Archive for the ‘arsenal’ Category

Gates urges new nuclear-reduction deal with Russia

October 29, 2008

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the next American president should pursue a new agreement with Russia to further reduce the size of both nations’ nuclear weapons arsenals.

“I think it ought to be an agreement that is shorter, simpler and easier to adjust to real-world conditions than most of the strategic arms agreements that we’ve seen over the last 40 years,” he said.

Both presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, advocate negotiating further reductions with Russia.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates makes remarks at the Carnegie ... 
Defense Secretary Robert Gates makes remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Gates spoke Tuesday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he said the long-term outlook for keeping U.S. nuclear weapons safe and reliable is “bleak,” in part because the United States is experiencing a brain drain in the laboratories that design and develop the world’s most powerful weapons.

Gates said America’s more than 5,000 nuclear weapons are now safe and secure, but he sketched out a series of concerns about the future, while stressing that nuclear weapons must remain a viable part of the U.S. strategy for deterring attack as long as other countries have them.

“Hope as we will, the power of nuclear weapons and their strategic impact is a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle — at least for a very long time,” he said.

In a later question-and-answer session with his audience, Gates said he is concerned about the possibility that some Russian nuclear weapons from the old Soviet arsenal may not be fully accounted for.

“I have fairly high confidence that no strategic or modern tactical nuclear weapons have leaked” beyond Russian borders, Gates said. “What worries me are the tens of thousands of old nuclear mines, nuclear artillery shells and so on, because the reality is the Russians themselves probably don’t have any idea how many of those they have or, potentially, where they are.”

Gates offered a number of reasons the United States should maintain its nuclear arsenal, including the assertion that by providing an umbrella of protection for allies like Japan and South Korea, it removes a reason for those countries to feel the need to develop their own nuclear weapons.

Echoing concerns by some congressional Republicans, Gates said there are reasons to worry about the U.S. arsenal.

“Let me first say very clearly that our weapons are safe, secure and reliable,” Gates said. “The problem is the long-term prognosis — which I would characterize as bleak.” He noted that the United States has not designed a new nuclear weapon since the 1980s and has not built a new one since 1992.

From the Associated Press

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North Korea Test-Fires Missiles In Ongoing Show of Truculence

March 29, 2008

 By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, March 29, 2008; Page A09

TOKYO, March 28 — North Korea test-fired a volley of missiles into the sea Friday and warned that it may stop disabling its nuclear facilities unless the United States drops its demands for more details about the North’s nuclear arsenal.

Missiles are carried during a massive military parade in Pyongyang, ... 
Missiles are carried during a massive military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this file image made from television April 25, 2007 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army. North Korea has test-fired several short-range missiles off its western coast, a news report said Friday, March 28, 2008.
(AP Photo/APTN, File)

The missile launch and the combative warning — which accused the Bush administration of “persistently trying to cook up fictions” — came one day after the North expelled 11 South Korean officials from an industrial park north of the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.

South Korea downplayed the missile firings, characterizing them as part of a routine military exercise. “We believe the North does not want a deterioration of relations between South and North,” a government spokesman said Friday.

Still, three truculent actions in two days suggest that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, after a relatively placid stretch of cooperative diplomacy, is feeling increasingly peeved by demands from the United States and South Korea.

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Bush, Polish PM agree on missile defense

March 11, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) — Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said President Bush has removed key stumbling blocks in negotiations to allow U.S. missile defense interceptors on Polish soil.

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk answers questions about ...
Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk answers questions about allowing U.S. missile defense interceptors to be based on Polish soil, Monday, March 10, 2008, during and interview with The Associated Press in Washington, following his meeting with President Bush. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Negotiations had been stalled because of Poland’s demand for help in upgrading its military in exchange for allowing the interceptors. U.S. negotiators wanted to deal with the Polish demands separately and leave promises vague.

But Tusk said that Bush agreed during their meeting Monday that the missile defense program and the U.S.-aided modernization of the Polish military would be considered all in “one package.”

“The words of President Bush were very convincing,” he told The Associated Press through an interpreter after leaving the White House. “This is a politician, who is controversial for some but in my opinion is very trustworthy. I believe that is extremely important in the world of politics.”
A ballistic missile streaks across the sky during a test for ... 
A ballistic missile streaks across the sky during a test for the US missile defense program in 2001.(AFP/File/Mike Nelson)

Bush, in a joint appearance with Tusk at the White House, said he had assured the prime minister that the United States would develop a concrete plan for helping Poland modernize its military “before my watch is over.”

The U.S. missile defense plans have become one of the thorniest issues in U.S.-Russian relations. Russia opposes the U.S. plan to build part of its global missile defense system so close to Russian borders, arguing that it would undermine the Russian deterrent. The United States says the system is aimed at countering a threat from Iran or North Korea and would be impotent against Russia’s massive arsenal.

The Polish government argues that the military upgrade is necessary because Russia has threatened to target Poland with nuclear missiles if it should allow the interceptors.

The White House denied the suggestion that the military help is a reward for Polish agreement on the interceptors or that it is needed because of a Russian threat to Poland.

“It is certainly not a quid pro quo,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said. “Who is suggesting that Russia is going to attack anybody?”

When told that it is Polish officials who have said this, Perino said that it wasn’t part of the discussions Monday between Tusk and Bush.

Tusk said that the United States had backed down from an insistence that it would need six months to consider how it could help Poland upgrade its military. Tusk said that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told him Monday that the period could be reduced to three months.

Following the meeting between the two leaders at the White House, Bush said the United States recognizes the need for Polish forces to be modernized, and “we’re responding.”

“There is a commitment to a system that respects Poland’s sovereignty and that will ensure that the people of Poland will not be subjected to any undue security risks,” Bush said. “This is the kind of issue that all kinds of rumors and worries can grow out of and we just want to assure people that it’s necessary and at the same time there will be this modernization effort that will take place.”

Neither leader talked specifics. Bush said “obviously there’s a lot of work to do” and that experts are working through the details to make sure that “the people of Poland are comfortable with the idea.”

The United States opened the negotiations last year with the government of previous Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who strongly supported the U.S. proposal. Tusk’s government has sought more in return.

Polish officials have said they are looking for help to acquire air defenses against short- to medium-range missiles. Negotiators have asked for Patriot 3 or THAAD missiles and have identified 17 areas of the Polish military that the United States could help modernize. Interceptors for the planned U.S. shield are for protection against long-range missiles.

Spy Satellite’s Downing Shows a New U.S. Weapon Capability

February 22, 2008

By Marc Kaufman and Josh White 
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 22, 2008; Page A03

The unprecedented downing of an errant spy satellite by a Navy missile makes it clear that the Pentagon has a new weapon in its arsenal — an anti-satellite missile adapted from the nation’s missile defense program.

This US Navy handout image shows the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) as ...
 This US Navy image shows the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) as it launches a Standard Missile-3 at a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite, as it travelled in space at more than 17,000 mph over the Pacific Ocean. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that the successful shoot-down of a rogue US spy satellite demonstrated that America’s missile defense system works.(AFP/Us Navy-HO)

While the dramatic intercept took place well below the altitude where most satellites orbit, defense and space experts said Wednesday night’s first-shot success strongly suggests that the military has the technology and know-how to knock out satellites at much higher orbits.

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From WW2 To 21C Russia Packs A Fierce Arsenal

December 23, 2007

by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) Dec 21, 2007Russia’s 21st Century success in selling weapons to the world is rooted in its experience as a successful arms manufacturer for the largest mechanized army in history during World War II.

Russian T-34 Model 1942 tank: Considered
the finest “all-around” tank of WWII.

Russia’s arms industry dramatically out-produced that of Nazi Germany not only in terms of quantity but in key areas in terms of quality, too. Even the great abilities of Albert Speer, Hitler’s industrial production czar in the later years of the war, could not begin to match the enormous volume of output of the Russian weapons factories that had been desperately moved from Belorussia — the modern nation of Belarus — and Ukraine east of the Ural Mountains. Britain and the United States made enormous progress in radar during the war, which was essential to win the great sea wars in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and to win the air battles over Japan and Germany. The pioneering work was done in Britain, especially at Birmingham University, but the great advances came at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Russia, however, focused on its great land battles with the overwhelming mass of the German army. By the end of the war, its atomic program was finally starting to gather steam, aided by the work of Soviet spies.Russian arms manufacture today is ….Read the rest: