TOP NEWS In rare move, U.S. and Iranian envoys talk after U.N. meeting on nuclear deal Reuters ANALYSIS: No indications of satellite launch preparations at the Sohae satellite launch facility 38 North ANALYSIS: As the U.S., China, and Russia build new nuclear weapons systems, how will AI be built-in? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists United States Lockheed awards $81.5M contract for hypersonic missile motor Defense News12/18/19 Lockheed Martin has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne to provide a solid-fuel rocket motor for a hypersonic missile meant for the U.S. Air Force, according to a Tuesday news release. The Air Force Global Strike Command is preparing for delivery of new nuclear weapons National Interest12/19/19 The command is in the beginning of a modernization effort costing tens of billions of dollars. Russia STUDENT ESSAY: The United States and Russia must work together on nuclear Foreign PolicyGrace Kier 12/19/19 Winning Essay for the 2019 Foreign Policy and Carnegie Corporation Essay Contest, on U.S.-Russia engagement on nuclear weapons. Middle East In rare move, U.S. and Iranian envoys talk after U.N. meeting on nuclear deal Reuters12/19/19 The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations made a rare compassionate public gesture toward her Iranian counterpart in the Security Council chamber on Thursday, expressing condolences over the death of an Iranian toddler. East Asia U.S. envoy meets second senior China diplomat as NK tensions rise Reuters12/20/19 Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng met U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun on Friday, China’s foreign ministry said, Biegun’s second high-level meeting in Beijing in two days amid growing tension on the Korean peninsula. N. Korean workers in China and Russia look set to defy sanctions Financial Times12/18/19 Thousands of North Korean workers are showing no sign of abandoning their jobs in Chinese clothing factories and remote Russian pig farms, despite international sanctions demanding they return home by Sunday. ANALYSIS: No indications of satellite launch preparations at the Sohae satellite launch facility 38 NorthJack Liu, Peter Makowsky, and Jenny Town 12/17/19 Going forward, while there may not be any obvious signs of satellite launch preparations until just days before it takes place, there are certain activities that would be cause for concern. ANALYSIS: Inside the collapse of Trump’s Korea policy The AtlanticUri Friedman 12/19/19 When it comes to America’s last-ditch effort to prevent North Korea from becoming a nuclear power, timing has been everything. Now time’s running out. ANALYSIS: Fake news and nuclear weapons don’t play well together in the South China Sea ForbesJames Conca 12/17/19 A fake story began flooding the internet about a nuclear detonation in the South China Sea, that China purportedly had exploded one of their new tactical nukes. Arms Control New START talks offer hope of expanded arms control regime Eurasia ReviewTheodore Karasik 12/19/19 With the 2010 New START set to expire in February 2021, now is the time to begin a follow-up to this process that can transcend the result of the 2020 US presidential election. With inauguration day set for January 2021, the expiration date of New START becomes ever more important. Artificial Intelligence ANALYSIS: As the U.S., China, and Russia build new nuclear weapons systems, how will AI be built-in? Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsMatt Field 12/20/19 A recent report predicts that there’s a pretty strong likelihood that more automation will “creep its way” into nuclear operations over time—especially as nations modernize their nuclear forces.