TOP NEWS NNSA chief details uphill slog to nuclear modernization Air Force Magazine America is risking a nuclear ‘free-for-all’ by delaying New START extension with Russia: Former national security official Newsweek U.S., Chinese officials discussed North Korea negotiations, U.N. sanctions: State Department New York Times United States NNSA chief details uphill slog to nuclear modernization Air Force Magazine1/16/20 Extending the service life of the Air Force’s B-61-12 nuclear gravity bomb remains on schedule a year after officials acknowledged life-cycle testing of a commercial-grade replacement part would delay the program by 16 to 18 months. No plan to consolidate pit mission at single site, but DoE won’t deny the possibility Defense Daily1/16/20 The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would not rule out the possibility here Thursday that one of the agency’s two planned plutonium pit factories could independently supply all the fissile nuclear weapon cores initially required for planned refurbishments of U.S. nuclear weapons. Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff if they didn’t Washington Post1/16/20 A week before Germany, France and Britain formally accused Iran of breaching the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration issued a private threat to the Europeans that shocked officials in all three countries. East Asia U.S., Chinese officials discussed North Korea negotiations, U.N. sanctions: State Department New York Times1/16/20 Leading U.S. and Chinese officials on Wednesday discussed negotiations with North Korea as well as United Nations sanctions intended to limit North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, according to the State Department. Congress wrestles with deterring China ― beyond nukes Defense News1/16/20 Days after China’s navy commissioned its biggest and most advanced surface warship yet, on a path to an estimated 420 ships by 2035, key experts told Congress the U.S. must form a new and creative strategy to deter China, beyond nuclear weapons. Middle East U.S. military may send missile defense batteries to the Middle East in wake of Iran strike Military Times1/16/20 The U.S. military may send additional missile defense systems and other enablers to the region in the wake of Iran’s ballistic missile strike against two Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops. Israel warns Iran is closer to nuclear bomb Voice of America1/15/20 Israel’s army intelligence says Iran will have enough enriched uranium to produce one nuclear bomb by the end of the year. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will not let Iran become a nuclear power. Europe/Russia Russia’s Foreign Minister slams ‘aggressive’ U.S. policies New York Times1/17/20 Russia’s foreign policy chief on Friday blamed what he described as “aggressive” U.S. policies for growing global tensions, noting Washington’s reluctance to extend a key nuclear arms pact. America is risking a nuclear ‘free-for-all’ by delaying New START extension with Russia: Former national security official Newsweek1/16/20 Uncertainty still looms over the New START treaty, a major nuclear arms control accord between the U.S. and Russia set to lapse in 2021. ANALYSIS: Deterrence, modernization, and alliance cohesion: The case for extending New START with Russia BrookingsFrank Rose 1/16/20 Is it wise to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) between the U.S. and Russia? In recent months, senior Trump administration officials and conservative defense analysts have expressed increasing doubts.