TOP NEWS Pentagon conducts first test of non-nuclear capable ballistic missile post-INF treaty The Drive U.S. hits Iran with new sanctions, hopes for prisoner dialogue Associated Press ANALYSIS: Understanding Iran’s nuclear escalation strategy War on the Rocks United States Pentagon conducts first test of non-nuclear capable ballistic missile post-INF treaty The Drive12/12/19 The launch, which the Pentagon had previously said would come before the end of the year, could have major geopolitical ramifications. Congress stalls INF-busting missiles & nuke treaty withdrawal Breaking Defense12/11/19 John Beyrle, ambassador to Russia during the George W. Bush Administration, says letting New START expire would be “a pretty solid punch to the solar plexus of strategic stability.” State report: LANL lost track of 250 barrels of nuke waste Santa Fe New Mexican12/9/19 The contractor that’s been in charge of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s operations for the past year lost track of 250 barrels of waste, while the company heading the legacy cleanup mislabeled and improperly stored waste containers and took months to remedy some infractions, according to the state’s yearly report on hazardous waste permit violations. Middle East U.S. hits Iran with new sanctions, hopes for prisoner dialogue Associated Press12/12/19 The Trump administration on Wednesday hit Iran with new sanctions that target several transportation firms as it continues its “maximum pressure campaign” against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Iran will bypass U.S. sanctions or overcome them through talks: Rouhani Reuters12/11/19 Iran will overcome U.S. sanctions by either bypassing them or through negotiations, and it will not cross its red lines in any talks with arch-adversary Washington, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday. U.S. hits setback in bid to shield Europe against Iran missiles BloombergAnthony Capaccio 12/9/19 A new Pentagon missile defense system is running at least two years behind schedule, delaying a project in Poland intended to intercept potential attacks on Europe by Iran, and the Missile Defense Agency blames the flawed performance of a key contractor. ANALYSIS: Understanding Iran’s nuclear escalation strategy War on the RocksEric Brewer (PONI Deputy Director) and Ariane Tabatabai 12/12/19 The fact that it is gradually and so publicly violating the deal suggests Iran is, instead, trying to put pressure on the international community to relieve sanctions. East Asia U.S. warns North Korea against ‘ill-advised behavior’ as deadline looms Reuters12/12/19 The United States warned North Korea on Thursday against any resumption of “unfortunate ill-advised behavior” after Pyongyang raised international concerns by setting an end-of-year deadline for Washington to reconsider its diplomatic approach. North Korea says U.S. criticism has helped it make decision on stalled nuclear talks Japan Times12/12/19 North Korea took aim at the United States on Thursday for convening a U.N. Security Council meeting, saying the “provocative act” had helped it decide which path to take in deadlocked nuclear talks. ANALYSIS: Resumed North Korean ICBM testing: Possible technical objectives 38 NorthVann H. Van Diepen 12/9/19 North Korea is most likely to seek to improve the reliability and operational effectiveness of the Hwasong-15/KN-22 with a single warhead (rather than multiple warheads). NATO ANALYSIS: Getting out of the NATO nuclear task would not increase Dutch security War on the RocksMichal Onderco 12/10/19 Do the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in the Netherlands keep the country safe, or do they make it the target of Russian nuclear forces?