Budget Cuts Raise Questions about Nuclear Spending, in France

Budget Cuts Raise Questions about Nuclear Spending, in France

On the radar: Budget cuts frappe le force; NYT on Hagel; Iran position on Parchin; Amano set for 2nd term; Outlook on nonstrategic reductions; and the Air Force’s actual strangelove “big board.”

January 8, 2013 | Edited by Benjamin Loehrke

Force de frappe - A wave of budget cuts has some in France debating if France should reduce its nuclear deterrent force. France spends a third of its annual equipment budget and nearly 20% of its research and technology budget on the deterrent force. Critics argue that France could save costs if it gave up the carrier fleet air arm of its nuclear force, instead relying on its submarine-based nuclear deterrent.

--”The defense minister and his private office realize the budgetary weight of the nuclear force and the decisions needed for future-generation programs, but there is little room for discussion as the concept of operations has been frozen for decades,” reports Pierre Tran for Defense News. http://bit.ly/RE4l9Y

Syria - “Hints of Syrian Chemical Push Set Off Global Effort to Stop It” by Eric Schmitt and David Sanger of The New York Times. http://nyti.ms/VBWR5G

Hagel nomination - The New York Times weighed in on the nomination of Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, offering questions for upcoming hearings and an assessment of his record of defense issues.

--”On national security policy, there is much to like about Mr. Hagel, one of a fading breed of sensible moderate Republicans...We are encouraged by what we hear about Mr. Hagel’s preference for a negotiated solution with Iran, his reluctance to go to war, and his support for Israel’s security, for a two-state solution and for reductions in nuclear weapons. If confirmed, he would have to tackle the hard job of cutting the defense budget and balancing the competing needs of the different services.” Full op-ed here. http://nyti.ms/Si13uK

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Parchin position - “If we reach an agreement where Iran’s nuclear rights are fully recognized, meaning the right to possess nuclear science and the full nuclear cycle toward peaceful goals, Iran will be ready to take necessary measures to allay concerns expressed by the IAEA,” responded Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast to a question about allowing the IAEA to inspect the Parchin military complex.

--Parchin has been a sticking point for ongoing nuclear talks. The IAEA suspects that Iran may have conducted nuclear weapons-related research at the complex. Iran has not allowed the IAEA to inspect the facility. Bloomberg has the story. http://bloom.bg/XhrsXj

Iran sanctions - “Iran's revenues from vital oil and gas exports have dropped by 45 percent because of sanctions over its suspect nuclear program, a senior lawmaker said Monday, a clear admission that sanctions over Iran's suspect nuclear program are having a severe impact,” reports Ali Akbar Dareini for AP. http://hrld.us/ZlViti

Tweet - @Gottemoeller: Check out the latest @StateDept Fact Sheet on the U.S. #Nuclear Security Enterprise Infrastructure Modernization. http://bit.ly/XhypI1

Amano - “U.N. nuclear chief Yukiya Amano, a key figure in international diplomacy on Iran's disputed nuclear work, is set to win another four-year term as he faces no rivals for the post.” Reuters has the story. http://reut.rs/Uynjw1

Tweet - @tokyoreporter: Photo found of Hiroshima A-bomb mushroom cloud in two portions. http://bit.ly/VIqWmf

Nonstrategic reductions - The outlook for a near-term arms control deal with Russia involving nonstrategic nuclear weapons appears bleak, analysts say. The U.S. has expressed interest in a deal that would reduce nonstrategic stockpiles with Russia, but Russia has not been eager for such a deal. Chris Schneidmiller at Global Security Newswire talks to arms control experts Igor Sutyagin and James Acton about the likelihood of a near-term deal. http://bit.ly/ZCvSMN

Tweet - @wellerstein: The real-life "Big Board." SAC Underground Command Post II, circa 1961. http://bit.ly/TILfzu