Tag Archives: Viktor Yesin

Help STOP Obama’s unilateral nuclear disarmament of the US

142074.439nuclear_explosion

As everyone should know by now, Barack Obama intends to disarm the United States unilaterally and has already taken substantial steps in that direction. He has signed, and rammed through the Senate (in the twilight days of the 111th Congress) the New START treaty requiring unilateral cuts in America’s deployed nuclear arsenal and the fleet of delivery systems, while allowing Russia to grow its own arsenals of these. He has unilaterally withdrawn nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from US Navy ships and submarines – without Russia or anyone else reciprocating. He has banned the development of any new nuclear weapons, or even upgrades to current ones, cut funding for the service life extension of existing ones, and cancelled plans to develop a new ICBM. He has prohibited current USAF ICBMs to carry more than 1 warhead each, while both Russia and China have multiple-warhead ICBMs.

Obama deceptively claims that he wants to create a “world without nuclear weapons” (a fantasy that will never exist), and he has repeteadly repeated that claim. But let’s put aside for the moment even the fact that there will never be a world without nuclear weapons because these weapons are so powerful and so attractive (and what is powerful is automatically attractive), and the fact that NO ONE is following him on his imaginary road to “nuclear zero.” He couldn’t care less.

The goal of “a world without nuclear weapons” isn’t just “distant”; it’s utterly unrealistic and ridiculous.

The world is not “moving towards nuclear zero”; it isn’t even on the beginning of the road to nuclear zero, and never will be. The world (other than Obama’s America) is going in the EXACTLY OPPOSITE direction: more nuclear weapons and more nuclear-armed states.

Obama’s legacy will not be “a world without nuclear weapons”, or even a planet going in that direction. Obama’s legacy will be a planet going in the exactly opposite direction, and quite possibly, a nuclear-armed Iran.

Obama also deceptively claims that his unilateral cuts will enhance “nuclear security” and strategic stability and stem nuclear proliferation.

But cutting America’s nuclear deterrent – especially unilaterally – will only UNDERMINE security and stability by weakening America’s deterrent while Russia’s and China’s arsenals remain large and modern (and keep growing), and ENCOURAGE nuclear proliferation by both friend and foe – allies will no longer trust America’s nuclear umbrella and will develop their own arsenals, while enemies like Iran will only be emboldened to develop nuclear arsenals – since America’s deterrent will be smaller, weaker, and thus easier to destroy in a first strike. Fewer nuclear weapons equal fewer consequences of attacking the US or its allies.

Make no mistake: Obama’s unilateral disarmament of the US has nothing to do with “global zero”, and everything to do with simply disarming the US unilaterally and making it easier for America’s enemies to attack the US.

As a part of that unilateral disarmament, the Obama administration is now seriously considering, and will likely decide to, eliminate an entire Air Force ICBM wing – 150 missiles! It is not known which wing will it be – the one based at Minot AFB, ND, at Malmstrom AFB, MT, or at Francis E. Warren AFB. But they are now conducting an Environmental Impact Statement, the first step in the process.

The Obama administration deceptively and falsely claims it’s just an “implementation of the New START treaty.” But that is completely false. New START does not require cutting an entire ICBM wing with 150 missiles, or any further deep cuts on this scale.

Make no mistake: Obama is planning to make further deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent over and above those required by New START. That treaty, however damaging it is by itself to US national security, has nothing to do with the planned elimination of 150 ICBMs.

How do we know? Because in 2010, shortly before New START was ratified, then Defense Secretary Robert Gates revealed what the force structure would be under New START limits: 420 ICBMs, 58 nuclear-armed B-52s, 20 B-2s, and 14 or fewer ballistic missile submarines with 20 or fewer missile tubes per boat.

Currently, the US has 450 ICBMs. Under the treaty, the remaining 30 ICBMs were to be decommissioned and put in storage, but not dismantled.

So under New START, America was required to cut its ICBM fleet by only 30 missiles – not 150, which is five times that much!

And contrary to the claims of pro-disarmament organizations, such cuts would save very little: only about $360 mn per year even according to ACA estimates. So eliminating 150 ICBMs would save close to nothing while deeply and unilaterally cutting the cheapest, most reliable, and most responsive leg of the nuclear triad, which has readiness levels of around 96-99% at any time.

But it gets worse. While Obama has been unilaterally cutting America’s nuclear deterrent, and plans to continue doing so, Russia and China have been building their arsenals up.

Russia is building up its nuclear arsenal – and the arsenal of delivery system – and has been doing so since New START’s ratification in early 2011. Before that treaty was ratified, Russia was below its ceilings of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 800 delivery systems per side.

But since then, Russia has built up to New START levels, as State Department data exchanges show – and as was precisely Russia’s goal and was promised by Russian leaders, including then-Defense Minister Anatoliy Syerdyukov, who correctly told Russia’s parliament that Moscow wouldn’t have to decommission a single warhead or delivery system.

Russia, as veteran journalist Bill Gertz writes in more detail, is in the midst of a massive nuclear (and conventional) military buildup. It is currently growing its arsenal of both warheads and delivery systems. It’s currently developing several different ICBM types: a road-mobile “Yars-M” ICBM, a rail-mobile one, a heavy liquid-fueled ICBM called “the Son of Satan” (slated to replace the famous SS-18 Satan), the “Avangard”, a “pseudo-ICBM” with a 6,000 km range (in violation of the INF Treaty), and another ICBM mentioned recently by Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin (it might be one of those previously mentioned ICBMs).

Concurrently, Russia is developing a next-generation strategic bomber, a next-gen cruise missile for its bombers (the Kh-102) and for its submarines (the Koliber[1]), and deploying a new class of ballistic missile subs (the Borei class) with a new type of sub-launched ballistic missiles (the Bulava, or SS-NX-30 in NATO nomenclature, with 10 warheads). It is also modernizing its already large arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons and their delivery systems (artillery pieces, Su-34 tactical strike jets, SS-26 Stone SRBMs, etc.) and growing its fleet of Tu-160 bombers with production from stockpiled parts.

Also, Russia’s current-generation Bulava and Liner submarine-launched ballistic missiles can carry far more warheads (10 and 12, respectively) than previous generations of Russian SLBMs, such as the Sinyeva (R-29M). So Russia will be able to, and will, load more warheads on each of those new SLBMs.

Overall, Russia’s strategic nuclear triad currently has:

a) 434 ICBMs, all but 171 of which can deliver multiple warheads;

b) 14 ballistic missile subs with 16-20 intercontinental missiles each (and each can carry up to 12 warheads, depending on missile type); and

c) 251 intercontinental bombers (Tu-95s, Tu-160s, and Tu-22Ms).

Overall, Russia is estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads – deployed and nondeployed. Keep in mind that all of the above numbers – of missiles, bombers, and warheads – will only grow over time, and with them, the nuclear threat to America and its allies, and thus, the need for an American nuclear deterrent.

Moscow is not only growing its arsenal but also becoming more aggressive as well. In the last 12 months, Russia has practiced simulated nuclear bomber strikes on US missile defense facilities five times, each time flying dangerously close to US or allied airspace, and three times flying into Air Defense Identification Zones – forcing US or allied fighters to scramble. For more, see here and here.

“Who told you that the Cold War was ever over? It transforms; it is like a virus,” said Russian KGB/FSB defector Sergei Tretyakov in an interview with FOX News in 2009.

And yet, Obama wants to disarm America unilaterally in the face of such an aggressive Russia wielding thousands of nuclear weapons!

In addition, Russia is blatantly violating the INF Treaty by developing and testing an IRBM, and also violating the CFE Treaty! How can we trust Russia to comply with New START and reciprocate the newest cuts proposed by Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!

How can the US sign any deals with Moscow, and believe anything the Kremlin says, when it doesn’t comply with its existing treaty obligations?

In addition, Russia is developing missile defenses – the same kind of defensive stuff which Russia doesn’t want the US to deploy – which would help Russia mop up the few remaining US missiles that might survive a Russian nuclear first strike.

China has a far larger nuclear arsenal than the Obama administration admits – at least 1,600, and possibly up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and enough delivery systems to deliver at least 1,274… without even counting its SRBMs or ground-lauched cruise missiles, that is. With these systems, China could deliver thousands of warheads.

China has at least 86 ICBMs (36 DF-5s, at least 30 DF-31/31As, 20 DF-4s, and an unknown number of DF-41s), all of them multiple-warhead excluding the DF-4s; 6 ballistic missile submarines with at least 12 multiple-warhead missiles each; 440 nuclear-capable strike aircraft (H-6[1], Q-5, JH-7) capable of carrying both nuclear bombs and nuclear-tipped cruise missiles; and at least 100 DF-21 and DF-3 MRBMs. For local nuclear strikes, it has over 1,600 short-range BMs and hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles like the DH-10 and CJ-10.

Overall, former Russian strategic missile force chief of staff Gen. Viktor Yesin estimates China to have at least 1,600-1,800 nuclear warheads and enough fissile material for 3,600, while former DOD chief nuclear strategist Dr Philip Karber, now a Georgetown University professor, estimates China to have 3,000 warheads.

China itself continually refuses to disclose the size of its arsenal while deceptively claiming it has a “minimum deterrence” policy. Deception, of course, is what ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu advised.[3]

So while America’s potential adversaries are growing and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, Obama is deeply and unilaterally cutting America’s own. What term would you use to describe such behavior?

Please call your Congressman and both of your senators and tell them they MUST support the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2014 (H.R. 1960) with the Rogers Amendment in it. The Rogers Amendment, authored by Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the widely-respected chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee, will prohibit Obama from cutting the US nuclear arsenal any further unless a new arms reduction treaty, requiring proportional cuts in Russia’s arsenal, is ratified OR Congress itself consents to cutting the nuclear deterrent.

Also please tell your Congressman and both of your Senators to go further and pass a firm, TOTAL ban on ANY further cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent, absent a decision by Congress itself. No more one-sided New START treaties.

Please tell them that you will NEVER, EVER vote for them again if they fail to support such important legal protections of America’s nuclear umbrella, which is the best nonproliferation tool ever invented.

And lastly, if your Congressman is Mike Rogers of Alabama, or one of the Republicans who voted for his amendment in committee, please contact his office to thank him.

Footnotes:

[1] Called the Kalibr in other sources.

[2] I conservatively count each of China’s 160 H-6 bombers as being capable of delivering only one warhead, even though some of these bombers – namely, those of the H-6K variant – can deliver at least 6 nuclear-tipped ICBMs over a distance of 4,400 kms. The bomber’s own combat radius is 2,200 kms, and the missile has its own additional range of another 2,200 kms.

[3] Indeed, Sun Tzu wrote that all warfare is based on deception.

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.