According to the then-Russian Chief of the General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, in 2009, “The strategic nuclear forces for us are a sacred issue…” Senior Russian officials often make nuclear threats, including threats of direct targeting and threats of preemptive nuclear attack, against US allies. There are only two countries in the world that do this routinely – Russia and North Korea. China is a poor third in this arena, but is swiftly moving in their direction.
Russia routinely exercises its nuclear forces against NATO and the U.S. Two weeks before the 2012 US election, the Kremlin announced “strategic nuclear forces’ exercises,” in which President Putin “oversaw test launches of strategic and cruise missiles which reached set targets at various military testing grounds.” Moreover, Russia routinely flies nuclear capable bombers into the air-defense identification zones of the U.S., NATO nations, and Japan.
Russia has virtually ceased eliminating legacy strategic forces. Russian data, released by the State Department in April 2013, record that Russia has increased its strategic delivery vehicles in the two years since New START has been in effect. The number of deployed warheads has decreased by 57, but this is apparently largely the result of New START’s not counting warheads on submarines that are being overhauled.
Tag Archives: Warheads
It stretched from the Caspian to the Baltic Sea, from the middle of Europe to the Kurile Islands in the Pacific, from Siberia to Central Asia. Its nuclear arsenal held 45,000 warheads, and its military had five million troops under arms. There had been nothing like it in Eurasia since the Mongols conquered China, took parts of Central Asia and the Iranian plateau, and rode into the Middle East, looting Baghdad. Yet when the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, by far the poorer, weaker imperial power disappeared.
And then there was one. There had never been such a moment: a single nation astride the globe without a competitor in sight. There wasn’t even a name for such a state (or state of mind). “Superpower” had already been used when there were two of them. “Hyperpower” was tried briefly but didn’t stick. “Sole superpower” stood in for a while but didn’t satisfy. “Great Power,” once the zenith of appellations, was by then a lesser phrase, left over from the centuries when various European nations and Japan were expanding their empires. Some started speaking about a “unipolar” world in which all roads led… well, to Washington.
To this day, we’ve never quite taken in that moment when Soviet imperial rot unexpectedly — above all, to Washington — became imperial crash-and-burn. Left standing, the Cold War’s victor seemed, then, like an empire of everything under the sun. It was as if humanity had always been traveling toward this spot. It seemed like the end of the line.
The Chinese military has deployed its new anti-ship ballistic missile along its southern coast facing Taiwan, the Pentagon’s top military intelligence officer said today.
The missiles are designed be be launched to a general location, where their guidance systems take over and spot carriers to attack with warheads intended to destroy the ships’ flight decks, launch catapults and control towers.
U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert told defense reporters in March 2012 that the Navy is evaluating how to defeat the missile during all phases of flight, using methods such as jamming the missiles’ sensors, reducing the electronic emissions from U.S. ships, and intercepting the missile.
Reality, yet again, is not on the side of Pyongyang.
The North Koreans still need a few things — a reliable long range, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a nuclear warhead built to fit that missile, and the technology that can guide it through launch, reentry, and hitting the target, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
North Korea has test fired a number of missiles with varying ranges. They’ve been successful with some short and medium range platforms, but their long range capabilities have been marked with many failures.
Not yet, but could that change in the not too distant future? Also, what about ship launched missiles with super-EMP warheads? A few of those babies detonating over the US means the lights go out – permanently. 90% of the US population will die within a few years, mostly due to starvation.
The Federation of American Scientists is composed of a bunch of Leftists. That doesn’t mean they are always wrong, but it means you should not depend on them as your only information source. Get other sources of information before you come to a conclusion.
I am not worried about North Korea nuking the US anytime soon, but it’s just one more sign of gathering problems that will eventually come to a head. When things eventually head south, as they must, then it is going to be real bad. It’s like sleeping on train tracks. You might be able to get away with it for a long time, but eventually that train is coming.
If anything, reducing the American arsenal is likely to cause the very instability that the U.S. seeks to avoid. Without an American commitment to a strong nuclear deterrent, the country’s friends and allies could develop doubts about where the U.S. stands and what it would do to safeguard its own interests and theirs.
Many other nations depend on U.S. nuclear-security assurances and could come to question whether further reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal—and an American political leadership that prizes disarmament posturing over the hard work of counter-proliferation—can credibly protect them against proliferators and other threats.
The authors are right about this instability, but it’s already too late. Unless the US has an arsenal big enough to launch multiple independent strikes over several years, then it isn’t big enough. The key to deterrence is making it personal. Enemy leaders, like those in Russia and China, must know that ultimately they (personally) cannot survive attacking the US. Right now they (the leaders) can survive, so the US has already crossed the line into instability. Also, it’s not so much the number of warheads that matter. It’s the delivery vehicles. If you can’t get a bomb to its target, then it’s not all that good, is it? Right now the US is short of delivery vehicles.
According to Daryl Kimball of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, the NPRIS will be discussed at Mr Obama’s first post-election security cabinet meeting next month. The president is wary of trying to get another treaty through the Senate, so he is contemplating both accelerating the New START reductions and, if agreement can be secured with Russia, moving below the ceiling, perhaps to 1,000 warheads—a figure that the joint chiefs of staff have recently agreed would not put deterrence at any risk.
WND has learned of the existence of a secret ballistic missile base in Iran’s Semnan Province to which the Islamic regime has moved missiles armed with microbial warheads.
The Badr base, a center for air defense which has about 50 underground missile silos housing Iran’s Shahab 3 ballistic missiles, serves as Iran’s second-largest missile-launching site, and is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards.
At ISIS, we have assessed for some time that North Korea likely has the capability to mount a plutonium-based nuclear warhead on the shorter range Nodong missile, which has a range of about 800 miles, and that Pyongyang still lacks the ability to deploy a warhead on an ICBM, although it shows progress at this effort. North Korea would need to conduct missile flight tests with a re-entry vehicle and mock warhead, increase the explosive yield of the warhead (possibly requiring its further miniaturization), and improve the operational reliability of the warhead and missile.
One reason that North Korea can likely miniaturize its warheads by now has to do with the sheer duration of its nuclear weapons program. North Korea’s weaponization work can be traced back to the 1980s.
In those early years, China may have provided assistance in terms of nuclear weapons data and designs. Until the mid-to-late 1980s, China was not opposed to nuclear proliferation. In the early 1980s, it provided Pakistan with 50 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium and a nuclear warhead design.
Generally it means that even the severely reduced number of warheads deployed in our arsenal would not — if they were needed in a crisis — be available for use. If that in fact took place — with countries hostile to the US having arsenals in excess of the US force — it would probably be in irresistible invitation to them to attack.
Former Senator Chuck Hagel, nominated to be Secretary of Defense, is also a signatory of what is known as the “Global Zero” plan. It calls for the United States and Russia to begin comprehensive nuclear arms negotiations in early 2013 to achieve zero nuclear weapons worldwide by 2030 in four phases.
The first phase would be a reduction of the US nuclear arsenal to 1,000 weapons from its current level …
The Global Zero plan also calls for “de-alerting” our nuclear weapons. That would mean any number of things, but generally it means even the severely reduced number of warheads in our deployed arsenal would not, in a crisis, be available for use if they were needed. The warheads might be removed from their missiles or bombers; they might be disabled and stored remotely — requiring many hours, days, or longer to be redeployed.
North Korea’s first successful rocket launch is a truly dangerous development. Although the North Koreans have previously detonated two nuclear devices, until now they have not demonstrated any ability to deliver them. Weaponizing a missile is hard, but Pyongyang’s close ally Iran has made great advances in miniaturizing warheads. With the combination of North Korea’s nuclear bombs and Iran’s technology, a nuclear-tipped missile could be capable of striking the West Coast of the United States in the near future. We can no longer afford to ignore North Korea.
It is important to ask why North Korea launched the rocket now. A look at three target audiences provides clues: the North Korean people, the South Korean people and the U.S. government.