Indications are that North Korea is moving ahead with its planned launch of a missile with the intent of placing a satellite into orbit. The North Koreans are portraying the launch in purely innocuous, civilian terms even naming the rocket “Unha,” which means “Milky Way” in Korean, to emphasize its space-oriented function. In the West, […]
By Ivan Oelrich and Hans M. Kristensen Only one week before Barack Obama is expected to win the presidential election, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made one last pitch for the Bush administration’s nuclear policy during a speech Tuesday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. What is the opposite of visionary? Whatever, that’s the word […]
The U.S. nuclear war plan that entered into effect in March 2003 included new executable strike options against regional states seeking weapons of mass destruction. (click on image to download PDF-version) By Hans M. Kristensen The 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and White House guidance issued in response to the terrorist attacks against the United […]
In condemning the North Korean nuclear test and repeating its call for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, one of the Bush administration’s first acts ironically has been to reaffirm the importance of nuclear weapons in the region. “The United States will meet the full range of our deterrent and security commitments,” President Bush told Japan and […]
In an extraordinarily brief statement, the Director of the National Intelligence Office announced that the United States has confirmed that North Korea’s large explosion last week was nuclear. How do they know and why did it take them so long to confirm?
Last Sunday, North Korea apparently tested a nuclear explosive. The “apparently” is needed because the explosion was so small—by nuclear standards—that some have speculated that it may have been a large conventional explosion. What is the technical significance of the test, what does it mean, and what should we do now? There is no question […]
A decision to trim a tree in the Korean demilitarized zone in 1976 escalated into a threat to use nuclear weapons. After a fatal skirmish between U.S. and North Korean border guards, U.S. forces in the region were placed on heightened alert (DEFCON 3) and nuclear forces were deployed to signal preparations for an attack […]