Russia continues building up its nuke arsenal
Russia continues to steadily build up and modernize its strategic and tactical nuclear arsenal, in line with the stated wishes of Russian leaders and Moscow’s current nuclear doctrine.
That doctrine prioritizes nuclear weapons above all others in Russia’s arsenal, makes them the basis of Russia’s security and superpower status, treats the US and its NATO allies as enemies, and allows the Russian military to use nuclear weapons first, even if the adversary doesn’t use them or if the opponent is a non-nuclear state.
Russia is currently modernizing all three legs of its nuclear triad. The ICBM force – the Strategic Missile Forces – is developing several new ICBM types simoultaneously. One is the “Son of Satan”, a new heavy ICBM intended to replace the SS-18 Satan (R-36M) – the most powerful ICBM ever fielded on Earth, with capacity to carry 10 powerful warheads and up to 28 decoys and other countermeasures.
Another is the Avangard, although it is not clear what that ICBM is. Another is a rail-mobile ICBM under development. A fourth new ICBM type, the Yars-M, is currently in production in both the silo-based and the mobile version. Finally, a fifth one, a “pseudo-ICBM” with a planned range of 6,000 kms, is being developed to circumvent the INF Treaty. Russia currently has 434 ICBMs.
The Russian Air Force has resumed production of modern, supersonic Tu-160 Blackjack bombers and is now developing a next generation bomber, scheduled to enter service in 2020. Concurrently, Russia is modernizing its older Tu-95 and Tu-22M bombers.
The Russian Navy has begun receiving next-gen Borei class ballistic missile submarines. Eight are on order.
The Russian tactical nuclear arsenal is undergoing significant modernization, too. Among the new delivery systems entering service are the Su-34 tactical bomber, the Su-35 Flanker multirole aircraft, and the SS-26 Stone short-range ballistic missile.
Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal – vastly bigger than America’s – is not bound by any treaty limits or inspections, and its strategic nuclear arsenal is slated to grow, not shrink, unlike that of the US.
Under the New START treaty, which the Democrats and liberal Republicans such as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz hailed as good for US national security, only the US is obligated to cut its nuclear arsenal – by one third. Russia is allowed (and accordingly continues) to grow its own arsenal. Then-Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov promised in the Russian parliament that not one Russian warhead or delivery system would be cut, and the Defense Ministry has kept that promise.
Also, the treaty has a very weak verification regime and does not, in any way, limit the number of ICBMs Russia can field, nor does it prohibit Russia to field road- or rail-mobile ICBMs (Russia already has the former and is developing the latter). Under the old START treaty, rail-mobile missiles were prohibited. Also, the treaty doesn’t count Tu-22M bombers as strategic, even though they are.
In short, the treaty gives Russia a lopsided advantage, which Moscow is only too eager to exploit.
Under current plans, Russia’s inventory of ICBMs and bombers will grow, as new bombers join the fleet and older ones are modernized, and ballistic missile submarines’ warhead delivery capacity will be increased with “Liner” missiles.
The only side cutting its nuclear arsenal in this treaty – indeed, anywhere in the world outside Britain – is the US. Despite the Obama administration’s publicly articulated goal of “Global Zero”, nobody is following the US.
Arms Control Association receives funding from extremist groups
The Arms Control Association (ACA), a liberal group founded in 1971 to promote arms control treaties and policies, receives generous funding from a panoply of leftist groups every year. This means that ACA, which claims to be an objective association conducting “research” and presenting “information” to policymakers and the public, is effectively a mouthpiece for extremely leftist groups seeking the unilateral disarmament of the United States.
These groups include the Ploughshares Fund, an organization whose explicit aim is to eliminate the US nuclear arsenal (and nuclear weapons worldwide, the problem being that no one is following the United States’ unilateral disarmament “example”), as well as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which advocates leftist policies on issues ranging from disarmament to “reproductive health” (i.e. abortion), to “community development”, to “international migration”.
ACA’s financial sponsors also include the Carnegie Corporation of New York – which has been advocating pacifism, the appeasement of America’s enemies and America’s disarmament for a long time – and the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, which also advocates America’s complete and unilateral disarmament (as well as unlimited abortion rights).
Other ACA sponsors include the Colombe Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Prospect Hill Foundation, and the New Land Foundation. All of these organizations support America’s and global disarmament as well as a panoply of other liberal policies. The Colombe Foundation states explicitly on its website:
“Colombe Foundation seeks to create a peaceful world through changes in American foreign policy.”
This implies that the US is an aggressor and a threat to world peace.
Colombe Foundation supports organizations working for a shift from wasteful military spending to investments in programs that create real national security grounded in meeting human and environmental needs. It further supports organizations that advocate for foreign policy that is balanced with diplomacy and prevention rather than dominated by Cold War threats, war and aggression.”
“The Foundation makes grants in four program areas: Environment, Nuclear Disarmament & Nonproliferation, Reproductive Health and Justice, and Criminal Justice; and additionally supports the philanthropic interests and activities of Beinecke family members through Sponsored Grants in the areas of arts and culture, environmental conservation, civic affairs, social services and educational institutions.”
Besides the ACA, the PH foundation also supports many other pro-nuclear-disarmament groups in the US, including the NRDC, the UCS, and the ISIS.
House defense authorization bill takes shape
The annual defense authorization bill is taking shape in the House, as all HASC subcommittees have released their marks and the full committee prepares to do so.
The bill would deny the DOD the authority to carry out significant, overdue reforms for which the DOD has repeatedly requested authorization: healthcare and retirement programs reform, retirement of excess aircraft, and base closure.
The bill would, at the same time, preserve the seven cruisers and two amphibious ships the Navy wants to retire while the cruisers still have 20 years of service life remaining; fully fund the next generation bomber, jammer, drone, and missile programs; fully fund the nuclear triad, aircraft carriers, surface combatants, and submarines; and give the DOD funding and authorization for most other programs it has asked for.
Nonetheless, the refusal to authorize reforms proposed by the DOD will cost the Department additional billions of dollars every year. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment has warned that unless such reforms are implemented, personnel pay and benefits will consume the entire defense budget by FY2039.
China conducts massive cyber attack, steals weapon designs
On Tuesday, May 28th, the Washington Post and the Washington Free Beacon reported a massive Chinese cyberattack which occurred in the last few weeks and resulted in the theft of the designs and specifications for dozens of major US weapon systems, including the F-35 and F/A-18 strike jets, the PATRIOT, THAAD, and Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, and the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. This will save China tens of billions in development costs while also enabling it to defeat US missile defense systems.
A separate recent report has concluded that, overall, Chinese hacking costs the US 300 billion dollars annually in lost intellectual property.
The attack was conducted by Chinese military hackers, who conduct smaller-scale, but very frequent, attacks on US government networks daily.
However, the US government still denies that any crippling attack has happened or that China is a potential adversary who should be confronted – despite pleas from even some Democrats, such as SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), to confront China about its cyberattacks on the US. Pentagon spokesman George Little said that “We maintain full confidence in our weapon systems” and denied that anything calamitous had happened.
Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, an Obama appointee, still wishes to pursue “cooperation” with China on countering cyberattacks and securing cybernetworks and continues to believe in moral equivalence between the US and China.
Efforts to defend US cybernetworks are seriously hampered by a lack of any legislation on the matter, standards of data protection, and enabling of seamless sharing of information between industry and the government. To redress these problems, the House has passed a cyberbill this year and in 2012, but the Senate, led by Harry Reid, has failed to act. President Obama has issued an executive order, but an EO is not a law, can apply to federal executive agencies only, and the Obama EO only increases the regulatory burden on industry while failing to actually redress the above-mentioned problems.