India Ups The Ante Against Pakistan (Daniel 8)

India Tests Nuclear-Capable Missile, US Looks the Other Way

The Indian Army's Brahmos Missiles, a supersonic cruise missile, are displayed during the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi, India.
03:11 18.02.2016(updated 03:13 18.02.2016)

In a major sign of the country’s growing military prowess, India has launched a surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. The test highlights Washington’s hypocrisy when it comes to nuclear development.

The Prithvi-II missile, first tested in 1996, officially entered service with the Indian military in 2003, but has had a mixed success rate. In 2010, for instance, a missile specifically built for testing purposes failed.

On Monday, the Indian military launched an unarmed Prithvi-II randomly selected from its stockpile. While the missile missed its intended target, it did achieve the desired altitude and distance.
In theory, this gives New Delhi the ability to launch a nuclear-capable ballistic missile into Pakistan.
India developed nuclear weapons in 1998, but because they were not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, few third-party countries would provide New Delhi with the missiles necessary to carry the weapons that could effectively deter an attack from Pakistan.
The Chinese government reportedly aided Pakistan’s development of nuclear-capable missiles. India’s latest test means that tensions could increase between the long-time rivals, with both New Delhi and Islamabad capable of using the threat of nuclear warfare over the conflict in Kashmir.

The United States has repeatedly discouraged India from developing ballistic missiles, but its response to this month’s test is decidedly different from the one given in the wake of North Korea’s recent actions.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang launched a satellite into orbit. Washington fiercely criticized the move as a veiled attempt at testing North Korea’s ballistic missile capabilities.

“Our concern though is that they do a space-launch but really it’s the same technology to develop ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles],” a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said ahead of the launch.

Following that incident, President Barack Obama felt compelled to assure South Korea of the strength of their alliance.

Boeing Delta 4 Heavy rocket rises from the launch pad during its first unmanned launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif (File)
© AP Photo/ The Santa Maria Times, Bryan Walton, File)

“The United States stands in solidarity with the ROK [South Korea] and will take the necessary steps to fulfill our ironclad commitment to defend the ROK and our other allies in the region,” Obama told South Korean president Park Geun-hye.

On Wednesday, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest announced that President Obama plans to sign a bill that will impose additional sanctions on Pyongyang.

“The administration is deeply concerned with North Korea’s recent actions and their recent provocations, and I can confirm the president does plan to sign H.R. 757, which includes sanctions measures against North Korea and will serve to increase pressure on North Korea,” Earnest told reporters.

Washington has given no indication that it will pursue similar sanctions against India.

Wishful Thinking: Curbing Babylon The Great (Dan 7)


New report argues for narrowing role of nuclear weapons in US policies, diplomacy and forces

The United States should minimize the role that nuclear weapons play in its security policy because they add few military options and provide “false hopes” that can be costly geopolitically as well as in human lives, according to a new report from the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan think tank.

The report (pdf) released May 14 recognizes that nuclear weapons are “indispensable” to deter other nations from attacking the U.S. and allies with such weapons, but they offer no other advantage over the conventional military superiority that the U.S. enjoys over every other nation.

The report’s co-authors are Barry Blechman, a national security expert and co-founder of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, and Russell Rumbaugh, who is a special assistant in the Defense Department.

“These false hopes that nuclear weapons can play a range of political and military roles in U.S. security policy cause the United States to mistakenly pursue a nuclear strategy that is costly – not only in material terms, but also in geopolitical terms,” they write. “In the worst case scenarios, this strategy could be catastrophic in terms of human lives and the nation’s future.”

The authors outline in greater detail why nuclear weapons offer no military or political benefit beyond nuclear deterrence by examining U.S. conventional military superiority and offering an alternative that would serve U.S. interests better.

They write that the U.S. should fashion its diplomacy, nuclear policies and force posture – meaning current force capabilities – around pursuing negotiated arrangements to create a “verifiable international regime eliminating nuclear weapons globally.” The U.S. should also adopt policies declaring the U.S. belief of the “narrow utility” of such weapons and focus its “force structure solely on maintaining a secure, second-strike capability.”

“After seventy years of indulging fantasies of what nuclear weapons can do, it is high time to acknowledge that they do very little and adapt US nuclear policy, strategy, and forces to those facts,” concluded Blechman and Rumbaugh.

What Nuclear Safety??? (Daniel 8:8)

India Pakistan Nuclear Missiles

Nuclear safety

IT’S not easy to make nuclear weapons, build missiles to carry them long distances, and to produce highly enriched uranium or plutonium. But the hardest part of making nuclear weapons is keeping them safe so they do not detonate except under orders from the National Command Authority. Because escalation control will be extremely difficult after the appearance of a single mushroom cloud, an accidental, inadvertent or unauthorised detonation can lead to ruin.

Nuclear safety and security techniques and practices are designed to prevent these eventualities. Gates and guards and personnel reliability programmes help with nuclear security. Nuclear weapon design features and other safety techniques help provide insurance against accidental, inadvertent or unauthorised detonations. Nuclear safety and security reinforce each other. Sometimes these categories merge. For example, authorisation codes required to arm and use a nuclear weapon, called permissive action links, can be considered as essential for both nuclear safety and security. Additional design features are also required.

The US has a ‘one-point safety’ standard for its nuclear weapons. This means that the probability of achieving a nuclear yield greater than four pounds of TNT must not exceed one in a million for any event involving the initiation of the warhead’s high explosive at a single point on its periphery. The US achieved this exacting safety standard after decades of effort, significant investment, and a learning curve from nuclear testing.

Warhead safety mechanisms will be put to the test in the event of conventional warfare. During crises, both Pakistan and India rely for deterrence purposes on missiles that are advertised to carry nuclear warheads as troops are mobilised in fighting corridors. In past crises, Pakistan has used missile flight tests and movements of medium-range missiles to clarify resolve to India. Medium-range missiles can be kept far from potential zones of fighting and are hard to target.

Short-range missile systems constitute a new feature in deterrence equations on the subcontinent. India has flight-tested the Prahaar, a missile with up to 350 kilometre range. Pakistani analysts assert that the Prahaar could carry nuclear weapons. Pakis­tan has flight-tested the nuclear-capable Nasr with a range of perhaps 60 kms. It has been advertised as being capable of carrying nuclear warheads to reinforce “full spectrum deterrence”, so as to dissuade Indian leaders from authorising military advances on Pakistani territory.

To have their proper deterrent effect, short-range missile systems need to operate close to the forward edge of prospective battlefields. In the event that crisis management fails and warfare begins, these missiles can either be in motion or be fixed targets. Either way, the Pakistani and Indian air forces are trained to employ aggressive tactics, and these missiles will be fair game. If they are struck, if they are carrying nuclear weapons, and if these weapons do not incorporate advanced safety features, mushroom clouds could result.

While much is known about how to make nuclear weapons, fissile material and delivery vehicles, little information is in the public domain about mechanisms for nuclear safety. States that already have decades of experience can share best practices regarding nuclear security, but some critical information regarding nuclear safety is highly classified. Even if long-time nuclear weapon states were willing to share sensitive information, potential reci­pients would not allow outsiders anywhere near their nuclear design information. In other words, there is a mutual taboo about in­­formation exchanges relating to nuclear safety.

Understanding nuc­lear safety issues is hard for political and military leaders. They are not trained in nuclear physics, mechanical engineering and chemistry. They cannot make independent judgements about nuclear weapon safety and must rely on guarantees provided by technical experts and lab heads.

US presidents have relied on competing design teams at different nuclear labs to double check assurances they received and to confirm technical calculations. Because US labs had comparable design capabilities and were highly competitive, this proved to be an effective way to confirm assurances given. In addition, junior analysts at national labs were encouraged to question the design decisions of their elders, and could do so without sacrificing their professional advancement.
Nuclear safety begins with avoiding intense crises and warfare. Nuclear safety can be advanced by a competitive but collaborative laboratory culture. Rethinking dangerous military practices is another way to improve nuclear safety and security. Weapons that are hardest to maintain control over in wartime and closest to live fire are, by definition, the least safe and secure. If weapon designs are not one-point safe, making them hard to find and keeping them at a distance from ongoing military operations is the best insurance policy against the accidental, inadvertent and unauthorised use of nuclear weapons.

The writer is author of Better Safe than Sorry: The Ironies of Living with the Bomb.
Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2015

Pakistan Prepping Tactical Nukes (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan wants short-range nuclear weapons

Pakistani military personnel stand beside a short-range surface to surface NASR missile system during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, March 23, 2015. Getty
WASHINGTON Pakistan needs short-range “tactical” nuclear weapons to deter arch-rival India, a top adviser to its government said Monday, dismissing concerns it could increase the risk of a nuclear war.

Khalid Kidwai also rejected concerns over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, insisting that adequate safeguards are in place to protect what analysts have described as the world’s fastest-growing atomic arsenal.

Pakistan’s development of smaller warheads built for use on battlefields, in addition to longer-range weapons, has increased international concerns that they could get into rogue hands because of the pervasive threat of Islamic militants in the country.

Pakistan and its larger neighbor India have fought three wars. They have held on-off peace talks over the years but are involved in a nuclear and missile arms race that shows no sign of abating.

Neither side discloses the size of its arsenal. But a recent report by the Council on Foreign Relations think tank estimated that Pakistan has enough fissile material to produce between 110 and 120 nuclear weapons, and India enough for 90 to 110 weapons.

For 15 years, Kidwai led the administration of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile weapons program. He now serves as an adviser to the National Command Authority, a committee of the top civilian and military leaders that sets the country’s nuclear weapons policy. He spoke Monday at a conference on nuclear security organized by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

On the sidelines of the conference, Rakesh Sood, former Indian special envoy for disarmament and nonproliferation, said it was “extremely destabilizing for any country to develop tactical nuclear weapons” and that India has no plans to. He contended that Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is “cloaked in ambiguity” which undermines confidence between the two countries.

Kidwai said nuclear deterrence had helped prevent war in South Asia. He said Pakistan’s development of tactical weapons — in the form of the Nasr missile, which has a 37-mile range — was in response to concerns that India’s larger military could still wage a conventional war against the country, thinking Pakistan would not risk retaliation with a bigger nuclear weapon.

Peter Lavoy, a former senior U.S. defense official, questioned whether such intermingling of conventional forces and nuclear weapons in a battlefield could increase the risk of nuclear war.

Kidwai replied that having tactical weapons would make war less likely.

He said given the strength of the rest of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the fear of “mutually assured destruction” of the South Asian rivals would ensure that “sanity prevails.”

At the other end of Pakistan’s missile inventory is the Shaheen-III missile that it test-fired this month. It has a range of 1,700 miles, giving it the capability to reach every part of India – but also potentially to reach into the Middle East, including Israel.

Kidwai said Pakistan wanted a missile of that range because it suspected India was developing strategic bases on its Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal. He said the nuclear and missile program was “India-specific” and not aimed at other countries.

India and Pakistan have not fought a major conflict since 1999, when Pakistani military infiltrated into an Indian-held area of disputed Kashmir called Kargil, sparking fighting that left hundreds dead on both sides. Tensions, however, have sometimes escalated dangerously since then. In 2008, Pakistan-based militants attacked India’s commercial hub of Mumbai, killing 164 people.

Losing Site Of The Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

U.S. says North Korea nuclear and missile work ‘of great concern’

North Korea Nuclear

WASHINGTON/VIENNA Wed Mar 4, 2015 10:30pm EST

(Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday that North Korea’s nuclear program and the increased range and precision of its missiles were of great concern, a day after the isolated Asian country said it had the power to deter a U.S. nuclear threat with a pre-emptive strike if necessary.
The U.S. mission to International Organizations in Vienna, home to the U.N’s International Atomic Energy Organisation, said the restart of North Korea’s graphite-moderated nuclear reactor could enable it to produce additional plutonium for weapons in the near future.

“These activities are clear violations of multiple (U.N.) resolutions and must cease immediately,” it said in a statement.

In Washington, General Vincent Brooks, commander of the U.S. Army in the Pacific, said the United States had detected “increased militarization” of North Korea’s nuclear program.

He said the increased range and precision of North Korean missiles were “of great concern” and represented a physical threat to U.S. territory. He emphasized the need to conduct military exercises with South Korea, which have provoked increasingly heated North Korean rhetoric in recent days.
Brooks told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank it was “difficult to surmise exactly” where North Korea was in terms of its ability to weaponize its nuclear capability by mounting a warhead on a missile.

However he added: “It’s difficult time, it’s a dangerous time, and the potential for miscalculation is high.”

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong told the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Tuesday that his country had the power to deter an “ever-increasing nuclear threat” by the United States with a pre-emptive strike.

Ri said the military exercises being staged by South Korea and the United States were “unprecedentedly provocative in nature and have an especially high possibility of sparking off a war.”
North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its eastern coast on Monday, South Korean officials said, in a move seen as a response to the exercises, which Pyongyang regularly denounces as a preparation for war.

Brooks said in an interview with Reuters earlier on Wednesday that North Korea’s demonstrations of increased capabilities emphasized the need for nations to cooperate on missile defense.

Brooks did not respond to a question at the think tank on whether he believed a prediction by a U.S. research institute last month that Pyongyang could possess as many as 100 nuclear weapons within five years.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Ken Wills)

Babylon The Great Expands Her Nuclear Arsenal (Daniel 7:7)

It’s Decision Time for the Air Force’s New Nuclear Cruise Missile

The question is—does the military need it?
The Pentagon calls it the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, or LRSO for short, and it would replace the outdated Air-Launched Cruise Missile your grandfather’s warbird—the 50-year-old B-52 Stratofortress—still carries on bomber runs over the Pacific and Europe to deter a preemptive attack on America and her allies.
The Air Force’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 calls for around $1.8 billion in spending on the missile during the next five years. There will be two versions—one to carry an updated W80 thermonuclear warhead, and another packed with conventional explosives for non-nuclear attacks.

We’re talking about weapons that, if used, means the world is already half way to oblivion—and there’s no turning back.

LRSO will not be some new smart bomb or another bunker-busting munition, but a high-yield nuclear device capable of great destruction from an equally great distance.
The Navy has its own sea-based cruise missile—the Tomahawk. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 explicitly forbids the use of ground-launched cruise missiles.
If Congress approves funding, lawmakers will make a long-term investment in this type of weapon, ensuring its survival well past the 2030s when the United States’ aging ALCM nuclear-armed cruise missile is due to retire.

Arms race

But some in Washington are already calling for the Air Force to terminate—or at least delay—the project. Lawmakers argue the flying branch has not properly justified the missile’s mission objectives, and that it goes against the spirit of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.
Others contend that having a conventional and nuclear-tipped cruise missile could increase the chances of strategic miscalculation during times of heightened tensions.
With both conventional and nuclear versions, nobody except the U.S. would know which type of missile any particular bomber has on board. This creates uncertainty—which is dangerous when dealing with potential Armageddon.
The Pentagon argues this program is necessary to keep the U.S. nuclear stockpile modern and capable against potential peer and near-peer adversaries like Russia and China.
Plus, the Air Force argues that it already employs a conventional version of the ALCM, known as the CALCM.
But far fewer politicians have made up their mind about weapons on the fringes, like cruise missiles, which are nice to have but expensive to keep—and not required for the strategic deterrence mission, since most bombers already carry B61 nuclear gravity bombs.
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert for the Federation of American Scientists, said the Air Force needs to make a more compelling case for buying the LRSO than simply arming the president with more “strike options,” as the Air Force describes it.
He said other far-reaching weapons like land- and sea-based ballistic missiles, Tomahawks, and even conventional Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles already cover the mission area.
“Even if there were a unique mission need that cannot be performed with other capabilities, what would be the mission?” Kristensen said in an email.

“Would it be limited use in regional escalation strategies, would it be to counter-deter Russian air-launched cruise missiles or Chinese cruise missiles, or would it be to shoot holes in air-defense systems?”

“There are some who see the LRSO as an ‘in-between’ weapon that gives the president strike options that escalate from use of nuclear gravity bombs but avoid escalating to use of nuclear ballistic missiles,” he added.
“This is a good old Cold War era tit-for-tat escalation scenario that is not essential against Russia and China and not needed against smaller regional adversaries.
The generals in charge of the U.S. strategic forces, however, argue there is a “capability gap” that only an air-launched cruise missile can fill. The Air Force detailed this gap in a classified review of alternatives submitted to the Pentagon in 2013.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense obviously agreed, since it found space in the latest budget request for LRSO. But the only real argument put forward since the project’s inception in 2011 is that a new air-launched cruise missile could punch through modern integrated air-defense systems, keeping strategic bombers out of harm’s way.
Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said during a January event in Washington that he wants to replace the ALCM, which he described as a “terrific weapon system.”
“It was designed in ’70s, built in the ’80s, and was designed to last 10 years,” Wilson said. “Today, we’ll use the current ALCM through 2030 … At some point we have to be able to design a new standoff missile that provides the president with options.”

“I’m going to need a missile that will be able to penetrate any of the most sophisticated air-defense systems going forward,” Wilson added.

U.S. Strategic Command chief Navy Adm. Cecil Haney argues that the nation’s nuclear stockpile is at a critical point and needs upgrades, and that’s why the Pentagon is pressing so hard for LRSO and a new ICBM the Air Force wants funded in 2016.
“I don’t have an option,” the admiral said at a Feb. 6 event in Washington. “It’s not an area that we can wish away—we have to invest in those kinds of capabilities.”

Price tag

If the Air Force gets congressional approval, work on the cruise missile could start almost immediately. Four companies — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon—are already involved in technical studies.
In fact, the Air Force planned to begin the project this year, but pushed it back in favor of more spending on a guided tail-kit assembly for the B61 tactical nuclear bomb.
The Air Force wants $37 million in seed money for 2016 to scale up the program and to hold a competition for the first phase of development. The service has solid enough preliminary designs to jump straight into modeling, simulation and early aircraft integration work, according to budget documents.
At the same conference, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Herbert Carlisle said he welcomes the development of a new conventional cruise missile, and has created an office to coordinate those activities with the service’s Global Strike Command.

“I’m often asked whether there will be a conventional variant of that, and I say absolutely,” Wilson said in January.

“Just like we have the CALCM that was a spinoff for the ALCM, we see going forward that there will be a Long-Range Standoff Missile and there will be a conventional variant that will follow to be able to buy it in numbers and reduce the cost,” the general added.
There are more than 1,500 ALCMs and CALCMs in the Air Force’s storehouse. Each B-52 can carry 20 of the weapons—12 under the wings and eight on a rotary dispenser in the bomb bay. The ALCM has a range of 1,500 miles, but is slow and easy to detect.
The Pentagon junked the more stealthy Advanced Cruise Missile in 2012 to comply with the New START Treaty Pres. Barack Obama signed with Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin.
The Air Force is responsible for the cruise missile “delivery vehicle,” but the National Nuclear Security Administration has responsibility for the warhead. According to the agency, the cruise missile will carry a life-extended version of the W80 warhead used on the ALCM and Tomahawk.
NNSA considered the B61 warhead, but it was too heavy. It looked at the W84 from the decommissioned Gryphon ground-launched cruise missile, but there are too few of those, so last year the agency formally decided on the W80.
The first production unit of the updated W80, designated W80–4, will enter service around 2025. The entire project is worth an estimated $10 billion to $20 billion, according to some analysts.

Pakistan Is Changing The Game In Nuclear Warfare (Rev 16:8)

Washington: The US has anticipated that Pakistan will continue developing cruise missiles and close-range “battlefield” nuclear weapons to augment its existing ballistic missiles, a top US intelligence official has said.
The 21st Century: Short Range Nuclear Warfare

The 21st Century: Short Range Nuclear Warfare

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2015 | Last Update : 09:30 PM IST
Deccan Chronicle

“Pakistan continues to take steps to improve security of its nuclear arsenal. We anticipate that Pakistan will continue development of new delivery systems, including cruise missiles and close-range ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapons to augment its existing ballistic missiles,” Lt Gen Vincent R Stewart, Director of Defence Intelligence Agency told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing on global threat assessment.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Stewart said Pakistan’s Army and paramilitary forces remain deployed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Army ground operations in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) have cleared anti-state militants from most population centres. “We expect the military will continue targeting remaining militant strongholds in 2015,” he said.

The December 2014 Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attack against the Army-run school in Peshawar that killed more than 140 people, mostly children, has emboldened military efforts against anti-state militants, including intensified airstrikes against TTP leadership and fighters, he said.

The government and military are also working together to implement a national action plan against terrorism, which includes the establishment of military courts, he added.

“Despite ongoing military operations, Pakistan will continue to face internal security threats from militant, sectarian, and separatist groups. Additionally, Pakistan remains concerned about ISIL outreach and propaganda in South Asia,” the intelligence official said.

On Afghanistan, Stewart said the still-developing Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) remain stalemated with the Taliban-led insurgency.

“In 2015 we expect the ANSF to maintain stability and security in Kabul and key urban areas while retaining freedom of movement on major highways. However, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and their extremist allies will likely seek to exploit the reduced Coalition presence by pressuring ANSF units in rural areas, conducting high profile attacks in major population centres, and expanding their safe havens,” he said.