Nuclear Policy News – July 25, 2018

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Top News

Tactical nuclear weapon launches into development with Pentagon policy bill
Defense News

North Korea is dismantling nuclear arsenal – or is it?
Financial Times

Trump says U.S. ready to make a ‘real deal’ on Iran’s nuclear program


East Asia

Pompeo says North Korea test site reports consistent with commitments
Reports that North Korea has started dismantling facilities at a rocket test site are consistent with a commitment Pyongyang made at a summit last month, but it must go further and fully denuclearize, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.

North Korea is dismantling nuclear arsenal – or is it?
Financial Times7/24/18
Commercial satellite imagery published late on Monday by 38 North, a group focused on North Korea, suggested that Pyongyang had started dismantling part of its Sohae missile launch site, located in the west of the country near the border with China. In Washington, however, many analysts cautioned that the destruction of the facility — which Mr. Trump alluded to in Singapore even though the dismantling had not begun — did not mean Mr. Kim had taken concrete steps towards denuclearization.

Middle East

Trump says U.S. ready to make a ‘real deal’ on Iran’s nuclear program
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday kept open the possibility of negotiating an agreement to denuclearize Iran, two days after he rattled his saber at the nation on Twitter. “We’ll see what happens, but we’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster,” he said during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.


EU struggles to counter US sanctions on Iran
Financial Times7/24/18
European efforts to protect businesses investing in Iran from US sanctions risk leaving executives with the tough choice of whether to obey EU or American rules.

Russia missile spy probe: Scientist held
Russian investigators have arrested an award-winning 74-year-old space scientist, who is suspected of passing missile secrets to a NATO country. Viktor Kudryavtsev is in custody in Moscow, the state space agency Roskosmos confirmed.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Tactical nuclear weapon launches into development with Pentagon policy bill
Defense News7/24/18
The Trump administration is poised to get congressional authorization to start building a controversial new submarine-launched low-yield, nuclear weapon. The Senate and House came together Monday on a $716 billion defense authorization report that authorizes $65 million to develop the weapon, aimed at deterring Russia, according to the bicameral compromise conference report.

Trump’s Sense of Timing on Nuclear Threats Confounds Experts
New York Times7/24/18
After declaring he has plenty of time to solve the North Korean nuclear crisis, President Trump celebrated on Tuesday what he claimed was an early victory: satellite evidence that the country is dismantling a missile test stand in a small first step toward securing commitments made by its leader, Kim Jong-un, last month in Singapore. But inside the White House, Mr. Trump’s aides wonder whether they are falling into a familiar pattern of endless negotiations with the North, which in the past has destroyed a few symbolic facilities but kept expanding its arsenal.

Congress drops bid to loosen supervision of nuclear agency
ABC News7/23/18
Congress is abandoning an effort to loosen Cabinet control over an agency responsible for securing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. A provision in a defense policy bill would have removed the National Nuclear Security Administration from direct control of the Energy Department, where it’s been housed since its creation in 2000. The provision was dropped as House and Senate lawmakers negotiated a compromise defense bill, aides said Monday. The defense bill could come up for a vote in the House this week.

Opinion and Analysis

The US and Russia Have Plenty of Areas for Cooperation. Let’s Get to Work.
Defense OneDebra Decker
U.S. President Donald Trump is hellbent on engagement with Russia, so engagement is going to continue to occur. Here are a few ideas for ways President Trump can help advance those good deals he wants.

Increasingly Tenuous Strategic Stability
Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon
The advent of “strongman politics” isn’t good for strategic stability. Neither is the weakening of alliances nor the shifting fortunes of major powers. Especially when the United States is deeply divided and isolationist sentiment is on the rise.

1983: The World at the Brink and The Brink reviews – the unknown nuclear war scare
The Guardian7/25/18
Two new books tell the grim story of the Reagan-era moment when the USSR thought it was about to be attacked and prepared to retaliate.

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