Center for Strategic Communication

June 25th

Russian Bulava SLBM enters into service. Russian Navy chief Vice Adm. Viktor Chirkov confirmed that the Bulava missile has de facto been adapted into service with the Navy. The Bulava (NATO designation SS-NX-30) missile, designed for deployment on the Borey-class nuclear submarine, is capable of carrying up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 km.

U.S. and China hold security talks. Representative from the two countries met for the fifth round of security dialogue to discuss arms control, nonproliferation, disarmament, and other international security issues.

Russian President Vladimir Putin discusses Iran with senior Israeli officials. In a press conference following the meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated the he and President Putin agreed that a nuclear-armed Iran “presents a grave danger” to Israel, the region, and the whole world.

North Korea vows to bolster its nuclear deterrent. In a statement following joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises, a spokesman for the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea stated, “It is an extremely grave military action and politically-motivated provocation to fire live bullets and shells at the flag of a sovereign state…” The spokesman remarked further that North Korea would bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defense. The military exercises in the Sea of Japan, involve four-days of operations with 20 ships, 200 planes, and 8,000 personnel

June 26th

U.S. and Russia plan increased nuclear cooperation. U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman remarked that the two countries had developed a ‘strong partnership’ following a meeting of the U.S.-Russia nuclear energy security working group. The group worked to finalizing the text of a bilateral agreement on research and development in nuclear energy that is expected to be ready for signature in September 2012. Deputy Secretary Poneman further stated that the “proposed activities will give additional momentum to establishing long-term and large-scale cooperation…in civil nuclear energy and in nuclear security.”

India poised to complete nuclear triad. Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma stated India’s need for a “credible and invulnerable” retaliatory strike capability was a result of its no first-strike policy. Adm. Verma added “The Indian Navy is poised to complete the triad, and our maritime and nuclear doctrines would then be aligned to ensure that our nuclear insurance will come from the sea.” Contingent upon successful weapon trials, India hopes to officially induct the Arihant-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine into the Navy in 2013.

June 27th

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System completes second intercept. The Missile Defense Agency reported the second successful intercept test of the SM-3 Block IB missile. This test also utilized the AN/SPY-1 radar and the second-generation Aegis BMD 4.0.1 weapon system.

The GAO reports on the NNSA.  The GAO’s report Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: Observations on the Organization and Management of the NNSA was released as testimony for the HASC’s subcommittee on Strategic Forces. The GAO found that while the NNSA has made considerable progress in regards to long-standing deficiencies, significant improvements are still needed, especially in the management of major projects and contracts.

China’s continued support of Pakistan’s nuclear energy program causes alarm. At the recent Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG) annual plenary meeting, western officials requested more information from China regarding its plans to assist Pakistan in developing two more reactors at the Hashma nuclear power complex. The U.S. and other countries have requested that China obtain permission from the NSG before further participation with Pakistan. However, China contends that such discourse is unnecessary because the plans for the new reactors were established before China became a NSG member state.

Russia hopes to deploy S-500 Air Missile Defense System as early as 2013.  Originally slated for deployment in 2015, Russian Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Viktor Bondarev recently stated that “I think that as soon as next year we will get the first of these (S-500) systems in service.” The S-500 is expected to have a range of up to 600 km and the capability to simultaneously engaging 10 targets including hypersonic and ballistic missiles.

June 28th

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warns of consequences from cancelling MEADS program. The Medium Extended Air and Missile Defense System (MEADS) is a collaborative project between U.S., Italy, and Germany, who have collectively invested $4 billion and 10 years of R&D efforts.  However, both the House and Senate have ignored the Administration’s request of $400 million for the project’s final year of development in their respective versions of the NDAA FY13. Italian and German officials have warned that the U.S.’s failure to fulfill its contractual obligations could have serious consequences for the transatlantic relationship. Department of Defense officials informed U.S. lawmakers that this course of action would not only make it difficult to salvage developed technologies from the program and lead Italy and Germany  to seek financial payment for contract modification and termination costs, but that it would also undermine the U.S.’s efforts to secure increased defense cooperation and burden-sharing from its European allies.

June 29th

The House approves legislation for Nuclear Security Agreements. The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5889. The bill, if passed by the Senate, will enact the legal standards necessary for U.S. compliance with the International Conventions for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The bill will also bring the U.S. up to date with the 2005 amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear.

Iran accuses the West of not taking nuclear talks seriously. Iranian ambassador to the UN Mohammad Khazaee said that the recent sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union “indicates that they are not willing to engage with [Iran] in a meaningful dialogue” He further warned that if the upcoming technical talks in Istanbul do not proceed as they should, there will be a new stalemate in dialogue between Iran and the West.

June 30th

China to take lead at nuclear powers’ working group. The five nuclear weapon states outlined in the Nonproliferation Treaty, the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, and China, are planning a working group later this summer. The group, lead by China, is tasked with establishing a glossary of nuclear terms, a vital step in moving the arms control effort forward multilaterally. Acting Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller commented, that “It’s a very good step. The fact that they are shouldering the responsibilities…is a good sign of their interest of developing more mutual cooperation of this kind, leading to greater predictability and greater mutual confidence.”