From Trevor Loudon
September 25, 2011
From the Washington Times
The Obama administration has been secretly working on a review of U.S. nuclear weapons in what officials say is part of the White House effort to make deeper cuts on strategic nuclear forces.
“The administration has made up its mind that they want to go lower, and the only way to go lower is to change the military requirements for how many weapons are needed,” said a U.S. official familiar with the review.
The review has been dubbed a “mini-NPR,” after the Nuclear Posture Review conducted last year that coincided with lame-duck Senate approval in December of the New START treaty, which calls for cutting nuclear arms to 5,000 warheads. Pentagon and U.S. Strategic Command spokesmen had no immediate comment. The mini-NPR is now looking for even lower levels, raising new concerns among national security officials about whether the United States will be able to deter China’s growing and largely secret nuclear forces or a revanchist Russia that is also bolstering its arsenal.
Administration officials have made references to the nuclear-weapons-cutting effort in recent weeks.
Among them were Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state for verification. She said at a conference on deterrence in August that “the United States has made it clear that we are committed to continuing a step-by-step process to reduce the overall number of nuclear weapons,” including through a possible agreement with Russia that would cover all types of nuclear arms – strategic, tactical and deployed and non-deployed.
Gary Samore, White House arms control coordinator, said in May that the review of nuclear arms was under way. “We’ll need to do a strategic review of what our force requirements are, and then, based on that, the president will have options available for additional reductions,” he told Arms Control Today. “That review is ongoing.” Mr. Samore noted that the review is taking time because “we’ve reached the level in our forces where further reductions will raise questions about whether we retain the triad, or whether we go to a system that only is a dyad.”
The current triad strategic force consists of three types of delivery systems: land-based missiles, bombers and submarine missiles. It is not known which delivery system would be placed on the chopping block under the mini-NPR. Mr. Samore noted that if there is no agreement or treaty for the next nuclear cuts, “even unilateral” cuts are being considered.
The only real question here is – is this suicide, or is it pre-meditated murder?
Of GREAT CONSEQUENCE, Add this
Putin to run for Russian presidency in 2012
By JIM HEINTZ – Associated Press
MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin’s decision to reclaim the presidency next year sets up the possibility that he could rule Russia until 2024 and foreshadows a continuation of the strongman rule that many in the West have called a retreat from democracy.
New Reports Warn of Chinese Naval Buildup
Since 2000, the Department of Defense has been required to submit to Congress an annual report on the Chinese military. Like all major documents, the draft is subject to review and input from other government agencies and the White House. The result of these reviews has often been to delay and soften the message from the Pentagon about the increasing capabilities of the People’s Republic of China which are designed for use against American and allied forces.
The 2010 annual report was supposed to be published by March 1, but did not appear until August 16. There had been speculation that the White House wanted to hold the April Nuclear Security Summit and the May U.S.-China Security and Economic Dialogue before the report became public. President Barack Obama hoped to make diplomatic progress with Beijing before attention was drawn to China’s military buildup.
Such diplomatic window dressing fooled no one. The Washington Post headline on its story read, “Pentagon: China’s Military Power Growing.” And even the paper’s appeasement-oriented China expert John Pomfret opened his column with the warning, “China is quickly modernizing its military and has set its sights on extending its influence deep into the Pacific and Indian oceans now that the military balance with its longtime nemesis, Taiwan, is tilting in its favor, the Defense Department reported Monday.” The Wall Street Journal, which has long supported the right of corporations to help Beijing acquire the means to expand its capabilities, ran as its headline “The Chinese Military Challenge: The PLA is seeking to push U.S. forces out of Asian waters.”
The DoD report states, “The PLA Navy has the largest force of principal combatants, submarines, and amphibious warfare ships in Asia. China’s naval forces include some 75 principal combatants, more than 60 submarines, 55medium and large amphibious ships, and roughly 85 missile-equipped patrol craft.” A new naval base on Hainan Island is nearly complete, with underground facilities for submarines and advanced surface warships within easy strikingrange of South China Sea targets.
A priority is the construction of new nuclear powered and diesel-electric attack submarines armed with anti-ship cruise missiles. China is also developing an anti-ship ballistic missile with a range in excess of 1,000 miles, with a maneuverable warhead. It is designed to strike U.S. aircraft carriers before their fighters are within range of China. China has it own aircraft carrier development program. According to the report, “The PRC shipbuilding industry could start construction of an indigenous platform by the end of this year. China is interested in building multiple operational aircraft carriers with support ships in the next decade.”
Another useful document which has not gotten the same attention as the publicly released Pentagon report is the study “China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress” by Ronald O’Rourke of the Congressional Research Service. Though written for use on Capitol Hill, the study has become available on the internet. The CRS report notes Chinese objectives beyond an “anti-access” strategy meant to isolate Taiwan from outside help in a war to conquer the island. “Some observers believe that China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is increasingly oriented toward pursuing additional goals, such as asserting or defending China’s claims in maritime territorial disputes, protecting China’s sea lines of communications, displacing U.S. influence in the Pacific, and asserting China’s status as a major world power.”
A vessel reported to be the Ukrainian-made aircraft carrier “Varyag,” which China bought in the 1990s, is seen at a port in Dalian, Liaoning province in this April 17, 2011 file photo.
Color China Photo – In this photo taken on Aug. 6, 2011, a Chinese aircraft carrier, which had been under refurbishment, is docked at Dalian port in in northeast Liaoning province. China’s first aircraft carrier started sea trials Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011, a step that will likely boost concerns about the country’s naval ambitions amid sea territorial disputes. (AP Photo/Color China Photo)
The aircraft carrier, which is about 300 meters (984 feet) long, plowed through fog and sounded its horn three times as it left the dock, Xinhua said on its military news microblog.
Xinhua said that “building a strong navy that is commensurate with China’s rising status is a necessary step and an inevitable choice for the country to safeguard its increasingly globalised national interests.”
Chinese citizens said the carrier launch showed their country deserved more respect from the rest of the world, despite problems it faces at home.
A high-speed train crash last month left many Chinese people bemoaning what they called officials’ reckless hunger for passing technological milestones.
“An aircraft carrier is the mark of major powers,” Pan Chunli, a 29-year-old IT technician in Beijing told Reuters.
“China has grown dramatically. The whole world should take a fresh look at China, viewing it as a rising power that it has the ability to defend its rights and territory.”
Retired Chinese navy Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo told state-run television that his country intended to build an air carrier group, but the task would be long and difficult.
“As for forming a carrier group, I think that will take at least ten years,” he told a Chinese television broadcast on the carrier launch.
PRESTIGE AND POWER
Last month, China confirmed that it was refitting the old, unfinished Soviet carrier hull bought from Ukraine’s government, and sources told Reuters it was also building two of its own carriers.
“China has had a longstanding fascination with the national prestige attached to aircraft carriers, and this first sea trial may be seen as a crucial step toward the goal of achieving great naval power status,” said Chengxin Pan, an expert on China at Deakin University in Australia.
The only real question here is – is Obama really defending AND protecting America?
The mini-NPR is now looking for even lower levels, raising new concerns among national security officials about whether the United States will be able to deter China’s growing and largely secret nuclear forces or a revanchist Russia that is also bolstering its arsenal.
“Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state for verification said at a conference on deterrence in August that “the United States has made it clear that we are committed to continuing a step-by-step process to reduce the overall number of nuclear weapons,” including through a possible agreement with Russia that would cover all types of nuclear arms – strategic, tactical and deployed and non-deployed.”