Missile Defense is one expensive baby step

Missile Defense test just a baby step - “Late Tuesday afternoon, the United States successfully shot down a mockup of an intercontinental ballistic missile before it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere near the Hawaiian islands,” writes Paul McLeary for Foreign Policy. “The much-watched, $244-million test of the Pentagon’s costly ground-based missile defense program, or GMD, came as Washington and its allies are increasingly worried over North Korea’s rapidly-improving missile program and the ability of American defenses to intercept them.”

--“The long-planned test of a system that has consistently underperformed in the field — it has managed to knock down only about half the missiles it targeted in a decade of testing — was the first to target a simulated ICBM. ‘Based on its testing record, we cannot rely upon this missile defense program to protect the United States from a North Korean long-range missile,’ said Philip E. Coyle of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. ‘In several ways, this test was a $244 million dollar baby step, a baby step that took three years.’” For the full article, click here.

Tweet - @nukes_of_hazard: US missile intercept ‘may spark arms race’: Chinese state media http://bit.ly/2rXCEBi

GMD not tested under realistic conditions - “A Pentagon report in January criticized the long-range system, saying that it ‘demonstrates a limited capability to defend the U.S. homeland from small numbers’ of medium- and long-range missiles ‘launched from North Korea or Iran’,” write Helene Cooper and David E. Sanger for The New York Times. “And ‘the tests have still not been done under realistic conditions,’ [said] Laura Grego, a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Ms. Grego and other scientists argue that only when the system is tested in a range of situations — such as at night, or when an adversary is using countermeasures — would the Defense Department be able to say that it works.” Full article here.

Rouhani reaffirms sanction relief pledge - “A day after winning re-election last month, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reaffirmed a campaign pledge: that he’ll find a way to free his country from sanctions that hobble its economy,” writes Kambiz Foroohar for Bloomberg Politics. “In Washington, Republicans in Congress are... doubling down, pressing for legislation to add more sanctions, not lift those that remain after the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.”

--“‘Rouhani made a mighty promise but the real question is whether he is in a position to deliver change within the Iranian polity,’ said Richard Nephew, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and former negotiator on the Iran nuclear deal.” Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at the New America Foundation remarked, “‘Rouhani’s campaign pledge to remove non-nuclear sanctions underscored the priority his government was prepared to place on growing Iran’s economy. Despite the obstacles, it also was a signal of interest in improved relations with the U.S.’” Full article here.

Tweet - @tparsi: Rouhani Faces New Foreign Policy Challenges in Second Term http://bit.ly/2qF5V3C

Chain Reaction Gala with John Kerry - Join us at this special event. Learn how we can join forces and mobilize to save landmark victories such as the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord. Featured speakers: John Kerry, former Secretary of State (2013-2017); Barbara Hall, Master of Ceremonies, Creator/Producer of Madam Secretary; Joe Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund; and Meredith Horowski, Global Campaign Director, Global Zero. For over 35 years Ploughshares Fund has supported the most effective people and organizations in the world to reduce and eventually eliminate the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Tweet - @SecDef19: Climate change and nuclear annihilation are the two greatest existential threats facing humanity today, in this we do not get second chances

Ban Treaty in sight - “Nearly five decades ago, the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) established the requirement that states-parties pursue ‘effective measures’ to end the nuclear arms race and to achieve nuclear disarmament,” writes Daryl G. Kimball for Arms Control Association. “The United States and Russia have reduced their Cold War stockpiles and verifiably banned nuclear explosive testing. But some 15,000 weapons remain, additional nuclear-armed states have emerged, and the risk of nuclear weapons use is rising. In response, non-nuclear-weapon states have justifiably argued that the grave risks posed by nuclear weapons demand more urgent action.”

--“Last fall at the United Nations, 123 states voted to launch negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. The conclusion of such a treaty is now within sight. From June 15 to July 7, representatives from some 130 states and civil society groups will try to finalize a draft treaty text issued May 22 by the president of the negotiating conference, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica. The coming nuclear weapons prohibition treaty is not an all-in-one solution, but it promises to be a historic and valuable leap forward.” For the full article, click here.

Ban Treaty advice for Trump - “The push for getting to zero grows in proportion to the lack of progress by Washington and Moscow to further reduce strategic arms and the growth of arsenals elsewhere,” writes Michael Krepon for Arms Control Wonk. “As bystanders to this process, Trump Administration officials will lose more than they gain by bad-mouthing the Ban Movement. A far better approach... is to express understanding of the reasons behind the Ban Movement, to offer respectful concerns, to clarify the circumstances required for success, to recommit to further strategic-arms reductions, and to highlight warhead dismantlement numbers.”

--“If the Trump Administration wants to do something historic to reduce nuclear dangers, upset apple carts and shred caricatures of a thin-skinned President with his hand on the nuclear ‘button,’ it could ‘pull a Reagan’: Just as Reagan unexpectedly dismissed nuclear theology and signed the INF Treaty, Trump, too, could assert that a nuclear war must not be fought and cannot be won. And to underline his commitment, Trump could call on the Senate to provide its advice and consent to the CTBT.” Read the full article here.

New Ploughshares Fund Report - As President Donald Trump met for the first time with NATO leaders in Brussels, Ploughshares Fund released a new report recommending that the United States rethink its strategy to buy new missile interceptors for Europe. Rather than field a new anti-missile system in Poland to counter Iranian intermediate-range missiles that do not exist, the report finds that the United States should put these plans on hold. “The expansion of U.S. anti-missile systems is Europe should be paused,” said report author Dr. Tytti Erästö, the Roger L. Hale Fellow at Ploughshares Fund. “This would pose no risk to NATO security, as there is no nuclear missile threat from Iran to justify the new defenses,” she said.

U.S. focuses on North Korea at Shangri-la - “U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to press for greater cooperation to contain North Korea's nuclear and missile threat at a regional security forum in Singapore later this week, where for years Washington has sought to spotlight China's expansion in the strategic South China Sea,” write Idrees Ali and David Brunnstrom for U.S. News and World Report. “While Mattis' speech was still being worked on and could change, concerns about North Korea, one official said, would inevitably mean less emphasis on China's fortifying of artificial islands in the South China Sea.”

--“A source familiar with Japanese government thinking, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was worrying that Trump had still not managed to appoint senior officials for Asia at the Pentagon and the State Department, a sign that it would be difficult to implement policy decisions. An Asian diplomat said much remained uncertain and all at Shangri-la would be listening especially closely to Mattis for clues. ‘We want to know, will the United States remain committed to the region?’ the diplomat said.” Article here.

Tweet - @38NorthNK: Elleman: #DPRK's Unha SLV isn't an ICBM, but Hwasong-12 is the first step toward developing ICBM capable of striking the US #38NorthPress

A new kind of diplomacy - “Alarmingly, tensions between the United States and North Korea have again reached crisis proportions,” write Richard Falk and David Krieger for The Hill. “In the end, no reasonable person would opt for another war on the Korean Peninsula. The only rational alternative is diplomacy. But what kind of diplomacy? American reliance on threat and punitive diplomacy has never succeeded in the past and is almost certain to fail now. We assuredly need diplomacy, but of a different character. It is time to abandon coercive diplomacy and develop an approach that can be described as restorative diplomacy.”

--“Restorative diplomacy adopts a win/win approach that seeks to find mutual benefits for both sides, restructuring the relationship so as to provide security for the weaker side and stability for the stronger side… The basic shift is a mental recognition that in the context of the Korean Peninsula any military encounter, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, is a recipe for catastrophe. It is not a win or lose situation. It is lose/lose in terms of human suffering, devastation, and likely political outcome. If nuclear weapons are used by either or both sides, millions of casualties could occur in an unprecedented disaster.” Full article here.

See also - “Japan PM says he wants to work with China to resolve North Korea crisis” by Kiyoshi Tanaka for Reuters here.

Tridents vulnerable to cyber attack - “The UK’s Trident submarine fleet is vulnerable to a ‘catastrophic’ cyber-attack that could render Britain’s nuclear weapons useless, according to a report by a London-based thinktank,” writes Ewen MacAskill for The Guardian. "Even if it were true that a submarine at sea could not be attacked digitally, the report points out that the vessels are only at sea part of the time and are vulnerable to the introduction of malware at other points, such as during maintenance while docked at the Faslane naval base in Scotland.”

--“In reaction to the report, Des Browne, who as UK defence secretary in 2007 was responsible for steering the original decision to renew Trident through parliament, said: ‘The WannaCry worm attack earlier this month affecting 300,000 computers worldwide, including vital NHS services, was just a taste of what is possible when cyber-weapons are stolen… To imagine that critical digital systems at the heart of nuclear weapon systems are somehow immune or can be confidently protected by dedicated teams of network managers is to be irresponsibly complacent.’” For the full article, click here.

Quick Hits

--“LOL At EMPs? Science Report Tackles Likelihood Of A North Korea Nuclear Capability” by Elizabeth Jensen for NPR here.

--“US Envoy: US believes China is trying to stop NKorea tests” by Edith M. Lederer for Associated Press here.

--“Thinking the Unthinkable With North Korea” by Graham Allison for The New York Times here.

--“South Korea’s president launches investigation into U.S.-backed missile system” by Jonathan Kaiman for the LA Times here.

--“South Korea’s Moon sends aide to U.S. to quell fears over anti-missile system” by Jack Kim for Reuters here.

--“Could America Really Destroy an ICBM in a War?” by Dave Majumdar for The National Interest here.


--“Arms Control Association Annual Meeting." Hosted by the Arms Control Association and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. Friday, June 2, 2017, 9:00a.m.-3:00p.m. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details and registration here.

--“A New Nuclear Review for a New Age.” Feat. former Senator Jon Kyl; Keith B. Payne at the National Institute for Public Policy; Franklin C. Miller at the Scowcroft Group; Rebeccah L. Heinrichs at the Hudson Institute. Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 2:00p.m.-3:30p.m. CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details here.

--“Creating Incentives for Nuclear Nonproliferation, Safety, and Security” Co-hosted by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Featuring James Casterton, Robert Otto, Tristan Volpe, Thomas Wood and Joshua Pollack. Thursday, June 8, 2017, 10:30a.m.-12:30p.m. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details and registration here.

--"Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy.” Hosted by the Stimson Center. Feat. Barry Blechman, Toby Dalton, Matthew Fuhrmann, Mira Rapp-Hooper and Todd Sechser; moderated by Michael Krepon. Thursday, June 8, 2017, 12:30p.m.-2:00p.m. Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Avenue, 8th Floor, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details here.

-- “Preserving and Building on the Iran Nuclear Deal.” Hosted by the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 10:00a.m.-3:00p.m. Atlantic Council, 1030 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005. Details here.

--“Off-Ramps to War: Paths to Building Peace with North Korea.” Featuring William Perry and Bruce Cumings. Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m. Lindner Commons at George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20052. Details and RSVP here.

--“The Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Saturday, June 17, 2017, 12:00p.m.-4:00p.m. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Greenmarket, 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Details here.

-- “Debate: North Korea’s Nuclear Program.” Co-hosted by Ploughshares Fund and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The third in a debate series on a range of nuclear challenges and policy decisions the Trump administration will face in 2017. Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 8:30p.m.-11:00p.m. EST (5:30p.m.-8:00p.m. local PST). David Brower Center, Goldman Theater, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA. Details here.

--“PONI 2017 Summer Conference.” Hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 11:30a.m.-Thursday, June 22, 2017, 8:30p.m. EST (8:30a.m. June 21 - 5:30p.m. June 22 local PST). Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Center for Global Security Research. Details here.

--“Debate: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Modernization.” Co-hosted by Ploughshares Fund and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The fourth in a debate series on a range of nuclear challenges and policy decisions the Trump administration will face in 2017. Thursday, June 29, 2017, 4:30p.m.-7:00p.m. CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details here.

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