Arms Control Wonk

 

In addition to a new ICBM and thermonuclear weapon, North Korea is also developing new class of solid-fueled missiles.
 
Joseph Dempsey from the International Institute for Strategic Studies joins Jeffrey in a special three part episode to discuss the Pukguksong-1 submarine launched ballistic missile, the land-based Pukguksong-2 medium range ballistic missile, and Kim Jong Un's visit to the Chemical Material Institute in Hamhung.
 
Part 1 of 3, originally recorded in August, before ICBM and H-Bomb fever

Links (and Pictures) of Note

North Korea's SLBM and associated subsystems testing record, provided by Joseph

The Pukguksong-1 on parade with its potentially-new airframe on display.

Kim Jong Un visiting the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science, flanked by posters of the Hwasong-13 and Pukguksong-3

Direct download: 54A.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EDT

Jeffrey was lounging at the beach with his phone off. You know what the means: NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR TEST TIME! North Korea released images of Kim Jong Un inspecting what looked like a two-stage thermonuclear weapon and then, before analysts could pretend it was just a pinata, kablooie!

North Korea detonated its largest nuclear explosive ever, with a yield of a few hundred kilotons.  Aaron and Jeffrey talk about North Korea's H-bomb and try to end on that ever elusive happy note.

Links of Note:

 NTI Punggye-ri Model with article

Just the NTI Punggye-ri Model

USGS Earthquake Reporting for the 6th nuclear test.

CTBTO Reporting for the 6th nuclear test.

Direct download: 56.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:35pm EDT

The relationship between the United States and Russia is in the toilet.  The FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act contains a number of provisions that call into question the viability of the INF and New START treaties, as well as the future of the entire bilateral arms control process.
Jeffrey and Aaron discuss Russian nuclear modernization including new missiles like the Son of Satan, RS-26 Rubezh and the 9M729 GLCM and the prospect of renewed nuclear testing at Novaya Zemlya.
 

Links of Note

The House NDAA Bill.

 
 
 
Direct download: 55.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am EDT

In all the squinting at shiny missile bits, the bigger picture on North Korea has gotten a bit lost. Jeffrey and Andrea talk about some of the less pointy topics like new sanctions on North Korea, mollusks, and the reaction in Japan and South Korea. 

 

Links of Note

Andrea's article on the new UN sanctions.

UN Security Council Resolution 2371 (2017).

U.S. Fact Sheet on Resolution 2371 (2017) Strengthening Sanctions on North Korea.

U.S. unilateral sanctions introduced in the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (text here).

Direct download: 53.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12am EDT

The fourth part in our The Donald and The Nuclear series.

The crazy lunatic with the odd hair style and long-range nuclear weapons is talking about "fire and fury".  So naturally North Korea's Kim Jong Un threatened to fire four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range  ballistic missiles into the waters around Guam, saying that Donald Trump was "bereft of reason."

Aaron, Scott and Jeffrey survey the smoldering wreckage that was Jeffrey's marriage-saving vacation in wine country and try to find a happy note.

 

Links of Note:

NYT article about trump's "Fire and Fury" comment being improvised.

NBC discussion of a preemptive strike plan.

Instead of linking to KCNA, here is a link to the text of the KCNA article, but posted on twitter by friend of the pod Joshua Pollack. 

Direct download: 52.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32am EDT

Amidst all the hoopla surrounding North Korea's ICBM, Iran launched a Simorgh, a rocket designed to put a satellite into space. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the Iran's space launch program, how it relates to the nuclear program. And, of course, the Dudes from the SHIG.

Links of Note:

Detailed video of the Simorgh and the NTI 3D Models of both the Simorgh and the Safir.

Jonathan McDowell and his excellent Launch Vehicle Database.

The maligned op-ed in the WSJ. 

Direct download: 50.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:32pm EDT

The DPRK just launched a looooong range missile. According to podfriend Ankit Panda, it went farther, higher, and farther than the July 4th Hwasong-14 launch (with a data refresher here, courtesy of noted seersucker suit aficionado Shea Cotton)

Jeffrey and Aaron knock out a snap episode with very first reactions to a launch that literally happened while we were working on an Iranian pod. 

 

 

Direct download: 51.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:49pm EDT

The second half of yesterday's Banning the Bomb III. Make sure to listen to that one first. 
 
122 countries just adopted the Treaty banning nuclear weapons, in the same week that North Korea tested an ICBM. 
 
AndreaGaukhar, and Beatrice Fihn from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons continue their discussion of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty) and talk about what made the cut for the final treaty, debate some of the implications, and states sitting on their arsenals. 
 
 
 
Links and Documents of Note:
 
 
 
 
Revised texts of the working groups (held on 30 June) are available at: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents 
 
Text which incorporates working group proposals, and which was circulated to capitals on 3 July 2017, as Kim Jong Un was smoking his pre-launch cigarette: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/L-X.pdf
 
 
Direct download: 49B.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34am EDT

122 countries just adopted a treaty banning nuclear weapons, in the same week that North Korea tested an ICBM. Andrea, Gaukhar, and Beatrice Fihn from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons talk about what made the cut for the final treaty, debate some of the implications, and evaluate whether diplomats are most like a solid, a liquid, or a gas. 
 
 
Links and Documents of Note:
 
 
 
 
Revised texts of the working groups (held on 30 June) are available at: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents 
 
Text which incorporates working group proposals, and which was circulated to capitals on 3 July 2017, as Kim Jong Un was smoking his pre-launch cigarette: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/L-X.pdf
 
 
Direct download: 49A.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08am EDT

No one has better sources in the U.S. government when it comes to North Korea's missile program than the Diplomat's Ankit Panda. 

He joins Jeffrey and Scott to discuss the Hwasong-12, Hwasong-14, a very strange North Korean concert, and Ankit shares some never-before-released data on the Hwasong-12 and some KN designations. 

This podcast is a joint release with The Diplomat's Asia Geopolitics Podcast.

 

New KN-17/Hwasong-12 Data:

Now we know the KN-17 has been tested at least 4 times with 3 failures. Two shots out of Sinpo, one of which failed during flight and one of which tipped over and exploded. One came from Pukchang Airfield and appears to have crashed in the DPRK.

Early reports of DPRK missile ‘pinwheeling’ during a failed test. The details led a lot of analysts (ourselves included) to assume this was the MaRV/Terminally Guided Scud, and thus continue to believe that the KN-17 was said Scud. However, the KN-17 is now known to be the Hwasong-12. The pictures below include some stills that may come from the pinwheel launch.

Designations we discuss:

KN-12: 122mm MRLS

KN-15: Pukguksong-2

KN-16: 240mm MRLS

KN-17: Hwasong-12 IRBM

KN-18: MaRV/Terminally Guided Scud

KN-19: KM-3 Coastal Defense Cruise Missile (Ground Based)

KN-20: Hwasong-14 ICBM

Links of Note:

Ankit Panda’s Twitter Feed

Joshua Pollack’s two articles on aging Russian Early Warning systems and the launch events they have missed.

South Korean lawmaker says ROK intel service doubts that the Hwasong-14 reentry vehicle was successful.

Images of Note:

The new MRLS designations

That nosecap that is bothering Scott so much, posted originally by Joseph Dempsey:

Hwasong-12 launch footage shown at the concert:

Direct download: 48.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:37pm EDT