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Friday, May 3, 2013

Russia builds up nuclear forces as US builds down...

Russia builds up nuclear forces as US builds down... ======================== * Inside the Ring: Russia builds up, U.S. down * Bill Gertz-The Washington Times Wednesday, May 1, 2013 As the Obama administration prepares to launch a new round of strategic nuclear missile cuts, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces are undergoing a major modernization, according to U.S. officials. Russia's military announced last month that as part of the nuclear buildup, Moscow later this year will deploy the first of its new intercontinental ballistic missiles called the Yars-M. Details of the missile are being kept secret, but it has been described as a fifth-generation strategic nuclear system that Russian officials say will be able to penetrate U.S. missile defenses using a new type of fuel that requires a shorter burn time for booster engines. ....By comparison, President Obama is expected to announced soon that he will seek a new round of talks with Russia aimed at cutting U.S. nuclear forces even further than the 1,550 deployed warheads under the 2020 New START treaty. The cuts are expected to be justified under a Pentagon strategic review that was completed months ago but withheld from release. That report is expected to suggest that U.S. warhead levels could be cut to as few as 1,000, causing critics to say the administration is undermining U.S. deterrence and the ability to extend the nuclear umbrella to European and Asian allies. Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces, said in a recent speech that the administration is short between $1 billion and $1.6 billion that was promised in 2010 for nuclear modernization. Among nuclear programs in trouble are a new strategic submarine, life extension programs for B-61, W-76 and W-88 nuclear warheads and a long-range standoff nuclear cruise missile. A needed plutonium facility in New Mexico was also canceled, Mr. Rogers said. The Pentagon also postponed a test launch of a Minuteman III ICBM last month over concerns that it might be misconstrued as an attack on North Korea, which threatened nuclear missile attacks on the United States. “I find this deeply concerning, given the sorry state of the nuclear modernization commitments made during the last round,” Mr. Rogers said of plans for additional nuclear cuts... --- www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/1/ inside-the-ring-russia-builds-up-us-down

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like all of your soon to be out-of-work LANL/LLNL people will find employment again. Just don't forget to bring your fur hat.

Anonymous said...

Amazing. A post about nuclear weapons, and no one from the nation's nuclear weapons laboratories feels inclined to comment. Guess they have better things to worry about, like their own little dramas.

Anonymous said...

They are all too concerned about their HAPC, TCP-1 valuation, VSP(Virtual Separation Prospects), NIF, Tomas, Brucie, and Parney to worry about such mundane matters as nuclear weapons and National Security.

Anonymous said...

May 5, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Yeah, it's all pretty chuckle-worthy. Such a dedication to career and nation!

Anonymous said...

This is why we needed the modern pit facility which Sig Hecker pushed while LLNL and Sandia conspired to block. Sig Hecker had smoking gun scientific evidence for the dire need to have the MPF and other jealous labs have the gall to play politics at the expense of national security. And what is worse? That abomination called NIF is still allowed to exist. It can't support stockpile stewardship. It can't even support a macroscopic sample of plutonium, for god's sake. NNSA won't push for a facility that directly supports the stockpile but instead funds some stupid sandbox facility that can't even produce good science? I bet the Russians and Chinese are laughing at us for the stupidity of NNSA and NIF bad decisions.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha we laugh at you stupid Americans for silly decisions ha ha ha

Anonymous said...

Pentagon Weighs Whether to Hang Onto or Replace Aging ICBMs
April 18, 2013
Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Defense Department is weighing the feasibility of extending the service life of the nation’s aging Minuteman 3 ICBMs versus replacing them in coming decades with brand new nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.

The 450 Minuteman 3s are expected to last through 2030, but might be retained longer if they can be further refurbished, senior Pentagon officials said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday...

The Air Force, which fields and maintains the missiles, is “very carefully analyzing exactly how the current system is degrading, so that they have a much better understanding of how they might extend the life of this [ICBM], if that is the alternative that’s chosen,” Madelyn Creedon, assistant Defense secretary for global affairs, told the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee...

The analysis, which is to begin in July after some “bureaucratic delays,” will conclude late next year, said Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, who heads Air Force Global Strike Command. The assessment will examine whether to undertake a “program to further extend the life of the Minuteman 3 or to develop a follow-on ICBM,”...

Many details about the various modernization options and their projected costs...remain classified. However, officials say key factors under study include whether to place any new ICBMs in fixed launch silos or make them mobile on trucks or other vehicles; which warhead to mate with the delivery vehicles; and how to modernize these systems most affordably.

Whether the country’s future ICBM ... is an updated Minuteman or a totally new design, it appears the missile will share quite a bit of hardware in common with the Navy’s future ballistic missile for basing aboard submarines, Defense officials say.

Which option ultimately is selected, according to experts, might come down to a question that many automobile owners would find familiar: Does it make more sense to save upfront investment by continuing to operate an old design with swapped-out parts and upgrades, or to invest instead in a new system with more up-to-date design efficiencies that could be easier to maintain in the long run?

...“I am confident we can get the missile, as it is, to 2030 with the programs that we have in place, or the programs that we don’t have funded yet but plan to pursue in the next couple years,” responded Kowalski...

...Of the Minuteman’s three rocket stages, the third motor is attracting most concern. However, there is no indication to date of any degradation of the materials with which it is made -- not even any “adverse trends” -- which has led many officials to conclude that the already overhauled propulsion system might even last a half-decade or more beyond an estimated 30-year lifespan...

...The Minuteman 3 missile guidance system also could require a service-life extension between now and 2030, Kowalski said...

Kowalski noted... that the overall service life initially anticipated for the Minuteman 3 was just 10 years, but the missile has since “proven its value in deterrence well beyond the platform’s intended lifespan."

... “All of the things that we plan to invest in the Minuteman 3 are specific subsystems that we intend to dovetail into the ground-based strategic deterrent, the follow-on [ICBM],” said the three-star general, adding that the Pentagon intends to ensure “we are not paying for the same thing twice.”

Some have suggested the United States might safely eliminate the ICBM leg of the nation’s nuclear triad, and rely instead on a combination of dual-capable, nuclear-conventional bomber aircraft and ballistic missiles aboard highly survivable submarines at sea.

However, Kowalski suggested that as the capability to field atomic arms and ballistic missiles proliferates around the globe, Washington’s ICBM arsenal remains a crucial bulwark against possible nuclear blackmail or coercion threats...

Anonymous said...

The land-based ICBMs would be destroyed in a first strike. They are also difficult to defend against domestic terrorists.

Anonymous said...

The land-based ICBMs would be destroyed in a first strike. They are also difficult to defend against domestic terrorists.

May 6, 2013 at 6:42 PM

That's the reason for a triad. ICBM bases are not intended to survive a first strike. SLBMs will exact the retribution. B-2s will finish the job.

Anonymous said...

So the land-based ICBMs are first strike weapons, despite the US policy of "no first use."

Anonymous said...

So the land-based ICBMs are first strike weapons, despite the US policy of "no first use."

May 7, 2013 at 3:40 AM

Your conclusion is unwarranted. The ICBM force is intended to respond to incoming missiles detected by US space-based detection platforms such as GPS, DSP, and others.

Anonymous said...

You guys are "dreaming"; to quote retired Navy Vice Admiral and former LANL Director George Peter (Pete) Nanos "we are never going to use these "things"" (referring to nuclear weapons).

Anonymous said...

May 7, 2013 at 5:28 PM

If you want quotes from Nanos that show his stupidity and arrogance, the field is ripe. What a complete jerk (from first-hand, personal experience).

Anonymous said...

So I am supposed to believe that a Russian missile launch can be detected and its intended target verified and that information communicated to the White House and the President to make the decision to launch and that decision communicated to the missile silos and the ICBMs launched within fifteen minutes? Somehow I don't think that our government is that efficient. This story in the Washington Post confirms it:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/ap-exclusive-air-force-sidelines-17-icbm-launch-officers-commander-cites-rot-within-system/2013/05/08/7825d8e4-b7ae-11e2-b568-6917f6ac6d9d_story.html?hpid=z3

Anonymous said...

If the White House and the US military could not respond within eight hours to a terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, how could they respond to a Russian attack by launching ICBMs within fifteen minutes?

Anonymous said...

Launch an ICBM? Proabably it would take 8-12 months from the push of the button to the actual launch, especially if the employees are unionized. Maybe bureaucratic and legal paperwork, or even partisan political bickering might extend that launch delay even further.

Anonymous said...

Sad how so many people supposedly somehow associated with a nuclear weapons laboratory know absolutely nothing about US nuclear weapons policy and doctrine. You should talk to the Air Force liaison folks in your W87 organization.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line from the Washington Post story.

"...Bruce Blair, who served as an Air Force ICBM launch control officer in the 1970s and is now a research scholar at Princeton University, said the [91st Missile Wing Deputy Commander] Lt Col Folds email points to a broader problem within the nuclear weapons force.

“The nuclear air force is suffering from a deep malaise caused by the declining relevance of their mission since the Cold War’s end over 20 years ago,” Blair said in an interview.

“Minuteman launch crews have long been marginalized and demoralized by the fact that the Air Force’s culture and fast-track careers revolve around flying planes, not sitting in underground bunkers baby-sitting nuclear-armed missiles.”

Anonymous said...

Officers stripped of authority to launch

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/08/us/nuclear-launch-officers/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1

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