Nuclear Policy News – November 21, 2017

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Trump puts North Korea back on state sponsors of terrorism list to escalate pressure over nuclear weapons

Washington Post

Russia Rolls Out First Upgraded Supersonic Strategic Bomber

The Diplomat

New military budget includes billions for submarine industry


CBO’s Nuclear Weapons Cost Estimate is Way Too High; Hint – Bombers

Breaking DefenseTodd Harrison


Trump puts North Korea back on state sponsors of terrorism list to escalate pressure over nuclear weapons

Washington Post 11/20/17

President Trump on Monday announced that his administration has redesignated North Korea as a state sponsor of terror, a move aimed at increasing pressure on Pyongyang nearly a decade after the George W. Bush administration removed the rogue nation from the list.

Korea conducts rare inspection of key military organ: spy agency

Yonhap 11/20/17

North Korea is conducting a rare inspection of a key military organ due to its “impure attitude” and has punished its top officials, South Korea’s spy agency said Monday.

Japan mulls ‘shelter’ for N. Korean refugees in Kyushu in event of war

Asia Times 11/20/17

Japan is expecting tens of thousands of North Korean refugees to try to reach its coasts in wooden boats if war breaks out on the Korean peninsula and is considering building a temporary shelter for them in Kyushu, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported last week.


US sanctions ‘network’ accused of forging money for Iran

AFP 11/20/17

The US Treasury said the pair allegedly used the companies — ForEnt Technik and Printing Trading Center in Frankfurt, and Rayan Printing and Tejarat Almas Mobin Holding in Tehran — to evade European export restrictions while procuring equipment used to print fake Yemeni currency potentially worth hundreds of millions of US dollars.


Russia Rolls Out First Upgraded Supersonic Strategic Bomber

The Diplomat 11/21/17

The Tu-160M2 is expected to make its debut flight in February 2018, the Tupolev press statement notes. The date of the aircraft’s maiden flight was confirmed by Deputy Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on November 16.

Romanian parliament greenlights Patriot missile systems purchase from U.S.

XinhuaNet 11/21/17

Romania’s Chambers of Deputies adopted a bill on Tuesday for the purchase of seven Patriot missile defense systems from the United States. The lower house of parliament adopted the army endowment bill with 279 votes in favour, one against, and one abstention, paving the way for seven Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to be purchased.


New military budget includes billions for submarine industry

DefenseNews 11/21/17

It authorizes nearly $8 billion for submarine programs. Electric Boat has been building two Virginia-class attack submarines for several years now under a teaming agreement with Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. EB is also the prime contractor for the Columbia-class program, a new fleet of 12 ballistic missile submarines to replace the current fleet of so-called boomers, which entered service in the 1980s.


Don’t Kill the Nuclear Cruise Missile

DefenseOneVince Manzo


Critics of the Long Range Standoff Weapon have seized on a recent Congressional Budget Office report that says stripping the nuclear triad of current and proposed air-launched cruise missiles, or ALCMs, would save some $30 billion over three decades. But the office’s analysis discounts how this would undermine military capability and incur substantial risk.

CBO’s Nuclear Weapons Cost Estimate is Way Too High; Hint – Bombers

Breaking DefenseTodd Harrison


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the total cost to build America’s new nuclear forces will be $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years, adding another number to a cluttered and confusing set of estimates already circulated by the Department of Defense (DoD), independent think tanks, and CBO itself. In particular, CBO published a report earlier this year estimating that nuclear forces would cost $400 billion over the next 10 years. What is not immediately obvious is that CBO used different methodologies in these two reports, and the differences have a significant impact on the results and how they should be interpreted.

Make Putin Pay for Cheating on Nukes

BloombergHal Brands


President Donald Trump’s continuing courtship of Russian leader Vladimir Putin is casting darkness over U.S. foreign policy. But there is a ray of light where Russia is concerned. The Pentagon is now reportedly beginning preliminary research on a ground-launched cruise missile that would be prohibited under the terms of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. This is an overdue step toward making Russia pay for its violations of that accord, and perhaps even positioning America for strategic advantage in a post-INF world.

Special Report: In modernizing nuclear arsenal, U.S. stokes new arms race

ReutersScot Paltrow


President Donald Trump has worked hard to undo much of Obama’s legacy, but he has embraced the modernization program enthusiastically. Trump has ordered the Defense Department to complete a review of the U.S. nuclear arsenal by the end of this year.

Someone besides the president should have the nuclear codes

The HillTom Nichols and Dana Struckman


The U.S. Senate has opened hearings into the question of American nuclear command and control. Unnerved by President Trump’s “fire and fury” rhetoric toward North Korea, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) has warned that “under existing laws the president of the United States can start a nuclear war without provocation, without consultation and without warning.” He and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) have proposed a bill preventing any first use of U.S. nuclear weapons without the permission of Congress.

Iran Nuclear Deal Fix It Or Nix IT

ForbesSteve Forbes


The agreement, negotiated in 2015, put Iran on a glide path to legally developing nuclear weapons in less than a decade. The thing to remember is that all Obama did was to delay, not stop, Iran from doing just what North Korea is doing: obtaining nukes and building a formidable nuclear force for the future. Moreover, Iran was, in effect, given a free hand to develop the ballistic missiles that could deliver those weapons of annihilation to the U.S., not to mention to Europe and to Iran’s neighbors in the Mideast, principally Israel.

Why India’s Commitment To Nuclear Disarmament Is “Merely Rhetorical”

The CaravanUrvashi Sarkar


India periodically supports calls for nuclear disarmament, but these assertions are contradicted by its continued possession of nuclear weapons and efforts to upgrade nuclear capabilities.

Russia’s Bomber Force Could Soon Be the Ultimate Weapon

ScoutDave Majumdar


Right now, Russia relies primarily on its Kalibr cruise missile equipped submarines to launch long-range precision conventional strikes. However, the introduction of modernized bombers equipped with the stealthy long-range Raduga Kh-101 cruise missile and its nuclear Kh-102 nuclear-tipped counterpart has afforded the Kremlin with a more responsive weapon. Moreover, it allows Russia—which started to rely heavily on nuclear weapons to guarantee its security—the decrease its reliance on such weapons.

Russia Wants the Strangest of All Weapons: An ‘Underwater ICBM’

National InterestMichael Peck


Moscow claims to be developing a nuclear super-torpedo that can radioactively contaminate economic targets on enemy coasts, which presumably includes fishing grounds. The weapon was revealed last month when Russian state TV “accidentally” broadcast a shot of a document being read by a military commander during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.


With technology, these researchers are figuring out North Korea’s nuclear secrets

Washington Post 11/21/17

There were reports going around last month that North Korea had tested another solid-fuel missile engine, a type of engine that can be deployed much faster than the older liquid-fueled ones.  Kim Jong Un’s media outlets hadn’t bragged about it — as they had done previously — so the experts at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ nonproliferation center got to work.

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