Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)

 

By WILLIAM K. STEVENSPublished: October 24, 1989
AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California.Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.
Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower. 
Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California,  said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more  vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
 Many brownstones, he said, constructed as they are of unreinforced masonry walls with wood joists between, ”would just go like a house of cards.” Unreinforced masonry, in fact, is the single most vulnerable structure, engineers say. Such buildings are abundant, even predominant, in many older cities. The Scawthorn-Harris study reviewed inventories of all buildings in Manhattan as of 1972 and found that 28,884, or more than half, were built of unreinforced masonry. Of those, 23,064 were three to five stories high.
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
Tunnels Vulnerable
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

US, 3 others, preparing for war in the Arabian Sea

US, 3 others, conducting naval drills in the Arabian Sea

The US Navy said Sunday it will hold a major naval exercise alongside Belgium, France and Japan in the Middle East.

The US Navy said Sunday it will hold a major naval exercise alongside Belgium, France and Japan in the Middle East.

The US Navy said Sunday it will hold a major naval exercise alongside Belgium, France and Japan in the Middle East. The drill comes amid continuing high tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme in the region.

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The Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise will see ships from the four countries conduct drills in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The warships involved include the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, as well as the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island. The Belgian frigate HNLMS Leopold I and the Japanese destroyer JS Ariake also will take part, as well as aircraft from the four nations.

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The drill comes as Iran has abandoned all limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in the wake of then-President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw from the accord.

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Current US President Joe Biden has expressed a desire to return to the deal if Iran honours the deal’s limits on its nuclear programme, but tensions remain high after militias in Iraq — likely backed by Iran — continue to target American interests.

Biden last month launched an airstrike just over the border into Syria in retaliation, joining every American president from Ronald Reagan onward who has ordered a bombardment of countries in the Middle East.

There was no immediate reaction from Iran to the naval drill.

(Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by http://www.republicworld.com and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

The alliance of the European nuclear horns

NATO To Remain Nuclear Alliance As Long As Nuclear Weapons Exist – Stoltenberg

Faizan Hashmi 48 minutes ago Tue 23rd March 2021 | 10:17 PM

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 23rd March, 2021) NATO wants to see a world without nuclear weapons but will remain a nuclear alliance as long as they exist, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

“NATO’s goal is a world without nuclear weapons but as long as nuclear weapons exist NATO will remain a nuclear alliance,” Stoltenberg said during a press conference following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

The secretary general added that working on arms control is necessary for strategic stability and NATO welcomes the recent extension of the new START treaty between the United States and Russia.

“We strongly believe that the extension of the New START agreement should not be the end, it should be the beginning of renewed efforts to strengthen arms control, covering more weapons’ systems and also, at some stage, get China into global arms control,” Stoltenberg added.

Rocket from Outside the Temple Walls Hits Near Southern Israeli City as Netanyahu Campaigns There: Revelation 11

Israel Election: Gaza Rocket Hits Near Southern Israeli City as Netanyahu Campaigns There

Israel elections 2021: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in the city of Be’er Sheva while the rocket was fired

Almog Ben Zikri

Mar. 23, 2021 7:36 PM

A rocket fired Tuesday from the Gaza Strip landed in an open area near the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was visiting the city as part of his Election Day efforts to encourage his supporters to go vote.

The Israeli military said a rocket alert sounded in the area. There were no reports of any casualties or damage.

Netanyahu’s Likud party said he had already left Be’er Sheva when the rocket was fired. 

However, a local Likud activist who attended the prime minister’s campaign event said that Netanyahu was still there at the time of the firing.

The rocket fire comes after a two-month lull, as Israelis head to the polls for the fourth time in less than two years, and as Gaza-based Hamas prepares for the Palestinian general elections in May.

A week before Election Day in September 2019, Gaza factions fired two rockets at the Israeli city of Ashkelon during a Netanyahu campaign rally. The rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, and prime minister was taken off the stage moments after the sirens began. 

The Dangerous Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

What Makes China’s Military So Deadly. One Word: Missiles

Defense One recently published an analysis of the latest missile technology being developed by China. Such information, the publication said, was gleaned from sources that include “everything from official announcements to social-media tracking to unit commanders’ bios.”

The authors of the analysis found that over the past four years, China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force has added ten brigades, and with them, new weapons. These include “the intermediate-range DF-26 ballistic missile, DF-31AG and DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, CJ-100 cruise missile, and DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle.”

In addition, China has developed a DF-21 variant, possibly called the DF-21E, which may have been deployed.

That DF-26, which has been around since 2015, is believed to be one of the Rocket Force’s most frequently deployed systems, represented among many of the brigades and in multiple parts of China. The DF-26, per the report, can deliver conventional or nuclear warheads.

This is fascinating for historical reasons. Both the United States and the Soviet Union, during the Cold War, always kept nuclear and non-nuclear weapons apart, China appears to have not.

“A U.S. strike on such a brigade risks hitting China’s nuclear arsenal. It is believed that the PLA sees this ambiguity as an advantage, in that it could deter such strike,” according to the analysis. “But it also risks miscalculation and escalation—which is why the U.S. and USSR kept conventional and nuclear missiles separated.”

Another weapon, the DF-31 ICBM. It first was displayed in 2017 and has a range of eleven thousand kilometers. Another missile, the DF-41, was revealed just two years ago.

There are concerns brought about by China’s missile arsenal centers around the country’s “carrier killer” missiles, which could also threaten U.S. allies in the region. Taiwan’s government has reportedly been studying exactly what it would need in order to repel such an invasion from mainland China- and announced last year that it was purchasing hundred one-hundred-mile-range Harpoon missiles from Boeing, at a cost of $2.4 billion.

“We need to be able to manage targets and track where we are at in terms of finding the targets and engaging, and communicate from the operational level down to the wing level,” Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Commander Europe and Africa told reporters at the 2021 Air Force Association Symposium.

In testimony before Congress earlier this month, Navy Adm. Philip Davidson, the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, testified that China has become “emboldened.”

“Absent a convincing deterrent, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be emboldened to take action to undermine the rules-based international order and the values represented in our vision for a Free and Open IndoPacific,” Admiral Davidson said in his opening statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“The combination of the PRC’s military modernization program and willingness to intimidate its neighbors through the use, or threatened use of force, undermines peace, security, and prosperity in the region.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters

Iran Horn is Concealing Key Nuclear Equipment: Daniel 8

Intelligence Reports Accuse Iran of Concealing Key Nuclear Equipment

Washington – Rana Abtar

Tuesday, 23 March, 2021 – 07:30

Congress Ups Pressure on Biden Over Iran

Tuesday, 23 March, 2021 – 07:00

While outer perimeter fencing is being removed an inner perimeter fence remains around the Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 21 March 2021. EPA

Congressmen have been exerting pressure on the White House not to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran nor lift sanctions imposed on Tehran.

A draft letter prepared by Republican Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez has rejected the revival of the deal in its current form.

By Friday, the two senators were capable of convincing Democrats Chris Coons, Joe Manchin and Ben Cardin to join 18 Republicans in supporting the letter.

Backed by the influential pro-Israeli lobby group, AIPAC, the letter calls on President Joe Biden to use “the full force of our diplomatic and economic tools in concert with our allies on the United Nations Security Council and in the region to reach an agreement that prevents Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons and meaningfully constrains its destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and its ballistic missile program.”

The letter reveals the bipartisan consensus at the Congress to maintain the policy of maximum pressure to force Iran into ending uranium enrichment, abandoning missile defense and breaking links with regional groups and allies it backs.

This move was boosted by a draft law proposed last week by US Representative Greg Steube to impose sanctions on Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia which Biden recently launched airstrikes against in Syria.

“Not only does Iran-backed KSS pose a serious threat to peace and stability in the region, but they are also directly responsible for American service member deaths in Iraq,” Steube said.

Also this month, nine members of the US House of Representatives have demanded in a letter sent to the Department of Justice, that any Americans secretly on the payroll of Iran should be prosecuted.

New Mexico Republican Yvette Herrel, who led the initiative, said, “Any softening of our stance on Iran threatens our national security.”

The letter came after Federal authorities arrested last January US resident Kavek Lotfollah Afrasiabi for being on a secret payroll of Iran’s UN mission in New York to promote the policies and defend the positions of Iran in the American media and among lawmakers.

Fox News said Herrel and her co-signatories are asking the Biden administration to create a special task force to “identify, track and arrest other Iranian Nationals who are in violation of FARA,” the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

A Glimpse of the Babylon the Great’s New Nuclear Posture

A Glimpse of the U.S.’ New Nuclear Posture

March 23, 2021 | Walter Pincus

Walter Pincus

Contributing Sr. National Security Columnist, The Cipher Brief

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. He also won an Emmy in 1981 and the 2010 Arthur Ross Award from the American Academy for Diplomacy.

OPINION — The Biden Administration will begin its own Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in the coming weeks to determine what the U.S. needs in order “to sustain deterrence and defense,” and “how we can continue to reduce reliance on the role of nuclear weapons in our strategy,” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in comments made to Nikkei Asia and other Japanese reporters during a virtual press conference last Wednesday in Tokyo.

Cyber creates opportunities to reduce dependence on nuclear weapons, and the team putting together the Biden NPR study should explore making advanced cyber capabilities part of the U.S. deterrence package. One idea already in the works is “Pathfinder,” a new approach to all-domain awareness using artificial intelligence (AI) being promoted by Northern Command’s boss, Air Force Gen. Glenn D. VanHerck.

“Harnessing the capability of distributed multi-domain sensors, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will provide military leaders, the intelligence community, and senior civilian officials with the information necessary to anticipate, rather than react to, competitors’ actions,” VanHerck told the Senate Armed Services Committee last Tuesday.

He has described that as getting “left of launch,” i.e. being able “to posture [U.S.] forces and message to create doubt in their [adversaries] minds about utilizing these capabilities [their ICBMs] to attack the [U.S.] homeland to achieve their objectives.”

VanHerck added, “That’s what I mean by deterrence by denial. It’s about [creating] doubt about the success that they can actually achieve.”

Dr. James Andrew Lewis, Senior Vice President and Director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (and a Cipher Brief Expert), recently recalled to me conversations he had with Russian experts two years ago, saying they already feared a combination of U.S. technologies and advanced conventional weapons that “circumvented nuclear deterrence.”

They [the Russians] said that the combination of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], cyber, stealth, hypersonics, and PGMs [precision guided munitions], gave the U.S. the ability to achieve strategic effect without using nuclear weapons, by crippling command and control and Russian nuclear weapons,” Lewis said.

More about this later.

Another task for the Biden NPR would be to question the need for several proposals contained in the Trump administration’s 100-page, 2018 NPR. It led to several proposed and actual increases in U.S. nuclear weaponry starting with the January 2020 deployment of the new, low-yield W-76-2 warheads on several strategic Trident sub-launched ballistic missiles now on patrol.

It also called for research on a new, sea-launched, nuclear cruise missile (SLCM-N) and stepped-up production of a new, bomber-carried, long-range, stand-off, air-launched, nuclear cruise missile (LRSO). Both drew Democratic opposition in Congress, but the LRSO is in development while the SLCM-N has remained a paper study.

On March 2, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) sent a letter to President Biden calling on him “to withdraw the low-yield W76-2 warhead from deployment and cancel the SLCM-N.”

The Trump NPR also reversed an Obama Administration plan to retire the B83-1, the most powerful bomb in the U.S. arsenal with a top yield of 1.2 megatons (equivalent to 1.2 million tons of TNT).  The stated rationale for keeping this 40-year-old weapon in the active stockpile was that it holds “at risk a variety of protected targets,” which means those underground inside mountains.  The current B-61 tactical nuclear bomb, some 200 of which are deployed in NATO countries, can handle the job so there is no need for the B-83-1.

The Trump NPR also called for a new facility with the “enduring capability and capacity to produce plutonium pits at a rate of no fewer than 80 pits per year by 2030.” Plutonium pits are located at the core of thermonuclear weapons and serve as the trigger for the devices.

A pit production facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory currently produces 11 a year and could do 20. A new facility to meet the proposed goal of 80 pits yearly could cost upwards of $2 billion and has been the subject of congressional hearings over the years. The proposed new pit facility at Savannah River, S.C., remains under study.

Biden’s quick agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend for five years, the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) could provide the Biden NPR team with a basis for formulating future nuclear arms control efforts, not only with Russia but also with China and other nuclear armed nations.

A British announcement last Tuesday that it planned to “move to an overall nuclear weapon stockpile of no more than 260 warheads” from a previous ceiling of 225, raised a complaint from Moscow. “This decision harms international stability and strategic security,” Kremlin press spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last Wednesday.

The need for some new multilateral approaches to nuclear arms control is growing.

Russia and China are creating new, hypersonic, nuclear cruise weapons and even nuclear submersible arms. Britain and France as well as India and Pakistan are modernizing their stockpiles. Israel is constructing a new underground facility at its undeclared nuclear weapons complex and North Korea has become a nuclear power.

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The Trump team unsuccessfully sought to include China in START extension talks, seeking a freeze on all nuclear warheads, including non-strategic ones to include weapons that were once part of the now-defunct Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) as well as even shorter-range battlefield weapons that are not currently covered by any treaty.

It’s clear that while Russia and the U.S. are in a class by themselves when it comes to strategic nuclear systems, the time may have come to create, with the help of technology, some new approaches for controlling and perhaps even limiting each individual country’s nuclear weapons stockpiles, no matter the weapon’s size or range.

The Biden NPR should explore what new arms control opportunities may exist as part of seeking reduced reliance on nuclear weapons for strategic deterrence.

Gen. VanHerck, in promoting his deterrence by denial approach, told Senators last week that, “Sensors and systems such as Over-the-Horizon Radars, polar satellite communications, Integrated Underwater Sensor Systems, and space-based missile warning and tracking sensors are essential.”

He also pointed out that “currently, vast quantities of data are trapped by incompatible systems and antiquated organizational structures.” He called for “breaking down these stovepipes…[and] breaking away from a culture that favors compartmenting and isolating information, in order to fully realize the full potential of our capabilities—including those that reside with our allies and partners.”

An Air Force, September 2020, large-scale joint force demonstration “established a network with embedded machine learning and artificial intelligence to rapidly detect, track, and positively identify a simulated cruise missile threat, while providing a common operating picture and all-domain awareness for commanders at multiple levels,” VanHerck said. He called it a “glimpse of the future,” which showed “potential pathways for accessing and distributing data in ways that allow leaders to think, plan, and act globally rather than relying on outdated regional approaches.’

Speaking more broadly, VanHerck said, “Armed with timely and accurate information, equipped with modern sensors and software, and backed by a flexible and responsive conventional deterrent that provides defeat mechanisms below the nuclear threshold, commanders will achieve decision superiority with the options and time necessary to allocate resources wherever needed to deny or deter aggression in competition, de-escalate potential crises, and defeat adversaries should conflict arise.”

The Biden NPR has the opportunity to take advantage of VanHerck’s Pathfinder approach, along with other cyber and technological advances, to come up approaches that meet Blinken’s goals, “to sustain deterrence and defense,” and “reduce reliance on the role of nuclear weapons in our strategy.”