Ahead of the Threat
In a press conference Friday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the cancellation of Phase IV of the European Phased Adaptive Approach and the installation of 14 more missile interceptors on the U.S. west coast. Experts have noted many reasons for the cancellation of the final phase of EPAA. The move may provide an opportunity for negotiations between the U.S. and Russia.
A Nuclear Umbrella
Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter promised South Korean officials that the US would remain committed to defending South Korea, amidst concern over North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and bellicose rhetoric.
The US and the independent monitors of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty have indicated that they have not been able to establish what fissile material was used in the test last month. Given the North’s limited supply of plutonium, the use of uranium in this test could imply a capability to build a larger number of weapons.
Effects of Sanctions
Tough international sanctions have taken a toll on Iran’s economy, but have not yet influenced Iran’s behavior on its nuclear program, U.S. officials say.
Meeting in Istanbul
Nuclear experts from the P5+1 and Iran meet in Istanbul this week to discuss a revised proposal on Iran’s nuclear program, which was the product of negotiations in Kazakhstan last month. The negotiators going to Istanbul are all experts from their respective countries on nuclear weapons and arms control. Two US officials and at least one Iranian official have attended talks together in the past.
The End of an Era
The Federation of American Scientists has reported that the nuclear Tomahawk Land-Attack Cruise Missile has been retired. The decision has not yet been announced by the Pentagon but the FAS has noticed the missile’s apparent absence from a Navy instruction. This move marks the end of non-strategic missiles being used by the US Navy and “demonstrates that non-strategic nuclear weapons have lost their military and political value.”