What was new on START Web site?

December, 1999

December 26, 1999
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, spent in Moscow three days and discussed a wide range of issues with Russian officials, including the ABM treaty. But the meetings produced no breakthroughs.

See also our special section ABM Treaty Modification: Should Russia Agree?.

"...If the United States unilaterally withdraw from the ABM Treaty, one have to seek for options of asymmetric answer...Several nuclear powered submarines were laid down in early 1990-s at the slips of the State Center of Nuclear Shipbuilding in Severodvinsk. Taking into account a small launch weight of SS-N-23 SLBM, there is a possibility to replace SS-N-19 ("Granit") and SS-N-21 ("Granat") SLCMs with a missile compartment containing 12 and 8 D-9RM (SS-N-23) SLBMs respectively. Besides that, deployment of SS-N-23 SLBM on mobile railway launchers of the Strategic Rocket Forces can not be excluded...", (Revival of See Launched Missile Production, - in Russian, by Valeri Alexin, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, December 24 - January 13, N 50, 1999, p. 3).

Laser weapons for ballistics missile defense: a special report of Izvestiya: Laser Race. Engineer Garin's Hyperboloid Will Find Soon Itself in Space,, - in Russian, (by Yuri Snegiryov, Izvestiya, December 22, 1999, p. 8).

John B. Rhinelander, former legal adviser to the U.S. SALT I delegation that negotiated the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty thinks that decision to withdraw from the treaty could roil the Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference scheduled in April 2000 and quite possibly lead to one or more countries withdrawing from the NPT. In addition, strategic stability would be undermined (ABM Treaty - Anachronism or Cornerstone?, Summary of talk by John Rhinelander, Presentation to Senate Staff Hosted by Council for a Livable World Education Fund, November 5, 1999).

The cost to acquire an initial National Missile Defense system is about to go up at least 50 percent, a senior Pentagon official said. A new internal estimate says the first installment of the system will cost about $16 billion from fiscal 2000 on, instead of about $10.5 billion:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised again to push ratification of the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty through the Russian parliament:

Eighty five years passed since the first Russian heavy bomber regiment was created. Current status of the long range aviation is described by Lieutenant-General Mikhail Oparin, the CinC of the 37-th Air Army:

American and Russian officers on Wednesday christened the missile-warning center meant to allay Y2K-related fears of an accidental nuclear launch (Russians Praise Missile Center, by John Diedrich, Colorado Springs Gazette, December 23, 1999). See also our special section on Y2K (in Russian).

The story with "suitcase" nuclear bombs continues. "...By its verdict on "Yablokov against Nezavisimaya Gazeta (NG)" case the Moscow court in fact agreed with Yablokov's statement, that the USSR had plans of nuclear terrorism...", ("NG" Alone Defends The State's Honor,- in Russian, by Andrey Vaganov and Vitali Tret'yakov, Nezavisimya Gazeta, December 23, 1999, p. 1,8)

December 20, 1999 .
The Strategic Rocket Forces celebrated the 40-th anniversary since establishment of the service. Colonel-General Vladimir Yakovlev, CinC of the SRF, shares his views on future development.

Friday's issue of Krasnaya Zvezda was devoted to celebrations of the jubilee:

Russia launched a new strategic missile from Plesetsk test site a few days before the anniversary. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin witnessed the test,

European members of NATO expressed concern over American plans to retreat behind an anti-missile shield that will violate a key arms control treaty with the Russians. France supported the resolution of UN General Assembly on preserving the ABM Treaty intact: Russian arms control experts make assessments on prospects to save the ABM Treaty and START process: According to the authors of an article in Kommersant-Vlast' weekly, Army General Anatoli Kvashnin, Head of the General Staff of the Russian Military Forces plans to downsize the Strategic Rocket Forces. In particular, there are plans to curtail headquarters of the Chita Missile Army and subordinate its missile units to the Omsk Missile Army. The newspaper reports that the Ministry of Defense ordered a single "Topol-M" missile only in 2000 - a sharp decline in comparison with 10 ICBMs this year: Cleanup In the Rear (by Ivan Safronov and Ilya Bulavinov, Kommersant-Vlast', December 14, 1999)

START web site presents a new section Strategic Nuclear Forces And Y2K Problem, - in Russian, contents of which are updated daily. In the news: Pentagon does not worry about Russia's missiles going off, Many Soviet-designed nuclear power plants are unprepared for the Year 2000 and other information.

In the recent issue of the Yadernaya Bezopasnost' magazine (October-November 1999):

Electronic version of the September-October's issue of Arms Control Today is available on-line. In the issue:

Today at the START Forum (in Russian): reasons for START II imbalance.

December 14, 1999 .
Russian lawmakers yesterday put off voting on the START II nuclear arms treaty, once again dashing prospects that it might be ratified any time soon:

The Russian military deployed 10 new Topol-M nuclear missiles Friday, the second time in two years that it has put a contingent of the missiles on full combat readiness. A day before Yeltsin reminded Clinton that "Russia is a great power that possesses a nuclear arsenal." :

U.S.-Russian cooperation funded Nunn-Lugar money continues. "...The goal of the program is officially named as "defense by other means", - Pavel Podvig, a leading expert of our Center said to Vedomosti newspaper, - "...Washington prefers to spend a portion of the money, that is allocated to national security, to disarm Russia. However, Russian Defense Ministry and Minatom do get necessary equipment and stuff, and in future - a wider access to implementation of the contracts..." (America Will Help Us, - in Russian, by Mikhail Kozyrev, Vedomosti, December 10, 1999).

K-51, a leading strategic submarine of Delta-4 class, will return to the service in December after completing a long overhaul at "Zvezdochka" shipyard. A leading SSBN of "Typhoon" class, which has been under repairs over than nine years, is supposed to enter into service in 2001 (The Missile Submarine Will Go to the Sea, - in Russian, (by Valeri Alexin, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 48, December 10-16, 1999, p. 1). See also an article on status of the sea based strategic forces by Eugene Miasnikov.

Russia must develop new weapons capable of neutralizing any missile defense system the United States might build in the future, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said in an article published Thursday. Sergeyev said missile defenses under development in the United States could make Russia's aging arsenals increasingly useless. He called for the development of "weapons based on new physical principles" to offset what he described as a growing U.S. military edge.

A blue-ribbon scientific panel, appointed by Congress to review the U.S. nuclear stockpile, has recommended that the Department of Energy design a new, billion-dollar plutonium weapons plant and organize teams at the nation's nuclear laboratories to design new warheads for the first time in more than a decade: Panel Urges U.S. To Plan Atomic Weapons Plant, New Warheads, (by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, December 10, 1999, p.5.) See also official documents of DoE on nuclear stockpile stewardship.

If the U.S. decides to deploy national ballistic missile defense system, the decision on where to put the interceptors, has not yet been made: Cohen: Alaska Would Host National Missile Defense (by John Donnelly, Defense Week, December 13, 1999, p.1)

Star war opponents in the U.S. continue to bring arguments for keeping the ABM Treaty intact:

An issue worthy of national consideration was discussed by a panel of serious people at the National Press Club last week. The subject: taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert. They hope it will make its way into the presidential debates.

Together with Nigeria, Egypt and Venezuela, Russia is a country worst prepared to face Y2K events. (A Look at 8 Nations' Y2K Readiness, by Associated Press, Saturday, Dec. 11, 1999; 4:05 p.m. EST). See also on Y2K readiness of Russian Strategic Forces: The Chinese navy will place the Juland-2 (JL-2) ICBM aboard its ballistic missile submarines, according to a senior Chinese official.(Chinese Official: New DF-31 Missile To Go On Submarines, Defense Daily, December 9, 1999, p.4)

Newly declassified documents show that while the United States publicly vowed not to keep nuclear weapons in Japan, it secretly stored them not only on Okinawa but also on the islands of Chichi-jima and Iwo Jima and was prepared to do the same at as many as 11 other Japanese sites:

Among new publications at the web site of Carnegie Endowment for Peace:

Today at the START Forum (in Russian): transparency of nuclear weapons and upload potential.

December 7, 1999 .
The United States is warning its NATO allies that the threat of long-range missile strikes from rogue nations is growing more serious. That news, however, hasn't necessarily rallied the allies behind a proposed U.S. anti-missile net designed to combat the threat:

Russian experts continue to criticise U.S. plans to deploy national missile defense system:

The National Missile Defense program is operating under a very tight, high-risk schedule and is therefore prone to delays, according to the chairman of an independent panel that recently completed a sweeping review (in PDF format) of the controversial NMD effort. However, because of the demanding pace of the multibillion dollar program, schedule slips should not be immediately interpreted as failures, retired Air Force Gen. Larry Welch said (Welch: NMD Schedule Slips Don't Signal A Failed Program, by Michael C. Sirak, Inside Missile Defense, December 1, 1999)

Bill Bradley, a rival of Vice President Gore, for the Democratic presidential nomination said he would work to negotiate a new missile-reduction treaty with Moscow, even though the START II treaty reducing nuclear warheads has never been ratified by the Russian parliament. "I am in favor of moving beyond START II, even in the absence of ratification by Russia, to negotiations on START III," he said, giving a goal of reducing arms stocks to 1,000 to 2,000 warheads for each side:

"...The analysis shows, that the Strategic Rocket Forces Have No Persuasive Arguments in Favor Of Merger With Space Missile Defense Forces (Voiska Raketno-Kosmicheskoi Oborony..." (Warp In a Development. Organizational structure of the Russian Military Does Not Correspond To Nature Of A Future War, - in Russian, by Ivan Yerokhin, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 47, December 3, 1999, p. 1, 4). See also our section Integration Of Russian Strategic Forces Under A Unified Command.

Possible role of nuclear weapons is also discussed in:

Independent Military Review, an English version of Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye presents:

Bowing to pressure from the Clinton administration and Congress, the uranium-processing firm USEC Inc. dropped its threat to resign as the federal government's executive agent in a nuclear nonproliferation deal with Russia.

Despite U.S. efforts, hundreds of tons of Russian nuclear material remain vulnerable to theft, and thousands of Russian nuclear scientists remain underpaid and underemployed. Russia's support for nuclear cooperation efforts, moreover, is precarious and could rapidly dissolve. Nuclear cooperation programs must be accelerated before this extraordinary opportunity passes. Non-governmental organizations and experts are actively seeking innovative ways to increase funding for these projects. Dr. Thomas Cochran, Director of the Nuclear Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, presented a unique solution known as the Non-Proliferation Trust (NPT): The Non-Proliferation Trust: An Update, (Proliferation Roundtable at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 30, 1999)

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson unveiled a high-tech, long-distance telecommunications link to help Russia monitor its nuclear power plants for Y2K computer problems.

The year 2000 computer glitch presents no danger to the Russian navy's nuclear-powered fleet, contrary to a report released earlier this year by a prominent Norwegian environmental group, a Russian official said: Russia Says Nuclear Ships Y2K Ready, (by Associated Press, Thursday, Dec. 2, 1999; 9:52 a.m. EST).

China is beginning work on a new strategic submarine that will be targeted against U.S. nuclear forces and carry missiles with a range of 7,400 nm and small warheads similar to American weapons, The Washington Times has learned. Both the missiles and the first submarine of Type 094 are expected to be deployed around 2005 or 2006 (U.S. Secrets Aboard Latest Chinese Sub, by Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, December 6, 1999, p.1).

Presentation of a new album "The Missile Shield of the Homeland" took place at the Military Academy named by Peter the Great. The book is prepared by military-historical group of the Scientific Technical Committee and the Press Service of the Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) in connection with the 40-th anniversary of the SRF to be celebrated on December 17, 1999 (Rocketeers Are Preparing to the Anniversary, - in Russian, by Yuri Grekov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, N 47, December 3, 1999, p. 8).

Today at the START Forum (in Russian): discussion of the paper by Eugene Miasnikov Future Of Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces: Discussion And Arguments.

What Was New?

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Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT, 1999.