New York Earthquake: City of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New York earthquake: City at risk of ‚dangerous shaking from far away‘

Joshua Nevett

Published 30th April 2018

SOME of New York City’s tallest skyscrapers are at risk of being shaken by seismic waves triggered by powerful earthquakes from miles outside the city, a natural disaster expert has warned.

Researchers believe that a powerful earthquake, magnitude 5 or greater, could cause significant damage to large swathes of NYC, a densely populated area dominated by tall buildings.

A series of large fault lines that run underneath NYC’s five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island, are capable of triggering large earthquakes.

Some experts have suggested that NYC is susceptible to at least a magnitude 5 earthquake once every 100 years.

The last major earthquake measuring over magnitude 5.0 struck NYC in 1884 – meaning another one of equal size is “overdue” by 34 years, according their prediction model.

Natural disaster researcher Simon Day, of University College London, agrees with the conclusion that NYC may be more at risk from earthquakes than is usually thought.

EARTHQUAKE RISK: New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from far-away tremors

But the idea of NYC being “overdue” for an earthquake is “invalid”, not least because the “very large number of faults” in the city have individually low rates of activity, he said.

The model that predicts strong earthquakes based on timescale and stress build-up on a given fault has been “discredited”, he said.

What scientists should be focusing on, he said, is the threat of large and potentially destructive earthquakes from “much greater distances”.

The dangerous effects of powerful earthquakes from further away should be an “important feature” of any seismic risk assessment of NYC, Dr Day said.

GETTY

THE BIG APPLE: An aerial view of Lower Manhattan at dusk in New York City

USGS

RISK: A seismic hazard map of New York produced by USGS

“New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances” Dr Simon Day, natural disaster researcher

This is because the bedrock underneath parts of NYC, including Long Island and Staten Island, cannot effectively absorb the seismic waves produced by earthquakes.

“An important feature of the central and eastern United States is, because the crust there is old and cold, and contains few recent fractures that can absorb seismic waves, the rate of seismic reduction is low.

Central regions of NYC, including Manhattan, are built upon solid granite bedrock; therefore the amplification of seismic waves that can shake buildings is low.

But more peripheral areas, such as Staten Island and Long Island, are formed by weak sediments, meaning seismic hazard in these areas is “very likely to be higher”, Dr Day said.

“Thus, like other cities in the eastern US, New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances than is the case for cities on plate boundaries such as Tokyo or San Francisco, where the crustal rocks are more fractured and absorb seismic waves more efficiently over long distances,” Dr Day said.

In the event of a large earthquake, dozens of skyscrapers, including Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building and 40 Wall Street, could be at risk of shaking.

“The felt shaking in New York from the Virginia earthquake in 2011 is one example,” Dr Day said.

On that occasion, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered 340 miles south of New York sent thousands of people running out of swaying office buildings.

USGS

FISSURES: Fault lines in New York City have low rates of activity, Dr Day said

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was “lucky to avoid any major harm” as a result of the quake, whose epicenter was near Louisa, Virginia, about 40 miles from Richmond.

“But an even more impressive one is the felt shaking from the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes in the central Mississippi valley, which was felt in many places across a region, including cities as far apart as Detroit, Washington DC and New Orleans, and in a few places even further afield including,” Dr Day added.

“So, if one was to attempt to do a proper seismic hazard assessment for NYC, one would have to include potential earthquake sources over a wide region, including at least the Appalachian mountains to the southwest and the St Lawrence valley to the north and east.”

Iran Horn Continues to Grow During Virus Pandemic Lockdown

Iran’s Uranium Stockpile Swelled During Virus Pandemic Lockdown

Jonathan Tirone

June 5, 2020, 9:48 AM MDT

IAEA inspectors say they’re still awaiting access to two sites

Iran continued its elevated rate of nuclear-fuel production last quarter, even as the coronavirus pandemic forced it to shut down swaths of the economy and international inspectors sought answers about previous nuclear activities.

The country’s store of low-enriched uranium increased to 1,571.6 kilograms (3,465 pounds) over the quarter ending May 20, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency report seen by Bloomberg. That’s more than a 50% jump over the amount stockpiled three months ago, and enough of the heavy metal to create two bombs if Iran chose to enrich the material to weapons grade.

“The agency notes with serious concern that” Iran continues to deny access to two sites inspectors want to visit, where nuclear material may have been present in the early 2000s, read a restricted report circulated to diplomats in Vienna. “This is adversely affecting the agency’s ability to clarify and resolve the questions.”

The IAEA report follows last week’s U.S. decision to revoke waivers that permitted some companies to work on nuclear projects in Iran. The beleaguered 2015 agreement struck between Iran and world powers authorized firms to convert facilities so that they can’t be used to produce nuclear material for weapons.

The Trump administration delivered the accord a near-fatal blow by withdrawing and reimposing sanctions, including on Iran’s critical oil exports, escalating tensions between the foes. Iran responded by scrapping some of its obligations under the deal, including caps on its low-enriched uranium stockpile. European nations, China and Russia have stood by the agreement but the U.S. penalties mean it isn’t delivering Tehran the promised economic gains.

The IAEA reported in May that its roster of 269 monitors and analysts who focus on Iran triggered a record number of inspections last year. There were 1,103 person-days spent on the ground in Iran, combing through sites where Iran enriches uranium and generates nuclear power. The agency bolstered on-the-ground inspections with “more extensive and timely relevant present and historical images” captured by satellites, according to the document.

In a May 16 letter, Iran told the IAEA that it “is willing to satisfy the agency’s requests” to visit new sites but first needs to clear “some legal ambiguities and concerns,” according to the document.

Monitors are looking for proof of possible undeclared experiments with natural uranium in 2003, as well as conversion activities and storage of the uranium metal during the same period.

The agency continued conducting inspections “not just in Iran but all over the world” during the pandemic, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Friday during a press conference at IAEA labs just outside of Vienna. “We have been able to continue working.”

Monitors called 33 snap inspections last year. That figure fell from a record 40 in 2018 but continued to underscore the IAEA is still exercising one of its most potent powers won under the 2015 accord. Inspectors didn’t have the right to call surprise visits before the agreement.

The impact of Indo-Pacific nuclear boats on the first nuclear war

Pakistan's tool of war: Agosta 90B, our submarine in the deep ...Increasing Indo-Pacific nuclear boats and the impact on strategic stability

Stephen Kuper

As the Indo-Pacific continues to evolve economically and strategically, one of the traditional measures of great power status – nuclear attack and missile submarines – will become more prominent. For ASPI academic Stephan Fruehling, this will have a dramatic impact on the strategic stability and calculus Australia depends upon.

Next-generation submarines are emerging as another battleground for the competing superpowers, with both the US and China seeking to develop and introduce ever more deadly, silent and persistent submarines to sea.

Much like the submarine competition between the US and Soviet Union, this new arms race is resulting in fleets of hunter-killers and strategic missile submarines stalking the depths, however the US and China are far from the only emerging and established Indo-Pacific nations seeking to leverage the power of nuclear submarines. 

The growing proliferation of advanced nuclear weapons systems, including the relatively crude, yet still capable submarine launch ballistic missiles recently tested by North Korea, and the increasingly capable nuclear-powered submarine fleets introduced by China and Russia, South Korea has moved to address a tactical and strategic shortfall: a lack of nuclear-powered submarines. 

While seemingly a shock move, the South Korean strategic policy institute, the Korea Defense Network (KDN), commissioned a research review into the feasibility of developing an indigenous nuclear-powered attack submarine. 

It is reported that the results suggested that South Korea consider building a nuclear-powered attack submarine modelled after the French 5,300-tonne Barracuda Class submarine, the design model for Australia’s own fleet of $50 billion Attack Class submarines. 

India also fields a growing array of domestic and foreign nuclear submarine designs in both the attack and ballistic missile variants providing an already tense regional balance of power with yet another platform to complicate the tactical and strategic decision making processes for many nations, including Australia.

Contemporary combat submarines are typically broken down by role and either conventional or nuclear propulsion into three different classes, namely: 

• Attack submarines (SSK/SSN): These vessels designed specifically to hunt and kill enemy submarines, surface combatants and merchant vessels. These submarines also serve a protective role, escorting major naval strike groups, logistics and troop convoys and merchant vessels. Recent advances in propulsion, power generation and weapons systems have also enabled these vessels to conduct long-range land strikes using torpedo or vertically-launched cruise missiles. 

• Ballistic missile submarines (SSBN): Significantly larger than their smaller, more nimble hunter-killer focused cousins, ballistic missile submarines serve as the sea-borne leg of a traditional nuclear deterrence triangle, armed with submarine-launched ballistic missiles capable – these submarines, often termed ‘boomers’, serve as the ultimate in strategic insurance for great powers like the US and China. 

• Cruise missile submarines (SSG/SSGN): Often modified ballistic missile submarines, cruise missile submarines leverage the unlimited range of nuclear-powered vessels combined with advances in weapons technology to pack vast numbers of land attack and anti-ship cruise missiles into specially modified vertical launch systems to provide immense levels of conventional strike capabilities.

Towards a nuclear region?

Recognising the mounting challenges, ASPI academic Stephan Fruehling has penned a piece, ‘Nuclear-armed submarines and strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific’, highlighting the challenges facing Australia as it seeks to navigate the demise of the post-Second World War strategic order, guaranteed by the US nuclear umbrella, in the face of a multipolar, nuclear-armed region.

“No other weapon system embodies the menacing, but also out-of-sight, presence of nuclear weapons better than the stealthy nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) that have, for six decades, ceaselessly prowled the world’s cold ocean depths, waiting for an order that has never come,” Fruehling articulates. 

“SSBNs on continuous at-sea deterrence missions remain the mainstay of the nuclear forces in the United States and France, and the sole platform carrying British nuclear weapons. Despite Russia’s significant investment in road-mobile missiles, SSBNs also remain an important element of its nuclear forces.”

While the Cold War balance of power between the nuclear powers maintained a relative peaceful status-quo, the advent of nuclear powered and, critically, armed submarines in the Indo-Pacific presents a significant and new challenge for Australian consideration. 

“In Asia, however, nuclear-armed submarines are a newer phenomenon. China has had a longstanding interest in developing SSBN technology, but has only in recent years put them into service, in numbers comparable to Britain’s and France’s,” Fruehling says. 

“Israel has reportedly fielded nuclear-armed (cruise) missiles on its conventionally powered submarines, and India, Pakistan and North Korea have also all shown an interest in moving nuclear weapons under the sea. As these countries’ programs mature, undersea nuclear deterrence will cease to be a preserve of the major powers.

“The relevance of nuclear-armed submarines for strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific area will thus increase — but what will their impact be?”

Fruehling poses this important question for Australian consideration, particularly as we close in on a new Defence White Paper. 

How will SSBNs impact the balance of power?

Fruehling is quick to highlight the pivotal role the concept of ‘mutually assured destruction’, or MAD, played in keeping the Cold War ‘cold’ is somewhat of an ambiguous concept in light of a radically evolving regional balance of nuclear power. 

“Whether the increased deployment of SSBNs in the Indo-Pacific will thus be stabilising or destabilising — in arms competition as well as in crises and war — remains an open and important question for regional security,” Fruehling states. 

“Given the multiple centres of power in the Indo-Pacific, its connected conflict dyads, and its regional order that lacks both the informal rules and clear dividing lines of the Cold War, conceiving of a regional concept for ‘stability’ is fraught in general.”

For Australia, this raises the question, can the nation depend on the nuclear umbrella provided by the US or, for that matter, the UK at a stretch? If not, what is the solution for Australia? How does the nation respond and what role will Australia’s conventionally powered Attack Class submarines play in a nuclear-armed, contested region?

Questions to be asked

As an island nation, Australia is defined by its relationship and access to the ocean, with strategic sea-lines-of-communication supporting over 90 per cent of global trade, a result of the cost effective and reliable nature of sea transport.

Indo-Pacific Asia is at the epicentre of the global maritime trade, with about US$5 trillion worth of trade flowing through the South China Sea and the strategic waterways and choke points of south-east Asia annually.

While the Indian Ocean and its critical global sea-lines-of-communication are responsible for more than 80 per cent of the world’s seaborne trade in critical energy supplies, namely oil and natural gas, which serve as the lifeblood of any advanced economy.

Submarines are critical to the nation’s ability to protect these strategically vital waterways and key naval assets, as well as providing a viable tactical and strategic deterrent and ensure the nation’s enduring national and economic security – recognising this, the previously posed questions will serve as conversation starting points.

However, given the geographic area of responsibility Australia will become increasingly responsible for and dependent on, is the RAN and the recapitalisation and conventionally-focused modernisation program for Australia’s submarine fleet enough for Australia to maintain its qualitative and quantitative lead over regional peers?

Traditionally, Australia has focused on a platform-for-platform acquisition program – focused on replacing, modernising or upgrading key capabilities on a like-for-like basis without a guiding policy, doctrine or strategy, limiting the overall effectiveness, survivability and capability of the RAN.

Trump Asks For The Impossible Nuclear Trinity

U.S. Plans New Arms Talks Aimed at Limiting Russian, Chinese and U.S. Nuclear Warheads – WSJ

Updated May 21, 2020 9:31 pm ET

The Trump administration says that it plans to propose more intrusive verification measures than under New START. This includes a demand for greater sharing of missile-test telemetry and measures that allow faster on-site inspections.

The British and French nuclear forces wouldn’t be part of the accord under the U.S. plan, though Russian officials have sometimes argued that they should.

Negotiating a major arms-control treaty is a yearslong process, raising the question of what constraints will be kept in place once the negotiations are under way.

The New START treaty can be extended for as many as five years by mutual consent. But Trump officials have hinted the U.S. may not do so unless the new three-way negotiations have begun and are making headway.

The collapse of the New START constraints, and the verification provisions it includes, would mark a further unraveling of the arms-control regime. Last year, the U.S. withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which it alleged Moscow was violating.

Of all the looming obstacles toward a new accord, the principal one is persuading China to join.

China has about 320 warheads, according to the Federation of American Scientists. That is a fraction of the 1,750 nuclear weapons the U.S. has deployed on its long-range and shorter-range systems, among the 3,800 warheads in the U.S. stockpile, according to the group’s estimate.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has said, however, that the Chinese arsenal is expected to at least double over the next decade.

Frank Klotz—a retired three-star general and the former head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the development of the U.S. nuclear arsenal—said that the idea of drawing China into a new three-way accord was fraught with difficulties.

Establishing equal limits on Chinese, U.S. and Russian forces wouldn’t be an option in seeking a new agreement because Washington doesn’t want to allow China to match the current American level. Nor does the Pentagon want to cut its force to China’s level.

“Why would the Chinese agree to be locked into a three-way agreement at significantly lower numbers than the U.S.?” Mr. Klotz said. “Why would Russia or the U.S. agree to allow China to have numbers equal to Russia and the U.S.”

—Gordon Lubold and James Marson contributed to this article.

Write to Michael R. Gordon at michael.gordon@wsj.com

Russia Defends the Iran Nuclear Horn

Russia defends Iran satellite launch against US opposition

EDITH M. LEDERER , Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — Russia is defending Iran’s right to launch a satellite, dismissing U.S. claims that Tehran was defying the U.N. resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers by sending it into space.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said that “the ongoing attempts of the United States side to deprive Iran of the right to reap the benefits of peaceful space technology under false pretexts are a cause for serious concern and profound regret.”

He dismissed as “”misleading” U.S. accusations that the April 22 satellite launch carried out by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps went against the 2015 resolution, which calls on Iran not to undertake any ballistic missile-related activities capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

“Iran has never possessed nuclear weapons, nor does it possess these weapons now, nor, we expect, will it ever possess them in the future,” Nebenzia said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council circulated Thursday.

Since the Iran nuclear deal was adopted in 2015, he said, “Iran has been the most verified state by the International Atomic Energy Agency” and “it is an established fact that Iran does not possess, nor develop, nor test or use ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

The Russian ambassador was responding to a letter from U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft to the council president last month saying that “space launch vehicles incorporate technologies that are virtually identical to and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

“We once again urge the international community to hold Iran accountable for its actions,” she wrote. “Iran’s further development of ballistic missile technology contributes to regional tension and poses a threat to international peace and security.”

Craft urged the Security Council to strengthen existing sanctions on Iran to address the threat and to consider re-imposing “binding restrictions” against its repeated missile and satellite launches.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have escalated since the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018 and re-imposed crippling U.S. sanctions. A year ago, the U.S. sent thousands more troops, long-range bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Middle East in response to what it called a growing threat of Iranian attacks on U.S. interests in the region.

The satellite launch was a first for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, revealing what experts described as a secret military space program that could accelerate Iran’s ballistic missile development. After its announcement, U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter, without citing any specific incident, “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”

Both Nebenzia and Craft called on the U.N. secretary-general to reflect their letters in his report on implementation of the 2015 Security Council resolution, which is due by June 23. The Security Council has scheduled an open briefing on the resolution for June 30 followed by closed consultations.

A U.N. arms embargo against Iran is set to expire in October and the United States circulated a draft U.N. resolution that would indefinitely extend it to a small number of council members in late April.

Nebenzia has said Moscow will oppose any U.S. attempts to extend the arms embargo and reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran. He also dismissed as “ridiculous” the possibility of the Trump administration possibly seeking to use the “snap back” provision in the 2015 council resolution, which would restore all U.N. sanctions against Iran that had been lifted or eased under the terms of the agreement if the nuclear deal is violated.

Nebenzia said the U.S. pulled out of the agreement and “they have no right” to use any of its provisions.

Khamenei is Correct: What Happened to George Floyd ‘Is What the US Has Been Doing to The Whole World

image

Ayatollah: What Happened to George Floyd ‘Is What the US Has Been Doing to The Whole World’

(CNSNews.com) – What a white policeman did to George Floyd “is what the U.S. has been doing to the whole world,” Iran’s supreme leader said on Wednesday, citing American military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at the United States during a televised ceremony marking the 31st anniversary of his predecessor’s death.

Officials in the Iranian regime, which is accused of killing up to 1,500 protestors late last year, have been vocally criticizing the U.S. amid the protests over Floyd’s death, and Khamenei is the latest to weigh in.

“A police officer coldly holds his knee on a black man’s neck and pushes until he dies, while the man keeps entreating and begging him to stop,” he said, in reference to the treatment of Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis last week.

The four police officers involved were fired a day after Floyd died. One now faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter charges, and the other three have been charged with aiding and abetting the alleged murder.

“This is not a new incident,” Khamenei continued. “It is the nature of U.S. governments. This is what the U.S. has been doing to the whole world.”

“They did the same thing to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. They did this to many other countries and they did the same to Vietnam before,” he said.

“The people’s slogan of ‘I can’t breathe’ which can be heard in massive protests throughout the U.S., is in fact the heartfelt words of all nations which the U.S. oppressively entered and took action [in].”

Other excerpts of the speech, posted on an official Khamenei website, included the lines:

“By God’s favor and grace, the US has been disgraced as a result of its own actions. Their management of the Coronavirus brought them to disgrace, and their weak handling of the situation caused them to have several times as many casualties as other countries. The American people feel embarrassed and ashamed of their government.”

Khamenei on Thursday posted a clip from the speech on his English-language Twitter account, which has almost 782,000 followers. (He also has accounts in Farsi, Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish and Urdu.)

In another Twitter post earlier this week, Khamenei likened U.S. police officers to ISIS terrorists. He embedded a short clip featuring an excerpt of a 2015 speech, in which he said, “Today, we are as much opposed to the savage and oppressive behavior of ISIS in Iraq and Syria as we are to the oppressive behavior of America’s federal police inside their own country. Both of them are the same.”

Also appearing in the clip, a familiar image of armed ISIS terrorists on the back of pickup trucks was doctored to add American police cruiser lights to one of the vehicles.

The recent tweets have included the hashtags #GeorgeFloyd and #BlackLivesMatter.

Among responses to his latest post, international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky tweeted, “Stop hijacking #GeorgeFloyd, you miserable tyrant. You have no right to lecture others on racism, let alone America. You still hang kids, stone women, execute gays and call for ‘Final Solution’ against Israel. Just SHUT UP already!”

The Asian Nuclear Horns (Daniel)

Nuclear-armed submarines and strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific | The Strategist

Stephan Fruehling

Nuclear-armed submarines and strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific

No other weapon system embodies the menacing, but also out-of-sight, presence of nuclear weapons better than the stealthy nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) that have, for six decades, ceaselessly prowled the world’s cold ocean depths, waiting for an order that has never come. SSBNs on continuous at-sea deterrence missions remain the mainstay of the nuclear forces in the United States and France, and the sole platform carrying British nuclear weapons. Despite Russia’s significant investment in road-mobile missiles, SSBNs also remain an important element of its nuclear forces.

In Asia, however, nuclear-armed submarines are a newer phenomenon.China has had a longstanding interest in developing SSBN technology, but has only in recent years put them into service, in numbers comparable to Britain’s and France’s. Israel has reportedly fielded nuclear-armed (cruise) missiles on its conventionally powered submarines, and India, Pakistan and North Korea have also all shown an interest in moving nuclear weapons under the sea. As these countries’ programs mature, undersea nuclear deterrence will cease to be a preserve of the major powers. The relevance of nuclear-armed submarines for strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific area will thus increase—but what will their impact be?

A common idea in the international commentariat on nuclear weapons and international affairs is that strategic stability could be ‘assured’ by ‘mutually assured destruction’, based on a relatively small number of large-yield, survivable warheads, such as those carried on an SSBN. But while using submarines to strike the land promises survivable nuclear forces, it also provides long reach and the ability to conduct surprise attacks with short warning, and from unexpected angles—factors much less prone to promote stability. Indeed, the latter two considerations were particularly important for the development and geographic deployment of SSBNs during the Cold War, especially by the Soviet Union. They may be so again as countries in Asia look to overcome the missile defence capabilities fielded by the United States and its allies.

The survivability of SSBNs has also recently been called into question by many commentators, especially in the debates on the replacement of the Trident nuclear submarines in the United Kingdom. A confluence of new technologies, such as unmanned vehicles and big-data analytics, with improved sonar, signals and imagery sensors, and the potential for completely new sensing technologies based on, for example, quantum effects, may render the oceans ‘transparent’ to anti-submarine forces.

The historical record on the vulnerability of SSBNs is already more ambiguous than often acknowledged in these debates. Technology is but one factor influencing the survivability of SSBNs, which has historically differed widely for different countries based on their geographic situation and adversary capabilities.

During the Cold War, the US developed long-range passive sonar systems that could track specific tonal frequencies of Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. These systems made Soviet undersea capabilities far more vulnerable than realised by the public at the time and, until the 1970s, even by the Soviet Union. Insofar as there was an undersea ‘arms race’, it occurred not between adversaries’ nuclear forces, but between Soviet SSBNs and US anti-submarine warfare (ASW) forces.

In this and future contests, geography remains a central factor, because it conditions the ability of countries to make use of (or counter) new ASW technologies that might increase the risk to SSBNs. Moreover, only the US and Russia openly seek the ability to hold other countries’ nuclear forces at risk as part of their deterrence posture, and hence have an operational need to counter adversary SSBNs.

There are also other ways of protecting SSBNs than relying on stealth alone. Once the Soviet Union realised that its SSBNs were vulnerable and that the range of its submarine-launched missiles allowed it to target the continental US from the Arctic Ocean, it began to confine its SSBN deployments to ‘bastions’ in the Barents Sea and Sea of Okhotsk that were actively defended against allied submarines by the Soviet navy and by land-based aircraft.

But if the survival of SSBNs depends not on stealth but on one’s own defensive ASW capabilities to protect them from adversary hunter–killer submarines, the implications of radical improvements in ASW for SSBN survivability and crisis stability also become less clear-cut. Indeed, this dynamic may in fact make SSBNs more survivable, not less—if at the cost of significant investment in defensive ASW forces—such as that which we might now see underway by China in the South China Sea.

Whether the increased deployment of SSBNs in the Indo-Pacific will thus be stabilising or destabilising—in arms competition as well as in crises and war—remains an open and important question for regional security. Given the multiple centres of power in the Indo-Pacific, its connected conflict dyads, and its regional order that lacks both the informal rules and clear dividing lines of the Cold War, conceiving of a regional concept for ‘stability’ is fraught in general.

When assessing the current and future impacts of SSBN technology and deployments on strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific, we thus need to look beyond superficial readings of Cold War history that equate SSBN forces with a supposedly stabilising way of deploying nuclear forces as a secure second-strike capability—for they may be neither intended for second strike, nor particularly secure.

Rather than being a technologically deterministic relationship, the consequences of changes in ASW technology and of the deployment of SSBNs in the region will reflect the particular geographic and strategic circumstances of each adversarial dyad, and defy easy generalisation.

This piece was produced as part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy: Undersea Deterrence Project, undertaken by the ANU National Security College. This article is a shortened version of chapter 3, ‘SSBN, nuclear strategy and strategic stability’, as published in the 2020 edited volume The future of the undersea deterrent: a global survey. Support for this project was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Stephan Frühling is a professor in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University. Image: US Navy.