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Liberals Never Stop Seeking To Disarm America Unilaterally

Liberals never give up in their campaign to disarm America unilaterally. As the service lives of the components of America’s nuclear triad – the missiles, the aircraft, the submarines, and the warheads – come to an end, the Pentagon will have to replace them with new ones in the years ahead. Liberals believe this is a great opportunity for them to disarm the US unilaterally – through neglect and nonreplacement of America’s aging nuclear arms.

As the necessity to replace these aging weapons approaches, liberals are spreading blatant lies about the nuclear arsenal replacement’s costs, necessity, and the scope of the nuclear threats facing the US. In fact, liberals deny there are any nuclear threats to America’s security. This article will utterly refute their lies and state the truth on the subject.

The “director for disarmament and threat reduction” at the Arms Control Association (a far-left pro-unilateral-disarmament group funded by other far-left organizations), Kingston Reif, a pro-unilateral disarmament hack already refuted a few times here, has recently lied:

Instead of moving forward with an overly ambitious and excessively expensive modernization plan that would recapitalize a US nuclear force that is, by the Pentagon’s and the president’s own analysis, far larger than US nuclear deterrence needs require, the White House, Pentagon and Energy Department should examine common-sense options for reshaping the arsenal in ways that would save billions and still provide more than adequate nuclear deterrence capabilities. Such options exist.”

“The Pentagon’s and the president’s own analysis” that Reif invokes is Obama’s own, singular, completely baseless claim from June 2013 that America can supposedly deter Russia, China, and North Korea with just 1,000 deployed warheads, while these two states pursue a limitless nuclear buildup.

But contrary to Reif’s and Obama’s blatant lies, the size of the nuclear force planned by the Pentagon for the future (similar to today’s nuclear force) will barely be adequate – and only assuming Russia and China don’t grow their arsenals much further. If they do build their arsenals up further, the US will also have to.

Russia currently has 375 ICBMs capable of delivering over 1,000 warheads to the CONUS, 80 strategic bombers capabe of delivering 886 warheads, and 14 ballistic missile subs capable of delivering over 1,200 warheads to the CONUS.

On top of that, Russia possesses 13 attack submarines and 8 guided missile submarines capable of unexpectedly attacking the US with hundreds of nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and 171 “continental” Tu-22M bombers capable of reaching the US with their payload (10 nuclear-tipped missiles each) if refueled mid-air.

In addition, Russia has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal that numbers up to 4,000 warheads. Their delivery systems range from short- and medium range Iskander and R-500 ground-launched missiles (which violate the INF treaty

Moscow is now busy replacing all of its Soviet-era systems with new weapons. It is building a fleet of new ballistic missile subs, building an additional 50 Tu-160 intercontinental bombers, and developing a new, stealthy strategic bomber as well as a hypersonic glide vehicle which, if delivered by a missile, could itself deliver a nuclear payload anywhere in the world in less than an hour. And, by 2022, all of Russia’s Soviet-era ICBMs will be replaced by new ones; what’s more, the fleet will grow to more than 400 missiles from 375 today.

Furthermore, Vladimir Putin has just announced that he’ll add over 40 new ICBM’s to Russia’s missile fleet this year alone. There is currently a dispute on th Net on whether these new missiles will be an addition to or a replacement for Russia’s current ICBMs. But even if they’re just replacing older missiles, that’s still a huge boost – this mean replacing 13% of Russia’s entire ICBM fleet in one year.

Российские разработчики создали уникальную ракетную систему Ярс

A Russian RS-24 Yars ICBM being test-launched. Russia will add 40 such ICBMs to its arsenal this year, President Putin said on June 16th. Photo credit: Sputnik News

Moreover, Russia’s new ground- and submarine-launched ballistic missiles can carry far more warheads than the old Soviet-era missiles they’re replacing. The new Yars and Rubezh missiles can carry 6-10 warheads each, unlike the old single-warhead RT-2PM Topol (SS-25 Sickle) ICBMs they’re replacing. Likewise, Russia’s new Bulava and Layner (Liner) submarine-launched missiles can carry 10 and 12 warheads, respectively, per missile; the Skiff missiles they’re replacing can only carry four. So a single Russian submarine armed with 16 such missiles can deliver 192 warheads to the CONUS; keep in mind Russia has 14 ballistic missile subs, including 9-10 operationally available at any moment.

Russian Navy's Strategic Nuclear Force to Become 2.5 Times more Effective with Modernization of SLBM Sineva

A Russian Liner submarine-launched ballistic missile being test-launched. A single such missile can carry 12 warheads. Photo credit: NavalToday.

As the UK Daily Telegraph has noted about those 40 new ICBMs Putin will deploy this year:

“The older weapons will be withdrawn and succeeded by new SS-27 missiles, each capable of delivering between four and six strategic nuclear warheads. If loaded to full capacity, these new ICBMs could deliver 240 nuclear warheads – more than Britain’s entire arsenal.”

So not only is Russia deploying more missiles and bombers, they can carry far more warheads than the missiles/bombers they’re replacing.

Deputy Secretary Work is keenly aware that Russia’s nuclear arsenal is designed to do one thing: intimidate and threaten America and its allies:

“Bob Work, deputy defense secretary, told lawmakers at the House Armed Services Committee that Russia is “literally playing with fire” through recent actions, which have seen that nation speak openly about increasing its nuclear arsenal.

“Senior Russian officials continue to make irresponsible statements regarding Russia’s nuclear forces, and we assess they are doing it to intimidate our allies and us,” Work said.”

China is likewise deploying ever more missiles capable of carrying ever more warheads. It is now deploying the DF-41 mobile ICBM capable of carrying 10 warheads, has 4-5 Jin-class ballistic missile subs deployed (12 missiles each), and its H-6K bombers’ cruise missiles can reach Hawaii. Beijing is now developing the 24-missile Tang class of submarines, hypersonic nuclear-capable glide vehicles (similar to Russia’s), and a stealthy intercontinental bomber.

China's Type 094 Jin-class submarine will adopt JL-2 ballistic missiles. (Internet photo)

A Chinese Jin-class submarine. China has 4 such boats with a fifth slated to join them soon, and each of them can carry at least 12 JL-2 missiles, which in turn can carry at least 4 warheads each. A four-boat fleet gives China a continous at-sea nuclear deterrent like France and the UK have. Photo credit: Military-Today.com.

In short, both Russia and China already have large nuclear arsenals and are building them up further; arsenals which, in the future, will be even bigger and deadlier than today.

Against this background, it would be utterly suicidal for the US to cut its arsenal any further or to neglect to modernize it.

The truth is that the US – and its 30 allies who rely on the American nuclear umbrella for their security – must have a nuclear deterrent that can survive any potential Russian or Chinese first strike not only today, but indefinitely into the future.

The US nuclear arsenal must be large enough – and survivable enough – to withstand any blow, even a huge one – by Russian and Chinese nuclear forces – not only those of today, but more importantly those of the future.

In short, we must think of the future, not just the present. The new nuclear deterrent the Pentagon plans to build must protect America against any nuclear threat well into the future.

Thus, the US will need to increase – not cut – its nuclear arsenal, and modernize it fully.

In addition, the new Long-Range Strike Bomber is absolutely necessary to perform conventional bombing campaigns as well. And if used against a nuclear power like China or North Korea, it would greatly REDUCE the threat to the US and its allies by being able to destroy enemy missile launchers BEFORE they have a chance to launch their deadly payloads. The LRSB will be a transformational weapon giving the US military new capabilities – not a mere replacement for old bombers. As Dr Robbin Laird rightly writes here:

“The B-3 is not simply going to provide more ordnance over greater distance to do strategic missions; it is about reinforcing and enabling greater capabilities for a radically different combat air force. Range and payload will be important elements of the basic platform, as will leveraging new concepts of stealth to provide low observability. But that is simply a foundation.”

And the cost?

The Pentagon says it will need to spend $18 bn on nuclear deterrent modernization starting in 2021 and ending in 2035, for a total cost of $270 bn over 15 years.

The Pentagon’s total annual budget is around $600 bn; $18 bn is 3% of that. It is utter nonsense to claim that the Pentagon cannot afford to spend a pitiful 3% of its budget on modernizing America’s nuclear umbrella that also shields over 30 allies and friends.

Liberals falsely claim that the total modernization cost will be $1 trillion over 30 years, with $348 bn over the next 10 years.

But that figure is nothing but a claim of the Monterey Institute for Strategic Studies, another liberal pro-disarmament group.

But even if that figure were correct – which it likely won’t be – $1 trillion over 30 years is just $33.3 bn per year, i.e. around 6% of the Pentagon’s total budget. Deputy Secretary Robert Work estimates it at about 7%.

A few other liberals (CSIS’s Clark Murdock, Thomas Karako, and Angela Weaver) recently (and falsely) claimed, for their part, that:

Nuclear weapons do not achieve U.S. policy objectives, dominant conventional forces do. The U.S. interest lies in seeking to minimize the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceived to play. U.S. doctrine, policy, forces, and diplomacy should all be configured to support this interest. The posture described in this paper achieves just that, in contrast to postures that imagine uses of nuclear weapons that have never actually been demonstrated. After 70 years of indulging fantasies of what nuclear weapons can do, it is high time to acknowledge that they do very little and adapt U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, and forces to those facts.”

What they’re saying, though, are blatant lies, not facts. Nuclear weapons achieve three supremely important US policy objectives:

  • Preventing a nuclear, chemical, biological, or major conventional attack on the US or its treaty allies;
  • Reassuring those allies so that they don’t have to develop their nuclear arsenals, and thus limiting nuclear proliferation; and
  • Preventing wars between the world’s great powers.

And contrary to their lie that “The U.S. interest lies in seeking to minimize the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceived to play”, America’s national interest actually lies in preventing WMD or major conventional attacks against America’s allies and achieving the other objectives stated above.

Fantasising about “mimizing the importance accorded to nuclear weapons by narrowing the roles they are perceied to play” will not achieve any US policy objectives. Such childish fantasizing therefore contrary to America’s national interests.

No matter how badly these liberals – and Obama admin officials – wish to minimize nuclear weapons’ role, their importance in the world is huge, and will only grow in the future, as more countries acquire these arms and as existing nuclear powers modernize and expand their arsenals.

Russia, China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan are all growing and modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Because of their actions, the global, objective importance of atomic weapons is growing, not shrinking, no matter how much the US wishes it were otherwise.

It doesn’t matter what America wants; what matters is what the world is currently like. And the world is currently headed in the direction of MORE nuclear weapons and MORE countries armed with them, and thus, MUCH GREATER importance accorded to them.

The Arms Control Association’s Greg Thielmann, for his part, claims that the US should augment its “nuclear disarmament bona fides” by accelerating the nuclear arsenal cuts mandated by the New START treaty and by cutting that arsenal even further, to just 1,000 warheads.

But “nuclear disarmament bona fides” count for nothing in this world. They don’t make a country more secure – on the contrary, they only expose it to danger. Just look at Ukraine, which voluntarily gave up its nuclear arms during the 1990s in exchange for paper promises of respect for its territorial integrity and its independence. Russia brazenly violated these promises last year.

Finally, Adam Mount of the leftist Council on Foreign Relations falsely claims that there are no new nuclear threats, and that:

“It will certainly not help to worry about “new” nuclear threats where there are none. The best way to prevent a new arms race is to refuse to engage in one.”

He also falsely asserts that:

“There are already calls in the United States to fight fire with fire and add to our own nuclear forces. However, there is little reason to believe that building new nuclear capabilities or forward-deploying the ones we already have would restrain Russia. There is every reason to believe that Putin would take these steps as license to divert attention to the nuclear balance, to abrogate existing arms control treaties, to launch a new arms race, and to use his nuclear arsenal to cover aggression at lower levels—in short, to start a new Cold War.”

Like other liberals’ claims, these are also blatant lies. Russia and China have already started a new arms race against the US. At this point, the US only has a choice whether to accept the challenge (and thus develop counter-weapons it needs to defend itself) or not to respond and thus to fall behind its adversaries (which is essentially unilateral disarmament by neglect).

And contrary to his blatant lies, there are new nuclear threats to America’s security: Russia’s and China’s nuclear buildups, North Korea’s burgeoning nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals, and Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

As for Mount’s false claim that Putin would use an American nuclear buildup as an excuse to “divert attention to the nuclear balance, to abrogate existing arms control treaties, to launch a new arms race, and to use his nuclear arsenal to cover aggression at lower levels” – he’s already doing all of that.

He has already launched an arms race against the US, is violating arms control treaties with impunity, is building up his nuclear arsenal and diverting the Russian public’s attention to it, and is using that arsenal to cover his aggression against his neighbors.

At this point, the US faces a simple choice: it will either build up its nuclear deterrent to a superior level, or it – along with all of its allies – will live under constant threat from an ever-aggressive Russia.


Defense Issues Weekly – week of May 12th, 2013


A satellite photo, with markings, of China’s underground submarine base at Jianggezhuang near Qingdao in northeastern China. The base is super-hardened against air and missile attacks. While this 2000s photo depicts only a Han and a Xia class submarine present outside the base, more submarines were based inside. This is the base from which Chinese SSBNs going on deterrence patrols against the US probably operate. Photo source: DigitalGlobe/”China’s Nuclear Forces,” Imaging Notes, Winter 2006, p. 25.

DOD releases report on China’s military power

On Tuesday, May 7th, the DOD released its annual report on China’s military power and defense policies. The report is much longer and more detailed than last year’s, which was dramatically shortened to just 10 unclassified pages, ostensibly to cut costs while costing more to prepare than 2011’s much longer report.

This year’s version, at 92 pages, gives a great amount of information – both verbal and graphic – on China’s military power, the dispersal of its troops and bases, and the ranges of its missiles. However, while analysts consider it a significant improvement over last year’s document, this year’s still significantly understates China’s military power.

For example, it claims that China’s air force still flies, for the most part, obsolete 2nd- and 3rd-generation fighters and that modern fighters are still a minority in its fleet. This is factually incorrect: the J-7 and J-8 fighters which the report refers to, at 569 aircraft, are now less numerous than the PLAAF’s modern fighters, which number 587 (J-10s, J-11s, Su-27s, Su-30MKKs, JH-7s). Moreover, modern aircraft’s share of the PLAAF’s fleet will only grow overtime: 70 additional J-11s as well as 24 Su-35s are on order and an unknown number (but possibly hundreds) of 5th generation stealthy J-20 and J-31 fighters are poised to join the fleet.

Moreover, the J-7 and J-8, despite their age, are actually superior to the costly F-35 now under development: they can fly much higher and faster and are more agile. The J-7 has a max altitude of over 57,000 feet and a top speed of Mach 2; and its light weight and low wingloading ratio make it a superior dogfighter to the F-35. The J-7 can defeat an F-35 easily by simply refusing to be a straight, level target. In Vietnam, MiG-21s (on which the J-7 is based) routinely defeated American F-4 fighters.

The report also significantly understates China’s nuclear arsenal and submarine fleet. It claims that only 3 modern Jin class SSBNs (“boomers”) are in service, even though there were that many as early as 2007/2008; China actually has 5 in service with a sixth one under construction. This is intended to replace the old Xia class SSBN, still in service, which, together with the Jins, gives China a 6-boat SSBN fleet and thus already a continous at-sea nuclear deterrent – which the report falsely claims China doesn’t yet have.

Nonetheless, the report does warn of a large ongoing expansion of China’s sub fleet – it plans to deploy a total of 8 Jins and 6 Shangs (other sources say 6-8) and is developing a new SSBN (Type 096) and attack submarine (Type 095, Tang class). Two Tangs have already been deployed, and these are much quieter than China’s previous, noisier submarine classes.

This makes mockery of Adm. Jonathan Greenert’s recent claim that “we own the undersea domain” and that “the Chinese are not there yet”, especially in light of the fact that the USN can only supply 10 attack submarines to combatant commanders when its own minimum need is 16, and the fact that the USN’s anti-sub-warfare skills and equipment have atrophied.

The report claims that the range of the JL-2 SLBM is only 7,200 kms and can reach only parts of Alaska. But the JL-2 actually has a range of 8,000 kms according to multiple Chinese and Western sources (including SinoDefence and GlobalSecurity), and the report’s map deceptively shows the JL-2’s range as if it were launched from Chinese mainland. (p. 81)

But the JL-2 is a submarine-launched missile, meaning China can launch it from anywhere on Earth. Even with a 7,200 km range, the JL-2 could reach Los Angeles if launched from 160 degrees east, well west of Hawaii. With an 8,000 km range, it can reach LA from a position just east of 150E, i.e. just east of Japan.

Similarly, the report wrongly claims that the DF-21 land attack and anti-ship ballistic missile’s range is only 2000 kms. In fact, the DF-21A, the longest-ranged land attack variant, has a range of 2,700 kms, and the DF-21D ASBM, 3,000 kms – stretching out almost to the Second Island Chain, including Taiwan. This means any surfance ship within 3,000 kms of China’s coast can be sunk.

The report admits, for the first time, that China is testing a DF-41 multiple-warhead ICBM, but does not include it on its missile range map nor acknowledge that the DF-41 may very well already be deployed (it was first photographed in 2007). It also claims the DH-10 land-attack cruise missile has only a 2,000 km range; in reality, it’s 4,000 kms, more than enough to reach Guam.

Last but not least, Richard Fisher, a Chinese affairs expert with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, has criticized the report for failing into account China’s supply of transporter-erector-launchers for North Korean KN-08 ICBMs.

General Dempsey bows to the Muslim Brotherhood

An Army Lieutenant Colonel currently lecturing at the Joint Forces Staff College has been denied promotion and faces possible dismissal following an intervention by Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Dempsey, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, ordered an investigation after Muslim Brotherhood affiliated organizations filed a complaint with the DOD urging LTCOL Matthew Dooley, a combat veteran and West Point graduate, to be punished after LTCOL Dooley was found to teach his students about the dangers of radical Islam. The National Defense University, which oversees the college, has not found any fault with Dooley’s teachings.

Dooley, a West Point graduate, has 6 combat deployments and 18 years of military service under his belt. An Army promotion board unanimously recommended him for promotion to battalion command, praising his career and accomplishments. However, in 2011, a student of Dooley’s complained about his supposedly offensive teachings to the DOD, and General Dempsey was informed. Dempsey, a political general, personally ordered that Dooley be denied promotion and that an investigation aimed at throwing him out of the military be initiated. The investigation has reached its predetermined conclusions, claiming that he was a “poor officer” and resulting in his firing.

The Washington Times has narrated the story in more detail here.

France makes defense cuts, retains ambitions

The French government announced some painful cuts to the military last week, as it looks to defense spending to cut France’s massive budget deficit.

While the cuts will not be as deep as in other countries – defense spending will be frozen in nominal terms (and cut slightly in inflation-adjusted euros) – there will be a cut of 24,000 personnel, mostly from the defense ministry’s administrative staff, but also a reduction of the number of troops deployable abroad from 30,000 to 15,000-20,000. The Navy will have only 15 “first-rang frigates” rather than 17, and the fleet of fighters for the Air Force and Navy combined will be cut sharply, from 300 to 225. France will also not resume production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the government has delayed the delivery of new weapon systems, which, in the long term, will cost more than if they were to be delivered sooner. The decisions, outlined in the new White Paper on National Defense, will form the basis of the Law on Military Procurement for 2014-2019 and for the defense budgets for those years.

The defense cuts have been criticized from both the Right and the Left. Far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon has denounced them as weakening the stature of France; far-right leader Marine Le Pen has called for defense spending to be ring-fenced and kept permanent at 2% of GDP. Mainstream right-wing UMP (neo-Gaullist) party politicians have also expressed worries. So have retired generals, who estimate that with just 15-20K troops deployable abroad France will have little capacity to intervene abroad in defense of its national interests and be only a minor contributor to coalition operations alongside the US, Britain, or other allies.

Under the plans, announced recently in detail by Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Ecole Militaire in Paris, the French military will avoid the deep cuts in programs imposed on other Western militaries. However, it is already a small military by American standards. Furthermore, it is estimated that 20,000 deployable troops won’t be enough to make a significant contribution to allied operations. The same can be said of its plan to cut the combined Air Force – Navy fighter fleet to just 225 aircraft, down from 300 today.

Moreover, there is a basic criticism of the White Paper: that it is being made to fit the budget, rather than the other way around, i.e. some critics claim that the government is putting the cart before the horse by making the strategy fit the budget. This is the same mistake that the governments of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, and other countries have made, which has made them less secure.

Dismissing China’s Jin SSBN class is wrong

Nuclear disarmament advocates like Hans Kristensen (a lifelong anti-nuclear activist) and Jeffrey Lewis both dismiss China’s Jin class of ballistic missile submarines as obsolete and comparable only to the Soviet Delta III class, with Lewis wrongly calling the Jin class “a good deterrent – for the 1960s”.

But they are wrong. And as advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament, they have an incentive to lie, specifically, to minimize and downplay the Chinese threat.

And the Jin class is hardly an obsolete deterrent fit only for the 1960s.

Kristensen and Lewis base their false claims on two false arguments: that the Jin class is noisy, and that the range of its SLBMs is sufficient only to reach Alaska and Hawaii. Lewis has even said that he’s willing to sacrifice Anchorage (where two of my friends live) for Taipei.

But they are wrong.

While the first Jin class boat was indeed noisy, as depicted by the Office of Naval Intelligence, this is not a problem for the Chinese Navy. If the Jin class patrols in constrained, congested waters like the Sea of Japan or the Philippine Sea, it’s quiet enough to avoid detection in these noisy, congested waters where it’s hard to distinguish it from other naval vessels or from civilian ships.

And if it patrols in the vast swathes of the open Pacific Ocean, as I suspect it does, the vast size of that ocean – the largest body of water on Earth – makes it extremely hard to find a Jin class boat, because you don’t know where to look for it. To find it, you’d have to search the entire ocean, and no navy will ever have the resources to do that.

Moreover, in the last 11 years, the USN’s anti-submarine warfare skills have atrophied disastrously as a result of the DOD’s previous, obsessive singular focus on COIN wars. The Navy’s P-3 Orion crews, for example, have spent little time training for ASW, and almost all of their time conducting ISR missions over Afghanistan and Iraq. The P-3 Orion fleet has also shrank disastrously in numbers, its replacement (the P-8 Poseidon plane) has been delayed and orders are insufficient, and the S-3 Viking carrier-borne ASW plane has been retired. The Chief of Naval Operations himself has admitted that the Navy’s ASW skills have atrophied.

Such skills and capabilities will take many years, if not decades, to regain.

As for the JL-2, multiple sources confirm that the JL-2 has a range of 8,000 kilometers. That gives the Jin class the capability to target all of America’s West Coast – from Alaska all the way south to San Diego, and all cities and military facilities there – while staying west of 160 degrees east, far from the CONUS and not far from their homeport. To be within range of the entire West Coast of the CONUS, including San Diego, they’d have to sail just slightly east of Japan, to slightly more than 150E. To be within range of Seattle, they can actually stay west of Japan, in the Sea of Japan. To hit targets as far as Houston, they’d have to sail just slightly east of Hawaii.

This is far better than “a deterrent suitable for the 1960s”. China’s navy already has submarines and missiles that can target America’s West Coast while being relatively close to their homeport, west of 160E, thanks to the JL-2′s 8,000 km range. This is a feat that the Soviet Navy did not achieve until the 1980s.

When the first Soviet ballistic missile submarines wre commissioned and went on patrol, they had to patrol relatively close to America’s coasts – just 300 kms away from them. This was due to their missiles’ short range.

But as the range of Soviet ballistic missiles significantly increased, their subs became capable of launching these SLBMs far away from America and close to their homeports, north of the GIUK gap. These areas far away from the US, close to their homeports, were considered “bastions” by the Russians.

The deployment of Typhoon class SSBNs armed with long-ranged SLBMs gave the Soviet Navy the capability to hit the US while being in their homeports.

Look at the maps here.

In the 1980s, the Delta I class, armed with the new SS-N-20 SLBMs, was able to target the CONUS while being far away from it and patrolling nearby Greenland and Alaska.

The deployment of even longer-ranged SLBMs gave Soviet submarines the ability to target the CONUS while being between Scotland and Greenland (the Yankee class) or north of Scotland behind the GIUK gap, as well as around Kamchatka and nearby Vladivostok in the Sea of Japan (the Delta II/III class). In other words, the Delta II/III class, with newer SLBMs, could stay close to its own homeports in the Pacific Ocean (Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky), in home waters around Kamchatka and Vladivostok, and still hit the West Coast; or stay safely behind the GIUK gap and still hit the East Coast. The following map illustrates this.

But the Soviets didn’t achieve that feat until the late 1980s.

China has already achieved that feat. It has already achieved what the Soviet Union needed four decades to accomplish. As I stated earlier, the JL-2 SLBM’s range, 8000 kms, allows Jin class SSBNs to hit the entire West Coast of the US while still being relatively close to home, west of 160E. Here’s a map illustrating this. The area marked in red is the approximate area closest to China from where a Jin class boat could launch its SLBMs at any point on the West Coast. It’s just slightly east of 150E longitude.

In the 1980s, in the Soviet Union, newer, longer-ranged SLBMs such as the SS-N-23 and the R-29 Sinyeva gave the Russians even greater capability. By the late 1980s, their SSBNs could stay in homeport, or around it in home waters near the Kola Peninsula, and still hit the CONUS.

Of course, the Russian Navy’s even newer and longer-ranged SLBMs, the R-29M Sinyeva and the SS-NX-30 Bulava, have an even longer range. But the Russian Navy’s SSBNs can already hit most of the US while being in homeport or in Russian territorial waters.

In conclusion, the Jin class, which consists of 5 boats soon to be joined by a sixth one, is a very formidable deterrent, with the ability to hide in the congested, noisy waters nearby the Asian landmass and the vast swathes of the Pacific Ocean where the Navy wouldn’t know where to find it. Making the job even easier for China, the USN’s anti-submarine-warfare skills have atrophied and will take many years, if not decades, to regain. Moreover, the JL-2 SLBM’s long range (8000 kms) allows the Jin to target all of America’s West Coast while still being relatively close to home, west of 160E, just east of Japan.

And the further east, the further out to the Pacific Ocean the Jin class ventures, the more targets in the US its missiles can hit.

Furthermore, contrary to Hans Kristensen’s lie, the JL-2 can carry 3-4 warheads (or up to 8, according to MissileThreat.com), not just one. Each Jin class boat can carry 12-24 missiles, thus carrying up to 96 of them; so China’s 5-boat Jin class (soon to be joined by a sixth Jin) can carry at minimum 240, and up to 480, warheads.

In other words, Kristensen and Lewis have been proven dead wrong yet again. This is no surprise, because both of these anti-defense, anti-nuclear hacks have an agenda to lie (in this case, to minimize and downplay the Chinese nuclear threat), because any evidence that China is a greater threat than they admit would be a threat to their agenda of unilaterally disarming the US. Given that the Chinese nuclear threat is far greater than they admit, though, such an agenda would be downright suicidal and disastrous for the US.

The REAL size of China’s nuclear arsenal

How big is China’s nuclear arsenal?

This is a hotly-disputed issue today.

Liberal advocates of Western disarmament, such as Daryl Kimball, Tom Collina, Jeffrey Lewis and Hans Kristensen (a lifelong Danish pacifist who now lives in the US) and their organizations claim that China has only 240 warheads. US intelligence agencies still hold on to their obsolete estimate of 300-400 warheads (first made in 1984).

But there is a large and growing body of evidence that they’re dead wrong by a huge margin.

In addition to the study released earlier this year by Georgetown University’s Professor Philip Karber and his team of analysts, and a growing body of evidence that China has far more missiles of all classes than is usually estimated, retired Russian general Viktor Yesin, a former SMF Chief of Staff, estimated in his study several months ago that China has 1,800 nuclear warheads (with enough fissile material for another 1,800), of which 900 are deployed and ready for use anytime, and he gave specific estimates of how many warheads are attributed to how many delivery systems.

In total, he says, China has 50 tons of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium, half of it already used in warheads. General Yesin has recently completed a follow-on study that confirms his previous findings.

He says China has over 200 strategic warheads capable of reaching US soil, and almost 750 tactical (theater) warheads, deployed anytime, or about 950 warheads in total. He has now also given precise estimates of how many are deployed on what missiles, and what their yield (force) is. Yesin estimates China’s DF-11 and DF-15 SRBMs have warheads with a 5-20 kT yield, while DF-21 Medium Range Ballistic Missiles and DH-10 Land Attack Cruise Missiles have 350 kT warheads; JL-2 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles have 500 kT warheads, and its ICBMs have warheads of varied yields: 300 kT, 500 kT, and 2 MT.

China’s 440 strategic and theater bombers, Yesin says, carry B-4 and B-5 nuclear bombs.

Yesin also confirms that China has developed multiple independently retargetable vehicles (MIRVs) and is fielding MIRVable missiles. This is actually an understatement – China has had MIRVable DF-4 IRBMs since the 1970s, and MIRVable DF-5 ICBMs since 1981. What Yesin means are the DF-31A and DF-41A ICBMs, both now in service. He confirms that MIRVs have been deployed for DF-5s, DF-31As, DF-41As, and JL-2s.

Overall, he writes: “China’s nuclear arsenal is appreciably higher than many experts think. In all likelihood, the [People’s Republic of China] is already the third nuclear power today, after the U.S. and Russia, and it undoubtedly has technical and economic capabilities that will permit it to rapidly increase its nuclear might if necessary.”

Yesin understates the number of warheads deployed on China’s ICBMs (48) and MRBMs (99), though. The Washington Free Beacon quotes him thus:

“For missiles, the retired general said that “all told, 207 missile launchers are deployed within the Strategic Missile Forces—48 with ICBMs, 99 with [medium-range ballistic missiles] MRBMs, and 60 with [short-range] SRMs.” Total strategic warheads—those capable of reaching the United States—include 208 nuclear warheads, Yesin said.”

This is an understatement: China has 30-36 DF-5, at least 30 DF-31A, and an unknown number of DF-41 ICBMs, all of them MIRVable. Assuming that there are 72 warheads for DF-5s, 90 for DF-31As, and 10 for a single DF-41, that makes 172 warheads for ICBMs alone. China also has 80 DF-21, 20 DF-3, and 20 DF-4 MRBMs. Even if all of them are single-warhead missiles, that still means 120 MRBM warheads.

In total, this means 292 ICBM/MRBM warheads, not merely 147.

Based on open sources, China’s delivery system inventories and their warhead delivery capacities are as follows:

Warhead delivery system Inventory Maximum warheads deliverable per system Maximum warhead delivery capacity
DF-5 ICBM 36 At least 2 72
H-6, Q-5, and JH-7 aircraft 440 1 440
DF-31 30 3-4 90
DF-41 1? 10 10?
DF-3 20 1 20
DF-4 20 3 60
DF-21 80 1 80
JL-1 12 1 12
JL-2 120 4 480
DH-10 nuclear armed LACM ? ? ?
DF-11/15 nuclear armed SRBM 1,600 ? ?
Total 1,119 Various 1,264

As you can see, China has at least 1,119 intercontinental and medium range nuclear delivery systems capable of delivering, collectively, 1,264 warheads. And that’s assuming, conservatively, that no LACMs or SRBMs are nuclear-armed, and that China has only 1 DF-41 ICBM on duty. If China has more, or if at least some of its LACMs and SRBMs are nuclear-armed, China’s warhead delivery capacity is even greater.

For his part, Professor Karber says:

“The Russian specialists quoted in the report have credibility because of Moscow’s past and current role in China’s nuclear program. Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces also has good intelligence on China’s nuclear arsenal because it targeted China for three decades. This close proximity and long track record means that Russian ‘realism’ about Chinese nuclear force potential cannot be blithely ignored or discounted as ‘paranoia. Their warning against American ‘idealism’ [on China’s nuclear arms] needs to be taken seriously.”

The US -China Economic and Security Review Commission is now slowly (albeit too slowly) beginning to wake up, acknowledging that China may have more warheads than just 300, and saying that it may have as many as 500. It still, however, wrongly believes that 240 is the most likely size of China’s arsenal, despite a large and growing body of evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, it understates the threat from China’s sea-based nuclear arsenal, claiming that:

“China has had a symbolic ballistic missile submarine capability for decades but is only now on the cusp of establishing its first credible, ‘near-continuous at-sea strategic deterrent.’”

This is a huge understatement: China is not “only now on the cusp of establishing its first credible, near-continous at sea strategic deterrent” – it has already established a fully continous naval nuclear deterrent. It has 1 Xia class SSBN (with 12 single-warhead JL-1 missiles) and 5 Jin class SSBNs (with 12-24 multiple warhead JL-2 missiles each). Furthermore, while JL-1 has only a 2,400 km range, the JL-2’s range is 8,000 km, allowing the Jins to target the entire US West Coast from a position just slightly east of 150E longitude. (See the map below.) Six SSBNs, assuming 61 days of patrol per sub, give China a fully continous deterrence capability for 366 days/year.

 The Xia class boat is due to be replaced soon by a sixth Jin class boat. The Jins’ long-range missiles, as stated earlier, allow them to target the entire West Coast from places just east of Japan (and Houston from a position slightly east of Hawaii). That capability was not reached by the Soviet Union’s subs until the 1980s. So China has already accomplished what the USSR needed four decades to achieve.

Nonetheless, the Commission does warn against any further uni- or bilateral (with Russia) cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal, rightly admonishing the Obama government to:

“treat with caution any proposal to unilaterally, or in the context of a bilateral agreement with Russia, reduce the U.S.’s operational nuclear forces absent clearer information being made available to the public about China’s nuclear stockpile and force posture.”

Yet, disarmament advocacy groups and their spokesmen, such as those mentioned above, unrepentantly continue to falsely claim that China has only 240 warheads, and only 50 capable of reaching the US, and hasn’t expanded its arsenal since the 1980s; they furthermore deny that China will have 75 ICBMs capable of reaching the US by 2015 (when China already has more than that as of AD 2012). So why do they continue to minimize and downplay the Chinese threat?

Because they overtly advocate America’s unilateral disarmament, including deep unilateral cuts as a first step. They don’t care about the consequences; in fact, they believe (and falsely claim) that this would make the US more secure, even though disarmament and arms reduction have never made anyone who indulges in them more secure, only less.

They don’t care about Russia’s, China’s, and North Korea’s nuclear buildups and have no problems with that, or with these countries’ development of new strategic weapons such as Russia’s next generation bomber, the PAK DA, new RS-24 (SS-29) ICBM, or planned new heavy ICBM, the “Son of Satan”, planned for 2018. Meanwhile, they demand that the US cancel any plans to develop a next generation bomber or ICBM, dramatically cut its existing nuclear stockpile plus ICBM and ballistic missile submarine fleets, and cut orders for future SSBNs. They claim that if America makes these deep unilateral cuts, Russia will be nice enough to reciprocate, or at least stop the expansion or modernization of its own arsenal.

Similarly, during the Cold War, they had no problem with the Soviet Union developing new strategic weapons and producing them in large numbers – they objected only to America’s development and procurement of such weapons.

All they want is America’s total nuclear disarmament.

But in order to get the public to support such policy, they first have to mislead the public into thinking that this can be done safely, i.e. to lull the public into a false sense of security.

Thus, they shamelessly lie to mislead the public into thinking that the deep cuts they advocate can be done safely, because China supposedly has only 240 warheads. They claim this means that the US can safely cut its nuclear arsenal to the low hundreds.

And, predictably, they reacted furiously to facts-based, objective studies of China’s nuclear arsenal by Professor Karber and General Yesin, because these studies and the facts contained therein constitute a huge threat to their agenda of unilaterally disarming the US. (My own study, published on November 5th, hasn’t gotten much attention yet, but if it does, it will likely be attacked just as savagely. Which won’t change the fact that every statement made therein is true.)

These studies show that China’s nuclear arsenal is highly likely to be far larger than what these liberal pro-disarmament groups falsely claim, and by informing the public and presenting evidence to back these claims up – fissile material stockpile estimates, the length of secret tunnels for missiles, estimated numbers of missiles that China has – utterly refute the myth that China has only a few hundred warheads.

And US intelligence agencies? They continue to cling to their obsolete 1984 estimate of China’s arsenal for two reasons. Firstly, like other bureaucracies, they’re embarassed to admit being wrong. And secondly, they (like the rest of the US government) are run by pro-China officials who delude themselves that Beijing can be a great partner and thus don’t want to do anything to counter China, or even to tell the truth about its reali military capabilities.

But China is a foe of the US, and intellectual disarmament always precedes actual disarmament.

America cannot afford this.