FAS Roundup: August 27, 2012

STRATCOM Commander rejects high estimates of China’s nuclear arsenal,  security of dangerous materials, and much more.

From the Blogs

  • STRATCOM Commander Rejects High Estimates for Chinese Nuclear Arsenal: The commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), General Kehler, has rejected claims that China’s nuclear arsenal is much larger than commonly believed. His statement comes at an important time because much higher estimates recently have created a lot of news media attention and are threatening to become “facts” on the Internet. Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris estimate that China has approximately 240 weapons in its arsenal. Like the other nuclear weapon states, China is modernizing its nuclear arsenal, but it is the only one of the five original nuclear powers (P-5) that appears to be increasing the size of its warhead inventory. That increase is modest and appears to be slower than the U.S. intelligence community projected a decade ago.
  • Crisis in Mali and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as the armed conflict in Syria, pipeline cybersecurity and the crisis in Mali.

  • Safe as Houses: On July 28, an 82 year-old nun and two activist friends broke into the Oak Ridge Laboratory by cutting through the fence with a bolt cutter. The activists spent a few hours in the Y-12 National Security Complex before being caught by security guards. This incident raises the question of how secure dangerous materials are (such as high grade uranium which was stored in that complex), and what steps are being taken to prevent them from ending up in the wrong hands.


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