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Warning to U.S. govt to pull U.S. nuclear weapons out of Turkey

Washington must pull U.S. nuclear weapons out of Turkey – analyst   https://ahvalnews.com/us-turkey/washington-must-pull-us-nuclear-weapons-out-turkey-analyst#  19 May 19,

The United States must quickly reconsider storing nuclear weapons in Turkey and giving Ankara a shared finger on the nuclear trigger under the NATO nuclear sharing programme, wrote Harvey M. Sapolsky, Professor Emeritus at MIT and the former Director of the MIT Security Studies Program, for Defense One website.

The NATO nuclear sharing programme keeps American nuclear bombs in five NATO countries, namely Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey, while training host air forces to use them, Sapolsky highlighted.

As tensions continue to rise between Washington and Ankara over an array of issues, including war-torn Syria and Turkey’s planned purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system, the United States must make changes to current arrangements with its NATO ally, it said.

Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, located 100 miles from the Syrian border, stores 20 to 80 B61 U.S. nuclear weapons for delivery by Turkish or American aircraft, the article highlighted, noting that is time for Washington to bring them home.

Nuclear sharing began in the 1960s as a way to assure European members of NATO of America’s commitment to their defense, and to ward off any temptation to acquire nuclear weapons of their own,’’ the article highlighted, adding however that decades later much has changed globally.

Nuclear weapons aren’t the temptation they once were for Europeans, it noted, and sharing of the weapons’ delivery would give these countries a direct role in the nuclear enterprise without requiring them to actually build weapons.

Particularly a Turkey that is flirting with Russia and has list of issues with the United States

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May 20, 2019 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S Air Force is not Testing an ‘Earth-Penetrating’ Nuclear Bomb

May 20, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. national security adviser, John Bolton and his quest for war against Iran

picture is from Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/d35f0566-787b-11e9-be7d-6d846537acab

John Bolton Has Wanted War With Iran Since Before You Were Born

“I actually temper John,” Trump said, “which is pretty amazing.”  Mother Jones, DAN SPINELLI, Fourteen months into his tenure as national security adviser, John Bolton has become a central figure in the run-up to what could be the most extensive American military offensive since the invasion of Iraq. Tensions between Iran and the United States have been high for weeks, beginning with a menacing video Bolton released in February targeting the Iranian supreme leader and reached a boil last week when, according the New York Times, he ordered the Pentagon to prepare to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East to counter Iran.  ……

May 18, 2019 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The escalating danger and unpredictability of nuclear weapons

Nuclear Weapons Are Getting Less Predictable, and More Dangerous  Defense One,  MAY 16, 2019   Facing steerable ICBMs and smaller warheads, the Pentagon seeks better tracking as the White House pursues an unlikely arms-control treaty.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to discuss, among many things, the prospect of a new, comprehensive nuclear-weapons treaty with Russia and China. At the same time, the Pentagon is developing a new generation of nuclear weapons to keep up with cutting-edge missiles and warheads coming out of Moscow. If the administration fails in its ambitious renegotiation, the world is headed toward a new era of heightened nuclear tension not seen in decades.

That’s because these new weapons are eroding the idea of nuclear predictability.

Since the dawn of the nuclear era, the concept of the nuclear triad — bombers, submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles — created a shared set of expectations around what the start of a nuclear war would look like. If you were in NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado and you saw ICBMs headed toward the United States, you knew that a nuclear first strike was underway. The Soviets had a similar set of expectations, and this shared understanding created the delicate balance of deterrence — a balance that is becoming unsettled.

Start with Russia’s plans for new, more-maneuverable ICBMs. Such weapons have loosely been dubbed “hypersonic weapons” — something of a misnomer because all intercontinental ballistic missiles travel at hypersonic speeds of five or more times the speed of sound — and they create new problems for America’s defenders. …….

The United States is starting to build a new generation of smaller nukes of its own. The reasoning was laid out in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, and the weapons have been rolling off the assembly line since January……

But Selva also noted that low-yield weapons present the same sort of ambiguity as hypersonic weapons.

“We don’t know what they launched at us until it explodes,” he said.

The U.S. military has responded to Russian weapons development with several other key moves: building a next-generation air-launched cruise missile, hiring Northrop Grumman to build a new penetrating bomber, lowering the nuclear yield on some sub-launched ballistic missiles, and exploring bringing back a sea-launched cruise missile, or SLCM, that could have a nuclear tip……

Lynn Rusten, vice president of the Global Nuclear Policy Program at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, said that the ambiguity problem would apply to the SLCMs effort as well. “We use conventional SLCMs a lot in our normal warfare. If you start having nuclear SLCMs deployed as well, there will be a real discrimination in terms of when one of those things is launched, what is that thing coming at you? Where is it going?”……..

Many arms control experts say the first and most important step that the U.S. could take in navigating this far more unpredictable future is to extend New START. Even Selva, who declined to offer a public recommendation about such an extension, said that the United States benefits in multiple ways from the treaty’s mechanisms for keeping track of the parties’ strategic arsenals. ……

A collapse of New START might also cause China to embrace a more aggressive nuclear stance to hedge against rising unpredictability…….

As uncertainty increases, misperceptions become more dangerous. And there is reason to believe the United States is already looking at the situation through various imperfect lenses. One is the belief that China has any interest in trilateral arms control. Another is “escalate to de-escalate.” Some Russia experts, such as Olga Oliker, the Europe and Central Asia director at the International Crisis Group, call it a fiction dreamed up in the West after a misreading of a Russia’s 2017 Naval Doctrine.

“Moscow continues to believe, and Russian generals in private conversations emphasize, that any conventional conflict with NATO risks rapid escalation without ‘de-escalation’ — into all-destroying nuclear war. It must therefore be avoided at all costs,” she wrote in February.

“If anything, U.S. emphasis on new lower-yield capabilities — effectively an ‘escalate to de-escalate’ strategy of the sort many attribute to Russia — would undermine the deterrent balance, potentially triggering the very sorts of crises low-yield proponents hope to avert.”

Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist at CNA, says the “escalate to de-escalate” debate obscures a more fundamental truth about Russian strategic doctrine. “Russia has never accepted the proposition that a war with the United States could be conventional only. Hence, Russian nuclear strategy has a firm place for scalable employment of nuclear weapons, for demonstration, escalation management, warfighting, and war termination if need be,” he told Defense One. “The gist of the problem is that the Pentagon believes that nuclear weapons are some kind of gimmick that can be deterred in conventional war, but actually the prospect for conventional-only war with Russia is somewhat limited from the outset.”

Bottom line: the U.S., Russia, and China, may be entering into a high-stakes discussion on nuclear arms with each suffering from severe misconceptions about the others’ intent. The price of failure of the new negotiation effort, if New START is not re-affirmed, would be a new period of heightened nuclear tensions and less predictability.

Rusten believes the arms race has already begun.

“We don’t want to be where that trajectory will take us five years from now,” she said.https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2019/05/everyones-nuclear-weapons-are-getting-less-predictable-and-more-dangerous/157052/

May 18, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

With belligerent John Bolton as National Security, Trump could take USA to the brink of war with Iran

With Bolton whispering in Trump’s ear, war with Iran is no longer unthinkable, Guardian, Owen Jones 16 May 19, Antiwar activists must do everything they can to prevent it, and that includes pressuring US allies

It was a deception that would lead to millions of civilian deaths, and the deaths of nearly 60,000 US soldiers. In August 1964 President Lyndon B Johnson solemnly declared that, after two apparent North Vietnamese attacks on US navy destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, military action would take place.

Four years later, Senator Albert Gore – father of Bill Clinton’s future vice-president – warned in a closed Foreign Relations Committee session that, “If this country has been misled … the consequences are very great.” His suspicions were correct. The second Gulf of Tonkin attack might never have happened – and perhaps neither did. Communications to make it look like the attack occurred had been falsified. But US policy was already set on a dramatic escalation of the Vietnam war: and here was the perfect pretext.

This week it emerged that the US government is discussing sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East for possible military action against Iran. “We’ll see what happens with Iran,” declared President Trump. “If they do anything, it will be a bad mistake.” The principal driving force behind this is Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, a man who thinks there is no problem to which the answer isn’t war: in the Bush era, his militarism was too much for the commander-in-chief who laid waste to Iraq. You can see them scrabbling for excuses already: the Trump administration says Iran-backed proxy groups are preparing attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, a claim forcefully denied this week by British major-general Christopher Ghika, the deputy commander of counter-terror operations in both countries. The US has blamed Iran, without evidence, for damage to Saudi oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Could an Iranian Gulf of Tonkin be looming?

It is easy to dismiss these fears as alarmist. Is Trump not the man who confounded his critics by seeking peace on the Korean peninsula? Trump boasts that he “actually tempers” Bolton; Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, states: “There won’t be any war.” As Sanam Vakil, a research fellow at Chatham House, tells me: “Both sides are posturing, sending [threats] back and forth, and I don’t think heading for any direct military interventions.” Bolton, she reassures me, is just one of many voices in the room, and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo himself says that the US is not seeking war……..

A senior Senate aide tells me that the triumph of Bolton’s plans is all too conceivable: Bolton could exploit Trump’s ignorance of policy, an area in which he excels. While any war would not be popular with Trump’s base he could be convinced by Bolton that it is possible to escalate up to a point, then pull back at the brink: but by then it may be impossible to do so. Rightwing thinktanks and broadcasters are already hyping up links between Iran and al-Qaida.

The consequences of an Iranian conflagration should horrify us. Dan Plesch – a specialist at Soas University of London’s Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy – details the US air and naval power potentially ranged against Iran: it’s what one of his colleagues describes as “a tsunami of precision-guided molten metal”. The “lethality of US force”, says Plesch, “to very rapidly destroy military, civil, political and economic infrastructure is hugely underestimated” – and is far greater than in 2003. The US would seek to impose a government-in-exile with no roots in the country; a bloody balkanisation could follow. Iran would mobilise its regional influence – dramatically increased by the Iraq catastrophe – raising the prospect of wider regional conflict.

The risk is already too real for us to wait and see before acting. Pressure must be exerted by the public on US allies to declare their total opposition to any war with Iran, including not permitting their military bases to be used. The mass protests that will greet Trump’s visit in three weeks’ time must include demands that no British support for such a bloody adventure be offered. Feeling blasé about the danger? Well, consider this: all that stands between Bolton’s violent fantasy being executed is Donald Trump himself.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/15/war-with-iran-john-bolton-donald-trump-usa?CMP=share_btn_tw

May 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK covering up the records on nuclear bomb testing in Australia and the Pacific. Why?

May 18, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, history, OCEANIA, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How the USA military co-opts nature conservation, and promotes the extinction of species

“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!” Counter Punch    “The Department of Defense’s ability to conduct realistic live-fire training, weapons system testing, and essential operations is vital to preparing a more lethal and resilient force for combat. . . . Starting in the late 1990s, the Department became increasingly concerned about “encroachment” pressures adversely affecting the military’s use of training and testing lands. Specifically, military installations saw two main threats to their ability to test, train, and operate: nearby incompatible land uses and environmental restrictions to protect imperiled species and their habitats.”
Such problems are to be resolved by the DoD Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program.
The program employs “buffer partnerships” that include the DoD, private conservation groups, universities, and state and local governments. Also involved, often as additional funders, are other federal departments: Homeland Security, Energy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce; and agencies, for example, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). REPI regards these as “win-win partnerships,” as they share the cost of land or acquire easements to preserve compatible uses and natural habitats, without interfering with bombing or other essential training exercises. In addition to the helpful funding, the military can muster impressive influence over local development authorities, town councils, and adjacent landowners…….
At Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the “Maneuver School of Excellence,” (as well as the notorious School of the Americas, now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), live-fire and other training was threatened by threatened species and their habitats.   Now the base and its partners are restoring habitat and offering contiguous land for buyers who would use the land for recreation. Among the partners are the Georgia Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, the Alabama Land Trust, and the Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Nationwide, TNC is likely the conservation organization with the greatest amount of funding from the DoD. The TNC grants for Fort Benning alone included (but were not limited to) one for  $11,115,000, and another for $55,517,470. Both were described as: “Assist State and local governments to mitigate or prevent incompatible civilian land use/activity that is likely to impair the continued operational utility of a Department of Defense (DoD) military installation.”

Washington State, very receptive to military activities, despite the Hanford nuclear disaster area, has several REPI projects. One of them, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, on Puget Sound, is to eliminate the “threat” to live-fire exercises and other missions coming from imperiled species and incompatible development. The extensive area beyond its 91,000 acres became a designated “Sentinel Landscape,” a partnership headed by Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Interior to “align resources” to protect military testing “while benefiting ALL partners and landowners.”  ……

The Defense Department has several other programs designed to prevent interference with live ammunition, bombing ranges, and other military activities. One is the Legacy Resource Management Program, which seeks civilian partners to help protect endangered species and “to promote stewardship of our nation’s. . . cultural heritage.” Already “The Department of Defense manages thousands of National Register of Historic Places-listed properties. . .” Also working with REPI is the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment; its Joint Land Use Studies Program helps local communities to avoid interfering with military operations by their civilian activities.

The military has a poor reputation as regards the environment—we think about the Marshall Islands, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, poisoned aquifers, toxic waste burns, underwater sonar, and much more. It has paid attention to the criticisms. It still engages in its former ways, including the world record of oil consumption and extensive toxic emissions, but now there is a soft cop.

The DoD now emphasizes its need for natural landscapes for realistic training, its wish to avoid displacing or accidently bombing locals, and its help in protecting endangered species. However it does not want any environmental restrictions to poke into its activities. The military wants more land, airspace, and ocean clearance, and will make concessions. It uses the carrot, and the commanding influence of military power. The REPI Program supplies funds and also leverages contributions from state and local governments and conservation organizations, which are henceforth partners…..
 there are serious concerns about the REPI project, and similar ones that partner with civilian governments and nongovernmental environmental organizations. First of all, by publicizing its protection of red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises and others, their habitats, working farmlands, forests, and wetlands, the DoD emits a dust cloud over the intense environmental destruction of land, sea, and air resulting from military operations and their preparations. Militarization is worldwide and beyond, into space. In addition to the contribution of the US, other nations’ militaries are increasing in size, activities, and lethality. Many have been armed by us, or against the threat of us; some in response to other perceived threats. ……

Toxic wastes are produced (and not sequestered) at many US domestic bases; our military has granted us the bulk of superfund sites. As Joshua Frankhas stated:

US military sites, which total more than 50 million acres, are among the most insidious and dangerous Pentagon legacies. They are strewn with toxic bomb fragments, unexploded munitions, buried hazardous waste, fuel dumps, open pits filled with debris, burn piles and yes, rocket fuel…….
Another major concern about REPI and other military “partnerships” with civilian institutions and terrain is that it erodes the boundaries, however weak these days, between civil and military.  Might the US be turning into a banana republic or a military dictatorship? Penetration is not new; the US Army Corps of Engineers have been developing and maintaining recreational lakes and flood control projects for a long time. However, the military is slowly expanding into every nook and cranny of civilian life. …..  https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/17/get-your-endangered-species-off-my-bombing-range/

May 18, 2019 Posted by | environment, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

If America launched a nuclear war -335 million people killed within the first seventy-two hours.

Overall, an all-out U.S. attack on the Soviet Union, China and satellite countries in 1962 would have killed 335 million people within the first seventy-two hours.

As devastating as these projections are, all readily admit they don’t tell the entire story. While these three studies model the immediate effects of a nuclear attack, long-term problems might kill more people than the attack itself. The destruction of cities would deny the millions of injured, even those who might otherwise easily survive, even basic health care. What remains of government—in any country—would be hard pressed to maintain order in the face of dwindling food and energy supplies, a contaminated landscape, the spread of disease and masses of refugees.

While the threat of nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union has ended, the United States now faces the prospect of a similar war with Russia or China. The effects of a nuclear war in the twenty-first century would be no less severe. The steps to avoiding nuclear war, however, are the same as they were during the Cold War: arms control, confidence-building measures undertaken by both sides and a de-escalation of tensions.

335 Million Dead: If America Launched an All-Out Nuclear War   https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/335-million-dead-if-america-launched-all-out-nuclear-war-57262 “Under SIOP, “about 1,000” installations that were related to “nuclear delivery capability” would be struck.” by Kyle Mizokami 13 May 19, A major draw of U.S. nuclear weapons to Soviet cities would have also been the presence of local airports, which would have functioned as dispersal airfields for nuclear-armed bombers. On the other hand, the Soviet attack would largely hit ICBM fields and bomber bases in low-population-density regions of the Midwest, plus a handful of submarine bases on both coasts.

It is no exaggeration to say that for those who grew up during the Cold War, all-out nuclear war was “the ultimate nightmare.” The prospect of an ordinary day interrupted by air-raid sirens, klaxons and the searing heat of a thermonuclear explosion was a very real, albeit remote, possibility. Television shows such as The Day After and Threadsrealistically portrayed both a nuclear attack and the gradual disintegration of society in the aftermath. In an all-out nuclear attack, most of the industrialized world would have been bombed back to the Stone Age, with hundreds of millions killed outright and perhaps as many as a billion or more dying of radiation, disease and famine in the postwar period.

During much of the Cold War, the United States’ nuclear warfighting plan was known as the SIOP, or the Single Integrated Operating Plan. The first SIOP, introduced in 1962, was known as SIOP-62, and its effects on the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and China were documented in a briefing paper created for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and brought to light in 2011 by the National Security Archive. The paper presupposed a new Berlin crisis, similar to the one that took place in 1961, but escalating to full-scale war in western Europe.

Although the war scenario was fictional, the post-attack estimates were very real. According to the paper, the outlook for Communist bloc countries subjected to the full weight of American atomic firepower was grim. The paper divided attack scenarios into two categories: one in which the U.S. nuclear Alert Force, a percentage of overall nuclear forces kept on constant alert, struck the Soviet Union and its allies; and a second scenario where the full weight of the nuclear force, known as the Full Force, was used. Continue reading

May 14, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump likes strutting on the global ‘nuclear summit’ stage, but is not interested in genuine arms control

Beyond the spectacle of summits, Trump isn’t truly dedicated to nuclear arms control  https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/beyond-the-spectacle-of-summits-trump-isnt-truly-dedicated-to-nuclear-arms-control/

14 May 2019|Evan Karlik In the words of President Donald Trump, ‘nobody’s happy’ with the dimming prospects for further US–North Korea talks; last week Pyongyang renewed short-range missile tests and the US Justice Department impounded North Korea’s second-largest cargo vessel for sanctions violations. But this wasn’t the first instance of backsliding after negotiations broke down. In March, mere days after Kim Jong-un dined with Trump at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, satellite imagery suggested renewed activity at the Sohae satellite-launch and rocket-testing facility.
The Hanoi summit’s unsatisfying conclusion stemmed from dissimilar definitions of ‘complete denuclearisation’. US officials later clarified that North Korea’s ballistic missile capabilities and chemical and biological weapons programs must also be eliminated. More significantly, US National Security Advisor John Bolton rejected North Korea’s preference for a step-by-step, reciprocal approach to talks, in which negotiating carrots such as sanctions relief, economic development, a peace declaration, or diplomatic normalisation could keep pace with corresponding progress towards weapons dismantlement and a verification framework.

After three decades of intermittent negotiations with North Korea, direct engagement between heads of state was a fresh approach, for which Trump should be commended. But his administration’s indigestion when contemplating anything less than an all-encompassing, landmark accord should have been tempered with a seasoned helping of negotiating flexibility. And looking beyond Hanoi, it’s evident that Trump and his team are hardly committed to nuclear arms control writ large.

Only weeks after the US declared its intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which forbids both nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,000 kilometres, the Pentagon announced its plans to test a ground-mobile version of the sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missile in August, followed by a 4,000-kilometre-range ballistic missile in November.

Russia and the US have each critiqued the other for treaty noncompliance. Washington has continued to cite the operating range of Russia’s 9M729 missile and Moscow’s failure to course-correct since 2014, whereas Moscow has countered that the US Aegis Ashore missile defence site in Romania could perhaps be repurposed to launch offensive cruise missiles instead of only defensive interceptors.

At a January meeting in Geneva, Russia purportedly offered an inspection of the 9M729 system in exchange for a demonstration that the Aegis launchers couldn’t be converted to accommodate offensive missiles. American diplomats rejected this proposal, and, with the US Defense Department wasting no time to prepare for tests of INF Treaty–violating weapons soon after the agreement becomes void on 2 August, the Trump administration appears all too willing to dispense with existing arms limitations.

US officials have also yet to communicate their stance on prolonging the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2017, Trump reportedly disparaged the treaty as a ‘bad deal’ after Putin mentioned possible extension beyond 2021. Top US Air Force generals have testified before Congress and spoken publicly in unequivocal support of New START, calling bilateral and verifiable arms-control treaties ‘essential’, ‘of huge value’, ‘unbelievably important’ and ‘good for us’.

Regrettably, Bolton was a strident critic of New START before his appointment to lead Trump’s National Security Council, and the US State Department’s top diplomat for arms control remains noncommittal, explaining that the administration’s consolidated position towards treaty extension is still meandering through bureaucratic interagency review. ‘It gives reason to suspect our American counterparts of setting ground’ to let the treaty expire quietly, said Russia’s deputy foreign minister. Without the INF Treaty and the binding, verifiable limits contained in New START, American and Russian nuclear weaponry could soon be unconstrained for the first time since 1972.

And signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have just concluded their final preparatory meeting in advance of the treaty’s review conference next year. Non-nuclear states have expressed irritation that the US and Russia have further created ‘doubt about their intention ever to fulfil their disarmament obligations’. Instead of faithfully pursuing another stepwise reduction in its numbers of launchers and warheads, the US proposed multilateral working groups to discuss specific disarmament challenges. Among the 122 countries that voted in July 2017 for a nuclear-weapons ban, this American initiative, called ‘Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament’, smells like much high-minded talk without any meaningful effort towards US arms reductions.

If Trump desires credibility, dialogue with Russia promises fertile ground. At the outset, his political opponents may deride such overtures as cosying up to Putin. But as highlightedby former admiral Mike Mullen, the top American military officer from 2007 to 2011, ‘even in the darkest days of the Cold War’ the US had regular interchanges with the Soviet Union, but ‘we don’t have them now—it’s not even close’.

And responsibly trimming American and Russian arsenals would make any future pressure on North Korea all the more compelling.

Commitment to arms-control talks could help Washington and Moscow further comprehend areas of shared concern, such as China’s economic clout in central Asia and its adventurism in the Arctic, short of a thaw in relations. If mutually beneficial agreements with Moscow stimulate Trump’s appetite for open-minded negotiations and incremental processes, and achieve appreciation and esteem from the international community, perhaps step-by-step progress with Kim would then become palatable.

Evan Karlik is a lieutenant commander in the US Navy. He spent his early childhood in Western Samoa and the Philippines, and was stationed in Hawaii from 2011 to 2014. He served last year as a Defense Fellow in the US House of Representatives.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The monstrous destructive power of America’s Ohio-class submarine with up to 192 nuclear warheads

May 14, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s upgraded nuclear-powered missile cruisers to get advanced torpedo defense systems

Tass, May 13 2019  Both Project 22350 new frigates and Project 20380 corvettes under construction and Project 11442 cruisers undergoing upgrade will be furnished with the Paket-NK system.  MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. The advanced Paket-NK torpedo defense system developed by the Research and Production Enterprise ‘Region’ (part of Tactical Missiles Corporation) will be mounted on Project 11442 cruisers during their upgrade, Enterprise CEO Igor Krylov told TASS on Monday……..

As a result of their upgrade, the Project 11442 cruisers will get new Oniks and Kalibr missiles and Tsirkon hypersonic weapons (instead of Granit missiles currently in service). Advanced surface-to-air missile systems, communications, navigation, life support and other systems are due to be mounted on these warships.
The Project 11442 heavy missile cruisers are among the Russian Navy’s largest warships: they are 250 meters long and displace over 26,000 tonnes. The warships have 20 launchers of Granit anti-ship supersonic missiles as their basic armament. The warships have an unlimited operating range due to their nuclear propulsion unit. Russia and the United States are the sole countries that operate warships of this class. http://tass.com/defense/1057894

 

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Deep divisions between nations as preparations made for next year’s review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

May 13, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea is unlikely to ever give up all its nuclear weapons

North Korea won’t give up all its nuclear weapons, former Defense Secretary Gates says. Politico, By PATRICK TEMPLE-WEST, 05/12/2019  
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said North Korea is unlikely to ever give up all its nuclear weapons, and that President Donald Trump was right to walk away from deal with leader Kim Jong-un in February.In an interview with CBS that taped on May 10, Gates said North Koreans have come to see some modest nuclear capabilities as “essential to their national survival.”

“I believe that North Koreans will never completely denuclearize,” Gates said, adding that the Trump administration is “unrealistic in believing that they can get complete denuclearization.” ……. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/12/robert-gates-north-korea-1317623

May 13, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The vulnerability of nuclear weapons systems to cyber threats

May 11, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The problematic arrival of Artificial Intelligence for NuclearWeapons

From the A bomb to the AI bomb, nuclear weapons’ problematic evolution, more  https://www.france24.com/en/20190510-nuclear-weapons-artificial-intelligence-ai-missiles-bombs-technology-military, France 24 LIVE, Sébastian SEIBTm 10 May 19

From autonomous nuclear submarines to algorithms detecting a threat, to robot-guided high-speed missiles, artificial intelligence could revolutionise nuclear weapons – risking some profound ethical conundrums – a recent report reveals.

At 2:26 A.M. on June 3, 1980, Zbigniew Brezezinski, US President Jimmy Carter’s famously hawkish national security adviser, received a terrifying phone call: 220 Soviet nuclear missiles were heading for the US. A few minutes later, another phone call offered new information: in reality, 2,220 missiles were flying towards the US.

Eventually, as Brezezinski was about to warn Carter of the impending doom, military officials realised that it was a gargantuan false alarm caused by a malfunctioning automated warning system. Thus, the Cold War nearly became an apocalypse because of a computer component not working properly.

This was long before artificial intelligence (AI) rose to prominence. But the Americans and Soviets had already begun to introduce algorithms into their control rooms in order to make their nuclear deterrence more effective. However, several incidents – most notably that of June 3, 1980 – show the disadvantages of using AI.

Novelty implies new vulnerabilities’

Almost forty years on from that near debacle, AI seems to have disappeared from the nuclear debate, even though such algorithms have become ubiquitous at every level of society. But a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published on May 6 underlines the importance of this aspect.

The nuclear arms race still poses a considerable threat, seeing as Donald Trump’s America has promised to modernise its arsenal, North Korea seems uninterested in abandoning its nuclear programme, and relations are tense between neighbouring nuclear powers and historical antagonists India and Pakistan.

However, technological breakthroughs in AI show “enormous potential in nuclear power, as in the areas of conventional and cyber weapons”, said Vincent Boulanin, the researcher at SIPRI responsible for the report, in an interview with FRANCE 24. In particular, machine learning is “excellent for data analysis”, Boulanin continued. Such work could play an essential role in intelligence gathering and the detection of cyber attacks.

Russia resurrects Soviet AI system

“In truth, we know very little about the use of AI in nuclear weapons systems at present,” Boulanin admitted. Russia is the only world power to have brought up the issue recently, with President Vladimir Putin announcing in March 2018 the construction of a fully automated nuclear submarine called Poseidon. Furthermore, in 2011 Moscow resurrected and updated the Perimetr system, which uses artificial intelligence to be able (under certain conditions) to detect an atomic bomb by another state. But experts consider these announcements to be lacking in concrete details.

In part, such scepticism stems from the fact that “the adoption of new technologies in the nuclear field tends to be rather slow because novelty implies the possibility of new vulnerabilities”, Boulanin pointed out. Those in control of nuclear weapons programmes prefer to work on outdated computers instead of state-of-the-art technologies that are at risk of being hacked.

Nevertheless, Bounanin continued, it’s only a matter of time before the nuclear powers adopt AI in their weapons systems, considering the enticing prospects of such technology. Its main advantage is that algorithms are an awful lot faster than humans at processing information.

AI could also make guidance systems for missiles more accurate and more flexible, according to Boulanin. “This would be especially useful for high velocity systems that human can’t manoeuvre,” he said. Indeed, several countries are working on prototypes of hypersonic aircraft and missiles able to fly five times faster than the speed of sound. It would be impossible for humans to intervene on the trajectory of such missiles, while AI could correct the aim if necessary.

The dark side of AI in nuclear weapons

There is, however, a very dark side to AI. By nature, it implies the delegation of decision-making from humans to machines – which would carry serious “moral and ethical” implications, noted Page Stoutland, vice-president of the American NGO Nuclear Threat Initiative, which collaborated in the SIPRI report.

On this basis, “the guiding principle of respect for human dignity dictates that machines should generally not be making life-or-death decisions”, argued Frank Sauer, a nuclear weapons specialist at the University of Munich, in the SIRI study. “Countries need to take a clear stance on this” so that they don’t have robotic hands on the red button.

That’s while algorithms are created by humans and, as such, can reinforce the prejudices of their creators. In the US, AI used by the police to prevent reoffending has been shown to be “racist” by several studies. “It is therefore impossible to exclude a risk of inadvertent escalation or at least of instability if the algorithm misinterprets and misrepresents the reality of the situation,” pointed out Jean-Marc Rickli, a researcher at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, in the SIRI report.

Risk of accidental use

Artificial intelligence also risks upsetting the delicate balance between the nuclear powers, warned Michael Horowitz, a defence specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, in the SIRI study: “An insecure nuclear-armed state would therefore be more likely to automate nuclear early-warning systems, use unmanned nuclear delivery platforms or, due to fear of rapidly losing a conventional war, adopt nuclear launch postures that are more likely to lead to accidental nuclear use or deliberate escalation.” That means that the US – which boasts the world’s largest nuclear stockpile – will be more cautious in adopting AI than a minor nuclear power such as Pakistan.

In short, artificial intelligence is a double-edged sword when applied to nuclear weapons. In certain respects, it could help to make the world safer. But it needs to be adopted “in a responsible way, and people needs to take time to identify the risks associated with AI, as well as pre-emptively solving its problems”, Boulanin concluded.

One sobering comparison might be with the financial services industry. Bankers used the same arguments – the promises of speed and reliability – to introduce AI to the sector as those used by its advocates in the nuclear weapons field. Yet the use of AI in trading rooms has led to some very unpleasant stock market crashes. And of course, nuclear weapons will give AI much more to play with than mere money.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment