HHS, DHS and CDC Webcast on Swine Flu

Today at 1pm EST HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and acting Director of the CDC Richard Besser will be webcast answering questions about Swine Flu from the American people.  The webcast will be available at www.hhs.gov and questions can be emailed to [email protected].

The World Health Oraganization has now raised the Pandemic Alert Level to Phase 5 meaning that they believe there is a “strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.” There currently have been 109 confirmed cases of Swine Flu in the US and one death. Continually updated information on the situation and statistics as well as fact sheets and interim guidance documents can be found on the CDC Swine Flu page at www.cdc.gov/swineflu.

Briefing on US-Russian Nuclear Forces

Vast inventories of nuclear weapons remain after the Cold War arms race ended.

By Hans M. Kristensen

Russia’s nuclear forces are expected to drop well below 500 offensive strategic delivery vehicles within the next five years, less than one-third of what’s permitted by the 1991 START treaty. Unless the next U.S. Nuclear Posture Review significantly reduces the number of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, that single leg of the U.S. Triad of nuclear forces alone could soon include more delivery vehicles than the entire Russian strategic arsenal of land- and sea-based ballistic missiles and long-range bombers. With this in mind, Russia is MIRVing its ballistic missile to keep some level of parity with the United States.

This and more from a briefing I gave this morning at the Arms Control Association meeting Next Steps in U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Reductions.  I was in good company with Ambassador Linton Brooks, the former U.S. chief negotiator on the START treaty, who spoke about the key issues and challenges the START follow-on negotiators will face, and Greg Thielmann, formerly senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who discussed how the a new agreement might be verified through START-style verification tools.

Download: Briefing on US-Russian Nuclear Forces

Concern Over Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are “widely dispersed” says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Does that include the large weapons storage complex at Sargodha? Click for image.

By Hans M. Kristensen

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in the light of increasing violence in the country. The weapons “are widely dispersed in the country – they are not at a central location,” she said in what is perhaps the first U.S. public indication of its knowledge about how Pakistan stores its nuclear weapons.

We’re pleased that both Washington Times and the Carnegie Endowment use our estimates for how many nuclear weapons Pakistan and other countries have. For additional information about Pakistan’s nuclear forces, see:

* Preparation of Shaheen-2 ballistic missile launchers.
* Nuclear Notebook: Pakistan’s Nuclear Forces, 2007 (most recent update).