FAS Roundup: March 17, 2014

NATO nuclear weapons security costs expected to double, anniversary of Fukushima, crisis in Ukraine and more.

From the Blogs

B61-12 Bomb Integration on NATO Aircraft to Start in 2015: The U.S. Air Force FY15 budget request indicates that  integration of the B61-12 on NATO F-16 and Tornado aircraft will start in 2015 for completion in 2017 and 2018. The integration marks the beginning of a significant enhancement of the military capability of NATO’s nuclear posture in Europe. The integration work includes software upgrades on the legacy aircraft, operational flight tests, and full weapon integration. Development of the guided tail kit is well underway in reparations for operational tests. It estimated that integration efforts will cost more than $1 billion.

Reducing the Risk of Russian-American Standoff: Congress is considering sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine. Dr. Martin Hellman, Adjunct Fellow for Nuclear Risk, professor at Stanford, and an expert on crisis risk reduction, writes that situation in the Ukraine is deplorable and Russia has made its share of mistakes. But, Russia is not solely to blame and the West needs to take responsibility as well. Dr. Hellman urges the public to contact their Congressional representatives about the crisis in Ukraine.

U.S. Military Given Secret “Execute Order” on Cyber Operations: Last June, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a classified “execute order” to authorize and initiate a military operation. The nature, scope and duration of the military operation could not immediately be determined — even the title of the order is classified — but it evidently pertains to the conduct of military cyberspace activities. The existence of the previously undisclosed execute order was revealed last week in a new Air Force Instruction.

NATO Nuclear Weapons Security Costs Expected to Double:According to the Pentagon’s FY2015 budget request, the cost of securing U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe is expected to nearly double to meet increased U.S. security standards. According to the Department of Defense NATO Security Investment Program, NATO has invested over $80 million since 2000 to secure nuclear weapons storage sites in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. The budget request includes an additional $154 million to beef up security.

Fukushima Anniversary

March 11th marked the three year anniversary of the Fukushima accident. Post- Fukushima, there is strong public opposition to nuclear power and Japanese political leaders have yet to make a clear decision on global nuclear energy development. In a new article published by the Wilson Center, Japan Fellow Hideshi Futori examines Japan’s role in the development of nuclear energy. Japan has the potential to serve as a role model for the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy with close ties to the U.S. nuclear sector and the recent growth of nuclear power in Asia.

Read the article here. 

Additionally, Adjunct Fellow for Emerging Technologies Michael Edward Walsh writes about the anniversary and how the term “natural disaster” is used in a security context. 

Radiological and Nuclear Detection Symposium: An Industry Discussion with Government

FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson and Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation Law and Policy Mr. Chris Bidwell will speak at the Radiological and Nuclear Detection Symposium hosted by VIP GlobalNet LLC on March 25-26, 2014 at the Mason Inn at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. The symposium will bring together government and industry experts to discuss how they can work together on radiation and nuclear detection challenges. Dr. Ferguson will speak about the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands. Mr. Bidwell will speak about the recent Defense Science Board (DSB) report on nuclear verification monitoring capabilities.

Click here for registration and symposium schedule.

Essay Contest: How Should Humanity Steer the Future?                             

The Foundational Questions Institute, the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation and Scientific American are holding an essay contest related to safeguarding the future from nuclear risks and climate change. The topic is how should humanity steer the future and how to make the world better while avoiding potential catastrophes.

Possible topics or sub-questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the best state that humanity can realistically achieve?
  • What is your plan for getting us there? Who implements this plan?
  • What technology (construed broadly to include practices and techniques) does your plan rely on? What are the risks of those technologies? How can those risks be mitigated?

Submissions will be accepted until April 18, 2014. For more information and guidelines click here.

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