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

15 October 2019

During War Games, an Indian Diesel Submarine Sank a U.S. Nuclear Submarine


The Indian submarine INS Sindhudhvaj (S56) allegedly “killed” USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) during an exercise called Malabar that is held annually between India, Japan and the United States. According to the Indians, the submarines were assigned to track each other down in the Bay of Bengal. “The way it happens is that the Sindhudhvaj recorded the Hydrophonic Effect (HE) - simply put, underwater noise - of the nuclear powered submarine and managed to positively identify it before locking on to it. Being an exercise what did not happen was the firing,” an Indian naval officer told India Today. The Indian vessel then “sank” USS City of Corpus Christi using 533mm torpedoes.

If the Indian description of the events is correct, it would be a bright spot in an otherwise dismal record for New Delhi’s undersea force. In recent years, the woefully neglected Indian submarine fleet has suffered numerous calamities. Submarines have run aground, caught fire and even sunk due to a combination of underinvestment, negligence and corruption. Perhaps the worst incident was when INS Sindhurakshak sank when at harbor in Mumbai after a series of explosions in the forward torpedo bay, killing eighteen sailors.

Concern For Secretive US Bio-Geopolitics – OpEd

By Dan Steinbock

Entomological, anti-animal, and crop-based diseases typically occur for natural reasons. All three have also been aggravated by globalization and climate change. However, evidence suggests that some of these outbreaks may also involve prior deployment in “biological programs” and “research.” 

Take anthrax, for instance. Despite the post-9/11 concerns, the bacteria continue to be “researched.” In May 2015, the Pentagon confirmed that its lab in Utah had “inadvertently” sent live anthrax samples to one of its military bases in South Korea. Last April, civic groups and residents took to the streets to protest against biological agent experiments, which the US was reportedly conducting at Busan’s Port Pier 8. Pentagon’s budget estimates suggest the project was ongoing with funds set aside for live agent tests. 

These issues remain sensitive in East Asia, in light of the US biowarfare against North Koreans and Chinese in the 1950s and contemporary geopolitics. Biological agents have dual-use functions. Like new technologies, they can save, but also incapacitate and destroy human lives. 

Asian Swine Fever: Epidemics Vs Geopolitics 

12 October 2019

Trump's Parting Gift: An Iran with Nuclear Weapons?

by Amitai Etzioni

Rarely are one’s predictions as quickly tested as those I made in August. I suggested that the United States’ lame response to Iran’s aggressive actions would lead to escalation. It was not hard to predict. It seemed obvious to me that, unable to get the European Union to help meaningfully circumvent U.S. sanctions, Iran concluded that it ought to cause pain to those who imposed them. It carefully probed how far it could go without facing a forceful response. First, its forces planted mines on oil tankers, but above their waterline, so the tankers did not sink and there was no loss of life. Iran denies any involvement in this initial act. It then admitted that it shot down a U.S. drone, but tried to argue that it was flying over Iranian territory when it happened. These aggressions led to a very weak Western response (mainly the application of meaningless sanctions on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei). As a result, Iran escalated further by capturing an oil tanker and openly acknowledging that it had begun enriching its uranium. 

8 October 2019

Pentagon's Next-Gen Missile Defense Plan Could Leave U.S. Poorly Protected For Years

Loren Thompson

Nuclear attack is the biggest military threat to the security of the United States. A single megaton-size nuclear warhead aimed at a major American city could kill or maim over a million people. A handful of nuclear weapons aimed at several cities could collapse the national economy.

It is widely believed that a stable deterrence relationship exists between the U.S. and the other two major nuclear powers, Russia and China. North Korea, however, is not part of that relationship and it has recently tested missiles capable of reaching U.S. territory. Intelligence reports indicate the North Korean regime is working to wed nuclear warheads to its long-range missiles.

Iran may follow, with similarly unpredictable consequences. And even in the case of Russia and China, there is the danger of accidental or unauthorized launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Pentagon's Next-Gen Missile Defense Plan Could Leave U.S. Poorly Protected For Years

Loren Thompson
Source Link

Nuclear attack is the biggest military threat to the security of the United States. A single megaton-size nuclear warhead aimed at a major American city could kill or maim over a million people. A handful of nuclear weapons aimed at several cities could collapse the national economy.

It is widely believed that a stable deterrence relationship exists between the U.S. and the other two major nuclear powers, Russia and China. North Korea, however, is not part of that relationship and it has recently tested missiles capable of reaching U.S. territory. Intelligence reports indicate the North Korean regime is working to wed nuclear warheads to its long-range missiles.

Iran may follow, with similarly unpredictable consequences. And even in the case of Russia and China, there is the danger of accidental or unauthorized launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

7 October 2019

The U.S. Army Plans to Deploy Super-Charged Lasers to Shootdown Cruise Missiles

by Sebastien Roblin

Lasers focus beams of light to produce intense heat. They have virtually inexhaustible “ammunition” and are very cheap per shot compared to a missile or even a cannon shell. They are also extremely quick and precise, though they tend to lose coherence over distance. The more powerful the laser, the further it can go and the quicker it burns through its target—but the larger its power supply and cooling system have to be.

The Army hopes that ground-based lasers will provide an effective and cost-efficient means to defend against two major new threats which threaten to overwhelm existing air defenses: drones and surface-skimming cruise missiles. Both are proliferating rapidly around the globe, and both were employed in a recent attack that knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil production—despite the facilities being covered by both short- and long-range air defense systems.

20 September 2019

Global Nuclear Threat 'Highest Since Cuban Missile Crisis'

By Henry Ridgwell

LONDON - World leaders meeting at the United Nations General Assembly, which begins Tuesday in New York, must make nuclear arms control a priority, according to a group of more than 100 political, military and diplomatic figures from Europe and Russia. They have issued a joint statement warning that the risks of nuclear accident, misjudgment or miscalculation have not been higher since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Their statement follows the formal termination last month of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty between the United States and Russia. Washington had accused Moscow of breaching the treaty and argued that the agreement was out of date, as it should include other nuclear-armed states like China.

19 September 2019

Interview with Alex Wellerstein on NUKEMAP VR

By Alex Wellerstein, John Krzyzaniak

It is no exaggeration to claim that, since it first went online in 2012, Alex Wellerstein’s original NUKEMAP tool has enabled millions of people all over the world to fathom the effects of a nuclear explosion. Now, together with fellow collaborators at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Wellerstein is working on a new project that combines the information base of NUKEMAP with the immersive first-person experience of virtual reality (VR). In this interview, Wellerstein discusses the first prototype of NUKEMAP VR, the possibilities it unlocks, and the feedback he has received so far.

John Krzyzaniak: What is NUKEMAP VR?

Alex Wellerstein: NUKEMAP VR is a collaboration between me and my colleague, Christopher Manzione, who is a virtual reality artist. Our aim is to translate some of the goals and even code of the NUKEMAP project into a virtual reality experience, in order to help people visualize and personalize the effects of a nuclear weapon.

It’s also an experiment to see whether or not this approach changes how people think about nuclear weapons. We have found that different types of representations of nuclear weapons can really change how people think of them. The effects of nuclear weapons are pretty hard for most people to conceptualize in their day-to-day life—for good reasons!

JK: Where did the idea come from?

13 September 2019

Is it time to ditch the NPT?

By Joelien Pretorius, Tom Sauer

In 2020, the participants in the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will congregate for the treaty’s 10th review conference. Which means that it may be a good time to re-examine the relevance of the NPT, and even consider the idea of dropping this treaty in its entirety, in favor of the new kid on the block: the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, also know as the Ban Treaty. At the risk of grossly oversimplifying, one treaty seeks to stop the further spread of nuclear weapons, while the other goes further and seeks to get rid of them entirely. This difference is reflected in their formal titles.

Why should we ditch the former in favor of the latter? To answer that, let us look at history.

In the half-century of its existence, the broader objective of the NPT—to restrict the spread of nuclear weapons—has been corrupted. Instead, states possessing nuclear weapons have used the NPT to legalize their own nuclear weapons and criminalize everyone else’s. The result is a one-sided and duplicitous nuclear order that is unstable, dangerous, and contrary to the expectations on which non-nuclear weapon states joined the NPT. The nuclear weapon states have squandered a number of opportunities to fulfill their end of the bargain embedded in the treaty. These include reneging on commitments given at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, the 2000 and 2010 Review Conference conclusions, and boycotting the UN-mandated multilateral negotiations of a legal prohibition on nuclear weapons. These failures line up as proof that nuclear weapon states have no intention to give up their nuclear weapons.

10 September 2019

Tactical nuclear weapons, 2019

By Hans M. Kristensen, Matt Korda

The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists, and Matt Korda, a research associate with the project. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the since 1987. This issue’s column examines tactical nuclear weapons in world nuclear arsenals. Since the end of the Cold War, inventories have declined by an order of magnitude from 20,000–30,000 to about 2,500 today. Both the United States, Pakistan, and Russia are modernizing their tactical nuclear arsenals, adding new types to the inventory and increasing the role and salience of tactical nuclear weapons in their military strategies. Moreover, tactical nuclear weapons are being used to undermine existing arms control agreements. These trends threaten to re-create some of the dynamics that during the Cold War triggered an arms race and dangerous escalation strategies that increased the risk of nuclear war.

5 September 2019

CONCERNS REEMERGE ABOUT LIMITED NUCLEAR WAR

AL MAURONI

The Army is in the midst of a reorientation—planning and preparing for conflict with peer and near-peer adversaries, as directed by the 2018 National Military Strategy. This reorientation will involve changes big and small, with the Army embracing both new technologies and concepts—such as unmanned systems and Multi-Domain Operations—and dusting off and updating old ones—such as camouflage and electronic warfare.

But one thing is strikingly absent: Army leaders are not giving sufficient consideration to the threat of nuclear weapons.

For nearly two decades, the U.S. military has been focused on combat against non-nuclear nation-states in which post-conflict counterinsurgency operations took significantly more time and resources than planned. As a result of these engagements, U.S. military readiness for conventional operations against a near-peer state has measurably degraded. A 2016 RAND Corp. report suggested Russia could overrun the Baltics before NATO could respond, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested he would resort to limited nuclear weapons use to stop NATO offensives.

Chem-Bio Defense Office Reorganizes to Take on New Threats

By Yasmin Tadjdeh

WILMINGTON, Del. — The Pentagon’s joint program executive office for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense — which is tasked with protecting the military from some of the world’s most dangerous pathogens and nerve agents — is emerging from a major reorganization that officials believe will better position it to meet new threats.

The office, as it worked to streamline its operations across the board, mulled over how it could get technology into the hands of warfighters faster and do business better, said Doug Bryce, the head of the JPEO. That required a rejiggering of its programs.

“Our mission and vision have not changed but we did reorganize,” he said during remarks at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual CBRN Conference and Exhibition in Wilmington, Delaware.

The office facilitates a number of projects across multiple lines of effort, but officials were finding that some programs were not always working together seamlessly, Bryce said.

4 September 2019

Reassessing Maritime Dynamics of the Arctic Ocean

By Zaeem Hassan Mehmood
Source Link

The Arctic Ocean is defined by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), to consist of the circular portion of waters around the geographical North Pole. It does not encompass the surrounding seas, of the Barents, the Kara, and the Beaufort seas. The term ‘Arctic Ocean’ is used to describe all the waters of the North Polar Region that are above the North Polar Circle. States which have direct access to the Arctic waters are Iceland, Denmark (through Greenland), and Norway. During the Cold War, the Arctic involved hardcore security dimension involving nuclear and conventional competition. In the more contemporary times; economics, energy, and environmental aspects of security, have added to the already present conflict over sovereignty rights.

The Cold War era, involved the Arctic region to be perceived from the East–West hostility. In the 1950s, Arctic was the direct route from one superpower’s territory to the other. Since the introduction of nuclear submarines, it became a sanctuary and an outpost for the SSBNs. After the cessation of bipolar hostilities, the tensions gradually diminished and the risk of an all-out nuclear war with Russia was deemed rather less conceivable. Nevertheless, international developments indicating for a waning US power and emergence of a multi-polar order; has brought the states to once again strongly rely on submarine based nuclear deterrence. Added to that, the enlargement of NATO, has restricted the global maritime domain of the Russian Navy. Therefore, the northern waters provide the Russian Navy an access, which is likely to increase with anticipated melting of the polar ice caps. US similarly considers the region as strategically valuable in the context of their missile defense programme. The Thule radar located in Greenland have been upgraded to contribute to the early warning missile defence network.

CONCERNS REEMERGE ABOUT LIMITED NUCLEAR WAR

AL MAURONI

The Army is in the midst of a reorientation—planning and preparing for conflict with peer and near-peer adversaries, as directed by the 2018 National Military Strategy. This reorientation will involve changes big and small, with the Army embracing both new technologies and concepts—such as unmanned systems and Multi-Domain Operations—and dusting off and updating old ones—such as camouflage and electronic warfare.

But one thing is strikingly absent: Army leaders are not giving sufficient consideration to the threat of nuclear weapons.

For nearly two decades, the U.S. military has been focused on combat against non-nuclear nation-states in which post-conflict counterinsurgency operations took significantly more time and resources than planned. As a result of these engagements, U.S. military readiness for conventional operations against a near-peer state has measurably degraded. A 2016 RAND Corp. report suggested Russia could overrun the Baltics before NATO could respond, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested he would resort to limited nuclear weapons use to stop NATO offensives.

31 August 2019

Learning From Kazakhstan: Making Nuclear Weapons Safer for the World

By Stephen Blank

Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM via AP

Russia’s recent nuclear disaster’s impact transcends its borders. The information about an alleged nuclear powered and nuclear-capable weapon’s test going awry in the White Sea in Russia’s North trickled slowly. Whether or not the weapon in question was the nuclear-powered cruise missile, Burevestnik (Storm Petrel), or a nuclear anti-ship missile like the Tsirkon (Zircon), this weapon was expressly invented to circumvent U.S. missile defenses and existing arms control treaties. 

Like the Novator missile that caused the demise of the INF treaty, the deadly weapons systems represent Russia’s belief that the U.S. is conspiring to attack it, and that Moscow’s existing nuclear weapons cannot adequately defend Russia. The result so far has been the shredding of the previously existing arms control regime and mounting threats to Russia’s people and environment. 

Neither is Moscow the only state shredding arms control. China is building more nuclear weapons than ever before, eschews participation in arms control talks, and avoids providing a verifiable basis for estimating its true nuclear capabilities. 

28 August 2019

Project Pluto and the trouble with Russia’s nuclear-powered cruise missile

By John Krzyzaniak

It’s hard to know exactly what happened on August 8, when an accident offshore of the Nenoksa Missile Test Site in northern Russia caused an explosion. But we do know that it left five Russian nuclear scientists dead and caused a spike in radiation levels in the surrounding area. The available evidence has led some US intelligence officials, arms control experts, and President Trump to conclude that the Russians were testing an engine for a nuclear-powered cruise missile (though there are skeptics).

If the suspicions are correct, then this accident (and prior setbacks) show that the Russian quest for a nuclear-powered cruise missile may be a quixotic one. Before pressing on, Vladimir Putin would be well-advised to review some of the myriad problems that the United States’ own nuclear-powered cruise missile program, Project Pluto, experienced in the late-1950s and early-1960s. Below is a brief overview of the technical, environmental, and political challenges that Project Pluto faced.

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.