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December, 2002

December 23, 2002
December 17, Russian State Dumas defense and international affairs committees met to discuss the ratification of the US-Russian Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty. As a result of the discussion a further procedure was agreed upon for the joint work of the executive and legislative powers on intensifying the ratification process.

December 17, Russian Strategic Rocket Forces celebrated their professional holiday.

Debate on the future of the Russian strategic nuclear triad continues at the pages of Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye. The December 20th issue presents opposite views of those who advocate priority development of land-based missiles, and those who give priority to sea-based ones:

December 17, George W. Bush announced the decision to step up fielding US missile defense capabilities. Particularly, up to 20 ground-based interceptors are planned to be deployed by 2005:

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement which stressed that the realization of missile defense deployment plans has entered a destabilizing new phase:

Arms control experts note that this decision is politically driven. Key technologies will not be ready by the time announced:

See also media comments:

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld officially requested permission to improve US radar capabilities at the Royal Air Force Fylingdales base in the United Kingdom and the Thule airbase in Greenland. In exchange, at least with respect to the British base, Rumsfeld said the United States would "extend missile defense coverage" to Britain:

US experts criticize recent National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. However, most Americans favor using nuclear weapons against Iraq if Saddam Hussein attacks US military forces with chemical or biological weapons in a war that the public believes is virtually inevitable:

The Group of Eight economic powers have held a series of discussions to advance their $20 billion proposal to help dismantle former Soviet weapons and materials. International officials and arms control advocates, however, remain concerned about the lack of a coordinating mechanism for the complex effort and the shortage of financial commitments:

Georgy Mamedov, Deputy Foreign Minister who oversees strategic stability issues comments on the situation around Iraq, Iran and North Korea: "Evil Axis " is a Provocative Expression, - in Russian, (by Katerina Labetskaya, Vremya Novostey, December 23, 2002)

North Korea removed the equipment that international inspectors installed more than eight years ago to make sure that it would not make use of its large stockpile of plutonium to produce nuclear weapons. Bush administration officials said they feared that North Korea could use that plutonium to manufacture five or six nuclear weapons within months:

Last week, Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, asserted that Iraq's declaration on its weapons capacities "totally failed" to meet the conditions laid down by the United Nations. The document, he said, was nothing more than "a catalogue of flagrant omissions and recycled information":

Scandal over reports that Iran is building two nuclear facilities that can be used for military purposes is still burning. Russian experts and analysts believe that accusations against Iran are groundless:

The five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- have said they hope that a treaty establishing a nuclear weapon-free zone in the region can be signed in April next year: Central Asia Aims for Weapon-Free Zone by April 2003, (Global Security Newswire, Friday, December 20, 2002)

Russian Federation's Accounting Office found infringements in the Minatom's use of finances received under the "Megatons to Megawatts Program": Sale of Molecules in Extremely Large Quantities, - in Russian, (by Yekaterina Ignatyeva, Novaya Gazeta, December 16, 2002)

December 16, 2002
We present a new section -- US Nuclear Forces C3 System (in Russian). Contents of the section were prepared by a well-known Russian expert Col. Valery Yarynich, Ret., Professor of Academy of Military Sciences. Welcome to take part in a discussion on expediency of a wider open coverage of Russian Nuclear Forces C3 system at the Russian START Bulletin Board.

According to Nikolai Bezborodov, Vice-Chairman of the State Duma's Defense Committee, relevant Committees plan to conduct hearings of the SORT treaty this week: U.S.-Russia: Duma Plans Treaty Discussions Next Week, (Global Security Newswire, Thursday, December 12, 2002)

Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) will turn 43 tomorrow. SRF Commander-in-Chief Nikolai Solovtsov speaks about their present day and prospects : "Satan" To Stay On Duty Till 2016, - in Russian, (by Nikolai Poroskov, Vremya Novostey, December 16, 2002)

December 13 was one year since President Bush's official statement on US withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty: One Year Without ABM Treaty, - in Russian, (by Victor Litovkin, Pravda.ru, December 13, 2002). See also our special section: How Should Russia Respond to the Impending US NMD Deployment?

Experts are divided on the new US National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed a hope, that the published National Strategy of the United States will contribute to further developing and deepening such bilateral and multilateral collaboration on the basis of international law and mutual consideration of national interests.

Media reports and Institute For Science and International Security brief revealed that Iran builds secret nuclear fuel cycle facilities. American official sources and IAEA confirmed published information. Tehran denies the accusation and invites IAEA inspectors to examine the facilities. Russian Minatom considers the new campaign as another US attempt to make Moscow stop construction of nuclear power plant in Bushehr.
Iran's Nuclear Program

North Korea called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove monitoring equipment and seals from all North Korean nuclear facilities. Washington tries to resolve this particular nuclear crisis peacefully.

Experts of five nuclear powers continue to analyze Iraq's Report to the UN. The Bush administration dismissed Iraq's weapons declaration as short of information on WMD development programs:

December 11, 2002
December 7, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin submitted the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions to the State Duma for ratification:

See also our special section Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions. Status, Comments, Expert Opinions.

Yet another grand restructuring of the Russian armed forces is being prepared -- now aerospace defense to be created in the future: Space Military Fist. Restructuring as Asymmetric Answer to the US, - in Russian, (by Nikolai Poroskov, Vremya Novostey, December 9, 2002)

December 10, 8:15AM Moscow time, Russian Space Force and Strategic Rocket Forces successfully carried out a combat-training launch of SS-19 Stiletto ICBM from a silo at Baikonur space launch site. The launched missile was kept on duty for more than 25 years:

December 11, White House released unclassified version of the national security strategy, which said that the United States will "respond with overwhelming force," including "all options," to the use of biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear weapons on the nation, its troops or its allies:

According to Victor Mikhailov, Director of the Institute for Strategic Stability, former Minister of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation, "...Scientists work on nuclear "scalpel" that would be able to "cut out" and destroy very local objects. A low yield warhead would be surrounded by an ultra strong casing, that would let it penetrate 30-40 meters deep into rock and destroy deep buried object, e.g. a military command and control center, or nuclear weapons storage. This weapon would allow to accurately destroy objects located directly above the center of explosion and near it. Sort of mini-earthquake without radioactive contamination of the ground... Finding a solution of this very difficult scientific and technical problem will take at least 10, but no more than 20 years. No law of physics prohibits creation of such a weapon. Which means it will be created..." (If Chechens Try Nuclear Blackmail, Chechnya Will Disappear From Earth, - in Russian, by Alexandr Khokhlov, Izvestia, December 4, 2002). On the new anti-terrorist military technology see also:

The Pentagons Missile Defense Agency announced today that flight test of a missile interceptor for Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program failed: Missile Defense Test Conducted, (Missile Defense Agency Press Release, December 11, 2002). On the eve of the test, December issue of Arms Control Today runs an article that analyzes Agency's test results manipulation technique: Debunking the Missile Defense Agencys Endgame Success Argument, (by George N. Lewis and Lisbeth Gronlund, Arms Control Today, December 2002)

For criticism of the US missile defense programs see:

On the problems of missile defense programs see also:

Senator Richard Lugar outlined principal aims for further steps in implementation of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program: The Next Steps in U.S. Nonproliferation Policy, (by Richard G. Lugar, Arms Control Today, December 2002). On the problems and prospects of CTR implementation see also:

In the December issue of Arms Control Today:

A trial on uranium traffic came to an end recently in Balashikha court (Moscow region). Several criminals and former militiamen were trying to sell more than 1 kilogram of nuclear fuel assuring buyers that they would be able to resell the merchandise to Usama Bin Laden (Uranium from A Mechanic, - in Russian, by Alexandr Shvarev, Vremya Novostey, December 6, 2002). On the problems of fissile materials safety in Russia see also:

Report submitted by Baghdad to the UN Security Council says that Iraq tried to make a "dirty radioactive bomb". Permanent representatives a the UNSC (nuclear states) will receive copies of the report, while others -- edited and significantly abridged version:

US military asked Chinese colleagues to press North Korea to stop its nuclear program:

In his interview for Indian media Russian president Vladimir Putin stressed that "...we take note of the statements made by President Musharraf that the military potential of his country is in safe hands, but, to be frank, the feeling of concern and anxiety still persists..."

December 3, 2002
Text of lecture on US and Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces: Nuclear Doctrines, Structure, Development Programs, by Dr. Eugene Miasnikov, Senior Research Associate with our Center, is now available on-line (in Russian). The lecture was given on November 15, 2002 at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology within Non-proliferation and Reduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction Regime and National Security course offered by our Center.

Independent experts urge to broaden the joint US-Russian Cooperative Threat Reduction program: Trove Of Russian Arms At Risk, (by Sonni Efron, Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2002)

At the "Zvezdochka" dockyard in Severodvinsk, nuclear fuel is being unloaded from two nuclear reactors of a Typhoon strategic nuclear submarine: Typhoon's Nuclear Heart Amputated, in Russian, (by Vitaly Bratkov, Pravda.ru, November 30, 2002)

US Navy plans to try to fire a Tomahawk missile from USS Florida converted for non-nuclear role. If the test succeeds, the Navy intends to convert four Tridents to carry conventionally armed cruise missiles instead of strategic ballistic missiles: Navy Plans Trident Conversion Tests, (Global Security Newswire, Monday, November 25, 2002)

Pentagon officials admitted that launch detection SBIRS system will not be deployed until 2006: Lagging Satellites Jeopardize Midcourse System, (Global Security Newswire, Monday, December 2, 2002). On the prospects of the US NMD system see also:

After nearly a year reviewing allegations of scientific fraud at MIT, a senior professor called for a full investigation into whether MIT scientists knowingly gave their seal of approval to a major component of the fledgling national missile defense program that did not work:

"...Old missiles were destroyed either according to the arms reduction treaties, or because of expiration of their service life, while the new ones were not produced in sufficient numbers yet because there was no rush to make them in time. The negligible number of single-warhead Topol-M missiles that is unhurriedly produced at the Votkinsk plant will not be sufficient to protect us. Moreover, extremely vulnerable and not combat-ready Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers, and two-three submarines -- all that will be left by... [the year 2010 -E.M.] from once mighty Navy -- won't be sufficient either. Does this mean that 2010 is the most likely date for the US attack against Russia? What scenario does America prepare -- Yugoslavia-type or something totally different?...", (America Prepares a Strike... Against Russia?, by Vladimir Krasilnikov, in Russian)

On the eve of president Bush's signing of 2003 defense authorization bill, critics believe that their efforts slowed down Pentagon's dangerous course:

In their joint declaration signed in Beijing on December 2, 2002, Russia and China underline the "...importance of normalization of relations between USA and DPRK based on consistent adherence to previously reached agreements, including 1994 Framework Agreement...":

According to Indian sources, president Putin, expressed concerns over Islamabad's nuclear security:

Indian press reported that India and Russia were to finalize an arms package that includes the three-year lease of the Akula II class nuclear submarine. However, India's naval chief declined to confirm or deny this report:

Moscow declared that Russian Federation has acceded to the International Code of Conduct on the understanding that the Code is only the first step along the road to elaborating a legally binding multilateral agreement on a global missile nonproliferation regime:

Uranium held by Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology became yet another apple of discord between the US and Ukraine: Nuclear Terrorism Focus Shifting to Research Facilities, (by Joby Warrick, The Washington Post, Thursday, November 28, 2002; Page A01), see also: Nonessential Nukes, (by Edwin S. Lyman and Paul L. Leventhal, The Washington Post, Tuesday, November 26, 2002; Page A29)

The US Defense Department has licensed to a few select nongovernmental organizations previously unavailable software that can model the effects of releases of nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological weapons and materials: Pentagon Distributes Modeling Software for WMD Attacks, (by Bryan Bender, Global Security Newswire, Wednesday, November 27, 2002)

Minister of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation speaks on the prospects of this industry:

A former head of German foreign intelligence said that Germany warned the United States that Moscow planned to install nuclear missiles in Cuba months before the Cuban missile crisis threatened to spark nuclear war: Germany 'Warned U.S. Before Cuban Missile Crisis', (by Adam Tanner, Reuters, Friday, November 29, 2002; 11:00 AM)


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