German Elections Raise Important Questions about Drones as Tools for Political Opposition, Protest, and Violence

In a few days, Germans will head to the polls to vote in their federal elections.  Few are predicting an easy win for long-standing German Chancellor, Angela Merkel (CDU/CSU), who is expected to face a serious but not insurmountable challenge. Unlike the SPD, Greens, FDP, and The Left, the Pirate Party has not been a major factor in this election. The party’s inability to connect with voters and “capitalize on widespread unhappiness over state surveillance […]

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Before Eliminating Syria’s Chemical Weapons, One Must Find Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Most of the world (including the U.S.) seems to be relieved now that there is affirmative progress towards eliminating Syria’s ghastly chemical weapon (CW) stockpiles, thereby avoiding (at least for now) a military strike that no one really wanted to undertake.  The Syrian government has announced that it will soon join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).  Joining the OPCW will immediately trigger an obligation on Syria’s part to issue a written […]

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B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Triggers Debate in the Netherlands

By Hans M. Kristensen The issue of the improved military capabilities of the new B61-12 nuclear bomb entered the Dutch debate today with a news story on KRO Brandpunt (video here) describing NATO’s approval in 2010 of the military characteristics of the weapon. Dutch approval to introduce the enhanced bomb later this decade is controversial because the Dutch parliament wants the government to work for a withdrawal of nuclear weapons from the Netherlands and Europe. The […]

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Dispute Over US Nuke in the Netherlands: Who Pays For An Accident?

By Hans M. Kristensen Only a few years before U.S. nuclear bombs deployed at Volkel Air Base in the Netherlands are scheduled to be airlifted back to the United States and replaced with an improved bomb with greater accuracy, the U.S. and Dutch governments are in a dispute over how to deal with the environmental consequences of a potential accident. The Dutch government wants environmental remediation to be discussed in the Netherlands United States Operational […]

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MSNBC On Nuclear Weapons Reduction Efforts

By Hans M. Kristensen MSNBC used FAS data on the world nuke arsenals in an interview with Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione about how deteriorating US-Russian relations might affect efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals. The updated weapons estimates on the FAS web site are here. Detailed profiles of each nuclear weapon state are published as Nuclear Notebooks in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Support our work to produce high-quality estimates of world nuclear forces: […]

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SSBNX Under Pressure: Submarine Chief Says Navy Can’t Reduce

By Hans M. Kristensen In a blog and video on the U.S. Navy web site Navy Live, the head of the U.S. submarine force Rear Admiral Richard Breckenridge claims that the United States cannot reduce its fleet of nuclear ballistic missile submarines further. This is the third time in three months that Breckenridge has seen a need to go online to defend the size of the SSBN fleet. The first time was in May in […]

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Air Force Intelligence Report Provides Snapshot of Nuclear Missiles

By Hans M. Kristensen The U.S. Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) has published its long-awaited update to the Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat report, one of the few remaining public (yet sanitized) U.S. intelligence assessment of the world nuclear (and other) forces. Previous years’ reports have been reviewed and made available by FAS (here, here, and here), and the new update contains several important developments – and some surprises. Most important […]

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Russian Missile Test Creates Confusion and Opposition in Washington

The recent test-launch of a modified Russian ballistic missile has nuclear arms reduction opponents up in arms with claims that Russia is fielding a new missile in violation of arms control agreements and that the United States therefore should not pursue further reductions of nuclear forces. The fact that the Russian name of the modified missile – Rubezh – sounds a little like rubbish is a coincidence, but it fits some of the complaints pretty […]

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Radiological Ray Gun: More Buck Rogers Fantasy than Risk to Real People

The June 18th arrest of two men for allegedly plotting to build a bizarre yet potentially deadly radiological device once again highlights the potential nexus of non-state actors with so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD). However, much like this year’s troika of ricin-laced letters addressed to government facilities (including one to the CIA) and public officials (all three incidents targeted President Obama at his White House address), this most recent plot reveals the historical rarity […]

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New Nuclear Weapons Employment Guidance Puts Obama’s Fingerprint on Nuclear Weapons Policy and Strategy

By Hans M. Kristensen President Barack Obama’s Berlin speech failed to capture the nuclear disarmament spirit of the Prague speech four years ago. And no wonder. Back then Obama had to contrast with the Bush administration’s nuclear policies. This time Obama had to upstage his own record. The only real nuclear weapons news that was included in the Berlin speech was a decision previously reported by the Center for Public Integrity that the administration is […]

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