Nuclear Policy News

All Posts (776)

Nuclear Policy News – October 13, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 13, 2016

TOP NEWS

Yes, Japan Could Build Nuclear Weapons (But at What Cost?)
The National Interest

Seoul Questions Own Defense Strategy as North Korea Nuclear Threat Grows
The Wall Street Journal

South Asia: Beyond crisis management
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mario E. Carranza

Improving Nuclear Security with Additive Manufacturing
Machine Design

EAST ASIA

S. Korea's JCS chief meets top U.S. commanders over N.K. threats
Yonhap News

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Lee Sun-jin discussed ways to bolster deterrence against North Korean threats with top U.S. commanders, Seoul's military said Thursday. Lee met with Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) on Wednesday (U.S. time), to discuss the allies' joint efforts to counter increasing provocations by the North, the JCS said in a statement.

Japan's defense chief stands by past statement on nuclear armament
UPI

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada is standing firm after opposition party politicians in Tokyo asked her to retract remarks on nuclear armament. In an interview with Japanese magazine Seiron in March 2011, Inada had said that in the long term Japan should look into a nuclear strategy, the Tokyo Shimbun reported Wednesday.

Seoul Questions Own Defense Strategy as North Korea Nuclear Threat Grows
The Wall Street Journal

North Korea’s nuclear push is triggering a military buildup here and adding fuel to a hot debate over South Korea’s defense strategy—including whether the country should have its own nuclear option. A few conservative politicians and a small majority in opinion polls have for years supported South Korea getting access to nuclear weapons. Lately, some prominent new voices have joined them, including Kim Jin-pyo, a four-term lawmaker from the main, left-of-center opposition party, who said Seoul needed a “balance of terror” to match North Korea’s threat.

State Dept. Official: Anti-Missile Program Key to Deterring North Korea
National Defense Magazine

The senior State Department official for East Asia said Oct. 12 that anti-missile programs —  like the planned terminal high altitude area defense (THAAD) system in South Korea — could prove successful in deterring North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran and EU striving for post-nuclear deal win-win
Asia Times

Looking at the recent arguments over the European Union’s strategy toward Iran, it is evident that the path to full normalization of relations between Brussels and Tehran — following a deal to limit Iranian nuclear activities in the summer of 2015 and the start of its enforcement in early 2016 — remains fraught with stumbling blocks.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia tests nuclear-capable ballistic missiles amid tensions with West
The Indian Express

Russian forces fired a nuclear-capable rocket from a Pacific Fleet submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan, state-run RIA Novosti reported.

SOUTH ASIA

Increasing risk to Pakistan nuclear weapons from army not terrorists: Shivshankar Menon
The Indian Express

The ‘real threat’ to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons is from rogue elements inside its military rather than from the terrorist outfits, India’s former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon has said. Noting that terrorists have easier and cheaper ways of wreaking havoc, Menon said the nuclear weapons are complex devises that are difficult to manage, use and deliver and require very high level of skills.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Weapons: ICRC statement to the United Nations, 2016
International Committee of the Red Cross

For the ICRC, debates about weapons must always consider evidence of their foreseeable human costs in light of the strict limits imposed by IHL on the use of weapons. States have a unique opportunity to make this 71st session of the UN General Assembly a turning point for progress towards prohibiting and completely eliminating the most destructive weapon ever invented – nuclear weapons.

OPINIONS

Yes, Japan Could Build Nuclear Weapons (But at What Cost?)
The National Interest

In 1991 Kenneth Waltz famously predicted that Japan would develop an independent nuclear deterrent as a result of an emerging multipolar international system. The North Korean case resurrected this argument — that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction legitimises Japan’s bargaining power for nuclear protection. If Japan did decide to go nuclear, there are five critical calculations it must keep in mind.

South Asia: Beyond crisis management
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mario E. Carranza

India and Pakistan are not condemned to live in a situation resembling a permanent Cuban Missile Crisis. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it comes in part from the international social and normative environments that affect India and Pakistan's nuclear choices. International normative pressure under US leadership is the key to solving the subcontinent's nuclear problem.

Dropping the bomb on democracy?
The Huffington Post, Susi Snyder

Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not explicitly prohibited by international law. Now, most of the world’s governments are working to change that- but a few countries haven’t yet made up their minds- despite massive public and political pressure to join the majority. Is democracy getting nuked?

SPECIAL INTEREST

Improving Nuclear Security with Additive Manufacturing
Machine Design

The Pantex Plant, a federal nuclear weapon facility in Amarillo, Texas, has successfully incorporated additive manufacturing into its tooling operations to revolutionize the way the site pursues its critical mission. In a work environment with little room for error, additive manufacturing has delivered a whole new level of precision and consistency that is helping to ensure the safety of workers, the community and the nation.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 12, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 12, 2016

TOP NEWS

The War to Build America's New Nuclear Missile Is Just Getting Started
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

What Do You Do with 34 Metric Tons of Weapons-Grade Plutonium?
Popular Science

Under New Management: Shifts in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and Nuclear Communications
38 North

Russia Says It’s Joining China to Counter U.S. Missile Defense
Bloomberg

EAST ASIA

Under New Management: Shifts in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and Nuclear Communications
38 North

With rampant speculation about North Korea conducting another nuclear test in the near future, it is important to examine not only the technical aspects of the September test, but how it was communicated to the North’s allies—China and Russia. As such, it appears that key North Korean officials were dispatched just days before the test, who seem to have provided advance warning to Beijing and Moscow.

Nuclear-powered subs 'helpful' in deterring North Korea threat, Seoul says
UPI

North Korea's missile threats are prompting more South Korean officials to consider the deployment of nuclear-powered submarines. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Um Hyun-seong told South Korean lawmakers on Tuesday adding nuclear submarines to Seoul's naval fleet would be "helpful in a number of aspects," Yonhap reported.

White House sending THAAD to South Korea as 'soon as feasible'
IHS Jane’s 360

The US military is to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) counter missile battery to the Republic of Korea (RoK) as quick as possible, the White House said on 10 October in response to an official protest.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Suspends Nuclear Disposal Deals With US in Fallout Over Syria
Voice of America

Russia's parliament is suspending an agreement with the United States for converting weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants. If implemented, the deal would have seen enough plutonium for 17,000 nuclear weapons converted into fuel for peaceful energy use. Russia also ended a uranium research pact with the U.S. Department of Energy on studying the conversion of six Russian nuclear reactors from highly enriched uranium, to less dangerous low enriched uranium.

Russia Says It’s Joining China to Counter U.S. Missile Defense
Bloomberg

Russia said it’s working with China to counter U.S. plans to expand its missile-defense network, which the two nations see as targeting their military assets. The upgrades aim to give Washington the ability to launch a nuclear strike “with impunity,” Lieutenant General Viktor Poznikhir of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff said Tuesday at a security forum in Xiangshan, China, according to a transcript of his speech posted on the Defense Ministry’s website.

SOUTH ASIA

Nuclear proliferation linkages have Pakistan fingerprints: India at UN
The Indian Express

Hitting out at Pakistan, India has said nuclear proliferation linkages active today have clear ‘Pakistan fingerprints’ and an ‘unbridled’ expansion of fissile material under the nexus between state and non-state actors constitutes the biggest threat to peace.

OPINIONS

For no-first-use, universality or nothing
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Raymund Jose G. Quilop

In the current international system, universal no-first-use declarations are all but impossible. Why would every state that develops nuclear weapons—devoting precious resources to a weapons program instead of to other important priorities—declare that it will never use nuclear weapons first, no matter the circumstances?

Obama Ignores Our Nuclear Ghosts
U.S. News & World Report, Lamont Colucci

Halloween is on the horizon, and the ghost of nuclear weapons rises from the autumn earth to bedevil the American election. The strategic ambiguity created by the Obama years has diminished deterrence and therefore international peace. The American strategic doctrine of deter, assure, dissuade, defeat is the only rational and moral policy that not only benefits the United States, but many of our beleaguered allies as well.

The War to Build America's New Nuclear Missile Is Just Getting Started
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

Defense contractors are starting to submit their bids to build a new replacement intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to replace the long-serving Minuteman III under a program called the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). The U.S. Air Force had released a request for proposals to replace its 1960s-era ICBMs earlier in July. But the program won’t be cheap. Nonetheless, there is no question that the United States will need to replace the Minuteman III.

The 40 Year Nuclear Procurement Holiday
RealClearDefense, Peter Huessy

Critics complain that Russian systems can’t possibly be all that dangerous relative to the United States. Russia’s warheads, missiles, and submarines are significantly unsafe, in many cases relying on liquid propelled rockets which are difficult and expensive to maintain. The Russians do, however, think numbers matter. Without adequate numbers to suppress Russian defenses and cover key targets, the U.S. will not have the secure retaliatory capability needed for deterrence.

Nuclear-armed North Korea presents hard choices for Obama’s successor
The Japan Times, Alastair Wanklyn

Beijing has repeatedly urged Washington to lower tensions but has seen little change in U.S. actions. A new approach might be to get North Korea to cap and then gradually eliminate its nuclear weapons in return for economic assistance and the normalization of relations with the U.S., regional affairs analyst Niv Farago of South Korea’s Sogang University wrote in a report last month.

Japan’s nuclear insurance against North Korea
East Asia Forum, Nidhi Prasad

The political cost of going nuclear has become more complex in the 21st century. Japan has looked towards strengthening its insurance policies such as dependence on multilateral regimes and emphasis on US extension of its deterrent when dealing with nuclear threats. Japan’s nuclear insurance against North Korea lies in the strategic assurance of the US nuclear umbrella and the multilateral regimes currently in place.

SPECIAL INTEREST

What Do You Do with 34 Metric Tons of Weapons-Grade Plutonium?
Popular Science

Neither Russia nor the U.S. has been quick to dispose of their excess plutonium. (It's extremely difficult to do). But with Russia now in essence putting its stockpile back on the table in its geopolitical game of Risk, many questions arise. Namely, what is this stuff? And how the heck do we get rid of it?

The Pentagon Wants to Use Bitcoin Technology to Protect Nuclear Weapons
Popular Mechanics

Hackers couldn't let any nukes fly on their own, but they might be able to interfere with military communications in ways that wouldn't be noticeable—until a crisis arises. Blockchain would hopefully guard against this doomsday hypothetical from becoming a reality.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 11, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 11, 2016

TOP NEWS

Russia deploys nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad as tensions between US and Russia become 'more dangerous than Cold War'
The Telegraph

The United States and Russia Are Prepping for Doomsday
Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Lewis

North Korea’s Sohae Launch Facility: Activity at Launch Pad and Rocket Engine Test Area
38 North

What India, Pakistan Can Learn From the Marshall Islands’ Nuclear Disarmament Crusade
The Wire, Harisankar Sathyapalan

Why some dictators are more likely to get nuclear weapons. 5 lessons from Iraq and Libya.
The Washington Post, Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer

EAST ASIA

North Korea’s Sohae Launch Facility: Activity at Launch Pad and Rocket Engine Test Area
38 North

Commercial satellite imagery from October 1 supports recent reports of increased activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, including crates on the launch pad next to the gantry tower and vehicles near the fuel and oxidizer buildings. However, since both the gantry tower and the assembly structures on the launch pad are covered, it is unclear whether this activity is related to launch preparations or other operations. Additionally, work continues at the vertical engine test stand.

US think tank warns North Korea could develop up to 100 nuclear weapons by 2020
International Business Times

A US-based think tank has estimated that given the pace of North Korea's nuclear programme, Pyongyang could have enough fissile material to develop up to 100 nuclear weapons by 2020. The organisation has warned ahead of the US presidential elections that the new administration would face major challenges from the East Asian country, highlighting the need to review its policy on Pyongyang.

U.S. envoy says Washington to use all means to pressure North Korea
Reuters

Washington will use all available means outside the U.N. Security Council to isolate North Korea over its nuclear weapons program and counter its growing threat to world order, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Sunday. The United States will also use its military as a deterrent to the North's threat, Ambassador Samantha Power told a news conference in Seoul, after visiting the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) border between the rival Koreas.

North Korean Flood Victims Caught in Nuclear Standoff
Voice of America

Winter is coming in North Korea, where nearly 600,000 people are in need of urgent assistance due to recent severe flooding. A typhoon that hit at the end of September inundated villages near the Tumen River, along the border areas with China and Russia. Raising money for humanitarian assistance in North Korea has become an increasingly difficult task given the global condemnation of its nuclear weapons program.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran nuclear deal still fragile, U.N. atomic chief says: DPA
Reuters

The implementation of a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers is still fragile, the head of the U.N. agency that polices Iran's side of the deal has said, warning that small mistakes could have grave consequences.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia deploys nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad as tensions between US and Russia become 'more dangerous than Cold War'
The Telegraph

Moscow has moved nuclear-capable missiles near the Polish border, its defence ministry confirmed on Saturday, as Germany's foreign minister warned that tensions between Russia and the West were "more dangerous" today than during the Cold War.

Russia Withdraws From US Nuclear Cooperation
Eurasia Review

The Russian government has “suspended” a 2013 agreement with the USA on nuclear energy research and development and “terminated” another, signed in 2010, on cooperation in the conversion of Russian research reactors to low-enriched uranium fuel. The decisions were issued in separate documents signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and published on the government’s website on 5 October.

SOUTH ASIA

PM Narendra Modi may use economic card with China to negotiate entry into NSG
The Indian Express

China has now offered an olive branch to India in the name of open discussions for India’s bid to gain membership into the coveted 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group. Chinese officials recently indicated that they are willing to explore all possibilities for India’s entry into NSG that allows its members to trade in civil nuclear technology.

Pakistan questions India’s silence over bilateral nuclear test ban arrangement
The Nation

At the UN, Pakistan questioned India’s silence to the proposal made by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his address to the General Assembly in September for a bilateral nuclear test ban arrangement between India and Pakistan, says a press release issued on Tuesday.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Kazakh President Establishes Prize for Nuclear Weapons Free World and Global Security, Chooses King Abdullah II of Jordan as First Laureate
The Astana Times

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced today the establishment of a new prize, the Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear Weapon Free World and Global Security, as well as his decision to award the first prize to King Abdullah II of Jordan for his contributions in this domain.

OPINIONS

The United States and Russia Are Prepping for Doomsday
Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Lewis

Once upon a time, there was a collective belief among American and Russian scientists that they could do something about the shared danger posed by nuclear weapons. They may have joked about being “doomed to cooperate,” but it was a wry humor. These men and women who were charged with building the weapons to destroy one another still believed that we could work together to make the world a safer place. We’ve lost that sense.

Why some dictators are more likely to get nuclear weapons. 5 lessons from Iraq and Libya.
The Washington Post, Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer

Many dictators have sought nuclear weapons; some succeeded, some came close, others failed spectacularly. A careful examination of two such regimes illuminates why. Today, many dictatorships are becoming personalist, in which leaders dominate decision-making at the expense of formal state institutions. According to recent research, personalist dictators are more likely to pursue nuclear weapons and are less likely to get them, but they can become increasingly dangerous and unrestrained if they succeed.

What India, Pakistan Can Learn From the Marshall Islands’ Nuclear Disarmament Crusade
The Wire, Harisankar Sathyapalan

From the standpoint of international law, the principal legal organ of the UN was perhaps ill-equipped to make a binding ruling against the nuclear powers of the world, either individually or collectively. However, the Marshall Islands’ endeavour definitely calls for the international community to resuscitate their obligations to actively engage in the non-proliferation and to ease off the existing nuclear programs.

North Korea Targets U.S. and South Korea, not “International Community,” with Nukes
The Huffington Post, Doug Bandow

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un continues his confrontational course. After conducting his nation’s fifth nuclear test, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter declared it to be a “direct challenge to the entire international community.” But this is complete hooey, to use a technical term. It’s about time for the “international community” to stop acting as if there really is an international community. And especially that any of the many bad guys around the globe pay the slightest attention to that mythical body.

Nuke or No Nuke? Japan’s Long Dilemma
The Diplomat, Yo-Jung Chen

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has committed an utter geopolitical gaffe by suggesting that Japan and South Korea should be allowed to become nuclear-armed, thus forcing the spotlight on a topic that Japan had hoped nobody would notice.

Iceland Debates Whether It Hosted Nuclear Weapons
Eurasia Review, Lowana Veal

Recently released declassified documents by Washington have unleashed a debate whether the U.S. ever deployed nuclear weapons in Iceland, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since its foundation in 1949. Experts are of the view that though the U.S. claims to have never deployed nuclear weapons in a country at a strategic juncture of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, it does not mean that it had no nuclear plans for Iceland.

THAAD and the Sino-South Korean Strategic Dilemma
The Diplomat, Benjamin Lee

Much of the debate over South Korea’s deployment of the THAAD has been over minor details in the THAAD system. The real issue at stake, however, is China and South Korea’s strategic dilemma in Northeast Asia that is likely to persist and even intensify in the next few years. China will have to carefully balance the prospects of a more unstable and antagonistic North Korea and stronger U.S. security arrangements directed against China.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Even the US military is looking at blockchain technology—to secure nuclear weapons
Quartz

Blockchain technology has been slow to gain adoption in non-financial contexts, but it could turn out to have invaluable military applications. DARPA, the storied research unit of the US Department of Defense, is currently funding efforts to find out if blockchains could help secure highly sensitive data, with potential applications for everything from nuclear weapons to military satellites.

Nuclear-armed drones? They may be closer than you think
Asia Times

Most unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) carry out routine reconnaissance. They also act as decoys, serve as communication relays, and even deliver light cargoes. But a growing number of drones are armed, such as the US Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, which are used mostly in tactical situations, such as targeting terrorists or insurgents. Now military strategists are considering acquiring longer-range drones, especially those capable of carrying out nuclear missions.

What if Hitler Developed Nuclear Weapons During World War II?
The National Interest

The Nazis haphazardly pursued the idea of building an atomic bomb, with an eye toward eventual conflict with the United States. However, the immediate demands of war, combined with Western Allied sabotage, undercut the program, leaving it at the basic research stage by war’s end. But what if the Germans had devoted more attention to the program, or had lucked into more substantial breakthroughs?  What could the Nazis have done with an atomic weapon?

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 7, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 7, 2016

TOP NEWS

How to Rethink the US’ Failing North Korea Strategy
The Diplomat, Timothy Stafford

The continuing danger of Semipalatinsk
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Magdalena Stawkowski

William Perry to educate public on nuclear weapons, threats in new Stanford online course
Stanford University

Going nuclear
The Economist

North Korea - A Crisis for the Next President
RealClearDefense, Rebecca Heinrichs

EAST ASIA

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Activity Spotted at All Three Portals
38 North

Recent commercial satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from October 1 indicates continuing activity at all three tunnel complexes that could be used to conduct a nuclear test. Activity at the North Portal where the September 9 test occurred, may be for a number of purposes including collecting post-test data, sealing the portal or preparing for another test. There is also increased activity near one of the two entrances at the South Portal where excavation stopped in 2012.

U.S. elections are the reason behind uptick in North Korea nuclear tests: experts
The Japan Times

Over the past 10 months, the young ruler of North Korea has ordered an unprecedented torrent of weapons tests, forging an increasingly sophisticated arsenal. But why the rush now, after so many years of a North Korean weapons program that progressed relatively slowly? The reasons all revolve around the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8, according to a growing number of experts who study North Korea.

U.S. Amb. to U.N. to reaffirm security commitment during S. Korea visit
Yonhap News

The United States' Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power will reaffirm America's firm defense commitment to South Korea during her visit to the Northeast Asian country this week, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul said Friday. Power will fly arrive Seoul from Japan on Saturday on the second leg of her two-nation visit slated from Thursday to Tuesday, a rare trip as a U.N. envoy to the allied countries.

MIDDLE EAST

Post-sanctions Iran: Has the performance matched the promises?
The Interpreter

Last week, Australia became the latest country to send a trade delegation to the newest land of economic opportunity: Iran. With the lifting of most sanctions and a largely untapped market of more than 77 million people, foreign businesses eyed Iran with anticipation. But major obstacles to doing business remain. Not all sanctions have been lifted and Iran's opaque internal market and lack of regulation prevented the rush back into the country that some anticipated.

SOUTH ASIA

Stand united against nuclear threat: India to international community
The Indian Express

India has said there is need for the international community to stand united against those whose persistent violations increase nuclear threat and proliferation risks and exercise “utmost vigilance” against terrorist groups gaining access to weapons of mass destruction. “India’s support for global, non-discriminatory, verifiable nuclear disarmament in a time-bound manner remains firm,” said Ambassador D B Venkatesh Varma, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nuclear-Weapon States Justify Deterrence Policies amid Calls for Transferring Bloated Defence Budgets to Development Efforts, First Committee Hears
The United Nations

During the general debate, a number of speakers shared views of nuclear deterrence policies.  India’s representative said that as a responsible nuclear-weapon State, his country’s national doctrine continued to emphasize a policy of credible minimum deterrence and of non-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon States.  As such, India remained committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on testing.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

The US Air Force Just Dropped Two Fake Nukes
Defense One

A pair of U.S. Air Force B-2 bombers dropped two 700-pound faux nuclear bombs in the middle of the Nevada desert within the past few days. Now the Pentagon wants to tell you about it. Conducted “earlier this month,” according to an Oct. 6 press release, the test involved two dummy variants of the B61, a nuclear bomb that has been in the U.S. arsenal since the 1960s. One was an “earth penetrator” made to strike underground targets, the other a tactical version of the B61. Neither carried an actual warhead.

Side Event on U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy and Programs
U.S. Department of State

President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons is not one easily reached. At the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, President Obama spoke of creating the security conditions so that future generations will be spared the horrors of violent conflict and atomic warfare. To achieve this, it is essential we take into account the broader security environment, the linkage between arms control and deterrence, and the need to effectively verify future treaties and agreements.

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
The White House

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts: Dr. L. Wayne Brasure, Appointee for Director for Domestic Nuclear Detection, Department of Homeland Security. Dr. L. Wayne Brasure is the Deputy Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a position he has held since 2014.  Since May 2016, Dr. Brasure has served concurrently as the Acting Director of DNDO. 

OPINIONS

How to Rethink the US’ Failing North Korea Strategy
The Diplomat, Timothy Stafford

While the Nunn-Mullen task force flirts with abandoning orthodoxy, it maintains too much of the status quo to offer a basis for arresting North Korea’s rapid strides. The next administration should adopt some of its more useful insights, yet it should set out a bolder diplomatic strategy than the one provided by the CFR task force, in recognition of the fact that current policy is failing.

North Korea - A Crisis for the Next President
RealClearDefense, Rebecca Heinrichs

Given the threat development, the next administration’s MDA budget must start at much higher figures, and to meet current combatant commander’s requirements, it means roughly doubling current annual projections. Even if the next President directed this level of funding increases for missile defense, it would account for just over 2% of today’s Pentagon budget. This is money well spent. It would significantly contribute to dissuading North Korea from launching a missile at the United States or our allies, and, in what is sure to be a turbulent future with North Korea, it will protect innocent lives should deterrence fail.

Going nuclear
The Economist

Russia’s complaint that it has observed the PMDA more diligently than America does have some substance. Dogged by delays and rising costs in building a special facility to dispose of its plutonium, Mr Obama has opted for a cheaper method of treatment than the one specified in the agreement. Russia has declined to consent to this, putting America in technical breach of the deal. To keep the spirit of the agreement, America could press ahead with getting rid of its excess plutonium.

No Alternative in Sight
The Cipher Brief, Keith B. Payne

The preference for effective deterrence has been shared by Democratic and Republican presidents for seven decades and is a main reason why they have consistently rejected a NFU policy. Until highly-lethal, non-nuclear threats against us and our allies no longer exist or can be addressed absent nuclear deterrence, the U.S. must sustain its policy of nuclear ambiguity.  Unfortunately, we do not live in a benign world, and despite idealistic yearnings, no alternative to nuclear deterrence is in sight.

The continuing danger of Semipalatinsk
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Magdalena Stawkowski

Praise of the nation’s leadership for making Kazakhstan a non-nuclear state has come at a price: It has overshadowed and limited conversations about lack of oversight of Semipalatinsk and the toxic mess that the Soviet nuclear testing program left behind and continues to endanger thousands of citizens living in the area. Given this unresolved and underreported situation at Semipalatinsk, the international community should offer financial help and expertise for the cleanup of Semipalatinsk, or at the very least help with cordoning off the most contaminated areas of the site.

Nuclear No First Use: Ambiguity vs. Clarity
The Cipher Brief, Fritz Lodge

As North Korea completes its fifth nuclear test, China continues to push territorial claims in the South and East China Seas, and Russian President Vladimir Putin walks away from a plutonium-reduction agreement with the U.S. amidst soured ties over Syria, President Obama now seems more inclined to heed warnings from Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz and step back from a NFU pledge.

Pathways to a catastrophic India-Pakistan nuclear war
The Japan Times, Ramesh Thakur

Because the costs of a nuclear war would be catastrophic, it is inconceivable that either government would pursue a deliberate strategy of courting a direct military confrontation. Yet arms control analysts have long identified the subcontinent as among the likeliest of global nuclear flashpoints. How then might they end up fighting a nuclear war? There are several pathways through miscalculations, rogue launches, misinformation and jihadi provocations.

SPECIAL INTEREST

William Perry to educate public on nuclear weapons, threats in new Stanford online course
Stanford University

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Professor Emeritus William J. Perry has long been educating people about the threat of nuclear disaster. His latest effort is a free online course that includes some of the world’s foremost nuclear experts.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 6, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 6, 2016

TOP NEWS

The Impact of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Fact-Checking the Fact Checkers
Arms Control Association

Protect Nuclear Nonproliferation Norms
U.S. News & World Report

Dumping America's ICBMs Would Be a Big Mistake
The National Interest, Tom Nichols, Dana Struckman

Terrorism fallout shelters: Is it time to resurrect nuclear civil defense?
AP, Timothy Jorgensen

Nuclear Weapons Tests Can Help Fight Elephant Poaching
National Geographic

EAST ASIA

North Korea anniversaries could bring more provocations
UPI

North Korea may be preparing another provocation around the time of two major anniversaries, according to South Korean press reports. The country, which conducted its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9 after test-firing dozens of ballistic missiles in 2016, is expected to observe the 10th anniversary of its first nuclear test on Sunday. Then on Monday, North Korea is scheduled to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party.

Calls grow for surgical strike on N.K. nuke facilities
Yonhap News

Calls for "surgical strikes" against North Korean nuclear facilities have gained ground recently along with calls for more stringent sanctions, despite many observers expressing skepticism that neither South Korea and the United States have the political will to pursue such a military option.

North Korean scientists accepted at Russian nuclear institute: expert
The Japan Times

North Korean scientists were accepted as recently as last year into an international nuclear research institute in Russia, a former Japanese member of a U.N. sanctions committee panel has said.

S. Korea, EU agree to consider all possible means to end N. Korea nuclear program
The Korea Times

South Korea and the European Union agreed Wednesday to mobilize all possible means to help end North Korea's nuclear program, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and EU's Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini reached the agreement when they held a bilateral meeting in Brussels on the sidelines of the conference of donor countries for Afghanistan, the ministry said.

Questions linger over defense against NK nukes
The Korea Herald

Despite the envisioned deployment of an anti-missile system here, doubts linger over South Korea’s defense capacity in the face of ever-growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. Defense Minister Han Min-koo touts that the military’s own three-legged defense system, along with the upcoming US-provided missile shield, would be able to neutralize the North’s armed capacity, but not all seem convinced.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran-Russia Relations Post Nuclear Deal
Forbes

Russia has also sought to advance its nuclear cooperation with Iran as well as its defense cooperation with Iran, evidence to which is the agreed sale of S-300 sophisticated air defense system to Iran. In April, 2016, Russia provided the parts of the S-300 system to Tehran. As I have argued earlier, that Iran has a budget of US$ 40 billion for modernizing its army and hence, Russia could find this market lucrative. This strengthening of relations has come about due to a growing convergence in interests over the crisis in Syria.

The Impact of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Fact-Checking the Fact Checkers
Arms Control Association

No one has an absolute lock on the facts and there are certainly different ways to characterize the impact of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which is a complex, multi-year agreement. And it can certainly be difficult to accurately summarize the nonproliferation impacts of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in a few short words. But it is essential that the fact-checkers pay closer attention to the details of the 2015 Iran deal so they are not themselves misinforming or misleading their readers about this pivotal international security issue.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Fallon says £41bn new nuclear submarine programme 'cannot be late’
The Telegraph

The massive programme to build replacement nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy “cannot and must not slip” the Defence Secretary warned as he pushed the button to start work on the massive £41bn project. Michael Fallon, speaking as he started the machine to cut the first steel for the 17,000-tonne “Successor” class of nuclear missile submarines at BAE Systems’ plant in Barrow-in-Furness, said he was “throwing down the gauntlet” to industry.

Union boss says French nuclear submarines contract betrays British steelworkers
Herald Scotland

A union boss has said British steelworkers have been betrayed as it was reported that a foreign firm will supply metal for the new fleet of nuclear submarines. Construction work is poised to begin on the Successor submarines that carry the controversial Trident missiles.

SOUTH ASIA

Marshall islands nuclear case rejection vindication of Pakistan stance: Foreign Office
The Indian Express

Pakistan Wednesday said the rejection of a landmark case brought against it by the Marshall Islands by the UN’s highest court was a vindication of its stance that its nuclear programme was for national defence and security. The 16-judge bench at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Wednesday dismissed the cases against India, Pakistan and Britain for allegedly failing to halt the nuclear arms race.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Protect Nuclear Nonproliferation Norms
U.S. News & World Report

Nuclear weapons continue to pose a significant threat to the United States and its allies. Strong and viable global nuclear nonproliferation norms should remain a cornerstone of U.S. security now and into the future. Friends and allies must continue to have confidence in the U.S. strategic nuclear guarantees. Failure to do so could result in a new arms race with the global proliferation of nuclear weapons capabilities and an increased likelihood of a nuclear conflict.

OPINIONS

Dumping America's ICBMs Would Be a Big Mistake
The National Interest, Tom Nichols, Dana Struckman

The current Minuteman force can serve us reliably until at least 2025, and perhaps beyond. We should explore the opportunity for perhaps a smaller, equally dispersed ICBM force, thus realizing significant savings while creating a more stable deterrent and pressing forward toward the ultimate goal that, ideally, would be shared by everyone—to move toward a future in which the major powers no longer rely on nuclear forces for their security. A smaller, but highly effective land-based ICBM force, at least for the next twenty years, can make a serious contribution to that effort.

Terrorism fallout shelters: Is it time to resurrect nuclear civil defense?
AP, Timothy Jorgensen

Is it time to resurrect nuclear civil defense in response to the increasing threat from terrorists? Although experts think it unlikely that terrorists are currently technologically sophisticated enough to make their own nuclear weapons from scratch, even if they had access to enriched uranium (the required fuel), there is no question that they could steal one from some small (or large) nuclear nation, particularly during the chaotic aftermath of a coup.

Why Russia's withdrawal from the plutonium deal is worrying
Russia Direct, Andrei Zolotov

On Oct. 3 Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to suspend the implementation of the Plutonium Disposition and Management Agreement (PDMA) between Russia and the U.S. citing unfriendly actions by the United States and conditioning the program on a whole list of Russian grievances regarding U.S. policies outside of the nuclear field. This was a dramatic step marking a new low in Russia-U.S. relations. According to experts, this decision will have far-reaching consequences if the trend to dismantle the system of bilateral treaties in the security field persists.

NFU is Good Nuclear Policy
The Cipher Brief, Ramesh Thakur

At virtually no additional risk to the national security of the U.S. or European and Pacific allies, an NFU policy could help initiate a much-needed nuclear restraint regime that hardens the recently blurring boundary between conventional and nuclear weapons, deepens the illegitimacy of first use, reinforces the norm of non-use, and devalues the currency of nuclear weapons. In addition to the reinforced normative barrier, NFU would permit the dismantlement of vulnerable land-based warheads.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Nuclear Weapons Tests Can Help Fight Elephant Poaching
National Geographic

Scientists are using all kinds of forensic technologies to fight wildlife crime, including DNA testing. One of the newer ones is the use of carbon dating to determine how long ago an elephant was killed. Thure Cerling, of the University of Utah, explained how it works during a side event at the conference. Radioactive carbon-14 was released into the atmosphere during the open-air nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s and ‘60s and was taken up by plants all around the globe and remains, albeit at lower and lower levels, in plants today. When elephants eat plant matter, the isotope enters their teeth and tusks.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 5, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 5, 2016

TOP NEWS

UN court throws out Marshall Islands' nuclear weapons case
BBC

NNSA Head: ‘All Bets Are Off’ for Warhead Modernization Under Sequestration
Defense News

The Case for No-First-Use
The Cipher Brief, Kingston Reif

Washington's U.N. envoy to visit S. Korea to discuss N.K. nuclear issue
Yonhap News

Deterring Nuclear Terrorism
Wilson Center, Robert Litwak

EAST ASIA

S. Korea weighing options to bolster deterrence against N.K.
Yonhap News

Following North Korea's fifth nuclear test last month, South Korea is weighing various ways to shore up its deterrence capabilities with experts floating various ideas ranging from acquiring or sharing nukes with the United States and further building up its own conventional military strengths. Standing out among the options being discussed is South Korea sharing the control of nuclear weapons with the United States.

N. Korea vows retaliatory nuke strikes against U.S. threat
The Korea Times

North Korea is ready to mercilessly make retaliatory nuclear strikes against the United States if it seeks to stage preemptive attacks on the North, the country's state media said Wednesday.

Washington's U.N. envoy to visit S. Korea to discuss N.K. nuclear issue
Yonhap News

The U.S. envoy to the United Nations will visit South Korea this week to discuss countermeasures against North Korea's latest nuclear provocation, a government source said Wednesday. Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., will arrive in South Korea on Saturday and stay here for four days, according to the source.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Nato jets scrambled as Russian bombers fly south
BBC

Two Russian Blackjack bombers were intercepted by fighter jets from four European countries as they flew from the direction of Norway to northern Spain and back, it has emerged. The TU-160 Blackjacks are supersonic strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

SNP accuses Michael Fallon of 'weapons obsession' as he prepares to cut steel on Trident replacement
Herald Scotland

The SNP have accused the Defence Secretary of being obsessed with weapons of mass destruction after he announced plans to personally cut steel on the first of a new generation of nuclear submarines. Sir Michael Fallon will carry out the symbolic act today in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, where the vessels will be built, kicking off the process to replace Trident.

SOUTH ASIA

The Essence Of NSG Elitism
Eurasia Review

India’s aspirations clearly go beyond the peaceful use of nuclear energy and are more strategic in nature. While enhancing its own regional and global standing on one hand, the NSG membership if given to India will allow it to veto Pakistan’s inclusion in the group. Hence the argument that both Pakistan and India should be given simultaneous membership holds a lot of ground.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN court throws out Marshall Islands' nuclear weapons case
BBC

A UN court has thrown out cases brought by the Marshall Islands against the UK and others for allegedly failing to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Marshall Islanders have been at the forefront of anti-nuclear activism after ecologically-devastating American bomb tests at their Bikini Atoll.

Talks Must Advance on Worldwide Nuclear-weapon Ban amid Disarmament Regime’s Credibility Crisis, Speakers Urge, as First Committee Debate Continues
The United Nations

Speakers in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) called for more robust efforts to revive stalled disarmament processes, with some discussing whether the General Assembly should launch negotiations that would lead to a worldwide nuclear-weapon ban.

NNSA and Bulgaria partner to complete nuclear detection architecture
National Nuclear Security Administration

Representatives of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Bulgarian government this week celebrated the completion of Bulgaria’s nuclear detection architecture, which will enhance efforts to prevent smuggling of dangerous radioactive materials across its borders.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

NNSA Head: ‘All Bets Are Off’ for Warhead Modernization Under Sequestration
Defense News

If Congress does not ease budget caps for the coming fiscal year, it will be almost impossible to keep a quintet of vital nuclear warhead modernization program on track, warns the head of the National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA).

BAE, Boeing receive Trident missile contracts
UPI

BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services and Boeing have each received U.S. Navy contracts for work on the Trident II missile system. BAE's $56 million, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee deal will provide systems engineering and integration services in support of the weapon system, as well as the SSGN attack weapon system and nuclear weapon surety.

Army Missile Defense Head: Global Networking Crucial
Defense News

The missile defense system of 2040 will be networked across nations and feature cyber and directed-energy components – at least if a top US Army general has his way. Asked by Defense News to describe missile defense 25 years from now, Lt. Gen. David Mann, the head of US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/ Army Forces Strategic Command, put an emphasis on a network that is joint both across the Pentagon services and foreign partners.

OPINIONS

The Case for No-First-Use
The Cipher Brief, Kingston Reif

A no-first-use declaration would be highly credible in the current and foreseeable strategic environment, and over time, it could be made more credible by adjusting U.S. operational practices to clearly reflect the new nuclear declaratory policy, such as reducing the stringent readiness requirements of U.S. nuclear forces. The continued U.S. maintenance of a nuclear use option, which it is almost certain never to execute, is self-defeating and counterproductive.

Deterring Nuclear Terrorism
Wilson Center, Robert Litwak

Nuclear terrorism encompasses a spectrum of threats--the detonation of a nuclear bomb, an attack on a civil nuclear installation, or the dispersal of radiological materials through a "dirty bomb." Each differs in probability and consequence. But the strategies adopted to counter these variegated threats share a fundamental characteristic. Their focus is on state actors, who through their intent or laxness, would be the source countries of the weapons, nuclear technology, and radioactive materials that terrorists would either use to perpetrate attacks or target. This underscores the leitmotif of this monograph.

How the Nuclear Deal Enriches Iran’s IRGC
Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Emanuele Ottolenghi, Saeed Ghasseminejad, Annie Fixler, Amir Toumaj

This report demonstrates the Revolutionary Guard’s pervasive influence in the Iranian economy and provides an accounting of the IRGC’s nefarious activities. Without a sober understanding of how the IRGC will exploit economic dividends generated by the JCPOA, policymakers and the private sector cannot establish appropriate counter-measures to prevent the enrichment of the most dangerous elements of the Iranian regime.

The Rise of Hypersonic Weapons
The Cipher Brief, Will Edwards, Luke Penn-Hall

Russia sees nuclear armed hypersonic weapons as a way to stay ahead of U.S. missile defense systems. However, Russia is likely to first deploy conventional cruise missile type hypersonic weapons on Russian naval vessels as a way to strike other ships or land targets. The missile the Russians envision being used in that capacity, known as the Brahmos-II, is currently in joint development with India.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Hibakusha visit U.K. Parliament, call for nuclear-free world
The Japan Times

A group of atomic bomb survivors on Tuesday shared their personal experiences of suffering and appealed for the abolition of nuclear weapons at an event hosted in the House of Lords in London.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 4, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 4, 2016

TOP NEWS

U.S. Nuclear Policy - The Arrogance of Ideology
RealClearDefense, Franklin Miller, Keith Payne

South Asian diplomacy must rest on trust
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Governor says S. Korea should prepare for nuclear armament
Yonhap News

Contract Signals Start of Manufacturing Phase for British Nuclear Sub
Defense News

EAST ASIA

Governor says S. Korea should prepare for nuclear armament
Yonhap News

A South Korean governor who is believed to be a potential presidential candidate for the ruling party has said the country should prepare for nuclear armament in the face of North Korea's growing nuclear threats.

North Korean missile advances expose Japan in two-decade arms race: sources
Reuters

Successful rocket tests have propelled North Korea ahead in a two-decade long arms race with Japan, leaving Tokyo unsure it could fend off a missile strike by the Pyongyang regime without U.S. help, military sources told Reuters.

U.S. experts call for direct talks with N. Korea to negotiate nuclear freeze
Yonhap News

The United States should hold direct talks with North Korea to negotiate a freeze on the communist nation's nuclear and missile programs first before seeking to dismantle them, U.S. experts said Sunday. Jane Harman, a former congresswoman who now heads the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, made the case in a joint article with Wilson's Korea expert James Person, arguing that sanctions cannot force the North to end its nuclear program.

Radar tracking North Korea missiles failed 21 times in 3 years, Seoul says
UPI

Missile-defense radar in South Korea malfunctioned 21 times in three years, raising concerns about military oversight in the face of growing North Korea provocations. From 2013 to June 2016, the Israel-made Green Pine radar failed because of an irregularity in its dew control system, according to documents from the South Korean military sent to South Korean ruling party lawmaker Lee Chul-gyu.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Contract Signals Start of Manufacturing Phase for British Nuclear Sub
Defense News

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is due to visit the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness, northern England, on Oct. 5 to signal the start of the construction phase of the program with the largely symbolic exercise of cutting the first steel on the first of four nuclear submarines set to be built over the next two decades to replace the existing Vanguard-class boats.

SOUTH ASIA

South Asian diplomacy must rest on trust
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Risk reduction centers, the nuclear taboo, and negotiated arms control treaties are rightly celebrated as Cold War successes. But they will not necessarily reduce the nuclear danger between India and Pakistan. In South Asia, the goal should be mutually assured stability, and not much will be achieved unless the two governments can exhibit enough trust to address common threats to strategic stability.

OPINIONS

U.S. Nuclear Policy - The Arrogance of Ideology
RealClearDefense, Franklin Miller, Keith Payne

In a recent September 28 article appearing in Politico, Blair repeats his many earlier calls for President Obama to endorse a US no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy. Such a step may sound progressive; but in reality, it would likely weaken America’s ability to deter massive military attacks by Russian, Chinese, and North Korean forces. It would undercut Allies’ confidence in our extended deterrent, the US “nuclear umbrella,” potentially prompting the development of their own nuclear weapons programs.

A No-First-Use Policy Would Make the United States Less Secure
E-International Relations, Michaela Dodge, Adam Lowther

The benefits of a no-first-use policy are unlikely to materialize as advocates suggest. Rather, the United States is much more likely to see a number of negative consequences. The old adage “peace through strength” is certainly applicable to nuclear weapons policy. No-first-use is antithetical to such a view and only works to undermine the credibility of American deterrence.

My Reality Check About Nuclear Weapons
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Hazel Correa

In my time within this community, I’ve realized that non-profit organizations like ours work dedicatedly to educate the public and policymakers about pressing issues of national security and nuclear non-proliferation. Yet there’s still a world of people (I certainly was among them) who remain oblivious to a threat that is so alarming that it could keep any sane person up at night. The threat I’m referring to is the risk of nuclear catastrophe, which experts believe is greater today than at the height of the Cold War.

A Dozen Lessons We Should Take From North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Test
The Huffington Post, Doug Bandow

Watching the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea offers a sense of endless déjà vu. The leaders occasionally change, but the family remains the same. So does the confrontational approach to the world. And the suffering of the North Korean people. Yet policymakers in America are notoriously blind to the implications of their many failures. “To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” intoned President Barack Obama. But accept it or not, the North is a nuclear state. Some lessons should be learned from Pyongyang’s latest challenge.

Russia's nuclear rhetoric: Alarming or just ridiculous?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Lucien Crowder

Anyone old enough to remember the Cold War—even its less frigid later decades—can crisply recall the strange psychological quality of those days, when sudden planetary obliteration seemed as likely as, oh, drowning in a rip tide, or getting mauled by a Doberman pinscher. It probably wouldn't happen, but it certainly could. This black psychological fog bank largely dissipated after 1989. But now Putin wants to party like it's 1983.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 3, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 3, 2016

TOP NEWS

Russia's Putin suspends plutonium cleanup accord with U.S. because of 'unfriendly' acts
Reuters

Nuclear Weapons and Terrorism: A Dangerous Mix
International Affairs Review, Jean-Bernard Latortue

Nuclear submarines construction set to start
BBC

Special Report: On Alert - "Manning" Underground Nuclear Weapons
Scout

Is North Korea Building a New Submarine?
38 North

EAST ASIA

Is North Korea Building a New Submarine?
38 North

Commercial satellite imagery strongly suggests that a naval construction program is underway at North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard, possibly to build a new submarine. While there is no direct evidence that the program is for a boat to carry the ballistic missile currently under development, the presence of an approximately 10-meter-in-diameter circular component outside the facility’s recently renovated fabrication hall may be intended as a construction-jig or as a component for the pressure hull of a new submarine.

North Korea’s nuclear program prompts some in South to call for own deterrent
The Japan Times

North Korea’s nuclear test last month rattled South Korea so much that some politicians are calling it an inflection point, with some now arguing openly that Seoul should develop nuclear weapons. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told foreign officials that the North’s nuclear test last month, its second of the year and most powerful yet, is being viewed by many in his country as “a kind of Sept. 11 attack,” the Yonhap news agency reported Sunday, citing official sources.

IAEA condemns N. Korea's nuke program, demands concrete steps for denuclearization
The Korea Times

The U.N. nuclear watchdog has adopted a resolution, condemning North Korea's nuclear weapons program "in the strongest terms" and demanding Pyongyang take "concrete steps" toward denuclearization, the foreign ministry in Seoul said Saturday.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia's Putin suspends plutonium cleanup accord with U.S. because of 'unfriendly' acts
Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday suspended an agreement with the United States for disposal of weapons-grade plutonium because of "unfriendly" acts by Washington, the Kremlin said. A Kremlin spokesman said Putin had signed a decree suspending the 2010 agreement under which each side committed to destroy tonnes of weapons-grade material because Washington had not been implementing it and because of current tensions in relations.

Nuclear submarines construction set to start
BBC

Construction of the UK's four new nuclear submarines is to begin, after the government announced £1.3bn of new investment with defence firm BAE Systems. The "Successor" is the proposed new generation of submarines to carry the UK's nuclear deterrent. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the deal would secure thousands of highly-skilled jobs across the UK.

SOUTH ASIA

US pulls up Pakistan over nuclear threats against India
The Indian Express

US Deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at his daily news conference that nuclear-capable states have “a very clear responsibility to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities”.

Kashmir conflict: Do nuclear weapons prevent all-out war?
CNN

Nukes don't deter all conflict on the subcontinent, but they do minimize the prospects of major war. Meanwhile, non-nuclear factors give reason for hope that the region will be spared the heavy bloodshed threatened amid all the bluster of recent days.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UNSC calls against nuclear tests
The Japan Times

The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in late September urging all states to refrain from conducting any nuclear weapons tests and called for prompt global implementation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The resolution passed with a vote of 14 in favor, none against and one abstention (Egypt). That the United States took the initiative for the resolution apparently reflects President Barack Obama’s desire to establish his nuclear disarmament legacy in the face of domestic opposition.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Defense Secretary Carter wraps up tour of LANL
The Los Alamos Monitor

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wrapped up his visit to New Mexico Wednesday with a four-hour tour of the Los Alamos National Laboratory with Lab Director Charlie McMillan. One of the main stops on his tour was “Plutonium Facility 4,” the country’s only plutonium science, technology and manufacturing center. Carter observed operations in the pit casting area of the facility, where molten plutonium is molded and shaped to fit inside nuclear weapons.

OPINIONS

Nuclear Weapons and Terrorism: A Dangerous Mix
International Affairs Review, Jean-Bernard Latortue

Much of U.S.’ nuclear security and non-proliferation endeavors over the past half-century have been rightly focused on arms control treaties and agreements such as the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, which deters states from acquiring nuclear capabilities. However, nuclear security today requires a more proactive approach that must work towards or achieve: Safer nuclear facilities. Tighter border controls. Better understanding of the threat.

Go Ahead. Let Japan and South Korea Go Nuclear.
The National Interest, James Van de Velde

The Chinese government must conclude that North Korea is far more of a strategic danger to China than a unified and strategically neutral Korea under the governance of Seoul. A Japanese and South Korean nuclear-weapons program would bring a geostrategic situation clearly less favorable to China. At present, politicians in the West are too timid to recommend such a step, and cling to shallow arguments that the world should be rid of nuclear weapons—so that only rogue states will have them.

Five myths about nuclear weapons
The Washington Post, Dan Zak

Yes, the number of countries with nuclear arsenals has grown over time, but the volume of warheads has been slashed over the past 30 years through intense negotiation by diplomats and hard work by nonproliferation experts. There are around 15,000 nuclear warheads on the planet right now, down from a historical peak of 60,000-plus in the mid-1980s. Material for nuclear weapons has been eliminated from 30 countries.

North Korea's nuclear escapades keep trade link to China on hold
Nikkei Asian Review, Daisuke Harashima

The prospect of a renewal of brisk trade between China and North Korea has dimmed as Pyongyang marches toward nuclear power status, leaving Chinese communities dependent on cross-border commerce waiting in vain for change.

Rethinking the nuclear option
The Daily Times, Rizwan Asghar

Both Pakistan and India should ratify the FMCT and enter into a bilateral agreement, banning all nuclear weapons testing. There is also need to build a regional regulatory authority with the mandate to monitor security standards for all nuclear facilities.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Special Report: On Alert - "Manning" Underground Nuclear Weapons
Scout

Responsibility for the 450 Minuteman missiles in existence falls to three different Air Force Bases — F.E. Warren, Minot, and Malmstorm Air Force Base in Montana. Each base operates 15 LCCs. Each LCC has two airmen standing by at all times to monitor their respective nuclear cache. The crews rotate, of course, but the castle is never empty. Shifts last 24 hours, or until the next crew arrives. “I’ve had alerts where I haven’t slept at all,” Capt. Fort said.

What If America Used Nuclear Weapons During the Korean War?
The National Interest

America’s large arsenal of atomic weapons, and the fleet of strategic bombers necessary to deliver those weapons, was the central military advantage that the US enjoyed over the Soviet Union in 1950. The large, battle tested Red Army remained in Eastern Europe, capable of moving west on short notice. Many believed that only America’s ability to destroy the Soviet heartland with nuclear weapons held the Russians back. Many also believed that Moscow had orchestrated the war on the Korean Peninsula. So why didn’t the United States use the bomb in Korea?  What if it had?

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 30, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 30, 2016

TOP NEWS

Why It’s Safe to Scrap America’s ICBMs
The New York Times, William Perry

Russia Accuses US of Nurturing Aggressive Nuclear Strategy
RealClearDefense

It’s time to cut America’s nuclear arsenal
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Daryl Kimball, Kingston Reif

A Tougher Approach on North Korean Nukes
The Diplomat, Liang Tuang Nah

Fore! South Korea golf course may get anti-missile battery
Reuters

EAST ASIA

Fore! South Korea golf course may get anti-missile battery
Reuters

South Korea's military aims to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense unit on a golf course, a defense ministry official said on Friday, after it had to scrap its initial site for the battery in the face of opposition from residents.

S. Korea, Russia express need for 'stronger' UNSC resolution against Pyongyang
The Korea Times

The top nuclear envoys of South Korea and Russia shared the view that a stronger U.N. Security Council resolution is necessary to punish North Korea for its continued military provocations, a foreign ministry source said Friday.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Accuses US of Nurturing Aggressive Nuclear Strategy
RealClearDefense

Amid the widening U.S.-Russian spat over Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued a strongly-worded statement accusing the Pentagon of nurturing an aggressive nuclear strategy threatening Russia.

Russia’s Deadliest Sub Test Fires 2 Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles
The Diplomat

The nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Yuri Dolgoruky test fired two Bulava (RSM-56) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) from a submerged position in the White Sea off the northwest coast of Russia on September 27, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced.

SOUTH ASIA

India may deploy nuclear-capable Rafale jets at China, Pakistan borders: Report
The Indian Express

China apprehends that India will deploy the 36 nuclear-capable Rafale fighter jets to be acquired from France in the border regions of China and Pakistan to enhance its deterrence capability, a media report in Beijing said. India will deploy the new French-made fighters in the disputed areas bordering Pakistan and China, state-run Global Times reported quoting Shenzhen Television.

OPINIONS

Why It’s Safe to Scrap America’s ICBMs
The New York Times, William Perry

Russia and the United States have already been through one nuclear arms race. We spent trillions of dollars and took incredible risks in a misguided quest for security. I had a front-row seat to this. Once was enough. This time, we must show wisdom and restraint. Indeed, Washington and Moscow both stand to benefit by scaling back new programs before it is too late. There is only one way to win an arms race: Refuse to run.

It’s time to cut America’s nuclear arsenal
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Daryl Kimball, Kingston Reif

Obama has it within his power to trim excess nuclear weapons and avoid spending tens of billions of defense dollars on redundant and unnecessary nuclear weapons systems. By doing so, he would open the way for further reductions in the role and size of not only America’s nuclear forces but Russia’s as well—and help build a future that’s a little more safe and secure.

A Tougher Approach on North Korean Nukes
The Diplomat, Liang Tuang Nah

Having established that short term measures against the DPRK can only further enforce its isolation and strengthen the efficacy of Chinese persuasive pressure on Pyongyang, it must be emphasized that a nuclear armed North Korea does not serve Chinese national interests. Accordingly, it would behoove the PRC not to continue “kicking the can down the road,” in the belief that the North Korean nuclear conundrum would resolve itself.

No Appeasement for North Korea
RealClearDefense, Christopher R. Hill

If the Kim regime really wants an opportunity to join the international community, it has everything it needs, written, agreed, and ready to be implemented. If, however, it wants to continue its march toward nuclearisation, it should know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it will remain a pariah. Its status as a nuclear-weapons state will never be accepted.

Tactical Nuclear Weapons in The Modern Nuclear Era
Lowy Institute for International Policy, Brendan Thomas-Noone

In theory, more robust and credible nuclear arsenals will strengthen deterrence among the major nuclear powers — the United States, Russia, and China. However, these technological advances also make low-yield tactical nuclear weapons more ‘usable’ in a wider variety of scenarios, potentially endangering strategic stability and encouraging an arms race.

No-first-use: No reason to panic
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ta Minh Tuan

In short, no player in East Asia or Southeast Asia would profit by attempting to exploit a US no-first-use policy. Instead, nations would perceive the policy itself as beneficial—Washington would have declared itself a status quo power in Asia's nuclear affairs and the region as whole would become more secure. No one in East or Southeast Asia has any good reason to stir up the region's already troubled waters.

Opposition to Obama's radical disarmament agenda has proven effective
The Hill, Rebeccah Heinrichs

It might be too soon to take a full victory lap, but for those who have been forcefully pushing back on the Obama administration’s last ditch efforts to weaken the U.S. nuclear deterrent before he leaves office, there has been some encouraging developments.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Press Release: New Book on South Africa’s Nuclear Program
Institute for Science and International Security

We are pleased to release our new book, Revisiting South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Its History, Dismantlement, and Lessons for Today by David Albright with Andrea Stricker. It is the first comprehensive, technically-oriented history of South Africa’s nuclear weapons program and its dismantlement. The lessons of this dynamic and complicated nuclear weapons program remain valid today.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 29, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 29, 2016

TOP NEWS

The Case for Retaining the First-Use Doctrine for Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Dianne Pfundstein Chamberlain

The Flimsy Case Against No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons
POLITICO, Bruce Blair

Carter: Nuclear Triad Needs Investment for Future
U.S. Department of Defense

Non-Nuclear States Advance Push for UN Treaty to Ban Nukes
The New York Times

An inside look at Sandia’s most powerful radiation testing facility
Albuquerque Business First

EAST ASIA

North Korea claims to complete study, development of nuclear weapons
International Business Times

North Korea does not seem to be deterred by the recent show of force by the navies of the US and South Korea in the Sea of Japan. Far from being intimidated, North Korea is emboldened enough to claim that it has completed the "study, the development of nuclear weapons," Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

China again warns against U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea
Reuters

China "means what it says" when it says it will consider countermeasures against the planned U.S. deployment of an advanced anti-missile system in South Korea, the defense ministry said on Thursday.

THAAD expected to hurt S. Korea-China's unified front against N. Korea
Yonhap News

South Korea's push to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system could hurt its cooperation with China in dealing with North Korea's nuclear ambitions, a Chinese scholar said Thursday.

MIDDLE EAST

Energy secretary: ‘We got it right’ on Iran deal
The Hill

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz defended the 8-month-old nuclear deal with Iran on Wednesday, despite continued congressional attacks on the agreement. “Frankly, I think on the nuclear side we got it right,” Moniz said during the Washington Ideas Forum, hosted by The Atlantic. “Iran’s nuclear program is dramatically scaled back, as the agreement required.”

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Germany to scrutinize MBDA proposal for missile defense system
Reuters

Germany's defense ministry on Wednesday said it had received a proposal to secure the contract for a $4.5 billion missile defense system from European arms maker MBDA and hoped to submit it to parliament for approval next spring. "Given the inevitable development risks involved with advanced technology, we will study the proposal very carefully before it can be turned into a firm contract," Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told Reuters in an interview.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan’s history of nuclear weapons ‘entangled in tensions’, US says
The Express Tribune

US Defense Secretary Ashton carter has said that Pakistan’s history of nuclear weapons was “entangled in tensions”. He made the remarks while talking to airmen at the Minot Air Force Base while kicking off a visit to the US Department of Defense’s nuclear deterrence enterprise.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Non-Nuclear States Advance Push for UN Treaty to Ban Nukes
The New York Times

Despite arm-twisting and vocal opposition from nuclear powers like the United States, six non-nuclear countries urged the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday to work toward a "legally-binding" accord to ban nuclear weapons in hopes of ridding them from the planet altogether one day.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Carter: Nuclear Triad Needs Investment for Future
U.S. Department of Defense

All three legs of the nuclear triad operate with a high degree of readiness, reliability and excellence, but the aging systems need more investment for the future, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said yesterday at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. Carter -- who is traveling to North Dakota, New Mexico, California and Hawaii through Oct. 1 to focus on the U.S. nuclear enterprise -- took questions from reporters after speaking with troops.

Pentagon chief: No plans to change US nuke strike rules
Al Arabiya

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday the Pentagon has no plans to pursue a “no-first-use” nuclear weapons policy. His remarks at a nuclear research facility in New Mexico follow media reports saying President Barack Obama was weighing an overhaul of longstanding US nuclear policy, including by pledging to never conduct the first strike in a nuclear conflict.

OPINIONS

The Case for Retaining the First-Use Doctrine for Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Dianne Pfundstein Chamberlain

Although we may dislike the idea of the United States launching a first strike, retaining the option to do so may be the best way for the United States to achieve its strategic objectives given current constraints on its ability to deploy additional conventional forces.

The Flimsy Case Against No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons
POLITICO, Bruce Blair

President Obama would stand on firm ground if he chooses to make no-first-use a cornerstone of U.S. nuclear policy. It would be a step worthy of his Prague vision of a nuclear-free world, and would live up to his recent Hiroshima speech in which he said, “we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear.” If the president decides the strongest and most secure nation on earth cannot forgo the option of initiating the use of nukes in a confrontation, then these words are just platitudes.

One of Russia's Most Advanced Nuclear Missiles Self-Destructed During a Test Flight
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

Russia’s R-30 Bulava submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) continues to be plagued with problems as a recent test failure shows. On Sept. 27, K-535 Yuri Dolgoruky, the lead vessel in the Project 955 Borei-class of ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), launched two Bulava SLBMs from the White Sea at the Kura testing range on the Kamchatka peninsula. While one of the missiles hit its targets successfully, the other self-destructed in flight.

How Rocky U.S.-China Relations Benefit North Korea’s Nuclear Missiles
Fortune, Minxin Pei

Needless to say, Kim Jong Un is no fool. The U.S.-China rift plays into his hand. With the two great powers bickering with each other, he can exploit the resulting tensions and speed up the development of his nuclear arsenal. So it would be unrealistic to expect that the United States will get China’s backing in imposing a new round of water-tight sanctions against North Korea after its latest nuclear test. If anything, the security conditions on the Korean peninsula will continue to deteriorate.

Nuclear Deal Fuels Saudi-Iran Rivalry
The Foreign Policy Initiative, Tzvi Kahn

To be sure, Washington and Riyadh will continue to harbor numerous differences, particularly regarding Saudi Arabia’s treatment of its own people. Moreover, Americans cannot and should not forget Riyadh’s history as the foremost incubator of Wahhabi doctrine, which has radicalized large swaths of the Middle East. At this juncture, however, America’s foremost regional priority should lie in the development of a regional coalition that can serve as a counterweight to Iranian expansionism and Sunni radicalism.

How the US's nuclear weapons compare to Russia's
Business Insider, Alex Lockie

Lewis says that US Strategic Command leaders, who command the US's nuclear arsenal, have said for decades that given the choice between the US's nukes and Russia's they'd choose our own missiles every time. In an interview with Business Insider, Lewis said that the US's arsenal, while it lacks the potential to devastate and lay waste to whole continents, much better fits the US's strategic needs.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Redefining the U.S. Agenda for Nuclear Disarmament
CSIS

An inside look at Sandia’s most powerful radiation testing facility
Albuquerque Business First

You wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a nuclear explosion, but in a building roughly the size of a football field at Sandia National Laboratories in southeast Albuquerque, scientists are using intense magnetic fields and electrical currents to simulate the experience.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 28, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 28, 2016

TOP NEWS

U.S. to deploy anti-missile system in South Korea ‘as soon as possible’
Reuters

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif Threatens to Nuke India
The Huffington Post

Remarks from Secretary Carter’s Press Conference at Kirtland AFB
Los Alamos Daily Post

Dems tie nuclear first-strike bill to concerns about Trump
The Hill

What’s the deal with Senate Republicans and the test ban treaty?
Steven Pifer, The Brookings Institution

EAST ASIA

U.S. to deploy anti-missile system in South Korea ‘as soon as possible’
Reuters

The United States will speed up deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system to South Korea given the pace of North Korea's missile tests, and it will be stationed there "as soon as possible," the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said on Tuesday.

THAAD Opposition Fades After 5th North Korean Nuke Test
VOA

Opposition to the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system is weakening in South Korea’s National Assembly in the face of North Korea’s rapid advancement of it nuclear and ballistics missile capabilities.

U.S. Says Chinese Executive Helped North Korea Dodge Sanctions
The New York Times

The United States Justice Department has filed criminal charges against a Chinese executive, accusing her, the company she owns and several of her colleagues of violating American sanctions meant to choke off funding to North Korean companies that help Pyongyang develop nuclear weapons.

SOUTH ASIA

IAF and Army Stalemate leaves nuclear weapons command body headless
The Economic Times

India's Strategic Forces Command (SFC), the entity that manages the nation's strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and decides the warheads' targets, has been without a chief for almost a month.

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif Threatens to Nuke India
The Huffington Post

As India handed over proof to Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit that the terrorists, who killed 18 soldiers in this month's deadly attack on an army installation in Uri, belonged to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, the neighbouring country's Defence Minister on Tuesday launched a fresh tirade, threatening nuclear strikes against New Delhi if it retaliated against the killings.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY 

US Nuclear Weapons Systems Need an Upgrade
VOA

Speaking at the base Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told troops that the nuclear mission is the “bedrock of American security.” The U.S. can deter a nuclear attack in three ways: by land with intercontinental ballistic missiles, by air with nuclear weapons on bombers and fighter jets, and by sea with nuclear missiles roaming the oceans on submarines. These methods are more commonly known as the “nuclear triad.”

Remarks from Secretary Carter’s Press Conference at Kirtland AFB
Los Alamos Daily Post

U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met with reporters Tuesday during his visit to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque.

Air Force Lines up Funding for GBSD Test Requirements
DefenseNews

The Air Force is preparing for major test requirements on the Ground Base Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program, with one official saying the service’s testing office is preparing as if the nuclear weapon program would cost more than the F-35 fighter jet.

Nuclear Issues at the United Nations: What’s Next – Remarks from Anita Friedt
U.S. Department of State

Just last month, I was in Kazakhstan to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the closing of the nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk that was witness to nearly 500 nuclear tests that shook the earth and clouded the skies with radioactive dust.

‘First Strike’ Nuclear Doctrine Won’t Change: Carter
Military.com

The doctrine of nuclear deterrence that leaves open the possibility of launching a "first strike" before an enemy attacks will remain the basis of U.S. policy even as new generations of nuclear weapons are introduced, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday.

Dems tie nuclear first-strike bill to concerns about Trump
The Hill

Two Democrats are pushing a bill that would bar the president from launching a nuclear strike without prior approval from Congress, tying it to concerns about Donald Trump having control of nukes. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who introduced the House version of the bill Tuesday, voiced concerns about Trump's comments on nuclear weapons at Monday night's presidential debate.

OPINIONS

What’s the deal with Senate Republicans and the test ban treaty?
Steven Pifer, The Brookings Institution

Things get weird on Capitol Hill. Just look at how Republican senators acted last week on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). They congratulated themselves on stopping the Obama administration from doing something that it did not intend to do in the first place. In the process, senators threatened to defund the CTBT’s international monitoring system. That’s the system that has detected and promptly reported all North Korean nuclear tests.

Nuclear Claims at the First Debate
Melissa Hanham, Arms Control Wonk

Nuclear weapons were on the agenda in last night’s debate. So, in the spirit of public service, Lauren Sukin and Selim Sazak take the liberty of fact-checking and analyzing both candidates in regards to nuclear policy in a guest post.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Doomed to Cooperate: U.S.-Russian Lab Collaboration
CSIS

Nuclear Issues at the United Nations: What’s Next
CSIS

How Shimon Peres Outwitted the U.S. to Bring Nukes to Israel
The Daily Beast

Renowned for his decades-long quest for peace in the Middle East, Shimon Peres’s greatest triumph was his cunning and successful plan to bring nuclear weapons to Israel.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 26, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 26, 2016

TOP NEWS

It’s Time to Ban and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
The Nation, Kazumi Matsui

Security Council adopts resolution on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament
UN News Centre

Risk of nuclear attack rises
CBS News, 60 Minutes

North Korea Vows to Strengthen Nuclear Forces in UN Speech
RealClearDefense

Opposing nuclear weapons in the era of millennials
Al Jazeera, James Reinl

EAST ASIA

North Korea Vows to Strengthen Nuclear Forces in UN Speech
RealClearDefense

North Korea's foreign minister condemned the United States on Friday for flying supersonic bombers over South Korea earlier this week and vowed his country will strengthen its nuclear capabilities in defiance of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.

China investigates North Korean bank for financing nuclear weapons program imports
The Indian Express

Chinese authorities are investigating a North Korean bank suspected of financing its government’s imports of goods that might be used by the North’s nuclear weapons program, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran says some sanctions under nuclear deal still in place
AP

Indirectly warning the United States, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency said Monday that his country's landmark nuclear deal with could be jeopardized by foot-dragging on sanctions relief, promised in exchange for Tehran's commitment to curb key atomic activities. But a senior U.S. official said Washington is delivering on its commitments.

No nuclear restriction except those specified in Leader’s fatwa: Shamkhani
Tehran Times

In his decree Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has officially declared the production, stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons as haram (religiously forbidden).

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Security Council adopts resolution on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament
UN News Centre

Reaffirming that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery, threatens international peace and security, the United Nations Security Council today adopted a resolution urging all States who haven't done so to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement calls on States to seize unprecedented opportunity to advance nuclear disarmament
International Committee of the Red Cross

On the occasion of this year's International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement renews its call on States to begin negotiations on a treaty to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons, in accordance with their existing commitments.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Air Force Set to Replace Intercontinental Nuke Arsenal
Military.com

Over the next 20 years, the U.S. Air Force will switch out the entirety of its Minuteman III fleet with an as-yet-unnamed new missile known only as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). The Air Force estimates the cost of the GBSD, to be introduced late in the 2020s and phased in over the following decade, will be around $86 billion over the missiles' life cycle of about 50 years.

U.S. to Try Again on Missile Defenses as N. Korea Threat Grows
Bloomberg

The Pentagon’s next test of its ground-based system to destroy missiles aimed at the U.S. is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2017, providing the new president evidence of whether the troubled program could stop the nuclear weapons North Korea threatens to launch.

OPINIONS

The Gathering Nuclear Storm
The Wall Street Journal, Mark Helprin

The gravest danger we face is fast-approaching nuclear instability. Many believe it is possible safely to arrive at nuclear zero. It is not. Enough warheads to bring any country to its knees can fit in a space volumetrically equivalent to a Manhattan studio apartment. Try to find that in the vastness of Russia, China, or Iran.

It’s Time to Ban and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
The Nation, Kazumi Matsui

Sept. 26, the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, is a fitting time to take stock of current nuclear dangers and rededicate ourselves to the urgent task of abolishing nuclear weapons. I encourage all readers of The Nation to take this opportunity to listen to the earnest message of the atomic-bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who have been telling their tragic real-life experiences, expressed in their words that “no one else should ever again suffer as we have.”

Unthinking the Thinkable: Iran and the Bomb
The National Review, Spencer Case

Contrary to the assurances of the intelligentsia, a nuclear attack by Iran is not unthinkable. True, it would not be in accord with Iran’s national interest, as defined by Western experts. But a fanatical regime may regard “death to Israel” and “death to America” as being higher priorities.

Opposing nuclear weapons in the era of millennials
Al Jazeera, James Reinl

The mushroom clouds of nuclear explosions cast a long shadow over the 20th century. The fungal smoke stacks provoked fear of an atomic apocalypse and became a rallying symbol for anti-war activists. Their fright factor may be waning. The Cold War arms race was over by the time millennials were born. For the Instagram generation, cyber-strikes and hijacked jets hitting skyscrapers weigh heavier on the mind.

Pentagon chief is expert on nukes but says little about them
AP, Robert Burns

Carter has talked quite a lot about the nuclear weapons of other countries. He chastised Russia for nuclear "sabre rattling," endorsed the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran and criticized what he has called North Korea's nuclear "pursuit and provocations." But when it comes to America's own weapons, he has mostly limited himself to broad references to their importance.

Different kind of crisis, same need for Washington
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jayita Sarkar

Given the strategic situation on the subcontinent, not to mention the present crisis, a bilateral nuclear test ban appears unlikely. Perhaps a bilateral no-first use agreement is possible instead. If so, it could put an end to the current state of affairs, in which each new subnational attack introduces the risk of a nuclear exchange. Such an agreement, however, will not materialize without effort from the international community. Leadership, naturally, must come from the United States.

How to deal with NK nuclear, missile threats
The Korea Times, Shin Sung-won

Through the U.N. Security Council Resolutions, international community puts pressure on the North Korean regime weakening its ability to make nuclear weapons and missiles, while at the same time strengthening the cooperation with China and Russia to find diplomatic solutions for the impending North Korean problem, employing multiple channels of strategic dialogue as well as economic cooperation.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Risk of nuclear attack rises
CBS News, 60 Minutes

For generations nuclear weapons have been seen as a last resort to be used only in extreme circumstances. But in this new Cold War the use of a nuclear weapon is not as unlikely to occur as you might think.

Here are the Names the U.S. Air Force Didn’t Pick for the B-21 Raider
The National Interest

War Is Boring submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the rest of the submissions. On Sept. 21, after an appeal, the Air Force responded with the complete list. Many of the suggestions were serious, well in keeping with established Air Force traditions and history. Others were tongue-in-cheek or just plain insulting. Air Force public affairs official Ann Stefanek pointed out the top 15 contenders in an email accompanying the release.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 23, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 23, 2016

TOP NEWS

DOD Assessed the Need for Each Leg of the Strategic Triad and Considered Other Reductions to Nuclear Forces
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Nuclear test ban holdouts get earful, as treaty sits for 20 years
Nikkei Asian Review

North Korea-Iran Missile Cooperation
38 North, Michael Elleman

EAST ASIA

North Korea threat looms as US meets with Asian countries at UN
CNN

The US and Asian nations gather in New York Friday with a fresh reminder of the gravest threat facing the region: North Korea's announcement this week that it had successfully tested its most powerful rocket engine yet.

As nuclear threat escalates, South Korea has concrete plans to eliminate Kim Jong-un
International Business Times

South Korean troops are reportedly on standby to "eliminate" North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, should they feel threatened by their nuclear weapons. According to CNN International, South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo revealed the information in parliament on 21 September. When asked whether a special forces unit had already been put together to eliminate the North Korean dictator, Han confirmed that such a plan was already in place.

‘Sanctions not enough to bring change in NK’
The Korea Herald

Despite the tightening global squeeze on North Korea, Seoul and Washington should narrow their policy objectives and reinitiate engagement in tandem to give the communist state substantive incentives to change course, a renowned US scholar told The Korea Herald.

MIDDLE EAST

Rouhani claims the U.S. is violating its commitments under nuclear deal
The Washington Post

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday accused the United States of failing to uphold its end of the historic nuclear agreement by delaying licenses for legitimate transactions and warning banks they could still run afoul of U.S. sanctions.

SOUTH ASIA

India, Pakistan could skid into nuclear war, top expert warns
The Express Tribune

Growing tensions between India and Pakistan could send the neighboring countries skidding into a nuclear war, a prominent political scientist has warned. “It could happen, and it would be catastrophic for both countries,” Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum author Stephen P. Cohen said. Tensions reached boiling point over the weekend when militants attacked an army base in the Uri area near the Line of Control on Sunday morning, leaving 18 soldiers dead.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nuclear test ban holdouts get earful, as treaty sits for 20 years
Nikkei Asian Review

Foreign ministers from seven countries spearheaded a push Wednesday targeting nations that have failed to ratify a global treaty banning nuclear weapons tests, as holdouts such as the U.S., China and North Korea have prevented the 20-year-old pact from coming into force.

Abe, Fidel Castro agree to a world without nuclear weapons
The Japan Times

Visiting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday agreed with former Cuban President Fidel Castro to aim to create a world without nuclear weapons.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

DOD Assessed the Need for Each Leg of the Strategic Triad and Considered Other Reductions to Nuclear Forces
U.S. Government Accountability Office

The Department of Defense (DOD) assessed the need for each leg of the strategic triad in support of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and considered other reductions to nuclear forces in subsequent reviews. The department identified advantages of each leg of the triad and concluded that retaining all three would help maintain strategic deterrence and stability. The advantages DOD identified include the survivability of the sea-based leg, the intercontinental ballistic missiles' contribution to stability, and the ability of the nuclear-capable bombers to visibly forward deploy.

Pentagon Faces Challenges in Estimating Cost of New Nuclear Missiles
National Defense Magazine

A lack of reliable data makes it difficult to estimate the price tag of building a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the head of the Pentagon’s cost assessment and program evaluation office said Sept. 22. The aim of the Air Force’s ground-based strategic deterrent program, or GBSD, is to replace the nuclear-warhead carrying Minuteman-III by the 2030s.

OPINIONS

North Korea-Iran Missile Cooperation
38 North, Michael Elleman

North Korea’s ground test of a powerful, liquid-fueled engine on September 20, and the launch of three modified-Scud missiles earlier this month renewed allegations that Pyongyang and Tehran are collaborating on ballistic-missile development. The accusations are mostly speculative, based largely on the apparent similarities of ballistic missiles and satellite launchers appearing in both Iran and North Korea.

Careful, we might nuke you: The consequences of rejecting a nuclear no-first-use pledge
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, James Doyle

A no-first-use pledge should be adopted because words and declared policies matter. Nuclear deterrence is an unavoidably risky business, and nuclear war would bring on unmatched human tragedy. Evidence is mounting that nuclear deterrence is a far riskier and more fragile enterprise than previously thought.

North Korea Sanctions Depend on Cutting off Cash Flow
Huffington Post, Goh Jin-ah

Cutting off the mass flows of cash into the North is the most effective measure to pressure the North. Dr. Emanuel Pastreich, professor at Kyung Hee University, pointed out that the possibility of North Korea’s illicit cash flow is a “serious problem” in an interview with AsiaToday. He said, “Temporary measures cannot resolve the issue. While maintaining and strengthening the existing system, a new financial system should be set up.”

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 22, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 22, 2016

TOP NEWS

Why More MAD But No MAS?
The National Interest, Raymond Smith

S. Korea needs no nuclear weapons
The Korea Times

North Korea's 5th Nuclear Test: The Fallout in Seoul
The Diplomat, Kim Tae-woo

North Korea’s Largest Engine Test Yet
38 North

Barry’s Legacy and The Bomb
Arms Control Wonk, Jeffrey Lewis

EAST ASIA

North Korea’s Largest Engine Test Yet
38 North

On September 20, KCNA reported that Kim Jong Un had overseen the testing of a large new rocket engine at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. They claimed this new engine had a thrust of 80 tons and would be use for a new space launch vehicle. Rocket engine thrust isn’t normally measured in “tons,” and there is some ambiguity in how to interpret that figure. It is also possible that the North Koreans are exaggerating; we can’t directly verify thrust from the images they released.

S. Korea needs no nuclear weapons
The Korea Times

Neither South Korea's own nuclear armament nor redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in the country would enhance the country's security against North Korea, a senior White House official said Wednesday.

Japan: North Korea nuclear threat has reached a 'different dimension'
CNN

North Korea's nuclear ambitions are one of the biggest threats to international peace and security, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned Wednesday. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Abe urged the Security Council to respond to the latest nuclear test "in a manner entirely distinct from our responses thus far."

Park vows to focus on new, strong sanctions to end Pyongyang's obsession with nukes
Yonhap News

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Thursday vowed to focus on crafting "new and strong" international sanctions against Pyongyang, saying Seoul will do all it takes to end North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's "maniacal" obsession with nuclear arms.

MIDDLE EAST

JCPOA parties hold 5th Joint Commission in New York
Tehran Times

It is the fifth time in nearly 14 months after the conclusion of the deal that the signing countries are coming together, this time on the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly.  Under the JCPOA, a Joint Commission of the seven signing countries monitors the implementation of the deal to address issues arising from the enforcement of the pact.

SOUTH ASIA

In wake of Uri terrorist attack, Pakistan nukes under scrutiny
The Times of India

Pakistan's nuclear weapons program is coming under renewed scrutiny and pressure from the United States, Japan, and other aid givers this week even as the country's nervous leaders are rattling their atomic arsenal, fearing retribution from India for the Uri terrorist attack .

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

We Will Not Waver in Our Aim to Create World Free of Nuclear Weapons Secretary-General Tells ‘Group of Friends’
United Nations

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the eighth ministerial meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), in New York today.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nuke Watch: Lab cleanup report understates costs, waste amounts at Los Alamos
Albuquerque Journal

Nuclear Watch New Mexico says a highly touted new cost estimate for completing cleanup of decades’ worth of radioactive and hazardous waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory is based more on the likely stream of federal funding rather than the actual cost of dealing with the toxic materials.

OPINIONS

U.S. Security in a Proliferated World Will Require a New ICBM
The National Interest, Dan Goure

It’s really quite simple: deterrence of an attack on the United States by a hostile nation rests, ultimately, on the nuclear triad -- intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and bombers. While each leg of the triad plays a critical role in deterring aggression, there are some circumstances in which the land-based missile force could make the difference between war and peace.  For that reason, the United States will need to develop and deploy a new ICBM.

Why More MAD But No MAS?
The National Interest, Raymond Smith

While MAD appears to have provided a level of strategic stability thus far, there have been several points at which it could have failed, with catastrophic consequences. There is a more promising alternative, although an enormously difficult one to achieve.  It requires a thorough reconceptualization of how we think about nuclear security and would entail an unprecedented level of cooperation among at least the major nuclear powers, as well as a substantial commitment of resources.  I think of it as Mutually Assured Security (MAS).

North Korea's 5th Nuclear Test: The Fallout in Seoul
The Diplomat, Kim Tae-woo

North Korea, as President Park said, has spun out of control in recent years. The regime has recklessly instilled fear not only among its own people, through a string of executions and human rights abuses, but among the people of neighboring countries, thus prompting an unproductive inter-Korean arms race and dampening peace and security in Northeast Asia. Really, the international community needs to come up with different approaches to prevent Pyongyang from going bad to worse.

To curb North Korea's nuclear program, follow the money
UPI, John Park

North Korea's goal is to miniaturize nuclear warheads and place them atop proven ballistic missiles, but it is probably still a few years from doing so. We have an opportunity now to achieve a different outcome. We can counter innovations in the North Korean regime's procurement practices with innovative measures to disrupt North Korea, Inc., centering on real cooperation with China.

No-first use would only embolden China
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Parris Chang

It would be extremely unwise for President Obama to proclaim a nuclear no-first-use policy. Chinese leader Xi Jinping would construe it as a sign of US military decline, and he would only be emboldened to pursue China's dream of supplanting the United States as the world's superpower.

Nuclear ‘no first use’: the debate continues
East Asia Forum, Ramesh Thakur

The US policy of being prepared to use nuclear weapons in response to a large-scale conventional attack on its allies is simply not credible. The logic of national survival will always trump the politics of alliance solidarity. And a non-credible threat of first use cannot deter any attack. What holds a potential aggressor in check is not the fear of nuclear retaliation but, rather, non-belligerent initial intentions or fear of the cost of conventional war.

Barry’s Legacy and The Bomb
Arms Control Wonk, Jeffrey Lewis

Like every other two term President, Barack Obama has turned attention in the final months has turned to his legacy, and what he might do on nuclear weapons policy. Aaron and Jeffrey recorded a new podcast to discuss the reports that Obama considered and rejected no first use, and what he might do as his term comes to an end.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 21, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 21, 2016

TOP NEWS

Nominee for Top Stratcom Post Details Threats at Confirmation Hearing
U.S. Department of Defense

The Virtues of Nuclear Ignorance
The New Yorker, Alex Wellerstein

India’s Nuclear Security In Aftermath Of Uri Attack
Eurasia Review, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Obama: N. Korea's nuclear test 'endangers all of us,' Pyongyang must face 'consequences'
Yonhap News

Finding a Nuclear Weapon: Hope Beyond the Screwdriver
The National Interest, Edward Cazalas

EAST ASIA

N. Korea finishes extracting plutonium from spent fuel
Yonhap News

North Korea appears to have finished extracting plutonium from spent nuclear fuel, gaining up to four more nuclear weapons worth of plutonium, a U.S. research institute said Tuesday.

Stratcom Nominee Gen. Hyten Warns Of North Korean Nuclear Advances
USNI News

Gen. John Hyten, currently the commander of the Air Force Space Command, said at a committee nomination hearing today that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs appear to be in their early stages, but he reminded the panel that the United States “had failure, after failure, after failure” before succeeding in fielding a nuclear triad.

Nuclear envoys of S. Korea, China to meet in Beijing to discuss N.K. nuke issue
Yonhap News

The nuclear envoys of South Korea and China will meet this week to discuss countermeasures against North Korea's recent nuclear provocation, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

North Korea blames U.S. for nuclear weapons development
UPI

North Korea blamed both the Bush and Obama administrations Tuesday for "pushing" Pyongyang toward nuclear weapons development while claiming it now has the capability of striking U.S. territory. In a statement that ran in the Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, North Korea stated its fifth nuclear test marks the "peak" of its nuclear capability.

Obama: N. Korea's nuclear test 'endangers all of us,' Pyongyang must face 'consequences'
Yonhap News

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday North Korea's nuclear test "endangers all of us" and the communist nation must "face consequences." Obama made the remark during his final address to the U.N. General Assembly, as the U.N. Security Council is working on fresh sanctions on Pyongyang for its fifth nuclear test.

South Korea, US to simulate attack on nuclear facility
CNN

South Korea and the United States will conduct a mock attack on a nuclear facility next month, an official with the South Korean Defense Department told CNN. Though the official said the drills are not aimed particularly at North Korea, the announcement comes less than two weeks after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear warhead -- its second nuclear test this year and fifth one ever. The US and South Korea will also simulate what to do in the event of a sudden missile attack.

Lawmakers raise voices on S. Korea's nuke armament
Yonhap News

South Korea's ruling and opposition parties on Wednesday continued to debate over whether Seoul should consider its own nuclear armament as an option to defend the country, amid the escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula sparked by Pyongyang's provocations.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

UK nuclear weapons convoys 'have had 180 mishaps in 16 years'
The Guardian

Military convoys carrying nuclear weapons through Britain’s cities and towns have experienced 180 mishaps and incidents, including collisions, breakdowns and brake failures during the last 16 years, according to a report produced by a disarmament campaign.

SOUTH ASIA

Won’t succumb to nuclear blackmail, says Ram Madhav on Uri attack
The Indian Express

With the government initiating the process of isolating Pakistan internationally in the wake of the Uri terror strike, senior BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said on Tuesday that the offensive will not be only through diplomatic response. “It’s not just diplomatic response alone, it will be handled in an appropriate manner and no kind of blackmail is going to be tolerated. Nobody wants a nuclear war in the region and nobody will succumb to nuclear blackmailing also,” said Madhav.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nominee for Top Stratcom Post Details Threats at Confirmation Hearing
U.S. Department of Defense

Russia and China are America’s biggest threats, but North Korea and Iran are the most likely threats, President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next commander of U.S. Strategic Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee today in his confirmation hearing.

STRATCOM Nominee Favors Boosting Cyber Command, Nuke Modernization
Defense News

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the evolution of the cyberthreat means its “simply a matter if when, not if,” US Cyber Command is elevated. During the more than 90-minute hearing, Hyten also threw strong support behind modernizing the nuclear triad.

OPINIONS

The Virtues of Nuclear Ignorance
The New Yorker, Alex Wellerstein

To prove that one of these so-called delivery vehicles has been taken out of commission, all a superpower needs to do is destroy it—blow up the silo, scuttle the sub, de-wing the bomber—and lay the pieces out for its rival’s satellites to see. (In Arizona, there is an Air Force facility where guillotined B-52s lie rusting in the desert.) The options available for verifying warheads are significantly less clear-cut.

Why India Wants France's Dassault Rafale Fighter Jet: They Can Carry Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Robert Beckhusen

India is on the verge of signing a deal with France for 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets, likely when French defense minister Jean-Yves le Drian arrives in New Delhi later this week. The jets may end up lugging nuclear bombs, as officials told The Indian Express this month that the jets are “to be used as an airborne strategic delivery system.” That’s a polite way of saying India’s jets could drop nukes — one mission which Dassault specifically designed the multi-role Rafale to do.

India’s Nuclear Security In Aftermath Of Uri Attack
Eurasia Review, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Indian army infantry base in Uri came under terrorist attack in the wee hours of September 18, 2016. Four terrorists entered the base and managed to kill 20 soldiers. It apparently took place amidst the change of shifts and caught them off guard. These precisely are the scenarios we need to think through and be prepared for. This comes in the backdrop of another major terrorist attack on one of the Indian frontline air bases — the Pathankot air force base — in January this year. These attacks raise concerns also about the security of India’s vital installations, especially nuclear ones.

The US Navy Needs More Submarines to Match Russia and China
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

The Navy is still working on if the two shipyards will be able to handle starting construction of three submarines every year going forward from 2021. The problem that the Navy and its contractors face is that as construction continues on the Ohio Replacement and Virginia-class simultaneously, there will be several SSBNs and SSNs in the yard at the same time. There are real questions as to whether the shipyards have the capacity to build that many submarines at the same time.

No insurmountable hurdles to no-first-use
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ta Minh Tuan

In East and Southeast Asia, the negative security impacts of a US no-first-use policy would be easily outweighed by the security benefits. Obama won't likely institute no-first-use, but here's hoping that he does.

Finding a Nuclear Weapon: Hope Beyond the Screwdriver
The National Interest, Edward Cazalas

In 1956, the father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, suggested to Congress a reliable means of detecting nuclear weapons within a suitcase destined to be detonated in an American city. It was a screwdriver. Prying open and inspecting each and every case or container capable of concealing a nuclear weapon is obviously an impossible task, which was precisely Oppenheimer’s point; that nuclear weapons are hard to detect. They remain so today.

The Coming Confrontation with North Korea
Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass

Imagine it is 2020. The director of the CIA requests an urgent meeting with the US president. The reason: North Korea has succeeded in making a nuclear bomb small enough to fit inside the tip of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental United States. The news soon leaks to the public. High-level meetings to devise a response are held not just in Washington, but in Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, and Moscow as well. This scenario may seem unreal today, but it’s more political science than science fiction.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Protest and survive: Reclaiming William Morris from Britain’s nuclear fleet
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

For three decades starting in the 1960s, Britain’s Ministry of Defence commissioned Sanderson, the firm that owns the Morris & Co. brand, to supply Rose for its nuclear submarines. The fabrics have even been used in Vanguard-class subs, which carry nuclear-armed Trident missiles. The bearers of both nuclear weapons and nuclear power, these vessels embody all the fears of atomic apocalypse, catastrophic accidents, and radioactive contamination associated with the nuclear age. They are not where one expects to find fabrics created by a famous socialist.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 20, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 20, 2016

TOP NEWS

North Korea Tests New Rocket Engine: Test Preparations Seen at Sohae
38 North

IAEA’s Amano to seek rare third term as chief
The Japan Times

New Air Force Bomber to Be Named the Raider
The Wall Street Journal

Questioning the stereotypes about North Korea
AP, Eric Talmadge

Term Limits for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Ratification?
The National Interest, John Deutch

EAST ASIA

North Korea Tests New Rocket Engine: Test Preparations Seen at Sohae
38 North

On September 20, KCNA reported on Kim Jong Un guiding a “ground jet test of a new type of high-power engine of a carrier rocket for the geo-stationary satellite” from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. This test was “aimed to make a final confirmation of the feature of combustion chamber, operation accuracy of valves and control systems and structural reliability of the engine during 200 seconds-long working time.”

U.S., China Move Against Firm Suspected of Aiding North Korean Nuclear Program
The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. and China are targeting the finances of a sprawling Chinese conglomerate headed by a Communist Party member who the Obama administration believes has played a role in aiding North Korea’s nuclear program.

Ruling, opposition parties at odds over Pyongyang nukes
Yonhap News

South Korea's ruling and opposition parties clashed during an interpellation session held at the National Assembly on Tuesday, voicing different views on how the government should deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile provocations.

U.S., China to step up cooperation on North Korea
Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed on Monday to step up cooperation in the United Nations Security Council and in law-enforcement channels after North Korea's fifth nuclear test, the White House said.

U.S. should consider offering to withdraw THAAD if China imposes serious sanctions on N.K.: U.S. experts
Yonhap News

The United States should consider offering to call off the planned deployment of the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea if Beijing imposes serious sanctions on North Korea, U.S. experts said Monday.

SOUTH ASIA

Uri attack: Pakistani defense minister Khawaja M Asif ‘threatens’ to use nuclear weapons against India
The Financial Express

Amidst growing tension over Uri attack by Pakistani terrorists on Sunday, a video of the country’s Defense Minister Khawaja M Asif threatening to use nuclear weapon against India is doing the rounds on social media. The video shows the Pakistani defense minister telling Geo News: “If Pakistan’s security is threatened, we will not hesitate in using tactical (nuclear) weapons.”

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN atomic chief reports on agency’s role in nuclear safety, sustainable development, combating illness
UN News Centre

In his address to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, the agency’s Director-General, highlighted work in various areas, including nuclear applications, nuclear safety and security, safeguards and technical cooperation, and modernizing a new pest control facility to tackle vector-brome diseases such as Zika.

IAEA’s Amano to seek rare third term as chief
The Japan Times

Yukiya Amano, the head of the United Nations atomic watchdog, said Monday he will seek a third term in office beyond 2017, saying the agency needs “continuity” to face difficult times ahead. Amano said that the “huge challenges” facing the International Atomic Energy Agency include North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and stopping fissile materials from falling into the wrong hands.

P5 leaders discuss nuclear challenges, emphasize commitment to NPT
Arms Control Association

In a high-profile panel discussion hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, representatives from the five states recognized by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as nuclear-weapon states (the P5) discussed arms control and the future of strategic stability. After the discussion, the P5 released a Joint Statement in which they emphasized their continued support for the NPT.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

New Air Force Bomber to Be Named the Raider
The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Air Force said Monday that its new B-21 long-range bomber would be called the Raider. Northrop Grumman Corp. last year won the lead contract to build a fleet of jets to enter service around 2025, with analysts estimating it could cost $80 billion to $100 billion to develop and build a fleet of at least 100 radar-evading bombers, designed to deliver weapons and other systems deep into enemy territory.

B-21 Bomber Estimate By CAPE: $511M A Copy
Breaking Defense

The Air Force’s new bomber, the B-21 Raider, should come in almost $40 million below the official $550 million a copy official estimate, says Randall Walden, director of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office.

OPINIONS

Questioning the stereotypes about North Korea
AP, Eric Talmadge

The U.S. has no intention of invading North Korea, and has said so for decades. But every year, U.S. troops team up with South Korean counterparts to conduct war games that, while always termed defensive in nature, have recently begun including training for precision strikes, or more colorfully, "decapitation" strikes on Kim Jong Un, along with scenarios for invading or destroying the capital. To North Korea, that is a very real threat. Threats, real or perceived, are also useful political tools.

A Shifting Asian Nuclear Order
The National Interest, Rod Lyon

A Special Report released by ASPI today examines the shifting Asian nuclear order by exploring four case studies—the US–China relationship, the South Asian nuclear dynamic, the North Korean nuclear program and the challenges confronting US extended nuclear assurance in Asia. All suggest we’re headed into choppier waters. Geopolitically, we’re heading into an Asia of multipolarity and intensifying competition.

Is It Time for Nuclear Sharing in East Asia?
The Diplomat, Elmar Hellendoorn, Christine Leah

A renewed debate on nuclear sharing in the Asia-Pacific is in order. However, the obstacles are formidable. First, there is much historical distrust and animosity between Japan and South Korea. Second, the regional U.S. allies will have different threat perceptions and ideas about targeting and escalation regarding both North Korea and China. These issues reflect the bigger issue that there is no Asian NATO.

North Korea: Reaching for Armageddon
RealClearDefense, Euan Graham

North Korea is in a rush to lock in nuclear gains before the next US administration settles its new policy. Within sight of its long-cherished nuclear goals, and with the genie so far out of the bottle, it's hard to see Pyongyang reversing course. The implications will be immediately challenging for the next US president, promising to shift the paradigm from denuclearization to enhanced deterrence and, just possibly, to some form of arms control in future.

Obama @ the UN: Nuclear Options
Union of Concerned Scientists, Stephen Young

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will deliver his last address to the United Nations as president.  What will he say? What should he say? He is likely to touch on a range of global issues, including climate change. I hope he will find some time to focus on security issues, in particular nuclear weapons.

Term Limits for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Ratification?
The National Interest, John Deutch

Diplomatic and domestic political progress on a nuclear test-ban regime requires a new approach. An end-of-term U.S. initiative by the outgoing president to have the UN Security Council declare nuclear tests against international law will continue the futile CTBT debate in this country, and not lead to its entry into force.

The Waiting Game On the Subcontinent
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon

Before the advent of nuclear weapon capabilities on the subcontinent, unresolved grievances over Kashmir resulted in wars. With the Bomb’s appearance, unresolved grievances have led to mass casualty terrorism, crises and one limited conventional war. Crises have recurred because underlying grievances in both Pakistan and India are reaffirmed from one crisis to the next.

Time for a Serious U.S. National Missile Defense Program
The National Interest, Dan Goure

North Korea has no inherent interests in eschewing its nuclear weapons program and becoming a member of the international system, is demonstrably resistant to coercive measures, and is too dangerous to threaten. What the United States and its regional allies can and must do is make serious efforts to take control over their own security. In particular, South Korea, Japan and the United States need to deploy robust missile defense capabilities.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 19, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 19, 2016

TOP NEWS

The Range of North Korean ICBMs
Arms Control Wonk, Joshua Pollack

Post Test Activity at Punggye-ri
38 North

Behind Rafale deal: Their ‘strategic’ role in delivery of nuclear weapons
The Indian Express

Obama to decide on cuts to US nuclear arsenal in October
The Guardian

The New B-21 Bomber: Under Fire Before It Can Even Take Flight
RealClearDefense, Mackenzie Eaglen

EAST ASIA

Post Test Activity at Punggye-ri
38 North

Commercial satellite imagery from September 15 shows a low level of post-test activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, indicating extensive efforts at camouflage, concealment and deception to minimize the collection of detailed information by satellites. The flooding reported in the northeast provinces caused by Typhoon Lionrock does not appear to have affected the Punggye-ri facility to any degree of significance, with the possible exception of minor flooding of the fords along the main access road.

Sept. 5 missile launches show North Korea’s ability to hit target
The Asahi Shimbun

In a troubling sign that Pyongyang has the capability to launch a precision attack on Japan, two of the three intermediate-range ballistic missiles it fired earlier this month had virtually identical trajectories and landing points. Sources familiar with defense matters say the North Korean missiles that landed in waters off Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, on Sept. 5 show Pyongyang now can achieve a simultaneous and accurate launch of multiple projectiles.

Japan, U.S., South Korea discuss coordinated response to North Korean nuclear test
The Japan Times

The United States, Japan and South Korea have roundly condemned North Korea’s recent nuclear test and called for tough new measures to further isolate the communist state.

UN chief calls for 'tougher, clear' message to N. Korea
The Korea Times

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a "tougher, clear message" to North Korea as the U.N. Security Council is working on fresh sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its fifth nuclear test.

US urges North Korea to get serious about not engaging in nuclear weaponization
The Indian Express

US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed a continued willingness to try to revive dialogue with North Korea if it freezes its atomic and ballistic weapons development programmes. “Serious negotiation about the future could occur if Pyongyang does not engage in any more provocative actions,” Kerry told his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on Sunday.

'North Korea will collapse regardless of nuclear weapon'
The Korea Times

North Korea will eventually collapse like the Soviet Union even if it has nuclear weapons, a French scholar who has studied the reclusive country for many years said. Pierre Rigoulot, the head of Institut d'Histoire Sociale, told Yonhap News Agency in Paris on Thursday that the key to handling Pyongyang's nuke standoff is centered on improving the country's human rights conditions.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Radioactive material flown from Scotland to US
BBC

Under the UK-US deal signed earlier this year, highly-enriched uranium (HEU) stored at Dounreay is being sent to the US. Saturday's flight took place under tight security from Wick John O'Groats Airport, which is about 30 miles (48km) from the Dounreay nuclear site. It involved a US military Boeing C-17 transport aircraft.

SOUTH ASIA

Behind Rafale deal: Their ‘strategic’ role in delivery of nuclear weapons
The Indian Express

With India and France expected to announce the Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) for Rafale fighter jets in the next few days, the clinching factor behind Delhi deciding to buy even only 36 French aircraft has become clearer. The long-delayed deal is being finalized because India has identified the French fighters for their ‘strategic’ role — to deliver nuclear weapons.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Obama to decide on cuts to US nuclear arsenal in October
The Guardian

Barack Obama is expected to make a final decision next month on possible cuts to the US nuclear arsenal, in an attempt to consolidate his legacy as a disarmer before leaving office.

OPINIONS

Preventing a Nuclear South Korea
38 North, Lee Byong-Chul

It is very clear that THAAD alone cannot sufficiently deter North Korea from increasingly aggressive and provocative behavior. While it provides an added layer of defense, it does so at the high cost of souring relations with China. In order to avoid South Korea choosing to head down the nuclear path, it is time for Seoul, Washington and Beijing to show more specific and tangible resolve to reverse Pyongyang’s reckless nuclear proliferation.

How to Get China to Use Its Leverage against North Korea
The National Interest, Eric Heginbotham, Richard Samuels

If China agrees to impose a serious and graduated set of sanctions on North Korea– ones that the North cannot ignore – the United States might agree to freeze the deployment of GBI at their current number (and reduce the number as North Korea reaches milestones in dismantling its weapons programs). The United States might also agree, after consulting South Korea, to withdraw THAAD from the peninsula when North Korean nuclear weapons no longer pose a threat.

Warning: The Korean Peninsula is Falling into Disequilibrium
38 North, William McKinney

To preserve the Korean peninsula’s existing balance of power equilibrium and relative stability, the United States, South Korea and Japan must act to modify the North Korean regime’s aggressive tendencies. Altering that behavior through the use of force is one way to achieve that goal, but it carries with it major risks.

The New B-21 Bomber: Under Fire Before It Can Even Take Flight
RealClearDefense, Mackenzie Eaglen

Though the Air Force recently saw a misguided controversy erupt over the program’s cost and oversight, this political conflagration misses the forest for the trees by underestimating the potential value of the new bomber. This aircraft will do so much more than replace B-52H Stratofortresses, B-1B Lancers, and B-2A Spirits as a long-range bomb-toting stealth aircraft and a crucial leg of the nuclear triad.

The Range of North Korean ICBMs
Arms Control Wonk, Joshua Pollack

If there’s one thing in the public discussion of proliferation that troubles me the most, it might be this: the systematic minimization of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities in the American news media. Someone could write a book on this phenomenon and its causes, but life is short. Let’s just focus on just one question for now: how far can North Korean ICBMs fly?

The U.S. Nuclear Gambit
RealClearDefense, Peter Huessy

The administration has correctly sought a modernized Triad, seeing it as critical to the future security of the country. In numerous votes, and in passing the last seven defense bills, a wide bipartisan coalition in Congress has concurred—a modernized, robust Triad of bombers, submarines, and land-based missiles, along with safer, more secure and modern warheads and communication systems, is the way to go. There is a name for such a strategy. Peace through strength.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Command and Control: An Interview with Filmmakers Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser
Huffington Post

Attention must be paid: our nuclear arsenal may present a clear and present danger. In a new documentary Command and Control, filmmakers Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser make a compelling case about a potential disaster that few are talking about, illustrated by the story of the Titan II near miss in 1980 in Damascus, Arkansas. But rather than incite fear, their documentary based on Eric Schlosser’s book, entertains like a thriller.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 16, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 16, 2016

TOP NEWS

How to deal with North Korea
The Washington Post, Mike Mullen, Sam Nunn

Carter: U.S. has 'extremely strong' deterrent posture against N. Korea
Yonhap News

Joint Statement From the Nuclear-Weapons States at the 2016 Washington, DC P5 Conference
U.S. Department of State

President Obama’s Missile Defense Policy: A Misguided Legacy
The Heritage Foundation, Michaela Dodge

South Korea Ups the Ante
Stratfor

EAST ASIA

U.N. chief expresses opposition to calls in S. Korea for nuclear armament
Yonhap News

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed opposition Thursday to growing calls in South Korea for nuclear armament, saying such a move runs counter to international norms, a South Korean lawmaker said.

KCNA: North Korea has passed 'final gateway' to becoming nuclear power
UPI

North Korea said Thursday its nuclear weapons program has "passed the final gateway" and that a target of a preemptive nuclear strike is to be determined "by choice." Pyongyang's warning to its rivals on Thursday comes days after the U.S. Air Force flew two B-1 supersonic bombers over South Korea and President Park Geun-hye called for the removal of the Kim Jong Un regime in the event of a nuclear attack.

Carter: U.S. has 'extremely strong' deterrent posture against N. Korea
Yonhap News

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. has an "extremely strong" deterrent posture on the Korean Peninsula and is trying to stay ahead of threats from North Korea with missile defense and other measures. Carter made the remark during a visit to Austin, Texas, in response to a question about how much concern he has about North Korea's nuclear program and how far the communist nation is from mastering the missile capability to reach the U.S.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan may be building new nuclear site: Analysts
The Times of India

Pakistan, estimated to have the world's fastest-growing nuclear stockpile, could be building a new uranium enrichment complex according to commercial satellite imagery analyzed by Western defense experts.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Joint Statement From the Nuclear-Weapons States at the 2016 Washington, DC P5 Conference
U.S. Department of State

The P5 remain steadfast in their commitment to broaden access of NPT States Parties to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and they reiterated the right of NPT States Parties to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear energy without discrimination and in conformity with their nonproliferation obligations and highest standards of nuclear safety and security.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Carter Optimistic About Beating Nuclear Modernization Cost Estimates
National Defense Magazine

“If you look at the design carefully and how things are manufactured carefully, you can reduce costs in [the nuclear programs] and all of our other programs,” Carter told National Defense and online media outlet Breaking Defense in a Sept. 14 interview on board his plane en route to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. “As a former acquisition executive I never accepted the cost estimates, and I always believe we should be better than that if we can,” he added.

The U.S. Navy Tests Fires Its Ultimate Weapon: Underwater Nuclear Missiles
The National Interest

The US Navy is test-firing and upgrading its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear-armed submarine launched missiles designed to keep international peace -- by ensuring and undersea-fired second-strike ability in the event of a catastrophic nuclear first strike on the US. Firing from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida Aug. 31, a specially configured non-armed “test” version of the missile was fired from the Navy’s USS Maryland. This was the 161st successful Trident II launch since design completion in 1989.

OPINIONS

How to deal with North Korea
The Washington Post, Mike Mullen, Sam Nunn

North Korea presents one of the most dangerous international security challenges facing the world. In April, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a group of foreign diplomats that his country “will never allow war or chaos on the peninsula,” a statement that seemed to apply to all parties. The United States and China have a shared and vital national interest in preventing this from occurring. The time to act on that interest is now.

China Vital to Countering a More Dangerous North Korea
Council on Foreign Relations, Eleanor Albert, Mike Mullen

The United States, Japan, and South Korea should forge stronger diplomatic and military ties to motivate China to take a larger role in mitigating the North Korean nuclear threat, says retired Admiral Mike Mullen, co-chair of a new CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force report. North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear test in early September and represents “an incredible danger” to the United States and its allies in Northeast Asia, says Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

President Obama’s Missile Defense Policy: A Misguided Legacy
The Heritage Foundation, Michaela Dodge

As the ballistic missile threat continues to grow around the world, ballistic missile defense programs remain a quintessential feature of the U.S. national security posture. President Obama’s missile defense policy shifts and program cancellations cost the nation precious time and capabilities at a time when adversaries’ ballistic missile programs are becoming more sophisticated.

South Korea Ups the Ante
Stratfor

For North Korea, a nuclear weapons program is no longer a distant goal but a present reality. After years spent developing viable nuclear and missiles programs, Pyongyang is unlikely to trade them away in negotiations any time soon. Instead it will continue to cultivate its nuclear capabilities, seeking security through a credible nuclear deterrent. At the same time, regional and global powers are working to adapt their military strategies to accommodate North Korea's newfound nuclear abilities.

US involvement is critical for South Asian arms control
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mario Carranza

The India-Pakistan nuclear conundrum allows no quick fixes—but time to address the problem may be running out. Now is the moment for forceful US intervention that could help the South Asian rivals create a robust nuclear arms control regime and could save millions from a nuclear Armageddon.

Three Reasons Why America Cannot Accept A Nuclear North Korea
Forbes, Scott Snyder

There are three primary reasons that support President Obama’s statement that, indeed, the United States will never be able to accept North Korea as a nuclear state. First, the United States cannot accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state for normative reasons; North Korea had signed onto the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear state and then abandoned the treaty in order to pursue nuclear capabilities.

4 indirect consequences of North Korea's nuclear test, according to Eurasia
CNBC, Nyshka Chandran

North Korea's recent nuclear test, its largest one to date, could have consequences for players ranging from South Korean cosmetics firms to Chinese banks. Stringent new sanctions on the rogue nation are set to be the most tangible ramification from last Friday's incident, but the repercussions may go well beyond that.

SPECIAL INTEREST

In Chilling Documentary 'Command And Control,' A Nuclear Explosion Narrowly Avoided
NPR

When a nuclear bomb is in danger of accidental detonation, established procedures are carefully followed, and cooperation takes precedence over assigning blame. Or so the hopeful viewer might think before seeing Command and Control, a PBS American Experience documentary now in limited theatrical release before its broadcast debut.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 15, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 15, 2016

TOP NEWS

Refusing to Nuke First
The Atlantic, Dominic Tierney

Time for India and Pakistan to resolve their own crises
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

NNSA Should Evaluate the Role of the Enhanced Surveillance Program in Assessing the Condition of the U.S. Nuclear Stockpile
U.S. Government Accountability Office

How one of the world's most advanced missile-defense systems works in one graphic
Business Insider

U.S. experts call for sharper sanctions on N. Korea
Yonhap News

EAST ASIA

North Korea ramps up uranium enrichment, enough for six nuclear bombs a year: experts
Reuters

North Korea will have enough material for about 20 nuclear bombs by the end of this year, with ramped-up uranium enrichment facilities and an existing stockpile of plutonium, according to new assessments by weapons experts.

Analyst: North Korea could conduct next nuclear test in October
UPI

Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, stated in The New York Times on Tuesday that Pyongyang has conducted 17 missile tests and two nuclear tests. North Korea's next important date, Oct. 9, the 10th anniversary of its 2006 nuclear test, might be the "perfect occasion" for Kim Jong Un to conduct another test, according to the expert.

U.S. experts call for sharper sanctions on N. Korea
Yonhap News

Top U.S. experts called for sharper sanctions on North Korea on Wednesday, expressing serious concern about the progress in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile capabilities in the wake of its fifth nuclear test. "North Korea is shaping up to be the No. 1 security threat for the next U.S. presidency," Victor Cha, Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific.

China, Pakistan enabling North Korea’s nuclear program, may face sanctions: Experts
The Indian Express

China and Pakistan are “passive enablers” of the North Korean nuclear program and may face some secondary sanctions for violating UN approved sanction, say U.S.-based experts, with China being a bigger issue.

'No need to redeploy nuclear weapons to South Korea,' says US special envoy
IHS Jane’s 360

Sung Kim, the US Special Representative for North Korea Policy, said Washington sees no reason to redeploy US tactical atomic weapons to South Korea, the Korea JoongAng Daily newspaper reported on 14 September.

B-1 Bombers That Flew Over Japan, South Korea Not Nuke Capable
Bloomberg

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers that conducted training with both Japan and South Korea on Tuesday in response to North Korea’s fifth nuclear test can’t carry nuclear weapons, Air Force Global Strike Command says in statement.

MIDDLE EAST

After nuke deal was signed, Iran dissidents came to Israel to discuss its consequences
The Times of Israel

A group of high-profile Iranian dissidents visited Israel for a conference with local scholars shortly after the July 2015 signing of the nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers, an unprecedented move that came as Tehran was being welcomed back in the community of nations.

SOUTH ASIA

Time for India and Pakistan to resolve their own crises
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Responsibility for altering South Asia's strategic dynamic lies as much with India as with Pakistan. The two countries, together, are responsible for regional stability. As long as the two sides fail to recognize the mutuality of their threat perceptions, chances of establishing "mutually assured strategic stability" are dim. India and Pakistan cannot ignore or wish away geography. The only way toward strategic stability—a shared responsibility, after all—is through dialogue and cooperation.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

North Korea Nuclear Test Drives Home Need for UN Reform
The Diplomat

In these troubled times, the world needs a strong UN that can play a constructive and effective role in ensuring peace and stability in conflict areas, and also build consensus among countries to work together in preventing the escalation of conflicts. It is for this reason that urgent reforms are required in the Security Council, both by increasing the membership and by doing away with the veto power of a few select countries.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

NNSA Should Evaluate the Role of the Enhanced Surveillance Program in Assessing the Condition of the U.S. Nuclear Stockpile
U.S. Government Accountability Office

The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) did not fully implement the Enhanced Surveillance Program as envisioned in the agency's 2007 Surveillance Transformation Project (2007 initiative) and has not developed a long-term strategy for the program.

Agencies plan, prepare for ‘worst day’ with Malmstrom
Great Falls Tribune

Should a worst-case scenario come to life involving a nuclear site or convoy, it’s likely to occur off Malmstrom Air Force Base and in local jurisdictions, meaning local law enforcement agencies will become part of the response. On Wednesday, about 15 local, state, tribal and federal agencies joined Malmstrom airmen for an exercise of the Local Incident Response Plan and a demonstration of how security forces airmen would respond to a simulated attack on a convoy.

Pentagon to Accelerate Rail Gun Projectile Weapon - Fires From Army Howitzer
Scout

An Army Howitzer is now firing a 5,000-miles per hour, high-tech, electromagnetic Hyper Velocity Projectile, initially developed as a Navy weapon, an effort to fast-track increasing lethal and effective weapons to warzones and key strategic locations, Pentagon officials said. The weapon’s range, which can fire guided, high-speed projectiles more than 100 miles, makes it suitable for cruise missile defense, ballistic missile defense and various kinds of surface warfare applications.

OPINIONS

Refusing to Nuke First
The Atlantic, Dominic Tierney

Champions and critics of no-first-use often cast it as a principled policy and a revolutionary step, for good or for ill. But the idealistic symbolism of no-first-use betrays an underlying reality. Disavowing a first strike is a luxury afforded to the strong, and they play this card in the hope of strategic benefit. If Obama made a dramatic announcement of no-first-use, it would probably have less impact than people think because other countries wouldn’t follow suit, especially if they’re weak.

House Subcommittee Testimony of David Albright on North Korea’s Nuclear Program
Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright

Engaging North Korea has historically shown that it yields limitations and more transparency into North Korea’s nuclear activities compared to a policy of ignoring the threat while it grows. Combined with greater efforts to reign in its illicit activities and addressing regional security concerns, changing the status quo of North Korea’s ongoing dangerous provocations is possible. New thinking is needed to re-engage this dangerous regime and make steps toward the goal of denuclearization.

Why nuclear war looks inevitable
Reuters, Jason Fields

Several developments have the potential to move the hands of the nuclear doom clock closer to midnight. A new U.S. nuclear policy has a chance of destabilizing the balance of terror by creating a larger arsenal of smaller weapons. Why? Smaller weapons are more tempting to use.

South Korea Will Try to Blow Up Kim Jong-un If He Launches a Nuclear Weapon
The National Interest, Robert Beckhusen

If North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un orders a nuclear strike on South Korea, Seoul will attempt to kill him with missiles and devastate Pyongyang in the process. That’s according to a recent report from the Yonhap News Agency citing a military source. “Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon.”

The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Safer With or Without It?
U.S. Naval Institute, Barry Schneider

For the next 10 years, should Iran cheat on the agreement, all UN, U.S. and EU sanctions would automatically be immediately snapped back into place against Iran. If the agreement succeeds, it will prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon capability in the next decade or more. The Iran nuclear agreement buys time to improve US-Iranian relations and to defuse other points of contention in the Middle East. If it fails, the deterrence, international sanctions and military options remain viable.

Accepting the Unacceptable
U.S. News & World Report, James Robbins

The nuclear threat from North Korea continues to grow, despite numerous strong statements of concern from the United States. But Pyongyang knows that talk is cheap. The more powerful message from American inaction is: keep building.

SPECIAL INTEREST

How one of the world's most advanced missile-defense systems works in one graphic
Business Insider

On the heels of North Korea's latest, and largest, nuclear test, here's a look at Lockheed Martin's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. In July, Washington agreed to equip Seoul with a THAAD battery to further defend the region amid the North's missile tests. A THAAD battery is made up of a four-part antimissile system. The graphic shows the components needed for each enemy-target interception and how the unique missile-defense system works.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 14, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 14, 2016

TOP NEWS

Three concrete steps toward South Asian nuclear stability
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jayita Sarkar

Non-Nuclear Bombers For Reassurance and Deterrence
Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen

What a No First Use Policy Would Mean for Global Security
The Daily Signal, Michaela Dodge

2016 Open Ended Working Group: Towards 2017 Nuclear Weapon Ban Negotiations?
Arms Control Wonk

No position yet on accession of non-NPT country into NSG: China
The Indian Express

EAST ASIA

North Korea Can Produce Six Nuclear Weapons a Year, Say Experts
The Wire

North Korea will have enough material for about 20 nuclear bombs by the end of this year, with ramped-up uranium enrichment facilities and an existing stockpile of plutonium, according to new assessments by weapons experts.

N. Korea nuclear test site ready for at least three more blasts: US expert
The Korea Times

North Korea's nuclear test site is ready for at least three more blasts at any time, and the communist nation could conduct one to mark next month's anniversary of its first nuclear test, a U.S. expert said Tuesday.

S. Korea eyed shared control of nuclear weapons with the U.S.
The Asahi Shimbun

South Korea floated the idea of sharing in the control of nuclear weapons with the United States during bilateral talks held in May, citing North Korea's advances in developing weapons of mass destruction.

MIDDLE EAST

Why It Matters: Iran
ABC News

Last year's nuclear deal has removed for now the threat of a U.S.-Iranian military confrontation. But the deal rests on shaky ground. The accord curtailed Iran's nuclear program, pulling it back from atomic weapons capability in exchange for the end of various oil, trade and financial sanctions by the U.S. and six other world powers. The sides fulfilled their pledges in January.

SOUTH ASIA

India says holds "substantive" nuclear talks with China
Reuters

India on Tuesday said it had held "substantive" talks with China on its bid to become a fully fledged member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a club of nations that trades in civil nuclear technology.

No position yet on accession of non-NPT country into NSG: China
The Indian Express

China on Wednesday said it is yet to form a position on the accession of any specific non-NPT country into the NSG, as it parried questions on whether its “two-step formula” for allowing new members into the elite nuclear club was aimed at pushing Pakistan’s case along with that of India.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

2016 Open Ended Working Group: Towards 2017 Nuclear Weapon Ban Negotiations?
Arms Control Wonk

If one is to believe the diplomatic rumor mill, it appears that NWS officials have already been attempting to persuade some of the NNWS to reconsider their stance on the launch of negotiations for a ban in 2017 ahead of the 2016 First Committee. Perhaps if the NWS had engaged in the humanitarian initiative constructively since the 2013 Oslo conference and participated in the 2016 OEWG, they might have been able to manage the path and pace of the humanitarian initiative from within.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. Air Force’s Greaves nominated to lead Missile Defense Agency
Space News

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, who has led the Defense Department’s efforts to end reliance on a Russian rocket engine, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Missile Defense Agency.

OPINIONS

Three concrete steps toward South Asian nuclear stability
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jayita Sarkar

Initiatives of three kinds stand out for their potential to enhance South Asian nuclear stability. First, New Delhi and Islamabad could undertake bilateral cooperation in nuclear security. Second, the two sides could—with international help—seek to improve the region's nuclear cybersecurity. And India and Pakistan could commit, in one fashion or another, to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Non-Nuclear Bombers For Reassurance and Deterrence
Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen

Nuclear bombers continue to deploy to both Asia and Europe, and U.S. strategic bombers have had the capability to deliver conventional weapons for many years. But the use of exclusively non-nuclear strategic bombers in support of extended deterrence missions signals a new phase in U.S. military strategy that is part of an effort to reduce the role of nuclear weapons.

What a No First Use Policy Would Mean for Global Security
The Daily Signal, Michaela Dodge

Declaring a no first use policy would reverse decades of bipartisan support for the policy of calculated ambiguity the United States has upheld since the end of World War II. Moreover, there would be no tangible benefit to the United States in declaring such a policy. Quite the contrary, the allies who rely on U.S. nuclear weapons for their own security would have every reason to question U.S. commitment to their security.

The alarming progress of a nuclear North Korea
BBC, Stephen Evans

Prof Siegfried S Hecker of Stanford University in California is a former head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US and has visited North Korea's nuclear facilities frequently. He says, following the fifth nuclear test on Friday: "With the two successful nuclear tests this year, we must assume that the DPRK [North Korea] has designed and demonstrated nuclear warheads that can be mounted on some of its short-range and perhaps medium-range missiles.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Remember That Time the US Thought About Nuking the Moon?
VICE

The details Project A119 were first made public in 2000 by Leonard Reiffel, the physicist in charge of looking into the possibility of detonating a nuke on the moon's surface or just above it. Reiffel told the UK paper the Observer that Air Force officials had told him to look into the idea in 1958. The previous year, the USSR had launched Sputnik, the first manmade satellite, into orbit, and Reiffel said that the military brass he spoke to were worried about the Russians beating the Americans in the space race.

Read more…

Wednesday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS


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

Russian envoy calls for restraint amid tensions on Korean Peninsula
Yonhap

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

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

Receive Daily Nuclear Policy News

Subscribe to receive the Nuclear Policy News daily in your inbox!

Or subscribe to the Nuclear Policy News RSS Feed.