Crowd-Sourcing the Treaty Verification Problem

Verification of international treaties and arms control agreements such as the pending Iran nuclear deal has traditionally relied upon formal inspections backed by clandestine intelligence collection. But today, the widespread availability of sensors of many types complemented by social media creates the possibility of crowd-sourcing the verification task using open source data. “Never before has so much information and analysis been so widely and openly available. The opportunities for addressing future [treaty] monitoring challenges include […]

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US Nuclear Weapons Base In Italy Eyed By Alleged Terrorists

By Hans M. Kristensen Two suspected terrorists arrested by the Italian police allegedly were planning an attack against the nuclear weapons base at Ghedi. The base stores 20 US B61 nuclear bombs earmarked for delivery by Italian PA-200 Tornado fighter-bombers in war. Nuclear security and strike exercises were conducted at the base in 2014. During peacetime the bombs are under the custody of the US Air Force 704th Munitions Support Squadron (MUNSS), a 130-personnel strong […]

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Iran Nuclear Deal: What’s Next?

By Muhammad Umar, On July 14, 2015, after more than a decade of negotiations to ensure Iran only use its nuclear program for peaceful purposes, Iran and the P5+1 (US, UK, Russia, China, France + Germany) have finally agreed on a nuclear deal aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran has essentially agreed to freeze their nuclear program for a period of ten years, as in there will be no new nuclear projects or […]

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FAS Roundup: May 18, 2015

From the Blogs House Renews Ban on CRS Publication of Its Reports: The Congressional Research Service (CRS) will continue to be barred from releasing its reports to the public, the House Appropriations Committee said in its report on legislative branch appropriations for the coming year. Because Congress prohibits CRS from publishing its own reports, most CRS reports are only available to the public from non-governmental organizations that take the initiative to gather and publish them. Many […]

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Pentagon Report: China Deploys MIRV Missile

By Hans M. Kristensen The biggest surprise in the Pentagon’s latest annual report on Chinese military power is the claim that China’s ICBM force now includes the “multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)-equipped Mod 3 (DF-5).” This is (to my knowledge) the first time the US Intelligence Community has made a public claim that China has fielded a MIRVed missile system. If so, China joins the club of four other nuclear-armed states that have deployed MIRV […]

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FAS Roundup: May 4, 2015

From the Blogs CIA Reviews “Operational Files” Exemptions from FOIA: The CIA Information Act of 1984 authorizes the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to designate certain Agency records as “operational files.” Doing so makes them exempt not only from disclosure, but even from search and review under the Freedom of Information Act. The 1984 Act also requires the Agency to perform a “decennial review” at least every ten years in order to determine whether any […]

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Obama Administration Releases New Nuclear Warhead Numbers

By Hans M. Kristensen In a speech to the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York earlier today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry disclosed new information about the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. Updated Stockpile Numbers First, Kerry updated the DOD nuclear stockpile history by declaring that the stockpile as of September 2014 included 4,717 nuclear warheads. That is a reduction of 87 warheads since September 2013, when the DOD stockpile […]

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FAS Roundup: April 27, 2015

Russia Nuclear Forces, 2015 Currently, Russia is modernizing its strategic and nonstrategic warheads; it currently has 4,500 nuclear warheads and 1,780 are deployed on missiles and bomber bases. Additionally, there are 700 strategic warheads and 2,000 nonstrategic warheads in storage, and an estimated 3,200 retired but largely intact warheads awaiting dismantlement. In the latest Nuclear Notebook, Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris examine Russia’s nuclear arsenal and strategy. Despite Russian nuclear threats, they are not building […]

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Is China Planning To Build More Missile Submarines?

By Hans M. Kristensen Is China increasing production of nuclear ballistic missile submarines? Over the past few months, several US defense and intelligence officials have stated for the record that China is planning to build significantly more nuclear-powered missile submarines than previously assumed. This would potentially put a bigger portion of China’s nuclear arsenal out to sea, a risky proposition, and further deepen China’s unfortunate status as the only nuclear-armed state party to the nuclear […]

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New Nuclear Notebook: Russian Nuclear Forces 2015

By Hans M. Kristensen Russian nuclear weapons have received a lot of attention lately. Russian officials casually throw around direct or thinly veiled nuclear threats (here, here and here). And U.S. defense hawks rail (here and here) about a Russian nuclear buildup. In reality, rather than building up, Russia is building down but appears to be working to level off the force within the next decade to prevent further unilateral reduction of its strategic nuclear force […]

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