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The Donald and The Nuclear 7: Parting Shots

Arms Control Wonk

Release Date: 01/08/2021

Not Lackin' LACMs show art Not Lackin' LACMs

Arms Control Wonk

The DPRK tested a cruise missile, but this time it was a big one. Like "INF Treaty" big, if that term still meant anything.  The DPRK announced that it launched a 1500 km range cruise missile, after months of hints that a strategic nuclear-capable cruise missile was in the works. While it technically does not fall under the United Nations Security Council resolutions sanctioning DPRK ballistic missile and space tests, it is a huge concern, especially since it is probably meant to carry a nuclear payload one day.  Jeffrey and Aaron talk about the tech, cruise missile proliferation,...

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Boiling Fish at Yongbyon show art Boiling Fish at Yongbyon

Arms Control Wonk

Looks like Yongbyon is running a little hot. The IAEA has announced that it believes the DPRK is conducting a plutonium reprocessing campaign at Yongbyon.  Jeffrey and Aaron discuss why the DPRK would want to do this. What could the mystery be? Why would the DPRK reprocess plutonium? For nukes. It's for nukes. Basically like the DPRK has been saying.  Support us over at !

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It's Always Cloudy in Novaya Zemlya show art It's Always Cloudy in Novaya Zemlya

Arms Control Wonk

Jeffrey and his team fear no cloud. Working with Capella Space to acquire cloud-piercing synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, the MIIS team has been monitoring eternally-cloudy Novaya Zemlya, Russia, for evidence of Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile tests. Evidence pointed to the Burevestnik test site being revived after the previous failures, and the team started utilizing radar returns to obviate the satellite-imagery-frustrating weather that plagues Russia's northern nuclear test ranges.  Jeffrey and Aaron discuss remote sensing technical education, and the value of...

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Wasted Opportunities with the JCPOA show art Wasted Opportunities with the JCPOA

Arms Control Wonk

Bad news abounds for Iranian and US returns to JCPOA compliance. Aaron and Jeffrey talk through the frustration around breakout time requirements, the timidity of the Biden administration, and the shortfalls of the wait-and-see approach.    Links of Note: The Economist article on OSINT, including Arms Control Wonk and the Slack channel, which is filled with only the most brilliant and beautiful of people, whom all listeners should aspire to emulate:  https://www.economist.com/briefing/2021/08/07/open-source-intelligence-challenges-state-monopolies-on-information   Support...

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A SECOND SILO FIELD show art A SECOND SILO FIELD

Arms Control Wonk

Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen with the Federation of American Scientists have tracked down what appears to be a near Hami, Xinjiang.  Aaron, Jeffrey, and Scott gather up to discuss the rapidly increasing number of missile silos, what this means for the shell game theory, how many missiles and warheads could be in the PLARF's ICBM arsenal, and how China strategically responds to U.S. ballistic missile defenses.  Links of Note: Our first episode on the first field of silos: Support us over at !

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I Sing of Arms and the Man show art I Sing of Arms and the Man

Arms Control Wonk

American weapons systems need better names. Tom Karako, Director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, joins Jeffrey to talk about just what it is that inspires soldiers: Legendary, heroic, and historical names, not descriptive acronyms and jargon. What, are ALCM and JASSM not as sexy as Hades or Pluton? Tom explains his philosophical and classical background, and the inspiration for his article in about giving U.S. weapons systems respectable names more befitting of their purpose.  Support us over at !

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Nuclear Silos in the Chinese Desert show art Nuclear Silos in the Chinese Desert

Arms Control Wonk

Decker Eveleth and Jeffrey Lewis's team at CNS out in the deserts of China. That's the largest expansion of PRC silos in history, by far, but it isn't totally clear what is going on, and whether each of these Bouncy Castles of Death represents a new missile or if there are some decoys in the mix... Aaron and Jeffrey discuss how Decker found these silos out in the middle of the desert, whether each silo has its own missile or if this is a Shell Game with empty silos and decoys, and how this is going to impact arms control incentives in the very near future.    Further Reading:...

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The Space Launch Simorgh-asbord show art The Space Launch Simorgh-asbord

Arms Control Wonk

Jeffrey's team is at it again.  This time, they (and Jonathan McDowell!) caught an unannounced (and failed) Iranian space launch attempt and have now caught what appears to be a second unannounced (and failed) Iranian space launch attempt.  The failed launch detection was covered by We're still waiting to hear about that second one though... Jeffrey and Scott walk through Iran's textbook space launch preparations, how Jeffrey's team tracked the preparation and launch, and how one assesses that a rocket flight failed in absence of a big, obvious explosion.   Support us over at !...

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The Relevance of the Nuclear Posture Review show art The Relevance of the Nuclear Posture Review

Arms Control Wonk

Is the Nuclear Posture Review something worth doing, or a massive waste of time and political capital? Jeffrey and Aaron vote "waste." The NPR takes up a ton of time, leaves policy on autopilot during its duration, and burns a ton of bandwidth that could be used for actual reflection and policy change.  But what is more valuable? No Review at all? An Integrated Deterrence Review? The team walks through the pitfalls of the NPR, propose some modest alternatives, and outline a possible alternative mission for the Missile Defense Agency.... Support us over at !

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Hyperbolic Hyper Hype show art Hyperbolic Hyper Hype

Arms Control Wonk

The hype is real. Maybe it's a branding thing, maybe people forget ballistic missiles are a thing, maybe nobody thinks "glider force" sounds cool. But whatever the reason, people keep calling hypersonic glide vehicles fast compared to existing missile systems. Jeffrey and Aaron discuss hypersonic weapons, what people keep getting wrong about them, and why the D5 missile is so dang cool. Support us over at !

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More Episodes

Nancy Pelosi has indicated that Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has assured her that there are safeguards against an "unstable president" accessing "the launch codes" and launching a nuclear strike. 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss why that is wrong (and/or illegal), what the actual launch process is, and what the political strategy behind Nancy Pelosi's message may be.

Previous Entries in The Donald and The Nuclear series on executive power and nuclear weapons:

The Donald, The Nuclear, and No First Use

2 Donald 2 Nuclear

The Donald and The Nuclear 3: Tokyo Drift

The Donald and The Nuclear Goblet of Fire (And Fury)

The Donald and The Nuclear V: The Senate Strikes Back

The Donald and The Nuclear VI: Pushin' My Buttons

 

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