NAPSNET Weekly FLASH Update 23 April, 2001

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"NAPSNET Weekly FLASH Update 23 April, 2001", NAPSNet Weekly Report, April 23, 2001,

Nuclear Weapons

1. DPRK Nuclear Weapons

In a speech given at a conference at Texas A&M University, Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin stated that the DPRK probably has one or two nuclear bombs and may also have biological and chemical weapons. He said that the DPRK’s No Dong missile and its variants have shown up in Iran and Pakistan, and “it is busy at work on new models that could reach the United States itself with nuclear-sized payloads.” McLaughlin also said the DPRK may also have biological weapons in addition to chemical weapons.
“N. Korean nukes likely, official says”
“CIA Official: N. Korea Probably Has Nuclear Arms”
“DPRK Nuclear Program” (NAPSNet Daily Report, April 20, US)

2. US Tactical Nuclear Weapons

According to government sources, the US Defense Department is studying whether to develop a low-yield nuclear weapon with an earth-penetrating nose cone that could knock out hardened or deeply buried targets. A senior adviser to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that an Iraqi leader would not be deterred by current US nuclear weapons “because he knows a U.S. president would not drop a 100-kiloton bomb on Baghdad” and destroy the entire city to reach Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. A government nuclear weapons scientist said a one-kiloton warhead would have to dig down only 175 feet for its radioactive material to remain contained. The Defense Department report on the use of such tactical nuclear weapons is due in July at the same time as a review of US strategic nuclear deterrence policy. A new nuclear bomb has not been developed in the United States since the 1980s, and nuclear testing was halted in 1992.
“U.S. Studies Developing New Nuclear Bomb”

According to an analysis by the Federation of American Scientists conducted by Princeton University physicist Robert Nelson, low-yield earth-penetrating nuclear weapons, intended to threaten deep bunkers without killing the surrounding population, would release dangerous fallout. Nelson reported, “No earth-burrowing missile can penetrate deep enough into the earth to contain an explosion with a nuclear yield even as small as 1 percent of the Hiroshima weapon. The explosion simply blows out a massive crater of radioactive dirt, which rains down on the local region with especially intense and deadly fallout.”
“Scientists: ‘Clean’ Nuclear Weapon Isn’t; Small Earth- Penetrating Nuclear Warhead Would Have Lethal Side-Effects”

3. India Missile Test

India conducted a successful test launch of its satellite rocket Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D1) and put an experimental satellite payload of 3,000 pounds into its designated orbit. Only the US, Russia, Japan, the PRC and the European Space Agency can lift satellites into space. The US had sought to prevent India from achieving heavy satellite launch capability on the grounds it would violate the Missile Technology Control Regime. Defense experts say India’s homegrown space program could also serve as a platform to test a wide range of military technologies, including missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
“India Readies for Launch of Aborted Rocket”
“India Carries Out ‘Textbook’ Rocket Launch”

Missile Defense

1. Russian Reaction to US MD Proposal

The Russian National Press Institute published a report on Russia’s reaction to the proposed US National Missile Defense (NMD) program, the summary of which is translated into English. In the report, Mikhail Pogorely states that the US had been behind the Soviet Union, and now Russia, in strategic defenses, but that Russia also regards ballistic missile defense firstly from a political and then from a military and strategic point of view. Pogorely discusses several potential Russian responses to US deployment of a missile defense system, and predicts that the US will intensify work over national missile defense coming years, that US President Bush will shortly announce unilateral US strategic arsenal cuts to 1,500 warheads with the simultaneous de-alerting of its remaining strategic weapons, and that the US would escape the tie-in of ABM issues with START III. The US may also in the near future renew nuclear testing for new weapons and begin a space-based weapons race.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said, “The new U.S. administration needs to define its approach” to missile defense, adding that the current US proposal remained unclear. He said the US proposal violates the 1972 ABM treaty and that Russia stands ready to initiate a “Euro NMD” if the US proceeds with its plan. Ivanov had visited the US in March to meet top Bush administration officials in his previous capacity as secretary of the Russian Security Council.
“Russia Minister Downbeat on Missile Defense Talks”

2. Asian Perspectives on US MD Proposal

The Stanley Foundation and the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies released a joint report following a series of consultations on ballistic missile defenses and Northeast Asian security held in late 2000 between government officials and non-government experts in the US, the PRC, and Japan. The consultations revealed a range of challenges that US deployments of missile defense systems will pose for Northeast Asian security.
“Full Text”
“Ballistic Missile Defense and Northeast Asian Security: Views from Washington, Beijing and Tokyo”

3. Commentary on MD

In the current issue of Disarmament Diplomacy, Jürgen Scheffran criticizes the US rationale for missile defense: that missile proliferation can not be prevented by political means and that missile defenses can be effective. Scheffman explores alternatives to missile defence, including building an international norm against ballistic missiles, developing and enhancing confidence-building measures (CBMs) among states with missile capabilities, and the Russian proposals for a Global Control System (GCS) to prevent proliferation of missiles and for a Global Monitoring System (GMS) to increase transparency with regard to missile launches. Ultimately, the goal would include complete elimination of ballistic missiles through agreements that include reasonable verification measures.
“Moving Beyond Missile Defence: The Search for Alternatives to the Missile Race”

4. Russian MD Proposal

Russian first deputy head of the general staff, Colonel-General Valery Manilov, stated that Russia’s proposed system could be deployed in various theaters all over the world, where any threat was thought to exist. US plans, however, for a shield to protect itself against nuclear missiles would upset the world strategic balance built up during the Cold War by being able to fend off Russian atomic weapons.
“Russia Sees Several Regional Missile Shields”


1. DPRK Missile Proliferation

Bill Gertz reports in the Washington Times that US intelligence officials stated that a spy satellite photographed missile components as they were being loaded aboard an Iranian Il-76 transport jet at a DPRK airfield. In late February, a missile shipment was also spotted at a DPRK port, which Gertz states is a sign that the DPRK is stepping up its missile-related exports. One official said intelligence reports indicate the missile components are intended for Iran´s medium-range Shahab-3 missile program. US President Bush and ROK President Kim Dae-jung discussed the DPRK missile threat, and Kim later said that lasting peace on the Korean peninsula will require solving the problem of DPRK missile exports. Henry Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said, “Missile sales seem to be business as usual, and there should be no deals between the United States and North Korea until they are halted.”
“North Korea sends missile parts, technology to Iran”

2. US Nonproliferation Programs in Russia

Mike McFaul, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment, argues in a CEIP Issue Brief that the $100 million cut in current cooperative non-proliferation programs with Russia laid out in the Bush administration’s proposed budget is a reduction the US cannot afford. These comments were originally published in the New York Times on April 11.
“A Step Backward on Nuclear Cooperation”
“A Step Backward on Nuclear Cooperation”

Vladislav Nikiforov reported for the Bellona Foundation that the US National Security Council initiated a broad review of all US aid programs to Russia set up to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The New York Times quoted a senior Bush administration official as saying, “This is not a challenge to Russia or an effort to dismantle non-proliferation programs. This is about enabling the progress we have made to continue and making non-proliferation programs even more effective.” The official praised the Department of Defense’s Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs and the Department of Energy’s program that permits the US to buy and convert 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium. Kenneth N. Luongo, a former Clinton administration official who is executive director of the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, said to the New York Times, “A prejudiced review that looks at what can be eliminated, and not what can be improved, is missing an enormous opportunity and is likely to further rile relations with Russia.”
“US reviewing aid for non-proliferation programs in Russia”

Walter Pincus reports in the Washington Post that experts in US-Russian relations are concerned that recent tensions in the bilateral relationship are harming US nonproliferation programs designed to help Russia. Bilateral exchanges have begun to be postponed and several Russian academics who wrote about nuclear weapons and related arms control matters have recently been accused of espionage by Russian authorities. Bruce Blair, president of the Center for Defense Information, said that it “has become more difficult to get visas to visit the nuclear cities… and self-censorship has emerged among journalists in Moscow who fear [if they write about nuclear matters] they will find themselves in hot water.”
“U.S.-Russian Nuclear Programs on Edge”

Arms Control

1. Space-Based Weapons Ban

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov, speaking at a Russian-organized conference on peaceful cooperation in space, called for intensive multilateral talks on banning space-based weapons. Speakers at the conference said the US national missile defense system presages orbiting weapons, even though current plans call only for land-based missile interceptors. “We should take urgent steps now, because tomorrow may be too late,” Mamedov said. The conference is being held under the UN aegis and includes many government delegations. The US did not send official representatives, but several American business leaders and academics attended.
“Russian Urges Space Arms Ban Talks”

2. US Arms Control Policy

Fan Jishe writes in the current issue of Disarmament Diplomacy that the international arms control regime has suffered setbacks in recent years and that the policies of the Bush administration are likely to generate more instability and uncertainty in the arms control regime than those of President Clinton. Jishe examines Bush’s stated policy on arms control in relation to current arms control regimes, and states that the Bush administration’s arms control policy will be affected by various strategic reviews, including reviews of US military strategy, missions, modernization priorities and nuclear posture. Jishe argues that while Bush wants to unilaterally reduce and de-alert nuclear weapons, he expects Russia to reciprocate, which it may be reluctant to do until doubts over missile defense and the future of the ABM Treaty are resolved. Jishe reviews three possible scenarios based on US and Russian decisions on missile defense and the ABM Treaty, but concludes that US leadership is required for the international arms control regime to survive.
“Nagging Uncertainty and Growing Concern: The Bush Administration’s Arms Control Policy”

3. South Asia Dialogue

Gaurav Rajen and Kent Biringer write in the current issue of Disarmament Diplomacy that while existing India-Pakistan nuclear agreements provide a framework under which various projects can be proposed that foster greater nuclear transparency and cooperation in South Asia, examining the current agreements helps identify starting points for future confidence-building projects. They argue that there should be an expansion of existing Indian and Pakistani arrangements that require the sharing of nuclear information with international, regional and bilateral entities because there is a need for both countries to strike a balance between nuclear ambiguity and nuclear transparency for better crisis management.
“Nuclear-Related Agreements and Cooperation in South Asia”


1. US Submarine Accident

Admiral Thomas Fargo, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, concluded that the collision between the US nuclear submarine Greenville and the Japanese trawler Ehime Maru was the result of unprofessional conduct by Commander Scott Waddle, captain of the USS Greenville, and lead sonar analyst Petty Officer Patrick Seacrest. According to sources close to the inquiry, Fargo will accept Waddle’s resignation during a hearing and Waddle will be granted an honorable discharge with a pension. Fargo concluded that the 16 civilians aboard the Greeneville were not responsible for the collision, but he will recommend a review of the Navy’s Distinguished Visitors program and an end to captains using their boats to “show off” for civilians.
“Reports: No Court-Martial for Sub Skipper”
“Sub Captain to Lose Job, Not Freedom”

2. US Surveillance Issues

US reconnaissance aircraft maintain a Cold War-high tempo of operations, argues military analyst William Arkin in the Washington Post. “We like to say that there isn’t a Cold War anymore, but you’d never know it from the pace of activity,” he writes following the collision between a US Navy EP-3 plane and a Chinese jet fighter. US spy planes operate from at least 28 bases around the world. Although the US also operates a number of advanced spy satellites, reconnaissance aircraft have the unique capacity of being able to create “stimuli.” Radars are turned on, interceptors are scrambled, communications networks are activated, revealing intelligence information about the capability and organization of Chinese forces. This information, in turn, is used to update US war plans, Arkin writes.
“World map of spy plane bases”
“Spying 24/7 365”

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