B61-12: First Pictures Show New Military Capability

The guided tail kit of the B61-12 will create the first U.S. guided nuclear bomb.
Image: National Nuclear Security Administration. Annotations added by FAS.

By Hans M. Kristensen

The U.S. government has published the first images of the Air Force’s new B61-12 nuclear bomb. The images for the first time show the new guided tail kit that will provide new military capabilities in violation of the Nuclear Posture Review.

The tail kit will increase the accuracy of the bomb and enable it to be used against targets that today require bombs with higher yields.

The guided tail kit is also capable of supporting new military missions and will, according to the former USAF Chief of Staff, affect the way strike planners think about how to use the weapon in a war.

The new guided weapon will be deployed to Europe, replacing nearly 200 non-guided nuclear B61 bombs currently deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.  Continue reading

DC Event: Challenges in Verifying a Nuclear Deal with Iran

The American Society of International Law will host a briefing on Friday, February 28, 2014 in Washington, DC on challenges in verifying a nuclear deal with Iran. Speakers include David Albright from the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) and Orde Kittrie from Arizona State University.

The event will be held in Rayburn House Office Building Room B-354 from 12-1:30 pm; lunch will be provided.

RSVP to [email protected]

The event is organized by Christopher Bidwell, FAS Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation Law and Policy.

Kakehashi Trip Report #5: JSA Perspective on Japanese Law No. 55 of 2009

As part of my Kakehashi Project independent research day, I had the opportunity to meet with the Japanese Shipowners Association (JSA). In 2006, JSA took notice of the growing maritime security threat posed by Somali-based pirates to international commercial maritime shipping. However, the issue was not top of mind in Japan, even among the major lines. It simply wasn’t a priority. And, many Japanese felt that it was not the responsibility of the Government of Japan (GoJ) to intervene in such matters overseas.

However, JSA did not endorse this line of thinking. Even in 2006, JSA felt that the GoJ had the responsibility to protect Japanese flagged vessels. JSA viewed “the protection of Japanese life and property” as a basic sovereign responsibility. However, JSA recognized that the GoJ had “limited powers” to fulfill those responsibilities outside of Japanese territorial waters. This was a consequence of the severe political and legal limitation placed on the military in the aftermath of the Second World War. If the GoJ were to act without explicit legal authorizations, JSA felt that there would be serious disagreement within Japanese society over whether such actions were allowed under the Constitution. JSA therefore realized that Japan needed new legislation to tackle the problem. But, they were not going to push for such legislation unless there was a clear and present need, which did not appear to be the case at that time.

In 2007 and 2008, that changed. The number of serious attacks off the coast of Somalia continued to rise, including high-profile hijackings of Japanese associated vessels. Soon, JSA was being asked by its members to “push the government to do something.” In April of 2008, the JSA President responded by sending a demanding letter to the Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and TourismMinister of Finance, and Minister of Defense  asking for new legislation to tackle maritime piracy. To be clear, the JSA did not ask for legislation to authorize the deployment of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Forces (JMSDF). That would have been unthinkable given Japanese political sensitivities about the Japanese navy since World War II. Instead, the JSA took the indirect approach of asking for something to be done; deferring the decision about what that something entailed to the GoJ. However, given the perceived seriousness of the threat to Japanese associated ships and seafarers, the JSA “hoped the government would pass legislation to deploy the (JMSDF)” as a result of their request.

While its members played a pivot role in pushing the JSA to take action, they were not the only factor behind the JSA’s decision to send the demanding letter to the Ministers. As a member of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and through its London Office, JSA was privy to international discussions on the issue of Somali maritime piracy within ICS, at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and at the United Nations (UN). JSA “followed the decisions of the ICS” on the issue; believing it was important to align with the other major shipping associations on the issue. JSA recognized from those decisions that there was an international movement to respond to the Somali maritime piracy issue with force. And, they agreed with the growing international consensus, later embodied in the June 2008 UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution, that every country with the military capacity to do so had the responsibility to deploy to the coast of Somalia to protect commercial seafarers regardless of nationality. These developments reinforced JSA’s decision to take action.

However, JSA never believed that the GoJ was ever legally obligated to deploy Japanese military assets to combat piracy under international law. JSA maintained that the decision to do so remained a sovereign one that had to be based upon Japanese laws and supported by the Japanese people. While international consensus on the need to take military action provided strong arguments, the JSA never supported any notion that either the UNSC Resolutions or other international agreements required Japan to pass Law No. 55 of 2009 and deploy the military. JSA held that the decision to deploy the military always remained a decision for the Japanese people to make. And in Japan, like most other democracies, that decision was delegated to the parliament. It was only their passage of Law No. 55 of 2009 that gave the GoJ the political, legal, and moral authority to deploy the military to combat Somali maritime piracy. It was only through the law that those actions would have been accepted by the Japanese people.

When Law No. 55 of 2009 passed, JSA immediately noticed a change – “a turning point” – in how the industry engaged with the GoJ. Prior to the law, the primary channel between the industry and the GoJ was through the MLIT. However, once the JMSDF joined the escort missions, a new channel was opened with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Over time, this channel has only strengthened and deeper cooperation has followed.

In retrospect, the JSA believes Law No. 55 of 2009 was the right move for Japan. And, they also support the 2013″The Act on Special Measures Concerning the Guarding of Japanese Ships in Pirate-infested Waters.” While JSA would have preferred a non-military solution, JSA believes that the military response remains the only way to successfully mitigate the threat posed by Somali maritime pirates to Japanese national interests. This belief reinforces their support for Japan’s continued engagement in counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia, including Japan’s recent decision to join Combined Task Force 151.

This is the fifth in a series of reports related to the Japan Foundation’s Kakehashi Visit for Young Public Intellectuals from January 12-22, 2014. The author represented SOAS, University of London and the Federation of American Scientists as part of the Pacific Forum CSIS Young Leaders delegation.

FAS Roundup: February 24, 2014

Army manual on cyberspace ops, GAO finds data on intelligence contractors unreliable and more.

From the Blogs

Army Issues Guidance on Cyberspace Operations: For the first time the U.S. Army has produced official doctrine on military activities in cyberspace, including offensive, defensive and network operations. The February 2014 introduces the fundamentals of cyber operations, or “cyber electromagnetic activities”(CEMA),defining terms and identifying important operational factors and constraints.

Kakehashi Trip Report #3: In the third of a series of postings by Fellow for Emerging Technology Michael Edward Walsh on his participation in the Japan Foundation’s Kakehashi Visit for Young Public Intellectuals, Walsh writes about his meeting with senior maritime security officers from a major Japanese commercial shipping line and the role of their industry in Japan’s response to Somali piracy and terrorism threats.

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Kakehashi Trip Report #4: JICA Officials Share Perspectives on the Security-Development Nexus in East Africa

During my independent research for the Kakehashi Project, I met with officials from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to discuss Japan’s development assistance to East Africa. We specifically addressed the emerging nexus between Japan’s security and development initiatives in the region.

Since 1967, the Government of Japan (GoJ) has been managing defense trade exports under the Three Principles on Arms Exports. The law was intended to avoid any possibility that Japanese arms exports would “aggravate international conflicts.” Under the Three Principles, the GoJ bans Japanese companies from making defense trade exports to: 1) communist bloc countries; 2) countries subject to arms exports embargo under United Nations Security Council Resolutions; 3) countries involved in or likely to be involved in international conflicts. The GoJ took additional steps in 1976 to establish blanket policy guidelines to further restrain defense trade exports to all other countries “in conformity with Japan’s position as a peace-loving nation.”

The Administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now working to change these laws in order to allow Japan to export military equipment to “international organizations such as those involved in U.N. peacekeeping operations on condition they do not take sides in conflicts.” This decision coincides with a growing trade deficit that is threatening to undermine Japan’s economic recovery. From this perspective, the defense trade exports are viewed to be as much a part of the Administration’s export promotion efforts as they are part of the country’s much debated military normalization process.

This brings us to the issue of capacity building in East Africa. One of the initiatives being pushed by the Abe Administration is to provide the littoral countries in the region with new capabilities to conduct counter-piracy operations. This includes the export of modern naval ships to the region and military training for their coast guards. According to JICA, these programs are likely to move forward but will present a challenge for the government because they raise delicate political sensitivities. In the case of the ships, the fact that they will be provided to civil authorities may not be enough. As modern naval vessels equipped with armaments, including machine guns, their export could enflame the domestic debate over the principles that ban arms export to any country since 1976 and the appropriate role for the military and defense industry in Japan today.

Djibouti serves as an interesting case because it has not traditionally been a major focus of JICA. However, the political context has changed since Japan opened its first semi-permanent overseas military base in Djibouti in 2011. That base, which supports counter-piracy and peacekeeping operations in the region, has raised the profile of Djibouti with politicians and defense officials. As a consequence, JICA has been required by the government to expand its operations in the country as part of Japan’s wider efforts to help secure vital trade and energy routes that pass through the region.

That said, JICA is designed to deliver development aid, not to provide military ships and training for security purpose. In other countries, this would typically fall to military defense cooperation agencies. However, it would be politically difficult for the Ministry of Defence to provide such assistance directly in Japan. While that could change once the export laws are changed and society is normalized to the military playing a bigger role in Japan’s foreign policy, JICA officials believe this will take some time. Until then, the GoJ will need to work through JICA and the Japanese Coast Guard to provide coast guard services within the extent that they remain civilian security services.

For JICA, this is a “delicate issue” because there is a lot of tension in a development agency to playing a direct role in supporting security operations in the region. The region poses serious dangers for JICA staff. The agency is not allowed to operate in Somalia due to security concerns in that country. And, its staff recently had to be evacuated from both South Sudan and Yemen. JICA is therefore aware of the challenge to provide naval vessels to coastal countries in these areas even though they are intended solely for civil law enforcement purposes.

According to one official, “In my personal opinion, this should be a military operation. JICA is a development assistance agency not a specialist in combatting piracy. We can get support from the Coast Guard, who has the expertise. But, they have the conflict in the Senakakus to manage” and might not have the capacity to support the operation on the scale imagined. JICA is therefore reticent to expand the scale of such programs.

Despite the organization’s reservations, JICA must nevertheless plan for follow through on the GoJ’s request to make these transfers when the export law changes go into effect. At present, JICA believes the first request will be for Djibouti. Even though the United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (U.K.) would like Japan to send ships to Yemen, the situation there is too unstable. The Japanese Coast Guard and JICA have even stopped their training assistance to the Yemeni Coast Guard.

One official that I spoke with believes that the U.S. and U.K. are more experienced in these complex security environments and should take the lead. The official also said that Yemen is not the case for Japan to take on. Regardless of the operational security concerns, the Three Principles make it clear that Japan is not to export to countries engaged in international conflict. Given the international nature of terrorism and the number of actors engaged in the conflict in Yemen, that official felt that it is unlikely that Japan will provide naval vessels or further training to Yemen anytime soon.

However, Somalia is a potential candidate. In 2013, Japan resumed support to the new government in that country. This followed the Somali government’s perceived consolidation of power in the country. As a result of these changes, Somalia was invited to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development V (TICAD V). Japan is now investigating how to support counter-piracy capacity building in the country. While it is too early to consider the provisioning of a naval vessel to their coast guard, this request could follow. But, trust must be built first. And, there are still serious debates within the GoJ as to whether Japan should lead with security sector capacity building or social sector (education and health) capacity building. Right now, it is too early to tell which direction Japan will take.

However, JICA officials recognize that peace and security (P&S) will be a major focus for their organization moving forward. In TICAD V, the GoJ raised P&S to one of the most urgent areas of focus for development. This followed the deadly attacks in Algeria, which claimed the lives of 10 Japanese engineers. As a consequence of that incident, Abe made P&S a precondition for expanding Japanese business interests abroad. JICA is receiving requests from both the Japanese business community and the GoJ to promote increased peace and stability in Africa as part of the country’s export promotion agenda. Somalia and the Sahel are now viewed as two of the GoJ’s most important commitments in Africa.

The challenge for JICA is that Japanese development assistance traditionally starts from social sector capacity building and infrastructure development. Japan does not have deep experience in security sector capacity building and peace building operations when compared to other major powers. Even though Japan has developed an impressive record supporting U.N. peacekeeping operations in the last decade, this is a very recent shift in focus for Japan. JICA is therefore struggling to respond to the new P&S focus while simultaneously supporting its traditional development assistance programs around the world.

Looking ahead, how JICA responds will have a major impact on Japanese development assistance in Africa. Right now, piracy and terrorism are two important issues for the country. In fact, both piracy and Somalia were highlighted in Abe’s address at TICAD V. However, Japan’s support for counter-piracy operations in Africa is a very small percentage of its overall budget commitments and global strategy. JICA must therefore be careful not to undermine its other commitments.

Whereas Djibouti and Somalia have traditionally been lower priorities for JICA, Kenya remains the organization’s most important commitment in Africa. Since the 1960s, Japan has been engaged in projects in the country. And, according to one official, the Japanese people have developed a “psychological closeness” with Kenyans, Tanzanians, and Ethiopians in a way that’s unrivaled in the rest of Africa. In 2013, Japan committed $100 million in grants and technical cooperation to the country. Plus, Japan has made long-term aid commitments of $200-$300 million annually, including marquee projects like the Mombasa Port and Kenya’s modernization of power generation. While Japan is also talking to Kenya about providing naval vessels and training to its Coast Guard, these efforts pail in comparison to the larger infrastructure, agriculture, education, health, and environmental projects that JICA is leading in the country.

Another country of focus is Mozambique, where the GoJ sees huge potential for natural gas production. In the aftermath of the Fukushima incident and rising global competition for energy resources, such energy projects are of top priority for Japan. The GoJ has responded by tasking its ministries to focus on the country. JICA has responded by working with Mitsui Group and other private sector actors to secure oil exploration and development projects in the country. However, JICA recognizes that the relationship between the two countries must be built upon more than natural gas exports. JICA is therefore spearheading new projects in the infrastructure and agricultural sectors that could promote development in Mozambique that would make it possible for the country to play a role in Japan’s economic recovery and export promotion strategies. In this way, JICA is building a new import-export market for Japanese investors. The hope is that private sector actors will now follow and make long-term commitments to the country. If they do, Mozambique and Kenya could emerge as major lynchpins for Japanese investment on the continent.

This is the fourth in a series of reports related to the Japan Foundation’s Kakehashi Visit for Young Public Intellectuals from January 12-22, 2014. The author represented SOAS, University of London and the Federation of American Scientists as part of the Pacific Forum CSIS Young Leaders delegation.