Saving Money and Saving the World

As the United States struggles to deal with budget problems, as the U.S. Air Force deals with boredom, poor morale, drug use, and cheating on certification exams by their personnel entrusted with control of nuclear missiles, we have a solution that will save money as well as make the world a much safer place – get rid of most of our nuclear weapons immediately.  A recent New York Times editorial pointed out that it would […]

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A Credible Radioactive Threat to the Sochi Olympics?

With the Sochi Olympics set to start on February 6th there has been an escalating concern about security threats to the Games. There are hunts for female suicide bombers (“black widows”), video threats from militant groups, etc., all of which have triggered a massive Russian security response, including statements by President Putin insuring the safety of the Games. Many of the security concerns are raised by the proximity of Sochi  to Chechnya and relate to […]

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General Confirms Enhanced Targeting Capabilities of B61-12 Nuclear Bomb

By Hans M. Kristensen The former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz, confirmed last week that the B61-12 nuclear bomb planned by the Obama administration will have improved military capabilities to attack targets with greater accuracy and less radioactive fallout. The confirmation comes two and a half years after an FAS publication first described the increased accuracy of the B61-12 and its implications for nuclear targeting in general and the deployment of […]

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Radioactive Theft in Mexico: What a Thief Doesn’t Know Can Kill Him

While the theft of a truck carrying radioactive cobalt made international headlines, this was unfortunately not the first time thieves or scavengers have exposed themselves or others to lethal radiation. Probably the most infamous case was on September 13, 1987 in Goiania, Brazil. Scavengers broke into an abandoned medical clinic and stole a disused teletherapy machine. These machines are used to treat cancer by irradiating tumors with gamma radiation typically emitted by either cobalt-60 or […]

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One Step at a Time With Iran

As hoped, the P5+1 and Iran settled on a “first step” agreement to resolve concerns about Iran’s potential to develop nuclear weapons and its interest in doing so. We cannot predict how far this process will go or what the next step to establish a comprehensive, enduring agreement that puts the nuclear issue squarely in the past will include. But we can predict that we will never know how good a final agreement can be unless […]

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Making the Cut: Reducing the SSBN Force

By Hans M. Kristensen A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report – Options For Reducing the Deficit: 2014-2023 – proposes reducing the Navy’s fleet of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines from the 14 boats today to 8 in 2020. That would save $11 billion in 2015-2023, and another $30 billion during the 2030s from buying four fewer Ohio replacement submarines. The Navy has already drawn its line in the sand, insisting that the current force level […]

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New Nuclear Notebook: Chinese Nuclear Force Modernization

By Hans M. Kristensen China continues to upgrade bases for mobile nuclear medium-range ballistic missiles. The image above shows one of several new launch pads for DF-21 missile launchers constructed at a base near Jianshui in southern China. A new satellite image* on Apple Maps shows the latest part of a two-decade long slow replacement of old liquid-fuel moveable DF-3A intermediate-range ballistic missiles with new road-mobile solid-fuel DF-21 medium-range ballistic missiles. Similar developments can be […]

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Capabilities of B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Increase Further

By Hans M. Kristensen With every official statement about the B61 nuclear bomb life-extension program, the capabilities of the new version (B61-12) appear to be increasing. Previously, officials from the DOD, STRATCOM, and NNSA said the program is a consolidation of the B61-3, B61-4, B61-7, and B61-10 gravity bombs that would provide no additional military capabilities beyond those weapons. This pledge echoed the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which states: “Life Extension Programs (LEPs)…will not support […]

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India’s Missile Modernization Beyond Minimum Deterrence

By Hans M. Kristensen Every time India test-launches a new ballistic missile, officials from the defense industry go giddy about the next missile, which they say will be bigger, more accurate, fly longer, and carry more nuclear warheads. Until now, all Indian ballistic missile types have carried only one warhead each, an important feature that has helped constrain India’s so-called minimum deterrence posture. But the newest missile, the 5000+ kilometer-range Agni V, had not even […]

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New START Data Shows Russia Reducing, US Increasing Nuclear Forces

By Hans M. Kristensen While arms control opponents in Congress have been busy criticizing the Obama administration’s proposal to reduce nuclear forces further, the latest data from the New START Treaty shows that Russia has reduced its deployed strategic nuclear forces while the United States has increased its force over the past six months. Yes, you read that right. Over the past six months, the U.S. deployed strategic nuclear forces counted under the New START […]

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