A Step Forward in Dealing with the Second Nuclear Age: The Sec Def Addresses the Nuclear Enterprise

You cannot address the challenges of the Second Nuclear Age by simply wishing away the nuclear deterrence challenge.

Nuclear deterrence has been a mission of declining focus of attention in the US strategic community.

And Secretary of Defense Hagel has determined to refocus attention on this community and to get it more resources to modernize and to refocus its attention on the evolving challenges.

As a NPR story put it in a story published November 14, 2014:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today that the Pentagon is aiming to invest about 10 percent more over the next five years to upgrade the nation’s nuclear deterrent, following reviews that uncovered “systemic problems” in the system.

Hagel said the U.S. was “probably looking at a 10 percent increase” in spending, according to Reuters, which said internal and external reviews have made some 100 recommendations on improving the nuclear forces.

“The root cause has been lack of sustained focus, attention and resources, resulting in a pervasive sense that a career in a nuclear enterprise offers too few opportunities for growth and advancement,” the defense secretary said at a Pentagon news conference.

The Pentagon reports “are a searing indictment of how the Air Force’s and Navy’s aging nuclear weapons facilities, silos and submarine fleet have been allowed to decay since the end of the Cold War,” The New York Times writes.

According to the newspaper, inspectors over the years “ignored huge problems, including aging blast doors over 60-year-old silos that would not seal shut and, in one case, the discovery that the crews that maintain the nation’s 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles had only a single wrench that could attach the nuclear warheads.”

The Associated Press says:

“Hagel’s reviews concluded that the structure of U.S. nuclear forces is so incoherent that it cannot be properly managed in its current form, and that this problem explains why top-level officials often are unaware of trouble below them. The senior defense officials said the reviews found a ‘disconnect’ between what nuclear force leaders say and what they deliver to lower-level troops who execute the missions in the field.”

And an Air Force Times story highlighted the raising of the command level to address the nuclear challenge as well:

Hagel approved an Air Force request to raise the billet for its commander of Air Force Global Strike Command from a three-star to four-star, and the head of the service’s nuclear integration, currently a two-star, to become a three-star billet.

“Our nuclear deterrent plays a critical role in ensuring US national security and it is DoD’s highest priority mission,” Hagel told reporters on Nov. 14.

Re-focusing the attention of the USAF, the military and strategic leadership on the nuclear enterprise is the key theme of the Sec Def’s message.

The Iraq Crisis and the Second Nuclear Age

In mid-October 2014, we had a chance to discuss with Dr. Amatzia Barama leading Israeli expert on Iraq about how the ISIL crisis was much broader than simply being an Iraq crisis.

With several years of dynamic change in the region, and the failure to create a stable Iraq during the period after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, ISIL is like throwing a match into a gas can.

And the tensions in the divisions within the Middle East itself come into play and are augmented and aggravated by both responses to ISIL and the impact of success or failure in containing the impact of the ISIL movement.

The full interview can be read on our main analytical website, Second Line of Defense.

Less noticed than the beheadings of ISIL, is the determined effort of Iran to benefit from the crisis and get closer to a core objective to become a nuclear power.

It should be understood that the regime’s quest for nuclear weapons is precisely designed to build Iran into a sanctuary protected by the possession of nuclear weapons, so that power projection of the sort evidenced already in their working relationship with the Hezbollah can be facilitated.  And in the dynamics of change in the Middle East, Iran wants to be able to power project in the 21st century way in the region.

Such an effort would be facilitated by making any attack on the homeland much more risky in the shadowy world of deterrence in the Second Nuclear Age when the have and can build up an arsenal.

In the following excerpt from out interview, Dr. Baram discusses the nuclear dimension embedded in the crisis:

Question: We have discussed Iran in passing with regard to the GCC states, but obviously Iran has a big stake in the crisis as well.

Baram: They do.

And one of the ironies of the current situation is that American policy against ISIL actually helps Iran.

Baghdad is now mostly an Iranian issue, more so than an American one.

You have to be aware of what America is doing.

America is getting Iran out of trouble by helping the government of Baghdad to push the ISIS back.

You are serving Iranian interests, not just yours. 

So I’m not against it, as long as you understand what you are doing.

Iran will allow you to save it from ISIS, and in return they want you to allow them to continue to develop nuclear weapons.

Question: The ISIL crisis and its ongoing consequences will affect the great powers outside of the region as well; how do you see the stance of the major players?

Baram: With regard to Russia, they have little concern about Iran having nuclear weapons.

The Russians see this from the perspective of their conviction that they can unilaterally counter an Iranian nuclear threat effectively.

But what they have not calculated well is what others are going to do.

After Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and very likely also Turkey will acquire nukes.

A multi-player nuclear crisis is extremely difficult to control.


Ukraine as a Stepping Stone for the Second Nuclear Age

Clearly, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was facilitated by Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

The agreement crafted by the United States and the UK to guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine if it gave up its nuclear weapons was as worthless as the Munich agreement of 1938.

This will have lasting consequences for the Second Nuclear Age.

At an event celebrating the Non Proliferation Treaty hosted by Kazhkhstan, arms controller Rose Gottemoeller, the current Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security was asked about the impact of not honoring this agreement.

She sidestepped the issue and told the audience that we still have the START agreement and that we needed to work with the Russians.

Nicely avoiding the point is a rather brutal fact: if the Russians who signed the Ukraine agreement honored it as much as did the US and the UK — which is to say not at all — why does the START agreement matter?

Put bluntly, agreements and words do not matter a great deal when you can invade the country you have the agreement with and reset the agenda.

The question really is HOW you work with the Russians which matters.

Ed Timperlake and I recently looked back at Reagan and the Russians and asked nostalgically: how would Reagan have dealt with Putin?

This question is central because Putin learned his way ahead under the press events associated with the Euro Missile crisis which occurred under President Reagan and now he has his own version of the Euro Missile crisis and is working on President Obama.

Putin has continuity; Obama does not.

We argued in that op ed:

This week, national security experts and policy leaders gather at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to discuss the state of America’s national defense. It’s a fitting setting. Thirty years ago this month, President Reagan won reelection by a landslide and then led the United States into the final phase of our Cold War victory over the Soviet Union.

If America’s 40th president were alive to see Russia’s current resurgence and its all-too-familiar policy of intimidation against Europe, he would know exactly what to do: confront the Russians with American and allied policies designed to check their ambitions across the board.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to redraw the map and establish a sphere of influence through bullying his neighbors and violating their sovereignty, Western states need to rethink their policy agenda to ensure that Russia understands that aggression has a significant cost. Key Western states need to shape new strategic realities to which Russia must adjust in order not be marginalized in the global competition.

Now the Ukrainian ambassador has warned the West of the urgency of dealing with the Russians going into the winter season and preparing not for the Arab Spring but the Ukrainian one.

According to the memo sent by the Ambassador to the European Union ambassadors and dated November 12, 2014:

Please find attached copies of verbal notes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine that were transmitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on 6 and 11 November 2014.

Regular air reconnaissance of the territory of Ukraine, accumulation of the personnel and military equipment on certain directions, other military activities as well as rhetoric of the Russian leadership are clearly demonstrating that Russia is planning a new full- scaled offensive operation against Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

It is high time for the European Union, which is standing on guard of the European values and principles, to undertake preemptive steps towards Russia’s blatant behavior in order to prevent a bloody catastrophe ever seen in the heart of Europe in the XXI century.

A proper response to rule of power promoted by the Russian side could consist of two- track approach. Firstly, a lasting and persistent diplomatic pressure is needed to engage Russia into a genuine and result-oriented dialogue, in particular within the Geneva format that proved to be the most relevant framework for elaborating peaceful solution. Secondly, diplomatic efforts should be enforced by a new wave of restrictive measures to clearly show that all red lines have already been crossed. These measures should include both personal restrictions against those who undermine peace process as recently did Russian actor Mr. Porechenkov and economic to raise cost for Russia for its destabilizing actions.

On the other hand, Russia’s obvious goal is also to veto reform process in Ukraine to turn it into failed state. In view of this we do count on EU’s political, technical and financial support of Ukraine’s resolve to implement a wide package of reforms focusing on judicial, anti-corruption, constitutional, decentralization, law-enforcement reforms as priorities.

To conclude, Ukraine remains strongly committed to a peace process given that there is a credible partner on the other side strictly abiding by the spirit of the Minsk agreements that clearly stipulate key prerequisites for success of this process such as immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory and restore of effective control over the border. 

And tactical nuclear weapons are almost certainly involved as well in preparing the defensive perimeter for Russia in dealing with the threat environment as they see it.

As Bill Gertz noted in a recent column,

Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons systems into recently-annexed Crimea while the Obama administration is backing informal talks aimed at cutting U.S. tactical nuclear deployments in Europe.

Three senior House Republican leaders wrote to President Obama two weeks ago warning that Moscow will deploy nuclear missiles and bombers armed with long-range air launched cruise missiles into occupied Ukrainian territory.

“Locating nuclear weapons on the sovereign territory of another state without its permission is a devious and cynical action,” states the letter signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) and two subcommittee chairmen.

“It further positions Russian nuclear weapons closer to the heart of NATO, and it allows Russia to gain a military benefit from its seizure of Crimea, allowing Russia to profit from its action.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months “has escalated his use of nuclear threats to a level not seen since the Cold War,” they wrote.

And if one wishes simply to miss the point about Russian actions, Ukraine is part of a broader pattern as well.

As the Hudson Institute has noted:

Over the past few weeks, President Vladimir Putin—already seeking to modernize his nuclear forces in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty—has moved Russia into an increasingly visible and aggressive nuclear posture.

In late August, Putin implicitly threatened to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations including Ukraine and the Baltic States. Moreover, while Russian strategic bombers repeatedly violate U.S. and Canadian air defense space, Putin is in the midst of establishing a naval base on the New Siberian Islands.

The second nuclear age is playing out in Ukraine, Korea, and in Iran.

The Russians are playing a leading role in reshaping the rules of the game.

It is time to pay attention.




Avoiding Eye Contact with Putin May Not be Enough: The Russians Expand Air Patrols in the Western Hemisphere

At the recent Asia-Pacific economic summit, both Obama and Putin were present.

Obviously, President Obama is not happy with Putin, although Putin seems to be surviving in the chill of his reception from the US President.

The latest Obama Administration tool in the fight: avoid eye contact!

According to a piece by Josh Lederman of the AP:

Picturesque Yanqi Lake, just outside of Beijing, became the venue for an awkward pas de deux between two of the most powerful leaders in the world. Entering an ornate, wood-paneled room for the start of the summit, Obama and Putin looked a bit like sidekicks to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The summit’s host led the way, with the American on one side and the Russian on the other.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Putin said in Obama’s direction. Yes, it is, concurred a reticent Obama, avoiding eye contact with Putin and addressing his response to no one in particular.

As the three presidents came to a stop at the head of the table, Putin reached out to give Obama a slap on the back. But Obama had turned in a different direction, and it didn’t appear that the Putin’s hand landed on its intended target.

A few hours later, the two again found themselves in close quarters under an overcast sky as leaders planted trees in honor of their counties. Putin strode confidently up to his tree, ahead of Obama, who clasped his hands behind his back before picking up a shovel and greeting a Spanish TV crew with a wave.


 So how are the Russians dealing with this dose of tough love?

RT has an answer.

According to an RT piece published on November 13, 2014:

Russia plans to expand its air patrol missions of long-range aircrafts to cover the Gulf of Mexico, the country’s defense minister, Sergey Shoigu, says. He added that military training will include flights along the Russian border and the Arctic Ocean.

“In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico,” Shoigu said on Wednesday.

As part of the military training, long-range aircrafts will also fly along the Russian border and over the Arctic Ocean, the defense minister said.

This kind of expansion relies on the serviceability of aircrafts, Shoigu noted. “I approved a plan to improve the state of long-range aircrafts, including repair and serviceability.” The news follows an announcement at the end of October that Russia will be completing a network of radar stations in the Arctic by next year.

“The plan involves the building of 13 airfields, one land test range for the Air Forces, 10 radar sites and direction centers,” said Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Control Center.

Shoigu added during the announcement that Russia will continue upgrading its foreign military bases as well.

Russia’s plans come as NATO has stepped up its activities near the Russian border, including in the Black Sea and Baltic waters.

NATO has conducted five military exercises near the Russian border over the past six months, according to the head of the ministry’s Department of International Cooperation, Sergey Koshelev.


For a suggestion that perhaps President Reagan might have done more than avoid eye contact in dealing with Putin see the following:




South Korea and the US Address How to Deal with Evolving North Korean Threats

The United States and South Korea just completed their most important series of national security meetings this year.

On October 24, the South Korean and U.S. foreign and defense ministers held their third so-called “2+2 meeting,” which was the first such ministerial since Park Geun-hye became South Korea’s president in late 2012.

The day before, visiting South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held the 46th United States-Republic of Korea (U.S.-ROK) Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), while on October 22, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, and the ROK Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Choi Yoon-hee, led the 39th U.S.-ROK Military Committee Meeting (MCM).

These meetings made several major decisions, such as deciding to maintain the current ROK-U.S. Combined Command arrangement under U.S. wartime leadership for at least the next decade as well as to expand their security partnership to address a wider range of functional and geographic issues.

However, they still need to take additional measures to counter North Korea’s aggressive posturing and its new asymmetric capabilities, including the DPRK’s possible development of a mobile nuclear-armed ICBMs.

The South Korean and U.S. ministers stressed their intent to keep their forces ready and strong.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had said a few weeks earlier that the United States was prepared to reduce its military presence in South Korea if the North behaved less threatening, made sure to balance his previous remarks by emphasizing the converse—that the United States would continue its present force posture in Asia until North Korea “demonstrate[d] that it is serious about denuclearization, and we need to be certain that it is prepared to live up to its international obligations and abide by international norms of behavior.”

Hagel said that the United States would not make major reductions in the number and kind of forces stationed in South Korea.In a separate Pentagon briefing on October 23, General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea, elaborated more on the North Korean threat.

After describing the DPRK regime’s main goals as securing its survival by obtaining recognition as a nuclear weapons state, Scaparrotti highlighted how the regime emphasizes the acquisition of “asymmetric capabilities” such as “several hundred ballistic missiles, one of the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpiles, a biological weapons research program, and the world’s largest special operations force, as well as an active cyber-warfare capability.”

Scaparrotti unexpectedly told one questioner that he believed that North Korea had achieved its long-sought goal of developing a miniaturized nuclear warhead to place on a long-range missile using a mobile missile launcher.

Such a weapons system is difficult to find and destroy due to its mobility but can inflict a devastating blow on whatever target is in range.

The question of whether North Korea has a long-range, nuclear-armed, mobile missile has been hotly debated within the U.S. intelligence community and among independent observers for at least a year.

Scaparrotti acknowledged that the DPRK has never displayed or tested such a system, though he noted that the Iranians and Pakistanis might have told the North Koreans how to do this.

The DPRK have surprised many observers by its rapid progress in launching a successful space satellite in December 2012 so soon after its previous launch in April of that year failed so spectacularly.

To counter these threats, Scaparrotti said that the ROK and U.S. forces have “enhanced our readiness in the areas of combined and joint command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, an alliance counter missile defense strategy, and the procurement of precision-guided munitions, ballistic missile defense systems, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.”

The two governments have also endorsed the Obama administration’s general strategy of allocating more U.S. resources to Asia as well as the U.S. Army’s new Pacific Pathways” concept of rotating combat units to South Korea and other U.S. Asian allies and partners.

According to the SCM Communique, “the Secretary and the Minister reaffirmed that the rotational deployments of the U.S. forces with complete combat capabilities demonstrate the U.S. defense commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea and also contribute to enhancing the U.S.-ROK combined defense posture on the Peninsula.”

The Army believes that sending whole formations rather than individual soldiers enhances overall unit readiness and training.

The Army started rotating forces into South Korea in 2013, when it deployed the 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, to South Korea nine months.

In February and then October 2014, the Army sent the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, and later the 800-man 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, both based at from Fort Hood, Texas. The Army is planning to begin rotating brigade combat teams to the ROK in 2015.

In their October 23 SCM session, the two defense ministries, finally agreed after years of debate that conditions were not ripe to execute the planned 2015 transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) from the U.S.-led Combined Forces Command (CFC) to a new ROK forces-led combined defense command, yet to be named, which would still have a combined ROK-U.S. staff, a U.S. Deputy Commander, and a U.S. general officers heading the main U.S. military sub-commands. 

The transfer would also return wartime OPCON of South Korean forces to ROK rather than U.S. command authority.

In May 2013, the Park administration formally requested a delay, citing the deteriorating security conditions caused by the North’s more aggressive behavior in recent years.

Although there are many examples, one need only cite the DPRK’s torpedoing of the ROK warship CHEONAN in 2010, its unprovoked cross-border artillery shelling of Yeon-pyeong Island later that year, its long-range missile launches in April and December 2012, and its third nuclear explosive test in February 2013, which was followed by months of threatening rhetoric against the United States and other countries.

Instead of setting a new date for a transfer, the two governments agreed “that the ROK will assume wartime OPCON when critical ROK and Alliance military capabilities are secured and the security environment on the Korean Peninsula and in the region is conducive to a stable OPCON transition.”

The ROK government later explained that this required meeting three core conditions:

  1. An improvement of the regional security environment,
  2. A strengthening of the South’s “critical” military capabilities to lead a combined defense,
  3. And the deployment of an effective ROK system for countering DPRK missile and nuclear attacks early in a conflict.

These critical capabilities include enhancing South Korea’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities; acquiring precision-guided munitions and their associated delivery systems; and improving South Korea’s capabilities for maneuver and network-centered warfare.

Han said that South Korea would aim to “secure the core military capabilities” for OPCON transition by the mid-2020s, when the missile defense and preemption systems would be deployed.

Although Han later acknowledged that any transfer would probably not occur before then, he denied that his government aimed to postpone it “indefinitely.”

The high costs of the needed capabilities–estimated at 50 trillion won, or almost US$50 billion–could present a major barrier.

  • The KAMD and the Kill Chain would cost an estimated 17 trillion won;
  • The project to develop a new ROK-made next-generation KF-X fighter plane could cost approximately 18 trillion won;
  • Some 6 trillion won would be needed for building more warships such as Aegis destroyers and submarines;
  • While buying more mid- to long-term ground-to-air missiles, multiple rocket launchers, and F-35A stealth fighters would account for the remaining costs.

In the interim, the ROK and U.S. armed forces are creating a new U.S.-ROK Combined Division whose peacetime combined staff would activate it in wartime.

As a deterrent and to enhance readiness, they also decided to keep various CPC headquarters elements in the Yongsan Garrison until OPCON transition occurs and the 210 Fire Brigade in its current location north of the Han River until South Korea had completed its counter-fire reinforcement plan designed to ensure a robust ROK artillery barrage during the early phases of any conflict.

As a result, they announced they would aim to replace the current Strategic Alliance 2015 Base Plan with a new base plan at next year’s SCM meeting.

But they remained committed to the Yongsan Relocation Plan and the Land Partnership Plan as well as the associated Joint Environmental Assessment Procedure.


Military Intervention to Deal with the Ebola Contagion: Cautionary Lessons From Agent Orange to Chemical Weapons in Iraq

American combat veterans, from fighting an enemy or a disease, should always be concerned about a grateful nation not protecting them.

A generation of Vietnam Veterans were ignored and allowed to die alone waiting in the dark during their end of life years.

So active duty military and their families have every right to be concerned when the Government finds a new mission for them involving new risks.

With respect to putting the US Government front and center in helping the troops who were exposed to Agent Orange and environmental factors causing Gulf War illness one visionary DVA Secretary said not on his watch.

On May 11, 1989 DVA Secretary Derwinski held a news conference and sided with America’s Veterans; he stopped the US Government legal case that was denying disability compensation to Vietnam in-theater veterans based on exposure to Agent Orange (AO). The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) were very appropriately aggressive in support of USG taking full responsibility to address the adverse health effects of Agent Orange.

Consequently, prior to his action there was little to no motivation for Vietnam Veterans to apply for disability compensation based on exposure to Agent Orange because the VA rejected AO service-connected disability requests.  Also, many in those days had justified distaste for the government.


The Washington Post in Secretary Derwinski’s obituary acknowledged his vision and leadership.

Siding with the veterans, Mr. Derwinski reversed the government’s position and authorized payments to some veterans who had suffered from a rare form of cancer linked to Agent Orange.

Secretary Derwinski corrected an historic violation of the social contract between those who protect us and all other citizens.

Now, for younger veterans, tragically, the environmental effects of the battlefield are now being seen.

Starting with Desert Storm veterans and continuing for those serving in our current wars, the Government has learned from AO.

This time the VA has created an early registry motivated by Secretary Derwinski. The American Legion was very aggressive in leading the effort to create a Gulf War registry.

I noted in an article written in 2009, that the Iraq War introduced problems of its own.

For our next generation of veterans, one cause of the growing problem of “Gulf War Illness” is exposure to Iraq chemical munitions inside bunkers that were blown up in Desert Storm.

Even today, some residual chemical munitions (yes, WMDs) have been found.

Unfortunately, the impact of chemical weapons in Iraq followed a similar pattern to AO: the US Government and Military again reverted true to form in covering up deadly agents on the battlefield. It took five more years for the New York Times to break the story:

The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons

In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs.

The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors. The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.

Jarrod L. Taylor, a former Army sergeant on hand for the destruction of mustard shells that burned two soldiers in his infantry company, joked of “wounds that never happened” from “that stuff that didn’t exist.” The public, he said, was misled for a decade. “I love it when I hear, ‘Oh there weren’t any chemical weapons in Iraq,’ ” he said. “There were plenty.”

There was one senior political appointee in the Bush Administration who did try and bring “sunlight” on Chemical Munitions in Iraq.

In 2004, Dr John “Jack” Shaw Deputy  Under Secretary Defense for International Technology Security/OSD focused on Chemical munitions in Iraq, and he was fired.

Bill Gertz broke the story:

Documents shown to U.S. officials in 2004 revealed that among the weapons removed by the Russians were chemical agents used in making poison gas.

Mr. Shaw was removed from his position shortly after going public with the disclosures.

The Defense Intelligence Agency dismissed the claims of covert Russian-Iraqi weapons transfers to Syria and Lebanon as Israeli propaganda, officials said at the time.

Consequently, for another decade troops were being exposed to chemical munitions and the Department of Defense covered it up.

Now the President, as Commander-in-Chief has ordered US military into one of the most dangerous Ebola hot zones in the world.

To be fair to President Obama he gave the order with full transparency, and has had some very public Congressional support.

But it is a good idea to “trust but verify” when dealing with exposing troops to new risks.

Learning from the ugliness of Agent Orange and Chemical Munitions in Iraq it is very important to ask some very hard questions up front.

And checking official US Government publications on Ebola can provide significant insight into exactly how much a risk Ebola is to our troops.

The entry for Ebola designates it as a Bio Safety Level (BSL) 4 agent.

http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/BMBL5_sect_VIII_f.pdf See, p. 251


The definition of what “Bio Safety Level 4 Agent” is:

Biosafety Level 4 is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease that is frequently fatal, for which there are no vaccines or treatments, or a related, agent with unknown risk of transmission.

http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/BMBL5_sect_IV.pdf See, p. 45,

For a counterpoint, here’s the CDC’s press release: “Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food.”

In essence the press release highlights it that :

Airborne transmission of Ebola virus has been hypothesized but not demonstrated in humans.


In dealing with Ebola, the Government has prepared guidelines for dealing with “Selected Agents.”

The select agent program requires adherence to the BMBL for any entity registered with the CDC Division of Select Agents and Toxins.

Select agents and toxins are a subset of biological agents and toxins that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) have determined to have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety, to animal or plant health, or to animal or plant products.

The protective regulations covers industry, although diagnostic clinics may be exempt.  Note that it says “should consider” the BMBL.  There is some flexibility in implementation, but significant variance from the BMBL can get a lab put on a “Performance Improvement Plan” or have their registration suspended or revoked.

42 C.F.R. §73.12   Biosafety.

(a) An individual or entity required to register under this part must develop and implement a written biosafety plan that is commensurate with the risk of the select agent or toxin, given its intended use. The biosafety plan must contain sufficient information and documentation to describe the biosafety and containment procedures for the select agent or toxin, including any animals (including arthropods) or plants intentionally or accidentally exposed to or infected with a select agent.

(b) The biosafety and containment procedures must be sufficient to contain the select agent or toxin (e.g., physical structure and features of the entity, and operational and procedural safeguards).

(c) In developing a biosafety plan, an individual or entity should consider:

(1) The CDC/NIH publication, “Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories.” This document is available on the National Select Agent Registry Web site at http://www.selectagents.gov.

(2) The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations in 29 CFR parts 1910.1200 and 1910.1450. This document is available on the National Select Agent Registry Web site at http://www.selectagents.gov

(3) The “NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules,” (NIH Guidelines). This document is available on the National Select Agent Registry Web site at http://www.selectagents.gov

(d) The biosafety plan must include an occupational health program for individuals with access to Tier 1 select agents and toxins, and those individuals must be enrolled in the occupational health program.

(e) The plan must be reviewed annually and revised as necessary. Drills or exercises must be conducted at least annually to test and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan. The plan must be reviewed and revised, as necessary, after any drill or exercise and after any incident.

[70 FR 13316, Mar. 18, 2005, as amended at 77 FR 61114, Oct. 5, 2012]

Remembering the Agent Orange and currently breaking Chemical Munition health debacle the military is preparing for engaging against Ebola.

However, currently it doesn’t sound very good, realizing that the adverse health effects of Ebola can move at light speed compared to toxin exposure in previous wars.

As the U.S. military rushes to combat Ebola in West Africa, soldiers are receiving on-the-fly instructions on how to protect themselves against the deadly virus.

So a key question–Where is the Military published Ebola “Bio-Safety Program?”

And if the US Army can spend $52 Billion on building 22,000 MRAPS mostly abandoned and rusting off shore where are the protective suits for all troops actually having even a remote possibility of being exposed.

This is what Industry wears to deal with Ebola:


They call these space suit labs, in part because Dover makes both space suits for NASA and protective suits for maximum-security bio facilities.

Any pundits, reporters and Pols in favor of engaging Ebola in Africa relying on what is being reported about protecting the troops should have no problem being embedded with the front line troops-or would they?

How does the Army medical protocol bible get rewritten to support an insertion of troops into an Ebola contagion zone?


Clearly, the US Army  “protocol’s” should be compared with other USG procedures, guidance and protocols  to see Army comportment  with other written guidance along with actual employed training, practice and actions in Africa.

In addition, a publicly available inventory of gear available with the troops going into Ebola infested territory should be made known and any difference between  level 4 pathogen treatment research and exposure gear and battlefield Chem/Bio gear be presented.

Essentially do the troops have enough of what is best for their protection and how are all being trained?

If National Guard Units are called up Governors are also responsible for safe pattern and practices to protect their troops.

Let’s get this right and not make Ebola the third strike after AO and chemical weapons in violating the sacred trust of protecting those who has borne the battle to his widow and orphans.





Hong Kong Protests for Democracy: The Johnson School Embraces the Panda?

When a world class University has one of their Schools lose its moral compass it is a tragedy for a generation.

One of the greatest gifts and opportunities of my life was being accepted at Cornell University for their MBA program. Having been in uniform since 1965, until 1975 first at the US Naval Academy then as a Marine Officer I saw firsthand the ugly and very personal generational rift over the Vietnam War. A country did allow and encourage blaming the warriors for the war and at times it was personal and vicious. So I did not know what to expect entering Cornell in the summer of 1975.

What I encountered every day at Cornell was a wonderful experience, I found a place where all were accepting and focused on acquiring knowledge. All I came into contact with at Cornell respected my military service and Cornell University to this day is very supportive of US Military Veterans. During my years in Ithaca, the Professors and my fellow classmates were first class individuals and Cornell was a unique place living up to its motto-

“I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”
-Ezra Cornell, 1865.

I just received a solicitation for an Alumni donation remarking proudly that the Johnson School had entered into a cooperative degree granting partnership with Tsinghua University in the Peoples Republic of China.

it was alarming and sad to receive such a solicitation apparently with little recognition of the context within which they were forging such a relationship.


From various sources condensed into a wiki blurb about the contribution of Tsinghua University to educating the ruling elite of a one-party Totalitarian Government:

“Tsinghua alumni include the current General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Paramount Leader Xi Jinping, who graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1979, as well as the CPC General Secretary and former Paramount Leader Hu Jintao, who graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering in 1964”

Tsinghua University is an institution in the Peoples Republic of China where leadership elite are trained. Regardless of any PRC “charm offensive” the PRC is a totalitarian one party rule dictatorship. The PRC is evolving much like pre-WWII Germany, into National Socialism. It should also never be forgotten that Chairman Mao is accredited in the French book The Black Book of Communism as the most successful mass murder in history.

For over two decades, directly applying skills I learned at Cornell, I have been involved in fighting the Peoples Republic of China in trying to bring sunlight on their criminality while serving at times as a senior Counterintelligance official in the US Government, one example;

Top 10 Chinese gangsters

7. Henry Fok (霍英东)

He is reported to be a member of the 14K Triad. According to Ed Timperlake and Bill Triplett, co-authors of “Red Dragon Rising”: “Henry Fok first made his name by running United Nations-embargoed goods to China during the Korean War. His son was later convicted for trying to bring Chinese machine guns into the United States.”


After the 2010 election I was asked to make a presentation to the US Congress:

Testimony on Cyber-attacks, Espionage, and Technology Transfers to the People’s Republic of China, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives:

The PRC had an agenda to not only curry favor with agents of influence but also collect information and conduct espionage operations, a select Congressional committee was created. The extensive report issued by that committee covered significant aspects of US military and commercial dual-use technology that was targeted by PRC collectors. The PRC agent’s success in the 90s and continuing to this day is being seen in the continued rapid modernization of all military forces of the Peoples Liberation Army….

Collectors and agents of influence from the PRC can go after objectives many ways as I have discussed. But beyond the scope of my paper they can also buy their way into America through acquisitions and joint ventures-the money offered in those deals is huge.

So when I received the Johnson School letter I had to just read headlines to see that PRC pattern and practices, yet again, are stifling freedom and they are still cheating in worldwide business.

Two major events were occurring while the Johnson School was soliciting money.

First students asking for promised freedom in Hong Kong are faced with actions by the Peoples Armed Police and Peoples Liberation Army and all can possible see the potential for another Tiananmen Square student massacre.

The New York Times has a very insightful and powerful story:

“Among Tibetans and Uighurs, beleaguered ethnic minorities in China’s far west, there is hope that the protests will draw international scrutiny to what they say are Beijing’s broken promises for greater autonomy.

The central government’s refusal to even talk with pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong, exiled activists add, also highlights a longstanding complaint among many ethnic minority groups in China: the party’s reliance on force over dialogue when dealing with politically delicate matters.

The same week of October 5th 2014, FBI Director Comey discussed PLA spying during a 60 Minutes interview:

“FBI director James Comey talked about Chinese hacking — and how basically every American company has been targeted — last night on 60 Minutes. Comey said that it’s not the Chinese are so good, it’s that they’re “prolific.” He likened their hacking style to a “drunk burglar.” 

“Well, I don’t want to give you a complete list. But the top of the list is the Chinese. As we have demonstrated with the charges we brought earlier this year against five members of the People’s Liberation Army. They are extremely aggressive and widespread in their efforts to break into American systems to steal information that would benefit their industry,” said FBI director Comey.

“What are they trying to get?”

“Information that’s useful to them so they don’t have to invent. They can copy or steal to learn about how a company might approach negotiations with a Chinese company, all manner of things,” said Comey. “

Over the last two decades individuals concerned about the military rise of the PLA have had to face two shallow bumper sticker intellectual statements.

Both statements using proven hollow words are embraced by enablers and apologists for the PRC. The first was in all things commerce, “If we teach them about capitalism they will become a free capitalist society”. The second was military, “if we treat them as an enemy they will become an enemy.”

Unfortunately teaching free-market capitalism did not work, as the PRC has continued to employ their criminal and unfair trade practices, as the Director of FBI points out. Their illegal profits are funding the most aggressive military modernization build-up in the history of the world.

The other bumper sticker mantra was if you treat China like an enemy they will become one and the NYT accurately shows when China leaders get concerned they can be vicious. Nations around the Pacific Rim have not treated China like an enemy but now as a matter of survival they have to react to PLA aggression and look to America as their proctor.

Wired Magazine accurately quoted me—and it is even more important now:

“The right and left were unified over China,” remembers Ed Timperlake, a former congressional and Pentagon staffer who co-wrote harsh anti-China books like Year of the Rat: How Bill Clinton Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash. The House intelligence committee has a new inquiry into trojan horses packed in Chinese telecom tech. But for the most part, Timperlake dismisses the occasional congressional concern with China as “pretty shallow.”

But the China hawks haven’t adapted. Timperlake rejects out of hand the idea that U.S. economic ties with China ought to temper a confrontational posture. “I don’t want to get in that argument, because if you do, they win,” he says. “If we lose sight of deterring China in combat, we lose. It’s not abstract.”

And for a Reagan Appointee to be quoted favorable in Mother Jones, a reader can see that human rights can bridge across both US Political Parties in standing up against the well-funded trade “uber alis” money driven squishy and greedy middle.

When Deng’s daughter, Deng Rong, visited the United States in 1995, Haig threw a party for her at Worldwide’s Washington offices. “His remarks that day were extraordinary,” says a person who attended. “He was dripping with contempt for human rights activists who try to influence China policy.” Ironically, it is conservatives — those who share Haig’s sensibilities on so many other issues — who are angriest with him on this score.

“It’s tragic that a man who has contributed so much to his country would now become an apologist for China,” says Ed Timperlake, a former high-level Pentagon administrator under Ronald Reagan.

To be very specific, while American pols who are questing for a Presidential Nomination in both parties, have to first see if the voters in New Hampshire and Iowa find them acceptable, a graduate of Tsinghua U made his political mark in questing for power by attacking Tibetans.

The South China Morning Post reported on March 8, 1989, that the central government had deployed 170,000 troops (17 divisions of the PLA) to Lhasa. The divisions include artillery equipped with howitzers, mortars and anti-aircraft guns, infantry, and paratroopers. Aircraft in the region include fighters, bombers, and helicopters. In addition to the military, two or three divisions of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) numbering 30,000 were also stationed in the area

But the situation was slipping into chaos, Hu feared. On February 20, Hu ordered 1,700 armed police to parade in formation through Lhasa in a show of force to discourage further unrest. Hu Jintao anticipated massive demonstrations on the 30th anniversary of the 1959 Chinese occupation of Tibet on March 10. On March 5, a demonstration in Lhasa turned into a riot and police opened fire on civilians, killing ten. One policeman died. At least 40 Tibetans were killed by police in bloody rioting in the days that followed. From the beginning of the crisis, Hu had coordinated with the Chengdu Military Region command to move as many as seventeen divisions, or about 170,000 men, into Tibet.

So when President Xi Jinping, a proud Tsungia U grad, recently tells the PLA to improve their combat readiness the United States and our Pacific allies should be very concerned:

BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping stressed the loyalty of headquarters of the PLA at a meeting with PLA chiefs of staff here on Monday. Headquarters of PLA forces must have absolute loyalty and firm faith in the Communist Party of China, guarantee a smooth chain of command and make sure all decisions from the central leadership are fully implemented, said Xi, also CMC chairman.

Headquarters of all PLA forces should improve their combat readiness and sharpen their ability to win a regional war in the age of information technology, he said. The PLA chiefs of staff met in Beijing on Sunday, discussing how to improve the efficiency of military command under new circumstances. Fang Fenghui, chief of the PLA general staff, attended the meeting. Military commanders should have a better understanding of international and domestic security situations as well as the latest military development, Xi said.

On a personal note I find all of this morally indefensible but there is little I can do about it except hope if China ever becomes free they have long memories on all who did not stand for freedom for all Chinese citizens. A simple question to bring transparency and clarity can be asked right now.

On January 6 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt gave his State-of-the-Union Speech and he brilliantly articulated “The Four Freedoms” Speech

  1. Freedom of Speech
  2. Freedom of Worship
  3. Freedom from Want
  4. Freedom from Fear

Would the Peoples Republic of China accept the Four Freedoms?

Let a global IW battle begin in support of the Four Freedoms and let a public record be established.


Professors at The University of Chicago certainly understand the challenge:

China’s Confucius Institute regrets closure of University Of Chicago center:

The article mentioned a petition signed by about 100 University of Chicago professors who had expressed concern over the Institute’s impact on academic freedom and urged its closure.





Taking a Measure of the Asian Defense Challenge: Shaping a Way Ahead

At an Air Force Association breakfast seminar, Ed Timperlake, Rick Fischer and Gordon Chang looked at the Asian defense challenge and ways to deal with it.

What follows is the presentation by Ed Timperlake given at the breakfast seminar held on May 20, 2014 and the full transcript can be found here:

AFA Breakfast Meeting May2014

It is in a conversational style but contains a number of key points relevant to our discussion of the Second Nuclear Age.

Rather than give you the view “as Ed sees it”, I’d like to give you a couple of data points and let you all decide what to do with them.

I became editor of a web site, Sldforum.com after I left government.

And as such, I have a guest editor for this year, Paul Bracken, who is a Yale professor who wrote the book “The Second Nuclear Age,” and I commend that book to all of you, it is a very impressive work.

What Paul did was he took a look at all the various emerging problems coming out of the first Nuclear Age Cold War. I will tell you what he diagnosed for the 2nd Nuclear Age — when I asked him while reviewing his book –Professor you’ve looked at this and you’re a very smart guy, one of the smartest, — what do we do about it?

And he said if I knew what to do about it; ”I would have put it in the last chapter.” We all currently don’t know, and that’s the problem.

We’re facing a Brave New World here.

My dad was a Navy nuke submariner, so I went to the Naval Academy but took a window seat by being a Marine aviator. I grew up immersed in the Navy nuke deterrence world, and it was very impressive, Admirals Rayburn and Rickover were giants.

But I also grew up watching the Air Force movies: James Stewart and bombers. God, I loved those movies. In one Jimmy Stewart begins by flying a B-36, and then he flies a B-47 from CONUS to Asia. The point of that is that the Air Force and Navy team won the Cold War on the nuke deterrence side. America owes then a very long victory lap. They faced our strategic enemies down by pure, in your face,— come at us, we’ll come right back at you.

I was President Reagan’s director of mobilization, planning and requirements. I had all the sites; I also had the continuity of government (COG) plans. I knew the deterrence world very well. As we come into this world, this Second Nuclear age it is all similar but also very different.

One data point, in 1998 I went to Sevastopol and I was a guest of the Ukrainian Navy and their Chief of Naval Operations. I was with the Professional Staff of the House Committee on Rules, with Chairman Solomon. The Chairman was a very smart serious man and had Congressional throw-weight to gain access.

We got on a boat and toured the Sevastopol harbor as guests of Ukraine CNO. He was a big tall man, very impressive, and had been a Soviet submarine commander, who transitioned to become the chief of naval operations of the Ukrainian navy. Our tour guide traveling on the water throughout the harbor pointed out Russian ships and Ukraine ships.

And my read today is the same after my tour of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The Russian Navy embraced tactical nukes at sea, they really did embrace them with a passion. And my pure guess is since they had them, in ’98, they still had them in the Fleet in that harbor when the recent unpleasantness with Ukraine broke out.

I wrote an article, it didn’t get much traction, but I looked at Putin as a rational actor, and concluded that if he has a threat of Ukrainian forces storming into that harbor and grabbing Russian Navy tactical nukes, that would be a very big problem for him.

So that dynamic could have been a motivation for direct Russian action in Sevastopol. Make of this what you will, but get the Intel community to look at it. When you play with the Russians, you play with tactical nukes and our Navy has taken a step back from that.

In continuing to discuss of Russian deterrence and TacNucs and if necessary warfighting the Russian military equation in the Pacific tends to be more nuke oriented. They can’t handle China conventionally the quantity of PLA conventional weapon throw-weight to the Russian throw-weight is against them, so they feel the need for tac­nukes in the Pacific

Which now takes us to the brave new world of Korea, and this is where I am perhaps getting a little provocative.

I looked at Korea. I’ve been briefed about the Korean military situation. I was briefed by an Army four-star in Korea in 1998. I’ve walked into North Korea. Those of you who have been there, you know you can do that. There’s a building, you walk in that crosses the border, and North Korean military forces comes down and growls at you. The brief before you go in the building is please don’t flip them the bird or give them anything they could use in a photo for propaganda purposes.

You sit there in this building and have a lot of very skinny people in army uniforms snarl at you through a window. They do that, it is most amazing.

But here’s the point, the Dear Leader III or IV, whatever he is in their lineage, has threatened to annihilate everybody. I published an article about the US Army in South Korea. I made a case in which the Army in looking for an enhanced mission after Afghanistan and Iraq created Pacific Pathways, and they added an additional Army Four Star in the Pacific. I argued that they needed to rethink their con-ops.

What they are proposing in Pacific Pathways is taxing Air Force lift to fly them around the Pacific. Specifically AF heavy lift would be moving additional conventional forces around the Pacific.

My argument to the US Army on the Korean Peninsula is wait a minute, since the 1950s you’ve help build a South Korean army to a fighting force of over 500,000 capable troops.

And they are very capable. “ROK Ready” is a term of art that was told to me and means just that.

The Army has 28,500 Army troops in South Korea, so if it is critical to send 800 additional Army Mech troops they have missed the entire point of the new threat.

The reason why is simple you can’t go head-to-head conventionally with a madman with a nuclear weapon with the ability to launch that weapon on a whim. So my argument to the Army command over there, which I haven’t gotten much traction on yet, is that the deterrence warfighting posture on the Korean Peninsula has migrated to an Air Force air command issue.

I will propose this, but I haven’t written the article yet, is that the US commanding general on the Korean Peninsula should shift from the Army to the Air Force, because airpower is the solution to stopping the Dear Leader. You find him and you kill him as fast as you can. You cannot do a clank-clank tank battles or artillery duels not against a madman with a Nuke.

The Dear Leader is going to kill a lot of people, regardless of how many troops or Air Force planes are in the air, because he gets the first shot, with 20,000 artillery tubes and MLRS they can pull a lanyard –in five seconds a lot of people will die. You’ve got to go immediately after the Dear Leader and his senior leaders. It is a regime killing decapitation strategy and that is the Korean issue and airpower can do just that.

In looking at China initially in the nineties I thought, “hmm.,” China has kept their strategic forces minimized.

But later into the 21st Century I noticed China was different, they love missiles,  and their Second Artillery is huge. And they did this for their anti-access, area denial posture. To my friends in the Navy, and I’ve said this and I will write on this many times, I think a lot of it is pure hollow posturing so far.

We who have been in the military, have been in exercises, many of us have fired missiles. We have taken off in airplanes or been afloat or on land and practiced our skills and tested our weapons. We have shown that process to the world we have an open media. And we know our skills good and bad and if we bungle a shot, all know it.

The Chinese have asserted anti-access, area denial.

However, I wait for just one shot they have taken that proves to me they can take a IRBM , do over-the-horizon ground, sea or satellite search, find a maneuvering ship at sea, launch their missile have it go on trajectory, come down find a ship, go into end game maneuvering and sink it.

Prove to me just one test. I’m not minimizing the threat, I never, ever minimize threats, but let’s be a little bit realistic before we row ashore and surrender our swords and say we can’t fight in the Pacific.

Now how can we fight in the Pacific?

Well that’s a different issue.

I think quite frankly, Korea leads the way, with Japan, then Philippines and on into Taiwan and down into Vietnam following. I’ll lay that out very quickly and then I’ll back off.

I really did see a role for “Big Army”. We interviewed for SLDINFO.com — a very impressive Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Army general, my co-author did that interview. He was a Patriot Commander and now also a THAADs commander, and he said , “I’ve been at war for 30 years.”

That caught me by surprise, because on reflection it is very true.

I was in the White House for Desert Storm. The Patriots were used not only to kill Scuds, but they were also used to send a deterrence signal so that the Israeli air force would not fly.

In the White House during Desert Storm one of our biggest fears was the Israelis especially their Air Force would engage. And I like the Israeli air force, trust me, they could do the job but it might have shattered the Arab nations contribution to our Desert Storm alliance. .

So we used the Patriot as both a killer and a deterrent. Well now we have the next generation. We have the THAADs. General “Hawk” Carlisle, the AF four-star out in the Pacific, is a very visionary commander, came up with two concepts.

He came up with the Rapid Raptor.

What is that?

Well that is the idea where you start teaming a C-17 with and a division or “four ship” of F-22 Raptors. And the Generals vision is “places, not bases.” And all of a sudden you start moving your air forces around the Pacific to various bases so that you’re not a sitting target.

Because one things the Chinese can do, because and they proved hitting a diagram of a carrier in their desert is throw a missile at a fixed point “Boom”, they hit it. Everybody goes, oh my god, they can do that.

Well, Werner von Braun could do that for Germany in WWII. . The great quote about him was, he wrote the book, “I Aim at the Stars.” and as the comedian Mort Sahl said the subtitle should be “but sometimes I hit London.”

So the problem we have is that the Chinese can actually hit stationary targets, and they have the coordinates of all the air bases. As an aside rapid runway repair is essential along with revetments.

But you also have a defense in depth issue here with THAAD.

What does this really mean as a practical matter?

If the Chinese are building their rocket forces, and they are; and the American Army sees the right way to do “Pacific Pathways”, they can flood the zone with ADA– THAADs. And Patriots.

There are 9,000 islands in the Japanese chain, and 7,000 in the Philippines, and also around Korea they have a lot of islands. We can go out and pour concrete and put firing positions all over the place, complicating the targeting problem of Chinese missiles.

Consequently, if you have that, you’re beginning to build a passive deterrence factor that can go active, so it’s not provocative, but can win a war.

The Pacific then becomes a better place for the American forces to maneuver and fight.

I’m a big proponent of Army THAAD and their Pacific Pathways if done smartly, and not more tanks and Mech infantry flooding the Pacific to introduce themselves to various countries is ADA focused it can make a huge difference.

The Marines are doing something slightly different.

They’re putting F-35B out there, afloat, which is going to be a world-changing airplane. People criticize me for   being a big advocate for the F-35. But I do think the F-35 has a deterrence factor at the strategic level, that has yet to be determined.

To tell everybody in the audience here a little bit about it is the F-35 can passively search and sense incoming threats.

An F-35 on a test flight over Pax river Maryland sensed a missile launched 800 miles away at the Cape in Florida. This was just by accident. Flying around in a test plane over Pax River – then boom, see in the cockpit a missile light off from Florida is a game changing technology.

What does that really tell us?

It tells us if you get into a satellite war, we’ve have a second tier of ISR assets embedded in human active decision-making F-35 pilots.

The F-35 fleet will create a honeycombed grid at a tactical flying level that has strategic capabilities and huge implications..

What are those strategic capabilities?

I’ll get to China and end this discussion.

China has done some unique things.

Again, as the director of mobilization my job was both counterforce/countervalue targeting, which is what we did, and also continuity of government (COG). America Continuity of government was a big deal in the first Nuc Age and was critical, and it still is even more so now.

How do you survive so you can fight the war?

It got pretty ugly at the end of the Cold War. Very few people know this but I can talk about it now. In our hardened ground sites, you had about a half hour more of life because the nukes were so accurate they could dig you out but it took several strikes. So we could fight the war as they were coming at you: launch and fight, and launch and fight and then die—but it was successful deterrence.

Well the Chinese have gone underground– and Phil Karber at Georgetown gets full credit for this – the PLA Great Underground Wall. They have gone underground to build many hardened tunnels.

People have estimated many miles of tunnels, I don’t know the real number but I seen 3,000 miles mentioned.

Well what happens then is not only do you have this ability to disguise and hide your strategic deterrence ICBM rocket force, on movable TELs, so you can move them out of a hole, pop it up, and it’s ready to go. You do not know that they’re going to do this until they do it.

And the Underground Great Wall also gives them continuity of government for state survival. So that is of significant concern. They haven’t really announced it much except I’ve seen some videos.

The dilemma of the second nuclear age is some Cold War Deterrence with thinking about changes in deterrence and warfighting because proliferation to other states specifically as mentioned North Korea,

Let’s go to Libya for a second.

Why do this?

Because, Qaddafi was de-nuking. He was an intel source against bad guys yet they decide to kill him. Okay, got it and it was ugly.

But that was also a signal to Iran. If Qaddafi kept his nuke, I don’t think, Odyssey Dawn would have had the trigger pulled I just don’t believe that. So Odyssey Dawn was a terrible signal to Iran in my opinion.

The second one, which just recently happened was Ukraine had a deal to de-nuke, they did just that and Russia picked a fight.

That’s another signal to Iran. “Hey, nukes have value”

So the point being in this the second nuke age is that proliferation that could quickly accelerate. Nations embracing Nuc weapons can cascade? Because if Japan doesn’t think we’re serious they can go nuke almost overnight. They’re that good.

Where the Middle East is concerned, I’m a big advocate of protecting Israel, and a big proponent of the IAF. I know them, and have a few friends in the IAF.

And if Iran comes close to having a bomb, I think Israel will not let that happen,   but somehow Iran announces a bomb. The Saudis can buy a bomb overnight, there is enough money in many Middle East nations to buy nuclear weapons. So the whole thing turns into a Middle East tinderbox.

Where is this going?

I don’t’ know, I just offer these data points to worry about.

Finally the terrorist loose nuke threat has to be discussed.

My number one fear is the Chechens who are very capable, nasty people. If they get their hands on a device stand-by, you don’t know where they’ll put it. So you have all these dilemmas.

Finally have India vs Pakistan.

I asked an AF three star when he visited India about their deterrence equation and was told essentially is we have 1.3 billion people, you want to fight with us, you’re gone., we will survive.

Now that’s a pretty tough deterrence. But, you know, he may have had a point, since they also believe in reincarnation. So the point being is, all these dilemmas are out there.

I yield to your judgment on what to do with them.

The one advocacy position I’ll have, and I am mostly with an Air Force audience so I hope I finally have a friendly crowd, is that if I was in the next administration, I would really look a transitioning our Korea four star Command to the Air Force as opposed to big Army.

The US Army did a great job. They won to date by building effective ground deterrence but now the problem is different. I think, it is time for an Air Force four-star to do the strategic planning to stop the craziness of a Nuclear weapon enabled North Korea.


The US Needs To Withdraw From the INF Treaty: Shaping a Relevant Modernizaton Strategy

The Obama administration has recently – and very belatedly – announced it has found Russia in violation of the INF treaty, which prohibits Moscow and Washington from developing, testing, deploying, or otherwise possessing ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Russia has been flagrantly violating the treaty since at least 2010.

However, until now, the Obama administration and the pro-arms-control crowd have long been denying this fact – until it became too obvious and too easily provable to deny it.

Specifically, Russia has repeatedly flight-tested a new ground-launched cruise missile of a range prohibited by the treaty (500 to 5,500 kms); has flight-tested and deployed Iskander ballistic missiles also within that range envelope; and has flight-tested the Yars-M ICBM at a range of 2,000 kms – again within the treaty’s envelope.

Even though Russia has effectively made the INF treaty a dead letter and a worthless piece of paper, several arms control supporters  (including the Ploughshares Fund, the Arms Control Association, and other groups) are calling on the US to continue to unilaterally adhere to the treaty and to cut its own arsenal even further – even as Russia continues to build up its own and deploying missiles banned by the INF treaty.

But an alternative course of action is needed — for the US to withdraw from the INF treaty and address the future of its nuclear forces.

Ploughshares President Joe Cirincione and ACA’s Thomas Collina claim the Russian violation is not a grave or immediate threat to American and allied security.

This is dead wrong.

Russia’s INF Treaty violation IS an immediate threat to the US AND its allies.

These intermediate range missiles allow Russia to target its allies in Europe and Asia (and all US bases there) with very accurate missiles carrying very deadly payloads (nuclear and conventional).

With ranges measured in hundreds (Iskander-M/K) and thousands (R-500, Yars-M) of kilometers, these missiles allow Russia to hold all US allies in Europe, and most in Asia, hostage to their nuclear weapons WITHOUT involving Russia’s strategic missile force. T

And the Russians have no intention of adhering to the treaty for it gets in the way of dealing with their Chinese threat.

The advocates of unilateral adhesion to the INF treaty is in the US interest.

A claim is made that the issue can be resolved through “patient diplomacy”, and that enough pressure, combined with confirming Frank Rose as the State Department’s arms control compliance supremo, can force Russia to scrap the forbidden missiles and come into compliance with INF. Says Cirincione:

“Concerns are raised privately in hope of resolving them.

When that fails, they are made public.

When that fails tougher diplomacy is tried. (…)

This violation is more than a technical violation, but since it is not an immediate threat to the U.S. or our allies, there is time to use the established arms control mechanism to pressure Russia to halt the cruise missile program, verifiably dismantle any missiles tested in violation of the limits and agree to abide by the treaty’s terms. (…)

Congress could back the administration’s efforts and add some clout by confirming into office the man in charge of verifying Russian compliance with arms control treaties.

Frank Rose has been patiently waiting more than one year – 384 days – to be confirmed in his post as the assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance. (…)

We have cajoled the Russians back into compliance before and – with the right staff in place and a united approach – we can do it again. In the process, we can prevent the Russians from rebuilding the weapons that Ronald Reagan so painstakingly destroyed.”

Russia will not come into compliance with the INF treaty and dismantle its intermediate range missiles.

Abiding by the INF treaty is decidedly NOT in Russia’s national interest; on the contrary, it is in its security interest to violate the accord.

The reason why is China’s deployment of over 1,200 short-range, and over 120 medium and intermediate range (DF-4, DF-21, DF-25, DF-26C), ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of intermediate range (DH-10, CJ-10) ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM).

China has literally hundreds of such weapons, and they can deliver nuclear or conventional warheads to anywhere in Russia – WITHOUT the need to involve China’s intercontinental missiles.

(Source: Department of Defense, Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, Washington DC, 2008.)

So Russia, like the US, is facing a significant threat from China’s ballistic and cruise missiles – and unlike the US, Russia is facing that missile threat right on its doorstep.

Yet, Russia, like the US, is prohibited from fielding any intermediate-range ground-launched missiles to counter China, with which it shares a border and with whom it fought a short border war in 1969.

No wonder, then, that for years Russian leaders have called the treaty unjust and have been grousing about withdrawing from it.

As they have said, the treaty prohibits only Russia and the US – but not China or anyone else – from fielding intermediate-range ground-launched missiles.

It is absolutely NOT in Russia’s NOR in America’s interest to continue to adhere to such an unequal treaty that only binds two countries in the world and no one else, while other nuclear powers continue to deploy intermediate range missiles and China continues to amass a large arsenal of these.

It Is In America’s Interest To Withdraw

Cirincione also claims that:

“Pulling out of a treaty that blocks the Russians from deploying weapons that we don’t have and don’t need would be foolish. (…)

We have nothing to gain from pulling out of the INF treaty. We already have long-range nuclear weapons trained on hundreds of targets in Russia.

We don’t need a few dozen more.”

This is also utterly wrong.

Russia now has more ICBMs, strategic bombers, and nuclear warheads than the US, and plans on adding still more, so the US DOES need to build up its nuclear arsenal – and to get on with it.

Moreover, deploying IRBMs (nuclear- or conventional-armed ones) in Europe and Asia would enable the US to hold at least some Russian and Chinese targets at risk without involving America’s strategic missile or bomber force.

Withdrawal from the INF Treaty would also allow the US to expand its conventional precision strike options against any targets.

Right now, the US relies singularly on conventional-armed, subsonic JASSM-ER and Tomahawk cruise missiles (whose range is just 1,000 and 1,700 kms, respectively) for attacking soft targets and on its small fleet of strategic bombers for attacking more distant and hardened targets.

Contrary to Cirincione’s assertions, America has nothing to gain by remaining a party to the INF treaty, to which only America adheres, thus essentially either disarming itself or not focusing on requisite modernization.

Moreover, the INF treaty is not blocking Russia from doing anything – even though it formally prohibits them to deploy intermediate range missiles.

It’s time to recognize that the INF Treaty is a dead letter.

Zbigniew Mazurak is a private defense analyst and the Defense Correspondent for Conservative Daily News.

He has contributed over 20 articles to the American Thinker, over 190 articles to Conservative Daily News, and numerous articles to other conservative news sites, the vast majority of them dealing with America’s defense issues.

He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History and is now working on his Ph.D. in the same field.

Note: The Ukrainian crisis only heightens concern with regard to the future of deterrence and what the Russians would believe to be a credible approach by the United States. 

Withdrawing from INF while focusing on requisite modernization might be a way to enhance deterrence.


Scottish Independence: A Blow Against Western Nuclear Deterrence?

Roughly three weeks from now, the Scottish people will decide for themselves whether they wish to end the 307 year union that has bound them to the United Kingdom.

The Union formed in large part due to economic concerns following a failed excursion in colonialism that left Edinburgh bankrupt, and economic issues similarly dominate the contemporary discussion as the small nation edges closer to referendum. Given the immediately-felt economic effects of an independent Scotland, it is understandable that Scots have delegated so much of their attention to these matters.

However, the implications of Scottish independence on security and defense is a largely overlooked facet to be considered as Scotland’s four million registered voters head to the polls this September.

In particular, Scottish independence raises particular questions regarding the United Kingdom’s Trident nuclear program, NATO, and the capability of Britain to remain the greatest ally of the United States.

According to the Scottish Nationalist Party’s (SNP) white paper on independence — a hefty tome describing the Scottish Government’s vision of an independent Scotland — the small nation would function on the international stage in a similar manner to that of nearby Scandinavian countries.

Roughly three weeks from now, the Scottish people will decide for themselves whether they wish to end the 307 year union that has bound them to the United Kingdom. The vote could have a significant even decisive impact on the UK nuclear deterrent and English defense policy.

Roughly three weeks from now, the Scottish people will decide for themselves whether they wish to end the 307 year union that has bound them to the United Kingdom. The vote could have a significant even decisive impact on the UK nuclear deterrent and English defense policy.

An important aspect of this new philosophy entails a stern policy against nuclear weapons, which Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has deemed as “an affront to basic decency” and unequivocally “inhumane.”

This, unfortunately for Westminster, poses a great challenge to the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent, as it is accompanied by the quick and indefinite removal of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Trident from the Scottish coast.

As it turns out, the core of the United Kingdom’s nuclear force is housed on Scottish shores and in Scottish bases, and the price and time it would take for relocation places a great stress on the U.K. Government.

This has led to the assumption that, should Scotland become an independent state, the United Kingdom — or rather, what remains of the United Kingdom — would be unable to maintain its nuclear arsenal, subsequently terminating it all together.

Should Westminster relinquish its cherished nuclear status, Western security would endure a peculiar strain. The United States, already skeptical of Great Britain’s capability, might opt for another partner to fill the role as “greatest ally.” Tides are already shifting in this nature, with President Obama unable to choose between Paris and London in naming Washington’s closest overseas associate and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates questioning U.K. military capability.

It is accordingly not out of the realm of possibility that a United Kingdom without 58 Trident II D-5 missiles might fall secondary and bring the United States and France closer militarily.

Uncertainty remains as to how much of a tangible impact this would have on greater international security. Still, the United Kingdom’s reliance on the United States for a credible nuclear deterrent suggests that, outside of geo-strategic benefits that the Scotland-based nuclear weapons provide to the Alliance, business would likely continue as usual.

However, while many have argued that a “Yes” vote in September would lead to an end of the U.K. nuclear deterrence, the United Kingdom is likely more reluctant to scrap the Trident than assumed at first glance. As stated in the Scottish white paper, the United Kingdom seeks to project global power by deploying nuclear weapons. Westminster’s current coalition government is headed by a Conservative Party that — despite rejecting the internationally inflammatory U.S.-comradery of former PM Tony Blair’s Liberal Interventionism — is keenly aware of the importance of its nuclear deterrent to both NATO and its “special relationship” with the United States, a relationship closely connected to the maintenance of the British legacy.

Cameron’s conservatives adhere to the modern-day Tory principle of “euroskepticism”, which views the European Union as potentially restrictive of UK interests and inherently brings an emphasis towards the Atlanticist commitments with Washington and NATO, and thus the nuclear deterrent.

For all the talk of a new Conservative idealism in the United Kingdom, Cameron has so far asserted himself as a bastion of the traditional realism of his conservative ancestors, and is unlikely to allow Scottish independence to end the UK nuclear deterrent. This, of course, might change with the coming elections, though a hypothetical Labour government may well maintain the importance of nuclear weapons held by predecessors Blair and Brown.

In addition, the United States is able to exert more influence on London than it would like to admit.

It is undeniably in the United States’ best interest for the United Kingdom to continue reinforcing U.S. and NATO nuclear force.

If Scottish independence becomes a fact rather than a campaign, and if Westminster is seriously mulling the abandonment of its nuclear deterrent, Washington might impose the same kind of pressure that eventually coaxed the United Kingdom into the EU.

For Scotland’s part, the nation will enter into the Alliance as a non-nuclear member if the Scottish will sways towards independence.

The geographic position of Scotland entitles it to an important role in regional security. Still, given its present existence in NATO as a nation within the United Kingdom, an independent Scotland’s admission into the Alliance would have little effect outside of a continuation of the status quo.

However, the SNP has sworn to increase the Scottish contribution to NATO air force capabilities in the event of a “Yes” vote, as well as the creation of a second naval squadron solely for NATO and other excursions in international waters.

As the Scottish Government and First Minister Alex Salmond have indicated, it is certain that when the Scottish people vote for independence this September, they are also voting for the end of the U.K.’s Trident nuclear program as it currently exists.

But that is not to say that the Trident will cease to exist in its entirety.

Rather, an independent Scotland is likely to be trailed by the Trident’s relocation and possibly re-configuration, a prospect which — though costly — is conducive to the continuation of global stability.