Quakeland: New York and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake

Roger Bilham

Given recent seismic activity — political as well as geological — it’s perhaps unsurprising that two books on earthquakes have arrived this season. One is as elegant as the score of a Beethoven symphony; the other resembles a diary of conversations overheard during a rock concert. Both are interesting, and both relate recent history to a shaky future.

Journalist Kathryn Miles’s Quakeland is a litany of bad things that happen when you provoke Earth to release its invisible but ubiquitous store of seismic-strain energy, either by removing fluids (oil, water, gas) or by adding them in copious quantities (when extracting shale gas in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, or when injecting contaminated water or building reservoirs). To complete the picture, she describes at length the bad things that happen during unprovoked natural earthquakes. As its subtitle hints, the book takes the form of a road trip to visit seismic disasters both past and potential, and seismologists and earthquake engineers who have first-hand knowledge of them. Their colourful personalities, opinions and prejudices tell a story of scientific discovery and engineering remedy.

Miles poses some important societal questions. Aside from human intervention potentially triggering a really damaging earthquake, what is it actually like to live in neighbourhoods jolted daily by magnitude 1–3 earthquakes, or the occasional magnitude 5? Are these bumps in the night acceptable? And how can industries that perturb the highly stressed rocks beneath our feet deny obvious cause and effect? In 2015, the Oklahoma Geological Survey conceded that a quadrupling of the rate of magnitude-3 or more earthquakes in recent years, coinciding with a rise in fracking, was unlikely to represent a natural process. Miles does not take sides, but it’s difficult for the reader not to.

She visits New York City, marvelling at subway tunnels and unreinforced masonry almost certainly scheduled for destruction by the next moderate earthquake in the vicinity. She considers the perils of nuclear-waste storage in Nevada and Texas, and ponders the risks to Idaho miners of rock bursts — spontaneous fracture of the working face when the restraints of many million years of confinement are mined away. She contemplates the ups and downs of the Yellowstone Caldera — North America’s very own mid-continent supervolcano — and its magnificently uncertain future. Miles also touches on geothermal power plants in southern California’s Salton Sea and elsewhere; the vast US network of crumbling bridges, dams and oil-storage farms; and the magnitude 7–9 earthquakes that could hit California and the Cascadia coastline of Oregon and Washington state this century. Amid all this doom, a new elementary school on the coast near Westport, Washington, vulnerable to inbound tsunamis, is offered as a note of optimism. With foresight and much persuasion from its head teacher, it was engineered to become an elevated safe haven.

Miles briefly discusses earthquake prediction and the perils of getting it wrong (embarrassment in New Madrid, Missouri, where a quake was predicted but never materialized; prison in L’Aquila, Italy, where scientists failed to foresee a devastating seismic event) and the successes of early-warning systems, with which electronic alerts can be issued ahead of damaging seismic waves. Yes, it’s a lot to digest, but most of the book obeys the laws of physics, and it is a engaging read. One just can’t help wishing that Miles’s road trips had taken her somewhere that wasn’t a disaster waiting to happen.

Catastrophic damage in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1964, caused by the second-largest earthquake in the global instrumental record.

In The Great Quake, journalist Henry Fountain provides us with a forthright and timely reminder of the startling historical consequences of North America’s largest known earthquake, which more than half a century ago devastated southern Alaska. With its epicentre in Prince William Sound, the 1964 quake reached magnitude 9.2, the second largest in the global instrumental record. It released more energy than either the 2004 Sumatra–Andaman earthquake or the 2011 Tohoku earthquake off Japan; and it generated almost as many pages of scientific commentary and description as aftershocks. Yet it has been forgotten by many.

The quake was scientifically important because it occurred at a time when plate tectonics was in transition from hypothesis to theory. Fountain expertly traces the theory’s historical development, and how the Alaska earthquake was pivotal in nailing down one of the most important predictions. The earthquake caused a fjordland region larger than England to subside, and a similarly huge region of islands offshore to rise by many metres; but its scientific implications were not obvious at the time. Eminent seismologists thought that a vertical fault had slipped, drowning forests and coastlines to its north and raising beaches and islands to its south. But this kind of fault should have reached the surface, and extended deep into Earth’s mantle. There was no geological evidence of a monster surface fault separating these two regions, nor any evidence for excessively deep aftershocks. The landslides and liquefied soils that collapsed houses, and the tsunami that severely damaged ports and infrastructure, offered no clues to the cause.

“Previous earthquakes provide clear guidance about present-day vulnerability.” The hero of The Great Quake is the geologist George Plafker, who painstakingly mapped the height reached by barnacles lifted out of the intertidal zone along shorelines raised by the earthquake, and documented the depths of drowned forests. He deduced that the region of subsidence was the surface manifestation of previously compressed rocks springing apart, driving parts of Alaska up and southwards over the Pacific Plate. His finding confirmed a prediction of plate tectonics, that the leading edge of the Pacific Plate plunged beneath the southern edge of Alaska along a gently dipping thrust fault. That observation, once fully appreciated, was applauded by the geophysics community.

Fountain tells this story through the testimony of survivors, engineers and scientists, interweaving it with the fascinating history of Alaska, from early discovery by Europeans to purchase from Russia by the United States in 1867, and its recent development. Were the quake to occur now, it is not difficult to envisage that with increased infrastructure and larger populations, the death toll and price tag would be two orders of magnitude larger than the 139 fatalities and US$300-million economic cost recorded in 1964.

What is clear from these two books is that seismicity on the North American continent is guaranteed to deliver surprises, along with unprecedented economic and human losses. Previous earthquakes provide clear guidance about the present-day vulnerability of US infrastructure and populations. Engineers and seismologists know how to mitigate the effects of future earthquakes (and, in mid-continent, would advise against the reckless injection of waste fluids known to trigger earthquakes). It is merely a matter of persuading city planners and politicians that if they are tempted to ignore the certainty of the continent’s seismic past, they should err on the side of caution when considering its seismic future.

Trump will soon have power to declare martial law

Dershowitz: Does President Trump have power to declare martial law?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

The Constitution, quite surprisingly, is silent on the issue of martial law and emergency powers. Martial law and emergency powers were not actually uncommon at the founding of the nation, and several state constitutions provided for them in cases of emergency. That silence, however, has not stopped presidents from exercising such powers, generally upon the request and with the cooperation of states.

In more recent history, for instance, President Johnson deployed federal troops to Detroit in 1967 during a riot and once more to Chicago amid violence during the Democratic convention in 1968. He had the blessing of the states and cities in both cases. California requested and received federal troops during the Los Angeles riots in 1992. However, President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock against the wishes of Arkansas to enforce high school integration in 1957. President Kennedy federalized the National Guard to force integration of the University of Alabama in 1962, also over state objections.

The closest the Constitution comes to regulating these powers is in a prohibition against suspending the writ of habeas corpus “unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.” We are definitely not experiencing an invasion, nor do the current disturbances, violent as some but not others have been, qualify as a rebellion.

Accordingly, even if President Trump were to try to invoke martial law or emergency powers, claiming that they are inherent with his authority as commander in chief of the armed forces, the courts would have the last word, because citizens detained without due process would be able to secure judicial review by means of the “great writ” of habeas corpus. The courts must remain open even during dire emergencies.

What then would the courts do if the president were to declare martial law and have the military detain protesters? The answer here is clear. No one knows. There are no direct precedents for such an action when our nation is in peacetime. Even the wartime precedents speak with different voices. President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the rebellion we call the Civil War. Moreover, President Roosevelt ordered the confinement of more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent after Pearl Harbor and martial law was declared in the territory of Hawaii.

In a case growing out of the Civil War, the Supreme Court justices used soaring language, pointing out that the framers “foresaw that troublous times would arise, when rulers and people would become restive under restraint, and seek by sharp and decisive measures to accomplish ends deemed just and proper, and that the principles of constitutional liberty would be in peril, unless established by irreparable law.”

The country “has no right to expect that it will always have wise and humane rulers, sincerely attached to the principles of the Constitution. Wicked men, ambitious of power with hatred of liberty and contempt of law, may fill the place once occupied by Washington and Lincoln.” If this right to suspend the provisions of the Constitution during the great exigencies of government “is conceded and the calamities of war again befall us, the dangers to human liberty are frightful to contemplate.”

Despite this language, the court allowed detention of the citizen who brought the petition. Governors have declared martial law in response to all manner of domestic disturbances, ranging from strikes to riots to disputes over oil production. In a case involving a conflict between coal miners and mine owners, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that a governor may seize “the bodies of those whom he considers to stand in the way of restoring peace.” The courts generally have not intruded on the exercise of such extraordinary powers while emergencies persisted, but the courts have insisted that they end when an emergency is over.

The history of martial law in our states has been mixed with numerous abuses and excesses. This should not be surprising, since “martial law” is a contradiction in terms. If it is martial, meaning the rule of the military or the police, then it is not law. It is power. If a president, as distinguished from a governor, decided to declare martial law across the nation, or even in selected states or regions, would he need the approval of Congress? Another question is whether Congress has already given the president the authority to declare martial law or to suspend individual rights.

There are several statutes, including the Insurrection Act and the Posse Comitatus Act, that may be relevant but none are definitive. Were the president to claim that both the violent disruptions and the threat of a renewed spread of the coronavirus justified the use of the military or the suspension of certain basic rights, he would be embarking on uncharted waters, and so would the courts. There is no governing precedent for a combination of dangers such as the ones today. The courts would look to past invocations of martial law and emergency powers for guidance. They would pay greater deference to an executive branch declaration if Congress authorized it than if the president acted alone.

Back in the early 1970s, I wrote a series of articles about the history of martial law and emergency powers. This is how I summarized our mixed record back then. “What then could we reasonably expect from our courts if any American president during a period of dire emergency were once again to suspend important constitutional safeguards?”

“Our experiences suggest the following outline. The courts, especially the Supreme Court, will generally not interfere with executive handling of a genuine emergency while it still exists. They will employ every technique of judicial avoidance at their disposal to postpone decisions until the crisis has passed. Indeed, although thousands of persons have been unlawfully confined during our various periods of declared emergency, I am aware of no case where the Supreme Court has ever actually ordered a release while the emergency was still in existence.”

“The likely exceptions to this rule of judicial postponement will be cases of clear abuse where no real emergency can be said to exist, and cases in which delay would result in irrevocable loss of rights, like those involving the death penalty. Once the emergency has passed, the courts generally will not approve further punishment. They will order the release of all those sentenced to imprisonment or death in violation of ordinary constitutional safeguards. But they will not entertain damage suits for illegal confinement ordered during the course of the emergency.”

Let us hope that the nation never gets to a point where martial law or other emergency measures that curtail fundamental rights are deemed necessary. If it does, there are no absolute guarantees in our Constitution or in our precedents to assure that the proper balance will be struck.

Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, served on the legal team representing President Trump during the Senate impeachment trial. He is an author whose newest book is “The Case For Liberalism in an Age of Extremism” available on Kindle. Follow him on Twitter @AlanDersh.

Israel Arrests Terrorists Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

In tacit threat, IDF makes mass arrests of Hamas members around Hebron | The Times of Israel

By Judah Ari Gross

Palestinian media say 45 people detained in overnight raids; military says it picked up 21 operatives; arrests come amid uptick in West Bank violence

Today, 4:16 pm

Israeli security forces arrested large numbers of suspected Hamas members in predawn raids in the Hebron area on Tuesday, in an apparent show of strength to the terror group amid an uptick in Palestinian violence in recent weeks.

Palestinian media reported that upwards of 45 people were arrested in the flashpoint city and surrounding towns, including Bayt Umar, Dura and Yatta.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed conducting the raids, but said only 21 people — all suspected Hamas members — were arrested. It was not immediately clear what accounted for the discrepancy, but it appeared to derive from the military’s policy of counting only those placed under arrest, excluding those detained for a short period of time and then released.

According to the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa, many of those arrested were former security prisoners who had been released from Israeli prisons.

An IDF spokesperson said the mass arrests were not tied to a specific Hamas plot, but were motivated by the “usual” reasons of suspected involvement in terrorist activities; low-level violence like rock throwing; and taking part in violent protests against Israeli security forces.

Hamas parliamentarian Nayef Rajoub, who Israeli forces have detained numerous times, accused Israel of “drilling for a major and violent attack” on West Bank Palestinians.

“This is merely training for a widespread arrest operation… Israeli soldiers struck down the doors of homes, entered without permission and gathered detainees in two buses before taking them to a tent built for their detention in the Hebron area,” Rajoub said.

Some of the detainees had been freed as of Tuesday afternoon, while others remained in Israeli custody, according to Rajoub.

The raids came amid an uptick in Palestinian violence emanating from the West Bank in recent weeks, with a deadly stabbing inside Israel by a Palestinian worker, a car-ramming at Tapuah Junction that injured a police officer and a soldier, and several failed attempted attacks, according to Israeli security forces.

Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

The Winds of God’s Wrath (Jeremiah 23)

Hurricane-force winds lead to school closures, power outages, significant damage along Wasatch Front

By: David Wells

SALT LAKE CITY — A hurricane-force windstorm caused significant damage, power outages and forced the closure of schools in several districts along the Wasatch Front Tuesday morning. Salt Lake City officials eventually declared a State of Emergency due to all the damage caused by the powerful winds.

Centerville Police announced Mayor Clark Wilkinson also signed a declaration of emergency due to widespread damage in the city.

As of 4:00 p.m., Rocky Mountain Power reports more than 174,000 outages in northern Utah. Click here for details on the outages.

According to NWS, gusts of 74 mph or greater are considered hurricane-force winds.

Hurricane-force winds have been recorded in Farmington, Centerville, Layton, Willard, Brigham City, Salt Lake City and at Logan Peak Tuesday.

SCHOOL CANCELLATIONS AND DELAYS:

• Cache County School District – School delayed by two hours.

• Cache County School District – School canceled for the day at these five schools:

◦ Cedar Ridge Elementary

◦ Greenville Elementary

◦ North Park Elementary

◦ South Cache Elementary

◦ Lincoln Elementary

• Davis School District – All classes canceled for the day.

• Highmarks Charter School – All classes canceled for the day.

• Ogden School District – All classes canceled for the day.

• Salt Lake City School District – All classes canceled for the day.

• University of Utah – All classes canceled for the day.

• Weber School District – All classes canceled for the day.

• Weber State University – All classes canceled for the day.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

The Utah Highway Patrol restricted travel for semitrailers in Davis, Ogden Counties “after a number have blown over due to the high winds in the area.”

A UHP spokesman said over 36 semitrailers blew over in the three counties.

UHP also reports there are trees and low power lines blocking highways and interstates in some areas.

“There are numerous closures on I-15 from Salt Lake County north to the Idaho boarder. Plan for delays. Avoid the area if possible. If you’re stuck in traffic, do not exit your vehicle due to flying debris. And, avoid parking alongside high profile vehicles,” a tweet from UHP said.

PARKS REMAIN CLOSED

The following Salt Lake City parks will remain closed until further notice due to fallen trees:

• Cottonwood

• Fairmont

• Liberty

• Lindsay Gardens

• Pioneer

• Riverside

• Rosewood

• Sunnyside

• Warm Springs

• Jordan

• Washington Square

• City Creek Canyon

• Salt Lake City Cemetery

TRAX CLOSED

The TRAX system is not operating due to the loss of electrical power in certain areas, as well as power lines and debris that have fallen on the tracks.

CAPITOL BUILDING CLOSED

The high winds and dangerous conditions have forced the closure of the Capitol building to all state employees on Tuesday. Employees are being told to stay home and safe.

HOGLE ZOO CLOSED

The Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City is closed Tuesay due to the winds. It’s not known if the zoo was damaged during the storm.

TOPPLED TREE HELP FOR SALT LAKE CITY RESIDENTS

From the Salt Lake City Government Twitter account: “Salt Lake City residents can call 801-972-7818 for City-owned trees that have fallen on houses, power lines or cars. City-owned trees are those planted in park strips, medians, parks, and on other City property.”

The Rising Chinese and Russian Nuclear Horns (Daniel 7:7)

Potential New Submarine Could Have Chinese Muscle and Russian Teeth

Matthew Greenwood posted 2020-09-08

Russia and China are working together to create a next-generation attack sub to bolster their submarine arsenals—and analysts are getting worried.

While the U.S. operates a nuclear-only fleet, Russia and China—along with many other countries—still use nonnuclear subs. They’re cheaper to build and have inshore advantages compared to their nuclear brethren. They’re also easier to sell on the international market, where they don’t have to worry about restrictions on the sale of nuclear technology.

China and Russia have been increasing their military cooperation in recent years. This project continues along those lines—and seems like a natural fit. Russia has experience building subs, having created some of the most powerful in the world. In fact, Russia helped China kick-start its own submarine building industry during the Cold War.

But China has been catching up —and is even outpacing Russia in terms of propulsion and battery technology. China builds air-independent power (AIP) subs that Russia pioneered during the Cold War but which the country has fallen behind on since. And China is rumored to be adopting lithium-ion batteries in its subs—which are more energy dense than traditional lead-acid batteries—which would also put it a step ahead of the Russians.

While we don’t have a lot of details from the characteristically tight-lipped countries, we can make some educated guesses about what the new sub could be.

Russia’s Potential Role

Russia has sold subs to China in the past—most recently its Kilo class nonnuclear vessel. Russia usually deploys its Kilos relatively close to home, for conflicts in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, leaving the long-range patrols to its nuclear vessels.

The Russian Kilo submarine.

The Kilo has been a workhorse of the Russian fleet for the past three decades. Measuring 238 feet long and 32 feet wide, with a crew of 53, it can last about 45 days at sea before coming in to port to resupply. With two diesel generators and an electric drive, the Kilo reaches a comparatively slow speed of 10 knots on the surface and 17 submerged. It also doesn’t dive very deeply, usually reaching 787 feet. But it does have a range of 7,500 nautical miles—enough to go from the North Sea to Cuba.

The Kilo can launch Kalibr cruise missiles, a versatile weapon that can be used against land targets, ships and other subs. In different variations, the Kalibr could reach a speed of Mach 2.9, have a range of about 186 miles, carry a 440-pound warhead, and perform evasive maneuvers before reaching its target. It also deploys homing and wire-guided 533-millimeter diameter torpedoes.

More about the Kilo sub.

Where Russia has a distinct advantage is in its weapons systems, which are more advanced than its partner’s—and are some of the most advanced in the world.

China’s Potential Role

As mentioned, Russia has had difficulties in recent years getting air-independent power plants to work in its subs, and is still trying to design one , while China has already installed them in its vessels. But China has been forging ahead with its AIP technologies —and this could be where China could bring value to the partnership.

AIP is a propulsion system that uses liquid or compressed oxygen or hydrogen fuel cells rather than conventional diesel, which uses air. AIP engines are more modern and efficient than the diesels found on a Kilo sub: they allow a submarine to stay submerged for up to two months and sail at a much faster speed—while running as quietly as a diesel. The AIP’s drawback is that it isn’t nearly as powerful as a nuclear sub: their maximum power is typically around 400 horsepower, while a nuclear sub engine can generate up to 20,000 horsepower.

China may have used features of the Kilo for its homegrown Yuan sub, which it rolled out in 2006—and which has an AIP plant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Yuan is comparable in size and capability to the Kilo. But when equipped with AIP propulsion, analysts say the Yuan is one of the quietest in the Chinese fleet. China has used AIP technology purchased from Sweden in the past, but the newest variants of the Yuan reportedly use a homegrown AIP system.

China’s Yuan submarine.

What Could the New Sub Look Like?

This new vessel could combine Russian expertise in shipbuilding and weapons systems with Chinese propulsion and willingness to spend on R&D (it already has the world’s largest navy ).

Another nonnuclear submarine could make sense for both countries. Russia’s navy is geared more toward engagements close to its own territory, rather than extended long-range operations in deep water. And while China is setting its sights afar, it’s still intent on flexing its muscle in the South China Sea.

Current submarines the size of the Kilo and Yuan aren’t an ideal fit for coastal water operations, being better suited for deep water operations in seas near their territories. Both subs are fairly large vessels that aren’t easy to maneuver in shallow waters. Analysts also point out that the sensors in the Kilo and Yuan—low frequency flank arrays—are better suited for deep-water long-range detection of ships, and would be of limited use in shallower seas, which are noisier.

It would seem that a submarine that can operate in coastal waters is a requirement that both navies need to fill—and would be a natural focus of this new partnership.

There’s also a commercial aspect. Both countries compete in the international nonnuclear sub market. In fact, China has the bigger presence of the two, selling its Yuan to Thailand, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Russia’s customers for the Kilo include India, Venezuela and Vietnam—as well as its partner China. There could be a significant demand for vessels capable of operating in shallow waters by countries seeking to arm their coastlines.

Russia and China are becoming more and more willing to flex their military muscle on the world stage. The fact that they’re teaming up on a technology as important as a submarine—a partnership that seems to play to both their strengths—should worry their rivals like the United States and India. And while we still don’t know much about the project at this time, we can reasonably assume that it’ll have a significant impact on global naval strategy.

Chinese and Russian sub technologies aren’t the only things the world is worried about. Read more about at Will Hypersonic Weapons Mean a New Arms Race? .

India’s New Hypersonic Nuclear Capability

What’s a hypersonic missile India is building and how it is different from other missiles

8 September, 2020

New Delhi: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Monday successfully test-fired the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), making India the fourth country in the world after the US, China and Russia to develop such technology.

Monday’s test, carried out from Abdul Kalam Island (formerly Wheeler Island) off the coast of Odisha, came a year after the DRDO had first tested the futuristic technology. But it had not met all the parameters then.

The successful test Monday will pave the way for missiles that can travel at six times the speed of sound. India will reportedly make its first hypersonic missile in the next five years.

ThePrint delves into what the HSTDV means for India, and which hypersonic and other missiles are available to major militaries across the world.

What does test firing of HSTDV mean for India? 

The HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight. Hypersonic flight means a speed greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5).

Apart from being used as a vehicle for hypersonic and long-range cruise missiles, the HSTDV is a dual-use technology that will have multiple civilian applications, including the launch of small satellites at low cost.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted that the HSTDV used the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system, which is an improvement over the Ramjet engines which work efficiently at supersonic speeds of around Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound).

The DRDO said Monday’s test also demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for NextGen Hypersonic vehicles in partnership with industry.

Hypersonic nuclear missiles

Hypersonic missiles travel at speeds faster than 3,800 miles per hour or 6,115 km per hour, much faster than other ballistic and cruise missiles. They can deliver conventional or nuclear payloads within minutes.

They are highly manoeuvrable and do not follow a predictable arc as they travel. They are said to combine the speed of ballistic missiles with the manoeuvring capabilities of cruise missiles. The speed makes them hard to track compared to traditional missile tech.

In March this year, the United States announced it had successfully tested an unarmed prototype of a hypersonic missile.

According to reports, China and Russia are also vigorously pursuing hypersonic weapons, though Russia is reportedly not developing or considering them for use with a nuclear warhead.

In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country’s Navy vessels would be armed with hypersonic nuclear strike weapons and underwater nuclear drones, which, he said, are in the final phase of testing

Cruise and ballistic missiles

A cruise missile either locates its target or has a preset target. It navigates using a guidance system — such as inertial or beyond visual range satellite GPS guidance — and comprises a payload and aircraft propulsion system.

Cruise missiles can be launched from land, sea or air for land attacks and anti-shipping purposes, and can travel at subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic speeds.

Since they stay relatively close to the surface of the earth, they cannot be detected easily by anti-missile systems, and are designed to carry large payloads with high precision.

Ballistic missiles, meanwhile, are launched directly into the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere. They travel outside the atmosphere, where the warhead detaches from the missile and falls towards a predetermined target. They are rocket-propelled self-guided weapons systems which can carry conventional or nuclear munitions. They can be launched from aircraft, ships and submarines, and land.

ICBMs

Intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs are guided missiles which can deliver nuclear and other payloads.

The Federation of American Scientists is quoted as saying that ICBMs have a minimum range of 5,500 km, with maximum ranges varying from 7,000 to 16,000 km.

Only a handful of countries, including Russia, United States, China, France, India and North Korea, have ICBM capabilities.

In 2018, India successfully test-fired nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V, with a strike range of 5,000 km, from the Abdul Kalam Island.

Anti-satellite missiles

Anti-satellite missiles (ASAT) can incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Several nations possess operational ASAT systems.

Other anti-satellite weapons include ground-based jammers to disrupt the signal from navigation and communications satellites.

The United States, Russia, and China are among countries pursuing anti-satellite weapons.

India had successfully test fired an ASAT on 27 March last year, knocking off one of its own satellites 300 km in space.

DRDO chairman G. Satheesh Reddy had ruled out future ASAT missile tests in the lower Earth orbit, but hinted at keeping the options open for possible experiments in higher orbits.

Babylon the Great’s New ‘Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile’

The U.S. Military Will Soon Have a New ‘Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile’

We are going to be unveiling the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile, which is our response to Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons,” Dr. Robert Soofer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, told The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, according to a Pentagon transcript. 

The Pentagon will be unveiling a new tactical nuclear weapon as part of a broad effort to further deter Russia and China while also implementing the aims of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, which called for the addition of several low-yield nuclear weapons to the U.S. arsenal. 

“We are going to be unveiling the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile, which is our response to Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons,” Dr. Robert Soofer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, told The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, according to a Pentagon transcript. 

The emerging sea-launched, nuclear-armed cruise missile will complement the already delivered W76-2 tactical nuclear weapon. The Pentagon has configured a lower-yield warhead and reentry body to operate as part of an adapted Trident II D5 variant. 

A cruise missile, able to fly at lower altitudes parallel to the ocean or terrain can in some cases better elude enemy air defenses, radar systems, or interceptor missiles and offer additional options to warfare commanders seeking to match and therefore deter potential Russian activity. 

While taking time to carefully and thoughtfully entertain elements of the longstanding debate about the rationale for engineering and deploying new tactical nuclear weapons, Soofer articulated several concepts now defining the Pentagon’s current position. 

He was careful and deliberate about entertaining the argument that adding these weapons could lower the threshold to nuclear engagement and complicate the importance of an all-out response deterrence strategy. 

Saying “reasonable people can disagree,” Soofer embraced the concern from those who argue that U.S. deterrence policy should include an unambiguous assurance that “any” use of nuclear weapons will result in the complete destruction of the attacker.  

In response, Soofer delineated some of the tenets of the current DoD posture regarding deterrence theory, explaining that additional “flexibility” was needed to effectively counter an aggressive Russian nuclear weapons policy. Russia’s rapid addition of low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, as part of an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy, required a specific response, Soofer explained. 

“We had to do something to counter Russia’s perceived perception that they could use these weapons to coerce us in a — in a regional conflict, and this led to the recommendation for the 76-2 and to the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile.The requirements for such a nuclear strategy place a premium on the survivability, flexibility and readiness of U.S. and allied nuclear capabilities. It requires a range of delivery systems and nuclear yields,” Soofer said. 

Given the existence of a wider sphere of enemy weapons, the U.S. needed to adjust to more “diverse circumstances,” he added. 

“We don’t need to match them weapon for weapon, but we do need to be able to — to give the president and our regional combatant commanders another option to address these Russian capabilities,” Soofer said. 

Kris Osborn is Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.