Monthly Archives: June 2014

Nuclear Weapons Modernization: A Threat to the NPT?

Arms Control Association | Hans M. Kristensen

Nearly half a century after the five declared nuclear-weapon states in 1968 pledged under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,”[1] all of the world’s nuclear-weapon states are busy modernizing their arsenals and continue to reaffirm the importance of such weapons.

None of them appears willing to eliminate its nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future.

Granted, the nuclear arms race that was a main feature of the Cold War is over, and France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have reduced their arsenals significantly. Nevertheless, huge arsenals remain, especially in Russia and the United States. China, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and possibly Israel are increasing their stockpiles, although at levels far below those of Russia and the United States. All nuclear-armed states speak of nuclear weapons as an enduring and indefinite aspect of national and international security.

As a result, the world’s nine nuclear-armed states still possess more than 10,000 nuclear warheads combined, of which more than 90 percent are in Russian and U.S. stockpiles. In addition to these stockpiled warheads, those two countries possess thousands of additional nuclear warheads. These warheads, retired but still relatively intact, are in storage awaiting dismantlement. Counting both categories of nuclear warheads, the world’s total combined inventory includes an estimated 17,000 nuclear warheads (fig. 1).

Moreover, many non-nuclear-weapon states that publicly call for nuclear disarmament continue to call on nuclear-armed allies to protect them with nuclear weapons. In fact, five non-nuclear-weapon states in NATO have volunteered to serve as surrogate nuclear-weapon states by equipping their military forces with the necessary tools to deliver U.S. nuclear weapons in times of war—an arrangement tolerated during the Cold War but entirely inappropriate in the post-Cold War era in which NATO and the United States are advocating strict adherence to nonproliferation norms as a foundation for international security.

Thus, although the numerical nuclear arms race between East and West is over, a dynamic technological nuclear arms race is in full swing and may increase over the next decade. Importantly, this is not just a characteristic of the proliferating world but of all nuclear-armed states. New or improved nuclear weapons programs under way in those countries include at least 27 for ballistic missiles, nine for cruise missiles, eight for naval vessels, five for bombers, eight for warheads, and eight for weapons factories (fig. 2).

Kristensen_Figure_1

United States

The United States has embarked on an overhaul of its entire nuclear weapons enterprise, including development of new weapons delivery systems and life extension programs (LEPs) for and modernization of all its enduring nuclear warhead types and nuclear weapons production facilities. Moreover, rather than constraining the role of nuclear weapons, the Obama administration’s 2013 nuclear weapons employment strategy reaffirmed the existing posture of a nuclear triad of forces on high alert. There are currently approximately 4,650 warheads in the U.S. stockpile, down from 5,113 in 2009, and another 2,700 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement.

Unlike other nuclear-armed states, the United States has modernized its nuclear arsenal over the past two decades mainly by upgrading existing weapons rather than fielding new types. The intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force is the final phase of a decade-long, $8 billion modernization intended to extend its service life until 2030. Similarly, beginning in 2017, the Navy will begin to deploy a modified version of the Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to extend its service life through 2040. The Air Force has begun LEPs for the air-launched cruise missile and the B-2 and B-52 bombers.

Beyond these upgrades of existing weapons, work is under way to design new weapons to replace the current ones. The Navy is designing a new class of 12 SSBNs, the Air Force is examining whether to build a mobile ICBM or extend the service life of the existing Minuteman III, and the Air Force has begun development of a new, stealthy long-range bomber and a new nuclear-capable tactical fighter-bomber. Production of a new guided “standoff” nuclear bomb, which would be able to glide toward a target over a distance, is under way, and the Air Force is developing a new long-range nuclear cruise missile to replace the current one.

As is often the case with modern-izations, many of these programs will introduce improved or new military capabilities to the weapons systems. For example, the LEP for the B61 gravity bomb will add a guided tail kit to one of the existing B61 types to increase its accuracy. The new type, known as the B61-12, will be able to strike targets more accurately with a smaller explosive yield and reduce the radioactive fallout from a nuclear attack. Other modifications under consideration, such as interoperable warheads that could be used on land- and sea-based ballistic missiles, could significantly alter the structure of the nuclear warheads and potentially introduce uncertainties about reliability and performance into the stockpile. These uncertainties could increase the risk that the United States would need to conduct a nuclear test explosion in the future.[2]

All told, over the next decade, according to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, the United States plans to spend $355 billion on the maintenance and modernization of its nuclear enterprise,[3] an increase of $142 billion from the $213 billion the Obama administration projected in 2011.[4] According to available information, it appears that the nuclear enterprise will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 30 years.[5]

These sums are enormous by any standard, and some programs may be curtailed by fiscal realities. Nevertheless, they indicate a commitment to a scale of nuclear modernization that appears to be at odds with the Obama administration’s arms reduction and disarmament agenda. This modernization plan is broader and more expensive than the Bush administration’s plan and appears to prioritize nuclear capabilities over conventional ones. The Obama administration entered office with a strong arms control and disarmament agenda, but despite efforts by some officials and agencies to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons, the administration may ironically end up being remembered more for its commitment to prolonging and modernizing the traditional nuclear arsenal.

NATO

The new B61-12 is scheduled for deployment in Europe around 2020. At first, the guided bomb, which has a modest standoff capability, will be backfitted onto existing F-15E, F-16, and Tornado NATO aircraft. From around 2024, nuclear-capable F-35A stealthy fighter-bombers are to be deployed in Europe and gradually take over the nuclear strike role from the F-16 and Tornado aircraft.

Slightly more than 180 B61 bombs are currently deployed in underground vaults inside 87 protective aircraft shelters at six bases in five NATO countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey). About half of the bombs are earmarked for delivery by the national aircraft of these non-nuclear-weapon states, although they all are parties to the NPT and obliged “not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly.” In peacetime, the weapons at the national bases are under the control of a U.S. Air Force munitions support squadron, but in a war, the United States would hand over control of the weapons to the national pilots who would deliver the weapons and effectively violate the NPT at that moment.

The combination of a guided standoff nuclear bomb and a fifth-generation stealthy fighter-bomber will significantly enhance the military capability of NATO’s nuclear posture in Europe.[6] The upgrade contradicts the Obama administration’s pledge that LEPs “will not…provide for new military capabilities”[7] and NATO’s conclusion that its nuclear force posture “currently meets the criteria for an effective deterrence and defence posture.”[8] Neither the administration nor NATO has officially addressed this contradiction, but officials privately insist, incorrectly, that the B61-12 will not add military capabilities to NATO’s posture in Europe. Some NATO countries scheduled to receive the B61-12 have recently begun to ask questions about the B61-12 program via diplomatic channels.[9]

The modernization also undercuts the U.S. goal to seek “bold reductions” in Russian and U.S. nonstrategic nuclear weapons in Europe[10] and NATO’s stated resolve “to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.”[11] Moreover, the modernization sends a clear signal to Russia that it is acceptable to enhance nonstrategic nuclear forces in Europe, effectively removing NATO’s ability to appeal to Russian restraint.

The extension and modernization of the U.S. nuclear deployment in Europe competes with increasingly scarce resources needed for more-important conventional forces and operations. Conventional forces would be much more credible than tactical nuclear weapons in providing security assurance to eastern NATO allies.

France

France is in the final phase of a comprehensive modernization of its nuclear forces intended to extend the arsenal into the 2050s. Most significant is the deployment during 2010-2018 of the new M-51 SLBM on the Triumphant-class submarines. The new missile has greater range, payload capacity, and accuracy than its predecessor, the M-45. Starting in 2015, the current TN75 warhead will be replaced with the new TNO (Tête Nucléaire Océanique) warhead. France currently has a stockpile of roughly 300 warheads.

The modernization of the sea-based leg of the arsenal follows the completion in 2011 of the replacement of the ASMP (Air-Sol Moyenne Portée) air-launched cruise missile, which had a range of 300 kilometers, with the new ASMPA (Air-Sol Moyenne Portée Amélioré), which has a range of 500 kilometers. The missile has been integrated with two fighter-bomber squadrons—Mirage 2000N K3 aircraft at Istres on the Mediterranean coast and Rafale F3 aircraft at Saint-Dizier northeast of Paris. Eventually, the Istres wing will also be upgraded to Rafale aircraft. The ASMPA carries the new TNA (Tête Nucléaire Aéroportée) warhead.

A navy version of the Rafale aircraft is deployed on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier based at Toulon. The wing was upgraded to carry the ASMPA missile in 2010, but the weapons are stored on land under normal circumstance and not deployed on the carrier in peacetime.

The United Kingdom

Of all the nuclear-weapon states, the UK is the country that has progressed furthest toward potential nuclear abolition. Its current stockpile of approximately 225 weapons is scheduled to decline to about 180 by the mid-2020s. After the UK’s elimination of its air- and sea-based tactical nuclear weapons in the 1990s, there has been a lively debate about whether the country any longer needs nuclear weapons. For now, however, the government appears determined to replace the current class of four Vanguard-class nuclear-armed submarines with a new class of three to four submarines in the mid-2020s.

The UK leases its Trident II D5 SLBMs from the United States. These missiles are currently being equipped with the W76-1/Mk4A, a version of the existing warhead that has increased targeting capabilities. The W76-1 is believed to have been modified by UK warhead designers for use on UK missiles.

Russia

Russia is in the middle of a significant nuclear modernization that marks its attempt to transition from Soviet-era nuclear force structure to something more modern, leaner, and cheaper to maintain. Despite continued financial constraints, the regime of Vladimir Putin has prioritized maintenance and modernization of nuclear forces as symbols of national prestige and, to some extent, compensation for inferior conventional forces. The Russian stockpile is estimated at roughly 4,300 warheads, of which approximately 2,000 are for nonstrategic weapons, with another 3,500 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement.

Within the next decade or more, retirement of all Soviet-era ICBMs and SLBMs will be completed, and these systems will be replaced with various versions of the SS-27 ICBM and the RS-26 (possibly another SS-27 modification) on land and the SS-N-32 Bulava SLBM on a fleet of eight new Borei-class SSBNs. Work is also said to be under way on a new “heavy” ICBM known as the Sarmat to replace the SS-18. Putin promised shortly before the election in 2012 that Russia intends to produce more than 400 land- and sea-based ballistic missiles through the mid-2020s. It remains to be seen how much of that production the Russian military-industrial complex can accomplish.

Despite the modernization, the Russian ICBM force already has declined to approximately 300 missiles and is expected to drop further to roughly 250 missiles over the next decade. In order to keep some level of parity with the larger U.S. arsenal, Russia is deploying more warheads on each of its missiles.

With regard to the Russian bomber force, the Tu-160 Blackjack, Tu-95MS Bear, and Tu-22M Backfire bombers are all undergoing various upgrades to extend their service lives and improve their military capabilities. In addition, work is currently under way on the design of a subsonic replacement bomber to enter service early in the next decade. A new nuclear cruise missile, known as the KH-102 air-launched cruise missile, has been under development for a long time and may become operational soon.

As for tactical forces, the new SS-26 Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile is replacing the nuclear-capable SS-21s in 10 brigades, mostly in western and southern military districts. The Su-34 Fullback fighter-bomber is gradually replacing the old Su-24M Fencer in the tactical nuclear strike role, and the Severodvinsk-class, or Yasen-class, SSGN (nuclear-powered, guided-missile attack submarine) is about to enter service with the new long-range Kalibr cruise missile that might have nuclear capability.

The Russian government has repeatedly stated that modernizing strategic nuclear forces is its priority, but this effort competes with the modernization of conventional forces, which are much more relevant for the type of security challenges facing Russia today.

Information on Russian nuclear spending is scarce and contradictory. In 2011, Russian news media and analysts reported that Russia planned to spend $70 billion on new strategic weapons through 2018.[12] That sounds like a considerable amount, but only adds up to $10 billion per year. That is close to what the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) spends per year on weapons activities.

Likewise, Russian media in 2012 reported that Russia planned to spend 101 billion rubles on nuclear weapons from 2013 through 2015.[13] That also sounds like a very significant sum, but corresponds to only $2.9 billion over three years. This does not appear to be the entire nuclear budget; it apparently covers only the “nuclear weapons complex.” If that corresponds to the U.S. nuclear complex—that is, NNSA facilities—then it would imply that Russia spends less than half of what the United States spends on nuclear weapons infrastructure. The buying power in Russia is probably greater, but so is corruption and inefficiency.

Russia’s overall defense budget has increased. Over the next 10 years, the plan is to spend 19 trillion rubles ($542 billion) on defense. That is less than the annual U.S. defense budget. Of that amount, strategic nuclear forces are thought to account for about 10 percent, or $54 billion in total over 10 years. It is unclear what categories are included, but it appears to be roughly 20 percent of the $30 billion the United States is estimated to spend on its nuclear triad per year.

The Russian economy seems ill equipped to support such investments in nuclear forces that will only constrain resources available for conventional forces. Since 2008, Russia has scaled back and reorganized its military to save money and shed excess or outdated capacity. Ground forces, armor, and infantry battalions alone have been reduced by about 60 percent since 2008.

The Putin government’s 10-year defense procurement plan adopted in 2010 is intended to replace Soviet-era equipment and bolster deterrence, but U.S. intelligence characterizes the Russian economy as “sluggish”[14] and Putin’s defense plan as being hampered by funding, bureaucratic, and cultural hurdles. The difficulty of reinvigorating a military industrial infrastructure that deteriorated for more than a decade after the Soviet collapse is seen by the U.S. intelligence community as complicating Russian efforts.[15] The 2014 budget is “harsh,” with a projected deficit of 391 billion rubles ($12 billion), rising to 817 billion rubles ($25 billion) in 2015.[16] Additional financial constraints created by the international reaction to the Russian invasion of Crimea would exacerbate this outlook. The Russian nuclear modernization plan therefore seems headed for serious economic and organizational challenges.

China

Chinese nuclear forces are in the latter phase of a two-decade-long upgrade that includes deployment of new land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery vehicles. This effort is occurring in parallel with a broader modernization of China’s general military forces. Unlike the other nuclear members of the NPT, China is increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal, which is currently estimated to be around 250 warheads.

Although China does not seem to plan a significant increase in the size of its nuclear forces, it is changing the composition of that force and putting more emphasis on mobile systems. The ICBM force is expanding with deployment of the solid-fueled, road-mobile DF-31 and DF-31A in limited numbers to complement the old silo-based, liquid-fueled DF-5A. The DF-31 and DF-31A do not appear to have been very successful; deployment of the DF-31 has stalled, and China may produce a new ICBM to replace the DF-31A.[17]

Another new development is the Jin-class SSBN with the JL-2 SLBM, a significant improvement over the old Xia/JL-1 weapons system, which never became fully operational. It is difficult to understand the role of the small fleet of Jin/JL-2 SSBNs under construction given the reluctance of the Chinese leadership to allow deployment of nuclear warheads on missiles under normal circumstances. Given the geographical constraints and the superiority of U.S. attack submarines, it will be a challenge for China to operate SSBNs effectively. Yet, the navy appears to have received permission to build the fleet at least to some extent because of national prestige.

There are also unconfirmed rumors that China is adding a nuclear capability to ground- and air-launched cruise missiles. If so, it would represent an important addition to the Chinese nuclear posture, particularly in light of Beijing’s stated adherence to a doctrine of minimum deterrence.

Pakistan

For a country with limited resources, Pakistan is spending a considerable amount on modernizing its nuclear forces. New systems under development include the Shaheen II medium-range ballistic missile, Ra’ad air-launched cruise missile, Babur ground-launched cruise missile, and Nasr short-range rocket. Infrastructure upgrades include construction of the third and fourth plutonium-production reactors and upgrades of uranium-enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing facilities. Pakistan’s current arsenal is estimated at around 120 weapons.

At the same time, the Shaheen II missile has been under development for a long time, but might only now become operational, an indication of possible technical difficulties developing the road-mobile, solid-fueled, medium-range ballistic missile. Likewise, although India has embarked on an SSBN program, there is so far no indication that Pakistan is following the example. This is somewhat surprising given the normal tit-for-tat patterns in Pakistani-Indian nuclear competition. Whether this reflects financial constrains is unclear, and it remains to be seen if the Babur cruise missile eventually will be deployed also in a sea-based version.

Development of the nuclear-capable Nasr short-range missile launcher, whose range is estimated to be 60 kilometers, signals a significant and worrisome tactical addition to Pakistan’s nuclear strategy because the weapon is intended for use before a strategic nuclear exchange.

India

India’s nuclear modernization is entering a new and complex phase. After the initial introduction of the Prithvi and Agni missiles, India is developing several long-range Agni systems on new launchers. The first SSBN has been launched and is expected to begin sea trials later this year as the first of a class of perhaps three to five boats with a new SLBM. Construction of a new plutonium-production reactor is expected to start soon along with fast breeder reactors, which can produce more plutonium than they consume, as well as upgrades to reprocessing facilities. India’s current stockpile is estimated at around 110 warheads.

Unlike Pakistan’s nuclear posture, which is directed against only India, India’s nuclear posture is directed against Pakistan and China. As a result, most of India’s current missile development efforts are geared toward developing long-range missiles that can reach all of China. There is a prominent internal debate about the need to deploy canistered launchers—a system in which the missile is carried inside a climate-controlled canister—and equip ballistic missiles with the capability to carry multiple warheads. It remains to be seen what, if any of this, the government will approve.

Israel

Israel has a relatively small and steady nuclear arsenal. The nuclear stockpile is thought to include around 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by aircraft and ballistic missiles. Nonetheless, there are rumors about modernization.

One rumor concerns an upgrade of the land-based ballistic missile force from the current Jericho II to a longer-range Jericho III missile based on the Shavit space launch vehicle.

The air-based leg of Israel’s nuclear force could potentially also face modernization as the Israeli air force acquires the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from the United States.

There are persistent rumors that Israel may have converted a cruise missile to nuclear weapons capability for its new Dolphin-class attack submarines. The rumors have focused on the Popeye Turbo or Harpoon missiles, but the status of the weapon remains unclear. If this conversion is taking place, the submarines would provide Israel with a new limited-range offensive capability and more-secure retaliatory capability.

North Korea

Because the North Korean nuclear arsenal is still in its infancy, most efforts to develop a deliverable nuclear weapons capability can essentially be considered modernizations. Potential nuclear-capable delivery systems include the Scud C and Nodong short-range missiles, the Musudan medium-range missile, and the Hwasong-13 (KH-08) and Taepo Dong long-range missiles. The KH-08 and Musudan have yet to be test-flown; the Taepo Dong has been successfully flown only as a space launch vehicle. After three nuclear explosive tests, there is no authoritative public information that North Korea has yet test-flown a re-entry vehicle intended to deliver a nuclear warhead.

A technically simpler but shorter-range and more vulnerable delivery system would be an aircraft equipped with a nuclear bomb. All other nuclear-weapon states used aircraft as their first delivery system, but there is no known information that North Korea has followed suit.

Conclusions

Despite significant reductions in the overall number of nuclear weapons compared with the Cold War era, all of the world’s nine nuclear-armed states are busy modernizing their remaining nuclear forces for the long haul. None of the nuclear-armed states appears to be planning to eliminate its nuclear weapons anytime soon. Instead, all speak of the continued importance of nuclear weapons.

The pace of nuclear reductions appears to be slowing as Russia and the United States shift their focus to sustaining their arsenals for the indefinite future. Three of the nuclear-armed states are increasing their arsenals, and nuclear competition among the nuclear-armed states appears to be alive and well.

Despite the financial constraints facing several of the nuclear-armed states, these states appear committed to spending hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade on modernizing their nuclear forces.

Perpetual nuclear modernization appears to undercut the promises made by the five NPT nuclear-weapon states. Under the terms of that treaty, they are required to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” Nearly 50 years after this promise was first made, the non-nuclear-weapon states, who in return for that commitment renounced nuclear weapons for themselves, can rightly question whether continued nuclear modernization in perpetuity is consistent with the NPT.

Without some form of limitations on the pace and scope of nuclear modernization, the goals of deep cuts in and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons remain elusive and appear increasingly unlikely as continued reaffirmation of the value of nuclear weapons, sustained by a global nuclear competition, threatens to extend the nuclear era indefinitely.

Kristensen_Figure_1

Hans M. Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.


ENDNOTES

1. UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” n.d., http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Nuclear/NPTtext.shtml.

2. The fiscal year 2015 National Nuclear Security Administation budget request delays the design and production of the first Interoperable Warhead (W78/W88-1) by five years because there are considerable cost and design uncertainties and no urgent aging-related issues affecting the current warheads.

3. U.S. Congressional Budget Office, “Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2014 to 2023,” December 2013, http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/12-19-2013-NuclearForces.pdf.

4. James Miller, Statement before the Senate Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, May 4, 2011, p. 5.

5. Jon B. Wolfsthal, Jeffrey Lewis, and Marc Quint, “The Trillion Dollar Nuclear Triad: U.S. Strategic Nuclear Modernization Over the Next Thirty Years,” James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, January 7, 2014, http://cns.miis.edu/trillion_dollar_nuclear_triad/.

6. For analysis of the implications of the guided tail kit, see Hans M. Kristensen, “B61 LEP: Increasing NATO Nuclear Capability and Precision Low-Yield Strikes,” FAS Strategic Security Blog, June 15, 2011, http://blogs.fas.org/security/2011/06/b61-12/.

7. U.S. Department of Defense, “Nuclear Posture Review Report,” April 2010, p. xiv, http://www.defense.gov/npr/docs/2010%20Nuclear%20Posture%20Review%20Report.pdf.

8. NATO, “Deterrence and Defence Posture Review,” May 2012, sec. II.8, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-193D7980-4A881D9C/natolive/official_texts_87597.htm.

9. NATO officials, conversations with author, 2014.

10. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “Remarks by President Obama at the Brandenburg Gate—Berlin, Germany,” June 19, 2013, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/19/remarks-president-obama-brandenburg-gate-berlin-germany.

11. NATO, “Deterrence and Defence Posture Review,” sec. V.24.

12. Yuri Gavrilov, “Bulava at the End of the Year” (in Russian), February 25, 2011, http://www.rg.ru/2011/02/24/pole-site.html; Russian nuclear experts, communications with author; Bruce G. Blair and Matthew A. Brown, “World Spending on Nuclear Weapons Surpasses $1 Trillion per Decade,” Global Zero, June 2011, p. 5, http://www.globalzero.org/files/gz_nuclear_weapons_cost_study.pdf (citing Pavel Podvig, “Russia to Spend $70 billion on Strategic Forces by 2020,” Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, February 24, 2011, http://russianforces.org/blog/2011/02/russia_to_spend_70_billion_on.shtml).

13. “Russia to Spend 100 Billion on Nuclear Weapons,” Pravda, October 18, 2012, http://english.pravda.ru/news/russia/18-10-2012/122499-russia_nuclear_weapons-0/.

14. James R. Clapper, “Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” April 18, 2013, p. 23 (given before the Senate Armed Services Committee).

15. Ibid., p. 24.

16. “Russia to Up Nuclear Weapon Spending 50% by 2016,” RIA-Novosti, October 8, 2013, http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20131008/184004336/Russia-to-Up-Nuclear-Weapons-Spending-50-by-2016.html.

17. Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, “Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013,” May 2013, p. 6.

Japan’s utilities reject anti-nuclear demands from shareholders

The Asahi Shimbun | KATSUHEI KAWAMURA/ Staff Writer | June 26, 2014

indexJ

Yui Kimura calls for the abolition of nuclear power in front of the building where Tokyo Electric Power Co. held its shareholders’ meeting on June 26. (Sayaka Yamaguchi)

All nine electric power companies that operate nuclear plants rejected shareholders’ proposals to close down the facilities, citing new safety measures and the need to quickly restart their reactors.

It was the first time anti-nuclear proposals were presented to all nine companies at their shareholders’ meetings. Hokuriku Electric Power Co. had until now received no such request.

However, passing such changes requires support representing at least two-thirds of votes from shareholders who took part in the meetings. Large shareholders, such as banks, voted against the proposals.

The utilities all held their annual shareholders’ meetings on June 26.

During Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s meeting in the Marunouchi district of the capital, Yui Kimura, 61, a leading member of the Nuclear Phase-out TEPCO Shareholders Movement, demanded the company appoint three well-known anti-nuclear experts as its directors.

“TEPCO is a company that is surviving with taxpayers’ money,” she said. “It is urgent for the firm to choose directors who can push through in-house reforms.”

Kimura also noted that three years have passed since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

“I suspect that TEPCO is returning to its former arrogant ways,” she said.

The three names she submitted were: Shigeaki Koga, 58, a former industry ministry bureaucrat; Hiroyuki Kawai, 70, a lawyer representing plaintiffs seeking a nuclear-free Japan; and Tetsunari Iida, 55, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies.

“Those supporting the promotion of nuclear power generation have grown stronger by overcoming objections (to atomic energy) and by improving their systems (for nuclear power generation),” Koga said. “Anti-nuclear people will be unable to counter them unless they present new ideas, such as showing how economic conditions and livelihoods will improve through the promotion of renewable energies.”

TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said at the meeting that the utility is currently preparing to restart idled reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

“We are promoting safety measures, such as construction of sea walls,” Hirose said.

Michiaki Uriu, president of Kyushu Electric Power Co., noted progress in the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety screening of two offline reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

“We will make the utmost effort to pass the screening to restart the reactors as early as possible,” he said.

Hokkaido Electric Power Co. is facing financial difficulties due to the suspension of operations at its sole nuclear power plant.

“In the not-so-distant future, we will decide to apply for another hike in electricity bills,” said Katsuhiko Kawai, president of Hokkaido Electric.

Death of the Masked Men

CIA’s John Hadden ignored as Israeli spy Avraham Bendor celebrated

ANTIWAR.com | Grant Smith, June 24, 2014

The death of CIA veteran John Lloyd Hadden a year ago went utterly unreported by establishment media in the United States. Given Hadden’s known history, the blackout is perhaps not as much a reflection of the difficulty reporting on a clandestine career as a slap at his harsh but ardent defense of American interests against the State of Israel’s constant incursions. Contrasted with big media’s fawning recent obituaries of Israeli Shin Bet Chief Avraham Shalom, Americans should ask why journalists have passed over the opportunity presented by Hadden to report on epic historic showdowns between two state intelligence services.

A Harvard engineer intent on going to West Point, Hadden obtained a postwar”emergency commission” to work in Berlin engineering roads, bridges and an airstrip. After the Berlin Blockade, Hadden rushed to join the fledgling CIA so he could continue serving in Berlin. He was later stationed in Hamburg, Salzburg and intermittently in Washington. During the 1967 Six-Day War, Hadden served in Tel Aviv as CIA station chief. The closure of the Straits of Tiran and movement of Egyptian forces into the Sinai slowly reached a boiling point. In the run-up to Israel’s sneak attack on Egypt, Hadden was urgently summoned to meet with Mossad Director Meir Amit on May 25, 1967. After Amit lamented that Israel had not immediately attacked Egypt, Hadden bluntly told the Israeli, “that would have brought Russia and the United States against you.” When Amit disagreed, stating the crisis was a U.S. problem as well, Hadden retorted, “Help us by giving us a good reason to come in on your side. Get them to fire at something, a ship for example.” After again warning Amit that an attack would provoke a US defense of the “attacked state,” hinting that US aid was on the line, and then telling Amit not to surprise the US, Hadden took his leave.

Despite Hadden’s admonitions, the crisis did not play out at all like the 1956 Suez crisis in which President Eisenhower’s resolve beat back an ill-advised British, French and Israeli pincer on Egypt. Amit simply went around Hadden and obtained what he later characterized as a “flickering green light” from the LBJ administration to attack Egypt. The Israeli war of choice that created so many lingering tensions and illegal land occupations began. In the end, the only significant vessel fired upon was the American surveillance ship the USS Liberty, attacked by Israel during the conflict on June 8, 1967 with the loss of 34 crew members.

Hadden’s actor/writer son recorded interviews of his father after 9/11 as source material for his one-man play “Travels with a Masked Man.” The son recounts how during the Six-Day War Station Chief Hadden was not above disobeying ill-advised orders.

“One day, it was during the Six-Day War, I was at the office. I got a hot cable from Washington telling me to go to …my friend in the Mossad…and tell him we think it’s okay to…XYZ (a catastrophe of destruction). I took one look at the thing and just dropped it in the shredder. It was on a weekend – some deputy’s watch, some gung-ho idiot. It was the days of the proconsuls – and when [CIA Director Richard] Helms came in on Monday he said, ‘Christ, someone get hold of him [Hadden] and tell him to ignore…XYZ!’ I was lucky…I could say I’d never seen the damn thing…There were interesting moments.”

Hadden eventually came to be hated by the Mossad and Israeli intelligence services targeting the United States – a feeling that was mutual. He even went public with the CIA’s findings that Israel had stolen large amounts of weapons-grade uranium from a US Navy contracting company called NUMEC run by Israel sympathizers in Apollo, Pennsylvania. His public statements helped fan public and congressional interest in finding out what happened at NUMEC and punishing the perpetrators. Insultingly, Hadden even compared spymaster Rafi Eitan’s 1960 exploit kidnapping Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann from the streets of Buenos Aires with the later and much easier work of looting an under-capitalized smuggling front under the obliging eye of its owner.

“Just imagine to yourself how much easier it would be to remove a pound or two of this or that at any one time, as opposed to – which is inert material – as opposed to removing all at one blow. One hundred fifty pounds of shouting and kicking Eichmann. You see, they [the Israelis] are pretty good at removing things.”

Hadden unequivocally claimed that NUMEC was “an Israeli operation from the beginning.” The Israelis in Hadden’s view were an unreliable source of US intelligence, and too often spurred to violence.

“The Israelis, of course, are a special case, because they’re so small – and they’re at war all the time – they can go out and murder people and do all kinds of things that we can’t do. They get a lot done. Of course, Israeli intelligence is our main source of intelligence. Unexamined, and that’s another problem…”

Hadden’s obscure passing can be contrasted with the more recent and glowing New York Times and other fawning mainstream obituaries of Israeli spy Avraham Shalom. The “paper of record” duly mentions Shalom’s aiding Rafi Eitan to capture Eichmann and ascension to commander of Shin Bet after the 1972 terror attacks on the Israeli Olympic team. Shalom’s late in life criticism of Israel’s harsh treatment of the Palestinians is also well known following the Oscar-nominated 2012 documentary “The Gatekeepers.”

Although many American obituaries mention that Shalom’s real name was Avraham Bendor, none mention that he also accompanied Rafi Eitan on a well-documented 1968 incursion into the NUMEC plant along with the nuclear weapons program chief Avraham Hermoni at the invitation of NUMEC president (and Zionist Organization of America executive) Zalman Shapiro. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1968 was the year of NUMEC’s highest losses. According to the Department of Energy, 339 kilograms currently remain “unaccounted for” even as the US Army Corps of Engineers expends $500 million in taxpayer funds cleaning up after the smuggling front.

Israeli journalists are not as skittish as their US counterparts in reporting – at least to other Israelis and paying subscribers – the long string of Israeli espionage assaults on American sovereignty. Veteran intelligence reporter Yossi Melman confessed in his Jerusalem Post May 27, 2014 report titled “Spy Story” (behind a paywall) that,

“The naked truth is that even before its inception and even more so since independence in 1948, Israel time and time again violated US laws, spied on US soil, stole its secrets, and violated its sovereignty… In rare cases, some of the Israeli operations were exposed by the FBI and US Customs. Israelis were expelled, equipment confiscated, complaints filed but they usually managed to get away unpunished. This happened even with the two most daring and outstanding operations targeting the US nuclear sector. In the first case in the ’60s, according to US documents, a joint Lekem-Mossad team led by master spy Rafi Eitan stole enriched uranium from a depot of the NUMEC company in Apollo, Pennsylvania, which was handling nuclear waste for the US Atomic Energy Commission. NUMEC’s owner was Zalman Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew who later would be on the board of governors of the Israeli Intelligence Heritage Center.”

The Israeli Intelligence Heritage Center honors spies for Israel who secretly took action to advance the state. The center also protects those “who are still operating and could be endangered by information from the past.” Seven of the center’s eight “Hero of Silence” award recipient’s identities remain secret, though former NUMEC president Zalman Shapiro – still denying culpability from Pittsburgh – is presumably one of them.

Despite intense, ongoing litigation over lingering radiation-related illnesses surrounding the former NUMEC site and massive cleanup costs, the Israeli government has never stepped forward to claim responsibility for creating the front company that created so much material loss, property damage and health problems. The CIA has never released any of its thousands of files about the NUMEC affair, signaling in one Freedom of Information Act response that only when a US president gives the go-ahead, and US intelligence agency worries about offending Israeli intelligence liaisons are diminished, will there ever be any direct information release. That time – likelier than not – will be never.

It is unseemly that the quiet passing of John Hadden – an American who tried to avert Israel’s 1967 attack on Egypt, and then keep it from escalating – is so utterly overshadowed by laudatory obituaries for the Israeli he exposed looting weapons-grade nuclear material from Pennsylvania.

Read more by Grant Smith

Hezbollah and the Use of Drones as a Weapon of Terrorism

hezbollah

Posted on Jun.05, 2014 in Drones, Terrorism by Milton Hoenig

FAS | Public Interest Reports | Spring 2014- Volume 67

The international terrorist group Hezbollah, driven by resistance to Israel, now regularly sends low flying drones into Israeli airspace. These drones are launched and remotely manned from the Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon and presumably supplied by its patron and strategic partner, Iran. On the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations since 1995, Hezbollah has secured its presence in Lebanon through various phases. It established a strong social services network, and in 2008 it became the dominant political party in the Lebanese government and supported the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War.

 

Hezbollah’s drone flights into Israeli airspace

Hezbollah’s first flight of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone, into Israeli airspace for reconnaissance purposes occurred in November 2004, catching Israeli intelligence off guard. A Mirsad-1 drone (an updated version of the early Iranian Mohajer drone used for reconnaissance of Iraqi troops during the 1980s Iran-Iraq War), flew south from Lebanon into Israel, hovered over the Western Galilee town of Nahariya for about 20 minutes and then returned to Lebanon before the Israeli air force could intercept it.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah boasted that the Mirsad could reach “anywhere, deep, deep” into Israel with 40 to 50 kilograms of explosives. 1) One report at the time was that Iran had supplied Hezbollah with eight such drones, and over two years some 30 Lebanese operatives had undergone training at Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps bases near Isfahan to fly missions similar to the Mirsad aircraft. 2)

The second drone flight into Israel was a short 18-mile incursion in April 2005 (again by a Mirsad-1 drone), that eluded Israeli radar and returned to Lebanon before Israeli fighter planes could be scrambled to intercept it. 3)  A third drone mission in August 2006 during the Lebanon War was intended for attack; Hezbollah launched three small Ababil drones into Israel each carrying a 40-50 kilogram explosive warhead intended for strategic targets. This time Israeli F-16s shot them down, one on the outskirts of Haifa, another in Western Galilee, and the third in Lebanon near Tyre. 4) 5)

Abruptly, the incursion of Hezbollah drones into Israeli airspace stopped – only to be started up again after a six year hiatus. Presumably, drone launches by Hezbollah into Israel are planned and carried out to meet the political agenda of Iran, while shielding Iran’s involvement and allowing a measure of deniability. The involvement of Shiite Hezbollah with Iran dates back to financial support and training from the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps and the suicide attacks in Beirut in October 1983 on the U.S. embassy and the Marine Corps barracks attacks. This was followed by Iranian sponsorship of Hezbollah attacks on the Israeli embassy and the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1992 and 1994, and the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996.

The drones sent out from Lebanon were small objects moving at slow speed and low elevation and as such they were difficult to detect by radar. The Mirsad-1 and the Ababil were each only about 9.5 feet in length. The low speed (120 miles per hour for the Mirsad-1 and 180 miles per hour for the Ababil) minimized the Doppler shift in the reflected radar beam and made detection difficult. The low ceiling (6,500 feet for the Mirsad-1 and 9,800 feet for the Ababil) would limit detection as it is obscured by ground clutter, glare, and other environmental conditions. 6) In the past it has been reported that drones could penetrate Israel’s radar and air defense systems, even the Iron Dome. But ongoing upgrades in detection capability suggest progress has been made in improving sensitivity and limiting detection failure to areas lacking air defenses, or suppressed defenses, or when the drones are indeed very small.  7)

 

A daring mission to the nuclear complex at Dimona

The next appearance of a Hezbollah drone on October 6, 2012, was a spectacular foray that took Israel by surprise. An Iranian drone called “Ayub” flew south from Lebanon over the Mediterranean and into Israel via the Gaza Strip, moving westward about 35 miles into the Negev and penetrating to a point near the town of Dimona, the site of Israel’s nuclear weapons complex. There it was shot down over a forest by Israeli aircraft. Examining the wreckage, Israeli military said that it was possible the drone could have transmitted imagery of the nuclear research center.

Observers immediately interpreted this incursion as a message from Iran that Israel’s nuclear facilities were vulnerable to attack should Israel attempt any military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Apparently the propaganda victory was significant enough for Iran to admit spying on Israel several weeks later: an influential member of the Iranian Parliament announced that Iran had pictures of sensitive Israeli facilities transmitted by the drone. 8)

In a more recent flight in April 2013, an unmanned aircraft attributed to Hezbollah reached the coast near the city of Haifa, where an Israeli warplane brought it down, demonstrating that these drones are still vulnerable to counter-attack. 9)

Each drone flight into Israel is potentially a significant propaganda victory for Hezbollah. As Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute has noted, “They love being able to say, ‘Israel is infiltrating our airspace, so we’ll infiltrate theirs, drone for drone.’” 10)

Israeli drones are sophisticated, deadly and widely used in policing and assassinations of Hamas operatives in Gaza, while Hezbollah’s drones appear to lag behind. While the 145 mile excursion from Lebanon to Dimona in October 2012 showed substantial gain in Hezbollah’s reconnaissance capability, a willingness by Iran to transfer its latest designs to give Hezbollah deadly capabilities is questionable since Iran is unlikely to risk having their advanced drones shot down over Israel. In addition, Hezbollah would surely have second thoughts about using drones in an assassination campaign in Israel since this would be met with a strong military response.

 

Emerging strategies and possibilities

Primarily sent to cause panic in Israel, Hezbollah’s drones that were shot down in 2006 were armed with explosive warheads. As their sophistication grows, Hezbollah’s drones will be increasingly valuable for reconnaissance missions to: gather information on troop movements and facilities, in prepare for future infiltrations or rocket attacks, and calibrate the accuracy of rocket targeting in real time. Adding weight to a drone’s load reduces its range; but once developed to carry heavier loads, drones become launching platforms for guided missiles or bombs. Drones could potentially carry and launch some weapons of mass destruction — biological and chemical weapons and even radioactive “dirty” bombs. In the hands of a jihadist group such as Al Qaeda, they could be used to kill civilians as a substitute for on-ground suicide attacks.

All sides in the worldwide drone wars have been working on countermeasures to neutralize each other’s attacks. Aside from radar detection and shooting drones down with land based missiles or airplanes, one viable countermeasure is jamming the frequencies used for navigation. A further step would be to intercept or “hack” into the signal that the controller transmits via satellite/aircraft and thereby gain control of the drone and its technology. 11) Iran claims to have done this in the mysterious landing of a U.S. RQ-170 drone in Iran in 2011.

Important legal, moral and humanitarian challenges are being raised in connection with the use of drones for targeted killings by the United States in Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and by Israel in Gaza. 12)  Drones are a surgical tool that shields the people guiding them from the real horrors of war fighting. Their effectiveness in military attacks has been well demonstrated by the U.S. military in attacks to ferret out suspected terrorists. Drones are cheap, so other countries might be expected to follow suit; whether this is a desirable outcome is open to question.

 

Limiting drone proliferation

The export of large drones for military purposes raises issues for arms control and nonproliferation; exports are already a major multi-billion dollar business for both Israel and the United States. The sales are currently limited to drones for reconnaissance missions and civilian use, except for the U.S. supplying military attack drones to Britain. 13)  The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is a voluntary agreement between 34 countries that was initiated some three decades ago to stop the export of ballistic missiles with nuclear payloads greater 500 kilograms and ranges greater than 300 kilometers and was amended in 1992 to cover proliferation of UAV’s carrying all weapons of mass destruction. While Israel is not a member, it has agreed to follow the MTCR export rules. Nevertheless, there is increasing pressure on the U.S. government to liberalize and weaken controls, so that U.S. manufacturers of military aircraft are not left out of the burgeoning drone market. 14)

The prospects for Hezbollah’s future drone force are closely aligned with political decisions made by Iran. Although information about Iran’s drone fleet remains hidden, Iran has made great strides in range, speed and lethality. In mid-2010, it unveiled the “Ambassador of Death” drone which can carry four cruise missiles or two large bombs with a range of 250 miles, and in November 2013, it announced the missile-carrying Fotros drone that could fly over 430 miles and remain aloft for 30 hours. In May 2014, Iran unveiled what it says is a reverse-engineered copy of the CIA RQ-170 stealth reconnaissance drone, which, it claims the Iranian Armed Forces’ electronic warfare unit commandeered and brought to a safe landing in Iran in December 2011. If Iran now has a copy of an advanced U.S. drone, this raises its drone capabilities to yet another level, as it seeks to play a dominant role in the Middle East. 15)

 

Conclusion

Incursions of Hezbollah drones supplied by its patron Iran into Israel from Lebanon have occurred with increased frequency and sophistication since 2012. Now used only for purposes of reconnaissance, they have the potential for future attacks on military and civilian targets. Much depends on the political agenda of Iran. For the present, attacks on Israel from Lebanon either with drones or rockets may be receiving only divided attention from Hezbollah, as it focuses on pressing its support for Syria’s president Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war. 16)

Only a handful of countries presently manufacture military drones; the United States and Israel are the two major manufacturers. Russia and China have shown an interest in producing drones for military purposes, and India and Pakistan may also have developed them. Now is the time to give serious thought to a convention or treaty to ban the manufacture and use of UAVs for military purposes. In the United States, drones for commercial purposes are expected to be licensed in the next few years and the “rules of the road” in space are being considered by the Federal Aeronautics Administration. A focus on ensuring the benefits of drones in civil society should take the highest priority.

Milton Hoenig is a nuclear physicist and consultant on weapons of mass destruction and nonproliferation issues.

 

Notes

1.
  “Hezbollah says it has capability to bomb Israel from air,” Haaretz, Nov 12, 2004.
2.
  Eugene Miasnikov, “Terrorists Develop Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environment Studies at MIPT, Dec 2004, http://www.armscontrol.ru/uav/mirsad1.htm
3.
  “Hezbollah Mirsad-1 UAV Penetrates Israeli Air Defenses,” Defense Industry Daily, April 20, 2005.
4.
  Ronen Bergman, “Hezbollah Stockpiling Drones In Anticipation of Israeli Strike,” Yediot Ahronot, Feb 15, 2013.
5.
  Yochi Dreazen, “The Next Arab-Israeli War Will Be Fought With Drones,” New Republic, March 26, 2014.
6.
  Euguene Miasnikov, Terrorists Develop Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.” Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environment Studies at MIPT, Dec 2004, http://www.armscontrol.ru/uav/mirsad1.htm
7.
  Chandler P. Atwood, Joshua C. Burgess, Michael Eisenstadt, and Joseph D. Wawro, “Between Not-In and All-In: U.S. Military Options in Syria,” Policy Notes 18, Washington Institute, May 2014.
8.
  Carlo Munoz, “Iran claims drones gained access to secret Israeli facilities,” The Hill, October 29, 2012.
9.
  Gil Cohen, Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury, IDF shoots down drone from Lebanon opposite Haifa coast,” April 25, 2013.
10.
  Yochi Dreazen, “The Next Arab-Israeli War,” New Republic, March 26, 2014.
11.
  “UAV Drone Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,” UAV – DRONE.NET, 2013, http://uav-drone.net/anti-drone-uav.htm.
12.
  Micah Zenko, Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies, Council on Foreign Relations, Council Special Report No. 65, January 2013.
13.
  Tia Goldenberg, “Israel is World’s Largest Drones Exporter,” Associated Press, June 5, 2013.
14.
  Jefferson Morley, “Drone Proliferation Tests Arms Control Treaties,” Arms Control Today, April 2014.
15.
  Brad Lendon, “Iran says it built copy of captured U.S. drone,” CNN, May 12 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/12/world/meast/iran-u-s-drone-copy/.
16.
  Ben Hubbard, “Syrian Fighting Gives Hezbollah New but Diffuse Purpose,” New York Times, May 20, 2014.

The Marshall Islands’ Case against India’s Nuclear Weapons Program at the ICJ

EJIL | Shashank P. Kumar | June 27, 2014

Shashank P. Kumar is a Dispute Settlement Lawyer at the Appellate Body Secretariat of the WTO in Geneva and a visiting lecturer of international law at National Law University, Jodhpur, India.

Earlier this year, on 24 April, the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed an application against India and eight other States at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), claiming that these States, known or presumed to possess nuclear weapons, have failed to fulfil their obligations under international law with respect to nuclear disarmament and the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date. In its application against India, the Marshall Islands accused it of not engaging in negotiations to cease the nuclear arms race, highlighting that India, instead, continues to expand and improve its nuclear arsenal. By an Order dated 16 June 2014 the Court noted India’s objection to its jurisdiction, as well as its refusal to participate in procedural meetings, and decided that the jurisdictional questions must be separately determined before proceeding to the merits. This post explores the basis of the Court’s jurisdiction over the Marshall Islands’ application against India. One reservation to India’s optional clause declaration excluding disputes concerning actions taken in “self-defence” suggests that the Court lacks jurisdiction over the case.

The Marshall Islands relies on different grounds to establish the Court’s jurisdiction in its nine applications. In its applications against India, the United Kingdom, and Pakistan, it invokes these States’ declarations accepting the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction. In its applications against the United States, China, France, Russia, Israel and North Korea – none of whom have made declarations accepting the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction – it calls upon these States to accept the Court’s jurisdiction under the doctrine of forum prorogatum. The application against India is unique because, while India has accepted the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction, unlike the UK and Pakistan, India made a reservation to its Declaration that may exclude the Court’s jurisdiction over the Marshall Islands’ Application.

The Limits of India’s Recognition of ICJ Jurisdiction

On 18 September 1974, Swaran Singh, the then Indian Minister of External Affairs, made a declaration, on India’s behalf, which recognizes “as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement … the jurisdiction of the [ICJ] over all disputes”. This blanket acceptance is qualified by a long list of reservations that excludes several categories of disputes from the scope of India’s consent. One broad class of disputes that is excluded are “disputes relating to or connected with facts or situations of hostilities, armed conflicts, individual or collective actions taken in self-defence, resistance to aggression, … and other similar or related acts, measures or situations in which India is, has been or may in future be involved”.

At its heart, the Marshall Islands’ case against India concerns “the quantitative buildup and qualitative improvement of [India’s] nuclear forces” (Application, p.25). The question therefore is whether this subject matter is excluded by India’s reservation described above. The mere development of a nuclear weapons program and the maintenance of a nuclear arsenal would most likely not qualify as a “situation of hostilities, armed conflicts, individual or collective actions taken in self-defence, resistance to aggression”. However, the above reservation is worded rather broadly, and India’s nuclear weapons program may be seen as being “relate[d] to” or “connected with” such situations or “other similar or related acts, measures or situations”.

The Marshall Islands’ Application appears to acknowledge this point, yet fails to address the hurdle posed by the reservation, noting only that India’s Declaration is “without pertinent reservation” (Application, p. 24). For example, the Application quotes India’s statement at the 2009 plenary of the Conference on Disarmament, wherein India stated that “[n]uclear weapons are an integral part of our national security and will remain so, pending the global elimination of all nuclear weapons on a universal, non-discriminatory basis” (Application, p. 11). The Application also refers to India’s no-first-use-policy and quotes the Indian government’s stance that “nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or Indian forces anywhere” (Application, p. 11). These statements and India’s official no-first-use-policy suggest that India’s nuclear weapons program is designed and implemented primarily to safeguard national security and to defend the country in situations of hostilities and armed conflicts. Any dispute relating to India’s nuclear weapons program and arsenal would, therefore, appear to be excluded from the Court’s jurisdiction by virtue of the broadly worded reservation found in India’s 1974 Declaration.

Interpretation of National Defence Reservations

While some States and scholars argue that disputes relating to national defence and security are non-justiciable by their very nature, reservations similar to the broadly worded “self-defense” reservation included in India’s Declaration are not very common. A quick survey of the 70 declarations available on the Court’s website as of 19 June 2014 reveals that 7 contain some variation of a “self-defense” reservation.

In addition to the Court’s approach towards the interpretation of optional clause declarations in general, two disputes that may shed light on the issue are the Nuclear Tests Cases brought by Australia and New Zealand against France in 1973 concerning the legality of atmospheric nuclear tests conducted by France in the South Pacific region. In those cases, Australia and New Zealand sought to base the Court’s jurisdiction on, inter alia, France’s 1966 declaration recognizing compulsory jurisdiction. The 1966 French Declaration in effect at that time, however, contained a reservation similar to the one found in India’s 1974 Declaration that excluded “…disputes concerning activities connected with national defence”. In the end, the Court was not called upon to address this issue as it found that the case had lost its object in light of the public assurances given by high-ranking French officials that France would cease atmospheric nuclear tests in the South Pacific. Nevertheless, several judges of the Court addressed the issue in their individual opinions. Judge de Castro was of the view that the French “reservation certainly seems to apply to the nuclear tests”. Judge Forster went further and spoke of the “absolute sovereignty which France, like any other State, possesses in the domain of its national defence”. Citing the example of the UK, Judge Gros noted that Australia’s and New Zealand’s claims “to impose a certain national defence policy on another State is an intervention in that State’s internal affairs in a domain where such intervention is particularly inadmissible”.

Commenting on these cases, Professor Oscar Schachter, in his 1982 general course at the Hague Academy, noted that “a term such as ‘national defence’ allows a very wide margin of appreciation and a court should be exceedingly cautious to avoid imposing its own interpretation on whether a particular act is in the national defence of the State concerned”. While the exact language of the French and Indian reservations may be different, in general, the Court has recognized that, given the sui generis nature of optional clause declarations, the “régime relating to the interpretation of declarations made under Article 36 of the Statute is not identical with that established for the interpretation of treaties by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties” (Fisheries Jurisdiction (Spain v. Canada), Judgment of 4 December 1998, para. 46). In particular, the Court has explained that whatever the basis of consent to its jurisdiction, “the attitude of the respondent State ‘must be capable of being regarded as an ‘unequivocal indication’ of the desire of that State to accept the Court’s jurisdiction in a ‘voluntary and indisputable’ manner” (Questions of Mutual Assistance (Djibouti v. France), Judgment of 4 June 2008, para. 62). Such a subjective interpretative approach, as reflected in the “unequivocal indication” standard, appears to favour a reading of India’s Declaration that excludes disputes relating to India’s nuclear weapons program from the scope of India’s consent to the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Further Options for India

Having formally objected to the Court’s jurisdiction, India now has two options. It can choose to participate in the ICJ proceedings in order to formally lodge its legal objections to the Court’s jurisdiction. Or, as envisaged in Article 53 of the Court’s Statute, it can choose to not appear before the Court at all, as France did in the Nuclear Tests Cases. Interestingly, the Court’s Order of 16 June fixing the time limits for pleadings on jurisdictional questions notes that India refused to participate in a meeting called by the President of the Court to discuss preliminary procedural issues. India, therefore, may be leaning towards non-appearance.If India refuses to appear, Article 53(2) of the ICJ Statute requires that the Court must satisfy itself that it has jurisdiction and that the claim is well founded in fact and law.

While not participating in the proceedings appears to provide an easy way out, India’s reasoned engagement in the proceedings by objecting to the Court’s jurisdiction would show its commitment to the international rule of law, as encouraged by Article 51 of the Indian Constitution, which calls upon the State to “foster respect for international law” and to “encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration”.  The last time India was involved in a dispute before the ICJ was in 1999 when Pakistan accused India of shooting down a naval aircraft in Pakistan’s airspace. In that case, too, India objected to the Court’s jurisdiction on the basis of the so-called “commonwealth reservation” to its optional clause declaration. However, it fully participated in the written and oral proceedings on the issue of jurisdiction, and the Court eventually agreed with India and found that it lacked jurisdiction (Judgment, para. 46).  (Incidentally, unlike 1999, this time, the Court also includes a permanent judge of Indian nationality, Judge Dalveer Bhandari having been elected to that position in 2013.)

Finally, it is important to remember that the argument that the Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the Marshall Islands’ case against India has nothing to do with the undoubted desirability of living in a world free of nuclear weapons, which are known to cause unbearable suffering and vast destruction. Instead, the Court’s lack of jurisdiction is only a sobering reminder that public international law generally and the jurisdiction of the Court, in particular are founded on the voluntary consent of States. To quote Judge Ignacio Pinto from the Nuclear Tests Cases, the Court “has no right to hand down a decision against a State which by a formal declaration excludes its jurisdiction over disputes concerning activities connected with national defence”.

Renewables Up, Nuclear Flat in French Energy Plan

IEEE Spectrum | Peter Fairley | 24 Jun 2014

a279b67c-2211-439a-8c0d-f44813d32b83-1403560706218

After months of negotiation, the French government has unveiled a long-awaited energy plan that is remarkably true to its election promises. The legislation’s cornerstone is the one-third reduction in the role of nuclear power that President François Hollande proposed on the campaign trail in 2012.
Under the plan, nuclear’s share of the nation’s power generation is to drop from 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025, as renewable energy’s role rises from 15 percent today to 40 percent to make up the difference. That is a dramatic statement for France, which is the world’s second largest generator of nuclear energy, after the United States. France has a globally-competitive nuclear industry led by state-owned utility Electricité de France (EDF) and nuclear technology and services giant Areva.
When Spectrum reported on Hollande’s promise last year, a plan was said to be just months away. And as discussions dragged on, doubts about Hollande’s resolve grew. Discontent over the energy debate contributed to a breakdown this spring of the coalition between Hollande’s Socialists and France’s staunchly antinuclear Greens.
To get the job done, Hollande sacked his environment minister and appointed Socialist party heavyweight Ségolène Royal—a former presidential candidate and Hollande’s ex-wife. Her plan is short on details in some key areas, including mechanisms for effecting a nuclear-to-renewables shift. A new nuclear electricity tax is expected to finance the installation of renewables, for example, but details remain to be defined.
That lack of specificity leaves France’s nuclear critics non-plussed. “Nothing in the law guarantees that Hollande’s promise to lower the proportion of nuclear to 50 percent in 2025 will be kept… Politicians haven’t provided any means to shake off the shackles of nuclear,” according to a statement by Greenpeace France quoted in Bloomberg’s report on the plan.
In fact, Royal’s plan merely caps the current level of nuclear power generated by Paris-based EDF. If renewable output and total electricity generation rises, the government could deliver its promised drop in the proportion of nuclear without shuttering a single reactor.
Royal’s plan does call for a 50-percent cut in total energy consumption by 2050, but it aims to do that by cutting fossil fuel use in buildings and vehicles. One of the proposed avenues for accomplishing that is accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles. The government plan calls for rebates and tax breaks worth up to €10,000 ($14,600) per electric vehicle, and for sharply increased use of EVs in government fleets.
It will take a lot of electricity to charge up lots of extra EVs.

New Report Outlines Options for a Comprehensive Iran Nuclear Deal

Arms Control Association

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2014

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 x107; Kelsey Davenport, nonproliferation analyst, x102; Greg Thielmann, senior fellow, x103.

(Washington, D.C.)–In less than one month, negotiators from the United States and its P5+1 partners (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) and their Iranian counterparts aim to conclude a historic, multi-year agreement to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

A new report from the research staff of the nonpartisan, independent Arms Control Association (ACA) reviews the key issues and outlines realistic and effective options that are available to the negotiators that could help secure a “win-win” outcome that guards against a nuclear-armed Iran. The report, “Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle,” is available online in PDF and HTML versions.

“As our report makes clear, these negotiations are one of the most complex — and one of the most important — nuclear negotiations in recent decades. Progress has been achieved in some areas, but gaps remain in others. The most difficult issues will not likely be settled until the 11th hour, but the two sides have a number of realistic, effective, and verifiable options available that would address the core concerns of both sides,” said Daryl G. Kimball, ACA executive director and one of the co-authors of the report.

“Our analysis shows that the agreement can and should: 1) establish verifiable limits on Iran’s uranium-enrichment and plutonium-production capacity that substantially increase the time it would take for Iran to break out of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and try to build nuclear weapons; 2) increase the international community’s ability to promptly detect and effectively disrupt any future effort by Iran to build nuclear weapons, including at potential undeclared sites, and decrease Iran’s incentives to build up its nuclear capacity through nuclear fuel supply guarantees and phased sanctions relief,” said ACA nonproliferation analyst and lead author, Kelsey Davenport.

“Such agreement, if concluded this year would on balance significantly improve U.S. and international security,” she added.

“One critical goal for the P5+1 is to increase the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for an arsenal and enhance inspections and monitoring to ensure that any such effort could be detected and disrupted,” Davenport said.

“Our report outlines options for limiting, ideally at lower levels, Iran’s present-day enrichment capacity and its stockpile of low enriched uranium in gaseous form, which would prevent Iran from making a quick dash to try to build nuclear weapons but would still provide Iran with more than sufficient capacity for its nuclear fuel needs,” she said.

Co-author and ACA senior fellow Greg Thielmann notes that “it is extremely unlikely that Iran would invite further sanctions and/or a military attack in order to produce enough fissile material for just one nuclear weapon, which is not an effective deterrent. If Iran tried to build a militarily significant nuclear arsenal, it would take considerably more than a year to amass enough material for additional weapons, convert the weapons-grade enriched uranium from gaseous to metal form, assemble and perhaps test a nuclear device, and mate the bombs with an effective means of delivery.”

Thielmann is a former State Department intelligence analyst and former professional staff member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“Neither side can expect that they will achieve everything they seek to achieve in the negotiation,” noted Kimball. “In the final analysis, serious policy makers in the United States, Iran and in other capitals who have responsibility for approving actions necessary to implement the agreement must consider whether their country is better served by a good, effective comprehensive nuclear agreement than without such an agreement. Our conclusion is that such a deal is within reach and is far more preferrable — for both sides — than the alternatives,” he said.

The full report, “Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle: Toward a Realistic and Effective Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement,” is available online in PDF and HTML.

###

The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.