Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News - April 5, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 5, 2017

TOP NEWS

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

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

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

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

EAST ASIA

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

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

MIDDLE EAST

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

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

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

OPINIONS

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

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 4, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 4, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

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

Israel’s latest missile interceptor enters service
The Guardian

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



EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

 

MIDDLE EAST

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

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



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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



OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – April 3, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – April 3, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


Trump national security aides complete North Korea policy review
Reuters

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

Trump Ready to Tackle North Korea Alone
Real Clear Defense




EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

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




SOUTH ASIA

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



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

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

 



OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 30, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 30, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

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

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

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




EAST ASIA

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

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

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

 

MIDDLE EAST

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



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

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



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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



OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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



SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 29, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 29, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


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

Russian envoy calls for restraint amid tensions on Korean Peninsula
Yonhap

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

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



EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

 

MIDDLE EAST

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




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE


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



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

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

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

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

 



OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 28, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 28, 2017

 

TOP NEWS


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

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

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

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





EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

 

MIDDLE EAST

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

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

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

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

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

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

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

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

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

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

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

 

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 27, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 27, 2017

TOP NEWS


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

Iran Imposes Sanctions on 15 US Firms
Fox Business

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

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



EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

 

MIDDLE EAST

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

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

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

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

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

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

 

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 22, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 22, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China not to attend nuclear weapon ban treaty negotiation
CCTV

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

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

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


EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


MIDDLE EAST

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




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

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




U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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




OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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




SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 21, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 21, 2017

TOP NEWS

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

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

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

Trump administration weighing broad sanctions on North Korea
Reuters




EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

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



SOUTH ASIA

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

 



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

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

 




U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

 



OPINIONS

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

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

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




SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

 

 

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 20, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 20, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

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

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


EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

 


U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

 

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 17, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 17, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

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

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




EAST ASIA

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

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

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



RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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




MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

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




U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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




OPINIONS

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

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

 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 16, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 16, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

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

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





EAST ASIA

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

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

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

 

 

MIDDLE EAST

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

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




SOUTH ASIA

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

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

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

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



OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

 

 

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 15, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 15, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

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

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

Feinstein

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



EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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




SOUTH ASIA

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

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

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




OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nuclear missile surprises
The Washington Times, Peter Vincent Pry

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

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

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

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

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

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




SPECIAL INTEREST

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


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

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 10, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 10, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

Iran successfully tests ballistic missile
Defense News

Russia denies violating nuclear arms pact with US
Defense News

 

EAST ASIA

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

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

 

MIDDLE EAST

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

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

SOUTH ASIA

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

 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

 

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - March 8, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 8, 2017

TOP NEWS

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

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

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

Rising Tensions With North Korea
New York Times Editorial Board

EAST ASIA

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

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

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

MIDDLE EAST

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

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

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

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

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

SOUTH ASIA

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

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 6, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 6, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

Iran tests sophisticated Russian defense system
The Military Times

Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors
IAEA

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


EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

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

 

MIDDLE EAST

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

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

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

 

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

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

 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

 

 

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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




SPECIAL INTEREST

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

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 3, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 3, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

China Retaliates Against South Korea for THAAD
Real Clear Defense

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

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

EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

 

SOUTH ASIA

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

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

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

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

 

OPINIONS

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

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

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

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 2, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 2, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

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

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

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

 

EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

 

MIDDLE EAST

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

 

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

 

 

SOUTH ASIA

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

 

 

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

 

 

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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


SPECIAL INTEREST

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – March 1, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – March 1, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

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

Reuters

India’s indigenous supersonic interceptor missile successfully test-fired

Hindustan Times

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

Reuters




EAST ASIA

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

Reuters

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

 

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

Reuters

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

 



SOUTH ASIA

 

India approves Army MR-SAM acquisition

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

 

India’s indigenous supersonic interceptor missile successfully test-fired

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

 



MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

 

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

Reuters

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

 



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

 

Kratos MRBM target supports SM-3 Block intercept test

IHS Jane’s 360

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

 

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

CNN

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

OPINIONS

How to stop Russia from cheating on missile treaty

The Hill, Thomas Karako

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

 

Learning to Live with Nuclear Weapons Long Term

Investor’s Business Daily, Robert Monroe

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

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

The National Interest, Mackenzie Eaglen

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

 

Key Problems Trump Needs to Address on The Iran Nuclear Deal

Forbes, Amir Basiri

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


Don’t Underestimate North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal

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

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





SPECIAL INTEREST

This diamond battery is made from nuclear waste

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – February 27, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – February 27, 2017

 

TOP NEWS

Lotte approves land swap plan for THAAD deployment
Yonhap

Iran confirms successful marine cruise missile launch
Tehran Times

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

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


EAST ASIA

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

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

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



MIDDLE EAST

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

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




RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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



SOUTH ASIA

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

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



U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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



OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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




SPECIAL INTEREST

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

 

 

Read more…

Monday's Top Nuclear Policy News

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

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

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

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