May 28, 1999
"...START I and START II Treaties, which marked the end of the cold war, were in fact an oath made publicly, that Russia and the U.S. would live in peace, in friendship and mutual consent. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear, that our former adversary, called now an our "transoceanic partner", breaches this oath..." (Nuclear Card-Sharping, by Olga Ruban, Moskovski Komsomolez, May 27, 1999, p. 2).
Russia accused the U.S. Congress of threatening world stability and encouraging another nuclear arms race with its efforts to develop an anti-ballistic missile system. (Russia Blasts US on Missile Defense, Associated Press, Thursday, May 27, 1999; 9:36 p.m. EDT). Sen. Jesse Helms reminded President Clinton Wednesday he wants the White House to submit proposed modifications by next week to a nuclear arms treaty he opposes (Helms Seeks Changes to ABM Treaty, By Harry Dunphy, Associated Press, Wednesday, May 26, 1999; 6:39 p.m. EDT).
Army testers cancelled Tuesday's planned antimissile launch because of problems with the missile that was to have been targeted. The target missile, a modified Minuteman 2, was fired but developed problems and the test of the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense missile was scrubbed, (Army Scratches Antimissile Test For Target Failure, Wall Street Journal, May 26, p. B13A)
Moscow is seeking an answer to the steps of Washington:
"...What could the United States conceivably do with 6,000 deployed nuclear warheads in the post-Cold War era? Why is it in the national security interest of the United States to wait for action by Russia's unpredictable and erratic legislature before taking new initiatives to reduce nuclear dangers? Doesn't it make more sense to accelerate the process of deep reductions now?..." (Invitation to Nuclear Disaster, by Michael Krepon, The Washington Post, Tuesday, May 25, 1999; Page A15).
In the wake of its first use in combat, senior US Air Force (USAF) officials and key members of Congress are interested in studying whether additional Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit stealth bombers can be manufactured for half their original price, (USAF to count the cost of expanding B-2A Spirit fleet, Jane's Defence Weekly, May 26, 1999).
France's latest Triomphant-class strategic missile submarine (SSBN) Temeraire successfully fired an M-45 nuclear missile from beneath the surface during trials off the coast of Brittany earlier this month. (France conducts missile test from Triomphant boat, Jane's Defence Weekly, May 26, 1999).
Today at the START Forum (in Russian): prospects of the U.S. unilateral nuclear reductions, value of secret information allegedly stolen by China, submarine detection from space, mini-nukes, etc.
May 25, 1999
Welcome to join the discussion at the START Forum. We expect that the agenda of the discussion will correspond to the one of the START Web site. The forum is open to all who wish to participate. There is the only restriction - the working language is Russian. We'll do our best to make the discussion both interesting and useful for the participants.
The NATO strikes against Yugoslavia and resulting tensions with Russia and China have created serious new threats to nuclear arms reduction measures and other global arms control efforts, many of which were already faltering, according to policymakers and specialists (Arms Control Damaged By War, By David Hoffman, The Washington Post, Sunday, May 23, 1999; Page A01).
Seventeenth test of THAAD interceptor is planned for today. Fourteen of the previous tests ended with a failure. (New Anti-Missile System to Be Tested This Week, By William J. Broad, The New York Times, May 24, 1999). The House of Representatives voted to accept the Cochran-Inouye bill endorsing National Missile Defense deployment "as soon as technologically feasible" last Thursday. The bill now goes to the President, who is expected to sign it. (House Approves Star Wars Defense Program, by Elizabeth Becker, The New York Times, May 21, 1999).
The key benefits of commonality - using the same or interchangeable subsystems and components in more than one weapon- are cost savings and improved interoperability among BMDO systems, recently released GAO report states (Ballistic Missile Defense: More Common Systems and Components Could Result in Cost Savings, GAO Report, May 21, 1999) - in PDF format.
Russia on Thursday rejected Western claims that its nuclear materials are poorly guarded, asserting that security measures meet and even exceed international standards, (Russia Rejects Western Nuke Claims, Associated Press, Thursday, May 20, 1999; 10:54 a.m. EDT)
May 21, 1999
The fastest way to improve the security of the United States is to reduce dramatically the size of their nuclear arsenal, retired Air Force General Lee Butler, the first commander of Strategic Command, said (Sharp Cut In Nuclear Missile Force Is Proposed, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 14, 1999). Similar proposal was made by experts of the Coalition To Reduce Nuclear Dangers (Stuck at START: U.S. Forced to Maintain its Nuclear Arsenal while Russia's Declines, Issue Brief Vol. 3, No. 1, May 17, 1999).
Electronic version of the March'99 issue of Arms Control Today is now available. Its contents include:
General Thomas Kuenning, Director of CTR Program, visited Moscow this week (The Way To Hold An "Aggressor" Up To Shame And Get Money Simultaneously (by Pavel Felgenhauer, Segodnia, May 21, 1999)
De-alerting proposal attracts more attention in the U.S. Experts of the Center For Defense Information assume that there is a verifiable way to stand-down nuclear forces without increasing the vulnerability of the weapons taken off alert. (Standing Down Nuclear Weapons, by Lt. Colonel Piers Wood, USAR (Ret.), Weekly Defense Monitor, Vol. 3, Issue #20, May 20, 1999)
The rift between the United States and Russia caused by NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia has halted efforts by the two nuclear powers to share early warning information on missile launches, John Harvey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear forces said (Early Warning Talks Suspended, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 15, 1999). See also: Nuke launch ultimate Y2K nightmare; U.S., Russia cooperating on early-warning system (Baltimore Sun, May 9, 1999).
Security protecting Russia's nuclear materials is even worse than had been estimated previously, the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Science, said Tuesday.
"...Any action to dismantle four Trident boats...(is)...premature at a minimum, a costly mistake at worst...", (S-O-S: Save our subs, by Frank J. Gaffney Jr., The Washington Times, May 19, 1999)
Japanese and Russian scientists may have set an example of positive international cooperation by launching a joint project for the processing of weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants (Japan signs agreement with Russia on weapons-grade plutonium, ITAR-TASS, May 19, 1999).
May 15, 1999
"...Unlike past stumbling blocks for START that delayed its consideration by the Russian Duma, the war in Kosovo threatens to kill it all together..." (Farewell to Arms? Forget about It!, by David Isenberg, Intellectual Capital, May 6, 1999). See also the Russian version of the article and discussions on the pages indicated.
The Senate Armed Services Committee was ready to support a plan for reducing the Navy's nuclear-missile sub fleet from 18 to 14, congressional officials said Wednesday, (Senate Panel to Lower Trident Levels, by Tom Raum, Associated Press, Wednesday, May 12, 1999; 4:14 p.m. EDT)
China and Russia used the world's leading disarmament forum to jointly condemn NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia and denounce U.S. plans to develop a nuclear missile defense system (China, Russia Denounce NATO Strikes, by Alexander G. Higgins, Associated Press, Tuesday, May 11, 1999; 11:14 a.m. EDT). See also briefings of the Third NPT PrepCom meeting, which opened on May 10, 1999.
April's issue (N 36) of Disarmament Diplomacy is now on the Web. Among its contents: the article by Miguel Marin-Bosch, the Consul-General of Mexico in Barcelona, and former representative to the Conference on Disarmament, (Nuclear Disarmament on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century: Is This As Good As It Gets?, by Miguel Marin-Bosch).
China is condemned in stealing secrets about a space radar that can allegedly expose submerged submarines could aid it in finding subs from commercial satellites or airplanes. According to press, China may be able to track America's and British nuclear submarines, the most survivable part of strategic triad:
"...There is little chance that the Clinton administration is going to conclude that the United States must withdraw from the ABM treaty with Russia in order to develop a missile defense system. Ongoing congressional hearings, however, will set down a detailed record of the treaty's shortcomings and why it is impossible to modify satisfactorily, thereby making it possible for the next president to announce withdrawal on his first day in office ..." (Where's The Treaty?, Wall Street Journal, May 10, 1999, p. 22)
May 12, 1999
The report NATO Expansion And The Nuclear Reductions Process, presented by experts of our Center at the conference "NATO Movement To The East - Security Problems For Russia And The CIS States", St. Petersburg, April 28-29, 1999) is now available in English.
May 7, 1999
Military experts comment on recent secret Russian Security Council meeting:
Prospects for further nuclear reductions of U.S. and Russian arsenals are vague. Nevertheless, the CTR program continues quietly to be accomplished. However, there are problems with the program as well:
The Secretary of Defense has submitted to Congress his report which quantifies the architecture force structure needed to provide coverage against specific theater ballistic missile threats to most of the erritories for Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. "If one focuses on the strategic realities of today, I would submit that there is no strategic rationale for the ABM Treaty," said James Woolsey, director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1993- 95. "The only rationale for the ABM Treaty today is rooted in current foreign relations concerns: The Russians do not want us to withdraw from it.":
Lt-Gen Sergey Martynov, commander of the Space Missile Defence Troops has highlighted the benefits of the merging of the Strategic Missile Troops, the Military Space Forces and the Space Missile Defence Troops into a single consolidated branch of service - the Strategic Missile Troops, (The Space Shield Of The Homeland, by Ilshat Bychourin, Krasnaya Zvezda, April 30, 1999, p. 1).
The latest issue of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (May-June, 1999) contains the special section on Russia's nuclear arsenal:
PIR Center has published the 10-th issue of Study Paper "The Future Of The Russian Nuclear Arsenal", by Ivan Safrantchouk. The report is edited by Dr. Dmitry Evstafiev and commented by Gen. (ret.) Evgeni Maslin.
May 1, 1999
"...NATO expansion completely undermines the security system which was created by early 90-s. At first, it breaks the principle of consensus - the decision about NATO enlargement was made in spite of Russia's objections. At second, NATO expansion rejects the principle of transparency - NATO refuses working out an agreement on non-deployment of nuclear weapons at the territories of its new members. And finally - NATO actions in Yugoslavia clearly demonstrate, what the absence of balance of military power may lead to. Thus, unfortunately, the assertion that the basis for regional security system was shifted from military power balance to confidence does not correspond to current realities..." (NATO Expansion And The Process Of Nuclear Reductions, (in Russian) - the report of experts of our Center, presented at the conference "NATO Movement To The East - Security Problems For Russia And The CIS States", St. Petersburg, April 28-29, 1999). See also: "The War Shoot Down The Belief In Agreements" (by Vladimir Medvedev, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 15, April 23-29, 1999, p. 1,3)
Pyotr Romashkin (the Staff of the "Yabloko" faction in the State Duma) concludes that Russia should concentrate efforts on maintaining its existing strategic triad and reducing gradually together with the US in START III frames: On Denunciation of INF Treaty And Other Changes In Nuclear Policy Of The Russian Federation, (in Russian).
Russian Security Council meeting last Friday has discussed the problems of nuclear weapons complex. According to press sources, three documents were signed - two President decrees and the program of nuclear weapons complex. One of the decrees is about tactical weapons. Another was strictly classified, so that even its title was not announced.
According to daily Izvestiya, Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, CinC of the Russian Navy, declared extension of service life of Delta III strategic submarines until 2005. The newspaper indicates, that the Admiral's order sounded hard: all submarines must remain in the order of battle, and every incident will be considered as a malfeasance. (Russia Reconsiders Its "Nuclear Argumentation", by Yuri Golotyuk, Izvestiya, April 27, 1999, p. 1). See also in April's issue of The Submarine Review: Perspectives Of Russian Ballistic Missile Submarine Development, (by George Sviatov, The Submarine Review, April 1999, pp. 58-62).
Viktor Mikhailov, First Deputy Minister Of Nuclear Energy, discusses problems of nuclear weapons complex in "Perspective New Technologies For Nuclear Weapons Development", Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 15, April 23-29, 1999, p. 6).
According to Moskovskaya Pravda, by help of Russian tycoons the U.S. strives for splitting apart and overriding Russian natural monopoly - Minatom (The U.S. Needs Nuclear Kozyrev, by Sergei Mezin, Moskovskaya Pravda, April 30, 1999).
A new book entitled "Russian Strategic Missile Systems", - in Russian, (by A.V. Karpenko, A.F. Utkin and A.D. Popov, St. Petersburg, Nevski Bastion - Gangut, 1999, 288 p.) has been recently published. The book summarizes basic data on over 100 Russian systems with ballistic and cruise missiles. Over 700 drawings, photos and pictures of strategic missiles, launchers and special equipment have been collected in the databook.