Nuclear Policy News – March 20, 2019

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President Trump Just Sidelined His Own Top Negotiator on North Korea

B-52 Bombers Are Flying Near Russian And Chinese Waters This Month
Air Force Times

How I Learned to Start Worrying and Fear the Bomb
Spectator USA – Paddy Ryan


Russia Is Turning Up Its Nuclear Rhetoric. That’s a Problem
Defense One3/19/2019
Why are Russian officials, from Putin on down, issuing so many nuclear threats? One possibility is that it’s a chance to highlight one of Russia’s only technological achievements that rival the West’s, in a message aimed primarily at a domestic audience.

‘NATO Solidarity Clause Is Called Article 5, Not Article F-35’ – French Defense Minister
In January, Germany’s Ministry of Defense officially ruled out purchasing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace its aging Tornado fleet and is currently considering upgrading its air power to a fourth-generation Eurofighter Typhoon. Competing against the Franco-German armaments cooperation is Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet. Unlike the Typhoon, the F-18 is certified to carry US-made nuclear bombs as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement.

Russia’s Top Diplomat Urges West to Resume Joint Arms Control Efforts
TASS Russian News Agency3/20/2019
Russia is calling on the United States and other Western countries to resume joint efforts in the arms control sphere, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a plenary meeting at the Geneva Conference on Disarmament on Wednesday.

Middle East

China and Saudi Arabia: The Global Ambitions of Mohammad bin Salman
The Diplomat3/20/2019
Nuclear weapons could also become an issue. Saudi Arabia is more than happy to deliver. Chinese and Saudis have signed at least one nuclear agreement that allows Saudi Arabia to put certain building blocks in place. Bolstering the country’s military capabilities is aligned with MBS’s vision for building an industrial military complex.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Boeing to integrate nuclear-tipped cruise missile on B-52
Flight Global3/19/2019
The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Boeing Defense Space & Security a $250 million contract to integrate the nuclear-tipped Long Range Stand-Off Cruise Missile (LRSO) on the B-52H bomber.

B-52 Bombers Are Flying Near Russian And Chinese Waters This Month
Air Force Times3/19/2019
U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers are flying “simultaneous training flights” over Europe and the Pacific Ocean this month. The sorties are a coordinated effort by European Command, Indo-Pacific Command and Strategic Command, U.S. officials said in a press release issued to “promote transparency and communicate our intentions.”


President Trump Just Sidelined His Own Top Negotiator on North Korea
President Donald Trump has taken increased control of negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, sidelining his own top negotiator and dismissing the warnings of top intelligence and foreign policy advisors in the wake of last month’s failed summit in Vietnam, officials familiar with the developments tell TIME.


How I Learned to Start Worrying and Fear the Bomb
Spectator USA – Paddy Ryan3/19/2019
‘This is not the Cold War redux; it is even worse than the Cold War.’ That’s how Nicolas Roche, of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, described the current climate around nuclear weapons.

A Technological Path Out of the Missile-Defense Security Dilemma
Defense One3/19/2019
As boost-phase defenses become viable, they could reduce the destabilizing effects of longer-ranged defenses on great-power relationships.

Nuclear War (Almost): Back in 1956, Russia Threatened to Nuke Britain, France and Israel
National Interest3/19/2019
The damage to the West was immense. U.S.-British relations were damaged, and Soviet prestige enhanced. Eden resigned as prime minister, while the British resigned themselves to no longer acting as an imperial power. The West Germans noted that the Soviets had threatened to attack Western Europe, and the United States had not protested.

Special Interest

Nuclear Cybersecurity Risks and Remedies
FMWG & Stimson – Debra Decker, Kathryn Rauhut, Sara Z. Kutchesfahani, and Erin ConnollyMarch 2019
The Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), in partnership with the Stimson Center, hosted a 1.5-day off-the record (Chatham House Rule) Nuclear-Cybersecurity Workshop, which took place at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. The invitation-only workshop comprised a group of two dozen cybersecurity experts and stakeholders in the nuclear industry, including operators, transporters, regulators, states, and nuclear security analysts. The group discussed cybersecurity risks affecting the nuclear sector and explored what needed to be done, across the board, to manage those risks.

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