Nuclear Policy News – March 29, 2019

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India’s Anti-Satellite Test Wasn’t Really About Satellites
Wired – Daniel Oberhaus

STRATCOM Commander Wants to Put Low Yield Nuclear Missiles on U.S. Submarines

US Reveals Secret Deal to Sell Nuclear Tech to Saudi Arabia
Deutsche Welle

Middle East

Energy Secretary Rick Perry Approves Deal to Sell Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia
The Trump administration has approved seven applications for U.S. companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, the Energy Department said Thursday. Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Energy Department has approved 37 nuclear applications since January 2017, including nine in the Middle East.

US Reveals Secret Deal to Sell Nuclear Tech to Saudi Arabia
Deutsche Welle3/28/2019
“If you cannot trust a regime with a bone-saw, you should not trust them with nuclear weapons,” one lawmaker responded. Many in Congress fear Riyadh could use American technology to develop a nuclear bomb.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

STRATCOM Commander Wants to Put Low Yield Nuclear Missiles on U.S. Submarines
USNI News3/28/2019
If the U.S. opts to develop low-yield nuclear missiles, expect the Navy to deploy these weapons as part of the nation’s undersea nuclear deterrent, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command told lawmakers Thursday.

Intel: How the Trump administration is using a loophole to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia
Before issuing 810 authorizations, the Energy Department must consult with the State Department, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce. So if Pompeo doesn’t disclose the details of the authorizations, Congress can always try its luck with another agency. Senators Sherman and Markey have also introduced legislation requiring Congress to affirmatively sign off on any Saudi nuclear deal.

US Says It Won’t Rule Out Nuclear First Strike, Because Allies Wouldn’t Trust It Otherwise
A Pentagon official has said that the US will retain the right to carry out a nuclear strike in response to a conventional attack. A ‘no-first-use’ policy would erode US allies’ belief that they are protected, he said.
Washington has no plans to reverse its policy of “no first use” of nukes, which means it can bomb its adversaries with nuclear weapons under “extreme circumstances,” Deputy Undersecretary of Defense David Trachtenberg said in his prepared remarks to the Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on Thursday.


Trump to host South Korean leader at White House summit on nuclear diplomacy
President Donald Trump will host South Korean president Moon Jae-in at the White House in April for a summit on North Korean nuclear diplomacy. The White House confirmed the visit in a statement released Thursday, saying the two leaders will meet April 11 to “discuss the latest developments regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as well as bilateral matters.”


Why the West Fails to Understand: The New Nuclear Age
Observer Research Foundation – Rakesh Sood3/28/2019
The Doomsday Clock was set up in Chicago in 1947 by a group of scientists associated with the US project to make the first nuclear bomb. Now, an international group of eminent scientists re-calibrates it annually after assessing the dangers posed to humanity from unrestrained scientific and technological advances.

India’s Anti-Satellite Test Wasn’t Really About Satellites
Wired – Daniel Oberhaus3/27/2019
“One thing to keep in mind about knocking out satellites with military weapons is that it creates a debris field that all commercial and military satellites of every country will have to avoid for years to come,” says Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association. Things are even worse if an anti-satellite missile is deployed during a conflict with a nuclear-armed nation. If that were the case, Kimball adds, the anti-satellite missile would be seen as an “extremely provocative step, because it could potentially mean that one side is trying to blind the other from detecting a nuclear attack.” This could, in theory, escalate the conflict toward nuclear war.

Finally, A Presidential EMP Order That May Save American Lives
The Hill- Peter Pry3/28/2019
The Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Threats, signed on March 26 by President Trump, is an excellent first step toward achieving national preparedness. It seeks to implement core recommendations of the Congressional EMP Commission on an accelerated basis.

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