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05 Aug 22. DOD Committed to Reducing Risk of Nuclear War, Says Official.
The Defense Department would like nothing better than the total elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide, the undersecretary of defense for policy said.
Colin H. Kahl spoke virtually today at the United Nations’ Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York City.
However, today’s security environment is more challenging than at any time since the end of the Cold War and arguably a more complex one, as there are many challenges that impact progress toward the achievement of the Non-Proliferation Treaty aspirations, he said.
The NPT is an international treaty, the aim of which is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament.
Kahl mentioned some of the impediments to eliminating all nuclear weapons.
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and reckless nuclear rhetoric.
China’s rapid expansion, modernization and diversification of its nuclear weapons capabilities as well as its saber-rattling this week in the Taiwan Straits.
Iran’s refusal to resolve International Atomic Energy Agency concerns and return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
North Korea’s possible preparations to conduct another nuclear test and its steady stream of missile tests.
Nuclear deterrence and the transparency, communication and dialogue are recognized to be equally important factors in reducing the risks of nuclear war, he said.
“This balanced approach recognizes that nuclear deterrence is not mutually exclusive to bolstering arms control, promoting strategic stability and working toward a world without nuclear weapons,” he added.
“Even as we continue the important work of ensuring a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent, the United States remains committed to the goals of the NPT,” he said.
In March of this year, DOD released its National Defense Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review in classified form to Congress.
Kahl said that the unclassified versions of the NDS and NPR should be made publicly available in the near future.
Some highlights of the soon-to-be released NPR, he said, are:
A commitment to nuclear modernization with the goals of a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent to protect the homeland, allies and partners.
Taking steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons globally with a commitment to arms control, risk reduction and strategic stability.
Seeking a new, integrated approach to deterrence that works seamlessly across warfighting domains and theaters and bolsters security with non-nuclear capabilities.
A commitment to reducing risk through mutually verifiable arms control agreements, including compliance with all obligations.
Recognizing a continued commitment to discussions among the major nuclear powers on ways to sustain and enhance strategic stability and reduce the risks of nuclear war.
“Despite the challenges in the current security environment, the United States will continue to pursue engagement with other nuclear armed states where possible to reduce nuclear risks, and we will do so with realistic expectations,” he said.
“The United States wholeheartedly recognizes and reaffirms that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” he said. “We encourage nuclear weapons states to engage with the United States on risk reduction measures and provide transparency about nuclear posture and doctrine.” (Source: US DoD)
02 Aug 22. US: Sanctions on Chinese oil firms will further inflame tensions with Beijing. On 1 August, the US Department of the Treasury and US State Department sanctioned four Hong Kong-based Chinese oil firms for violating sanctions imposed against the sale of Iranian oil. Along with designated companies from the UAE and Singapore, the Chinese firms are accused of facilitating the sale of oil and petrochemicals from Iran’s Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co (PGPICC) in East Asia. The assets held in the US by the newly sanctioned firms are now frozen, and US nationals are barred from having business dealings with them. This is the third time that Chinese firms have been penalised over Iran-related sanctions in the past two months, reflecting rising regulatory risks for businesses with links to such entities through subsidiaries or supply chains. It comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan today (see Sibylline Daily Analytical Update – 1 August 2022), which will further inflame tensions and likely to lead to retaliation from Beijing. (Source: Sibylline)
01 Aug 22. 3rd Fleet boss proposes new group to coordinate Pacific security. The U.S. is closer to conflict in the Pacific than it is to peace, the head of U.S. 3rd Fleet said, and the command structure must change to reflect that.
Vice Adm. Michael Boyle has called for a centralized command-and-control structure — a standing maritime force similar to those elsewhere around the globe — that could rapidly respond to a crisis in the Indo-Pacific region.
Speaking to Defense News at the Rim of the Pacific exercise, which runs June 29-Aug. 4, Boyle said the training event helps tighten the coalition of partners in the region and align their tactics.
But he noted more must be done to adjust to this new posture, including understanding when each country’s military is authorized to join an operation by the proposed maritime force; which nations would join a humanitarian assistance or disaster relief mission; and which nations would join in a fight against China or North Korea.
“We historically in this [area of responsibility] have thought about war as an esoteric adventure out somewhere in the future, not something that’s happening every day,” Boyle added. But a conflict could reasonably arise, “and we have to be ready to go.”
That means having the joint force — including space and cyber assets — as well as partners and allies aligned so that, at the first sign of an adversary preparing an attack, the coalition could quickly intervene and pose dilemmas to the enemy.
Boyle believes China will continue its gray zone activities but won’t escalate to full conflict until it’s confident it can win. A standing command structure would “look at what China, Russia and North Korea do, and then we posture the force to induce dilemmas into their thinking. We ultimately want them to think: ‘Today is not the day to go against this joint, combined force.’”
Boyle pointed to a couple other standing groups as inspiration for the proposed Pacific force. In the Middle East, the Combined Maritime Forces naval partnership has 34 members that support three task groups, who in turn cover 3.2m square miles of international waters. The group is led by the U.S. Navy three-star admiral who leads U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, and the deputy is a British Royal Navy commodore.
In the Pacific, Boyle pointed to the Pacific Security Maritime Exchange, a nine-nation information-sharing group dedicated to stopping North Korea from violating United Nations sanctions. He also cited the Indo-Pacific Maritime Coordination Center, one of three fusion centers in which that U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has invested in order to share data for identifying at-sea threats.
“We have pockets of excellence; I think we need a larger, centralized clearinghouse where you can plug into,” he said.
Boyle took command of 3rd Fleet in mid-June after serving as the director of maritime operations at U.S. Pacific Fleet. His past assignments include commanding an air wing based in Japan, leading a carrier strike group that deployed to the Pacific, commanding naval forces in South Korea, and serving as the executive assistant to two previous Pacific Fleet commanders.
Given his extensive experience in the Pacific, Boyle acknowledged he has his sights set a bit beyond the typical purview of a 3rd Fleet commander, which includes preparing ready forces to deploy and coordinating defense support to civil activities.
If a conflict broke out, “as 3rd Fleet, I’m no different than 7th Fleet: I’ll be forward as a maneuver element of the fight.”
While 3rd Fleet operates along the American West Coast and around Hawaii, 7th Fleet is located on the other side of the international dateline. Where 3rd Fleet can differentiate himself from 7th Fleet is the former’s ability to pull in partners from Central and South America, several of whom are participating in RIMPAC right now, he said.
Boyle said he can’t dispatch U.S. Navy ships to those regions, which fall under U.S. 4th Fleet, for local exercises, such as UNITAS. But he can help couch them in the context of a Pacific fight and advocate for U.S. participation, and he hopes that setting up a formal command-and-control structure in the Pacific could serve to tighten the relationship with countries like Chile, Mexico and Peru, who have ships and ground forces at RIMPAC this year.
As 3rd Fleet commander, Boyle also leads the RIMPAC exercise and the entire combined task force during the event. He wants this year’s annual drill to “force commanders to think a little bit more.” They may not know what exactly the threat is and how the exercise scenario will unfold, but he wants them to have a solid understanding of what capabilities exist within partner nations and who is authorized to participate as the conflict scales up; this way, he explained, they can begin to think through various options as scenarios progress.
“That’s not the goal of RIMPAC overall, but I’m trying to set the foundation so that, as we move forward, future RIMPACs are an opportunity to rehearse centralized command and control of a combined force,” he said.
“I can’t help but continue the work that I started in my previous job,” he added. “This is not just ships driving together — it’s understanding the command-and-control structure they’re going to have plug into.”
(Source: Defense News)
01 Aug 22. Senators seek $2bn Space Force budget boost for missile defense, responsive launch. Senate lawmakers want to boost the Space Force’s budget by more than $2bn to support missile warning satellite development, responsive launch capabilities and improved testing and training infrastructure.
The proposed increase comes as part of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s $792bn spending package for fiscal 2023, released July 28. The bill calls for a 9% increase to the Department of Defense’s budget over fiscal 2022 spending levels and is $31bn higher than what House lawmakers approved in June.
In a report released with its bill last week, the committee labeled space as one of its top priorities, noting that part of the $2.2bn increase is focused on hypersonic missile tracking capabilities and would support the Space Force’s shift to a more resilient, distributed architecture.
The bill’s major space-focused funding increases includes $700m to speed up procurement of Space Development Agency missile warning and tracking satellites and support a new constellation of space vehicles in medium Earth orbit, or between 1,243 and 22,236 miles (2,000-35,785 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. It also proposes another $216m to accelerate SDA missile warning and tracking satellite launches.
The committee’s show of support for space-based missile warning and tracking systems comes as the Space Force reports growing threats from adversaries including China and Russia that are developing and demonstrating hypersonic weapons that can travel at speeds above Mach 5.
The service projects it will need $24.5bn to develop and procure missile warning and tracking systems over the next five years to develop the follow-on to the Space-Based Infrared System through a program called Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared and to build out additional constellations that will augment that mission in new orbits.
The committee said it agrees with the Space Force’s plan to rethink its missile warning and tracking architecture but wants details on the progress of the programs and a comparison of the cost, schedule and risk associated with each.
Lawmakers also want to see the Space Force invest more in satellite resiliency, adding $250m in their bill for an initiative to improve on-board protection for important space assets. The bill doesn’t dictate how the service should spend the money, but recommends that it develop an acquisition strategy to provide “a suite of on-board capabilities” that could be made available for program managers to integrate on their satellites or ground systems. The committee also suggests the service make on-board resiliency a requirement when developing new satellites.
The bill also calls for a $250m increase “to fill a critical gap” in the Space Force’s testing and training infrastructure. The increase comes as the service is in the early stages of developing a National Space Test and Training Complex that would help space operators and testers connect virtually to practice tactics and assess new space systems.
In the area of space launch, lawmakers proposed $100m for the Tactically Responsive Launch program. The effort was initiated by Congress, and while the service is pursuing responsive space capabilities that would allow it to quickly replace or augment satellites on rapid timelines, it hasn’t committed to funding the program.
Congress has appropriated $115m for the program since fiscal 2020 and has repeatedly asked the Space Force to develop an acquisition plan. Senate appropriators continue that push, directing the service to deliver a plan “in a timely manner.”
Lawmakers also proposed a $96m increase across a range of Space Force technology development initiatives, including a project to boost cyber resiliency and an effort to improve space domain awareness near the moon. (Source: Defense News)
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