3 February 2018

FAS 2018 Nuclear Posture Review Resource

The eagerly awaited 2018 Nuclear Posture Review is out!

FAS 2018 Nuclear Posture Review Resource


The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is the Pentagon’s primary statement of nuclear policy, produced by the last three presidents in their first years in office.

The Trump NPR perceives a rapidly deteriorating threat environment in which potential nuclear-armed adversaries are increasing their reliance on nuclear weapons and follows suit. The review reverses decades of bipartisan policy and orders what would be the first new nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War. Furthermore, the document expands the use of circumstances in which the United States would consider employing nuclear weapons to include “non-nuclear strategic attacks.”

Nuclear modernization map from the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review with corrections by FAS expert Hans Kristensen.

You can also view the leaked draft document here.

Table of Contents

Major Components of the NPR

The 2018 NPR says US nuclear forces “contribute uniquely to the deterrence of both nuclear and non-nuclear aggression” (208). Conventional forces, it states, “do not provide comparable deterrence effects,” and “do not adequately assure many allies,” (851), many of whom rely on US conventional deployments for their security. In addition, the document states they contribute to assuring allies, achieving US objectives if deterrence fails, and hedging “against an uncertain future” (981). The review also raises the possibility of a nuclear strike against any group that “supports or enables terrorist efforts to obtain or employ nuclear devices,” extending previous language (2051).

The review also creates a new category of cases in which the United States would consider use of nuclear weapons—“significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” to include attacks on “civilian population or infrastructure” (917, 1026). This new category helps serve as justification for “supplements to the planned nuclear force replacement program” (1751). 
George Perkovich (CEIP), “Really? We’re Gonna Nuke Russia for a Cyberattack?,” Politico, 1/2018 
Amy F. Woolf, “Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues,” Congressional Research Service, 8/2017 
Anna Péczeli, “Best Options for the Nuclear Posture Review,” Strategic Studies Quarterly, Fall 2017 
Robert Einhorn and Steven Pifer, “Meeting U.S. Deterrence Requirements: Toward a Sustainable National Consensus,” Brookings Institution working group report, 9/2017 
Keith B. Payne and John S. Foster, Jr, “A New Nuclear Review for a New Age,” National Institute for Public Policy, 4/2017

The Pentagon is planning for war with China and Russia — can it handle both?

By Aaron Mehta 

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is in the opening stages of “redesigning the force” around the challenges of Russia and China, the department’s No. 2 uniformed official said Tuesday — while warning that America may not be able to afford preparing for two unique problem sets.

The recent National Defense Strategy identified great power competitors as the major challenge facing the Pentagon, but Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint

2018 Review of Ongoing Wars Around the Globe

Islamic terrorism no longer dominates the news, but one of its primary causes, reviving ancient empires, still is. This a common thread with all the major troublemakers in the early 21 st century (and most of the 20 th ). This is an ancient curse that has reappeared recently in multiple forms. Some of these efforts are more media friendly than others but all share the same characteristics; mobilizing popular support for rebuilding lost empires. The most obvious one (the Islamic caliphate) grabs most of the headlines because Islamic terrorism has been a common symptom of desperate, longshot efforts to restore the caliphate for a long time (over a thousand years). As a religion based empire (“Islam” literally means “submission”) that has been hostile to any kind of progress (especially technology, economic or religious) past revival efforts have been unsuccessful. Thus the quick and brutal demise of ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) because it also tried to use self-righteous fanaticism as its primary weapon and motivation in a world that was largely hostile to such a

The Indian Army’s Role in Nation Building


"The Mauryan soldier does not himself the Royal treasuries enrich nor does he the Royal granaries fill… The soldier only and merely ensures that… He is thus the very basis and silent, barely visible cornerstone of our fame, culture, physical well-being and prosperity; in short, of the entire nation building activity.”

- Chanakya, to the King of Magadh.

The Concept of Nation Building was originally used by American political scientists after

Republic Day 2018 | A legacy of rash decisions, writes Brahma Chellaney

BY Brahma Chellaney

Madeleine Albright famously said that “The purpose of foreign policy is to persuade other countries to do what you want or, better yet, to want what we want.” How has Indian foreign policy done when measured against such a standard of success?

In this century, India’s growing geopolitical weight, impressive economic-growth rate, rising military capabilities, increasing maritime role, abundant market

The Government Is Leaving No Stone Unturned To Help Farmers, But Are They Impressed?

by Swati Kamal

The Budget can be expected to be a continuation in the directions highlighted in the Survey, with follow-up measures and incremental changes here and there. 

For a country whose agriculture is rain-dependent, and every so often farmers lose their crops to droughts, floods, heatwaves, diseases and animals, one would have thought crop insurance would be high on the farmers’ agenda.


The comment highlighted in blue below are by/from Col. (Ret.) David Maxwell; and, his contact info is at the bottom of this page. RCP, fortunascorner.com

David Maxwell Comment: “There are few Americans or even Koreans who know more about the north Korean economy than William Brown.

As an aside, I think we forget that one thing China has long wanted north Korea to do is

Afghanistan: Who controls what

by Shereena Qazi 

Since the Taliban was ousted from power following the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the armed group's control over parts of Afghanistan has fluctuated widely.

According to a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Western-backed Afghan government has lost control of nearly 5 percent of its territory to the Taliban since the beginning of this year.

The report says the area under Afghan government "control or influence" decreased to 65.6

China’s ‘Soft Power’ in Central Asia Both More and Less than It Appears

By Paul Goble

From one perspective, China has enormous “soft power” in Central Asia, the ability, as Joseph Nye defined it (Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, New York, 1990), “to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion.” It can and does present itself in the region as a non-European state without an imperial tradition—in contrast to the Russian Federation and the West. Moreover, it is capably presenting itself both as a counterweight to the influence of those countries in the region and as a rising power interested in promoting trade and development across Central Asia. Consequently, many young people in Central Asian countries want to hitch their fate to China rather than to anyone else, even though their elders retain from Soviet times a view of China as a threat to the region.

What makes the Desert Scorpions, India’s most elite special force, special

What makes the Desert Scorpions, India’s most elite special force, special

A key part of training is the 'survival week', when probationers learn to live off the land. They are left in the wild, where they learn to eat anything that is edible. 

Every day, the Desert Scorpions walk the wire between life and death. Part of their uniform is a striking red badge that reads 'Balidaan', or martyrdom. Do not be fooled,

Afghanistan Quagmire Leaves U.S. With No Good Options

Source Link

Bottom Line: Afghanistan’s government and security forces are mired in a grueling struggle for survival, despite the relative lull the winter is supposed to provide ahead of the Taliban’s traditional spring offensive. The warmer months will likely only add to the violence as the Afghan state fights an open-ended battle against several deadly enemies, including the Taliban and ISIS, who are rapidly conquering more and more territory – and attacking civilians and troops with spectacular ferocity. The death toll has risen despite new U.S. support following President Donald Trump’s Afghan strategy speech last August.

The Long Shadow of A.Q. Khan

By Catherine Collins
On February 4, 2004, the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan, then famous for his role in developing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, confessed on live television to having illegally proliferated nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea over the course of decades. Today Khan is enjoying a resurrection at home, where he is again touted as the “Mohsin e-Pakistan,” or the savior of Pakistan. He appears as the guest of honor at official ceremonies, and last year Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology declared him a distinguished alumnus in recognition of his “meritorious services and valuable contributions towards scientific research and its practical application for the productive use for mankind.”

The State of the Afghan War

Source Link
By Seth G. Jones

The recent high-profile bombings in Afghanistan have reignited a debate about the state of the war. In its recently released quarterly report to the U.S. Congress, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR) publicly complained that the Department of Defense (DoD) was not being fully transparent: “SIGAR was informed that DoD has determined that although the most recent numbers are unclassified, they are not releasable to the public.”

Ignore the doubters. Britain is going global

By Des Brown

The UK has seen many changes portrayed as 'decline' that became opportunities 
Britain already defines itself as internationalist and could be the first true global nation 

Many UK institutions, such as the Premier League, are huge international successes 

The British vote to head towards the EU exit door in June 2016 was a watershed moment


Robert Cassidy

For any Afghanistan strategy, the gap between theory and practice will remain vast until the full host of resources is employed to prevail upon Pakistan to stop supporting the Haqqani Network and the Taliban. Until Pakistan stops harboring and employing its Islamist proxies against Afghanistan, the key points of US strategy for Afghanistan will remain essentially theoretical, impossible to implement in practice. The three direct

Geopolitical Futures logo Israel’s Russia Gambit

By George Friedman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Jan. 29 and told Putin that Iran is trying to turn Lebanon into a vast missile manufacturing base. I have written on the rise of Iranian power following the defeat of Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, and have raised the question of how Israel and Turkey will respond to Iran’s emergence as a major power in the Arab world. We are now beginning to see the Israeli response.

Counteracting Iran's Gray Zone Strategy in Syria

by Colin P. Clarke

As the Islamic State continues to hemorrhage territory in Syria, Iran is extending its influence throughout the country as it works to establish a contiguous land corridor or “bridge” stretching from Tehran to Damascus and on to Beirut. The situation in Syria is transitioning from an active conflict zone to what is known in military parlance as the “gray zone,” an area of ambiguity that sits uncomfortably between peace and war.

The Remarkable Scale of Turkey's "Global Purge"

By Nate Schenkkan

In October of last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at a gathering of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) about the steps that have been taken so far to eliminate the Islamic movement of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen whom he blames for organizing the July 15, 2016, coup attempt. After describing some of the domestic measures that he has pursued to stamp out the group, known officially as the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO), Erdogan noted his desire to also take down its networks abroad.

Size Doesn’t Matter for Spies Anymore

Source Link

From the Brits to the Australians, everyone wants to say they were the ones to tip off the Americans about Russian hacking. Now, the Dutch say their hackers hacked the hackers of Russia’s Cozy Bear network. Such claims are impossible to corroborate, and it’s only fair that they be greeted, at least in part, with skepticism.

But this competition to claim credit does reveal a new reality in this era of cyberespionage: Size no longer matters in the intelligence world

Losing in Every Direction: The Arab Game of Thrones

By Anthony H. Cordesman

History is never particularly merciful, especially in the case of failed leaders. One cannot help but wonder therefore, how will future generations of Arabs judge their current leaders? How will they judge their leaders’ focus on personal power and regime survival, on choosing one group of national factions over another, and on regional quarrels with their neighbors? How will they judge their failures to focus on economic development, effective governance, uniting their peoples, and meeting popular needs? How will they judge the extent to which they have backed away from the focus on modernization and progress of the 1960s and 1970s, and failed to cope with population growth and the needs of their youth?

Pentagon Fears Rapid Advancement of Chinese, Russian Anti-Satellite Weapons

Kessler Syndrome, here we come! The Pentagon has fretted that China and Russia are developing anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles that could shoot US low Earth orbit (LEO) objects out of the stars within the next two years.

The intelligence directorate of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, designated J-2, told the Washington Free Beacon that these missiles are currently in development and will be combat-capable as early as 2020.

What the US Military Can Teach Everyone Else About Cyber Security


I have something potentially wildly unpopular to suggest: If you work for or run an organization that deals with human beings and the data that goes with them, and if you are concerned about the security of that data, look to the Defense Department for a solution. 

The federal government, which has suffered some high-profile breaches recently, is notably tight-lipped about its cybersecurity

Cyberspace Triggers a New Kind of Arms Race

By Nicola Whiting

Advances in automated cyber weapons are fueling the fires of war in cyberspace and enabling criminals and malicious nation-states to launch devastating attacks against thinly stretched human defenses. Allied forces must collaborate and deploy best-of-breed evaluation, validation and remediation technologies just to remain even in an escalating cyber arms race.

The wholesale investment in and propagation of cyber weaponry is behind the growing scale and severity of the threat forces face today. An arms race for offensive cyber

What He Did on His Summer Break: Exposed a Global Security Flaw


SYDNEY, Australia — When Nathan Ruser, an Australian university student, posted on Twitter over the weekend that a fitness app had revealed the locations of military sites in Syria and elsewhere, he did not expect much response.

But the news ricocheted across the internet, alarming security experts, who said hostile entities could glean valuable intelligence from the Strava app’s global “heat map,” including the locations of secret bases and the movements of military personnel. The Pentagon said it was reviewing the situation.

Did Ship-Killer Missiles Make Navy Aircraft Carriers as Obsolete as Battleships?

Michael Peck

The RUSI study suggests that Britain—and implicitly the United States—adopt a four-pronged approach it calls Tolerate, Treat, Transform and Terminate. The first three refer to maintaining the capability of current weapons, upgrading current weapons to meet future threats and developing entirely new technologies. However, the last option—what RUSI calls Terminate—is the most explosive. It essentially means getting rid of weapons that can no longer perform effectively in combat, yet can’t or are too expensive to upgrade. “The judgement here

Why the Army Isn't Prepared for the Next Great War

Douglas Macgregor

Next week the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland will hold a hearing on Army modernization. Just twelve months ago, in a similar hearing, the U.S. Army was, according to its own senior leaders, in dismal shape. The question for the senators, who oversee Army readiness to deploy and fight, is whether anything has really changed since February 2017. The recent past explains why.

Military robots are getting smaller and more capable

On November 12th a video called “Slaughterbots” was uploaded to YouTube. It is the brainchild of Stuart Russell, a professor of artificial intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley, and was paid for by the Future of Life Institute (FLI), a group of concerned scientists and technologists that includes Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal. It is set in a near-future