USAF Not Trying To Prevent The End

USAF’s Nuclear-Capable “China Bomber” to be Operational by the Next Decade

The China Bomber

The China Bomber

The U.S. Air Force is accelerating development of its next generation “Long Range Strike-Bomber” or LRS-B marked by very long range and the ability to loiter for extended periods over distant targets such as those in the South China Sea and Asia.

Not much has been revealed about the USAF’s stealth “China bomber” but what is known is that the LRS-B will likely be a very long-range subsonic aircraft with broadband stealth capability.
It is being designed to defeat low-frequency radars as effectively as high frequency sets. More ominously, the LRS-B will eventually be capable of delivering the entire range of air delivered nuclear weapons in the US arsenal, a capability only currently afforded USAF B-52 bombers.
Ultimately, the USAF will transform the LRS-B into the world’s first unmanned or robotic strategic bomber with unmatched endurance.

In the unmanned role, the LRS-B will be used in non-nuclear combat to rain down guided missiles or guided bombs onto land or naval targets.  The nuclear capable versions of the bomber will be manned.

What will distinguish the LRS-B from the current B-1or B-2 bombers is the LRS-B’s enhanced stealthiness and its capability to loiter or hover over a battlefield for long periods of time, attacking multiple targets of opportunity with precision.

It is being designed to survive daylight raids in heavily defended enemy territory. The LRS-B will carry a weapons load of 14,000 lbs. to 28,000 lbs (6,350 kg to 12,700 kg).

The LRS-B is intended to “manage” China in a future conflict, said Andrew Krepinevich, a defense policy analyst who currently serves as President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

A few years ago, Krepinevich questioned the USAF’s reliance on short range aircraft like the F-35 stealth fighter in a future conflict against China and called on reducing purchases of the F-35 in favor of a new long range bomber. That bomber is now the LRS-B.

Last January, former Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz said the Pentagon should abandon plans to arm the F-35 with nuclear weapons and give this role to the LRS-B.

In February, the USAF reaffirmed its commitment to a manned bomber and said  its next generation bomber, now the LRS-B, will be fielded in the mid-2020s. It intends to buy between 80 and 100 of the radar defeating bombers.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James recently said the LRS-B “is a top modernization priority for the Air Force.”

Once in service, the LRS-B is expected to receive the designation, B-3.

The Truth of Nuclear Terrorism

The danger of nuclear terrorism in South Asia

Nuclear Terrorism

Nuclear Terrorism

Musa Khan Jalalzai

During the last 16 years, Pakistan and India have doubled the number of their nuclear warheads, making them the fastest growing nuclear weapons states in the world. However, India has deployed a nuclear triad of bombers, missiles and a submarine capable of firing nuclear weapons. Pakistan has also developed a network of nuclear weapons factories, plutonium reactors and nuclear missiles. India has invested a lot on spy satellites, aircraft, drones and early warning radar, while Pakistan has developed spy and modern warning systems. At present, both the states hold a massive nuclear stockpile and the size of this stockpile has doubled since 1998. Both states have developed cruise missiles and are seeking nuclear submarines. China’s tacit support to Pakistan for boosting the country’s nuclear weapons is considered to have strategic implications for India. All these weapons and strategic developments in both the states mean that confidence-building measures remain only on paper with no one wanting to extend the hand of cooperation.

This day-to-day militarisation of potential conflict, the withdrawal of NATO and US forces from Afghanistan, and civil wars in the Middle East have all intensified the war of interests between the two states. In the presence of all these weapons, the danger of nuclear terrorism, the potential spread of nuclear materials in the black market and the recent threatened control of nuclear materials by Sunni terrorist groups (ISIS) in Iraq, has raised serious questions about the safety and security of nuclear weapons in South Asia. Pakistan faces a series of threats to its national security. These threats come from the Taliban and the likely potential use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) devices by domestic terrorist and extremist groups. The international task force on the prevention of nuclear terrorism has also warned that the “possibility of nuclear terrorism is increasing” because of a number of factors including “the conventional forms of terrorism” and the vulnerability of nuclear power and research reactors to sabotage and of weapons-usable nuclear materials to theft.

Before entering a deep debate, I want to clear my position: by writing this article, I have no intention to either unnecessarily criticise Pakistan’s nuclear weapons or enter a controversial debate. In this article, I want to repeat my fear of the threat of nuclear terrorism in South Asia. Terrorists may possibly retrieve nuclear materials from India or Pakistan and use them against civilian and military installations. Another development that has also worried nuclear scientists is cyber attacks during nuclear crisis management. Cyber warfare has the potential to attack or disrupt successful nuclear crisis management. India and Pakistan have developed strong networks of cyber armies and have often attacked each other’s sensitive computers in the past.

Cyber attacks can muddy signals being sent from one side to the other during a nuclear crisis. Cyber warriors can disrupt and destroy communication channels needed for successful crisis management. Nuclear weapons are under threat from violent cyber terrorists operating across borders. The main threat to Pakistan’s nuclear installations might also come from a virus or worm activated within the computer. The issue is very complicated. Though the US has assisted Pakistan in improving nuclear security, there are speculations that the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) might be subjected to pressure by the elected government to appoint its favourite individuals within the SPD security infrastructure, as the tussle between civilian and military leaders over the control of nuclear weapons has intensified.
On June 9, 2014, when terrorists attacked Karachi airport and killed two military officers of the Pakistan army, the government stepped up security around nuclear installations across the country — what I had warned on October 3, 2013 became a reality. This was a fresh warning from terrorists and radicalised elements and those whose relatives have been killed or tortured in the military operations in Balochistan, FATA and Waziristan during the last 10 years.

The terrorist attack on Karachi airport showed that Pakistan’s intelligence had badly failed to provide true information about terrorist networks in Karachi. This attack also highlighted the military capability of the Taliban and exposed the gap in the country’s security apparatus. After this attack, Pakistanis are apprehensive about possible daring attacks against the country’s nuclear installations. The terrorists yet again exposed the failure of the security agencies. This is a clear challenge for the SPD of the armed forces, which has deployed 25,000 nuclear forces around nuclear facilities.

In the past, terrorists attacked Pakistan’s nuclear installations. In 2007, terrorists attacked two air force facilities in Sargodha, associated with nuclear installations. On August 21, 2008, terrorists attacked the Ordnance factories in Wah. In July 2009, a suicide bomber struck a bus that may have been carrying A Q Khan Research Laboratory scientists, injuring 30 people. Moreover, two attacks by Baloch militants on suspected Atomic Energy Commission facilities in Dera Ghazi Khan have also drawn international attention to the security of the country’s nuclear installations. On October 10, 2009, nine terrorists, dressed in army uniform, attacked the GHQ. In June 2014, two suicide bombers killed high ranking military officers linked to Pakistan’s nuclear programme in Fateh Jang. This is not a biased analysis and it does not intend to create controversies about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. I just want to draw the attention of Pakistan’s military establishment to the possibility of abrupt attack on our nuclear installations. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan terrorists may possibly attack the country’s nuclear installations as the fire of terrorism touches the walls of the GHQ.

The New American Foreign Policy

Obama Is Now Boxed In By The Iranian Nuclear Negotiations

Barack Obama

AP

Iran is playing the long game in negotiations over its nuclear program. And it may have already boxed in U.S. President Barack Obama, with help from an increasingly tumultuous state of world affairs.

Iran and six world powers officially agreed on Friday to extend negotiations for at least another four months. Iran has agreed to dilute additional stocks of nuclear material, in exchange for access to nearly $3 billion in assets that have been frozen in the U.S.

Some American officials are skeptical that even a four-month extension in talks will be enough to resolve some of the major sticking points among negotiators. And the reality is that as time goes on, the West will continue to lose leverage as Iran’s economy slowly crawls toward a recovery with limited sanctions relief.

“The extension was expected because Iranian nuclear intransigence is being further emboldened by the reality that Western negotiating leverage is diminishing,” Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider.

Dubowitz helped write a report detailing how Iran’s economy has rebounded — and sanctions pressure has subsided — by recent U.S. moves.

“The Obama administration’s mid-2013 decision to de-escalate the sanctions pressure, and the direct relief offered at Geneva, have sparked a modest albeit fragile Iranian economic recovery and increased the economy’s resilience to sanctions pressure,” Dubowitz told BI. “Tehran may believe that it can sustain these negotiations for many months if not years, provide only limited and reversible nuclear concessions, while extracting additional direct sanctions relief and solidifying its economic recovery.”

Dubowitz says that if Tehran’s bet turned out to be true, then the nuclear concessions would continue to swing Iran’s way.

“Then the Obama administration is left doing more of what it has done already — namely, defining downwards its nuclear demands until Iran’s leaders have deal terms that give them an industrial-size nuclear capacity, relative immunity from any new sanctions, and the essential elements they need to build nuclear weapons at a time of their choosing,” he said.

 

Geopolitical leverage

Furthermore, there are now a number of regional issues that potentially play to Iran’s advantage in negotiating power, including the deterioration of the situation in Iraq with the advances by extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

“The Iranian government knows that Iraq is a significant problem for the United States, that it puts further strain on an already damaged relationship with the Saudis, and that desire to get a deal done for the White House — already having invested significant effort on a win — has gone up,” Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer said in a research note last week.

“They know that failed negotiations after all the effort will be seen as a significant loss for the Obama administration, and that maintaining tough sanctions given challenges with Russia and even parts of continental Europe will be more difficult.”

The other geopolitical variable that could affect the Iranian nuclear negotiations is the crisis in Ukraine, which has escalated significantly this week after the shooting down of a civilian aircraft, likely by pro-Russian separatists with arms supplied by the Russian Federation.

Russia is a key partner of the West in any Iran deal and keeping negotiations on a steady path, and yet it is the driver of disaster in Ukraine. Relations with the U.S. have reached their worst levels since the Cold War. Russian President Vladimir Putin could play spoiler in any Iranian deal by forging an oil-for-goods exchange deal, thereby reducing even more pressure on Iran.

The Iranian nuclear negotiations have already given Iran an opening to act on priorities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. And as long the Middle East remains in flames while a permanent nuclear deal is being haggled, the influence of the Iran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) will grow.

“Nuclear diplomacy has made the Obama administration even more reluctant to push back against Iranian influence for fear that this will compromise any nuclear deal,” Dubowitz told BI.

“It has even sparked delusional recommendations from Washington’s commentariat that the U.S. and Iran have common interests. The result of this will be an even more dangerous Iran which will use any nuclear deal to diminish its diplomatic isolation, restore its economy, and supercharge its regional influence at significant cost to U.S. interests.”

And what if a comprehensive deal can’t be reached? Dubowitz noted that “he is deeply skeptical that the Obama administration will be willing to walk away from the negotiations if a good deal is not possible.”

If the U.S. does decide to walk away, Obama would have to scrap his plan to open up Iran.

“If there is no good deal to be had … then the president will have to deliver on his commitment that he will massively enhance the economic pressure and that all options including military force will be considered,” Dubowitz said.