TOP NEWS North Korea Confirms First Ballistic Missile Launch in Nearly 18 Months The Diplomat As Saudi Arabia Builds a Nuclear Reactor, Some Worry about Its Motives NPR Trump wants to renew and revise a key Russian nuclear weapons treaty. It has Democrats nervous Roll Call East Asia Pentagon: Air-Launched Ballistic Missile Will Realize China’s Nuclear Triad The Diplomat5/7/2019 China’s new nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile will complete its triad. North Korea Confirms First Ballistic Missile Launch in Nearly 18 Months The Diplomat5/6/2019 On Saturday, May 4, North Korea conducted its first launch of a ballistic missile in 522 days. The launch comes some two months after the second U.S.-North Korea leaders’ summit meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, which ended without agreement. Middle East As Saudi Arabia Builds a Nuclear Reactor, Some Worry about Its Motives NPR5/6/2019 Saudi Arabia’s plans appear, on paper, to be entirely peaceful. But some arms control experts are concerned that its nuclear energy ambitions may also be part of its ongoing rivalry with Iran, which already possesses dual-use technology that could aid in the production of a nuclear bomb. Iran to restart some nuclear activity in response to U.S. withdrawal from nuclear deal Reuters5/6/2019 Iran will restart part of its halted nuclear program in response to the U.S. withdrawal from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal but does not itself plan to pull out of the agreement, the state-run IRIB news agency reported on Monday. Russia/FSU/Europe This Means Trouble: Russia’s Stealth Fighter Could Deliver Nuclear Weapons National Interest5/5/2019 Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 PAK-FA fifth-generation stealth fighter is listed in the Trump Administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) as a developmental dual conventional and nuclear capable strike aircraft. If the NPR is correct, the Su-57 could potentially supplant the Su-34 Fullback bomber—which is Russia’s current nuclear-capable strike aircraft—for intermediate range missions against heavily defended airspace. U.S. Nuclear Policy Trump wants to renew and revise a key Russian nuclear weapons treaty. It has Democrats nervous Roll Call5/6/2019 Dems. worry an ambitious U.S. negotiating strategy could doom the treaty effectively ending post-Cold War arms control efforts Pentagon says U.S. carrier, bombers sent to Middle East on ‘credible threat’ by Iran Reuters5/6/2019 U.S. acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Monday he had approved sending a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East because of indications of a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces,” but did not provide any details on the underlying intelligence. Opinion/Analysis/Commentary Is The Pentagon Exaggerating Russian Tactical Nuclear Weapons? Forbes – Hans Kristensen5/7/2019 Is Russia actually increasing the number of its non-strategic nuclear weapons? In stark contrast with the NPR claim, I hear there’s no significant increase in the total numbers. On the contrary, there has been a significant reduction over the past ten years – the very period the NPR uses as the basis for its threat assessment. The Expanding Chinese Nuclear Threat RealClearDefense – Mark B. Schneider5/6/2019 In 2006, China said that it was “progressively improving its force structure” of both nuclear and conventional missiles. This is exactly what has happened. This expansion of Chinese nuclear capability has occurred despite the fact that the U.S. drastically reduced its nuclear capabilities after 2001. China’s nuclear buildup must be viewed in the context of the largest and longest sustained military buildup in the post-Cold War world. What is very significant is that China began its military buildup after threats to China largely evaporated at the end of the Cold War. What geology reveals about North Korea’s nuclear weapons – and what it obscures The Conversation – Marshall Rogers-Martinez5/7/2019 Science and technology give us a lot of tools for assessing the nuclear capabilities of countries like North Korea, but it’s still difficult to track and accurately measure the size and power of their nuclear arsenals. Here’s a look at some of the challenges. Special Interest Synthesis Report – NC3 Systems and Strategic Stability: A Global Overview Nautilus Peace and Security Special Report – Peter Hayes, Binoy Kampmark, Philip Reiner, Deborah Gordon5/5/2019 This essay is the Synthesis Report of a workshop of fifty NC3 experts held at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University on January 22 to 23, 2019.