Top News: ANALYSIS: Topping-off national missile defenses for tac nuke reductions? Arms Control Wonk North Korea military threats ‘intended to deflect from economic crisis’ The Guardian Israel seeks to coordinate “Plan B” with U.S. on Iran if nuclear talks fail Axios United States Nuclear weapons: Actions needed to improve management of NNSA’s lithium activities GAO8/12/21 The National Nuclear Security Administration has facilities to process lithium—a key material in nuclear weapons. However, these facilities have deteriorated and NNSA has proposed a new facility to meet the demand for lithium. We recommended management tools that can help NNSA maintain its lithium supply using deteriorated facilities until the new facility is ready in the 2030s. ANALYSIS: Topping-off national missile defenses for tac nuke reductions? Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon 8/13/21 Effective national missile defenses for a country as big as the United States remains an impossible task against a powerful adversary determined to get through — no matter how much money the Congress appropriates for this purpose. Theater missile defenses deployed far from U.S. shores are a better investment, as they have greater military and political utility. OPINION: Biden is giving up powerful U.S. financial sanctions on Iran NewsweekBryan Steil 8/13/21 Since taking office, the Biden administration has taken a series of calculated steps to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. Most recently, it waived sanctions on the Iranian oil trade, allowing Tehran access to frozen funds in foreign banks that it can now use to fund terrorism. Even the sanctions that remain on the books are not being enforced. U.S. financial sanctions can be used to end Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the clerical regime’s support of terrorism. OPINION: Why a nuclear deterrent without ICBMs would be dangerous and destabilizing ForbesLoren Thompson 8/13/21 Without ICBMs in the U.S. strategic force, nuclear war and carnage on an unimaginable scale would become more likely. East Asia North Korea military threats ‘intended to deflect from economic crisis’ The Guardian8/13/21 North Korea’s threat to boost its military capacity to counter hostility from Washington before joint U.S.-South Korea military drills is intended to divert attention from its economic crisis but could lead to a resumption of missile tests, according to analysts. North Korea threatens of ‘security crisis’ over U.S.-South Korea military drills NPR8/12/21 The U.S. and South Korea begin joint military exercises next week. North Korea has warned that if they do, the allies will face a security crisis. Seoul and Washington are watching for signs of military provocations from the North. OPINION: Why China’s ‘carrier killer’ missiles may not scare U.S. anymore MintSaurabh Sharma 8/13/21 Amid rising tension in disputed South China Sea, the U.S. Navy has announced successful shock trials of its nuclear powered-aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford. This, military experts believe, would send a message that America does not fear China’s ‘carrier killer’ missiles, which Beijing claims could hit moving aircraft carriers from a distance of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles). Middle East Israel seeks to coordinate “Plan B” with U.S. on Iran if nuclear talks fail Axios8/12/21 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told CIA Director Bill Burns in a meeting on Wednesday that the U.S. and Israel should start working on a joint strategy for a scenario in which Iran elects not to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, Israeli officials told me. OPINION: Iranian intelligence plot reaches U.S. soil — and should complicate negotiations The HillToby Dershowitz and Dylan Gresik 8/13/21 If the U.S. returns to the negotiating table and there are no consequences for the attempt to kidnap Masih Alinejad, will the message that Supreme Leader Khamenei receives be that there is no red line Tehran cannot cross? Surely that would not be in America’s national security interests. Russia Russia arrests hypersonic technology scientist on treason charges Deutsche Welle8/12/21 The scientist has been accused of providing secret information to a foreign citizen. Russia has been experimenting with hypersonic weapons to expand its military capabilities.