Center for Strategic Communication

August 6th

Iranian T.V. airs confessions of nuclear scientist killings. State television broadcasted a documentary called “Terror Club”, detailing the murder of five Iranian scientists and academics since 2010 that were associated with its nuclear program. The program highlighted confessions by eight men and five women accused of the murders. During their confessions, the accused admitted to being Israeli agents tasked with sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program.

U.S. General says there is room for reductions in nuclear arsenal. General Norton Schwartz, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently noted, “We have more backup systems in terms of weapons systems than we actually have deployed.” The comment was in regards to the number of  reserve weapons the U.S. maintains in its nuclear arsenal. These weapons are reserved in addition to the deployed systems, which under the New START Treaty the U.S is limited to 1,550 warheads. In a report recently co-written by retired Marine Corps general James Cartright, the U.S.’s stockpile of reserve nuclear warheads is approximately 2,800.  General Schwartz said in his interview that, “Some of that is a reasonable hedge [but] there is probably room for reductions.”

Sen. Lugar pushes for extension of Nunn-Lugar disarmament agreement. Senator Dick Lugar travels to Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia as part of his annual oversight of the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program implementation. During this year’s trip, Sen. Lugar is making a push to extend the mandate of the disarmament agreement which is slated to expire next year. He commented, “Renewing the umbrella agreement with Russia is important to continuing the WMD destruction that is in both of our national interests. The Nunn-Lugar program is also a critical element of our military-to-military and security cooperation with Russia, the Ukraine, and Georgia as we face global security challenges.”

 August 7th

Guards replaced at Y-12 National Security Complex. The Department of Energy confirmed that it was replacing guards and supervisors on duty during the security breach last week at the Y-12 complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) spokesman, Joshua McConaha commented that the incident on July 27-28 was “not consistent with the level of professionalism and expertise we expect from our guard force.” McConaha further added, that the NNSA “has taken steps to remove the leadership team and the guard forces on duty at the time…” Energy Department officials have stated that in addition to personnel changes, four new guard patrols were added at the Y-12 complex. Officials  insist that during the security breach “none of the nuclear material at the site was seriously threatened.”

August 8th

India’s triad almost operational. Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma commented, “INS Arihant is steadily progressing towards becoming operational…we are pretty close to putting it to sea.” Verma added, that the Indian “Navy is poised to complete the triad, and our maritime and nuclear doctrines will then be aligned to ensure our nuclear insurance comes from the sea. Verma’s comments come a week following the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) officially declaring the completion of the K-15, India’s first sea-launched ballistic missile to be deployed from the INS Arihant.

A cheaper alternative to CMRR. According to documents cited by the Albuquerque Journal, Los Alamos National Laboratory could fulfill the requirements of the U.S. nuclear arsenal with facility upgrades costing $800 million over the next ten years. Funding Los Alamos as an alternative to the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) plant would cost 87% less, as new estimates for CMRR have reached $6 billion.

August 9th

US: Iran is not on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. U.S. officials dispute Israeli media reports that a supposed new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran had made significant progress in its nuclear weapons program. U.S. officials said the intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities has not changed since intelligence officials delivered congressional testimony earlier in the year. According to those officials, the U.S. still believes that Iran is not on the verge of having a nuclear weapon and that Tehran has not made a decision to pursue one.

India test-fires Agni-II MRBM. Indian defense sources confirmed the successful test-launch of the Agni-II medium-range ballistic missile. The Agni-II is a two-state, solid-propellant ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km and the ability to carry a payload of 1,000 kg. The nuclear capable missile was launched from the Integrated Test Range on Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast.

August 10th

Japan and New Zealand leaders call for ban on nuclear weapons. Both Japan and New Zealand made independent calls last week for the international community to move forward on banning nuclear weapons. Speaking at Nagasaki’s annual observance of the Aug 9, 1945 nuclear bombing, Mayor Tomihisa Taue said, “The international community must act now by taking the first concrete steps toward concluding the Nuclear Weapons Convention. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda commented that Japan has a “responsibility” to work towards total nuclear disarmament. New Zealand politicians also called on their government to take a leading role in the international movement to ban nuclear weapons. Labor Party foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff said, “One thing is certain – if nobody starts such a process, there certainly won’t be any such treaty.

August 12th

Netanyahu says all threats to Israel’s security are dwarfed by a nuclear Iran. Following a weekly cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the intensified debate over a future war with Iran. Netanyahu said, “All the threats currently being directed against the Israeli home front are dwarfed by another threat, different in scope, different in substance. He stated further, “Therefore I say again, Iran must not be permitted to obtain nuclear weapons.” The domestic debate over a potential war with Iran picked up momentum in the last week. Netanyahu noted that Israel was investing billions in homeland defense and was holding emergency military drills. Citing an unnamed senior Israeli official, the Haaretz daily recently reported that a new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate included a last-minute update regarding surprising progress in the research and development of key components of Iran’s military nuclear program.