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The Arms Control Association is an "exceptional organization that effectively addresses pressing national and international challenges with an impact that is disproportionate to its small size." 

– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011
April 2009
Edition Date: 
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Cover Image: 

April 2009 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

Blechman, Barry, Unblocking the Road to Zero: Perspectives of Advanced Nuclear Nations, The Henry L. Stimson Center, March 2009.

The International Crisis Group, "North Korea's Missile Launch: The Risks of Overreaction," March 31, 2009.

Joseph, Jofi, "Renew the Drive for CTBT Ratification," The Washington Quarterly, April 2009.

Medvedev, Dmitry A., "Building Russian-U.S. Bonds," The Washington Post, March 31, 2009.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Preventing a Cascade of Instability: U.S. Engagement to Check Iranian Nuclear Progress, March 2009.

I. Strategic Arms

Acton, James, The Problem with Nuclear Mind Reading, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Proliferation Analysis, February-March 2009.

Andreasen, Steve, "Can U.S. Russia Reset the Nuclear Button," Mercury News, March 25, 2009.

Bagley, Roger, "MPs Launch Attack on Weapons Decision," Morning Star, March 10, 2009.

Baker, Peter and Cooper, Helene, "U.S. and Russia to Consider Reductions of Nuclear Arsenals in Talks for New Treaty," The New York Times, March 31, 2009.

Cloud, David S., "Obama, Medvedev to Open Missile Talks," Politico, March 31, 2009.

Crichton, Torcuil, "UK's New Nuclear Missiles Might Not Fit into £20bn Trident Submarines," The Herald, March 19, 2009.

Croft, Adrian, "UK Panel Raises Doubts about Nuclear Submarine Plan," Forbes, March 18, 2009.

Kramer, Andrew E., "Veterans of U.S. Diplomacy Try to Revive Nuclear Arms Talks with Russia, The New York Times, March 19, 2009.

Garman, Joss, "UK's Nuclear Arsenal - Time to Disarm," The Ecologist, March 10, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "British Lawmakers Protest Timing of Trident Decision," March 12, 2009.

Kralev, Nicholas, "U.S., Russia Aim to Cut Nukes," The Washington Times, March 9, 2009.

Nagorski, Andrew, "Obama's 50-50 Russia Strategy," Newsweek, March 28, 2009.

Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2009, March 2009.

RIA Novosti, "Russia's Submarine Fleet has 60 Vessels in Active Service," March, 19, 2009.

Weir, Fred, "A New Cuban Missile Crisis? Russia Eyes Bomber Bases in Latin America," The Christian Science Monitor, March 15, 2009.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Curtis, Jessicah, "Brazil Flips the Switch on Uranium Enrichment Plant," The Huffington Post, March 2, 2009.

Gorman, Siobhan, "Iran, Syria Got Indirect U.S. Nuclear Aid," The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2009.

Rene Beres, Louis, "Reconsidering Israel's Nuclear Ambiguity," Haaretz, March 6, 2009.

Russell, James A., "Prospects for Escalation and Nuclear War in the Middle East," French Institute for International Relations Security Studies Center, March 2009.

Iran

Associated Press, "Iran Seeking to Purchase Carbon Fiber," March 12, 2009.

Agence France-Presse, "Iran Says Nuclear Plant to Start Operating by Aug 22," March 10, 2009.

Baker, Peter, "Obama Offered Deal to Russia in Secret Letter," The New York Times, March 2, 2009.

Crail, Peter, "Iran's Nuclear Program: The Risk of the 'Known Unknown'," World Politics Review, March 4, 2009.

Cummins, Chip and Solomon, Jay, "U.S. Further Ramps Up Contact with Iran," The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2009.

Dombey, Daniel, "US Urged to Take Tough Iran Sanctions," The Financial Times, March 1, 2009.

Finn, Peter, "U.S., Israel Disagree on Iran Arms Threat," The Washington Post, March 11, 2009.

Goldberg, Jeffrey, "Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran-Or I Will," The Atlantic, March 31, 2009

Halevi, Yossi Klein, "Bibi and Barack Can Unite on Iran," The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2009.

Heinrich, Mark, "Six Powers Commit to 'Direct Diplomacy' with Iran," Reuters, March 3, 2009.

Kramer, David J., "No 'Grand Bargain'," The Washington Post, March 6, 2009, page A15.

Lake, Eli, "U.S. to Maintain Pressure on Guards," The Washington Times, March 31, 2009.

Middle East Online, "Saudi Urges Joint Arab Strategy on Iran," March 3, 2009.

Nasseri, Ladane, "Iran Rejects U.K. Pressure to End Uranium Enrichment Program," Bloomberg, March 18, 2009.

Sadjadpour, Karim, "Iranian Political and Nuclear Realities and U.S. Policy Options," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Proliferation Analysis, March 3, 2009.

Sadjadpour, Karim, "Should the U.S. Go to Any Lengths to Prevent a Nuclear Iran?," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Proliferation Analysis, March 25, 2009.

Shanker, Thom, "U.S. Says Iran Has Material for an Atomic Bomb," The New York Times, March 1, 2009.

U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, "Statement on behalf of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States," March 3, 2009.

Zabarenko, Deborah, "Pentagon's Gates says Iran 'Not Close' to Nuclear Weapon," Reuters, March 1, 2009.

North Korea

Agence France-Presse, "Spy Agencies Believe NKorea has Nuke Warheads," March 30, 2009.

BBC News, "China Talks for U.S. N. Korea Envoy," March 3, 2009.

Beck, Peter M., Can We Reach a Nuclear Deal with North Korea? Nautilus Institute, March 19, 2009.

Kessler, Glenn, "Envoy's Status Raises Eyebrows," The Washington Post, March 28, 2009.

Kyodo News, "North Korea Miniaturized Nuclear Warheads for Rodong Missiles," March 31, 2009.

Reuters, "North Korea Slows Disablement Pace Further - Kyodo," March 17, 2009.

Sanders, Sol, "Enough talk: Time At Last to Meet the N. Korean Challenge," World Tribune, March 30, 2009

Sung-ki, Jung, "Pyongyang Removed 75% of Spent Fuel Rods," The Korea Times, March 15, 2009.

Pakistan

Farkas, Evelyn N., "Pakistan and Nuclear Proliferation," The Boston Globe, March 5, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "U.S. Lawmakers Pressure Pakistan to Allow Access to Nuclear Smuggler," March 13, 2009.

Syria

Associated Press, "Iran Defector Tipped Syrian Nuke Plans," March 19, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "Syria Offers to Mediate Iran Nuclear Crisis," March 19, 2009.

Heinrich, Mark, "Evidence mounts of Syrian Nuclear Cover-up: U.S.," Reuters, March 4, 2009.

III. Nonproliferation

Grossman, Elaine M., "U.S. Advisory Panel Seeks 'Next Generation' of Cooperative Threat Reduction," Global Security Newswire, March 9, 2009.

Heinrich, Mark, "IAEA Approves Extra Nuclear Inspection Pact for India," Reuters, March 4, 2009.

Kubani, Samuel, "Iran, Syria in Spotlight of UN Nuclear Watchdog," Agence France-Presse, March 2, 2009.

Nuclear Engineering International, "IAEA Nuclear Fuel Bank Moves Step Closer, Says ElBaradei," March 3, 2009.

Ronen, Gil, "Israel: Nuke-Free Zone in Middle East? Only With Peace," Israel National News, March 15, 2009.

Scientific American, "Nuclear Testing is an Acceptable Risk for Arms Control," March 2009.

The Earth Times, "Nuclear Free Zone in Central Asia Enters into Force Saturday," March 20, 2009.

The Economic Times, "No Uranium Sales Unless India Signs NPT: Australia," March 19, 2009.

The Telegraph, "Gordon Brown Calls for Efforts Towards a World Free from Nuclear Weapons," March 17, 2009.

Tirone, Jonathan, "Buffet-Backed Atomic Fuel Bank Founders at UN Agency," Bloomberg, March 5, 2009.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

BBC News, "Czechs Halt US Missile Treaties," March 18, 2009.

Chang, Jae-Soon, "UN Agencies: NKorea Plans April Satellite Launch," Associated Press, March 12, 2009.

Daniel, Douglass K., "Gates Says US Can Do Nothing about NKorean Missile," Associated Press, March 29, 2009.

Keinon, Herb, and Lappin, Yaakov, "Israel Downplays S-300 Sale to Iran," The Jerusalem Post, March 18, 2009.

Kralev, Nicholas, "Japan Wants Payback if N. Korea Launches," The Washington Times, March 19, 2009.

Lucas, Ryan, "Polish Leader: Missile Defense Should Go Ahead," Associated Press, March 8, 2009.

Parry, Richard Lloyd, "Japan Prepares for First Use of 'Son of Star Wars' Missile Defence," The Times, March 4, 2009.

Pincus, Walter, "U.S. Could Hit N. Korean Missile, Says Commander," The Washington Post, March 20, 2009, page A09.

Reuters, "Clinton Says Missile Shield to Protect from Iran," March 3, 2009.

Reuters, "Poland Hopes to Complete U.S. Shield Talks in April," March 12, 2009.

RIA Novosti, "Iran Says First Satellite Successfully Completes Mission," March 19, 2009.

Tae-Hoon, Lee, "'NK Exported 1,000 Missiles to Middle East'," The Korea Times, March 5, 2009.

Thai-Indian News, "India Plans Radars in Space to Boost Missile Defence System," March 9, 2009.

The Hindu, "Missile Defense Shield: India to Test Interceptor on Friday," March 5, 2009.

Varner, Bill, "North Korean Satellite Would Threaten Regional Peace, Ban Says," Bloomberg, March 12, 2009.

Wolf, Jim, "Pentagon in 'Intense Review' of Europe Missile Shield," Reuters, March 18, 2009.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Drogin, Bob, "Anthrax Hoaxes Pile Up, As Does Their Cost," Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "Science Groups Counter WMD Panel's Prescription for Stemming Biological Threats," March 13, 2009.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on Terrorism," March 31, 2009.

VI. Conventional Arms

Abdullaev, Nabi, "Libya Buys 3 Missile Boats From Russia," Defense News, March 11, 2009.

Agence France-Presse, "U.S. Approves Sale of Anti-Sub Planes to India," March 17, 2009.

Associated Press, "U.N. Begins Work to Outline 1st Treaty to Restrict Conventional Arms Trade," March 2, 2009.

Charbonneau, Louis, "U.N. Committee Accuses Iran of Violating Arms Embargo," Reuters, March 10, 2009.

Donnelly, John M., "Ban on Exports of Most Cluster Bombs Becomes Law as Part of Omnibus," Congressional Quarterly Politics, March 11, 2009.

Jennings, Ralph, "U.S. Declines to Sell F-16 Fighter Jets to Taiwan: MP," Reuters, March 10, 2009.

Lt. General Robert G. Gard Jr. (USA, Ret.), "Past Time to Join the Landmine Treaty," The Huffington Post, March 18, 2009.

Mahdawi, Dalia, "Israel to Hand Over Cluster Bomb Maps - Israeli Media," The Daily Star, March 6, 2009.

RIA Novosti, "Kazakhstan, Russia Sign Contract on S-300 Air Defense Systems," March 4, 2009.

Tran, Pierre, "France to Double Arms Spending in 2009," Defense News, March 17, 2009.

Wander, Andrew, "US Donates $1.5 Million for Removing Ordnance as Cluster Bomb Kills Civilian," The Daily Star, March 20, 2009.

Weitz, Richard, "Global Insights: Chinese Arms Sales Worry Washington," World Politics Review, March 17, 2009.

VII. U.S. Policy

Agence France-Presse, "US Congress Moves to Reaffirm Taiwan Defense," March 19, 2009.

Government Accountability Office, NNSA and DOD Need to More Effectively Manage the Stockpile Life Extension Program, March 2009.

The United Arab Emirates Nuclear Program and Proposed U.S. Nuclear Cooperation, March 10, 2009.

Pincus, Walter, "Nuclear Security Official Hints at Leaner, Less Costly Weapons Complex," The Washington Post, March 24, 2009, page A11.

Reuters, "Senator Seeks to Ratify Nuclear Test Ban Pact," March 27, 2009.

VIII. Space

Dinerman, Taylor, "Space Weapons: Soft Power Versus Soft Politics," The Space Review, March 2, 2009.

RIA Novosti, "N.Korea Joins Space Treaty, Convention - Russian Ministry Source," March 12, 2009.

Ross, Sherwood, "Unchecked Race to Militarize Space Increasing Risk of Accidental Nuclear War," Ashin Metacarra, March 31, 2009.

Russia Today, "Russia Developing Anti-Satellite Weapons," March 5, 2009.

IX. Other

Associated Press, "U.N. Agency Needs More Funding to Tackle Extremist Groups with Nuclear Weapons," March 9, 2009.

Blanchard, Christopher and Kerr, Paul, The United Arab Emirates Nuclear Program and Proposed U.S. Nuclear Cooperation, Congressional Research Service, March 10, 2009

Finlay, Brian D., "Insuring" Against WMD Terrorism: How the Insurance Industry Could Become a Key Ally in Preventing a Nuclear 9/11, The Henry L. Stimson Center, March 30, 2009.

Krepon, Michael, "5 Myths About All Those Nukes Out There," The Washington Post, March 1, 2009.

Global Security Newswire, "U.S.-Backed Program Aided Nuclear Efforts in Iran, Syria," March 31, 2009.

Government Accountability Office, Strengthened Oversight Needed to Address Proliferation and Management Challenges in IAEA's Technical Cooperation Program, March 2009.

Hibbs, Mark, "Euratom, Canada Raising Objections to Additional Protocol Implementation," Nuclear Fuels, March 23, 2009.

Rogin, Josh, "GAO Seeks Curbs on Nuclear Assistance Funding to Terrorism Sponsors," Congressional Quarterly Politics, March 31, 2009.

 

Books of Note

The Bomb: A New History
Stephen M. Younger, Harper Collins, 2009, 238 pp.

The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation
By Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman, MBI Publishing Co., 2009, 393 pp.

Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia: Crisis Behavior and the Bomb
Edited by Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur, Routledge, 2009, 251 pp.

The Bomb: A New History

Stephen M. Younger, Harper Collins, 2009, 238 pp.

Stephen M. Younger, formerly associate director for nuclear weapons at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, calls for a new strategic force structure to fit the changed world after the Cold War. Recognizing that there are ever fewer potential uses for nuclear weapons beyond deterrence, Younger argues for a force structure equivlent to one-quarter to one-half the 2,200 operational warheads allowed under the 2002 U.S.-Russian Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty. He also argues that most of the arsenal should consist of much less powerful weapons than the 300- to 500-kiloton weapons employed today. This force structure would likely put counterforce tactics into the ash bin of history because no longer could one side even claim to be able to attack the other side's ICBM silos meaningfully. It could, however, raise concerns that smaller nuclear weapons, because of their size, might be used more often, lowering the threshold for attacks and making the use of nuclear weapons more likely.


The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation

By Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman, MBI Publishing Co., 2009, 393 pp.

Former Los Alamos nuclear weapons designers Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman trace the history of the spread of nuclear weapons technology, from the discovery of nuclear fission in the 1930s to the present-day threat of nuclear terrorism. The authors describe in considerable depth the motivations, technical challenges, and weaponization paths of the first nuclear powers, particularly China and the Soviet Union. They then turn to how nuclear technology has become increasingly diffuse in the latter years of the Cold War. Looking to the future, the authors highlight a rising China and radical Islam as the two most serious proliferation threats and propose five steps for countering these concerns: securing nuclear material, strengthening international safeguards, reducing the U.S. reliance on oil from the Middle East, rebuilding the U.S. intelligence community, and containing Chinese proliferation.


Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia: Crisis Behavior and the Bomb

Edited by Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur, Routledge, 2009, 251 pp.

The authors in this volume offer contrasting optimistic and pessimistic accounts of the role nuclear weapons played during four confrontations between India and Pakistan since 1986. The optimists argue that nuclear weapons act as a stabilizing influence in South Asia by compelling Indian and Pakistani decision-makers to act with restraint when conflict has arisen. Pessimists contend that nuclear weapons have destabilized the region by, among other things, emboldening Pakistan to take aggressive steps despite India's conventional military advantage. The four Indo-Pakistani conflicts considered are the 1986-1987 "Brasstacks" confrontation, the 1990 standoff over Kashmir, the 1999 Kargil war, and the 2001-2002 crisis sparked by a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament. Two final chapters consider the lessons of nuclear-armed India and Pakistan with regard to the possible next generation of nuclear-weapon states, North Korea and Iran. The adversarial structure of the book is meant, according to the editors, to foster dialogue between the optimistic and pessimistic conceptions of nuclear proliferation in South Asia.


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U.S. Limits Clusters; Global Efforts Ongoing

Jeff Abramson

The United States in March made permanent a ban on the transfer of nearly all of its cluster munitions, and Congress is considering limitations on the use of the weapons. Internationally, Laos, the world's most cluster-impacted country, ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) as other countries continued discussing a potential alternative agreement within the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).

On March 11, President Barack Obama signed the fiscal year 2009 omnibus appropriation bill that included a provision to bar U.S. transfer of cluster munitions unless the arms have a 99 percent or higher functioning rate and agreements exist that they will only be used against military targets where civilians are not known to be present. This effectively prohibits the transfer of nearly the entire U.S. arsenal comprised of an estimated 700 million or more submunitions. The law makes permanent what had been only one-year provisions, first included in omnibus legislation for fiscal year 2008.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced bills in February that would bar U.S. use of cluster munitions unless they meet the same guidelines. Similar legislation introduced in the previous Congress failed to win passage. Current U.S. policy requires approval from a combatant commander before cluster munitions that have a failure rate of greater than 1 percent may be used. (See ACT, September 2008.)

Cluster munitions are bombs, rockets, and artillery shells that disperse over broad areas small submunitions that sometimes fail to explode initially, later injuring or killing military forces and noncombatants. In 2008, 94 countries signed the CCM, which bars the use of nearly all cluster munitions and obligates countries to destroy stockpiles and conduct clearance efforts. (See ACT, January/February 2009.)

At a UN meeting March 18 designed to promote the CCM, Laos announced its ratification of the agreement, bringing the total number of ratifying states to five. Thirty ratifications are needed for the treaty to enter into force. (See ACT, December 2008.)

Laos is the world's most cluster-affected country, suffering from a U.S. bombing campaign that dropped more than 270 million submunitions between 1964 and 1973, with as many as 30 percent of those submunitions failing to explode as intended. Laos has not joined the 1997 Mine Ban Convention, citing difficulties in meeting that treaty's 10-year clearance requirement. The ability of Laos to meet similar cluster munitions timelines, once the treaty enters into force, will be uncertain. The country will likely need to request an extension, as 15 countries did last year when they faced their 10-year clearance deadlines under the Mine Ban Convention. (See ACT, January/February 2009.)

At the UN event, the Democratic Republic of Congo signed the CCM, bringing the total number of signatories to 96. Tunisia signed in January.

Many of the major producers and stockpilers of cluster munitions that have not signed the CCM participated in discussions on the weapons held Feb. 16-20 under the CCW. (See ACT, December 2008.) They are scheduled to meet for the final time April 14-17 in Geneva, but expectations are low that an agreement will be reached within the group.

In the United States, leaders of 67 national organizations called on the Obama administration to review U.S. policy on landmines and cluster munitions. In discussing the new limits passed into law, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who helped write the provision, said, "Like Congress's initiative to ban the export of anti-personnel landmines, this can be a catalyst to prompt a review by the Pentagon of U.S. policy, with a view to rapidly ending the use of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to innocent civilians."

IAEA Fuel Bank Advances

Miles A. Pomper

A proposed international nuclear fuel bank took a major step forward March 5 with a $10 million pledge by Kuwait. The pledge meant that international donors exceeded a required $100 million total.

Earlier pledges had come from the United States ($50 million), the European Union (25 million euros), the United Arab Emirates ($10 million), and Norway ($5 million).

The private Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), funded by billionaire Warren Buffet, had required that the $100 million in pledges be in place before it would contribute an additional $50 million to the effort. International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei had also said that he would wait until the funds were in place before having the agency secretariat craft a proposed framework for the fuel bank for consideration by the IAEA Board of Governors. At the March IAEA board meeting, ElBaradei said he hoped to submit such a proposed framework for the board's next meeting in June.

He also laid out three principles for an ideal framework. First, he said that the fuel bank mechanism should be nonpolitical, nondiscriminatory, and open to any state in compliance with its IAEA safeguards obligations. Such safeguards are intended to ensure that nuclear material and technology are not diverted from peaceful to military uses.

Second, ElBaradei suggested that any release of the material should be determined by nonpolitical criteria established in advance and applied objectively and consistently.

Finally, he said that "no state should be required to give up its rights under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) regarding any part of the nuclear fuel cycle." During the Bush administration, many developing countries chafed at U.S. attempts to write global rules that would block new countries from obtaining proliferation-sensitive uranium-enrichment or spent fuel reprocessing technologies, arguing they had a right to such technology under Article IV of the NPT. That article guarantees states access to peaceful nuclear technology if they renounce nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei added that "one part of a possible new framework is to reach agreement that all new enrichment and reprocessing activities should be placed exclusively under multilateral control, to be followed by agreement to convert all existing facilities from national to multilateral control as well."

The NTI and IAEA have championed the proposed fuel bank a means of assuring countries that they do not have to construct uranium-enrichment or spent fuel reprocessing facilities in order to guarantee that they have sufficient supplies of nuclear fuel.

It is one of about a dozen such fuel assurance efforts launched by developed countries in the last few years. Indeed, Russia circulated a draft proposal at the March board meeting for a 120-metric-ton low-enriched uranium fuel reserve that it would maintain and make available to IAEA member states under similar circumstances. It is not clear how much interest the potential consuming countries, primarily in the developing world, have in such schemes. Some countries are content to rely solely on the commercial market, while others such as Brazil and Iran appear determined to operate their own enrichment facilities.

GAO Criticizes Missile Defense Programs

A March Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress found that the U.S. ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) has been subject to cost overruns and vague accounting and failed to achieve any of its six testing objectives for fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 30. Nevertheless, several system elements, including 24 upgraded ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) interceptors, are being deployed before being fully tested. (Continue)

Cole Harvey

A March Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress found that the U.S. ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) has been subject to cost overruns and vague accounting and failed to achieve any of its six testing objectives for fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 30. Nevertheless, several system elements, including 24 upgraded ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) interceptors, are being deployed before being fully tested.

The U.S. missile defense system incorporates a variety of assets, including long-range radar facilities, satellites, and missile interceptors based on land and at sea. The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has spent nearly $56 billion researching and deploying various elements of the system since 2002.

The report notes that, for the sixth year in a row, GAO was unable to assess conclusively the total cost of ballistic missile defense programs because the MDA does not provide baseline budget numbers as other major defense programs do. Nevertheless, by reviewing individual contracts, GAO estimates that MDA contractors overran budgeted costs by $152.4 million in fiscal year 2008. The Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS), a proposed group of satellites intended to monitor the globe for missile launches, exceeded its budget the most of the 14 contracts GAO examined. STSS costs exceeded budget projections by $87.9 million in fiscal year 2008, accounting for more than one-half of the MDA's red ink. The report estimates that, by the time all 14 contracts are completed, cumulative costs will exceed their budget projections by at least $2 billion and possibly as much as $3 billion.

The GMD program, which is intended to intercept ICBMs beyond the earth's atmosphere, came in under budget by almost $54 million for fiscal year 2008. The GAO notes that this rare bright spot in the MDA's budget performance is due primarily to the fact that the MDA did not emplace the three ground-based interceptors planned for fiscal year 2008 or conduct either of its two scheduled GMD flight tests.

All ballistic missile defense programs experienced testing delays, according to the report. As a result of these delays, none of the six "knowledge points" specified for 2008 by former MDA Director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering were achieved. The report concludes that, as a result of shortfalls in testing, "comprehensive assessments of the capabilities and limitations of the [ballistic missile defense system] are not currently possible."

Some elements of the missile defense system are being deployed without being fully tested, the report finds. For example, the MDA purchased 20 SM-3 Block 1A missiles in 2008, despite the fact that the SM-3 is not scheduled to be tested against a long-range missile until the third quarter of fiscal year 2009. Additionally, in response to earlier tests, the MDA began a program to refurbish its ground-based interceptors with upgraded kill vehicles and boosters. The upgraded model has not been flight-tested, yet "all 24 interceptors with this configuration are emplaced and considered operational," according to the GAO.

The fielding of missile defense assets before they have been fully tested is in keeping with the Bush administration's policy of "spiral development." In 2002 testimony before Congress, then-MDA Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish stated that the Pentagon was willing to field prototypes ahead of comprehensive testing, then upgrade those assets as the situation demanded. (See ACT, April 2002.) The GAO report observes that the philosophy of spiral development allowed the MDA to quickly field an initial missile defense capability, as directed by President George W. Bush. As the MDA has continued to develop ballistic missile defense, the GAO notes that the agency "has been less successful in fostering adequate knowledge of system capabilities prior to manufacturing and fielding [ballistic missile defense] assets."

The report recommends that the secretary of defense direct the MDA to test the ground-based interceptor "against a complex scene with countermeasures" and to "ensure that items are not manufactured for fielding before their performance has been validated through testing."

Nuclear Refurbishment Problems Reported

Scott Miller

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) March 2 released a report detailing several cases of mismanagement within two of the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Life Extension Programs (LEPs). This report follows NNSA press releases in January and February announcing the completion of the B61 warhead refurbishments and partial completion of the W76 warhead refurbishments.

The GAO report provides insight into problems encountered during the refurbishment of the B61 and W76 and makes recommendations for the NNSA, a semiautonomous part of the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense to improve their LEP management.According to the report, the NNSA underestimated the cost of the B61 program and established a rigid timetable for completing the refurbishments. The timetable, which did not take into account technical setbacks or other unforeseen problems, forced production officials to take shortcuts and left little time for testing the new materials. The report also explains that the timetable did not allow for production of certain materials for replacement purposes because it was thought existing materials would be reused. When some materials were deemed not reusable, particularly some of the plastic components, the NNSA began development of an alternative solution, which contributed greatly to an increase in cost. Later, however, when U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for deploying the U.S. nuclear arsenal, reviewed its military needs, it determined that it would be acceptable for the NNSA to reuse these components.

Despite these difficulties, the NNSA announced in January that the B61 refurbishments had been completed one year ahead of schedule. (See ACT, March 2009.) The report indicates that the NNSA can claim little credit for this achievement. In addition to the change in U.S. Strategic Command's military needs, two other outside factors allowed the NNSA to complete the B61 refurbishment. First, the NNSA was able to reuse materials from decommissioned B61s. Second, the Nuclear Weapons Council, a joint Defense Department and Energy Department oversight organization, decided to reduce the number of B61s in the U.S. stockpile, which decreased the number of bombs that needed to be refurbished by two-thirds. All told, the NNSA refurbished one-third of the B61s that were originally planned, at nearly twice the cost per unit.

The refurbishment of the W76 warhead was also fraught with program mismanagement. The GAO report explains that the NNSA underestimated the time needed to manufacture "fogbank," a classified material necessary in W76 development. Due to an unrealistic timetable, disagreements over safety procedures, and poor management oversight, the first refurbished W76 was not completed until September 2008, a full one year after its intended completion date.

To improve NNSA refurbishment of the remaining W76 warheads and successfully manage future life extension efforts, the GAO issued a series of recommendations. It recommended that the NNSA develop a reasonable timetable for the remainder of the W76 refurbishment that allows time for technical setbacks and sufficient testing. It advised the NNSA to account for the likelihood of these setbacks in its initial cost estimates so it does not incur cost overruns. Finally, the GAO urged that the NNSA coordinate with the Defense Department to assess military requirements and address any budget or scheduling issues before the programs begin.

The Energy Department generally agreed with the GAO's recommendations and cited the need for more funding to properly implement a more comprehensive management strategy. The Defense Department also by and large agreed with the recommendations while clarifying the military services' roles in coordinating activities with the NNSA.

Obama Cuts RRW Program

Scott Miller

President Barack Obama Feb. 26 provided the outlines of his proposed budget for fiscal year 2010, which begins Oct. 1. The outline, the details of which are expected to be filled in this month, includes a proposal to end the development of the controversial so-called reliable replacement warhead (RRW). Meanwhile, Congress March 10 finally approved a spending bill for Department of Energy nuclear energy and weapons programs for the current fiscal year.

The president's budget outline states that the administration no longer supports development of the RRW, a program intended to permit the design of new warheads. This marks a change from the previous administration, which sought funds for the RRW program but was rebuffed by the Democratic-controlled Congress each of the past two years. RRW advocates charge that the only way to ensure the reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is to fund the development of new warheads and weapon systems.

Critics of the RRW program believe that the best and most cost-effective way to ensure warhead reliability is through Energy Department Life Extension Programs (LEPs). These programs extend the life of U.S. nuclear warheads an additional 20 or 30 years by refurbishing and replacing parts that have deteriorated with the passage of time. Supporters say LEPs allow the United States to maintain its current arsenal in a way that is consistent with its nonproliferation goals and uphold its moratorium on nuclear testing.

As indicated in the 2010 budget outline, the Obama administration wants to continue Energy Department life extension efforts and commit significant resources toward threat reduction initiatives to secure fissile material and deter nuclear theft around the world. In the 2009 spending bill that was just passed, Congress allocated $395 million for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, aimed at securing nuclear material around the world, and $1.5 billion total for nonproliferation measures. The president's outline also states the administration's intention to develop a new strategy for nuclear waste management. The plan calls for scaling back the Yucca Mountain program while a new plan for waste disposal is developed.

The 2010 budget outline does not address other controversial programs advocated by the Bush administration, such as the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). Because funding for GNEP's near-term spent fuel reprocessing initiative was zeroed out in the 2009 spending bill, funding for this initiative in 2010 does not seem likely. The only funding GNEP received was $145 million for its research arm, the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative. GNEP has been well received abroad, accumulating 25 member states and many more observer states. Domestically, critics of GNEP have argued that the partnership increases proliferation risks by spreading nuclear material and does not effectively manage nuclear waste.

Obama Seeks Russian Cooperation on Iran

In February, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev seeking greater cooperation from Moscow for addressing concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program. 

Peter Crail

In February, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev seeking greater cooperation from Moscow for addressing concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program. The letter indicated that the U.S. deployment of a missile defense system in eastern Europe opposed by Russia would hinge on progress in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Responding to early press reports suggesting that the letter offered Moscow a trade of the missile defense system for cooperation on Iran, Obama clarified during a March 3 press conference that "what I said...was that, obviously, to the extent that we are lessening Iran's commitment to nuclear weapons, then that reduces the pressure for or the need for a missile defense system."

The United States is currently reviewing its plans for basing 10 missile interceptors in Poland and an advanced radar system in the Czech Republic.

Referring to the letter at a March 3 press conference, Medvedev stated that Russia is ready to discuss a new missile defense arrangement that is acceptable to Moscow and meets European security needs.

It is unclear what form of cooperation Washington is currently seeking from Moscow on Iran. According to former Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation Mark Fitzpatrick, Russian agreement to halt or limit arms sales to Iran would be the most significant form of cooperation on Iran. Speaking at the Henry L. Stimson Center March 9, Fitzpatrick said that such a move would place pressure on Tehran due to its dependence on Moscow for its military hardware.

A key piece of hardware the United States has been wary of Russia delivering to Iran is the S-300 air defense system, particularly the version known as the SA-20. The delivery of the SA-20 would provide Iran with the capability to counter aircraft at a range of 195 kilometers and ballistic missiles at a range of up to 50 kilometers.

Israel may be even more concerned about Iran's acquisition of the S-300. Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, former U.S. representative to the United Nations for special political affairs, said March 9 that Israeli officials see the delivery of the S-300 as shortening the time frame in which a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities may be possible. She suggested that Israel might carry out such an attack if it believed such a delivery was imminent.

Iranian officials have stated on a number of occasions that Tehran has concluded an agreement with Moscow to acquire the S-300. Most recently, Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency in December 2008 quoted Iranian Defense Minister Mustafa Najjar stating that "the S-300 air defense system will be delivered to Iran on the basis of a contract signed with Russia in the past." (See ACT, November 2008.)

Although Russia has never officially confirmed that it has agreed to sell the S-300 to Iran, the state-run Russian press agencies RIA Novosti and ITAR-TASS quoted an unnamed Russian defense official March 18 stating that Moscow concluded a contract with Tehran in 2007 for the sale of the S-300 to Iran, but that the system has not been delivered due to political and security considerations. The Russian official was not specific as to whether the SA-20 or the less capable SA-12 version was being discussed. According to the official, "[F]ulfillment of the contract will mainly depend on the current international situation and the decision of the country's leadership."

Russian officials have often stated that Moscow's military assistance to Iran would only provide weapons of a defensive nature "with due account of regional stability and security." (See ACT, November 2008.)

Fitzpatrick told Arms Control Today March 23 that "it seems clear that Russia entered into a contract with Iran for the S-300 but it's also clear that the Russians have not delivered on it and are holding on to it as potential negotiating leverage with the United States over ballistic missile defense and possibly other issues."

Treasury Sanctions Firms Tied to Iranian Bank

Although the new U.S. administration has not issued calls for additional UN sanctions, it has continued to levy its own sanctions on entities it suspects of being engaged in proliferation. The Department of the Treasury March 3 issued financial restrictions against 11 Iranian entities tied to Bank Melli, Iran's largest bank. The United States issued the sanctions under Executive Order 13382, which freezes the U.S.-held assets of entities and individuals suspected of proliferating unconventional weapons and prevents them from accessing the U.S. financial system. (See ACT, November 2008.)

Washington sanctioned Bank Melli under Executive Order 13382 in 2007. (See ACT, November 2007.) In March 2008, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1803, which called on states to "exercise vigilance" with respect to any dealings with Iranian financial institutions, "in particular with Bank Melli and Bank Saderat."

Announcing the new sanctions, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey stated that Washington "will continue to take steps to protect the integrity of the international financial system by exposing the banks, companies, and individuals supporting Iran's nuclear and missile programs."

Iran Said to Violate Arms Embargo

In addition to failing to comply with UN resolutions requiring that Tehran halt its sensitive nuclear activities, Iran also appears to have further violated international restrictions on its arms transfers.

Ambassador Yukio Takasu, Japanese permanent representative to the UN and chair of the Security Council committee tasked with monitoring the three sanctions resolutions imposed on Iran, told the council March 10 that a Syria-bound shipment of arms from Iran violated Resolution 1747.

That resolution, adopted by the council in March 2007, prohibits Iran from exporting "any arms or related materiel" and forbids states from importing such materials from Iran.

The committee sent letters to Iran and Syria March 9 seeking additional information regarding their involvement in the transfer. Reuters reported March 10 that according to those letters, the inspections of the Cypriot-flagged vessel, the MV Monchegorsk, carried out in Cyprus Jan. 29-Feb. 2 revealed that it carried military equipment such as high-explosive shells, 125-millimeter armor-piercing shells, and high-explosive anti-tank propellant.

Following Takasu's report, Susan Rice, U.S. permanent representative to the UN, called on the committee to "redouble its efforts" to ensure the implementation of the sanctions on Iran. She added that the United States is "prepared for principled engagement with Iran, and we will ensure that such engagement is consistent with the decisions of this body."

In a sterner message, John Sawers, British permanent representative to the UN, issued a warning that if Iran continued to violate its international obligations, the international community must "make clear to Iran that its choices will have a cost."

Iran Precommissions Bushehr Plant

Meanwhile, Iran continued to make progress on its nuclear efforts by precommissioning its first nuclear power reactor at Bushehr on Feb. 25. The precommissioning entailed running the plant with virtual fuel to test its operations. Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and Sergey Kiriyenko, head of the state-run Russian nuclear firm Rosatom, oversaw the precommissioning and indicated that the operation was successful.

Kiriyenko told reporters Feb. 25 that work on the plant is in its "final stages," adding "what we have to do with our Iranian co-workers is to take a look in order to see what we can do in order to make our site operational as soon as possible." Iranian officials have indicated that the plant could start operations by the fall of 2009.

Rosatom has been constructing the plant since 1995, but the project has met numerous delays, putting off the operation of the reactor for several years. Germany originally started construction of the reactor in the 1970s but halted work in the 1980s following the 1979 Iranian revolution. Russia completed construction work in 2008 and delivered the reactor's initial supply of nuclear fuel. The fuel and the reactor remain under IAEA safeguards.

Washington initially opposed the project for years due to concerns that the plant would contribute to any Iranian nuclear weapons efforts. Following a 2005 agreement in which Tehran pledged to return spent fuel from the reactor to Russia, thereby preventing Iran from separating plutonium for nuclear weapons, the United States ultimately halted its opposition. (See ACT, April 2005.)

Washington now claims that the plant demonstrates that Iran does not need its own uranium-enrichment capabilities due to its arrangements to use low-enriched Russian fuel.

IAEA Approves India Additional Protocol

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) March 3 approved an additional protocol to India's safeguards agreement, ostensibly providing the agency with greater authority to monitor India's civilian nuclear activities. New Delhi, which is not a member of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), reached an "India-specific" agreement with the agency last year to place some of its nuclear facilities under safeguards while other facilities remain available for use for India's nuclear weapons efforts. (See ACT, September 2008.) That agreement paved the way for the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to adopt an exemption for sharing nuclear technology with India. (Continue)

Peter Crail

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) March 3 approved an additional protocol to India's safeguards agreement, ostensibly providing the agency with greater authority to monitor India's civilian nuclear activities. New Delhi, which is not a member of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), reached an "India-specific" agreement with the agency last year to place some of its nuclear facilities under safeguards while other facilities remain available for use for India's nuclear weapons efforts. (See ACT, September 2008.) That agreement paved the way for the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to adopt an exemption for sharing nuclear technology with India. (See ACT, October 2008.)

Although the additional protocol is ordinarily a voluntary measure, U.S. legislation adopted in 2006 stipulated that India must make "substantial progress toward concluding an additional protocol consistent with IAEA principles, practices, and policies that would apply to India's civil nuclear program" before the United States could engage in nuclear trade with India.

The Indian parliament must ratify the protocol for it to enter into force. There are currently 90 countries with such protocols in effect. The IAEA and the United States and many other countries have sought to make the protocol the new standard for safeguards. Washington's additional protocol entered into force in January.

Just as the IAEA concluded an India-specific safeguards arrangement with New Delhi to account for its weapons-related nuclear activities, which are not to be safeguarded, India's additional protocol is markedly different from the 1997 Model Additional Protocol that serves as the rubric for such agreements.

According to a Feb. 25 IAEA note to the agency's Board of Governors, "[T]he provisions of the draft additional protocol with India are based on the text of those provisions in the Model Additional Protocol to which India has agreed." The note said that India sent a letter to the agency in September 2008 indicating the measures of the Model Additional Protocol that India was willing to accept and requesting that the agency prepare a draft protocol on the basis of those specifications.

Nonetheless, the agreement the agency approved omitted many of the key provisions of the Model Additional Protocol regarding the type of information India would provide to the agency and the access that would be granted to agency inspectors. In particular, among the provisions of the Model Additional Protocol on what kinds of activities and facilities a country would report to the agency, India only agreed to share information on nuclear-related exports. Reporting provisions of the model protocol not contained in India's agreement cover information such as nuclear fuel-cycle-related research and development, nuclear-related imports, and uranium mining.

The Indian additional protocol also does not include any complementary access provisions, which provide the IAEA with the potential authority to inspect undeclared facilities. Such provisions also allow the agency to carry out environmental sampling.

Many of the provisions not included in the Indian additional protocol are intended to provide the agency with the means to detect undeclared nuclear activities. As in the case of NPT nuclear-weapon states, India will continue to maintain undeclared nuclear activities outside of safeguards.

Still, the additional protocols adopted by some nuclear-weapon states, including the United States, have incorporated most of the provisions of the Model Additional Protocol with some adjustments. In such cases, rather than omit certain aspects of the standard protocol, nuclear-weapon states have conditioned access on the basis of national security exclusions.

The U.S. additional protocol, for example, allows Washington to exclude its implementation in cases that would "result in access by the agency to activities with direct national security significance to the United States."

Although the Indian additional protocol does not include a national security exemption, it does contain a broad exemption for unsafeguarded activities. It states that the protocol will "not hinder or otherwise interfere" with any nuclear activities outside the scope of India's safeguards agreement.

In 2006, New Delhi agreed to place 14 thermal power reactors under IAEA monitoring, leaving another eight unsafeguarded. It has yet to provide the agency formally with a list of facilities to fall under safeguards, a key requirement for such monitoring mechanisms to come into effect.

U.S., Allies Warn Against NK Space Launch

The United States, Japan, and South Korea warned North Korea in March that its intended satellite launch would violate a UN Security Council resolution prohibiting Pyongyang's missile activities, indicating that the council would consider the issue in the event of such a launch. North Korea maintains that the launch is only for civil space purposes and has provided information to UN agencies on the timing and route of its space launch vehicle. (Continue)

Peter Crail

The United States, Japan, and South Korea warned North Korea in March that its intended satellite launch would violate a UN Security Council resolution prohibiting Pyongyang's missile activities, indicating that the council would consider the issue in the event of such a launch. North Korea maintains that the launch is only for civil space purposes and has provided information to UN agencies on the timing and route of its space launch vehicle.

The launch is expected to involve North Korea's most advanced rocket system, the Taepo Dong-2, which has an estimated range of 4,000-8,000 kilometers. Such a range could potentially allow North Korea to reach Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the western coast of the continental United States.

Pyongyang Makes Space Launch Preparations

Pyongyang reportedly began moving equipment in early February to its eastern launch facility at Musudan-ri in preparation for a long-range missile launch. (See ACT, March 2009.) North Korea officially announced Feb. 24 that it intended to launch a rocket to orbit a communications satellite, the Kwangmyongsong-2. Since then, Pyongyang has taken additional steps to suggest that the system it intends to launch is a satellite-launch vehicle.

On March 11, Pyongyang informed the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization that the launch would take place April 4-8 and provided those agencies with information regarding expected "dangerous area coordinates" where two of the rocket's three stages are expected to fall to earth.

The information North Korea provided to the UN agencies indicates that the rocket launch is expected to fly over northern Japan. North Korea similarly fired its first alleged satellite launch vehicle, the Taepo Dong-1, over Japan in 1998, provoking a strong reaction from Tokyo. At that time, however, Pyongyang did not provide any prior notification of the launch, which failed to orbit that country's first satellite, the Kwangmyongsong-1.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) also declared March 12 that Pyongyang acceded to two international instruments on the civilian use of outer space: the Outer Space Treaty and the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. Diplomatic sources contacted by Arms Control Today in March indicated that North Korea only acceded to the latter and informed Russia, a depository for the Outer Space Treaty, that it was adhering to that accord.

Missile Suspicions

In spite of North Korean efforts to suggest that its rocket is only intended to launch a satellite, Washington and its allies are suspicious that the launch is cover for a long-range ballistic missile test.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the House Armed Services Committee March 10, that although he expects North Korea to carry out a space launch as intended, "the technology is indistinguishable" from an ICBM. Speaking to reporters March 4, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth went further, saying that Washington "doesn't see a distinction" between a satellite launch and a missile.

Seoul's assessment appeared to rule out any civilian rationale altogether. Describing the rocket to reporters March 12, South Korea's unification minister, Hyun In-taek, said, "[G]iven North Korea's security situation, it is likely a missile."

Indeed, many of the technologies involved in a space launch vehicle and an ICBM are the same, including the propulsion system and staging, the practice of placing multiple rocket engines on top of one another. In March 19 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command Gen. Kevin Chilton explained that the United States used its Atlas and Titan rockets both for ICBM and space launch roles.

Chilton noted, however, that "other elements that would have to be matured" before Pyongyang could launch an ICBM. He said such elements included weaponization and developing a re-entry vehicle that can survive such a long-range flight, "which is not a trivial thing."

Allies Mull Potential Responses

Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul have stated that any launch will violate UN Security Council resolutions requiring that North Korea abandon all ballistic missile activities, warning that they will seek action by the council in response to such a violation. Agence France-Presse reported March 19 that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso told a parliamentary committee that Japan will call on the council to consider a response to the test "including the idea of strengthening sanctions." Japan currently holds a rotating seat on the 15-member body.

The Security Council adopted Resolution 1695 calling for North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile activities in July 2006 in response to North Korea's first Taepo Dong-2 test. Following North Korea's nuclear test three months later, it adopted Resolution 1718 demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear and missile activities and levying a series of sanctions against Pyongyang.

Russia does not appear to share the interpretation that a satellite launch would constitute a violation of those resolutions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters March 2 that "[n]o one prohibits launching satellites, but a rocket that carries a satellite is another matter." He added, "[W]e must understand what kind of missile that is."

Referencing Lavrov's comments, a Russian diplomat said to Arms Control Today March 17 that the council resolutions do not prohibit a launch "if it is designed only for delivering an object into orbit."

Previously, however, the council has characterized a suspected satellite launch as a missile. In reference to the 1998 Taepo Dong-1 launch, Resolution 1695 described that supposed satellite launch vehicle as "an object propelled by a missile." Washington concluded in 1998 that North Korea did attempt to orbit a satellite at that time.

In addition to seeking a UN response, Washington and Tokyo have also indicated their readiness to shoot down any long-range North Korean missile in the event of such a launch.

Testifying with Chilton, Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said that the United States would "have a high probability" of intercepting a North Korean ICBM with the U.S. missile defense system.

Keating's assessment appeared to conflict with that of a December 2008 annual report by the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate. That report indicated that "while [the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense] GMD has demonstrated a capability against a simple foreign threat, GMD flight testing to date will not support a high level of confidence in its limited capabilities." (See ACT, March 2009.)

The GMD consists of interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California, which are intended to defend the United States against ICBMs.

In a March 9 KCNA report, Pyongyang warned that any intercept of its alleged satellite rocket would constitute an act of war.

Although the flight path indicated by North Korea suggests that the rocket will fly over Japan, Tokyo has warned that it would attempt to intercept anything that may threaten Japanese territory.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said during a March 19 press conference that Tokyo was considering deploying some of its six Patriot-3 anti-missile batteries to northern Japan, where the North Korean rocket is expected to fly over.

Laying the groundwork for such a move, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told reporters March 13 that "Japan is legally able to shoot down the object to secure safety if it looks like it will fall onto Japan."

South Korean officials have also discussed potential responses to the rocket launch, including the possibility of full membership in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told reporters March 13 that because the PSI "is aimed at containing weapons of mass destruction...the launch may raise the need to review full membership."

Seoul is currently an observer to the informal initiative aimed at sharing information on and interdicting illicit shipments of nonconventional weapons and delivery systems. In spite of U.S. pressure, South Korea has declined becoming a full participant due to concerns that PSI activities would undermine progress in multilateral negotiations on North Korea's denuclearization.

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