Sanctions, Present and Future
The $633 billion National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year of 2013 included tightened sanctions on Iran, primarily targeting the country’s industrial infrastructure, including shipping and shipbuilding industries. Sanctions already implemented by the international community have already taken a toll on Iran’s economy. Revenue from oil exports has reportedly decreased by at least forty percent over the past year.
Waiting on the Next Round of Talks
The P5+1 negotiations with Iran were expected to resume at the end of January, but with only a few weeks left in the month, timing is growing tight. Speculation on the reason the talks have not resumed is ongoing.
The Air Force’s new nuclear bomber project remains a high priority procurement program, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley wrote in a four-piece series for AOL Defense. Experts note the difficulty of keeping bomber costs low. The program could be affected if automatic, across-the-board budget cuts go into effect March 1st, Secretary Donley said in an interview.
Updating the U.S. National Security Strategy
In a recent op-ed for The Hill, ASP Consensus member Brigadier General John Adams (USA Ret.) argues that adjusting Pentagon spending priorities by updating the U.S. defense strategy will strengthen national security.. Eliminating unnecessary nuclear weapons programs and other wasteful Pentagon spending will allow the U.S. to focus on high-priority defense programs, General Adams writes. .
Third Nuclear Test?
Speculation has been renewed about North Korea possibly conducting a third nuclear test this week due to a report citing a North Korean official leaking news to China. North Korea incurred international censure in December 2012 for a satellite launch that has technical implications for its missile program.