Showing posts with label WMD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WMD. Show all posts

21 August 2019

On nuclear protection, Japan gets a wake-up call from Trump

Brahma Chellaney

North Korea has test-fired a slew of short-range ballistic missiles in recent weeks, including three new systems, indicating that it has been busy boosting its sub-regional capabilities since its leader Kim Jong-un met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Korean demilitarized zone in June. Yet Mr. Trump has openly condoned the North Korean tests, largely because the new missiles threaten not the United States but Japan and South Korea.

Indeed, Mr. Trump has clearly indicated that his administration will put up with North Korea’s sub-regionally confined nuclear arsenal (as Washington has done with Pakistan’s) as long as Mr. Kim does not pursue long-range capability that threatens the United States. Not surprisingly, this American stand unnerves Japan, which is central to U.S. military deployments in Asia but feels increasingly vulnerable to growing Chinese and North Korean missile capabilities.

Mr. Trump’s position not only emboldens Mr. Kim but also gives him virtually a free hand in developing and testing short-range missiles that can potentially deliver nuclear warheads.

20 August 2019

Fast and Furiously Accurate

By Lieutenant Andrea Howard, U.S. Navy

Testifying before Congress, Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin outlined the consequences of the United States falling behind Russia and China on one of the most threatening breakthroughs today—hypersonic weapons: “Let them have their way, or go nuclear.”1

The United States may face this dismal choice between incapacitation or nuclear escalation if attacked with hypersonic weapons without a credible, equal response. However, by developing more-precise technology—and specifically integrating hypersonic weapons with U.S. Navy submarines—the United States may gain an edge in developing the fastest, most precise weapons the world has ever seen.

Faster than Supersonic

18 August 2019

Air Force Researchers Call for National Electromagnetic Attack Preparation

JOHN A. TIRPAK

Everyday Americans aren’t worried enough about the threat of a massive electromagnetic attack, according to a new, 130-page Air University report on electromagnetic spectrum vulnerabilities.

During the Cold War, the public was aware of the threat of nuclear attack and took it seriously, participants in the Electromagnetic Task Force’s 2019 study said. They concluded the US should mount a similar national campaign encouraging individuals, the military, and industry to adopt electromagnetic protection and resilience plans, just as citizens built bomb shelters during the Cold War.

An electromagnetic pulse attack is essentially a surge of energy, caused by a nuclear detonation or a solar storm, that could overload electronics and cause them to fail. While national leaders and industry are more aware of the potential impacts, the Air University study said, an effort akin to the “Smokey Bear” wildfire-prevention initiative could better alert the public.

17 August 2019

U.S. Officials Suspect New Nuclear Missile in Explosion That Killed 7 Russians

By David E. Sanger and Andrew E. Kramer
Source Link

American intelligence officials are racing to understand a mysterious explosion that released radiation off the coast of northern Russia last week, apparently during the test of a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile hailed by President Vladimir V. Putin as the centerpiece of Moscow’s arms race with the United States.

American officials have said nothing publicly about the blast on Thursday, possibly one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl, although apparently on a far smaller scale, with at least seven people, including scientists, confirmed dead. But the Russian government’s slow and secretive response has set off anxiety in nearby cities and towns — and attracted the attention of analysts in Washington and Europe who believe the explosion may offer a glimpse of technological weaknesses in Russia’s new arms program.

Thursday’s accident happened offshore of the Nenoksa Missile Test Site and was followed by what nearby local officials initially reported was a spike in radiation in the atmosphere.

14 August 2019

Long After Hiroshima – OpEd

By David Swanson

How do we honor victims? We can remember them and appreciate who they were. But there were too many of them, and too many unknown to us. So, we can remember a sample of them, examples of them. And we can honor the living survivors, get to know and appreciate them while they are still alive.

We can remember the horrific way in which those killed were victimized, in hopes of manipulating ourselves into doing something serious about it. We can remember those who were instantly vaporized, but also those half-burnt, partially melted, those eaten out from the inside by maggots, those who died slowly in excruciating pain and in the presence of their screaming children, those who died from drinking water they knew would kill them but who were driven to it by thirst.

13 August 2019

The Return of Doomsday

By Ernest J. Moniz And Sam Nunn

The year is 2020. The Russian military is conducting a large exercise in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea that borders the NATO member states Lithuania and Poland. An observer aircraft from the Western alliance accidentally crosses into Russian airspace and is shot down by a surface-to-air missile. NATO rushes air squadrons and combat vessels into the region. Both sides warn that they will consider using nuclear weapons if their vital interests are threatened.

Already on edge after the invasion of Crimea, rising tensions in the Middle East, the collapse of arms control agreements, and the deployment of new nuclear weapons, NATO and Russia are suddenly gearing up for conflict. In Washington, with the presidential campaign well under way, candidates are competing to take the hardest line on Russia. In Moscow, having learned that anti-Americanism pays off, the Russian leadership is escalating its harsh rhetoric against Washington. 

11 August 2019

The Return of Doomsday

By Ernest J. Moniz And Sam Nunn 

The year is 2020. The Russian military is conducting a large exercise in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea that borders the NATO member states Lithuania and Poland. An observer aircraft from the Western alliance accidentally crosses into Russian airspace and is shot down by a surface-to-air missile. NATO rushes air squadrons and combat vessels into the region. Both sides warn that they will consider using nuclear weapons if their vital interests are threatened.

Already on edge after the invasion of Crimea, rising tensions in the Middle East, the collapse of arms control agreements, and the deployment of new nuclear weapons, NATO and Russia are suddenly gearing up for conflict. In Washington, with the presidential campaign well under way, candidates are competing to take the hardest line on Russia. In Moscow, having learned that anti-Americanism pays off, the Russian leadership is escalating its harsh rhetoric against Washington. 

7 August 2019

What Does the Demise of the INF Treaty Mean for Nuclear Arms Control?

BY LARA SELIGMAN, ROBBIE GRAMER
Source Link

President Donald Trump on Friday officially terminated a longstanding U.S. nuclear treaty with Russia, potentially signaling the beginning of the end of the arms control architecture that has regulated nuclear weapons since the Cold War. 

The United States’ formal exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia raises important new questions on the future of nuclear arms control, including the fate of another major arms treaty, sparking a fierce debate among Washington policymakers. All sides agree that the United States must prevent the devastating use of a nuclear weapon, but experts are divided over how to overhaul binary Cold War-era arms controls to better fit a modern world where an increasing number of nations and nonstate actors have access to nuclear technology. 

With an estimated 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, the debate over the future of arms control is one that quite literally affects the fate of humanity. 

5 August 2019

Stratcom: China Rapidly Building Up Nuclear Forces

Bill Gertz 

OMAHA—China is aggressively building up nuclear warfighting forces as part of a larger effort to expand power over Asia and globally, according to senior officials of the U.S. Strategic Command.

Vice Admiral David Kriete, deputy commander of the command, said he is concerned by China's rapidly growing nuclear arsenal when combined with other alarming activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

"China is and has been for the last couple of decades on a very clear trajectory where they're increasing the numbers of nuclear weapons that they field, they're increasing the number of and diversity of the delivery systems," Kriete said in a press briefing.

"They are working on fielding a triad—ballistic missile submarines, strategic bombers, and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles."

Dear China, We Have to Talk About Your Nukes

BY ROBERT A. MANNING

U.S. President Donald Trump recently called for ambitious new arms control accords that not only extend the New START agreement with Russia, but also bring China into trilateral nuclear diplomacy. Trump should be commended for his apparent desire to avoid an unnecessary and costly arms race, and for the foresight that China is an increasingly important part of nuclear calculus and U.S. grand strategy.

But Trump is half wrong. The president’s proposal might be intended as an honest effort to deal with the China factor in the nuclear equation, or, alternatively, as a subtle way to kill New START, which expires in 2021, by linking it to China. Either way, the plan is a nonstarter. Why? The United States and Russia have more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. As part of a major military buildup, with China’s military budget rising 8 percent in 2018 to roughly $175 billion, Beijing has dramatically increased its nuclear capabilities over the past 20 years—however, more so in quality than quantity. It has built new nuclear submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to ensure it can respond to a nuclear attack in kind.

4 August 2019

What’s in it for China? A Beijing Insider’s Surprising Insight on Nuclear Arms Control

GEORGE PERKOVICH

If bookies took wagers on nuclear weapons, the odds would be very high that in eighteen months all legal controls on nuclear arsenals will have ended. That’s because the smart money says that Washington and Moscow will not extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) before it expires in February 2021. This means that the United States and Russia, like China and the six other nuclear-armed countries, will be free to build and deploy as many of these weapons as they want.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration—perhaps against the odds—says its top priority is to establish a new “twenty-first-century model of arms control” that would include China, as well as Russia and the United States. But Beijing declined an invitation to discuss these issues with U.S. and Russian diplomats in Geneva in July 2019. (The U.S.-Russian talks ended with no report of progress).

Perkovich works primarily on nuclear strategy and nonproliferation issues; cyberconflict; and new approaches to international public-private management of strategic technologies.

Cybersecurity by Design in Civil Nuclear Power Plants

Dr Beyza Unal

• The application of ‘security by design’ in nuclear new builds could provide operators with the opportunity to establish a robust and resilient security architecture at the beginning of a nuclear power plant’s life cycle. This will enhance the protection of the plant and reduce the need for costly security improvements during its operating life.

• Security by design cannot fully protect a nuclear power plant from rapidly evolving cyberattacks, which expose previously unsuspected or unknown vulnerabilities.

• Careful design of security systems and architecture can – and should – achieve levels of protection that exceed current norms and expectations. However, the sourcing of components from a global supply chain means that the integrity of even the most skilfully designed security regime cannot be guaranteed without exhaustive checks of its components.

2 August 2019

U.S. Senate Targets Saudi Nuclear Technology

BY ROBBIE GRAMER 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is introducing new legislation aimed at restricting the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, the latest sign of growing congressional backlash to the Trump administration’s close relationship with the wealthy Gulf nation.

The bill, put forward by Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, would bar the U.S. Export-Import Bank from financing the transfer of nuclear technology and equipment to Saudi Arabia, absent nuclear cooperation agreements, and adopting restrictive international standards to safeguard against nuclear proliferation. The Export-Import Bank plays a key role in funding the export of U.S. nuclear energy equipment and technology abroad.

“We should never allow nuclear material to fall into the wrong hands, and certainly the [Saudi] crown prince and this regime have demonstrated they can’t be trusted,” said Van Hollen in a phone interview.

30 July 2019

Where U.S. Nuclear Bombs Are Stored In Europe

by Niall McCarthy

A NATO-affiliated body recently released and subsequently deleted a document that apparently confirmed something that has been suspected for a long time - U.S. nuclear weapons are being stored at air bases in several European countries. The document was compiled in April and a copy was published on Tuesday by Belgian newspaper De Morgen which states that more than 150 B61 nuclear bombs are currently stored at six bases in Europe.

28 July 2019

The Criticality of EMP Protection Guidelines

By Peter Pry

President Donald Trump deserves America’s gratitude for his Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses, signed on March 26, 2019. This White House executive order, coordinated with all relevant departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, culminates 20 years of effort by scientists and strategists to protect the national electric power grid and other life-sustaining critical national infrastructures—for example, communications, transportation, business and finance, food and water—from the existential threat of a natural or manmade electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

EMP threatens the foundations of modern electronic civilization that sustains the lives of millions:

Natural EMP from a solar superstorm could blackout electric grids and critical life-sustaining infrastructures worldwide.

Nuclear EMP attack from the high-altitude (30 kilometers or higher) detonation of a single nuclear weapon could blackout electric grids and critical life-sustaining infrastructures for much or all of the continental United States.

Non-nuclear EMP weapons (such as radiofrequency weapons), available to terrorists and criminals, can be used singly to pose localized threats, or in larger numbers to make a coordinated attack that could blackout the national U.S. electric power grid.

27 July 2019

Using Commercial Satellites To Control Nuclear Weapons Is A Bad Idea -- But It's Being Discussed

Loren Thompson

Next month marks the 70th anniversary of the day in 1949 when U.S. intelligence discovered the Soviet Union had conducted its first successful test of a nuclear weapon. From that day forward, most Americans have understood that nuclear war would likely be the worst fate that could ever befall our republic.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the appearance of new threats, though, the sense of urgency about nuclear security has waned. The infrastructure supporting nuclear deterrence has decayed to a point where all three legs of the strategic “triad”—land-based missiles, sea-based missiles and long-range bombers—need to be replaced. Meanwhile, the architecture used to command and control nuclear forces has changed little since the Reagan era.

Against this backdrop, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force said something curious at a meeting of the Mitchell Institute on June 26. The institute recently produced a report focused on the need to modernize technology for nuclear command and control. General David Goldfein opined that ongoing efforts to network the Air Force were as relevant to control of nuclear forces as conventional forces.

24 July 2019

The Democratization of Space New Actors Need New Rules

By Dave Baiocchi And William Welser IV

Starting with the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik in 1957, early space missions were funded exclusively by national governments, and for good reason: going to space was astronomically expensive. Setting up a successful space program meant making major investments in expertise and infrastructure, along with tolerating a great deal of risk—which only the superpowers could do. NASA’s Apollo program, for instance, employed 400,000 people, cost more than $110 billion in today’s dollars, and resulted in the death of three skilled astronauts. Not surprisingly, then, the legal framework that developed as the space race intensified was government-centric. In 1967, the United States, the Soviet Union, and many other countries signed the Outer Space Treaty, which set up a framework for managing activities in space—usually defined as beginning 62 miles above sea level. The treaty established national governments as the parties responsible for governing space, a principle that remains in place today.

22 July 2019

Is industry cyber(in)security DoD’s Achilles’ heel?

By: Mark Pomerleau   

Military leaders like to point out that the nature of warfare is unlikely to change, but the character of war — how they are fought and with what — is rapidly evolving. Physically, the United States benefits from the geographic isolation, separated from adversaries on all sides by large oceans and friendly nations, but the advent of cyber capabilities has created new attack vectors. In turn, agencies are pursuing case studies and exercises to identify best practices in less transparent, highly vulnerable sectors, such as manufacturing.

The homeland is no longer a sanctuary

In the event of a conflict, it is within the realm of possibility that adversaries will try to target small to medium-sized manufacturing companies with crippling cyberattacks. In many cases, these companies provide the Department of Defense with critical services but often are so small that they don’t have the wherewithal to institute enough cyber defenses against intrusions.

21 July 2019

Why the S-400 Missile is Highly Effective — If Used Correctly


Modern long-range surface-to-air missile systems provide some of the most effective air defense in existence. However, extended-range SAMs are also inherently vulnerable to standoff and saturation attacks if not properly supported. Ultimately, the effectiveness of long-range SAMs depends on the country where they are deployed and how that country uses them. 

Russian surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) continue to dominate the headlines. The country's long-range S-400 SAM systems recently made landfall in Turkey, much to the consternation of the West, while its older S-300 variants have been exported to a variety of countries, including Syria. Public discussions persist over whether Gulf states should buy long-range Russian air defense platforms — as opposed to American ones — or whether Iran could acquire S-400s to bolster its air defenses. Given the system's power, it's no wonder that such sales are dominating the news. But the reality remains that the value of long-range SAMs does not directly equal their theoretical capabilities, depending far more on who is using the system — and how.

The Big Picture

19 July 2019

Can commercial satellites revolutionize nuclear command and control?

By: Nathan Strout  

The rapid growth of commercial space makes the use of non-government satellites for nuclear command and control increasingly tempting, according to one official.

During a speech June 26, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said that the service — which oversees both the United States’ ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as strategic bombers capable of delivering nuclear warheads — was open to the idea of using private sector satellites.

“Whether it’s Silicon Valley or commercial space, there’s unlimited opportunities ahead right now for us in terms of how we think differently on things like nuclear command and control,” said Goldfien. “I, for one, am pretty excited about it.”