNBC
A terminal at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina will reopen and the safety zone has been lifted, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday, after investigating a threat of a "dirty bomb" on a container ship. It said the "original reporting source of the threat" had been detained for questioning.

Jim Mattis says he’s open to rethinking triad, nuclear cruise missile
Washington Examiner
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress Wednesday he has an open mind about possibly scaling back some nuclear systems, as long as deterrence is not sacrificed, as he faces a more than $1 trillion bill to rebuild America's arsenal over the next three decades.

Feinstein Presses Mattis On LRSO; Mattis Still Thinking
Breaking Defense
One of the most controversial new weapons in the US arsenal, the Long Range Standoff cruise missile (LRSO), meant to replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile, came under direct fire by a top Senate defense and intelligence lawmaker, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Alexander Says $6.5 Billion Oak Ridge Uranium Processing Facility Staying on Track and Budget
The Chattanoogan
United States Senator Lamar Alexander on Wednesday said in a hearing on the president’s proposed budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration that the Uranium Processing Facility at Oak Ridge is on time and on budget after considerable oversight.

MDA seeks laser-armed HALE UAV for counter-ICBM role
Janes IHS
The United States is looking to field a laser-armed unmanned aircraft to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) towards the middle of the next decade, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) disclosed on 13 June.

Boeing cuts 50 top defense positions, confirms executives will exit company
Defense News
To streamline its defense business, Boeing is purging 50 executive positions, a move that will force a large proportion of employees in those roles to permanently depart the company, the head of its defense segment said Wednesday. The organizational changes were deliberately made to flatten the company and make it more agile and responsive to customer needs, Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing’s defense business, said.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Is Iran complying with the nuclear deal? For the most part, yes
PolitiFact
Republican Karen Handel took aim at the Iran nuclear deal in two recent televised debates ahead of Georgia’s special election, accusing Iran of failing to comply with the agreement to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions. With a couple of minor exceptions we’ll deal with later, the agency has repeatedly found Iran to be in compliance with the terms of the agreement.

The nuclear weapons ban and the NPT
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The May Preparatory Committee meeting (or “PrepCom”) clearly showed that NPT members who want faster, more concrete action on disarmament face challenges. With the nuclear-armed states modernizing their arsenals, and little traction on any of the previously agreed commitments and obligations related to disarmament, it’s unclear how the treaty’s membership can advance on key issues by 2020, the date of the next review conference.

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Media Report of Intensified Activity Cannot be Corroborated
38 North, Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., and Jack Liu
A June 11, 2017 Asahi Shimbun news report described “intensified” activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site “indicating Pyongyang may be preparing a sixth nuclear test, which it warned last month was ‘imminent.’” While we have no basis to judge the veracity of any claims concerning the movement of nuclear scientific personnel either to or within the site, new satellite imagery did not reveal unusual observable activity (e.g., an increased presence of vehicles or personnel) suggestive of a change from our previous assessment that the site is in a standby status. 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 14, 2017

TOP NEWS

Keine Atombombe, Bitte: Why Germany Should Not Go Nuclear
Foreign Affairs

North Korean soldier defects through heavily mined DMZ border to South 
Reuters

Happening Today: Senate Appropriations Committee Reviews the Nuke Budget 
Senate Appropriations Committee

EAST ASIA

North Korean soldier defects through heavily mined DMZ border to South
Reuters
A North Korean soldier defected on Tuesday across the heavily mined Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) border to South Korea, the South's military said, amid high tension over the North's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons. The South Korean military is questioning the soldier, the South's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

Trump White House Stays Quiet as Russia Flouts North Korea Sanctions
Foreign Policy
Trump administration officials and lawmakers are increasingly concerned that Russia is stepping up trade with North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, jeopardizing a U.S. effort to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs. The White House, however, has yet to call out Russia publicly for its dealings with North Korea.

University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, said to be in coma, released from North Korea
The Washington Post
The 22-year-old’s return marks an end to the ordeal that his family has been through, not knowing what had happened to Warmbier since he was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor in March of last year. But the fact that he had been kept, comatose, in North Korea for more than a year could worsen the already tense relationship between Pyongyang and Washington.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s supreme leader voices pessimism about new talks with US
Al-Monitor
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has expressed pessimism over holding negotiations with the United States, sending a message to moderate President Hassan Rouhani who vowed during his recent re-election campaign to enter talks with Washington to lift non-nuclear sanctions.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Cyber defense arm securing ballistic defense networks
C4iserNet
While JFHQ-DoDIN operators generally defend DoD networks, typically thought of as the unclassified and classified portions – NIPRNet and SIPRNet, respectively – the defensive cyber arm also protects networks associated with weapons systems. JFHQ-DoDIN secures ballistic missile defense networks, which given the threat of North Korea and Russia recently have borne out increasing importance.

DOD needs 3-5 percent annual growth through 2023, top officials say
Defense News
The Pentagon expects to request 3-5 percent base budget growth above inflation every year from 2019 through 2023, a dollar figure the nation’s top defense voices say is the bare minimum needed to maintain America’s military capabilities at current levels.

Dunford: Without Better Funding, US Will ‘Lose Competitive Advantage’ In Just A Few Years
DefenseOne
The military will need “sustained, sufficient and predictable funding” or lose “our ability to project power.” He further added that unless the Budget Control Act was repealed, within four years, the U.S. military would either be “much smaller” or “a hollow force.”

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Keine Atombombe, Bitte: Why Germany Should Not Go Nuclear
Foreign Affairs
The election of U.S. President Donald Trump last November confounded Berlin. What, German politicians, policymakers, and journalists wondered, should they make of Trump’s vague or even hostile stances toward the EU and NATO or his apparent embrace of Russia? Some argued that the days when Germany could rely on the United States for its defense were over—and that the country must start looking out for itself.

This is why Iran should play a major role in the negotiations to ban nuclear weapons
Independent, Seyed Hossein Mousavian
One state supporting the ban treaty negotiations, Iran, can play a unique role in making the talks a success. Three chief reasons explain why Iran can and should be a strong advocate to advance the causes of nuclear non-proliferation and eliminating all weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

EVENTS

Happening Today: Senate Appropriations Committee Reviews the Nuke Budget
National Nuclear Security Administration chief Frank Klotz will join the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee this afternoon to discuss his agency's fiscal 2018 budget proposal.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Radiotherapy in Cancer Care: New IAEA Publication Available
International Atomic Energy Agency
An IAEA publication published this month — Radiotherapy in Cancer Care: Facing the Global Challenge — presents an overview of the major issues related to planning and implementing radiotherapy, including the IAEA’s support to global efforts to enhance cancer care.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 13, 2017

TOP NEWS

Top Armed Services Dem to propose bill to address Russian aggression
The Hill

Pentagon chief declares North Korea the new top threat to U.S. Security
Washington Post

North Korea Is About to Test a Missile That Could Reach Trump Tower 
Foreign Policy

EAST ASIA

North Korea Is About to Test a Missile That Could Reach Trump Tower
Foreign Policy
Last week, North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried an article that noted: “Trump blustered early this year that the DPRK’s final access to a nuclear weapon that can reach the U.S. mainland will never happen. But the strategic weapons tests conducted by the DPRK clearly proved that the time of its ICBM test is not a long way off at all.” North Korea wasn’t ready in January to test an ICBM. That now seems to have changed.

Suspected North Korean drone photographed US THAAD missile site before crash
South China Morning Post
Seoul’s Defence Ministry said Tuesday investigators discovered hundreds of photos from the drone’s Sony-made in-built camera. The ministry said they include 10 photos of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence missile launchers and a radar system installed in the southeastern town of Seongju earlier this year. It says the rest are mostly photos of residential areas, farming fields and other less-sensitive areas in the South.

Pentagon chief declares North Korea the new top threat to U.S. Security
Washington Post
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared North Korea the “most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security,” before the House Armed Services Committee on Monday night, moving Kim Jong Un’s regime past Russia as the No. 1 threat that the United States faces. Mattis still identified Russia as a threat, along with China, Iran and terrorist organizations. Russia and China, he said, are both “resurgent and more aggressive” and have placed the “international order under assault.”

MIDDLE EAST

Town hall planned to discuss Alaska Arrow-2 missile testing for Israel
Defense News
Officials from the spaceport on Kodiak Island will host a town hall meeting Wednesday to answer questions about the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's plans to test a U.S.-Israeli anti-ballistic missile system in Alaska. Testing of the Arrow-3 missile system will begin in 2018, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported. The system was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing, and is co-managed by the Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization.

Iran says Trump administration will end up abiding by nuclear deal
Reuters
Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Monday the Trump administration will end up abiding by the 2015 nuclear deal despite its protestations to the contrary because it is in the national interest of the United States.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia is Bringing Back Blackjack, the Last Soviet Bomber
Popular Mechanics
The last bomber produced by the Soviet Union is going back into production, a quarter century after the last aircraft was built. The Tupolev Tu-160 bomber, known to NATO as the Blackjack, will return to serial production in 2021. The bomber will carry both conventional and nuclear long-range cruise missiles to strike distant targets.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Top Armed Services Dem to propose bill to address Russian aggression
The Hill
The ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee will introduce in the coming weeks a bill aimed at forcing the Trump administration to craft a comprehensive policy to deter Russian aggression. Smith’s bill, which he said he hopes will be folded into the upcoming annual defense policy bill, would require the Pentagon to develop and implement a comprehensive Russia strategy.

U.S. military: American bombers show commitment to NATO allies
Military Times
A top U.S. military commander in Europe says American B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers currently taking part in exercises from a British air base should reassure allies about his country's commitment to NATO. U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, commander of the Germany-based 3rd Air Force, told reporters Monday the bombers are participating in exercises with NATO partners and other allies.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Nuclear Security and Strategic Force Modernization
National Institute for Public Policy, Colin Gray
There is nothing extraordinary about current Russian-American dislike, distrust, and antagonism. What is happening today is not a return to the much unbeloved Cold War of quite recent memory (only 26 years), but rather to the enduring reality of international politics as usual. This persisting condition has always been characterized by competition – political, economic, and inevitably military also. If we read history as we should, we learn that distrust or more active dislike among great powers, including actual warfare, is both normal and to a degree inevitable.

Trump’s nuclear modernization dilemma
Global Risk Insight, Leo Kabouche
The Trump administration’s position on the nuclear issue could reshape the strategic balance in place since the end of the Cold War. Prior to taking office as President, Mr. Trump had already declared that the United States should “expand its nuclear capability” in order to “outmatch” Russia and China in an arms race.

As Xi and Modi put differences aside at SCO summit, will India-Pakistan ties follow suit?
South China Morning Post, Neeta Lal
India has long sought full SCO membership, but the concern for some is that the Pakistan-India rancour may strain the SCO’s fragile cohesion, as well as its anti-terror mechanisms. The Kashmir dispute, in particular, has fuelled four wars between the nuclear-armed neighbours since independence in August 1947. Relations have been especially stormy of late, over cross-border shots and massacres of soldiers.

The road from St. Petersburg
The Hindu, Shyam Saran
There has been a certain depressing pattern in India-Russia relations over the past decade. Annual summit-level meetings have been marked by expressions of nostalgia for the glory days of Indo-Soviet friendship , declarations of solemn intent to take contemporary relations to new heights and highlighting common perspectives even as the two countries mostly go their respective ways. The St. Petersburg Declaration issued at the end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Russia appears not much different in this respect.

SPECIAL INTEREST

On a Tiny Norwegian Island, America Keeps an Eye on Russia
New York Times
A new electricity cable, along with the recent appearance of earth-moving equipment atop a rocky plateau overlooking Russia across the sea, points to one business that is flourishing in this part of the Arctic: snooping on Russia’s expanding fleet of nuclear submarines armed with ballistic missiles in the Barents Sea.

An Abandoned US Nuclear Base in Greenland Could Start Leaking Toxic Waste Because of Global Warming
Fusion
Camp Century is only one such instance. Built underneath the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet in 1959 by the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of Project Iceworm, the project was designed to create a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites in Greenland. Intended to study the deployment and potential launch of ballistic missiles within the ice sheet, the base was eventually abandoned and decommissioned in 1967. A 2016 study found that climate change has altered the situation though. 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 12, 2017

TOP NEWS

Re-entry vehicle last remaining question for N.K. ICBM: U.S. expert
Yonhap

The TLAM-N: A Counterproductive Anachronism for Europe
Real Clear Defense, Luke O’Brien

Director General's Statement at High-level Dialogue on Nuclear Security 
International Atomic Energy Agency

EAST ASIA

South Korea names new defense minister to counter North’s arms threat
Reuters
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Sunday nominated a former navy chief as his defense minister, the president's office said, as the government faces challenges tackling North Korea's rapidly developing weapons program. The nominee, Song Young-moo, was well suited to deal with North Korea's nuclear and missile threat, the presidential Blue House office said.

Re-entry vehicle last remaining question for N.K. ICBM: U.S. expert
Yonhap
Mastering warhead miniaturization, as well as re-entry technologies, have long been considered two major challenges Pyongyang must overcome if it wants to develop a nuclear ICBM capable of striking the continental U.S. Jeffery Lewis, a top expert on North Korean missiles, said the North appears to have overcome the miniaturization problem.

North Korea Claims U.S. War and Nuclear Weapons Caused Climate Change
Newsweek
North Korea has accused U.S. military and environmental policies of causing climate change and producing pollution around the world. A scathing report cited Friday by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency asserted that the U.S.'s use of nuclear weapons, involvement in foreign conflicts and style of production had most harmed the environment since the Cold War.

Moon reshaping South Korea’s military relations with U.S.
Nikkei
South Korean President Moon Jae-in wants to know why his Ministry of National Defense failed to inform him of four additional launchers being brought into the country for the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system. A report from the ministry made no mention of the additional launchers, triggering Moon's ire and subsequent probe.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Director General’s Statement at High-level Dialogue on Nuclear Security
International Atomic Energy Agency
Nuclear security has been part of the IAEA’s work for decades. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Member States asked us to step up our activities in this area and our work has grown steadily. The main concern is that terrorists could obtain radioactive material and use it, together with conventional explosives, to make a so-called dirty bomb. If one of these was detonated in a major city, it could cause serious damage, loss of life and mass panic.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Jim Mattis invades Capitol Hill this week
Military Times
In an odd scheduling quirk, the secretary of defense will appear before congressional committees four consecutive days this week. The focus of each of the hearings is President Trump’s controversial $603 billion defense budget proposal, which would boost military funding but also bust spending caps put in place by Congress seven years ago.

OPINIONS AND ANALYSIS

Germany: Reluctant military giant?
BBC
With Vladimir Putin destabilising the east, Middle Eastern and Asian conflicts spurring new migration into Europe, and Donald Trump questioning US commitment to NATO, Germany has good reason to feel insecure. There is now real urgency in the German debate about its military future.

U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS
New York Times
America’s fast-growing ranks of secret cyberwarriors have in recent years blown up nuclear centrifuges in Iran and turned to computer code and electronic warfare to sabotage North Korea’s missile launches, with mixed results. But since they began training their arsenal of cyberweapons on a more elusive target, internet use by the Islamic State, the results have been a consistent disappointment, American officials say.

The TLAM-N: A Counterproductive Anachronism for Europe
Real Clear Defense, Luke O’Brien
With Russia’s deployment of the new SSC-8 ground-launched cruise missile, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty appears to be in its last death-throes. But what should the U.S. do in response to the treaty's demise? One suggestion is to bring back the nuclear version of the Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missile, the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile - Nuclear, or TLAM-N.

China Edging North Korea Closer to Arms Talks with U.S., South Korea
The Cipher Brief, Yun Sun
The Cipher Brief’s Will Edwards spoke to Yun Sun, senior associate at the Stimson Center’s East Asia Program, about China’s complex relationship with North Korea, changes since President Donald Trump took office, and possibilities for future nonproliferation negotiations.

SPECIAL INTEREST

If a nuclear bomb goes off, this is the most important thing you can do to survive
Business Insider
The Cold War may have ended in 1991, but the looming threat of nuclear attack lives on with more than 14,900 nuclear weapons wielded by nine nations. A terrorist-caused nuclear detonation is one of 15 disasters scenarios that the federal government continues to plan for with state and city governments — just in case.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 9, 2017

TOP NEWS 

South Korea will not change THAAD agreement with U.S.: security adviser
Reuters

Revealed: Trump’s $110 billion weapons list for the Saudis
Defense News

Modernizing Nuclear Deterrents No. 1 Priority, DoD Officials Tell Congress
Department of Defense

EAST ASIA

South Korea will not change THAAD agreement with U.S.: security adviser
Reuters
South Korea does not aim to change its agreement with the United States on the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system and it will continue to work closely with Washington on it, the South's top national security adviser said on Friday. A decision to postpone the full deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system pending a review of its environment impact was a domestic measure to ensure a democratic process, Chung Eui-yong told a news briefing.

South Korea leader warns North after latest missile launch
Military Times
North Korea's latest launches of several suspected anti-ship missiles were short-range and landed well short of past efforts, but they still served as a defiant message for its enemies that Pyongyang will continue to pursue a weapons program that has rattled its neighbors and Washington. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who has expressed a desire to reach out to Pyongyang, said during a National Security Council meeting he "won't back off even a single step and make any compromise" on the issue of national security.

Japan Weighs Adding Missile Shelters as North Korea Threat Grows
Bloomberg
Japan’s ruling party urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to consider building missile shelters and carrying out more evacuation drills in response to the growing threat from North Korea. Television and other advertising should also be used to increase public awareness of the need to evacuate to a robust building or underground shopping center if a ballistic missile heads for Japan.

MIDDLE EAST

Revealed: Trump’s $110 billion weapons list for the Saudis
Defense News
The administration's much touted $110 billion arms proposal to Saudi Arabia, previously slim on specifics, includes seven THAAD missile defense batteries, over 100,000 air-to-ground munitions and billions of dollars’ worth of new aircraft, according to a White House document obtained by Defense News and authenticated by a second source.  

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan, India Join Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Pakistan and India have become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), expanding the regional security grouping into South Asia. The presidents of the SCO member-states -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan -- signed a document granting Pakistan and India membership at a summit on June 9.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Missile Shootdown Test Was Most Realistic, U.S. Evaluator Says
Bloomberg
The Pentagon’s successful interception last week of a mock North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile was the most realistic test to date, according to the military’s test office. The test employed precision tracking “in an operationally realistic way to guide the interceptor to the target,” Cabiness said, while acknowledging that the incoming missile was accompanied only by simple decoys to throw the interceptor off course.

India’s plan to develop key Iranian port faces U.S. headwinds
Reuters
India committed $500 million to speed development of the port after sanctions on Iran were lifted following a deal struck between major powers and Tehran to curb its nuclear program in 2015. Western manufacturers are shying away from supplying equipment for an Iranian port that India is developing for fear the United States may reimpose sanctions on Tehran, Indian officials say, dealing a blow to New Delhi's strategic ambitions in the region.

MDA Head Syring: Navy Ballistic Missile Defense Capabilities Steadily Improving
United States Naval Institute
The Aegis ballistic missile defense program is making steady improvements on both Navy ships and the Aegis Ashore system being installed as part of the enhanced European defense initiative, the director of the Missile Defense Agency said on Wednesday. In testimony to the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, Vice Adm. James Syring said the fiscal 2018 defense budget would provide $624 million for the Aegis BMD programs. 

Modernizing Nuclear Deterrents No. 1 Priority, DoD Officials Tell Congress
Department of Defense
Defense officials outlined the need for consistent congressional support for the critical mission of modernizing and maintaining effective nuclear deterrent systems during testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday.

OPINIONS

China Can Disarm North Korea in the Blink of an Eye
The Cipher Brief, Gordon Chang
Ambassador Fu Ying, Beijing’s veteran diplomat, said last month that her country had “no leverage” over North Korea unless China addressed Pyongyang’s security concerns. Whether China addresses those concerns or not, its leverage over Pyongyang is, in a word, overwhelming.

How the China-North Korea equation is changing
The Economist
There are reasons why the world does not seek to topple North Korea’s impetuous young leader, Kim Jong Un. Chinese leaders have their own nightmare scenario: the chaotic fall of the Kim regime, sending millions of refugees into north-eastern China as a race begins for control of the North’s nuclear arsenal.

By Rubbing Salt in Iran’s Wounds, Trump Accomplished Nothing
Foreign Policy, David Wade
The day that terror strikes at the heart of any country, the right thing to do — the diplomatic and decent thing to do — is to condemn the terror and express sympathy for the victims. The statement by the president on the terrorist attacks in Iran was at best a missed opportunity — and at worst reflected a missing chip in his foreign policy hardwiring.

SPECIAL INTEREST

New IAEA Project Looks at Portable Detection Equipment to Help Prevent Food Fraud
International Atomic Energy Agency
The IAEA has launched a project to enable countries to quickly detect food fraud and contamination with the help of low-cost, portable tools. Ion mobility spectrometry, a nuclear-based technology used by border police in the detection of illicit drugs and explosives, is one of several methods that could be adapted to perform point-of-use screening tests to check for adulterants, contaminants and mould in food.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 8, 2017

TOP NEWS

N. Korea launches another salvo of missiles, defying international condemnation
Washington Post

Panel poses questions on plutonium risks at Los Alamos lab
ABC News

Sen. Bob Corker: Senate to deal with Russian sanctions as part of Iran bill
USA Today



EAST ASIA

North Korea fires suspected land-to-ship missiles as South Korea delays THAAD
Reuters
North Korea fired what appeared to be several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast on Thursday, South Korea's military said, a day after the South postponed full deployment of a controversial U.S. anti-missile system designed to deter a North Korean attack. The launches, the latest in a fast-paced series of missile tests defying world pressure to rein in its weapons program, come less than a week after the United Nations Security Council passed fresh sanctions on the reclusive state.

N. Korea launches another salvo of missiles, defying international condemnation
Washington Post
North Korea fired another salvo of missiles Thursday morning, keeping up the relentless pace of testing as it advances toward its goal of producing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland United States. The latest barrage comes after three launches in May, and means Kim Jong Un has now ordered almost as many missile launches this year alone as his father oversaw — 16 — during 17 years in power.

MIDDLE EAST

Trump suggests Iran shares some blame for extremist attacks
Washington Post
President Donald Trump is suggesting that Iran shares some blame for twin attacks by extremists on its parliament and a shrine, and insisting that sponsors of terrorism “risk falling victim to the evil they promote.” Despite the attacks, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate pushed ahead on a new set of sanctions against Iran. The bill would impose mandatory sanctions on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia’s boost in trade with North Korea worries U.S.
USA Today
The Trump administration and U.S. lawmakers expressed concern that Russia is increasing trade with North Korea as the United States demands the North roll back its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Russia boosted its trade with North Korea by 73% in the first two months of this year. Russia stepped in as China curbed its trade to the isolated nation after President Trump called for pressure on the North.

As Russia tensions rise, U.S. bombers prepare to train with European allies
Military Times
The Air Force has deployed B-1B Lancer bombers to Europe as part of the Saber Strike and BALTOPS exercises there with NATO allies, according to a release Wednesday from U.S. European Command. The deployments and exercises come at a time when tensions are rising across Europe over Russia's resurgence and aggression in the region.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Panel poses questions on plutonium risks at Los Alamos lab
ABC News
Many of the safety systems in place at a federal laboratory in New Mexico where key components of nuclear weapons are developed date to the late 1970s and will likely need to be upgraded to meet future demands, an official with an independent oversight panel said Wednesday.

Sen. Bob Corker: Senate to deal with Russian sanctions as part of Iran bill
USA Today
The Senate is expected to consider Russian sanctions as part of a bill aimed at holding Iran accountable for ballistic missile development and support of terrorism, according to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. An amendment, which would be introduced on the Senate floor, is currently being drafted related to Russian sanctions, Corker spokeswoman Micah Johnson said Wednesday.

Pentagon upgrades assessment of ability to defend against ICBMs
Reuters
After a successful May test, the Pentagon has upgraded its assessment of its ability to defend the United States against incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles, like the ones North Korea is attempting to develop. The conclusion could add to the U.S. military's view that, although much more work remains on missile defense, it is staying ahead of a mounting threat from North Korea.

Shanahan formally nominated as deputy secretary of defense
Defense News
Eighty-two days after being announced as President Donald Trump’s pick for deputy secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has been formally nominated for the position. The current senior vice president of supply chain operations for Boeing, Shanahan has also served as vice president for both Boeing Missile Defense Systems and the company’s rotorcraft division, giving him oversight on programs like the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64D Apache.

OPINIONS

India seeks a place at the other nuclear table
Asia Times
Since 2016, India has been making efforts to attain membership of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a nuclear technology control organization created to prevent misuse of nuclear technology and proliferation of nuclear materials. As a rule, prospective members have to be signatories of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a prerequisite. Notwithstanding the fact that it is a non-signatory of the NPT, India would like to be part of the NSG.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Today marks 30 years since New Zealand became nuclear free thanks to ‘courageous grassroots
TV New Zealand
Today, the anniversary of the landmark legislation, those who dedicated decades to the cause will gather at Christchurch's Peace Bell in the first of a number of events marking the 30 years since the law change. 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – June 6, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – June 6, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea says rejects new sanctions, to continue nuclear program
Reuters

Russia argues THAAD can be used offensively
Yonhap

LLNL supports ICBM flight tests
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



EAST ASIA

South Korean official suspended over US missile defense report
Military Times
A senior South Korean defense official was suspended Monday for deliberately failing to report to new liberal President Moon Jae-in the arrival of several more launchers for a contentious U.S. missile defense system, Moon's office said.

As China pulls trade from North Korea, Russia gets cozy with Kim Jong Un
USA Today
As China responds to President Trump's call to pressure North Korea to curb its rogue weapons programs, Russia has stepped in to help the hermit nation stay connected to the rest of the world.

North Korea says rejects new sanctions, to continue nuclear program
Reuters
North Korea "fully rejects" the latest U.N sanctions against its citizens and entities as a "hostile act" and will continue its nuclear weapons development without a delay. The U.N. Security Council on Friday expanded targeted sanctions against North Korea after its repeated missile tests, adopting the first such resolution agreed by the United States and China.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Kerry: Imposing new sanctions on Iran could be dangerous
AP News
Kerry said new sanctions on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program could send a message to the Iranian people that there is no gain for them in the 2015 nuclear deal. The landmark agreement eased economic sanctions in return for a freeze on Iranian nuclear development.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia argues THAAD can be used offensively
Yonhap
A top Russian defense official on Sunday accused South Korea and the U.S. of escalating tensions in Northeast Asia by deploying the powerful Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on the Korean Peninsula.

Bracing for Russian military exercise, Lithuania puts up a border fence
Reuters
While the 45-km-long (30 mile) fence will provide little defense against a full-scale attack, it aims to prevent provocations and incidents. In July, the U.S. Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) missile battery will be deployed in Lithuania for two weeks in July, for the first time in the region where Russia has air superiority.

 

SOUTH ASIA

India successfully test-fires Prithvi II SRBM
Janes 360
Officials said the nuclear-capable surface-to-surface missile, which has a stated maximum strike range of 350 km, was selected randomly from production stocks and fired from a mobile launcher by the country's Strategic Forces Command (SFC) as part of a training exercise.


MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Navies must focus on auto EW systems to survive hypersonic missiles
Defense News
Hypersonic missiles remain a development item at the moment, but work is advancing in China, the U.S., Europe, India and Russia to produce a weapon that would be a game-changer in its ability to defeat the defenses of naval and other targets. Naval forces will need to rely on more automated electronic warfare systems if warships are to survive an attack by hypersonic missiles.


U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Navy’s D5 Missile, Most Powerful U.S. Weapon, To Provide Backbone of Nuclear Deterrent Through 2040
Forbes
The U.S. Navy announced on May 26 that it was awarding Lockheed Martin a $43.9 million contract for work supporting production and sustainment of the Trident II D5 missile.

LLNL supports ICBM flight tests
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
A team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers listened intently to radio chatter and watched flight data stream in from a control room at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site. It was the first of two flight tests conducted recently to verify that the system could deliver a payload to target.\\


OPINIONS

The Nuclear Posture Review, New START, and the Russian Nuclear Buildup
Real Clear Defense, Mark B. Schneider
Russia’s accelerated modernization rate is significant because it is exactly the opposite of what Russia should be doing if it intends to comply with the New START Treaty. Trump administration NPR decision-makers should develop an accurate assessment of how much cheating is possible under New START and how high Russian warhead levels may go in the next twenty years if Russian solves its New START Treaty numerical problems with the lie and cheat approach. 

Trump, Who Pledged to Overhaul Nuclear Arsenal, Now Faces Increased Costs
The New York Times
Mr. Trump has pledged to overhaul the arsenal, which he has called obsolete. But his challenge is growing: The first official government estimate of the project, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office and due to be published in the coming weeks, will put the cost at more than $1.2 trillion

Ban treaty offers chance for a world free of nuclear arms
Japan Times, Daisaku Ikeda
The crucial second round of negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons will take place from June 15 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Nuclear weapons are capable of annihilating humankind and the global ecosystem, and the threat they pose is, if anything, growing. The upcoming negotiations seek to achieve a fundamental breakthrough in this situation.

Avoiding Apocalypse On The Korean Peninsula
Huffington Post, Rajan Menon
Defense Secretary James Mattis remarked recently that a war with North Korea would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale.” If President Trump acts on the assumption that he and “his” generals can make them work and that North Korea will become reasonable only when faced with the certainty of war, there could be a conflagration on the Korean peninsula the likes of which would be almost unimaginable.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Israel’s Secret Plan to Nuke the Egyptian Desert
Politico
The Six-Day War is probably the most researched event in the history of the modern Middle East. Volumes of studies have been produced over the five decades since. Yet one important aspect of the conflict and the months preceding it has remained largely untold: The nuclear dimension. On this issue, both sides still seem bound by layers of taboo, silence and secrecy.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - June 5, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – June 5, 2017

TOP NEWS 

North Korea says rejects new sanctions, to continue nuclear program
Reuters

Trump, Who Pledged to Overhaul Nuclear Arsenal, Now Faces Increased Costs
New York Times

India’s nuclear-weapon inventory set to increase: Report
Hindustan Times

EAST ASIA

Mattis urges China to act on North Korea threat
Asian Review
6/4/17
James Mattis, the U.S. defense secretary, urged China to act against North Korea's nuclear program, describing the Kim Jong Un regime as a "clear and present danger" to U.S. national security.

North Korea says rejects new sanctions, to continue nuclear program
Reuters
6/4/17
North Korea "fully rejects" the latest U.N sanctions against its citizens and entities as a "hostile act" and will continue its nuclear weapons development without a delay, its foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

 Japan pushes municipalities to hold evacuation drills as North Korea presses on with missile tests
Reuters
6/4/17
Tokyo has repeatedly condemned the test launches, which are in violation of U.N. resolutions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government earlier this year instructed municipalities to hold evacuation drills, heightening a sense of urgency among the public. Security experts say the drills won’t necessarily protect everyone from ballistic missiles, but going through the evacuation procedure in a simulated situation will help people survive in an actual attack.

Japan to beef up cargo inspections to slow diversion of appliances to North Korean weapons programs
Japan Times
6/4/17
The measure is in line with the U.N. Security Council’s March 2016 sanctions resolution on North Korea. It is believed that home appliances in Japan are being diverted for military use in the North. “We will strengthen further regulations on cargo between North Korea and third countries,” Kishida said. “I have instructed that the work be completed, hopefully by the end of this month.”

S.Korean official suspended over US missile defense report
ABC News
6/5/17
A senior South Korean defense official was suspended Monday for deliberately failing to report to new liberal President Moon Jae-in the arrival of several more launchers for a contentious U.S. missile defense system, Moon's office said.

 

Moon’s top security adviser set for meeting with director of US Missile Defense Agency
Korea Herald
6/5/17
"Director of the Missile Defense Agency James Syring is scheduled to visit Cheong Wa Dae on Monday to meet with Chung Eui-yong, chief of the National Security Office," an official at the presidential residence said. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the chief commander of United States Forces Korea, will accompany Syring to the meeting, the official said.

 

 MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s leader lashes out at Trump, Saudis for anti-Tehran alliance
Reuters
6/4/17
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out on Sunday against U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's leaders for their new regional alliance against Tehran, saying it would bear no fruit.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia’s Pacific Fleet to Upgrade 4 Subs With Supersonic Cruise Missiles
The Diplomat
6/5/17
Russia’s Pacific Fleet plans to upgrade four 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 during a visit of the Zvezda shipyard in the Russian Far East on June 3.

 

Russia Calls North Korean Nuclear Ambitions ‘Direct Threat’
Voice of America
6/4/17
North Korea's nuclear ambitions are threatening to Russia, a Russian official said Sunday. "It is not only [a] ballistic missile defense system — it has real function,'' said Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin. "That is why it is alarming. And it is direct threat to Russia. We are convinced that it will increase the tensions of the region. That is our principle position.''

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN agency says Iran is in compliance of landmark nuclear deal
Associated Press
6/2/17
The U.N. nuclear agency says that Iran has taken its heavy water producing plant offline for maintenance, a move that keeps it from violating a landmark nuclear agreement by keeping the amount of the reactor coolant under the limits proscribed by the deal.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump, Who Pledged to Overhaul Nuclear Arsenal, Now Faces Increased Costs
New York Times
6/4/17
Mr. Trump has pledged to overhaul the arsenal, which he has called obsolete. But his challenge is growing: The first official government estimate of the project, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office and due to be published in the coming weeks, will put the cost at more than $1.2 trillion — 20 percent more than the figure envisioned by the Obama administration.

 

US looks to reassure allies as concerns grow about American global role
Channel News Asia
6/5/17
Trump's "America First" rhetoric and expectations that he would concentrate on a domestic agenda has stoked fears of a retreat from a traditional U.S. security role that has underpinned the region for decades.

SOUTH ASIA

India’s nuclear-weapon inventory set to increase: Report
Hindustan Times
6/2/17
India’s nuclear-weapons inventory is expected to expand in both quantity and quality as the country is aiming to build an “adequate deterrent capacity” against China, according to a new report. The report on Asia Pacific Regional Security Assessment for 2017 released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies at the ShangriLa Dialogue here today.

 

India and Pakistan conflict erupts in ‘deadly’ border battles between nuclear rivals
Newsweek
6/3/17 
In addition to tensions mounting in the border region, both India and Pakistan have taken steps recently to revamp their nuclear weapons policies. India is believed by analysts to possess around 120 nuclear warheads and Pakistan around 130.

 

OPINIONS
Trump’s Military-First Posture May Cost the World Its Denuclearization Dreams
The National Interest, Tom Le
6/4/17
Not only has the world not made progress towards a nuclear-free environment, but it has alarmingly moved backwards. This setback can be attributed to the growing militarism advocated by President Donald Trump.

 

Ban treaty offers chance for a world free of nuclear arms
Japan Times, Daisaku Ikeda
6/4/17
Nuclear weapons are capable of annihilating humankind and the global ecosystem, and the threat they pose is, if anything, growing. The upcoming negotiations seek to achieve a fundamental breakthrough in this situation.

 

Kim Jon-un Isn’t Crazy and China Doesn’t Have a Solution
The National Interest, Doug Bandow
6/3/17
No one who pays attention to the Korean Peninsula believes that there is an easy answer to the challenge of a nuclear North Korea. But finding solutions will become even harder if the problem is misdiagnosed.

 

Dual Track Compliance: Addressing Russian Violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Georgetown Security Studies Review, William Caplan
6/5/17
To bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty, the United States must undertake a combination of military punishments and diplomatic incentives to provide leverage in negotiations with the Russians.

 

The Big China Nuclear Threat No One Is Talking About
The National Interest, Zachary Keck
6/2/17
Since its first nuclear test in 1964, China has maintained a relatively small nuclear arsenal designed to hold adversaries’ population centers at risk. This smaller arsenal is consistent with China’s different perspective about the nature of deterrence, as well as its no-first-use nuclear doctrine. At the same time, a couple of technical developments are likely to propel China to undertake a significant nuclear buildup in the coming years.

 

The hypersonic threat that keeps US commanders up at night
The Washington Examiner, Jamie McIntyre
6/5/17
The scary weapon of the near future is what's known as a hypersonic glide vehicle, sometimes called a "wave rider," because its aerodynamics allow the winged projectile to skip along the atmosphere, or glide on a smooth, flat trajectory after being launched via missile.

 

Nuclear Mythologies Are Getting Worse
Family Security Matters, Peter Huessy
6/1/17
This bundle of nuclear misconceptions about American nuclear deterrence strategy are re-emerging from the American disarmament community just at a time when both the United States Congress and the current administration are moving to finalize, in part through the Nuclear Posture Review, the modernization plan for our nuclear enterprise. Should these misconceptions, unfortunately, take hold, they will make efforts to modernize our deterrent more time consuming and more costly.

 

Is Trump undoing trans-Atlantic relations?
Brookings, Steven Pifer
5/31/17
The world fortunately got through the Cold War without the U.S.-Soviet confrontation going hot. A big part of the reason was the continued engagement of the United States in Europe after World War II, its launch of NATO, and support—albeit at times half-hearted—for the European Union’s development. Those actions have helped keep peace and stability in Europe for 70 years. Donald Trump is undoing that.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display
New York Times
6/3/17
On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula as a warning to Egyptian and other Arab forces, according to an interview with a key organizer of the effort that will be published Monday.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - June 1, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – June 1, 2017

TOP NEWS

Chinese state media: US missile intercept ‘may spark arms race’
South China Morning Post

Rouhani Vows to Shed Iran Sanctions as Trump Piles on More
Bloomberg

Putin Says U.S. Missile Systems in Alaska, South Korea Challenge Russia
U.S. News and World Report

EAST ASIA

Chinese state media: US missile intercept ‘may spark arms race’
South China Morning Post
A commentary published on the social media account of the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily late on Wednesday said the success of the US test had “opened a Pandora’s box”. A change in the balance in nuclear deterrence would change the mindset of other nuclear powers, “which has increased, rather than decreased the risk of a nuclear war”, the commentary said.

South Korea’s military intentionally left out THAAD missile launchers in report: Blue House
Reuters
South Korea’s Defense Ministry “intentionally dropped” mentioning that four more launchers had been deployed for the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system in a report to President Moon Jae-in’s top aides, his office said on Wednesday.

U.S. senator defends THAAD installation amid procedural dispute in Seoul
Yonhap News
A U.S. senator has said his country has proceeded with the deployment of a missile defense system in South Korea transparently amid a heated dispute here over its domestic procedures, which has prompted a presidential office probe into top security officials this week.

South Korea’s Moon sends aide to U.S. to quell fears over anti-missile system
Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in's top security aide left for Washington on Thursday as the new leader tries to reassure his country's main ally he will not scrap a deal to host a missile defense system that has angered China.

US envoy: US believes China is trying to stop North Korea tests
Washington Post
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday the Trump administration believes China is using “back channel networking” with North Korea to try and get Kim Jong Un to stop nuclear and ballistic missile testing. “We believe they are being productive,” she told reporters. “We do think they’re trying to counter what is happening now.”

MIDDLE EAST

Rouhani Vows to Shed Iran Sanctions as Trump Piles on More
Bloomberg
A day after winning re-election last month, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reaffirmed a campaign pledge: that he’ll find a way to free his country from sanctions that hobble its economy. That’s a vow President Donald Trump and U.S. lawmakers are making harder than ever to keep.

Iran ‘Forcefully’ Developing Missile Capabilities
The Trumpet
Gen. Amir-Ali Hadjizadeh was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying on May 25, “Step by step we are developing our defensive capability, and I announce today that in recent years we have built a third underground factory for the manufacture of missiles.”

Iran’s defense minister slams neighboring countries as ‘threat’ to security
Al ArabiyaIran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that neighboring countries and the United States are threatening his country’s security. The defense minister said his country is determined to use the Popular Mobilization Forces to respond to anyone who tries to stand with the Arab-Islamic coalition against Iran.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Putin Says U.S. Missile Systems in Alaska, South Korea Challenge Russia
U.S. News and World Report
Putin, speaking at an economic forum in St Petersburg, said Russia could not stand idly by and watch while others increased their military capabilities along its borders in the Far East in the same way as he said had been done in Europe.

Britain’s Nuclear Submarines Susceptible to ‘Catastrophic’ Cyberattacks, Think-tank Warns
Haartez
Such a cyberattack could “neutralise operations, lead to loss of life, defeat or perhaps even the catastrophic exchange of nuclear warheads (directly or indirectly)," according to "Hacking U.K. Trident: A Growing Threat," published by the British American Security Information Council and quoted by the Guardian. 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Pentagon: Anti-Missile Weapons Can Keep US Safe Until 2020
Defense One
The successful downing of a test missile proves that American defenses can ward off any ICBM that North Korea might produce in the next three years, says the head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency.

Defense bill will ‘double down’ on warning to North Korea
The Hill
A key Republican is promising to use this year's annual defense policy bill to “double down” on the message sent to North Korea by Tuesday's successful missile intercept test. "This test is a warning to the dictator in North Korea that he won't be allowed to threaten the U.S. and its allies,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Wednesday.

Increasingly sophisticated test plans for US homeland missile defense system on horizon
Defense News
On the heels of a successful intercept test of its homeland missile defense system against an intercontinental ballistic missile target, Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring detailed plans to continue to challenge the system to ensure it is ready to go up against threats from North Korea and Iran, not just now, but against what is anticipated in the future.

OPINIONS

How America Can Thwart North Korea’s Nuclear Threat
National Interest, John Deutch and Gary Samore
Staying on the current path of coercive diplomacy is drifting to conflict that promises to be bloody indeed. A military option is always on the table, but it is unrealistic to believe that a preemptive military strike against North Korean nuclear facilities or a missile-launch facility will not result in a significant—possibly nuclear—North Korean response. World leaders should welcome exploration of any agreement that might lead to resolution of this precarious crisis.

Time To Replace America’s Land-Based ICBMs
Forbes, Bruce Dorminey
Some argue that land-based ICBMs are outdated and altogether unnecessary --- particularly since the lion’s share of America’s nuclear deterrence capability can be achieved with submarines and strategic bombers. But Struckman argues that having a dispersed ICBM force ensures that any potential enemy is confronted with a vast amount of "target coverage" which he says makes the Minuteman IIIs the most stabilizing piece of the U.S.’ nuclear triad.

The ’Old’ U.S. Nuclear Attack Submarine Russia and China Don’t Want to Fight
National Interest, Kyle Mizokami
Although intelligence gathering has long been a role for submarines, starting in the 1990s the U.S. submarine fleet began using an Army phrase, “intelligence preparation of the battlefield,” to describe intelligence gathering in support of operations on the ground. Lacking a underwater enemy to fight, American submarines could linger off the coastlines of potential adversaries, collecting electronic data and conducting surveillance operations.

This successful nuclear missile defense test doesn’t mean the US is safe from nuclear attacks
Washington Examiner, Tom Rogan
It's a big moment. Previous tests have had mixed success, and the Pentagon will be very relieved this one succeeded. Still, when it comes to missile defense tests, the devil is in the data. Specialists will be nervously trawling over the data to see how well the interceptor performed. They know the threat posed by North Korea's ballistic missile program is growing rapidly. To justify their vast budget ($8.2 billion in the 2017 fiscal year), the agency is under huge pressure to deliver results.

Report: Is Iran Producing Advance Gas Centrifuge Components?
Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright and Olli Heinonen
The head of Iran’s nuclear program says Iran has the capability to initiate mass production of advanced centrifuges on short notice. The mass production of these centrifuges (or their components) would greatly expand Iran’s ability to sneak-out or breakout to nuclear weapons capability or surge the size of its centrifuge program if the deal fails or after key nuclear limitations end.

A War with North Korea Could Kill Millions – and Devastate the Global Economy
National Interest, Anthony Fensom
North Korea has ignored international sanctions to test-fire eight ballistic missiles this year, as the “Hermit Kingdom” builds up its nuclear capabilities. Amid threats of nuclear war against the United States and its allies, the region is already suffering economic damage and even worse could lie ahead should the crisis escalate.

Averting the ticking time bomb of nukes in North Korea
The Hill, Richard Falk and David Krieger
It is urgent that all governments concerned make a sober reassessment in a timely manner. The following questions need to be addressed: What can be done to defuse this escalating crisis? What should be done to prevent further crises in the future? What could be learned from recurrent crises involving nuclear weapons states?

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Here are the cities most likely to get struck in a nuclear attack by Russia
Business Insider
Ever since the Cold War, the US and Russia have drawn up plans on how to best wage nuclear war against each other — but while large population centers with huge cultural impact may seem like obvious choices, a smart nuclear attack would focus on countering the enemy's nuclear forces. So while people in New York City or Los Angeles may see themselves as the center of the world, in terms of nuclear target priorities, they're not as important as places like North Dakota or Montana. 

LOL At EMPs? Science Report Tackles Likelihood Of A North Korean Nuclear Capability
NPR
Brumfiel's NPR piece assessed whether North Korea had the capability to detonate a nuclear weapon from space, and thereby deal a devastating blow to the U.S. electrical grid. This technique, which has never been used in an actual attack, is known as "electromagnetic pulse" (or EMP for short).

Iran Drops Plan to Send Human Into Space, Citing Cost
New York Times
Less than a year ago, the Iranian space agency was claiming that it had made advances toward human spaceflight, even showing off a mock-up of a capsule. Adversaries of Iran have long been concerned about its space program, largely because the rocket science used to launch a human payload could also apply to a nuclear warhead delivered via a ballistic missile.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 31, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 31, 2017

TOP NEWS

U.S., China Debating When U.N. Should Act on North Korea: Haley
Reuters

‘Direct Collision’ for US Homeland Missile Defense Interceptor Test Against ICBM Target
Defense News

China, Japan Wary Of Each Other Over Advanced Missile Radars
Deutsche Welle





EAST ASIA

U.S., China Debating When U.N. Should Act on North Korea: Haley
Reuters
The United States and China are negotiating when they should push for further United Nations Security Council action on North Korea and could reach a decision this week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday. Haley characterized the discussions between Washington and Beijing as "at what point ... do we say 'OK, now it's time for a resolution?'"

China, Japan Wary Of Each Other Over Advanced Missile Radars
Deutsche Welle
Beijing accuses Tokyo of disrupting regional stability by working with the US on missile defense radars. But Japanese experts slam China for trying to stop Japan from attempting to defend itself.

North Korea Says Missile Landed Within 23 Feet of Target: ‘Scary News for the U.S.’
Chicago Tribune
The accuracy claims, if true, would represent a potentially significant advancement in North Korea's missile program. KCNA said Kim called for the continued development of more powerful strategic weapons, though the report didn't mention whether the missile could carry nuclear warheads.

Moon, Abe Agree on Need for More Sanctions on N. Korea
Yonhap
The leaders of South Korea and Japan agreed Tuesday on the need for more sanctions and pressure on North Korea, saying now is not the time for dialogue with the recalcitrant state, according to the South's presidential office. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe reached the conclusion during a 20-minute phone conversation one day after the North's new ballistic missile test.

Japan PM Says He Wants to Work with China to Resolve North Korea Crisis
Reuters
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told China's top diplomat on Wednesday that he would like to work with China to try to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. "To resolve this problem peacefully, we would like to work with China, which has strong influence (over North Korea)," Abe said at the outset of a meeting with Yang Jiechi.


U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

‘Direct Collision’ for US Homeland Missile Defense Interceptor Test Against ICBM Target
Defense News
A monumental intercept test for the United States’ critical homeland defense system designed to defend against intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran was a success, the Missile Defense Agency announced Tuesday shortly after the test.

Pentagon Says Has Been ‘Transparent’ With S. Korea on Missile Defenses
Reuters
The Pentagon said on Tuesday it had been "very transparent" with South Korea's government about the deployment of its THAAD missile defense system, after newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed alarm about the arrival of additional launchers.

Mattis to Focus on North Korea at Asian Forum as Allies Seek Clear U.S. Policy
Reuters
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to press for greater cooperation to contain North Korea's nuclear and missile threat at a regional security forum in Singapore later this week, where for years Washington has sought to spotlight China's expansion in the strategic South China Sea.

Defense Officials Offer Testimony on Nuclear Modernization, Replacement Programs
Homeland Preparedness News
Modernizing and replacing programs related to the United States nuclear triad is the first priority for both the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Navy, according to testimony from key defense officials at a recent House Armed Services Strategic Force Subcommittee hearing regarding the President’s proposed FY2018 budget.

U.S. and Canada Hold First Joint Nuclear Forensics Exercise
Department of Homeland Security
The exercise simulated a nuclear detonation, allowing experts from both countries to improve operational readiness to respond to radiological or nuclear attacks.  The advancement of international cooperation in nuclear forensics will help improve the ability of the U.S. and its allies to determine the source of a detonated device.


OPINIONS

Homeland Missile Defense System is Successful, and the Timing Could Not Be Better
Real Clear Defense, Rebeccah L. Heinrichs
Despite what some hit-to-kill deniers will try to say, the system works, and we need it now more than ever. North Korea has increased the tempo of its launches despite international pressure to stop, and with each test, it gains knowledge it can use to move the program along.

Pentagon Shoots Down Mockup of ICBM, But Concerns Linger
Foreign Policy, Paul McLeary
The successful test of the nation’s foremost ballistic missile defense program is marginally good news for a country increasingly faced with the growing threat of missile proliferation, but the program continues to face questions over a problematic track record, and if it is keeping pace with North Korean advances in missile technology.

The Future of Iran’s Security Policy
AEI, J. Matthew McInnis
The need for better analysis of Iranian hard power—both conventional and unconventional—is arguably more important today than ever before in light of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and growing Iranian influence across the region. Simply put, the US needs a better understanding of how Iran fights and prepares for war.

What Would Europe’s ‘Fate’ Be Without the US
Deutsche Welle, Teri Schultz
Without US support and its "nuclear umbrella," analysts believe Russia could swing the balance of power in the region despite a weaker military. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron hold the keys to self-sufficiency.

A New Balance of Terror: Why North Korea Clings to its Nukes
The Washington Post, Eric Talmadge
If war breaks out and North Korea launches a pre-emptive nuclear strike on an American military base in Japan — for real — would the U.S. recoil and retreat? Would it strike back, and risk losing Washington DC in a second wave of nuclear attacks? For Pyongyang, forcing Washington to seriously weigh that calamity is a win. And it may become a real-world possibility on President Donald Trump’s watch.

Thinking the Unthinkable with North Korea
The New York Times, Graham Alison
What we see unfolding now is a Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion. John F. Kennedy’s central lesson from the crisis still offers wise counsel for Mr. Trump. “Above all,” Kennedy said, “while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war.”

The Fallout From Pakistan’s Nuclear Tests
The Diplomat, Shah Meer Baloch
On May 28 each year, Pakistan proudly celebrates “Youm-e-Takbir,” which translates as the “Day of Greatness,” to commemorate the country’s first successful detonation of nuclear devices. But the locals in Balochistan’s Chagai district, and citizens all across Balochistan, see May 28 as a “black day. ”The locals still suffer as a result of the nuclear explosions the Pakistani government set off in the Ras Koh mountains 19 years ago.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Ground-based Midcourse Defense FAQs
CSIS Missile Defense Project
The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is currently the only U.S. missile defense system devoted to defending the U.S. homeland from long-range ballistic missile attacks. By the end of 2017, there will be 44 deployed GBIs, 40 based at Ft. Greely, and four at Vandenberg AFB.

North Korean Parents Are ‘Obsessed’ With Kids Becoming Nuclear Scientists
The Sun
All parents now have an obsessive desire to raise their children to become scientists.Scientists who used to live with a tight budget are now receiving the highest level of treatment for nuclear and missile development since Kim Jong Un came to power

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 25, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 25, 2017


TOP NEWS

China urges Japan to be cautious over missile defenses
Reuters

Nuclear weapons agency gets 11 percent funding increase in FY18 budget request
Defense News

Iran says it has built third underground ballistic missile factory
Reuters


EAST ASIA

China says no one should bring chaos to Korean peninsula
Reuters
China said on Wednesday no one had the right to bring chaos to the Korean peninsula, a day after it pushed for full implementation of U.N. sanctions against neighboring North Korea for its missile and nuclear tests and called for dialogue.

The Pukguksong-2 Approaches Initial Operational Capability
38 North
Following a successful flight-test this weekend, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency  announced that the KN-15 (Pukguksong-2) medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) will now enter mass production and begin operational deployment. The missile probably isn’t truly operational at this stage, but is more likely entering a pre-operational training period.

China urges Japan to be cautious over missile defenses
Reuters
Tokyo is likely to fund a ground version of the ship-based Aegis defense system deployed on warships in the Sea of Japan, sources told Reuters. Speaking at a regular monthly news briefing, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said the issue of anti-missile defenses was a matter of strategic stability and trust between countries and should be cautiously handled.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran says it has built third underground ballistic missile factory
Reuters
Iran has built a third underground ballistic missile production factory and will keep developing its missile program, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard as saying.

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Poland eyes procurements, military partnerships to boost ‘deterrence capabilities’
Defense News
The Polish Ministry of Defense has announced a number of procurements in its "Concept of Defense of the Republic of Poland," a document released May 23. “By 2032, we will introduce new air and missile defense systems,” the document states. “A crucial element of our deterrence force will be played by the Air Force equipped with long-range precision weapons and ... 5th generation combat aircraft.”

 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

NATO is Keeping Russia Off Its Agenda for Trump’s First Visit
Buzzfeed News
Russia, which dominated NATO’s previous two summits in Wales and Warsaw, will not be a formal agenda item for the alliance’s meeting in Brussels this week, North Atlantic Treaty Organization spokesperson Oana Lungescu told BuzzFeed News. "The meeting will be short, and focused on two main topics: stepping up NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism, and fairer burden sharing,” Lungescu said.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Dan Coats: Ukraine, Libya taught other countries to seek nuclear weapons
The Washington Examiner
The experiences of Ukraine and Libya have taught other vulnerable countries around the world not to surrender their weapons of mass destruction under pressure from the west, according to Dan Coats, President Trump's director of national intelligence.

Nuclear weapons agency gets 11 percent funding increase in FY18 budget request
Defense News
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a quasi-independent entity within the Department of Energy, is marked for $13.9 billion, an increase of $1 billion — or 7.8 percent — above the FY17 Omnibus level.

New US Missile Defense Bases to be Constructed Around the World
Defense World
The US Missile Defense Agency has awarded a $69 million contract to Parsons Government Services Inc. for construction of new facilities in America and several countries around the world.

 

OPINIONS

What to Expect at Today’s NATO leaders meeting?
War on the Rocks, Sara Bjerg Moller
After a heady 2016 U.S. election season that called into question not only the viability of the alliance but also the American-led international order, all eyes will be on President Donald Trump as he pays his first visit to  NATO’s over-budget and over-due new headquarters.

Japan, South Korea Shaken by Pyongyang, Beijing—And Now, Washington
The Cipher Brief, Will Edwards
For years, unpredictability in East Asia was driven primarily by North Korea’s provocations and China’s rise, and through that, the U.S. presence was a source of stability for South Korea and Japan. Today the scenario is more complicated. Seoul’s new Administration is motivated by a desire to improve government transparency and reset the North Korea relationship while Tokyo wants stable policy for economic growth. A U.S. presence without predictable policy further complicates these goals.

Deterring North Korea
The Diplomat, Masashi Murano
With a fifth nuclear test and repeated ballistic missile launches, North Korea’s provocations appear to be escalating to a new level. Several military exercises and flyovers by U.S. strategic bombers over the Korean Peninsula after nuclear or missile tests may offer meaningful reassurance to allies. But they have not deterred North Korea’s provocations. Given this, the United States and its allies need to review and reconstruct their multi-layered deterrence strategy.

Missile Defense Needs to Address New Threats
Real Clear Defense, Mead Treadwell
As North Korea works furiously to advance its nuclear missile arsenal to threaten our homeland, an upgrade of America’s missile defense systems could not come at a more crucial time.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

B-52 Bomber No Longer Delivers Nuclear Gravity Bombs
Federation of American Scientists, Hans M. Kristensen
Today, only the 20 B-2 stealth-bombers are tasked with strategic nuclear gravity bombs under the nuclear strike plans. The reason for the change appears to be that the B-52 is no longer considered survivable enough to slip through modern air-defenses and drop nuclear gravity bombs on enemy territory.

Podcast: From Loathed to Loved—The Deadly History of the Submarine
Reuters
This week on War College, former journalist and current naval historian Iain Ballantyne takes us through the history of the submarine. From the American Revolutionary War to the modern age of the nuclear triad, few weapons have been as controversial and as feared as the submarine.

Could U.S. Nuclear Weapons Be Hacked?
National Interest
Modernizing computer networks for the nuclear arsenal is part of the current Air Force plan to build as many as 400 new Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs, to serve through the 2070s.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 24, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 24, 2017

TOP NEWS

Lake Yonphung: Launch Site for the Second Pukguksong-2 Missile Launch
38 North

United States and Japan Hold Nonproliferation Dialogue in Tokyo
U.S. Department of State

U.N. Security Council Condemns North Korea’s Latest Missile Launch
Reuters

Russian Defense Minister Boasts About Arms Upgrade
The Washington Post





EAST ASIA

Japan Conducts First Cross-Government Tabletop Exercise for North Korea Missile Threat
The Japan Times
The exercise, aimed at ensuring smooth coordination between government offices, took place amid growing public concern over North Korea’s repeated test-firing of ballistic missiles, many of which have fallen in the Sea of Japan.

Kim Jong Un Plans to Mass Produce Ballistic Missiles
Defense One
Following the launch of a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for the missile’s mass production and eventual deployment, the nation’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Monday. According to the news outlet, Kim approved the missile “for action” after praising its accuracy, saying it should be “rapidly mass produced in a serial way.”

Lake Yonphung: Launch Site for the Second Pukguksong-2 Missile Launch
38 North
On Sunday, May 21, 2017, North Korea conducted the second test launch of its “Pukguksong-2, solid-fuel missile,” a land-based version of the KN-11 Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). However, as was the case for the February test of the Pukguksong-2, Sunday’s test was not conducted from the reported location, but apparently from Lake Yonphung.

China’s Imports from North Korea Fall as Sanctions Start to Bite
South China Morning Post
Beijing has curbed purchases of coal from North Korea as part of efforts to pressure Pyongyang into ending its nuclear weapons program. China’s imports of North Korean goods fell below US$100 million to fresh multi-year lows last month, accelerating a months-long decline after Beijing stopped coal shipments from its isolated neighbor, according to customs data released on Tuesday.

Top SDF Officer Warns North Korea Close to Mastering Technology for Hitting Japan with Nukes
The Japan Times
Facing reporters at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano declined to comment on whether Tokyo believes the North has already acquired such a capability, but said that given more time, Pyongyang would likely master this technology, putting Japan in grave danger.

China and Japan Differ on Tactics to Halt North Korea’s Nuclear Program
South China Morning Post
Japan’s UN representative called for stronger measures while Beijing’s urged dialogue with Pyongyang after a UN Security Council meeting on missile tests. Japan’s Koro Bessho and China’s Liu Jieyi spoke after a UN Security Council meeting on North Korea, which also included South Korea’s UN Ambassador Cho Tae-yul.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Defense Minister Boasts About Arms Upgrade
The Washington Post
Russia’s defense minister says the military has received a steady flow of new weapons allowing it to maintain a “strategic parity” with NATO. Sergei Shoigu stated that Russia’s nuclear forces have been equipped with the new Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles with an enhanced capability to penetrate any potential missile defense. The navy has commissioned three new Borei-class nuclear submarines armed with the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles.



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

U.N. Security Council Condemns North Korea’s Latest Missile Launch
Reuters
The United Nations Security Council condemned on Monday North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch and expressed concern over the Asian state's "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance" of the 15-member body. The Security Council is due to meet behind closed doors on Tuesday to discuss Sunday's missile launch at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea

United States and Japan Hold Nonproliferation Dialogue in Tokyo
U.S. Department of State
The United States and Japan held their fifth annual Nonproliferation Dialogue in Tokyo, May 23-24. The annual meeting is one of several exchanges the United States and Japan hold each year to strengthen bilateral cooperation to address the threat posed by the proliferation of sensitive dual-use technologies, weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery. 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Ahead of Ballistic Missile Defense Review, MDA’s FY18 Plan Shows Flexibility
Defense News
MDA is requesting $7.9 billion in FY18, an increase of $379 million from the FY17 request, according to budget documents released Tuesday. Big and small changes could be afoot as President Donald Trump considers how to shape both regional and homeland defense in his administration.

North Korea, if left unchecked, on ‘inevitable’ path to nuclear ICBM: U.S.
Reuters
North Korea, if left unchecked, is on an "inevitable" path to obtaining a nuclear-armed missile capable of striking the United States, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart told a Senate hearing on Tuesday. The remarks are the latest indication of mounting U.S. concern about Pyongyang's advancing missile and nuclear weapons programs, which the North says are needed for self-defense.

Trump Tells Duterte of two U.S. nuclear subs in Korean waters
Reuters
Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Washington had "a lot of firepower over there." Trump has said "a major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible because of its nuclear and missile programs and that all options are on the table but that he wants to resolve the crisis diplomatically



OPINIONS

Trump’s First Defense Budget Has North Korea Written All Over It
Defense One, Patrick Tucker
Donald Trump’s first defense-budget request contains large increases for weapons intended to shoot down North Korean missiles or even attack them on their launchers. The budget bumps aren’t unexpected — many appeared in the outgoing Obama administration’s final spending plans as well. Still, they reveal the Pentagon’s intensifying focus on Pyongyang’s missile threat.

Hey, NATO, Let’s Move Those 50 US Thermonuclear Weapons Out of Turkey
Defense One, Joe Cirincione
When President Donald Trump and other heads of state meet at this week’s NATO Summit it might be a good time to discuss the wisdom of keeping 50 U.S. thermonuclear weapons in Turkey, just 70 miles from Syria, the most intense combat zone on the planet.

Could Iran’s Elections Indicate a New Future?
The Cipher Brief, Bennet Seftel
The results from Friday’s election, in which more than 70 percent of eligible Iranian voters participated, indicate that many in Iran do not necessarily share Khamenei’s domestic and foreign policy views or his vision for the country’s future. “In this case, Iranians gave a clear message in re-electing Rouhani,” writes Ambassador John Limbert, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iranian Affairs. “They rejected the old ways, the old rhetoric, the old people, and the old system.”

On Guard: North Korean Private Security and the UN
Arms Control Wonk, Andrea Berger
Malaysian-North Korean relations have been imploding since the assassination of Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur Airport, and the subsequent revelations that North Korea has been doing a whole lot of other shady things on Malaysian soil.

 


SPECIAL INTEREST

Avoiding a Second Pearl Harbor: Why America Must Boost Hawaii’s Defenses
The National Interest, Dan Goure
The DPRK’s efforts to develop long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads are accelerating. As if that were not enough to cause U.S. defense planners sleepless nights, the latest Worldwide Threat Assessment by the Director of National Intelligence believes that 2017 will be the year that North Korea tests an ICBM with sufficient range to deliver a nuclear weapon to Hawaii, Alaska and the continental U.S. 

Lightening the Load: Losing Weight, Gaining Protection
DVIDS
https://www.dvidshub.net/news/233443/lightening-load-losing-weight-gaining-protection
The threat of chemical weapons is one of the biggest concerns in modern combat, resulting in the need for our warfighters to don bulky protective gear that limits mobility. To address this issue, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology Office developed the Chemical and Biological Lightweight Improved Thermal Ensemble (CBLITE), a new protective uniform.

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 23, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 23, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

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

Iran targets Booz Allen, others with reciprocal sanctions
Defense News




EAST ASIA

Resumption of joint projects with N.K. to hinge on denuclearization: Seoul
Yonhap
Seoul's reaffirmation came amid growing attention to whether Seoul would try to reopen reconciliatory projects with North Korea as it said Monday that it will flexibly review the resumption of civilian exchanges

North Korea says it’s ready to deploy, mass-produce new missile
Defense News
The solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile flew about 310 miles and reached a height of 350 miles on Sunday before plunging into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea's media said more missiles will be launched in the future.

South Korea fires at suspected drone at border with North amid missile crisis
Reuters
South Korea's military fired warning shots at a suspected drone from North Korea on Tuesday amid tension over Pyongyang's latest missile test which drew international condemnation and a warning from China.

North Korea declares medium-range missile ‘ready for action’, shows off apparent photos from space
The Japan Times
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un had observed the Pukguksong-2 missile test Sunday, which had verified the reliability and accuracy of the solid-fuel engine’s operations, stage separation and late-stage nuclear warhead guidance.

N.K. rebukes UNSC’s condemnation over its latest missile test
Yonhap
A spokesman of North Korea's foreign ministry said the North rejected the UNSC's adoption of a press statement condemning Pyongyang's Sunday launch of what it called an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

China urges North Korea not to violate U.N. resolutions
Reuters
China urged North Korea not to violate U.N. Security Council resolutions with its nuclear and missile programs, after Pyongyang said it had successfully tested what it called an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Trump tells Israel Iran will never have nuclear weapons
BBC News
US President Donald Trump has told Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that Iran will never have nuclear weapons. He suggested the Iranians thought they could "do what they want" since negotiating a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015. Mr. Trump arrived in Israel from Saudi Arabia, where he sought to win Arab states' support for fighting extremism.

Iran targets Booz Allen, others with reciprocal sanctions
Defense News
Iran has sanctioned nine more U.S.-linked businesses, organizations and people over America's sanctions over its ballistic missile program.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia presents list of embargoed luxury goods to N.K. sanctions committee
Yonhap
Russia, for the first time, has presented a list of luxury goods that are banned from being exported to North Korea to a U.N. sanctions committee. The list includes luxury products mainly related to sports and recreation, said Radio Free Asia, adding that Russia has notified the committee of its decision to limit their direct and indirect export and transportation to the North.

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

U.N. Panel Releases Draft of Treaty to Ban Nuclear Arms
The New York Times
A United Nations disarmament panel presented the first draft on Monday of a proposed global treaty to ban nuclear weapons, which advocates called an important step that could hasten completion of a final text by early July.

Kishida defends skipping U.N. talks, saying nuclear weapons ban would widen rift between haves and have-nots
Japan Times
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Saturday defended Japan’s choice not to participate in U.N. talks toward a treaty banning nuclear weapons, saying that proceeding would risk deepening the rift between countries with nuclear stockpiles and those without them.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. Defense Secretary: Military Response to North Korea Would Be ‘Tragic’
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said North Koreans probably learned a lot from their latest rocket launch, adding that attempts to resolve the North Korea missile crisis through military force would be “tragic.”

U.S., Japanese firms collaborating on new missile defense radars
Reuters
Raytheon Co and Lockheed Martin Corp are working with Japanese partners on rival projects to develop new radars that will enhance Japan's shield against any North Korean missile strike, government and defense industry sources in Tokyo.

U.S. envoy tells U.N. forum North Korea is ‘a pariah and an outlier’
Reuters
U.S. envoy Robert Wood told a U.N. forum on Tuesday that the world was united against North Korea's "nuclear sabre-rattling"

Air Force Study Cites Russian & Chinese Hypersonic Weapons Testing
Scout Warrior
The Air Force is aggressively accelerating its hypersonic weapons development effort, following findings from a recent service report identifying Russian and Chinese ongoing hypersonic weapons testing.



OPINIONS

Spring Has Sprung at Punggye-ri, but a Sixth Nuclear Test Likely Still on Stand-by
38 North, Frank Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., and Jack Liu
Given the unusually high level of activity observed earlier this year with no subsequent testing, and no significant new activity at the North Portal, a nuclear test has most likely been postponed and the facility remains in stand-by mode. However, other more innocuous activities (likely part of ongoing maintenance and repairs) are continuing within and near the Main Administrative Area.

Brussels Mini Summit: Understanding Key Issues Facing the NATO Alliance (Report)
The Heritage Foundation, Daniel Kochis and Luke Coffey
The U.S. must renew its leadership role in NATO, including reinforcing and strengthening measures decided upon at the Warsaw Summit to bolster collective defense; press allies to commit to robust defense spending and proper investment in equipment; reaffirm commitment to NATO’s open-door policy in Brussels; and renew NATO’s commitment to support the ongoing Resolute Support mission. 

U.S. Nuclear History Offers Clues to North Korea’s Progress
New York Times, William J. Broad
Experts say atomic history — especially that of the American program, the world’s most successful, which other nations often seek to mimic — can help distinguish North Korea’s credible accomplishments from bluster and empty threats.

Budget process puts defense spending in straitjacket
The Hill, Peter Huessy
Congress should adopt a philosophy of getting appropriation bills done quickly, with the remainder of the congressional calendar year devoted to oversight and reform.

What Does Hassan Rouhani’s Victory Mean for the Iran Nuclear Deal?
Newsweek, Tom Porter
President Hassan Rouhani’s confident win in Iran’s presidential elections — receiving 57 percent of the 40 million votes cast, according to polling results Saturday —  has reassured moderates that the landmark nuclear deal hammered out with the Obama administration and other world powers in 2015 will be not be thwarted.

The Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Under Trump
War on the Rocks, Rebecca Friedman Lissner
Nuclear detonation, whether by a state or non-state actor, remains an extremely remote possibility, and the risk of such a rare event is difficult to quantify. Nonetheless, the catastrophic consequences of nuclear use demand attention —– not only from the White House, but also from Congress and the American people.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

North Korean WMD: A Guide to Online Resources
Arms Control Wonk, Joshua Pollack
North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are the topic du jour in the WMD world, but if you’re trying to get smart about the subject, where should you turn? The amount of material never gets any smaller, and you’ve nearly got to be an expert in your own right to judge what’s what.

How to Dismantle a Nuclear Weapon
Foxtrot Alpha, Terrell Jermaine Starr
Dismantling the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons is one the most important geopolitical challenges humanity faces. That number seems bleak, given the current state of affairs. But if you wanted to dismantle just one warhead, here is what it would take.

 

EVENTS

Debate: Modernization of Nuclear Missiles
CSIS, Project on Nuclear Issues
5/23/17, 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm
The Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) and Ploughshares Fund are pleased to invite you to the second in a debate series on a range of nuclear challenges and policy decisions the Trump administration will face in 2017. Participants will be asked to address the following statement: Resolved – Current plans to rebuild the U.S. nuclear arsenal are excessive, and the new ICBM and cruise missile should be cancelled or substantially curtailed.
Please RSVP Here: https://www.csis.org/events/debate-modernization-nuclear-missiles

Command Climate: The State of U.S. Civil-Military Relations
CSIS, International Security Program
5/23/17, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
CSIS's International Security Program is hosting an all-day conference on U.S. civil-military relations.
Please RSVP Here: https://www.csis.org/events/command-climate-state-us-civil-military-relations

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – May 19, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – May 19, 2017 


TOP NEWS

China Says Willing to put South Korea Ties Back on Track, Urges THAAD Resolution
Reuters

NATO and Partners to discuss Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control at Helsinki
NATO

US Navy Moves Second Aircraft Carrier to North Korea
CNN

New Ferry Links North Korea and Russia Despite U.S. Calls for Isolation
Reuters





EAST ASIA

Chinese Jets Intercept U.S. Radiation-Sniffing Plane, US Says
The New York Times
Two Chinese SU-30 aircraft carried out what the U.S. military described as an "unprofessional" intercept of a U.S. aircraft designed to detect radiation while it was flying in international airspace over the East China Sea.

Tokyo Seeks New Ways to Stop North Korean Missiles
Aviation Week
Japan is seriously considering Aegis Ashore and Tomahawk afloat. A committee of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party urged both measures on the Japanese government at the end of March. In the past few weeks, a series of official leaks has shown that the government agrees.

China Says Willing to put South Korea Ties Back on Track, Urges THAAD Resolution
Reuters
Relations between Beijing and Seoul, strained by disagreement over South Korea's hosting of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, have taken on a more conciliatory tone with the election earlier this month of President Moon Jae-in. Xi told Moon's representative Lee Hae-chan on Friday that his visit showed the importance the new South Korean leader attached to relations with Beijing.

N. Korea Criticizes Moon’s Dual-Track Policy Toward It
Yonhap
North Korea on Friday sent a critical message via its official media to the newly launched liberal South Korean government over its policy that pursues the North's denuclearization and seeks dialogue at the same time, claiming that dialogue can never be compatible with confrontation.



MIDDLE EAST

Iran Nuclear Deal in Play as Hard-Line Candidate Gains on President
The Wall Street Journal
Voters choose Friday between candidates with conflicting visions—President Hassan Rouhani, who has made an opening to the West, and a political newcomer wary of where such a path leads.



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

New Ferry Links North Korea and Russia Despite U.S. Calls for Isolation
Reuters
A new ferry between isolated North Korea and Russia docked for the first time at the Pacific port of Vladivostok on Thursday, in spite of U.S. calls for countries to curtail relations with Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs. 

More US Forces Needed in Europe to Deter Russia
Stars and Stripes
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe includes Republicans and Democrats from the Senate and House and representatives from the Defense and State departments and has been in place for more than four decades to examine European security issues. The United States should continue to support a robust conventional buildup in Eastern Europe to deter further Russian aggression there, panelists told an independent U.S. commission on Wednesday, just days ahead of President Donald Trump’s rollout of his 2018 budget.

 



SOUTH ASIA

India has capability to make 2600 Nuclear Weapons: Pakistan
India Today
Amid heightened tension between the two neighboring nations in the wake of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Pakistan has said that India can produce 2600 nuclear weapons. Claiming the India has the fastest growing nuclear program in the world, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told reporters in Islamabad that India's nuclear aspirations pose a threat to strategic stability in the south Asian region.

India’s MoD Demands Early Induction of Ballistic Missile Defense System
Defense News
To ensure the early induction of India's homemade ballistic missile defense system, the country's Ministry of Defense has directed the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization to urgently submit a final induction strategy and timeline for the BMD system.



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

NATO and Partners to discuss Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control at Helsinki
NATO
As a valued NATO Partner, Finland will host the 13th Annual NATO Conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation from 29 to 30 May 2017 in Helsinki.



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Navy Moves Second Aircraft Carrier to North Korea
CNN
The US Navy is moving the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula where it will conduct dual-carrier training exercises with the USS Carl Vinson amid heightened tensions in the region.

Tillerson wants N.K. to Trust U.S. Promise of No Hostility, Refrain from Nuclear, Missile Tests
Yonhap
The remarks, made in a meeting with South Korea's special presidential envoy Hong Seok-hyun, are the latest in a series of signs that the U.S. may be moving toward dialogue and engagement after months of exchanging saber-rattling and harsh rhetoric with Pyongyang.



OPINIONS

A Momentous Week for the Iran Nuclear Deal
Politico
President Trump’s first foreign trip could undermine an agreement that has kept Americans safe, nine former top Obama administration officials warn.

The World is a Safer Place, Thanks to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
State Department Blog, C.S. Eliot Kang
As the threat from North Korea grows, the NPT is at a critical moment.  This treaty sets an international norm supportive of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in conformity with strong international nonproliferation standards.  The NPT also helps isolate unlawful and provocative behavior such as North Korea’s illicit plutonium and uranium production and development of nuclear weapons.  Such actions create instability and threaten the security of millions of people, including in the United States.

Moon’s Secret Weapon is Sunshine
Foreign Policy, S. Nathan Park
The gains of the Sunshine Policy were real: It genuinely made the Korean Peninsula safer and sowed doubt in the minds of ordinary North Koreans about the Kim regime. Though its faults were equally real, that doesn’t mean we should dismiss the entire approach.

North Korea Showed Off A Lot of Missiles. What Might Be its Targets?
The Washington Post, Bonnie Berkowitz, Laris Larklis, and Tim Meko
Experts assumed Kim Jong Un had the capability to launch nuclear weapons even before last weekend’s test flight of a new missile that, on a normal, flatter trajectory, would have been capable of reaching Guam. But they don’t think he wants to fire them randomly.

A Malaysian Shipyard With North Korean Connections?
Arms Control Wonk, Daniel Salisbury
Open source investigations reveal that North Korea has also been involved – albeit to an unclear degree – with a Malaysian company apparently marketing North Korean designed military vessels including miniature submarines. Evidence, including a recent US sanctions listing in 2016 and a flashy Youtube video, suggest that the company – Kay Marine Sdn Bhd – has collaborated with North Korean partners and may have marketed North Korean designed military vessels since the UN arms embargo first entered force in 2006.

STRATCOM’s Sense of Urgency: Nuclear Posture Review
Real Clear Defense, Peter Huessy
It has been only a few weeks since the Pentagon launched a review of the U.S. nuclear posture — an examination of programs and policies that will guide the Trump administration’s strategy and budget proposals. STRATCOM officials have been staunch proponents of the modernization of the U.S. nuclear triad of Air Force Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers and Ohio-class submarines armed with ballistic missiles. It is imperative to modernize.

The North Korean Nuclear Threat is Very Real. Time to Start Treating it that Way
The Washington Post, Stephen Rademaker
There’s every reason to continue pursuing sanctions and diplomacy, but we should not premise our policy on the expectation that such efforts are going to succeed in persuading North Korea to change course. We must also recognize that there is no acceptable military solution to the problem. None of these ideas represent a preferred response to the North Korean nuclear threat. They are, instead, a last recourse. But the past quarter-century teaches that we have no realistic alternatives

The Problem with Suppressing Controversy in the Non-Proliferation Treaty
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Andrea Berger
If there were only three words that delegates used to informally describe the atmosphere at the 11-day long 2017 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meeting in Vienna, they were “business-like,” “efficient,” and “vanilla.” The plenary room saw surprisingly little debate on disarmament initiatives and on the call for the Middle East to be a zone that is free of weapons of mass destruction. Yet beyond the plenary chamber it is clear that not all is well with the treaty, and some contentious issues could escalate to the point where they collide in the next year.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

Hwasong-12
CSIS Missile Defense Project, Ian Williams and Thomas Karako
An overview of North Korea’s Hwasong-12. The Hwasong-12 first appeared in North Korea’s “Day of the Sun” parade on April 15, 2017. It was speculated at the time that it could be a shortened version of North Korea’s untested KN-08 ICBM

North Korea: What Are the Options? (Podcast)
Cipher Brief, Jack Keane
Jack Keane, retired four-star general, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army served the American people for almost 38 years as an infantry paratrooper who commanded every level from company through corps. What does he think of U.S. strategy in North Korea? How much of a threat is North Korea? How should Washington and its allies handle the threat? Here’s his perspective “In My Own Words”, no holds barred.

Read more…

Monday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

North Korea Lawmaker: Need Nukes Because of US Threat
New York Times

Nobody will trust U.S. to engage in long-term negotiation: Zarif
Tehran Times

U.S. officials try to ease concerns Trump may quit Iran deal
Reuters

Tillerson: US prefers diplomacy with NKorea, but has options
Associated Press

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