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

22 October 2017



Strategic competition among China, India, and Pakistan has traditionally been land-oriented, with a focus on territorial disputes. On the conventional military front, the Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani navies have received the least attention and resources from their respective governments. Similarly, the development of air- and land-based nuclear weapons has historically taken precedence both in defense budgets and as a means of projecting power. However, as China continues its economic and military expansion across the Indian Ocean, the maritime domain is receiving increased attention, with all three states making a concurrent drive toward acquiring sea-based nuclear weapons.

21 October 2017

This Is What Nuclear Weapons Leave in Their Wake

By Alexandra Genova 

A remote area of Kazakhstan was once home to nearly a quarter of the world’s nuclear testing. The impact on its inhabitants has been devastating.

Decay and desolation scar the landscape of a remote corner of the Kazakh Steppe. Unnatural lakes formed by nuclear bomb explosions pockmark the once flat terrain, broken up only by empty shells of buildings. It appears uninhabitable. And yet, ghosts – living and dead – haunt the land, still burdened by the effects a nuclear testing program that stopped nearly 30 years ago.

20 October 2017



Could a president’s overconfidence in U.S. defensive systems lead to deadly miscalculation and nuclear armageddon? Yes. Yes, it could. Last Wednesday, referring to potential American responses to North Korea’s missile and nuclear program, President Donald Trump told Sean Hannity “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them it’s gonna get knocked out.” If Trump believes — or is being told — that American missile defenses are that accurate, not only is he factually wrong, he is also very dangerously wrong. This misperception could be enough to lead the United States into a costly war with devastating consequences.

The Middle Eastern Roots of Nuclear Alarmism over North Korea

By Rebecca Friedman Lissner

Nuclear alarmism is reaching a fever pitch in Washington. President Donald Trump has responded to North Korea’s push toward a nuclear-capable ICBM with paroxysms of bluster: He warned that North Korean threats to the United States would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” proclaimed Kim Jong Un a “Rocket Man” (and now “Little Rocket Man”) on a “suicide mission,” and averred the North Korean regime “won’t be around for much longer.” Other members of the administration have echoed the president’s rhetoric: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster suggested that Kim is undeterrable. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley trumpeted “plenty of military options.” The White House has engaged in open discussion of preventive war.

17 October 2017

The Risks of Pakistan's Sea-Based Nuclear Weapons

Nine days into 2017, Pakistan carried out the first-ever flight test of the Babur-3, it’s new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). A variant of the Babur-3 ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), this SLCM will see Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent head to sea—probably initially aboard its Agosta 90B and Agosta 70 submarines, but eventually, perhaps even on board new Type 041 Yuan-class submarines Pakistan is expected to procure from China.

The Middle Eastern Roots of Nuclear Alarmism Over North Korea

By Rebecca Friedman Lissner
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Nuclear alarmism is reaching a fever pitch in Washington. President Donald Trump has responded to North Korea’s push toward a nuclear-capable ICBM with paroxysms of bluster: He warned that North Korean threats to the United States would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” proclaimed Kim Jong Un a “Rocket Man” (and now “Little Rocket Man”) on a “suicide mission,” and averred the North Korean regime “won’t be around for much longer.” Other members of the administration have echoed the president’s rhetoric: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster suggested that Kim is undeterrable. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley trumpeted “plenty of military options.” The White House has engaged in open discussion of preventive war.

Minuteman III Replacement: Key to Nuclear Deterrence

In order to deter nuclear aggression against its homeland and vital interests, the U.S. must demonstrate that its strategic arsenal is capable of surviving an attack and then retaliating with devastating force against the aggressor. In other words, the losses an attacker would suffer must demonstrably exceed any potential gains. Thus, the paradox of nuclear strategy is that when weapons are postured effectively, they will never be used. We buy and maintain nuclear weapons in the hope they will remain in their submarines and silos forever.

15 October 2017

Congress warned North Korean EMP attack would kill '90% of all Americans'

by Paul Bedard

Congress was warned Thursday that North Korea is capable of attacking the U.S. today with a nuclear EMP bomb that could indefinitely shut down the electric power grid and kill 90 percent of "all Americans" within a year. 

At a House hearing, experts said that North Korea could easily employ the "doomsday scenario" to turn parts of the U.S. to ashes. 

13 October 2017

Iran, Trump And The Art Of The Nuclear Deal

by Matthew Bey

Deep ideological differences and mutual mistrust have marred the relationship between the United States and Iran since the Islamic Republic replaced the nation's monarchy nearly four decades ago. But time has done little to heal the wounds that each country has inflicted on the other. Their enduring enmity will be on full display this week as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to "decertify" the deal Iran has struck with global powers on its nuclear program by arguing that the agreement isn't in the best interest of U.S. national security. Though Washington will likely keep sanctions relief for Tehran in place for now, Trump's speech will trigger a 60-day review period during which Congress will have the power to reimpose them.

12 October 2017

A Hypothetical Nuclear Attack on Seoul and Tokyo: The Human Cost of War on the Korean Peninsula


At various times over the past few weeks, US President Donald Trump and other members of his administration have threatened to use military force to prevent North Korea from conducting additional nuclear or ballistic missile tests. The US carrying out any military option raises a significant risk of military escalation by the North, including the use of nuclear weapons against South Korea and Japan. According to the calculations presented below, if the “unthinkable” happened, nuclear detonations over Seoul and Tokyo with North Korea’s current estimated weapon yields could result in as many as 2.1 million fatalities and 7.7 million injuries.

8 October 2017

Measuring radiation doses in mass-casualty emergencies

4 OCTOBER 2017

For the first time since 1981, when China deployed the DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missile, a new state has gained the capability to target the United States with a nuclear weapon. On July 4 and again on July 28, North Korea launched the Hwasong-14—a two-stage, liquid-fueled ballistic missile that demonstrated the capability to reach the continental United States. The US intelligence community assesses that North Korea has nuclear warheads compact and light enough to fit on the Hwasong-14 and that North Korea will be able to deploy a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile within one or two years. North Korea demonstrated another new capability on September 3, testing what it claimed was a thermonuclear weapon. While the exact configuration of this “advanced nuclear device” remains unknown, the device’s estimated yield is 140 kilotons, so the test represents a quantum leap in the destructive potential of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

7 October 2017

Everything You Need to Know: Russia's 'Tactical' Nuclear Weapons

Dave Majumdar

In recent months there has much hysteria in Washington about Russia allegedly lowering its nuclear threshold and particularly about Moscow’s arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons. However, there is little evidence that Moscow has lowered its nuclear threshold—nor are there concrete figures available for how many non-strategic nuclear weapons the Kremlin has in its inventory.

Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons:

Our best hope against nuclear war

By David Ignatius 

Consider what is, for the moment, an entirely hypothetical question: What might Defense Secretary Jim Mattis do if he received an order from President Trump to launch a nuclear attack on North Korea in retaliation, say, for a hydrogen bomb test that had gone awry? 

Certainly, Mattis could try to talk the president out of the attack, if he thought the action was unwise. He could request delays to prepare for contingencies or gather intelligence. He could even, perhaps, argue that the action raised legal questions, because it might cause disproportionate civilian casualties in North and South Korea and thereby violate the laws of war. 

Why Tactical Nuclear Weapons Are Still A Thing


Michael Krepon recently published an article in Defense Onein which he called the potential development and employment of tactical nuclear weapons “unwise” and strategically unsound. His argument includes several statements that illustrate the yawning chasm between arms control experts and military planners today when it comes to the subject of the utility of nuclear weapons. As is often the case, he uses illustrations and questionable statements that date to the Cold War to discuss the contemporary challenge of nuclear modernization. Here are some thoughts as to why tactical nuclear weapons are being advanced as a valid, contemporary — and necessary — defense capability.

6 October 2017

REPORT Abandoning Iranian Nuclear Deal Could Lead to New Wave of Cyberattacks


Over the last two years, U.S. banks and government agencies have enjoyed a notable respite from malicious Iranian cyber activity. The timing of this drop-off happens to coincide with the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015.

Now with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening to walk away from the nuclear deal, cybersecurity experts say it is likely Iran could resume its attacks against Western targets should Trump actually follow through with his threat.


If we had to go to war tomorrow, could our defense manufacturing sector keep up? And are we willing to gamble our national future on the answer? The White House has wisely decided that these are questions better not left to chance. The Trump administration’s recent executive order directing a review of the defense industrial base is predicated on the insight that the health of the defense industrial base is as much a component of our national defense as any aircraft carrier or main battle tank. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed this sentiment when he warned the Senate about our “increasingly brittle industrial base.” The administration’s ongoing review provides the best opportunity in decades to think holistically about the industrial base — from workforce education, to plant and shipyard capacity, to regulations, export controls, and beyond — to ensure continued American technological superiority and military dominance.

5 October 2017

NUCLEAR HISTORY Waiting for the Bomb: PN Haksar and India’s Nuclear Policy in the 1960s

By Yogesh Joshi

A recent article in The National Interest (TNI) presented archival evidence to argue that India intended to develop a full-spectrum nuclear weapons capability as early as 1969. However, other archival sources related to Indian nuclear history raise doubts about the purported provenance and significance of this source. 
Contrary to analysis of a note found in PN Haksar's files, the Indian government did not decide to pursue a full-fledged nuclear weapons program in 1968. A preponderance of archival evidence produced across the Indian government between 1964 and 1970 indicates that the note cited by TNI was not reflective of the Indian government’s nuclear weapons policy at that time.

4 October 2017

Former NATO military chief: there’s a 10% chance of nuclear war with North Korea

by Yochi Dreazen

Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis spent 37 years in the military, including four years as the supreme allied commander of NATO. Hillary Clinton vetted him as a possible running mate. President-elect Donald Trump considered naming him secretary of state. He is a serious man, and about as far from an armchair pundit as it’s possible to be.

The Need For Missile Defense

by Victor Davis Hanson

America’s great advantage when it entered world affairs after the Civil War was that its distance from Europe and Asia ensured that it was virtually immune from large sea-borne invasions.

The Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans proved far better barriers than even the forests and mountain ranges of Europe. At twenty-eight years old, Abraham Lincoln succinctly summed up America’s natural invincibility in his famous Lyceum Address of January 27, 1838: “All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.”

2 October 2017



A new nuclear state, in a major crisis with a conventionally superior nuclear-armed adversary, contemplates and prepares to move nuclear assets in the event it has to use them. Who controls the nuclear forces? Who decides when they might be assembled, mated to delivery vehicles, moved, and launched? Who has nominal authority to order those decisions? Who has the physical ability to implement them even without proper authorization? How experienced are the relevant units in these operations? What could go wrong?