British & International Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, Summer 2009

1 August 2009

US-Russia Strategic Arms Talks

Missile Pact Based on Old Plan
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 13 July 2009
President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week agreed to a joint missile-launch monitoring facility, but their new agreement is based on an old plan. The original proposal dates to President Bill Clinton, who first discussed it with Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and later settled on a plan with Yeltsin's successor, Vladimir Putin.

Nuclear Arms Pact Faces Slow Go
Josh Rogin, CQ Politics, 11 July 2009
Despite progress by U.S. and Russian leaders this week toward a new nuclear arms reduction treaty, it appears less and less likely that the Senate will ratify any agreement signed by the two governments before the end of the year. In the face of GOP Senate calls for other issues to be addressed along with any agreement that would replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires Dec. 5.

Plumage -- But at A Price
Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 9 July 2009
The signing ceremony in Moscow was a grand affair. For Barack Obama, foreign policy neophyte and "reset" man, the arms reduction agreement had a Kissingerian air. A fine feather in his cap. And our president likes his plumage. Unfortunately for the United States, the country Obama represents, the prospective treaty is useless at best, detrimental at worst.

Russian nuclear agreement a good start
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 July 2009
But as important as the news from Moscow is, it is just the first step, with much hard work ahead. The path forward should include:
-- A declaration by Obama, in his Nuclear Posture Review due later this year, that the United States will not countenance a first use of nuclear weapons. This would reverse a Bush administration policy of declining to rule out a nuclear first strike.
-- Making ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty a priority in the U.S. Senate. Signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, the treaty has been ratified by 148 countries, but not the United States.
-- Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with requirements for robust and comprehensive inspections, and penalties for violators and nations that attempt to exit the treaty without good reason.
-- Ensuring the highest security standard for nuclear weapons, and securing the world's vulnerable nuclear materials.
-- Removing deployed nuclear weapons from high alert, to reduce the risk of accidental or unapproved launch.

Strategic Schizophrenia
Alexander Golts, The Moscow Times, 9 July 2009
Wishing to indulge its tough negotiating partner, Washington picked a heavily militarized agenda for the Moscow summit — nuclear arms reduction, missile defense and control over nuclear materials. These are areas in which Russia believes it can negotiate with the United States on equal grounds — that is, as equal superpowers.

Obama’s Big Missile Test
Philip Taubman, New York Times, 8 July 2009
AS President Obama will soon discover, erasing the nuclear weapons legacy of the cold war is like running the Snake River rapids in Wyoming — the first moments in the tranquil upstream waters offer little hint of the vortex ahead. Now that Mr. Obama has set a promising arms reduction agenda with President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia, he faces the greater challenge of getting his own government and the American nuclear weapons establishment to support his audacious plan to make deep weapons cuts and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons.

START Follow-On: What SORT of Agreement?
Hans M. Kristensen, FAS Strategic Security Blog, 8 July 2009
In fact, the agreement only reduces deployed strategic warheads. It does not affect warheads held in reserve, non-strategic warheads, the size of the total stockpile, nor does it require dismantlement of any nuclear warheads.

U.S.-Russia talks yield no breakthroughs
Christi Parsons and Megan K. Stack, Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2009
Obama leaves with important, if measured, agreements. But the contentious issues -- Iran, U.S. missile defense, human rights -- went unbridged.

A Troubling START
Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 8 July 2009
Mr. Obama's negotiators would be wise to be wary. The odds that America will take part in a nuclear war are low. But the long-range bombers, submarines and missiles under discussion are an important part of the far superior American conventional arsenal. No wonder the Russians are so eager to have America reduce those numbers.

An Obama Doctrine Emerges in Moscow
Joe Cirincione, Huffington Post, 8 July 2009
In Prague, in Cairo, and now in Moscow, we are witnessing the emergence of an Obama Doctrine. A world view guided by universal compliance with democratic norms and the rule of law; policies driven by the convergence of shared interests and responsibilities; and a statecraft that does not shirk from the application of military force when necessary but promotes America's interests with respect for other nations and the strength of joint enterprise.

Nuclear powers come in from the cold
Rebecca Johnson, Comment is Free, www.guardian.co.uk, 7 July 2009
A follow-on to START is vital. But the current emphasis on deployed strategic weapons is a hangover from the cold war and leaves out the thousands of weapons deemed "non-strategic" or "non-deployed", which include some of the most destabilising and vulnerable bombs in the arsenals. The next round of US-Russian negotiations after December will undoubtedly aim for deeper and more comprehensive cuts. If Obama and Medvedev are serious about reducing nuclear dangers then they have to tackle aggregate numbers and reduce the salience and value accorded to nuclear arms. As they work towards alternative approaches for mutual security and deterrence, pressure will grow on the smaller nuclear powers to bring something to the table as well. Britain could help by reconsidering its own options and not barging ahead with Trident replacement.

Moscow's Fantasies
Editorial, Washington Post, 7 July 2009
President Obama tries to work with Russia's regime without indulging its dreams of empire.

U.S.-Russia Nuclear Agreement Is First Step in Broad Effort
Clifford J. Levy and Peter Baker, New York Times, 6 July 2009
Under Monday’s agreement, the Start successor treaty would reduce the ceiling on strategic warheads to somewhere between 1,500 and 1,675 warheads within seven years, down from the current ceiling of 2,200 warheads by 2012. The limit on delivery vehicles — land-based intercontinental missiles, submarines-based missiles and bombers — would be somewhere from 500 to 1,100, down from the 1,600 currently allowed. The Russians are pushing for deeper cuts in delivery vehicles because their missiles generally fit more warheads than American missiles. American officials said this treaty would not address warheads stored in reserve, an issue something the Russians have wanted to include in the past.

U.S. and Russia to Reduce Arsenals
Michael A. Fletcher and Philip P. Pan, Washington Post, 7 July 2009
MOSCOW, July 6 -- President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reached a preliminary agreement Monday to cut the American and Russian nuclear arsenals by as much as a third while exploring options for cooperation on missile defense...
"This is an agreement that is vitally important, because it maintains a system for verification and regulation of the world's two largest arsenals," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the nonprofit Arms Control Association. "But the cuts they're outlining are modest cuts. That's understandable, given the short timeline they have for completing a deal, but it also highlights how much more is left to be done."

US and Russia to scrap 2000 nuclear weapons
Gerri Peev, Scotsman, 7 July 2009
The nuclear weapons deal reached in Moscow put pressure on Gordon Brown to scrap plans to renew Trident. The SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson said the agreement between the big powers "underlines the utter madness of UK government plans to proceed with Trident renewal". Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said it was time for Britain to play its part by ruling out a replacement for Trident.

Russia warns US over missile shield
AP, 7 July 2009
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister warned Tuesday that the U.S. would jeopardize progress toward a new treaty with Russia on nuclear arms cuts if it decides to create a global missile defense system. Sergey Lavrov spoke a day after the Russian and U.S. presidents reached a preliminary agreement setting targets for further reductions of the world's largest offensive nuclear arsenals.

Flurry of deals at Moscow-US summit
Jonathan Marcus, BBC News Online, 6 July 2009
By setting low expectations for this summit, the US and Russian presidents have been able to appear to have achieved more than had been hoped.

U.S. and Russia Seek More Extensive Weapons Cuts
Jonathan Weisman, Wall Street Journal, 2 July 2009
The U.S. and Russia are expected to launch new talks aimed at reducing the number of strategic and other nuclear weapons on both sides, a senior Obama administration official said Tuesday, in an ambitious effort that could help ease bilateral tensions over other issues as well.

US-Russia report on scrapping nuclear weapons to be unveiled
Nick Mathiason and Ian Traynor, The Guardian, 28 June 2009
A three-step process for the phased elimination of nuclear weapons will be unveiled by a powerful group of former policy makers in Washington tomorrow. The report by the Global Zero Commission, formed last December to urge Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev to rid the world of nuclear weapons, is released ahead of a summit in Moscow between the two leaders next weekend.

Time for Change? Will we see nuclear disarmament?
Karel Koster, SP International, 24 June 2009
Will we see a policy of nuclear disarmament adopted under President Obama? His speech in Prague at the beginning of April was interpreted by many in this way and it is certainly important that the world's most powerful politician has expressed support for nuclear disarmament. There is, however, a problematic relationship between ultimate goals and practical policy steps. Not the least of the problems involved is that of the 'After You' principle: everyone is for nuclear disarmament, provided someone else takes the first steps.

Third Round of START Talks Begin
Global Security Newswire, 23 June 2009
The nations are likely to pursue cutbacks to their nuclear arsenals, said Daryl Kimball, head of the Washington-based Arms Control Association. The two nations are allowed by the 2002 Moscow Treaty to deploy between 1,700 and 2,200 strategic nuclear warheads.

Russia 'could drop nuclear arms'
BBC News Online, 10 June 2009
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said his country could give up nuclear weapons if everyone else that had them did the same.

 

A ‘Reset’ Is Not Enough
E. Wayne Merry, Op-ed, New York Times, 22 May 2009
The U.S. is again committed to treaty-based strategic nuclear arms control, to preserve the legacy of Reagan and Gorbachev. The nuclear issues alone are difficult, but doable. A broader problem lies in American dominance in non-nuclear strategic weaponry. This is a basic security problem for Moscow. Russia cannot agree to deep reductions in its shrinking nuclear arsenal because U.S. non-nuclear systems, not constrained by arms controls, can be deterred only by nuclear weapons.

U.S. Navy Plans August Test for Conventional Trident-Related Technology
Elaine M. Grossman Global Security Newswire, 21 May 2009
The U.S. Navy in August plans to conduct a flight test of Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile technologies modified for conventional strike operations, despite congressional admonitions against developing such weapons.

Russia's Lavrov: Nuclear Treaty Must Include Missile Defense
AFP, 20 May 2009
MOSCOW (AFP)--Any new U.S.-Russian nuclear disarmament treaty must take missile defense into account, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday, as talks on the expiring START treaty were underway in Moscow.

U.S.-Russia nuclear talks make positive start
Amie Ferris-Rotman and Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters, 20 May 2009
The diplomat said the next round of talks would be held in Geneva on June 1-3 and that a progress report would be made to Obama and Medvedev at their meeting in Moscow on July 6-8. "We agreed that the first results of work on a new agreement will be reported in the forthcoming meeting in early July in Moscow," the diplomat said.

US and Russia start hard bargaining over slashing nuclear weapons
Tony Halpin, The Times, 20 May 2009
The Kremlin wants the US to abandon plans for a missile-defence shield in Eastern Europe, which it says threatens Russia's security. It is likely to link agreement on arms reductions to a pledge to scrap the project, which the US insists is aimed at rogue states such as Iran. President Obama has refused to ditch the shield so far. Instead, he has urged Russia to help make it unnecessary by working with the US to tackle Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Russia and US begin nuclear talks
BBC News Online, 19 May 2009
The main sticking points are limits on the number of warheads and whether the treaty will cover bombers and missiles. Also on the agenda is Moscow's concern over US missile defence shield plans.

Obama Administration Is Bringing Nuclear Arms Control Back
Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, 8 May 2009
"The subject kind of fell off the table" in recent years, said former Republican secretary of state George P. Shultz, one of the most prominent of those voices. "Now it's back up in front, because people see the dangers."

Commission Recommends Renewed US Leadership on Nuclear Arms Reduction
Dan Robinson, Voice of America, 6 May 2009
A report released in Washington on Wednesday recommends strengthened U.S. leadership in global efforts to prevent further nuclear weapons proliferation. However, the Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States says new threats, including potential nuclear terrorism, require a credible deterrent capability.

British News

Brown hints at Trident cuts

PM suggests possible Trident cuts
BBC News Online, 10 July 2009
"Iran is attempting to build a nuclear weapon. North Korea is attempting to build a nuclear weapon. We have got to show we can deal with this by collective action. "Unilateral action by the United Kingdom would not be seen as the best way. What we need is collective action by the nuclear weapons powers to say that we are prepared to reduce our nuclear weapons, but we need assurances also that other countries will not proliferate them."

Trident added to G8 Summit disarmament deal by Gordon Brown
Philip Webster, The Times, 10 July 2009
Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent could be thrown into a world disarmament deal after President Obama called yesterday for the biggest summit to stop the spread of atomic weapons.

Talks could lead to cut in UK's nuclear stockpile, says Gordon Brown
Patrick Wintour, Larry Elliott and Julian Borger, The Guardian, 9 July 2009
• Prime minister rules out unilateral reduction • Tougher inspection regime to be proposed
Daryl Kimball, the head of the Arms Control Association in Washington, portrayed Brown's offer as a half-measure. "His government needs to more carefully explain why it needs to retain that Trident force in the first place," Kimball said. "Who are they deterring, why and in what circumstances? There seems to be no explanation except that it serves as a vague insurance policy against some vague future threat."

We'll cut Trident, signals Brown
Tom Peterkin, Scotsman, 10 July 2009
"What we need is collective action by the nuclear weapons powers to say that we are prepared to reduce our nuclear weapons, but we need assurances also that other countries will not proliferate them."

G8: Britain could cut nuclear stockpile, Gordon Brown says
James Kirkup, The Telegraph, 10 July 2009
US-brokered talks next year aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation could pave the way for Britain to reduce its 160-warhead arsenal in return for proof from aspiring nuclear states that they had stopped their weapons programmes... Mr Brown said the meeting could also help to draw up a replacement for the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Prime Minister vows to cut nuclear weapon stockpile - but only if rest of world does the same
James Beattie, Daily Record, 10 July 2009
GORDON Brown yesterday vowed to cut Britain's nuclear arsenal, but not to ditch Trident unilaterally.

Gordon Brown in his element at G8 summit as Tories face the heat
Larry Elliott and Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 10 July 2009
Although it will take more than summitry to give Brown a chance at the next general election, there is certainly no shortage of opportunities to take the global stage between now and the expected polling day next year. In September a meeting of the UN general assembly will be followed immediately by a G20 gathering in Pittsburgh. Then, if environment ministers run into trouble at Copenhagen in December, there is the possibility that world leaders will fly in to take charge. Next spring Obama is planning a summit on nuclear proliferation.

Obama plans nuclear talks to lift threat of proliferation
Andrew Grice, Independent, 10 July 2009
British officials insisted that Trident would not be "on the table" in March, but confirmed it could eventually form part of the talks if they resulted in a process of multilateral disarmament. They played down the chances of the £25bn Trident programme being axed as part of a drive to cut public spending, saying the "fixed costs" of the four submarines which carry the weapons accounted for the bulk of the budget, so reducing the number of warheads would not save much. Gordon Brown will publish Britain's proposals for a historic "new deal on nuclear security" in the world in the next few days. He has told Mr Obama that he believes there is a chance of securing a trade-off under which countries promise not to develop nuclear weapons in return for help with developing civil nuclear power.

Review Trident
Letters to the Editor, from Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, The Guardian, 11 July 2009
Gordon Brown's statement on the potential for nuclear reductions is to be welcomed (Talks could lead to cut in UK's nuclear stockpile, says Gordon Brown, 10 July). But given President Obama's aim for rapid progress on disarmament, it calls in to question even more acutely the decisions and consequent spending commitments due to be made by ministers in the coming months.

And the Backlash...

Britain must not sacrifice Trident to please Obama
Nile Gardiner, The Telegraph, 10 July 2009
As the Telegraph has reported, President Obama has called for a 30-nation summit in Washington next March to discuss nuclear non-proliferation. This follows a reckless preliminary agreement between Obama and Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow to cut America’s nuclear stockpile and delivery systems by up to a third, a deal which is stunningly good for the Russians but hugely damaging for America’s interests.

Why We Don't Want a Nuclear-Free World
Melanie Kirkpatrick, Maclean VA, Wall Street Journal, 11 July 2009
'Nuclear weapons are used every day." So says former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, speaking last month at his office in a wooded enclave of Maclean, Va. It's a serene setting for Doomsday talk, and Mr. Schlesinger's matter-of-fact tone belies the enormity of the concepts he's explaining -- concepts that were seemingly ignored in this week's Moscow summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev.

Ministry of Defence announces a Defence Review

Exclusive: Barrow MP Hutton - nuclear subs won't be cut
North-West Evening Mail, 9 July 2009
“It has no implications for Trident. The government has made it clear it is quite committed to the replacement programme. “This is the right thing to do. There is no question that where others possess nuclear weapons, we shouldn’t throw ours away.” Mr Hutton earlier in the week told the Evening Mail that “the cost of replacing Trident is a price well worth paying”.

Cuts sink Trident: Gordon Brown orders review of review of defence spending
The Mirror, 8 July 2009
Gordon Brown has opened the door to scrapping Trident by ordering a root-and-branch review of all defence spending. Ministers and military chiefs will start drawing up priorities ahead of cuts to the armed forces' crisis-hit £36billion budget. The PM has already faced strong calls to scrap the £25billion nuclear programme after relying on the Tories to pass it.

Future of big military projects under threat
James Kirkup and Thomas Harding, The Telegraph, 8 July 2009
In a tacit admission that the defence budget will be squeezed in the years ahead, the Ministry of Defence yesterday announced a defence Green Paper early next year. It will pave the way for a full Strategic Defence Review after the election.... However, the MoD insisted that the decision to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent will not be revisited by the review. That triggered claims the review could not truly consider the fundamental questions about Britain's strategic position.

Trident excluded from defence review
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 7 July 2009
The government bowed to the inevitable today by agreeing to a strategic defence review but said it would exclude Britain's most controversial weapons system, the Trident nuclear deterrent. "There is no sacred cow besides Trident," defence officials said.

John Hutton warns that cuts to defence projects will make Britain less safe
James Kirkup, The Telegraph, 5 July 2009
The Ministry of Defence has already said that the plan to replace Trident, the country's submarine-based nuclear missile programme, is under "constant review".

Defence review puts Trident in doubt
Jonathan Oliver, The Times, 5 July 2009
Gordon Brown is to announce a root and branch rethink of Britain’s defence strategy within weeks, throwing the future of the Trident nuclear deterrent into doubt. Defence sources say the new strategic review – the first to be carried out in a decade – will look at every aspect of national security.

Commission on National Security calls for re-examination of Trident

Reconsider Trident replacement, says Commission on National Security
Michael Evans, The Times, 1 July 2009
Plans to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent with another £20 billion submarine-based system must be re-examined, a group of senior political and military figures said yesterday.

Defence review: fighting old wars
Editorial, The Guardian, 1 July 2009
Clear divisions emerged among them over the future of Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent. And our European partners are even more oblivious of the new world order than we are. There are 10,000 tanks, 2,500 combat aircraft and nearly two million people under arms in Europe, and yet 70% of its land forces are unable to operate outside national territory. But the IPPR report contains an obvious truth. As its title, Shared Responsibilities, implies, no one nation alone can guarantee its future security. And if that means ditching aircraft carriers, and a bit of national pride, so be it.

The Armed Forces make better use of public funds than many a wasteful scheme
Letters to the Editor, The Telegraph, 1 July 2009
SIR – The fact that the Institute for Public Policy Research thinks that we can no longer afford the envisaged defence programme suggests that none of them are historians and few are realists.

UK defence 'belongs in a museum'
Jason Beattie, The Mirror, 1 July 2009
Instead of spending billions on nuclear deterrents and oldstyle ground wars, the MoD should invest in cyber-warfare and counter-terrorism. And Trident should be scrapped to help plug a £9billion hole in the military budget, said a national security review.

Defence budget crisis deepened by £1bn increase in cost of £5bn aircraft carriers
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 30 June 2009
The value of replacing the Trident nuclear missile system is being increasingly questioned throughout Whitehall. Defence officials say the decision whether or not to go ahead with a replacement is a political rather than a military decision.

UK 'must slash defence spending'
BBC News Online, 30 June 2009
The UK should consider slashing defence spending by up to £24bn and revisit plans to renew its Trident nuclear deterrent, a think-tank report says.

As soldiers die, the MoD is stockpiling for the cold war
Simon Jenkins, The Guardian, 30 June 2009
Defence ministers are too concerned with showing off their military muscle to provide what fighting forces actually need.

Strategic thinking about Trident
Rob Dewar, The Telegraph, 30 June 2009
Only a strategic defence review will tell us whether we need to renew Trident.

UK 'deluded' in relying on US for defence, warns thinktank
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 30 June 2009
Assumptions that the US will always come to Britain's rescue are complacent and it is "delusional" to believe that the UK can act alone without closer European defence co-operation, a leading thinktank warns today. A root and branch review of Britain's security interests, including options to avoid renewing the Trident nuclear missile system, is urgently needed, the Institute for Public Policy Research says.

Defence from a bygone age
Robert Fox, Comment is Free, The Guardian, 30 June 2009
The report is particularly tough on the shortfalls in the UK's current military and wider security thinking. Cutting to the chase, it says that the aircraft carrier programme (currently £1bn overspent, and barely begun) and Type 45 heavy destroyer (£1.4bn overspent, late and not working) and the Trident nuclear deterrent should be cut or rethought. Most would agree.

Just what are the Tories promising on defence?
James Kirkup, The Telegraph, 30 June 2009
This morning, my eye was caught by this in the FT, an account of a private dinner between Liam Fox and the defence industry. In particular, this: “…industry executives have privately been assured that this will not lead to big programmes being abandoned.”

Getting rid of Trident will make Britain a third rate power
Con Coughlin, The Telegraph, 30 June 2009
Britain’s status as a leading world power, and its ability to influence crucial foreign policy debates, such as how to handle Iran, is contingent on our permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council, which requires us to maintain our nuclear deterrent. After all, you can’t talk softly if you don’t have a big stick at hand. And without Trident Britain would lose its P5 seat and be relegated to the status of a scandanavian country.

Defence chiefs: Scrap £24bn Navy plans
George Pascoe-Watson, The Sun, 30 June 2009
BRITAIN should scrap its planned Royal Navy supercarriers and think again about updating its Trident nuclear deterrent, former defence chiefs declared last night.

Call for Trident rethink prompts Barrow defence cut fears
North West Evening Mail, 30 June 2009
TWO massive shipbuilding schemes tied up with Barrow shipyard’s future were under attack today because of their post credit crunch costs.

Trident deterrent is vital - Waiting
North-West Evening Mail, 30 June 2009
THE Trident missile nuclear deterrent and a fleet of replacement submarines are needed as badly as ever, according to the head of a shipyard lobby group.

Crunch Time for Trident

Union urges Gordon Brown to ditch Britain's nuclear weapons
The Mirror, 3 July 2009
Dave Prentis reckons Trident missiles are a "criminal waste of money". He will tell Unison's annual meeting that scrapping them will save billions of pounds.

UK'S MoD plays down reports of Trident review
Reuters, 29 June 2009
LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - The UK Ministry of Defence played down reports it will have to scale back its 20 billion-pound ($33 billion) plans to replace its ageing Trident submarine-based nuclear weapons system in order to cut costs.

£20billlion plan to replace Britain's nuclear missile system faces the axe
The Mirror, 28 June 2009
Gordon Brown has ordered a major review of a £20billlion plan to replace Britain's ageing Trident nuclear missile system. Instead of replacing the warheads, one option under consideration is to extend the life of the existing ones. The move - which could save more than £10billion - follows demands for the programme to be scrapped to save taxpayers' cash as the recession bites deeper.

Defence black hole 'may finish Trident'
Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend, The Observer, 28 June 2009
Defence projects worth billions of pounds, such as replacing the Trident nuclear deterrent, could have to be axed to help fill a "black hole" in the defence budget, senior military and political figures will warn tomorrow. Overstretch of the armed forces must be ended, according to a report whose authors include the former Nato secretary general, Lord Robertson, ex-Marine Lord Ashdown and former chief of the defence staff Lord Guthrie.

Trident nuclear deterrent replacement under review
Patrick Hennessy, Telegraph, 27 June 2009
Ministers have secretly placed the £20 billion replacement for Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent under review in a move which could see it dramatically scaled down.

General Sir David Richard’s call for a review of the Armed Forces is timely
Sean Rayment, Daily Telegraph, 25 June 2009
What use is the multi-billion pound Trident nuclear submarine fleet against an enemy which attacks western capitals with hijack civilian airliners?

No one wins nuclear war
The Northern Echo, 24 June 2009
By scrapping Trident, the Government would solve the defence budget overspend at a stroke. It would also have plenty left over to make sure our soldiers are properly provisioned and protected when they go into battle. As it is, we are sacrificing our real defence capability to a weapon that will never be used and the country does not need.

Without Trident, the second division awaits
Sash Tusa, The Times, 22 June 2009
Britain's nuclear deterrent is an easy target for cuts. But the real cost has been exaggerated.

Trident: necessary deterrent or folly of a would-be world power?
Letters to the Editor, The Times, 22 June 2009
Sir, Field Marshal Lord Bramall said (letter, Jan 16, 2009) that nuclear weapons are “completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently, or are likely to, face — particularly international terrorism”. To keep Trident in the face of military opinion (concurred in by such as generals Lord Ramsbotham and Sir Hugh Beach), would continue the political folly that began in 1948, when the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, humiliated during a begging bowl visit to the US, told the Cabinet that “We’ve got to have this thing over here whatever it costs”... Air Commodore Alastair Mackie

Defence cuts may put Trident replacement plan on scrapheap
Michael Evans, Defence Editor, and Suzy Jagger, Political and Business Correspondent, The Times, 20 June 2009
The threat of a recession-driven 10 per cent cut in the defence budget next year has raised more doubts over whether Britain can afford to spend £20 billion on replacing the Trident nuclear deterrent.

Defensive Arguments
The Times, 20 June 2009
Lord Robertson has suggested a holding position — that the current submarines be used for longer in the hope that, in the interim, American and Russian stockpiles fall to the point where a programme of multilateral disarmament is feasible. Lord Robertson may prove to be right in the fullness of time about the prospect for multilateral progress.

 

Trident replacement still on, says Barrow MP Hutton, despite call to delay decision
North West Evening Mail, 5 June 2009
DEFENCE secretary John Hutton has reiterated the Government’s commitment to replacing the Trident missile system in the light of a warning from the backbench.

‘Wrong-sized’ missile sends new Trident cost soaring by £100m
Rob Edwards, Sunday Herald, 23 May 2009
BRITISH TAXPAYERS are having to fork out an extra £100 million this year to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system because of fears that the missile being designed in the US could be the wrong size. The UK government is funding all of a contract for a US company to design a new missile compartment in an attempt to ensure that it will fit submarines designed in the UK.

Testing waters ahead
James Blitz, FT.com, 21 May 2009
Sir David Manning, former ambassador to the US, agrees. "Over the next few years, we shall see a debate that that goes back to fundamentals," he says. "People will ask whether we need a nuclear deterrent and if so in what configuration; what kind of wars we want to fight; and what to fight them with. All our assumptions will be up for re-examination."

Trident sailing back onto the agenda
DefenceManagement.com, 21 May 2009
Trident may be re-emerging on the political agenda due to the limits on the MoD's budget. With the MoD facing deep and painful cuts to its budget in the coming years, MPs and MoD officials have begun to re-examine every major project including the £20bn Vanguard replacement programme.

Barrow Trident Replacement Plan under fire in Westminster
North West Evening Mail, 8 May 2009
THE government has come under fire for earmarking more than £20bn for the replacement of the Trident missile system in the current economic climate. Replacing Trident would see Barrow build up to four submarines to replace the four Vanguard class boats now in service. That would guarantee work for the town’s shipyard up to around the year 2030.

War has changed. We need men on the ground, not aircraft carriers
Allan Mallinson, The Times, 8 May 2009
Always dogging chiefs of staff is the balance between current operations and the need to deter war and to be able to fight one if deterrence fails. Doing a bit of everything was always the preferred strategy, but that is no longer affordable; it is time for senior officers to earn their pay and advise unequivocally on which strategic risk to take. It is not that difficult: real and present dangers must take priority over possible future threats.

We need to talk about Trident
Kate Hudson, New Statesman, 5 May 2009
If some senior Tories are questioning the point of Trident then surely Gordon Brown should live up to his disarmament rhetoric argues CND's chair Kate Hudson.

Let’s go nuclear and ditch our weapons
Joan McAlpine, The Times, 3 May 2009
Years later, it emerged Scotland was chosen because Macmillan did not want the weapons of mass destruction sited near large centres of population such as London. That the chosen base in Gaerloch was but 30 miles from Glasgow, a city with a vast urban hinterland and considerable population, seems not to have occurred to Mac or his cabinet.

Fresh setback for £1.2bn nuclear submarine HMS Astute
John Bingham, The Telegraph, 3 May 2009
A £1.2 billion submarine being built for the Royal Navy is facing renewed setbacks two years after the main structural work was completed. Work on HMS Astute, billed as the first of a new generation of nuclear submarine, stopped at Barrow-in-Furness last month when a fire broke out in the conning tower as 20 people were working on board. Now it has emerged that there are problems with the vessel's propulsion system, a fault which engineers have been unable to rectify because of the fire.

Defence spending: New battle lines
Editorial, The Guardian, 1 May 2009
He had better watch out, since the Conservatives are starting to question it. David Cameron pointedly failed to defend Trident yesterday when asked to do so. The Tory party is not about to go into the next election as a blue-rinse CND, but it may find the courage to admit that Britain's nuclear defence ambitions are unsustainable. How shaming it would be for Labour to plough on with an exhausted defence policy, spending £70bn or more over 20 years on new nuclear bombs, while the Conservatives admit an obvious truth. Britain does not need to replace Trident, and it cannot afford it.

Barrow MP Hutton defends Trident spending
North West Evening Mail, 29 April 2009
BRITAIN must not abandon its independent nuclear deterrent in the face of the current financial and economic crisis, Defence Secretary John Hutton warned. Ministers have faced calls to scrap the £20 billion update of the Trident nuclear deterrent after Chancellor Alistair Darling revealed the dire state of the public finances in last week’s Budget.

Military doubts fail to sink £20bn Trident revamp
Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 6 April 2009
The National Audit Office said there were major areas of uncertainty in the budget, adding that there had been insufficient oversight of the costs.

Breaking up the nuclear family
Martin Butcher, guardian.co.uk, 6 April 2009
Gordon Brown must follow Barack Obama's lead and seek to reduce and eventually eliminate the UK's nuclear capability.

Nuclear disarmament: Bombs away
Editorial, The Guardian, 4 April 2009
But the bigger picture of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation does affect the smaller one. Together it creates a world where security is shared. This is a vision worth fighting for.

 

Ready for a refit
North West Evening Mail, 24 March 2009
THE third of the four Vanguard class missile submarines built in Barrow in the 1990s is undergoing an intensive three-and-a-half-year long refit at Devonport. The work on HMS Vigilant, which was commissioned 13 years ago, includes a new core for its nuclear reactor.

MAD looks mad as we face financial doomsday
Rachel Sylvester, The Times, 24 March 2009
Ministers and the military Establishment are thinking the unthinkable - that Britain should scrap its nuclear deterrent.

£20bn replacement for Trident submarines in doubt as MPs warn US missiles may not fit
Thomas Harding, The Telegraph, 19 March 2009
As Britain seeks to renew its fleet of four Vanguard class boats, designers will have to take a decision on the size of the missile compartment. However, MPs on the Public Accounts Committee pointed out that this decision would be taken before the US had built its upgraded version of the current Trident missile. They voiced worries that the US navy might use different dimensions to the current missile, which could create the need for serious and expensive design alterations to the British fleet.

 

Liberal Democrats oppose Trident renewal

Clegg declares opposition to Trident renewal
New Stateman, 17 June 2009
Lib Dem leader says nuclear deterrent is too costly and no longer meets Britain's defence needs

Trident nuclear deterrent should be scrapped, says Nick Clegg
Murray Wardrop, Daily Telegraph, 17 June 2009
He said that Britain still needs a deterrent but that a "like for like" replacement for the submarine-based missile system was not necessary in the post-cold war world.

Clegg says no to Trident renewal
BBC News Online, 16 June 2009
Mr Clegg told the BBC he had "changed his mind" over the issue and he believed that, 20 years after the end of the Cold War, Trident was now clearly outmoded.

Nick Clegg says Lib Dems won't replace Trident because world has moved on
Patrick Wintour and Nicholas Watt, The Guardian, 16 June 2009
The Liberal Democrats today become the first mainstream party to declare they will not renew Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent system with an equivalent modernised system, as parliament agreed in 2007. Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, told the Guardian he was making the move because of the rapidly deteriorating public finances and because the case for such a powerful nuclear deterrent in the post-cold war world was "a complete fiction".

The return of politics' 'N' word
Nick Robinson's Newslog, 16 June 2009
The country cannot afford it. It is no longer militarily necessary. Tonight, Nick Clegg uses those arguments to become the first major party leader to argue that Trident should be scrapped at the end of its lifetime.

Conservative Debates on Trident

Tories set to trim Trident nuclear subs
Emily Ashton, Press Association, 4 May 2009
The Trident nuclear deterrent would be renewed by a Tory government but the submarine fleet could be cut from four to three, shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said yesterday. All major defence projects need to be reviewed to ensure value for money for the taxpayer, Dr Fox said. But it was "prudent and sensible" to give Britain the "guarantee against nuclear blackmail".

Liam Fox MP, Shadow Defence Secretary
Interview with the Politics Show, BBC, 3 May 2009
JON SOPEL: So you can guarantee Trident goes ahead.
LIAM FOX: There will be a replacement for our current Trident system, under the Conservatives.
JON SOPEL: Yes. With the same number of submarines?
LIAM FOX: Well, whether we have three or four, is something that will be dependent on the technology … we're talking a few years ahead.

Trident nuclear replacement could be cut by Tories
Rosa Prince, The Telegraph, 3 May 2009
The replacement Trident nuclear deterrent may have to be cut from four to three submarines under a Tory Government, Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, has said.

Tories' airborne deterrent won't fly
Letters to the Editor, The Guardian, 2 May 2009
Deploying an air-launched cruise missile system for Britain's deterrent lacks strategic credibility (Tories cast doubt on £21bn Trident nuclear missile upgrade, 1 May). Neither is there evidence that it will be cheaper than the current submarine-based system. The only question is if and why Britain should retain a nuclear deterrent. If Britain decides to do so, the credit crunch should not be allowed to force the wrong choice of how to support such a critical national requirement....

Tories cast doubt on £21bn Trident nuclear missile upgrade
Patrick Wintour and Nicholas Watt, The Guardian, 1 May 2009
An intense debate is under way inside the shadow cabinet, with the shadow chancellor George Osborne and some senior party strategists arguing against the full £21bn Trident modernisation proposed by Labour. The money saved would help stem massive government borrowing, but there is resistance from William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, and Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, who say the Tories should honour the government's commitment to the project and not risk a backlash from middle England.

David Cameron is right to look beyond Trident
Sean Rayment, The Telegraph, 1 May 2009
David Cameron is right to consider the future of Trident programme, which will cost Britain £21billion over the next 20-years. Britain can remain a nuclear power without this costly white elephant. Other alternatives include air and submarine-launched cruise missiles, which, one imagines, would leave a potential adversary thinking twice about launching a nuclear strike against the UK. Just as Labour turned away from CND and stuck with Trident, the Tories should not slavishly follow what was once accepted party dogma for the sake of upsetting its rank and file, if it returns to power at the next election.

Should we ditch Trident?
Michael White, guardian.co.uk, 1 May 2009
Should Britain finally abandon the Trident nuclear defence system, the last vestige of its former imperial power? Tony Blair and Gordon Brown say no. But this week David Cameron said maybe – and he is the coming man.

Cameron won't rule out cuts in Defence
Gareth Bebb, Daily Express, 1 May 2009
The Tory leader said Gordon Brown’s debt crisis would force a Conservative government to review the entire defence budget. It could even mean having to postpone or scrap proposals for a £20billion replacement for the ageing Trident nuclear system. Sources close to Mr Cameron insisted last night that he was fully committed to keeping Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent and building new Royal Navy aircraft carriers.

Cameron in threat to Scottish defence jobs
Gerri Peev and Hamish MacDonell, Scotsman, 1 May 2009
THOUSANDS of workers in Scotland's naval shipyards were last night warned their jobs could be at risk after David Cameron admitted a future Conservative government would review all major defence contracts.

Tories in ‘defence cost cuts’
David Wooding, The Sun, 1 May 2009
DAVID Cameron warned yesterday that Tories may be forced to slash defence spending because of the credit squeeze. The Tory leader admitted there are doubts that he could upgrade the £20billion Trident nuclear defence system.

Tories under fire from defence industry
Alex Barker, Sylvia Pfeifer and George Parker, FT, 30 April 2009
The Conservatives are scrambling to mend relations with the defence industry, amid fears the party is pencilling in deep cuts to equipment spending should it win power. Industry executives have privately been assured that certain programmes are safe, even as David Cameron, Tory leader, promises to take a hard look at the entire defence budget.

It is time for debate on how to cut public spending
David Davis, Oped, FT.com, 29 April 2009
We should also, as Conservatives, address some of our own sacred cows. There is no firmer advocate of nuclear deterrence than me, but even I have some difficulty seeing the justification for a wholesale upgrade of Trident. Our system was designed to maintain retaliatory capacity after a full-scale Soviet nuclear onslaught. Now our likeliest nuclear adversary will be a much smaller, less-sophisticated state. Should not the costs reflect that?

We'll win the next election, says William Hague
Philip Webster and Francis Elliott, The Times, 29 April 2009
He said that the leadership was examining savings in public spending. The MoD budget was “not immune”. But he again pledged his party to upgrading the Trident nuclear deterrent.

Defence no longer a no-go area for cuts, says George Osborne
Francis Elliott and Sam Coates, The Times, 27 April 2009
Although not currently under discussion, one shadow minister said he expected the Trident nuclear deterrent could eventually be included in a package of possible cuts.

Foreign Affairs Select Committee Report calls for progress on disarmament

Trident will wreck nuke clampdown
The Mirror, 15 June 2009
Renewing Trident is damaging efforts to stop the spread of nuclear missiles, MPs warned yesterday.

Study calls for Parliament to debate ‘Star Wars’ scheme
Rob Merrick, The Northern Echo, 15 June 2009
THE “Son of Star Wars” missile defence project – in which the region’s US air bases will play a key role – will put all of Europe’s security at risk, MPs have warned. The highly-controversial ballistic missile defence (BMD) scheme should only go ahead if it can be done with the agreement of Russia, a hard-hitting report by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee concluded.

 

Trident move 'prompts confusion'
BBC News Online, 14 June 2009
The UK's decision to renew its Trident nuclear deterrent is seen by some foreign states as a contradiction of its non-proliferation stance, MPs say. The Commons foreign affairs committee urged the government to "intensify its public diplomacy work... to explain the reasons for the renewal decision".

Disarmament call for nuclear powers
Press Association, 13 June 2009
The failure of the five recognised nuclear powers to make progress with disarmament is undermining prospects of containing the spread of atomic weapons around the world, MPs warned.

Scottish debate intensifies

SNP angry at Tory leader's Trident vow
Ross Lydall, Scotsman, 30 June 2009
A ROW broke out yesterday after Conservative leader David Cameron said maintaining Britain's nuclear deterrent would be "non-negotiable" for a future Tory government.

Cameron tells Salmond: back off over Trident
Sunday Herald, 28 June 2009
TORY LEADER David Cameron and Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, have gone to war over the deployment of a new generation of Trident nuclear submarines on the Clyde.

Cameron sounds nuclear warning
Eddie Barnes, Scotland on Sunday, 28 June 2009
DAVID Cameron has warned Alex Salmond that Westminster must be able to decide on the shape of Britain's nuclear deterrent and defence "without the Scottish Government trying to obstruct them".

Cameron warns SNP over Trident plan
Press Association, 28 June 2009
Tory leader David Cameron has warned the SNP not to "obstruct" a replacement for the Trident missile system if his party wins the next election. But his argument was rejected by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond who said Holyrood was entitled to make known its views by every available means.

Tory warning to SNP over Trident
BBC News Online, 27 June 2009
David Cameron has warned the SNP against trying to use Holyrood powers to block a new generation of Trident nuclear submarines on the Clyde.

Helensburgh could face collapse if nuclear weapons are withdrawn
Tina Kemp, Lennox Herald, 15 May 2009
THE scrapping of nuclear weapons from Faslane would turn Helensburgh into a “ghost town” and doom West Dunbartonshire to economic devastation. That was the harsh warning this week from Labour MSP Jackie Baillie over SNP proposals to cut the missile programme and use the money to cushion the budget over the next few years.

WMD, jobs and the Union
Mike Small, OpenDemocracy, 15 May 2009
Last weeks announcement by the MoD that Scotland would now be the location for the entire nuclear submarine fleet couldn't have come at a worse time. The Scottish people don't want it, the military doesn't want it, now even the Tories don't want it! So why as they face meltdown in the polls are Labour, pursuing a policy opposed by four out of five of the Scottish electorate?

Murray Ritchie: Scrap useless Trident now
Scotland on Sunday, 10 May 2009
SO FAREWELL then, Trident. Some of us always said we would never need you and so it has proved. In all of our recent and current wars you were an exotic, wasteful irrelevance. The silver lining in today's economic black cloud is that you are now surely about to become the first and most welcome casualty of the recession.

Meet the nuclear families
Dani Garavelli, Scotsman, 10 May 2009
Perceived alternatively as yet another "sop" to Scotland at the south of England's expense, and an effective thumbing of the nose at SNP's anti-Trident policy, the proposal provoked controversy across the country. But in Labour-dominated Argyll and Bute it was seen as a cause for celebration. Given opinion polls suggest four out of five Scots now oppose spending £20 billion on replacing Trident, the SNP is committed to scrapping nuclear arms and even senior Tories appear to be reviewing their position, there's every chance it will never happen. Yet for the locals, the promise of 1,000 extra jobs is worth clinging on to.

MSPs 'must respect' Westminster
BBC News Online, 10 May 2009
Tory leader David Cameron has said the Scottish Parliament must respect decisions made on a UK basis, if he wins the next election... Mr Cameron re-stated his support for maintaining a British nuclear deterrent - an issue reserved to Westminster - by saying he would not scrap the Clyde-based Trident nuclear submarine fleet. He went on: "Just as I will respect the Scottish Parliament's decision over issues like student fees or prescription charges, I expect them to respect the mandate of the United Kingdom government on those things that the United Kingdom is responsible for."

Scottish budget may be cut under a Tory government
David Maddox, Scotsman, 15 May 2009
SCOTLAND'S funding could be slashed under a future Conservative government, shadow chancellor George Osborne strongly hinted yesterday...

Nuclear Fleet to be based at Faslane

The nuclear future
Editorial, The Herald, 7 May 2009
The announcement that the entire UK fleet of nuclear submarines is to be based at Faslane with three Trafalgar-class vessels transferring from Devonport by 2017 would always have generated a mixed reaction. With the SNP, committed to a nuclear-free Scotland, in government in Edinburgh, however, it has the potential to become political dynamite, particularly if the promised referendum should result in a vote for independence.

UK's entire nuclear submarine fleet to be based in Scotland at Faslane
Nicholas Watt and Severin Carrell, The Guardian, 6 May 2009
Britain's entire nuclear submarine fleet is to be based at Faslane on the Clyde, prompting Tory charges tonight that the government is allowing the "Scottish agenda" to threaten English jobs. The Tories spoke out after Bob Ainsworth, the defence minister, announced that all classes of submarines will be based at Faslane from 2017.

National security fears sparked as Britain's nuclear submarines move to Scotland
Tim Shipman, Daily Mail, 6 May 2009
Britain's entire fleet of nuclear submarines is to be based at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde, sparking fears that national security will be undermined if Scotland becomes independent.

Nuclear sub fleet moved to Clyde
BBC News Online, 6 May 2009
Scottish National Party defence spokesman Angus Robertson told BBC Scotland's Newsdrive programme: "People are happy to support conventional naval forces and in that regard Faslane has a tremendous future. "But public opinion in Scotland, the view of the Scottish Government, of the Scottish Parliament, the trade unions, the churches - we don't want more nuclear submarines on the Clyde." Mr Robertson highlighted safety concerns raised by recent details of radioactive coolant leaks into the River Clyde, three times between 2004 and 2008.

Faslane fallout: Clyde base for all UK nuclear submarines
Michael Settle, The Herald, 23 May 2009
Angus Robertson, the SNP's defence spokesman at Westminster, said: "The MoD has been found guilty of repeated nuclear safety breaches and there will be concern at proposals to bring more nuclear submarines to Faslane.

The Royal Navy vs the SNP
Alex Massie, The Spectator, 7 May 2009
Alex Salmond may argue that Scotland is "two thirds" of the way towards independence (though even if Salmond is correct that doesn't mean independence is necessarily imminent) but the Royal Navy doesn't seem to agree. In fact, the MoD must consider independence unlikely, otherwise why would it be basing all of Britain's submarines at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde?

Trident fleet on Clyde will put Scots at risk
Letters to the Editor, The Herald, 23 May 2009
Labour MP Jim Sheridan claims this "demonstrates the (UK) government's commitment to jobs in Scotland". The reason for the decision is nothing to do with creating jobs. It is to free up the naval bases at Devonport and Portsmouth for dedicated surface warship support and, incidentally, to move the rest of Britain's nuclear arsenal as far away from London and south-east England as possible. If it turns what was once one of Scotland's more beautiful stretches of scenery into an even uglier concrete monstrosity, and allows more radioactive pollution of the waters of the Gare Loch and the Firth of Clyde, who in Whitehall will care?

Dismal prospect of more nuclear submarines being left to rot in Clyde
Letters to the Editor, Scotsman, 8 May 2009
It is incredible that in the week after SEPA announced that such was the level of toxic waste leaking intermittently into the Clyde from our present operation there that it would close it down if it had the power to do so we are getting more of the same.

Faslane will be home for all Navy's submarines
Angus Macleod, The Times, 6 May 2009
It has been estimated that Faslane contributes about £250million a year to the economy of the West of Scotland but the Trident submarine presence in the area attracts fierce opposition from the SNP and Liberal Democrats as well as the churches and other anti-nuclear organisations. They point out that while the Trafalgar class submarines do not carry nuclear weapons, they are nuclear powered. By making Faslane Britain's only submarine base it will, say the critics, be far harder to remove the Trident submarines from Scotland.

Nuclear Submarine Accidents

Nuclear submarine's nine radioactive leaks in 12 years
Thomas Harding, The Telegraph, 19 May 2009
Following a parliamentary answer to a question by the shadow defence minister Julian Lewis, the Royal Navy has disclosed the most recent leak happened at the submarine pen in Devonport, Plymouth... John Ainslie, of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "The discovery of so many leaks in so many places over recent years suggests that there is a real problem with the safety culture across the whole nuclear navy."

Nuclear submarine leak at Devonport Dockyard
Plymouth Herald, 19 May 2009
POLITICIANS in Plymouth are urging for “greater transparency” following reports of a leak onboard a nuclear submarine in Devonport Naval Base. The incident, which according to the Ministry of Defence “did not pose any safety risk to the environment, the public or crew involved”, happened on March 25 on HMS Turbulent.

Ministry of Defence admits to further radioactive leaks from submarines
Rob Edwards, guardian.co.uk, 18 May 2009
Critics round on ministry's 'scandalous' safety record after admission to nine nuclear submarine leaks in past 12 years.

Radioactive leaks from naval base
Julian Rush, Channel 4 News, 27 April 2009
Britain's Trident submarine fleet is accused of behaving "above the law" after a secret series of radioactive leaks and hazardous practices at its base were revealed by Channel 4 News.

Failure after failure at home of Trident fleet
Rob Edwards and Severin Carrell, The Guardian, 27 April 2009
They are devastating admissions about one of Britain’s most significant nuclear sites, the sprawling and heavily-defended base for the UK’s nuclear deterrent at Faslane, a facility which dominates the coastline on a quiet sea loch north-west of Glasgow. Detailed within 400 pages of closely-typed internal reports, emails and letters released under the Freedom of Information, are startling admissions of a culture of incompetence, repeated safety breaches and basic failures of management at the base.

Revealed: MoD guilty of repeated nuclear safety breaches
Rob Edwards and Severin Carrell, The Guardian, 27 April 2009
In a confidential report released under the Freedom of Information Act, the MoD has admitted that safety failings at the UK’s main nuclear submarine base at Faslane near Glasgow are a “recurring theme” and ingrained in the base’s culture.

Radioactive waste leaks from Faslane nuclear submarine base
Ian Johnston, The Telegraph, 27 April 2009
Britain's nuclear submarine base at Faslane has had so many safety breaches - including leaks of radioactive material - that they have become a "recurring theme", according to a confidential government report. The worst breaches disclosed in the Ministry of Defence document, which was released under the Freedom of Information Act to Channel 4 News, include three instances when radioactive coolant leaked from submarines at the base leaked into the Firth of Clyde in 2004, 2007 and 2008.

Fire broke out on nuclear submarine, MoD reveals
The Telegraph, 20 April 2009
A fire broke out on board a nuclear-powered submarine as 20 people were working on it, the Ministry of Defence said. The blaze took place in the conning tower of HMS Astute, which is being built by BAE Systems in Barrow, Cumbria.

Brown Speech

How do we achieve more power with fewer weapons?
Bronwen Maddox, The Times, 18 March 2009
It’s a brave man who offers, as the centrepiece of his big policy speech, something that he thinks that Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev should do. They might, but it’s not up to Gordon Brown. That’s the biggest weakness in his speech yesterday on how to equip the world with nuclear power without creating more nuclear arsenals. That and the trim he proposes in Trident’s armoury, which looks like the product of design improvements and cost savings as Britain refashions its submarines, rather than a shift towards disarmament.

Brown puts Trident cuts on nuclear arms talks table
Allegra Stratton, The Guardian, 18 March 2009
Speaking to scientists and diplomats from 37 countries at Lancaster House in London, Gordon Brown said that as one of the six nations with confirmed nuclear capability the UK had to show the lead by striking "a global bargain". The next international five-yearly proliferation review conference is due next year.

Britain offers to reduce nuclear arsenal in disarmament deal
Nigel Morris, Independent, 18 March 2009
Britain is prepared to scale back its nuclear arsenal as part of a drive to reduce the number of atomic weapons around the world, Gordon Brown announced yesterday.

Brown's mixed signals on nuclear
Martin Butcher, guardian.co.uk, 17 March 2009
Having talked so persuasively of the need for disarmament, the PM then detailed the future of Britain's nuclear arsenal.

Gordon Brown has put Trident on the table
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 17 March 2009
Speech signals significant change in Britain's stance on nuclear proliferation.

No more atom boom
Editorial, The Guardian, 17 March 2009
Enlightened self-interest may be at the back of Gordon Brown's renewed interest in nuclear disarmament, but it is still welcome.

 

 

Defence Industry

BAE Systems climbs as market edges higher once more
Nick Fletcher, guardian.co.uk, 7 April 2009
Defence shares have moved higher after the latest US overhaul of its military budget, with BAE Systems currently leading the market higher. Shares in the company, which part builds the F-35 joint strike fighter jet, have jumped 21.25p to 349.75p. US defence secretary Robert Gates yesterday unveiled proposals to increase production of the F-35, while cutting back on several weapons programmes.

Lockheed Martin Buys Key U.K. Sub Support Firm
Andrew Chuter, DefenseNews, 1 May 2009
LONDON - Lockheed Martin's U.K. arm has acquired a Scottish-based company that provides support for key elements of the Royal Navy's Trident nuclear missiles. The terms of the purchase of privately owned IMES Strategic Support (ISSL) have not been disclosed. The company provides engineering, maintenance, repair and support services on sub systems fitted to the Trident missiles used by Britain's four nuclear deterrent submarines.

Opposition to Trident continues

Lose Trident and win the moral war
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, 29 June 2009
To act morally, to do the right thing, often takes courage, and sometimes means taking a stand that others do not agree with or accept. That is the test of leadership. Britain now has a golden opportunity to truly lead and to turn its back on the path of mass destruction.

Cardinal attacks Trident renewal
John McManus, BBC News Online, 29 June 2009
One of the UK's most senior Roman Catholics has criticised plans to renew Britain's nuclear deterrent, calling the retention of Trident "immoral".

In praise of ... Bruce Kent
Editorial, The Guardian, 27 June 2009
His regular presence on a demonstration or at a public meeting is always a reminder that the political activist's work is never done but also that battles need to be fought with camaraderie and hope. Only recently, he was in touch with the Guardian to press the case of a man whom he believes to have been wrongly jailed for murder and to ask why we had not made a greater link between military spending and poverty in a recent supplement on the subject.

Society singing from the anti-Trident hymn sheet
Joanna Blythman, Sunday Herald, 27 June 2009
THIS COMING Saturday I will be joining the Crunch Time For Trident march from Glasgow's George Square to Kelvingrove Park. Like everyone else I meet, I believe that it is utter nonsense for the UK government to spend £20 billion replacing the four existing submarines and upgrading the Trident missile system.

Eleven charged over nuclear demo
BBC News Online, 17 June 2009
Eleven people have been charged after a demonstration at the UK's nuclear weapons production site. The protest began early on Monday at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, Berkshire.

Churches see hopeful future for nuclear disarmament
Christian Today, 18 May 2009
Three British Churches have expressed optimism following the conclusion of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee meeting in New York. Leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church are hopeful that real progress towards global disarmament will be made over the next 12 months in the run-up to the NPT Review Conference in 2010.

However, the Church leaders expressed their disappointment that the UK Government continues to support the replacement of Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system, while also participating in global disarmament discussions.

'It would be wrong to watch all this nuclear traffic and not do anything'
Alison Campsie, The Herald, 7 May 2009
Jane Tallents first arrived at the Faslane Peace Camp around 25 years ago. Yesterday, amid a torrential downpour, she maintained her weekly peace vigil outside the gates of neighbouring HM Clyde, far from defeated by the news that the nuclear submarine base is set to expand into a "centre for excellence" over the next 10 years.

Trident opponents take their battle to London
Newbury Weekly News, 1 May 2009
A GROUP of anti-nuclear campaigners descended on London yesterday (Thursday) to demand that work on nuclear warheads at the Atomic Weapons Establishments be stopped. The campaigners, from Muriel Lesters, an affiliate of anti-nuclear campaigners Trident Ploughshare, picketed outside private company, Jacobs Engineering, at Tower Bridge.

Remembering Michael Quinlan

Sir Michael Quinlan
Richard Mottram, Obituary, The Guardian, 2 March 2009
From the 1970s to the 1990s, Sir Michael Quinlan, who has died aged 78 after a short illness, was the leading civilian thinker within the British government on defence policy and particularly nuclear weapons issues, and a strong believer in the value of deterrence. He was admired for his powers of analysis expressed in his unique style and his integrity.

Sir Michael Quinlan: Civil servant and defence strategist who explored the concept of the Just War
Tam Dalyell, Independent, 28 February 2009
Quite simply, Michael Quinlan was one of the most intellectually brilliant and influential civil servants in the latter part of the last century.

Thinking About Nuclear Weapons: Principles, Problems, Prospects by Michael Quinlan
Max Hastings, Sunday Times, 12 April 2009
Quinlan, who died in February at the age of 78, was for years Britain’s principal nuclear strategist at the Ministry of Defence. He was the sort of mandarin that the civil service used to breed in significant numbers, but who have now been supplanted by grey, frightened little bureaucrats. This book, which becomes his valedictory, is a short, clear-sighted primer for those who want to understand the issues of the nuclear peril. His central point might be thought banal, if it were not so ­often ignored by the disarmament lobby: ­inter-state threats of conflict do not derive from possession of armaments, but from rivalries sufficiently impassioned for nations to consider fighting about them — Israel and the Arab world, India and Pakistan, America and the Soviet Union. The way to escape nuclear war is to resolve political differences, rather than to pursue disarmament as an end in itself, though of course that is desirable.

International News

NPT PrepCom 2009

Enhanced Prospects for 2010: An Analysis of the Third PrepCom and the Outlook for the 2010 NPT Review Conference
Rebecca Johnson, Arms Control Today, June 2009
The real challenge, however, is not about what kind of document can be adopted in 2010, but what kind of agreements and commitments are undertaken, and whether the NPT parties have the political will and institutional capacity to ensure their implementation. Although the positive atmospherics of the 2009 PrepCom give cause for hope, the 2010 review conference will be successful only if it results in decisions that are taken seriously and implemented. For this, the key governments need to project beyond 2010 and work hard over the next year to develop convincing action plans and apply the requisite resources for meeting proliferation challenges and moving toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

Developing Nations Seek Assurances on Nuclear Arms
Colum Lynch, Washington Post, 16 May 2009
Rebecca Johnson, an expert on the treaty at the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, said France has resisted any undertaking requiring a reduction of its own nuclear stockpile...

Johnson said it was a mistake this week to press for agreement on recommendations for the New York conference, particularly at a time when the Obama administration has yet to assemble a full team to negotiate a new nuclear deal. She said the dispute detracted from what was an otherwise important achievement at this week's meeting: the agreement on a procedural agenda for next year's talks.

UN nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty debate ends with no agreement on final document
William M. Reilly, Xinhuanet, 16 May 2009
... Not reaching such accord was not necessarily a bad thing, Rebecca Johnson, executive director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, told Xinhua. First, she said the most contentious of issues facing delegates was the question of disarmament, and the recommendations in the chair's first draft "were stronger and much closer to where they feel they should be in 2010 than the wording in the second draft" outcome document.

Many of her colleagues in non-governmental organizations attending the meeting and several non-nuclear states felt some of the nuclear weapons states insisted on the disarmament language being heavily watered down for that revised draft, she said.

ANALYSIS-Obama boosts nuclear talks, split remains
Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, 15 May 2009
Analysts and diplomats said the latest conference ended positively even though there was no consensus on how to improve the treaty. They also said Iran, Egypt and Washington had been constructive. "All of those countries demonstrated real flexibility where it mattered," said Rebecca Johnson, head of the London-based Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy think-tank...

She also played down the failure to agree recommendations for the 2010 conference, saying it was better not to lock states into anything before Obama's nuclear policy review is completed.

DISARMAMENT: Learning From Prepcom 2008
Jaya Ramachandran, IDN, April 2009
The 2008 NPT PrepCom from April 28 to May 9 was probably as good as it can get in the current review process, says Rebecca Johnson in a study for the UK-based Acronym Institute for disarmament diplomacy. Unlike in 2007 - or the previous Review Conference in 2005 - there were no major obstacles to get in the way of a smooth process.

"Paradoxically perhaps, this actually serves to focus attention on the systemic inadequacies and the political disconnect between the NPT processes and the real challenges of preventing the further proliferation, development and use of nuclear weapons;" writes Johnson.

NPT Meeting Called a Success
Global Security Newswire, 18 May 2009
France has provided the most resistance on nuclear disarmament, said Rebecca Johnson, head of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. "The French are feeling anxious because Obama and (British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown have both said they want to see a world free of nuclear weapons. France wants to keep nuclear weapons," Johnson said.

Washington negotiator calls on Israel to sign nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 6 May 2009
Israeli officials said they were puzzled by a speech to an international conference in New York by Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state, who said: "Universal adherence to the NPT itself - including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea - also remains a fundamental objective of the United States." By including Israel on a list of countries known to have nuclear weapons. Gottemoeller broke with normal US diplomatic practice. Since 1968 when the CIA reported Israel had developed a nuclear weapon , Washington has pursued a policy of not demanding transparency from its close ally, and in return Israel agreed not to test a bomb or declare its nuclear capability - a policy of "strategic ambiguity".

Guardian Daily: UN watchdog warns of nuclear proliferation
Jon Dennis, The Guardian, 15 May 2009
IAEA says more countries could acquire nuclear arms; political effects of MPs' expenses scandal; and the 13th Floor Elevators, in our daily audio show with Jon Dennis.

IAEA Chief Warns Of Possible New Wave Of Nuclear Proliferation
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 15 May 2009
The outgoing head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog has warned that 10-20 countries could soon develop the capacity to build nuclear weapons.

Delegates take key step in nuclear treaty review
Edith M. Lederer, AP, 7 May 2009
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Delegates preparing for a major conference next year to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty have agreed on an agenda, and some said the change in President Barack Obama's tone and emphasis was a key factor.

It Was Others Who Failed
DER SPIEGEL Interview with Mohamed ElBaradei with Dieter Bednarz and Erich Follath, 18 May 2009
Mohamed ElBaradei, 66, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), discusses the record of his term in office, his bitter struggle with the Bush administration and the dangers that new nuclear powers pose.

A Recipe for Survival
Mohamed ElBaradei, Oped, International Herald Tribune, 16 February 2009
Nuclear disarmament is key to our very survival. We now have another chance to create a saner, safer world by working to eliminate the nuclear sword of Damocles that hangs over all our heads. Let us not waste this opportunity.

Breaking the deadlock on nuclear disarmament
John Duncan, The Great Debate, Reuters, 20 May 2009
- John Duncan is the United Kingdom Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament. He comments regularly via Twitter and on his own Blog. The opinions expressed are his own. -
The challenge for nuclear proliferation is as just as great where the UK aims to turn common purpose into common action in our shared global society by securing agreement on a comprehensive multilateral strategy to allow nations safe and secure access to civil nuclear power, reduce the risk of proliferation from civil programmes and achieve real progress in multilateral nuclear disarmament.

Towards CTBT ratification

Bombers vs. verifiers: A nuclear race worth winning
Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist, 24 June 2009
IN VIENNA, Austria, scientists are listening for clandestine nuclear tests. In Norway, other researchers are trying out a device that reveals the contents of a nuclear missile without betraying its deepest secrets. And 1000 kilometres east of Moscow in Votkinsk, 30 Americans who watch Russians make missiles to aim at other Americans may not be coming home at Christmas after all.

UN chief urges rapid entry into force of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Xinhua, 16 June 2009
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday called for the urgency of bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) following the recent nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Indonesia says to ratify nuclear treaty after US
Shaun Tandon, AFP, 8 June 2009
Indonesia offered a boost to President Barack Obama's vision of a nuclear-free world, pledging to ratify a treaty banning nuclear tests if the US Senate does.

Nuclear Test Ban Could Become Reality Without North Korea, Experts Say
Martin Matishak, Global Security Newswire, 4 June 2009
"The CTBT is one of the best ways to further reinforce the norm against nuclear test explosions," said Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association. Kimball argued that while it is "technically" correct to say that Pyongyang must sign and ratify the treaty before it can enter into force, there are ways to enact the agreement's verification regime without North Korea's involvement. "If, in the end, we have 43 of the 44 states listed and North Korea is the last holdout state, there are options that are available or can be created," he told Global Security Newswire last week.

The Test Ban Treaty
Editorial, New York Times, 24 May 2009
A test ban will make it technologically much harder for other countries to press ahead with weapons development. And if Washington has any hope of rallying diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions for constraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions or North Korea’s program, it has to show that it, too, is willing to play by the international rules. For both of those reasons, the Senate needs to ratify the test ban treaty.

Ending the CD deadlock

Disarmament forum to push ahead on fissile deal
Laura MacInnis and Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, 25 June 2009
The world's only multilateral disarmament negotiating forum is on the brink of reaching consensus on who should shepherd talks on fissile material and other topics, diplomats said on Thursday.

Banning bomb materials and bomb tests
The Economist, 4 June 2009
IS NUCLEAR disarmament, however slowly, turning into something more than a slogan? When Barack Obama committed America, in a speech in Prague in April, to “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”, he singled out two treaties as being essential first steps in realising his vision.

 

U.N. Hopes to Ban New Fissionable Material, Space-Based Weapons
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 2 June 2009
It was a small step. But after almost a decade of deadlock, the United Nations Conference on Disarmament last week approved a working group to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissionable material for nuclear weapons and another to discuss preventing an arms race in outer space.

Missile Defence on the defensive

Major Missile-Defense Project Officially Scrapped
Global Security Newswire, 12 June 2009
Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Kinetic Energy Interceptor project is officially dead, Reuters reported yesterday. The U.S. missile-defense project had undergone $1.2 billion of work, but fell victim to the Obama administration's plans to cut funding for missile defense activities in the fiscal 2010 budget. The Defense Department delivered a stop work order in May and formally terminated the program Wednesday.

U.S. missile-defense salvage operations under way
Reuters, 9 June 2009
U.S. missile-defense contractors and their allies are pushing to salvage what they can of prized, multibillion-dollar programs that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is seeking to scrap or cut back.

Shield of Dreams
Michael Wyganowski, Washington Post, 22 May 2009
The shift in the Obama administration's policy suggesting a freeze in deployment of the ballistic missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic has rekindled the debate in the two Central European countries about their future security relations with the United States.

Gates defends U.S. missile defense cuts
Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters, 22 May 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday defended cuts to U.S. missile defense programs, saying Washington would still invest in boosting defenses against long-range missile threats, like those posed by North Korea and Iran.

U.S. will continue funding Arrow 3 missile
Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz, 22 May 2009
The United States will continue funding the development of Arrow 3, the next generation missile in Israel's ballistic-missile defense system. A decision on the matter was made during the annual meeting of strategic dialogue between Israel and the U.S., held at the Pentagon this week. In recent months, there were grave concerns that the cuts planned in the Pentagon would also affect funding for the Arrow 3, whose total development cost is estimated at $800 million.

Iran Launches a Missile and a Presidential Race
Voice of America, 22 May 2009
This week, Iran test-fired a new missile. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the launch to a crowd in Semnan province, his birthplace and a base for missile launches.

Russia could deploy missiles near Poland: officer
Reuters, 21 May 2009
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia could deploy its latest Iskander missiles close to Poland if plans to install U.S. Patriots on Polish soil go ahead, Interfax quoted a senior Russian officer as saying on Thursday.

U.S. missiles to be deployed in Poland
UPI, 21 May 2009
WARSAW, Poland, May 21 (UPI) -- Some 110 U.S. troops and a 196-Patriot missile unit will be deployed in Poland by year's end, a Polish defense ministry official said. The U.S. Patriot missile unit will be stationed under a U.S.-Polish agreement signed in 2008, regardless of the fact that a plan to deploy a U.S. anti-missile defense shield in Poland has not yet been completed and its location is still uncertain, Polish Radio said Thursday.

Gates: No decision yet on European missile plan
The Associated Press, 20 May 2009
WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Obama administration is still deciding what to do about a planned missile defense system in Europe.

US missile shield in Poland and Czech Republic 'won't stop Iran'
Tom Baldwin, The Times, 20 May 2009
Proposals to build a US missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic will be ineffective in protecting Europe from a possible Iranian attack, a study by American and Russian scientists has concluded. The report, from the EastWest Institute think tank, may further dampen President Obama's enthusiasm for Bush-era plans for a shield that has caused alarm and annoyance in Moscow.

U.S.-Russian Team Deems Missile Shield in Europe Ineffective
Joby Warrick and R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, 19 May 2009
A planned U.S. missile shield to protect Europe from a possible Iranian attack would be ineffective against the kinds of missiles Iran is likely to deploy, according to a joint analysis by top U.S. and Russian scientists... "The missile threat from Iran to Europe is thus not imminent," the 12-member technical panel concludes in a report produced by the EastWest Institute, an independent think tank based in Moscow, New York and Belgium.

Gates supports missile defense despite budget cuts
Lara Jakes, Associated Press, 14 May 2009
WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates is defending his plans to trim more than a billion dollars from the planned system to build a broad missile shield for the U.S. and its allies. Gates says he's been a supporter of the concept since the days of Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbed "Star Wars" by its opponents. But Gates says some of the current program was wasteful or unrealistic.

Russia warns of war within a decade over Arctic oil and gas riches
Tony Halpin, The Times, 14 May 2009
Russia raised the prospect of war in the Arctic yesterday as nations struggle for control of the world’s dwindling energy reserves. The country’s new national security strategy identified the intensifying battle for ownership of vast untapped oil and gas fields around its borders as a source of potential military conflict within a decade.

Dmitry Medvedev at Moscow missile parade: 'Russia will teach aggressors a lesson'
Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph, 9 May 2009
The president's comments seemed to be primarily directed at Georgia, with which Russia fought a five-day war last year, but could also be a coded warning to the United States, some observers said. Washington is planning to build a missile defence shield in central Europe, a project that has been repeatedly condemned in Moscow.

 

US missile defence details bought on eBay
Karl Finders, Computer Weekly, 8 May 2009
A second-hand hard drive bought on eBay has revealed confidential information about a US missile defence system. A joint exercise carried out by BT's Security Research Centre, the University of Glamorgan in Wales, Edith Cowan University in Australia and Longwood University in the US revealed the leak among other data breaches.

Polish pianist stops show with anti-US tirade
Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles, The Guardian, 28 April 2009
"Get your hands off my country," Zimerman told the stunned crowd in a denunciation of US plans to install a missile defence shield on Polish soil. Some people cheered, others yelled at him to shut up and keep playing. A few dozen walked out, some of them shouting obscenities.

Gates Proposes Massive Spending Shift
Amy Butler, Aviation Week, 12 April 2009
Some aerospace contractors have dubbed Apr. 6 "Black Monday," because of Defense Secretary Robert Gates's announcement that he plans to scale back or terminate dozens of Pentagon programs in order to reshape the U.S. military.

The spies at the top of the world...and a new Cold War?
Gordon Corera, Daily Mail, 12 April 2009
This radar station is so remote that it sees no sunlight for four months of the year. It is also so powerful it could spot a tennis ball in flight 3,000 miles away. Gordon Corera visits America's controversial missile defence system in northern Greenland, where the Cold War never ended.

Missile launch revives fears on US west coast
Justin McCurry in Tokyo and Ed Pilkington in New York, The Guardian, 6 April 2009
Missile launch revives fears on US west coast.
North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket in defiance of international pressure has redoubled concerns about its nuclear weapons programme - and the targets that may soon fall within its reach.

US defence secretary announces large cuts to help curb spending
Ewen MacAskill in Washington, The Guardian, 6 April 2009
Gates said that the money had already been laid aside in previous budgets for the European Missile Defence System, which Russia opposes and may yet be scrapped.

Barack Obama delivers missile shield warning to Russia
Ian Traynor, The Guardian, 5 April 2009
In his first presidential statement on the controversy, in the Czech capital, Prague, Obama built in caveats to his commitments, saying the missile shield would need to be "proven and cost effective". He also declared that if there was no risk of Iranian attack, there would be no need for the missile shield facilities in Europe.

America and Russia: Easing the chill
Editorial, The Guardian, 2 April 2009
Mr Obama has seen a chance to create a virtuous circle. By offering to go slow on missile defence, he could generate Russian pressure on Iran to abandon its attempts to build a nuclear bomb. Russia is key to persuading Iran to stay within the bounds of a civilian nuclear programme, because it is helping Tehran build one. The abandonment of a covert Iranian plan to build the bomb would obviate the need for a missile defence battery close to Russia's border. Deep differences remain over both the missile defence programme and Georgia. Mr Obama said he had no interest in papering over the cracks. But his is more than just a change in tone.

Russia-US friendship benefits the world
Dmitry Medvedev, guardian.co.uk, 31 March 2009
It is hard to dispute the pessimistic assessments of the Russian-American relationship that prevailed at the end of last year. Unfortunately, relations soured because of the previous US administration's plans – specifically, deployment of the US global missile defence system in Eastern Europe, efforts to push Nato's borders eastward and refusal to ratify the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. All of these positions undermined Russia's interests and, if implemented, would inevitably require a response on our part.

Poland says hopes U.S. will not let it down on shield
Reuters, 22 March 2009
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said Poland had taken "something of a political risk" in signing an agreement with the Bush adminstration to host the system.

Czech PM does not expect Obama to say no to radar, may be delayed
CeskéNoviny.cz, 15 March 2009
Prague - Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said on Prima television he is convinced a U.S. anti-missile radar base will be built on Czech soil, but the project may be delayed.

US seeks hard bargain on missile defense
Robert Burns, AP, 8 March 2009
If the Obama administration intends to give up missile defense in Europe as part of a security deal with Russia, as early maneuvering seems to suggest, then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is driving a hard bargain. On a trip to Europe and the Middle East that ended Sunday, Clinton spoke positively of the prospect of making missile defense an integral part of U.S. defense strategy, even while suggesting it may be less critical in Europe if Iran quit its nuclear program.

Fear of Lost Jobs Is Hurdle to Reining In Defense Contracts
Christopher Drew, New York Times, 8 March 2009
In pledging last week that the “days of giving defense contractors a blank check are over,” President Obama is taking on the giant weapons contracting system that he says has “gone amok.”

Barack Obama 'offers to abandon missile defence shield'
Tim Reid in Washington and Tony Halpin in Moscow, The Times, 4 March 2009
President Obama sent a secret letter to his Russian counterpart last month suggesting that he could halt the deployment of a US missile shield in Eastern Europe if Moscow persuaded Iran to abandon its nuclear weapon ambitions, it emerged yesterday.

Agreement would leave Europe without umbrella
Michael Evans, The Times, 4 March 2009
A decision to scrap the European arm of the US missile defence system would, at a stroke, remove the protective umbrella for Europe envisaged by George W. Bush.

Obama hints at deal with Russia over Iran
Ewen MacAskill in Washington and Luke Harding in Moscow, The Guardian, 4 March 2009
Barack Obama yesterday opened the prospect of a deal with Russia on the contentious US missile defence system in Europe in return for Moscow's help in resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis. Obama sent a conciliatory letter to the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, last month, hand-delivered by US officials based in Moscow, it emerged on Monday.

US offer to Russia on missiles
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 21 February 2009
The Obama administration is reviewing controversial plans to locate 10 missile interceptors in Poland and will take Russia's concerns into account, the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said yesterday. The Bush administration pressed ahead with the plans, with a large radar in the Czech Republic, in what it said was part of a project to defend the US and European from an attack from Iran.

Japan prepares for first use of 'Son of Star Wars' missile defence
Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times, 4 March 2009
Japan is preparing to deploy a missile defence system against a North Korean rocket launch in what could be the first use of a “Son of Star Wars” system to knock out an intercontinental ballistic missile. The Government plans to dispatch naval destroyers equipped with anti-missile systems to the seas off North Korea as the isolated dictatorship prepares for the launch of a rocket. The move could have strategic implications for the whole of northeastern Asia. As long as the weapon passes through the atmosphere far above Japan, as seems to be the intention, the system will probably not be fired. If the North Korean rocket malfunctions and threatens any of its islands Japan will become the first nation to use a long-range missile defence system outside a test.

NATO nuclear policy under pressure

IAEA's ElBaradei Urges NATO To End Dependence On Nuclear Arms
AFP, 10 July 2009
BRUSSELS (AFP)--International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei urged members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Tuesday to end their dependence on nuclear weapons. "You have to decrease heavily your reliance on nuclear weapons," ElBaradei told NATO officials and experts in Brussels, as the alliance began work on writing a new "strategic concept."

Ex-top US diplomat Albright to aid NATO strategy rethink
AFP, 6 July 2009
Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright will be part of a group of experts charged with re-thinking the future direction of NATO, an official at the military alliance said Monday. Former British defence seretary Geoff Hoon will also be among around a dozen experts laying the foundations of NATO's new "strategic concept", the official said on condition of anonymity.

Steinmeier Calls for U.S. to Withdraw Nukes
Oliver Meier, Arms Control Today, May 2009
In an unprecedented statement for a German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier last month called for the withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in his country. Steinmeier told the German magazine Der Spiegel April 10 that "these weapons are militarily obsolete today" and promised that he would take steps to ensure that the remaining U.S. warheads "are removed from Germany."

Euro Churches calls on Nato to give up nuclear arms
Religious Intelligence, 19 April 2009
A letter urging Nato to lay down its nuclear arms was sent to government leaders meeting April 3-4 in Strasbourg by the four church groups. Joining Archdeacon Colin Williams, the General Secretary of CEC were the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev Samuel Kobia; the General Secretary of the US’s National Council of Churches of Christ, the Rev Michael Kinnamon; and the Rev Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches.

 

Foreign Minister Wants US Nukes out of Germany
Der Spiegel, 10 April 2009
Reacting to Obama's vision of a nuclear-free world, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier has called for American nuclear weapons to be removed from Germany. His stance is in opposition to Chancellor Merkel, who wants to keep the bombs to secure Germany's say in NATO... "These weapons are militarily obsolete today," Steinmeier told SPIEGEL, explaining that he would take steps to ensure that the remaining US warheads "are removed from Germany." Disarmament involving "weapons in this category" also needs to be an issue on the agenda at the disarmament conference which the US is planning, Steinmeier said.

NATO's dated nukes
Editorial, Toronto Star, 4 April 2009
At 60, NATO should have the maturity to acknowledge the fact that far from being "essential," nuclear weapons are not even desirable. Fewer is better, as the Americans and Russians now agree. None at all would be best.

A pivotal birthday for Nato
Lionel Beehner, guardian.co.uk, 1 April 2009
Be wary of 60-year-old acronyms. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's – aka Nato's – birthday party this week will be marked by celebrating but also soul-searching. That is because nobody knows what the alliance should stand for anymore, which explains all the studies floating around Washington with sexy names like "Revitalising the Alliance" and "Renewing the Transatlantic Partnership".

Future of NATO
Sophie Hardach, Reuters, 31 March 2009
"The discussion over Ukraine and Georgia has dominated the agenda, to the detriment of a debate over what NATO's tasks are, what the potential threats are, and under what circumstances other organisations may be better placed to deal with those threats," a German diplomat told Reuters. He named nuclear disarmament as one area in which NATO could make a difference. "NATO should be actively promoting disarmament. We believe that with the new U.S. administration and Medvedev in Russia there is room for progress in this area," the diplomat said.

Russia plans military upgrade to match Nato
Luke Harding, The Guardian, 18 March 2009
Russia plans to boost both conventional armed forces and nuclear forces to counter a growing threat from Nato, President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday, raising the spectre of a military confrontation between Moscow and the west. In a hawkish speech to Russia's top generals, Medvedev said Russia intended to upgrade the army and navy from 2011. Strategic nuclear forces would also be overhauled in an effort to guarantee the country's security.

What is Nato for?
Serge Halimi, Le Monde Diplomatique, March 2009
So it is understood that “the future collective defence of the European Union” to which the French head of state is committed will be organised exclusively within the framework of the Atlantic Alliance. The Alliance will not hesitate to deploy its forces in combined civil and military missions extending far beyond the old iron curtain to the borders of Pakistan. Even within Sarkozy’s own party, two former prime ministers, Alain Juppé and Dominique de Villepin, are already worried about this change of direction – evidence enough of the risks involved in taking such a course.

Towards Space Security

Russia Willing to Help North Korea Build Space Program
Global Security Newswire, 13 May 2009
Russia might be willing to help nuclear-armed North Korea conduct satellite launches, Voice of America reported yesterday.

Russia Offers Use of Territory for North Korean Satellite Launches
Andre de Nesnera, Voice of America, 12 May 2009
During his trip to the region last month, Sergei Lavrov made a little-noted statement. Speaking through an interpreter, he said Moscow is willing to help Pyongyang launch satellites into space from its territory. "Russia is cooperating with many countries in the peaceful exploration of space, including launching satellites by our boosters. We have such agreements with South Korea and we are ready to develop similar projects with North Korea, and hope our proposal will be examined," said Lavrov.

World Unprepared for Nuclear Disarmament, Report Says
Global Security Newswire, 1 May 2009
As an alternative, U.S. and Chinese military leaders should hold talks aimed at boosting nuclear transparency; banning antisatellite tests by China, Russia and the United States; and addressing other space weapons issues, the report recommends.

Space: We've trashed it -- with high-speed debris
Orlando Sentinel, 13 April 2009
More than 2,000 large pieces were scattered. An untold number of smaller bits -- including the deadly marble-sized slugs -- will remain in orbit "for decades, some even lasting more than 100 years," NASA said.

Standing watch over a crowded space
Paul Rincon, BBC News Online, 10 April 2009
On 10 February this year, a defunct Russian communications satellite crashed into an American commercial spacecraft, generating thousands of pieces of orbiting debris. At the time, some observers put the odds of such an event occurring at millions, maybe billions, to one. But experts had been warning for years that useable space was becoming crowded, boosting the possibility of a serious collision.

Scientists Race to Prevent 'Catastrophic Disaster' in Space
Steven Kotler, Fox News, 7 April 2009
"This is just a taste of what's to come. Experts are saying we could expect a crash every couple of years, but this is an educated guess," says Michael Krepon, co-founder of The Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank that focuses on security concerns. "We really don't know the scale of the problem — we just know that we've already done serious damage to a zone of space that's essential to our security."

India willing to work with US on anti-satellite weapons
The Economic Times, 24 March 2009
India, which is one of the few countries in the world to have significant space capabilities, is willing to work with the US to develop anti-satellite weapons, a top diplomat has said. "This is an area of convergence on which we would be happy to work together with the US and contribute to a multilateral agreement," Shyam Saran, Prime Minister's Special Envoy, said in his address to the Brookings Institution.

OpEd: Space Policy Shouldn't Follow the Money
Victoria Samson and Laura Peterson, Space News, 17 March 2009
While the Obama statement does not indicate whether the administration would pursue a treaty or multilateral agreement amongst major space powers, it does acknowledge the need for U.S. involvement and pledge to "thoroughly assess possible threats to U.S. space assets and the best options, military and diplomatic, for countering them." Assessment is a good first step, but if Obama wants to truly lead in space, he too should follow the money. Space spending needs guidance from a national security space strategy to measure success. Applying discipline to the space budget and bringing spending in line with policy should be the second step in Obama's plan.

OpEd: Another Wake-up Call
Ashley Tellis and Michael Krepon, Space News, 10 March 2009
Debris poses a clear, present and growing danger to space operations. The latest wake-up call to take steps to address this danger was provided by the Feb. 10 collision between a dead Cosmos satellite and a revenue-producing Iridium satellite. This dreaded event may have produced the second worst debris field in the history of the space age. Debris travels at 10 times the speed of a rifle bullet at altitudes where hundreds of satellites used for intelligence gathering, personal communications and Earth observation operate. If a single piece of debris the size of a child's marble strikes one of these satellites, the international space station or the space shuttle it would strike with the equivalent force of a 1 ton safe dropped from a five-story building.

Russia paves way for US nuclear deal
Peter Beaumont, The Observer, 8 March 2009
Setting out Russia's vision for the future, Lavrov read out a statement from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev calling for far-reaching agreements that would go beyond nuclear warheads and would include strategic delivery systems. Russia wants a prohibition on the "weaponisation of outer space", deployment of weapons outside national territories, and is also calling for moves to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East by way of a nuclear weapons-free zone.

Russia building anti-satellite weapons
AP, 5 March 2009
Russia is working on anti-satellite weapons to match technologies developed by other nations and will speed up modernization of its nuclear forces, a deputy defense minister was quoted as saying today.

Pentagon Official: U.S. Is Not Developing Space Weapons
Peter B. de Selding, Space News, 20 February 2009
STRASBOURG, France - The United States is not developing space weapons and could not afford to do so even if it wanted to, an official with the Pentagon's National Security Space Office said Thursday.

Can Obama Ban Space Weapons Successfully?
Glenn Reynolds, Popular Mechanics, 9 February 2009
Soon after President Obama took office, a change to the White House Web site gave a hint to this administration’s plans for defense in space. The site said that the administration is "seeking a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites." These are high-priority goals, but the administration is likely to face some problems.