Join
Search

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

The Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons

I recently returned from the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW14), the third such conference since March 2013 spearheaded by a number of international civil society organizations and non-nuclear weapons states. These states are growing increasingly impatient with the nuclear weapons states in their lack of progress toward global disarmament—as they pledged to do in Article VI of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  Read More

Bookmark and Share

Obama’s Nuclear Legacy

With two years left in office, President Obama still has time to shape his legacy. Given the challenges presented by a Republican-controlled Congress, further legislative success is unlikely. But that still leaves lots of opportunities to act without Congress, as we are witnessing with climate change and immigration. There is another area where the president could enhance his legacy dramatically. It is also an issue to which President Obama has a deep personal commitment, where the authority is in his hands, and where he could direct changes that would make every American safer. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Independent Review of DOD’s Nuclear Enterprise: Money, Maintenance, and Morale

A newly released independent review of the Department of Defense (DOD) nuclear enterprise by two retired military leaders, Air Force General Larry D. Welch and Navy Admiral John C. Harvey, Jr., concludes—to no one’s surprise—that there are many problems. The review, which was completed in June but released just last week, was prompted by a series of embarrassing incidents over the past year or so including ICBM launch officers caught cheating on exams, a general relieved of command after drunkenness and inappropriate behavior on a trip to Russia, and the deputy chief of the U.S. Strategic Command removed from his post after passing counterfeit gambling chips at a local casino. Read More

Bookmark and Share

An Update on Missile Defense Testing Plans

Inside Defense reports that the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has scrapped its plans for the next Ground Based Midcourse missile defense (GMD) system intercept test. It had been planned for the coming spring; instead, MDA will perform a non-intercept flight test of the system, designated CTV-02+. Read More

Bookmark and Share

The U.S. National Missile Defense System Turns 10

So, happy anniversary to you, Ground Based Midcourse missile defense (GMD) system.  I see that the traditional 10-year anniversary gift is tin or perhaps diamonds, though your best friends seem to be favoring tons of concrete. Read More

Bookmark and Share

China’s Nuclear Threshold and No First-Use

Next month, on 16 October, China will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of its first successful nuclear weapons test. That same day in 1964 the Chinese government released an official statement declaring, “China will never at any time or under any circumstances be the first to use nuclear weapons.” The Chinese government reconfirmed its commitment to that declaration many times over the past five decades, most recently in April 2013. Read More

Bookmark and Share

The Missile Defense Agency IG Report

The Pentagon’s Inspector General (IG) released a report yesterday about the U.S. Ground Based Midcourse (GMD) missile defense system: “Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle Quality Assurance and Reliability Assessment, Part A.”  It’s telling. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Missile Defense: Taking the Path of Least Resistance

Huntsville, Alabama is full today with champions of ballistic missile defense from the political, military, and industrial spheres, braving the south in August for the 2014 Space and Missile Defense Conference.  So far, I haven’t heard any reports about the specific next steps for the Ground Based Midcourse (GMD) missile defense system, although from other sources, it looks like the Pentagon might be taking June 22’s successful intercept test with a little too much exuberance. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Senate’s Good Work on Nuclear Weapons All for Naught?

As has happened far too often in recent years, the appropriations process in Congress is a shambles. There is no chance that any of the thirteen annual bills that fund the U.S. government will be signed into law by the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. Instead, there will be a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government at the same level as the current fiscal year. The only question is how long a time period the CR will cover.

Among the many reasons that this is unfortunate are the sound decisions on nuclear weapons programs that populate the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development appropriations act and its accompanying report, including well-considered funding levels, that may never become law. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Comments on the Ground-Based Midcourse Missile Defense Test Record

The Department of Defense states that Sunday’s test was the 65th successful hit-to-kill intercept out of 81 tries since 2001 for the Ballistic Missile Defense System. This statistic includes not only the Ground Based Midcourse (GMD) missile defense system tested this weekend, but all ranges of interceptors, including the Patriot system which targets short range missiles.

Only 17 of those tests have been of the GMD system. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) will state the GMD record as 9 successes out of 17 tests, which includes tests of interceptors that were prototypes and those with both the CE-I and CE-II kill vehicles. The Pentagon also claims “four intercepts using the operationally configured interceptor since 2006.” Read More

Bookmark and Share