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Front Page News Items From 2006

USS Randolph visited Copenhagen with nuclear weapons onboard, despite Denmark's ban on nuclear weapons. Such nuclear diplomacy was common during the Cold War
From the Nuclear History Department

Nuclear Diplomacy During the Cold War

(December 20, 2006)

Caught between the nuclear superpowers in the Cold War, some non-nuclear countries entered into top-secret agreements with their nuclear ally that meant they had to accept nuclear weapons on their territory. The "good-will" visit of the nuclear-armed U.S. aircraft carrier USS Randolph to Denmark in 1966 triggered a diplomatic incident that set the stage for decades of political trouble. Newly declassified documents show that the U.S. government did not believe nuclear weapons on visiting warships were affected by the non-nuclear policies of Denmark and other countries such as Japan.

New Joint FAS-NRDC Report on U.S.-Chinese Nuclear Relations

Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning
(November 30, 2006)

An incipient nuclear arms race is emerging between China and the United States, according to a new report published by the Federation of American Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The 250-page report, Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning, outlines the status and possible future development of China's nuclear weapons, describes the history of U.S. nuclear targeting of China, and simulates nuclear strike scenarios between the two nuclear powers. The report, which is based on analysis of declassified and unclassified U.S. government documents as well as commercial satellite images of Chinese installations, urges both countries to take steps to halt and reverse the tension and military build-up.

November-December Nuclear Notebook Available

Locations of US Nuclear Weapons

(November 9, 2006)

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists carries a detailed overview of where the United States stores its nuclear weapons. The overview is the latest Nuclear Notebook, a column written by Hans M. Kristensen at the Federation of the American Scientists and Robert S. Norris at the Natural Resources Defense Council. A satellite tour of the facilities using GoogleEarth is available here, along with a map not made available online by the Bulletin.

New Briefing

Russian Nuclear Forces and Missions
(October 18, 2006)

Russia has major nuclear weapons modernizations underway, yet its force level will continue to decline during the next decade even if new land-based ballistic missiles are equipped with multiple warheads. The United States remains the main focus of Russian nuclear planning. This and more according to a briefing presented to the conference
Emerging Nuclear Weapons Policies: An Opportunity to Increase Dialogue, organized by the Washington-based World Security Institute and the Moscow-based Institute for Strategic Stability.

Long-term projection for Russian nuclear forces

Another Chinese DF-31 missile has been test launched
Slow Chinese Missile Modernization Continues

China Test-Launches New Ballistic Missile
(September 6, 2006)

China test-launched a DF-31 long-range ballistic missile on September 5th, according to a Russian news media report. The missile was said to have been launched from the Wuzhai launch site, and impacted in the Takla Makan Desert some 2,500 km to the west. The DF-31 forms the core of China's long-awaited upgrade of its old liquid-fueled missiles and is a central theme in the Pentagon's warnings about Chinese military modernization. Reports from the media and conservative institutes are full of exaggerated claims about the capability of the new missile, as if the reality is not bad enough. Later this month, FAS and NRDC will publish an report about China's nuclear forces and U.S. nuclear war planning against China.

More trouble for controversial tunnel defeat experiment

Divine Strake Test Explosion Delayed Again
May be moved to new location
(August 2, 2006)

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency has circulated a statement in Congress saying the Divine Strake explosion will be delayed
"at least several months into calendar year 2007." The statement comes after DTRA told Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) that it will "look into the possibility of other locations" for conducting the Divine Strake test. DTRA previously told FAS that Diving Strake was a nuclear weapons calibration experiment, but later changed the story when concerns erupted in Congress and among local communities. (Divine Strake background)

Divine Strake hole to be filled again?

New article in
Défense Nationale
French National Security Magazine Publishes Article on U.S. Nuclear Policy

US National Security and Preemption
(July 27, 2006)

The French magazine Défense Nationale asked me to submit an article about the new U.S. National Military Strategy published by the Bush administration in March 2006 and how it relates to the so-called preemption doctrine announced by the administration in 2002.  The article is included in the July 2006 issue which focuses on the nuclear deterrence debate following the announcement by French president Jacques Chiraq in January that France has adjusted its nuclear posture to target regional adversaries armed with weapons of mass destruction.  The magazine is published by the Committee for National Defence Studies, an independent research institution which includes several retired generals and admirals from the French military.

House of Common Report Uses Nuclear Information Project Research

British Parliament Report Criticizes Government Refusal to Participate in Nuclear Deterrent Inquiry (June 30, 2006)

Although the UK government has promised a full and open public debate about the future of Britain's nuclear deterrent,
it has so far failed to explain what decisions need to be made, failed to provide a timetable for those decisions, and has refused to participate in a House of Commons Defence Committee inquiry on the future of Britain's nuclear deterrent. The Committee report partially relies on research conducted by the Nuclear Information Project for the SIPRI Yearbook. For an online overview of British nuclear forces, see the Nuclear Notebook.

Britain's nuclear arsenal
is up for renewal. But is it
still needed?

European politicians want the Parliament to tell the US to pull nuclear weapons out of Europe
US Nuclear Weapons in Europe Continue to Create Political Noise

Effort Underway in European Parliament Against US Nuclear Weapons in Europe
(June 23, 2006)

A Written Declaration presented in the European Parliament calls for the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe by the end of 2006. The Declaration has until December 10 to gather support from at least half of the Parliament's 732 members to be adopted and formally submitted to the US government. The initiative comes as Russia refused last week to discuss tactical nuclear weapons with the United States. Most European want the US to withdraw its remaining nuclear weapons from Europe.

New Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center Report

Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Report Obtained (June 15, 2006)

The Nuclear Information Project has obtained a copy of the Air Force's latest assessment of the threat from ballistic and cruise missiles
. The March 2006 report gives new details about current and emerging weapon systems deployed or under development by Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Syria and others. Among the news is a higher estimate for China's future nuclear arsenal, that India's Agni I missile is not yet deployed, that Pakistan's Babur cruise missile has nuclear capability, and that Israel's Popeye cruise missile does not have nuclear capability.

New "threats"
from the Air Force

Do You Want Europe to be Free
of Nuclear Weapons or Not?

New Survey Conflicts With US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Assessment
Europeans Want Nuclear Weapons Out

NATO Nuclear Policy at Odds with Public Opinion
(June 9, 2006)

Almost 70 percent of people in countries that currently store US nuclear weapons want a Europe free of nuclear weapons, according to an opinion poll published by Greenpeace International.  Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggested last November that the Europeans want to keep US nuclear weapons.

Deployment of U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Turkey Raised in Parliament Debate

Turkish Parliament Debates US Nuclear Bombs (June 7, 2006)

The presence of U.S. nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey will be hard to explain to Muslim and Arab neighbors, according to Turkey's former Ambassador to the United States, Sukru Elekdag. The former diplomat, who represents the Republican People's Party (CHP), brought the report U.S. Nuclear Weapons In Europe to the attention of the Parliament because it states that the U.S. Air Force stores nuclear bombs at Incirlik. According to an article in the Turkish paper Hürriyet, Elekdag said that such weapons were removed from Greece in 2001, and questioned the need to continue deployment in Turkey.

Turkey's Former US Ambassador warns of US nukes in Tyrkey

Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission Publishes Final Report

Nuclear Data Basis For WMD Commission Report
(June 1, 2006)

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission established by the Swedish Government in 2003 has presented 60 recommendations for how to move the disarmament and nonproliferation agenda forward. Many of the recommendations are strongly at odds with the policies of several nuclear weapon states and NATO, and will likely be rejected by the White House. To show the status of the world's nuclear arsenals, the report uses the overview co-produced by undersigned for the SIPRI Yearbook.

Pentagon publishes annual report of Military Force of the People's Republic of China

Chinese Military Power: Can We Avoid Cold War (May 24, 2006)

The Pentagon latest report on Chinese military modernization should warn us that it is important that the White House and Congress take charge of U.S.-Chinese relations so we avoid a new Cold War in the Pacific, according to a blog I write on the Federation of American Scientists' Strategic Security Project Blog. The Pentagon is reacting to China’s military modernization in the old-fashioned way: by building up its own forces. "Last time we got into this tit-for-tat game with a large military power it took 50 years, trillions of dollars, and several nuclear crises to get out." See also updated profile of Chinese nuclear forces.

Pentagon warns of Chinese buildup

Despite rumors, China's DF-31
is still not
operational and will
not carry multiple warheads
New Nuclear Notebook Published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Chinese Nuclear Forces Profiled
(April 28, 2006)

The Chinese nuclear stockpile appears to be only half as big as previously thought, according to a new overview. Up to 130 warheads may be deployed out of a total stockpile of approximately 200 warheads. Several new weapon systems are under development which the Pentagon says could increase the arsenal in the future, but past defense estimates have proven highly inflated. The new overview will be followed by a more detailed report published by Federation of American Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council this spring.

Upcoming non-nuclear explosion turns out to be nuclear related after all

Global Strike Nuclear Simulation In Nevada (April 3, 2006)

The Divine Strake explosion scheduled at the Nevada Test Site in June 2006 will simulate use of a low-yield nuclear weapon against a tunnel. The simulation is "an integral part" of STRATCOM's new Global Strike mission and follows a secret directive signed by President George W. Bush in 2004 that ordered STRATCOM to "extend Global Strike to counter all [Hard and Deeply Buried Targets] to include both tactical and strategic adversarial targets." Go here for background.

High-explosive experiment
will simulate nuclear
weapons use

On the heels of the Pentagon's New Offensive Strike Plan

New Report: Global Strike Chronology
(March 15, 2006)

Nuclear weapons are surprisingly prominent in the new Global Strike mission that was supposed to show how the Pentagon has significantly reduced the role of nuclear weapons, according to the 250-page report Global Strike: A Chronology of the Pentagon's New Offensive Strike Plan. The publication of the report coincides with a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on Global Strike on March 29.

New Nuclear Notebook published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Nuclear Weapons Reassert Russian Might (February 24, 2006)

A new review of Russian nuclear forces says that the Kremlin appears to be attempting to reassert its nuclear strength after years of decline in order to underscore Russia's status as a powerful nation. Large-scale exercises have been reinstated and modernizations continue. Yet the reassertion is done with fewer strategic warheads than at any time since the mid-1970s and significant cuts in operational non-strategic nuclear weapons. And during 2005, the review discloses, 12 Russian ballistic missile submarines only conducted three deterrent patrols. More submarine patrol data here.

Russian SSBNs only
conducted three deterrent
patrols during 2005

Chinese Nuclear Submarine Cave at Jianggezhuang

New Article About Chinese Nuclear Forces Published In Imaging Notes

Elusive Chinese Submarine Cave Spotted
(February 16, 2006)

A long-rumored but never before seen Chinese underground submarine base is shown for the first time in a new article written by analysts from the Federation of American Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council. The article, published in
the new issue of Imaging Notes, shows newly acquired satellite images of the submarine base, three air bases, and China's nuclear weapons research, engineering, and development complex CAEP at Mianyang. The article is a snapshot of a larger FAS/NRDC report on US-Chinese nuclear relations scheduled for publication later this spring. Click here for background.

US Navy Updates Nuclear Secrecy

Naval Nuclear Secrecy And Confusion
(February 8, 2006)

A new instruction orders US Navy personnel not to tell anyone that there are no nuclear weapons onboard US warships. But the same instruction says it is US policy not to deploy nuclear weapons on the ships. Confused? Read here.

US Navy orders personnel not to discuss public nuclear policy

Doctrine Cancelled

Public Exposure Kills Controversial Nuclear Document - Policy Remains Unchanged

Pentagon Cancels Nuclear Doctrine Documents
(February 2, 2006)

The Pentagon has formally cancelled a controversial revision of Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations after the doctrine was exposed last year in an article in Arms Control Today and Washington Post. The revised draft included for the first time descriptions of preemptive use of US nuclear weapons, and caused lawmakers to protest to President Bush. The decision to cancel the doctrine document, and three other related documents, was confirmed today by the Pentagon.

Take Action: The Nuclear Posture Review

FAS Petition Calls For Changed Nuclear Posture (January 12, 2006)

The Strategic Security Program at the Federation of American Scientists is calling for a fundamental change of the U.S. nuclear posture to better reflect the fact that the Cold War has been over for a decade and a half. The Pentagon is currently in the final phases of completing a new Nuclear Posture Review as part of the forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review. Past efforts to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons have not gone nearly far enough, FAS says, and the petition urges that the new Review unambiguously must demonstrate that Russia is no longer an enemy, that China is not "the next Soviet Union," and that nuclear weapons are not merely another tool in the toolbox for new strike options against "rogue" states and terrorists. To join the petition, go here.

See also: Front Page News Items from 2008, 2007, 2005 and 2004



  © Hans M. Kristensen