Arms Control Wonk

North Korea seems to be taking its new, small, solid propellant missiles to the sea, after taking them to the show.

Perennial friend of the pod and aficionado of all things submarine Joseph Dempsey of the International Institute of Strategic Studies returns to talk to Jeffrey about what it is that the DPRK tested this time, whether it is the same missile that the DPRK showed off at its recent military expo, and what their submarine program is looking like in 2021.

Previous Episodes with Joseph Dempsey:

North Korea's New SLBM: The Pukguksong-3

North Korea's Missile Submarine(s): Part 3

North Korea's Missile Submarine(s): Part 2

North Korea's Missile Submarine(s): Part 1

North Korea's New Missiles

 

 

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Direct download: 192.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EST

This is a complicated one. According to Demetri Sevastopulo at the Financial Times, China tested something that sounds a whole lot like FOBS with an HGV. Something that orbited the globe and dropped a hypersonic glide vehicle against a target. 

Jeffrey, Aaron, and Scott try to figure out what actually was tested (HGV-FOBS? An intercontinental glider? A super-lofted ballistic missile??), talk about what it means to be a "fractional orbital bombardment system" versus a regular ballistic missile, and why the pursuit of perfect missile defenses may make us all less secure.

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Direct download: 191.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm EST

Glide or die, baby. 

The North Koreans, on a real cavalcade of missile debuts reminiscent of 2017, have tested what they claim to be a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). Which means they are just checking off their list of goals, leaving a nuclear powered submarine, a MIRV, and a solid propellant ICBM as the main untested-but-announced capabilities....

While it isn't 100% clear that they actually tested an HGV, the team dissects what it might have been, if a DPRK HGV is realistic, and why HGVs and other missile-defense-defeating technologies fit the DPRK's national strategy perfectly. 

Oh, and FOBS makes an appearance, almost entirely to give Scott nightmares. 

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Direct download: 190.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53pm EST

Put another pot of coffee on because it is launch week again. North Korean launched two missiles off of the back of a train this week, right as the president of South Korea watched their own tests of a submarine launched ballistic missile, stealthy air launched cruise missile, ballistic missile test, supersonic anti ship cruise missile test, large diameter solid motor test, and good lord it is a hard week to keep up. Oh right and North Korea is expanding its uranium enrichment facilities. 

One day we'll catch up to AUKUS.

Jeffrey and Scott try to keep up and parse through everything that is happening, from why trains are a strategically sensical choice for North Korean missile basing to why the South Korean conventional SLBM makes us very, very nervous. 

Recent Episodes of Note:

North Korea's recent long-range strategic land-attack cruise missile test: https://armscontrolwonk.libsyn.com/not-lackin-lacms

North Korea's plutonium reprocessing campaign: https://armscontrolwonk.libsyn.com/boiling-fish-at-yongbyon

 

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Direct download: 189.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:18pm EST

The DPRK tested a cruise missile, but this time it was a big one. Like "INF Treaty" big, if that term still meant anything. 

The DPRK announced that it launched a 1500 km range cruise missile, after months of hints that a strategic nuclear-capable cruise missile was in the works. While it technically does not fall under the United Nations Security Council resolutions sanctioning DPRK ballistic missile and space tests, it is a huge concern, especially since it is probably meant to carry a nuclear payload one day. 

Jeffrey and Aaron talk about the tech, cruise missile proliferation, how the DPRK has been signaling this capability for a while, and why this is a very serious capability that needs to be addressed.

And, of course, they make fun of the JLENS.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 188.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:53pm EST

Looks like Yongbyon is running a little hot.

The IAEA has announced that it believes the DPRK is conducting a plutonium reprocessing campaign at Yongbyon. 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss why the DPRK would want to do this. What could the mystery be? Why would the DPRK reprocess plutonium?

For nukes. It's for nukes. Basically like the DPRK has been saying. 

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Direct download: 187.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06pm EST

Jeffrey and his team fear no cloud. Working with Capella Space to acquire cloud-piercing synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, the MIIS team has been monitoring eternally-cloudy Novaya Zemlya, Russia, for evidence of Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile tests.

Evidence pointed to the Burevestnik test site being revived after the previous failures, and the team started utilizing radar returns to obviate the satellite-imagery-frustrating weather that plagues Russia's northern nuclear test ranges. 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss remote sensing technical education, and the value of teaching practical imagery interpretation, technical processing skills, and how to evaluate imagery at a non-technical level.

 Previous Episodes:

Discussing the tragic accident during the previous Burevestnik test.

Links of Note:

Zachary Cohen's CNN article on monitoring the Burevestnik.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 186.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:48am EST

Bad news abounds for Iranian and US returns to JCPOA compliance.

Aaron and Jeffrey talk through the frustration around breakout time requirements, the timidity of the Biden administration, and the shortfalls of the wait-and-see approach. 

 

Links of Note:

The Economist article on OSINT, including Arms Control Wonk and the Slack channel, which is filled with only the most brilliant and beautiful of people, whom all listeners should aspire to emulate: 

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2021/08/07/open-source-intelligence-challenges-state-monopolies-on-information

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 185.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45am EST

Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen with the Federation of American Scientists have tracked down what appears to be a second field of missile silos near Hami, Xinjiang. 

Aaron, Jeffrey, and Scott gather up to discuss the rapidly increasing number of missile silos, what this means for the shell game theory, how many missiles and warheads could be in the PLARF's ICBM arsenal, and how China strategically responds to U.S. ballistic missile defenses. 

Links of Note:

Our first episode on the first field of silos: https://armscontrolwonk.libsyn.com/nuclear-silos-in-the-chinese-desert

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 184.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:27pm EST

American weapons systems need better names.

Tom Karako, Director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, joins Jeffrey to talk about just what it is that inspires soldiers: Legendary, heroic, and historical names, not descriptive acronyms and jargon. What, are ALCM and JASSM not as sexy as Hades or Pluton?

Tom explains his philosophical and classical background, and the inspiration for his article in War on the Rocks about giving U.S. weapons systems respectable names more befitting of their purpose. 

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Direct download: 183.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:02pm EST

Decker Eveleth and Jeffrey Lewis's team at CNS have found 119 silos for ICBMs out in the deserts of China. That's the largest expansion of PRC silos in history, by far, but it isn't totally clear what is going on, and whether each of these Bouncy Castles of Death represents a new missile or if there are some decoys in the mix...

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss how Decker found these silos out in the middle of the desert, whether each silo has its own missile or if this is a Shell Game with empty silos and decoys, and how this is going to impact arms control incentives in the very near future. 

 

Further Reading:

Jeffrey's op-ed in Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/06/30/china-nuclear-weapons-silos-arms-control/

Catherine Dill's article on new test silos at Wuzhai: https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1205826/open-silos/

Decker Eveleth and Scott LaFoy's article on possible silos at Sundian: https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1208828/possible-icbm-modernization-underway-at-sundian/

Hans Kristensen's articles on DF-41 training silos at Jilantai, which constituted the foundational discovery of DF-41 silos in open source research: 

https://fas.org/blogs/security/2019/09/china-silo-df41/

https://fas.org/blogs/security/2021/02/plarf-jilantai-expansion/

 

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Direct download: 182.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:33pm EST

Jeffrey's team is at it again. 

This time, they (and Jonathan McDowell!) caught an unannounced (and failed) Iranian space launch attempt and have now caught what appears to be a second unannounced (and failed) Iranian space launch attempt. 

The failed launch detection was covered by Zachary Cohen and Oren Liebermann at CNN, who were kind enough to get the Pentagon to confirm that the first launch did, in fact, fail. We're still waiting to hear about that second one though...

Jeffrey and Scott walk through Iran's textbook space launch preparations, how Jeffrey's team tracked the preparation and launch, and how one assesses that a rocket flight failed in absence of a big, obvious explosion.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Please note that any views expressed on the Arms Control Wonk Podcast are the views of individual hosts, and do not represent the views of hosts' respective employers.

Direct download: 181.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:35pm EST

Is the Nuclear Posture Review something worth doing, or a massive waste of time and political capital?

Jeffrey and Aaron vote "waste." The NPR takes up a ton of time, leaves policy on autopilot during its duration, and burns a ton of bandwidth that could be used for actual reflection and policy change. 

But what is more valuable? No Review at all? An Integrated Deterrence Review? The team walks through the pitfalls of the NPR, propose some modest alternatives, and outline a possible alternative mission for the Missile Defense Agency....

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Direct download: 180.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55pm EST

The hype is real. Maybe it's a branding thing, maybe people forget ballistic missiles are a thing, maybe nobody thinks "glider force" sounds cool. But whatever the reason, people keep calling hypersonic glide vehicles fast compared to existing missile systems.

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss hypersonic weapons, what people keep getting wrong about them, and why the D5 missile is so dang cool.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 179.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm EST

On April 20, an Israeli twitter user posted a video of a large smoky cloud to his Twitter account with the comment “A mysterious explosion in northern Israel.”

Jeffrey and his team tracked down the "mysterious explosion," identifying it as a solid rocket motor test for an unknown missile or space system.

Aaron and Jeffrey walk through the team's methodology, how they found the site, how they identified that it was a rocket motor, and how CNS's knowledgebase of missile industrial facilities assists in rapidly disproving disinformation. 

https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1211676/israeli-rocket-motor-test/

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Direct download: 178.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:38pm EST

North Korea has been active the past few weeks, launching a set of cruise missiles (probably just coastal defense systems) and a separate set of ballistic missiles (which look like stretched KN23 short-range ballistic missiles) a few days later. But these events were received very differently by the Biden administration and analysts.

Jeffrey, Aaron, and Scott discuss why these events were  received so differently, what the deal is with North Korea's newest short-range ballistic missile system, and what the Biden administration may be getting itself into with its denuclearization policy.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Please note that any views expressed on the Arms Control Wonk Podcast are the views of individual hosts, and do not represent the views of hosts' respective employers.

Direct download: 177.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19pm EST

Biden campaigned on rejoining the JCPOA, but some of that enthusiasm has dried up since he took office.


Aaron and Jeffrey debate what's going on, strategies for negotiating re-joining the JCPOA, and the fallacy of letting the perfect get in the way of the good as people begin to advocate for "waiting for a better deal" again.

Also, it is a good time to start listening to Season Two of The Deal, available at IranDealPodcast.com and Apple Podcasts.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 176.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm EST

President Biden has extended New START for five more years. But what are we going to do with those years? How to we actually advance stability?

Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the steps necessary to secure stable, effective arms control treaties, the history of arms control, and the importance of tacking missile defenses alongside offensive systems.

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Direct download: 175.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EST

Iran unveiled a new (mostly) solid-propellant space launcher, the Zoljanah!

But it looks....different than the other space launchers. Besides having a new fuel type, the Zoljanah may not have many IRGC or military fingerprints on it, indicating that the Iranian solid-propellant programs are robust and expansive.

Jeffrey and Aaron talk Iranian space programs, civilian vs. military control of research programs, and, of course, why a solid-propellant launcher makes a difference. 

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Direct download: 174.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25pm EST

Israel maintains a technologically advanced but understudied ballistic missile arsenal. 

Jeffrey and Aaron dive into the French, South African, and American influences on the arsenal, how to model the Jericho missile families, and the history of the Israeli ballistic missile program.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 173.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:13pm EST

North Korea put on *another* parade, during the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea. 

Kim Jong Un dropped some fascinating details about what the DPRK has allegedly completed, and what they may be working on, including a possible nuclear submarine and intermediate-range cruise missile. Then, he paraded some new missile hardware, including a new solid-fuel SLBM and some new short range systems. 

And, to top it off, Jeffrey and Dave Schmerler found that the SLBM-test platform in Nampho harbor has been moved for a possible refurb, meaning SLBM tests may be possible in the near future.

Jeffrey and Scott try to parse out what the North Koreans have built, what they showed us at the parade, and what is to come this year.

 

For our episode on the gigantic new as-of-yet-unnamed ICBM (nicknamed the Hwasong-16 or the Hwasong-X), click here.

For our episode on the October 2020 Military Parade in North Korea, click here.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Please note that any views expressed on the Arms Control Wonk Podcast are the views of individual hosts, and do not represent the views of hosts' respective employers.

Direct download: 172.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50pm EST

On Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time, the U.S. Air Force, in partnership with the Strategic Capabilities Office, conducted a flight test of a prototype conventionally-configured ground-launched ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. 

But just what the heck did the DOD actually test? Jeffrey and team turn their analytic methods towards figuring out exactly what this strange, Frankenmissile was, and the open-source research lessons that can be gleaned from academic papers and unclassified laboratory newsletters.

 

And yes, we know it is actually Frankenstein's Missile, Frankenstein was actually the prime contractor. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 171.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm EST

Nancy Pelosi has indicated that Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has assured her that there are safeguards against an "unstable president" accessing "the launch codes" and launching a nuclear strike. 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss why that is wrong (and/or illegal), what the actual launch process is, and what the political strategy behind Nancy Pelosi's message may be.

Previous Entries in The Donald and The Nuclear series on executive power and nuclear weapons:

The Donald, The Nuclear, and No First Use

2 Donald 2 Nuclear

The Donald and The Nuclear 3: Tokyo Drift

The Donald and The Nuclear Goblet of Fire (And Fury)

The Donald and The Nuclear V: The Senate Strikes Back

The Donald and The Nuclear VI: Pushin' My Buttons

 

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Direct download: 170.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:53pm EST

Jeffrey and crew have been busy at work modelling the giant ICBM that the DPRK paraded in October 2020, as well as tracing out its possible industrial provenance.

Aaron and Jeffrey talk through modelling methodologies, North Korean industrial espionage, and how to build robust public policies to account for uncertainty.  

For our episode on the October 2020 Military Parade in North Korea, click here.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 169.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:12pm EST

At the end of this awful year, Jeffrey and Aaron talk about the future of arms control, the future of analytics, and the future of the pod. 2021 will have a lot going on: New START expiration or extension, new facilities in Iran, figuring out what the heck the North Koreans are doing, what's going on with anti-satellite missiles, and more.

Head over to the Arms Control Wonk slack channel to voice your opinion on what topics we should prioritize, because we have a lot of them and not everything's getting covered! 

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 168.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm EST

Jeffrey and Aaron share stories about the life of Dennis Gormley, renowned proliferation scholar and celebrated professor. Dennis's work on cruise missile proliferation, tacit knowledge, and industrial expertise was foundational to the field of proliferation studies, and he was a caring, dedicated educator. 

Dennis was a good friend and mentor, and is greatly missed. 

Direct download: 167.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:50pm EST

On 10/10/2020, the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the Worker's Party of Korea, the DPRK showed of a lot of missiles. Again. In addition to all the stuff they've been testing over the last two years, they introduced a new, oddly shaped solid-propellent missile, the Pukguksong-4, and what appears to be the largest TEL-based liquid propellant ICBM in history. 

Kim Jong Un gave the clearest declaration of DPRK nuclear policy to date. 

Jeffrey, Anne, and Scott sit down for Anne's last official episode and talk about what we saw, what that it means for North Korea's nuclear posture, and what the DPRK's nuclear policy and strategy actually is. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 166_TheParade.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EST

Melissa Hanham, director of Datayo and Deputy Director of the Open Nuclear Network, joins Jeffrey and Scott to talk about Datayo, a project aimed at reducing nuclear risks and fostering a transparent, collaborative, and high-quality analytic information environment.

Scott fawns over Datayo's video annotation capabilities for military hardware tracking, and Melissa talks about how much bandwidth Jeffrey's satellite imagery habits actually eat up.

Everybody competes to correctly do the podcast's outro. 

Go check out Datayo!

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 164_Saving_the_World_with_Datayo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31pm EST

Now that a few episodes have dropped, Anne and Jeffrey talk about Jeffrey's new project, The Deal

Jeffrey chronicles how researchers like Corey Hinderstein chased down data before satellite imagery was so easily available, Wendy Sherman's incredible memory for names, and just how many BBs Jeffrey has in his car.

The Deal tells the story of the Iran nuclear deal: how it came together, how it fell apart, and what that means for the rest of us. Hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He tweets @armscontrolwonk.

Learn more at IranDealPodcast.com and listen in at Apple Podcasts.

Direct download: 165_TheDeal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm EST

How do we step back from the brink and reduce the very real threat that nuclear weapons continue to pose? Nuclear weapons continue to impact people's lives, even if they are sometimes treated as historical threats of a prior era.

Jeffrey and Aaron sit down with Lisa Perry and Dr. William Perry, 19th Secretary of Defense, to discuss their work conducting interviews with and chronicling the personal stories of presidents, cabinet members, congressmen, nuclear physicists, atomic bomb survivors, military officials, and activists in their podcast, At the Brink, and through the William J. Perry Project.

They've pulled together incredible personal stories and interviews with individuals involved in the negotiations of the Iran Deal, the exfiltration of bomb-grade uranium from Kazakhstan, and the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar program that reduce former Soviet nuclear stockpiles by over 4,000 devices.

And, of course, a history of nuclear and missile crises with North Korea, featuring one Dr. Jeffrey Lewis.

Links of Note:

At The Brink, and its parent project, the William J. Perry Project

Direct download: 163.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53pm EST

In 2002, Corey Hinderstein, a young research analyst, follows a hunch after a routine press conference in Washington, D.C. The results of her scavenger hunt sparked a diplomatic crisis that stretched more than a decade, lasted through two presidencies, and ended with a deal that, depending on whom you ask, either “makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure” or is “a horrible deal that should never, ever have been made.”

The Deal tells the story of the Iran nuclear deal: how it came together, how it fell apart, and what that means for the rest of us. Hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He tweets @armscontrolwonk. 

Learn more at IranDealPodcast.com and listen in at Apple Podcasts.

Direct download: The_Deal_09.05.20_Ep1_HBMIX.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:28pm EST

The Deal: The story of the Iran nuclear deal; how it came together, how it fell apart, and what that means for the rest of us.

Hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. 

You can find The Deal on Apple Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

Direct download: theDeal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33pm EST

In 2018, the US and the UAE conducted a joint military exercise called Diamond Tempest.

While looking through still images and videos from the exercise, Jeffrey and his colleagues at CNS thought it would make a great case study. 

Just how much can we learn using open source tools? They were able to piece together a detailed timeline of the exercise and figure out which bits of footage didn't belong.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 162.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05pm EST

The war in Yemen has seen the highest usage of ballistic missiles since the Iraq War, and the highest usage of ballistic missile defense assets in any conflict, offering a preview of any future conflicts with Iran.

Aaron and Scott talk about a new CSIS report, The Missile War in Yemen, the utility and difficulties in producing accurate datasets on ballistic missile usage in Yemen, and the operational lessons learned by air and missile defense strategists during the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

Scott unironically uses the phrase "theory of missile power."

Links of Note:

Ian Williams and Shaan Shaikh's Missile War in Yemen, CSIS: https://missilethreat.csis.org/report-the-missile-war-in-yemen/

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 161.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm EST

Another day, another suspected nuclear facility in North Korea.

Anne and Jeffrey discuss the Wollo-ri Suspected Nuclear Warhead Manufacturing Facility. 

They discuss how the CNS team has monitored this site since 2015, the satellite imagery analysis that went into it, and Ankit Panda's impressive sourcing. They also discuss the immediate pushback, claims that this site is a training facility, and the open-source methods used to evaluate this site. 

Arms Control Wonk post on the Wollo-Ri Facility, by Catherine Dill, David Laboon, Jeffrey Lewis, and Dave Schmerler: https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1209644/wollo-ri-nuclear-facility/

CNN reporting on the Wollo-Ri analysis: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/08/politics/north-korea-nuclear-facility-wollo-ri-satellite-images/index.html

Daily NK report claiming Wollo-Ri is not a nuclear facility: https://www.dailynk.com/english/source-nuclear-pyongyang-just-school/

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 160.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:57pm EST

In a cross-over podcast with FPRI’s Middle East Brief, Aaron speaks with Fabian Hinz, a frequent guest on the podcast, about the recent explosions in Iran and what open source intelligence has revealed about the two incidents.

You can find the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Middle East Brief at: https://www.fpri.org/multimedia/middle-east-brief/

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 159.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:28pm EST

John Hudson and Paul Sonne at the Washington Post broke the story that Trump administration officials have discussed conducting additional nuclear tests in the United States. 

Jeffrey and Anne discuss why this is a bad idea, how this would disproportionately benefit U.S. nuclear competitors, and the primarily political (not technical) utility of a "rapid" nuclear test. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 158.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:26pm EST

Turkey previously announced that its S400 air defense regiment would be activated and in service by the end of April, 2020, after its delivery from Russia in 2019.

Since it is now May 2020, with no S400 deployment in sight, Aaron and Scott sat down with Rob Lee for an in-depth talk about what could be holding it up. 

Rob Lee is pursuing his PhD at the Department of War Studies at King's College London. He was previously a Marine infantry officer and fellow at the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST). 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 157.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:14pm EST

The Wall Street Journal reported that "China might be secretly conducting nuclear tests with very low explosive power" based on the State Department's 2020 Annual Compliance Report, but that is not quite what the report actually says.

Jeffrey and Anne sit down to talk about open-source tracking of the Lop Nur nuclear testing site, the difference types of nuclear-related tests, and how one little treaty could make a big difference in preventing actual nuclear explosive tests. 

Direct download: 156.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:44am EST

Iran launched a small satellite into orbit. But more importantly, it was Iran's revolutionary guards, not the civilian space program, that did the launching -- and with a new solid rocket motor as the second stage. Fabian Hinz joins Jeffrey to talk about the IRGC space program and break down its most recent launch.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 155.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am EST

In mid-April, Russia tested a direct ascent anti-satellite missile (DA ASAT), the Nudol/PL19, against a point in space.

Anti-satellite weapons are an old favorite of the pod, so Anne, Aaron, and Jeffrey meet to discuss the history of anti-satellite weapons, the U.S. negotiating strategy that led to the spread of hit-to-kill and anti-satellite weapons, and the hypocrisy of certain PR statements. They also gush over open-source collection and analysis of NOTAMs, which allowed Michael Thompson to predict the ASAT test ahead of time.

Check out previous Arms Control Wonk episodes about Hit-to-Kill and Anti-Satellite Weapons:

2019's Mission Shakti: The Indian Anti-Satellite Test

2016's China's HQ-19 Hit-to-Kill Interceptor

2014's Satellites Under Threat: The Spread of Hit-To-Kill

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

 

Direct download: 154.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:48am EST

The International Atomic Energy Agency has questions about three sites in Iran -- but Iran doesn't feel like answering. Aaron, Anne and Jeffrey discuss the atomic archive, access to suspect facilities, and environmental sampling.

Plus, there are a few things in recent IAEA reports that worry us.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 153.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26pm EST

The People's Liberation Army Rocket Forces used to be a nearly opaque organization to all but a few open-source researchers. Now, increased availability of satellite-imagery and public media enable open-source exploitation and tracking of PRC missile forces like never before. 

Decker Eveleth joins Jeffrey and Scott to discuss open-source tracking PRC missile brigades, his geolocated order of battle KMZ, and the increasing accessibility of open-source research methods. 

Links of Note:

Decker's blog and PLARF ORBAT in KMZ form: https://www.aboyandhis.blog/post/mapping-the-people-s-liberation-army-rocket-force

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 152.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm EST

Mort Halperin a giant as an academic and a policy practitioner. And he's working on a memoir that covers his sixty year career in foreign policy. Mort played an important role in the US decision to revert Okinawa to Japanese control without nuclear weapons -- a case study Jeffrey teaches in is class on decision-making. Jeffrey talks to Mort about that pivotal period in US-Japanese relations.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 151.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:18pm EST

Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. While the popular perception of Biden is that he's quite moderate, on nuclear issues he's always been relatively progressive.

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss Biden and bomb.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 150.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:03pm EST

China's People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) has been very busy in the last few years, testing new high-tech missiles and standing up new launch brigades. 

Superproducer Scott joins Jeffrey and Anne to talk about reports of the PLARF test launching over 100 missiles in 2019, rapidly expanding since 2017, and some of the data issues with analysis of the PRC's nuclear and missile arsenal. 

Links of Note:

The PLARF launched over 100 missiles in 2019: https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/02/50ceb602df35-china-fires-over-100-missiles-in-2019-far-more-than-us.html

The PLARF stands up 11 brigades since 2017: https://www.popsci.com/story/blog-eastern-arsenal/china-missile-force-growing/

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 149.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:52am EST

James Palmer of the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment joins the ACW trio to talk about the importance of 3D modelling and data visualization, including recreations of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site and virtual reality training simulations.

Links of Note, Courtesy of James Palmer:

  1. Enhanced briefings for a CTBTO On-site Inspection SnT2017  (Palmer and Stevanović).
  2. How to put technical data into an enhanced briefing (Palmer and Stevanović).
  3. Presenting work on the DPRK test site destruction event SnT2019 (Palmer and Selby).
  4. Comparative talk for test site, showing 3D visualisation capability at SnT2015 (Pabian), from 3 minutes 20 seconds in.
Software discussed during podcast.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 148.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:13pm EST

Iran tested a satellite launch vehicle, and it failed. But this isn't a reason to cheer.

Iran showed off a lot of goodies this month, pointing to an active solid-propellant missile program and has no said a future satellite launch is going to use a solid-propellant space launch vehicle. 

This is bad news.

Aaron and Jeffrey talk about Iran's space program and why we should embrace the Simorgh and worry about the future.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 147.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40pm EST

After the Iranian ballistic missile raid on U.S. forces in Iraq, the IRGC appears to have accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner flying out of Tehran. The Iranian government took about 3 days to admit that it was shot down, initially denying that it was shot down.

Prior to the admission, the Arms Control Wonk Podcast slack channel jumped on the case and started a collaborative open-source intelligence effort to figure out what actually had happened and if Iran's denial held water.

Friend of the pod Patrick Kerley joins Jeffrey to talk about the Arms Control Wonk Podcast slack channel's collaborative OSINT efforts at tracking down details of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, including tracking flight paths, pulling satellite imagery, and locating videos based on sound cues. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 146.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36am EST

As it turns out, the ACW trio thinks that Iran’s missiles are accurate. Super accurate. As Anne flies across the United States, Aaron and Jeffrey spoke about Iran’s ballistic missile strikes Ain Assad Air Base in Iraq, why the strike on Erbil may have been an outlier, and how nobody is in control of escalation.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 145.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:27pm EST

The ACW crew discusses the JCPOA...again. Iran has announced its 5th step away from the JCPOA. The trio discusses what that means, what it doesn't mean, and where we go from here. 

And, for your ease of reference, Iran's Five Steps:

  1. May 2019: No longer limit stockpiles of LEU or heavy water
  2. July 2019: No longer limit uranium enrichment to 3.67%
  3. September 2019: Abandoned all limits on R&D for new centrifuges 
  4. November 2019: Resume uranium enrichment at Fordow, resulting in a podcast.
  5. January 2020: Abandon limits on number of centrifuges. 

 

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Direct download: 144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38pm EST

Launch a missile, get a pod, post-INF Treaty edition. 

On December 12, 2019, the U.S. Air Force and the Strategic Capabilities office tested a "prototype conventionally-configured, ground-launched ballistic missile" from Vandenberg AFB. The trio talks Twitter hot takes, the Strategic Capabilities Office, the future of U.S. missile procurement, and the future of intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

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Direct download: 143.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EST

Sohae is open for business!

The ACW Gang talks North Korea's recent engine test at Sohae and marvels (again) at the power of satellite imagery. Was this test Kim's "Christmas Gift" to Trump? Or just a stocking stuffer? 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 142.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:52pm EST

What is the future of the Open Skies Treaty? The Arms Control Wonk trio talk the Open Skies Treaty, the conspiracy theories that now permeate the debate about Russian aircraft, and why the treaty matters.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 141.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm EST

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has announce yet another "step" away from the JCPOA, the fourth this year. As Iran resumes feeding UF6 into some of the cascades at the Fordow Enrichment Plant, Anne and Jeffrey discuss the steps that led us here and the prospect for preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 140.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45am EST

Everybody loves a parade, especially one with missiles and drones.  

Superproducer Scott joins Jeffrey and Anne to discuss the new hardware displayed in early October, and how great it is to watch the PRC's flag-raising ceremony.

Scott has waited seven years for this parade, so that he can finally get a legitimate high-resolution shot of the DF-41 solid propellant ICBM. Less expected were the DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle, the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile, the "WZ-8" air-launched rocket-powered drone, and, of course, the almighty gyrocopter. 

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Direct download: 137.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38am EST

The New York Times reported recently that US officials are considering removing US nuclear weapons from Turkey. Aaron knows a bit about this, so Jeffrey called in from his car on the road to San Francisco, and Anne called in from a foggy Monterey to talk about nuclear weapons in Turkey.

Producer's Note: Due to the impromptu nature of this podcast, audio quality is poor. Apologies for any gnashing of teeth.

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Direct download: 139.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34am EST

It is finally here! Two years after seeing posters for the Pukguksong-3 during Kim Jong Un's visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in 2017, the North Korea has finally tested the next generation of its submarine launched ballistic missiles. 

Joseph Dempsey of the International Institute of Strategic Studies returns to talk with Jeffrey about the new SLBM, the possible new submarine, and the difficulty of deploying an SLBM. 

Our previous epic, three-part podcast with Joseph below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Direct download: 138.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55am EST

Iran may have just rocketed oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. The ACW trio asks what else is new, after time spent analyzing Qiam strikes on Riyadh.

With tensions increasing in the Gulf, and questions about a potential US strike to punish Iran for its cruise missile strike, Aaron, Anne, and Jeffrey are joined by Fabian Hinz to talk Iranian cruise missiles and recent events in the Gulf.

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Direct download: 136.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07pm EST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking just days before an election, revealed an alleged new nuclear site in Iran, dubbed Abadeh. 

On this week's episode, the ACW trio talk about the revelation, what the satellite pictures show may be happening at the site, and why Iran's razing of the site doesn't match up to the full Lavizan-Shian treatment- at least not yet. 

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Direct download: 135.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:57am EST

Russia tested something and maybe kinda sorta told the truth about a subsequent spike in radiation. 
What happened? who knows?
In this episode, the ACW trio discuss the explosion in Nenoksa and why it may have been a test to support the Skyfall (Burevestnik) program that went wrong.

 

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Direct download: 134.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:47pm EST

During one of the Democratic Presidential primary debates, Elizabeth Warren and Governor Whats-his-name sparred over nuclear weapons, no-first use and deproliferation. Aaron, Anne and Jeffrey discuss the use of jargon in gate-keeping and the merits of various proposals relating to no first use.

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Direct download: 133.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:51pm EST

Jeffrey and Anne attended the CTBTO's 2019 Science and Technology Conference in Vienna, which means this is another Wienerpod!

Aaron calls in to get the lowdown on the state of the CTBT and the evolving technological environment for nuclear test detection. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 132.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41pm EST

Turkey used a ballistic missile, the Bora, for the first time in combat.

Launch a missile, get a pod!

Aaron, Anne and Jeffrey discuss the Bora, geolocating the launch site, and the state of missile proliferation in the Middle East.

 

Our 2017 episode on the Bora.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 131.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:10pm EST

The United States intelligence community, or a portion of it, has concluded that Russia is conducting very low-yield nuclear tests. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss past allegations of nuclear testing, open source monitoring of Russia's nuclear test site at Novaya Zemlya and how the Trump Administration might change its mind on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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Direct download: 130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:50pm EST

If see any news coverage about missile threats in the Middle East, nine times out of ten it is Iran's missiles that are in the news. But Iran is just one of many countries in the region.

Egypt, Israel, Turkey Saudi Arabia and Syria all produce, to one degree or another, their own missiles. And there are more states like Yemen, the UAE and Qatar that have imported missiles.

CNS and the Nuclear Threat Initiative are launching a Middle East Missile Map to explore the regional context of missile proliferation.

 

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Direct download: 129.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53pm EST

A nuclear archive. JCPOA news. B-52 bomber task forces. A naval armada. And Scuds on ships. What could go wrong? To break down all things Iran, Jeffrey and Aaron spoke about the latest happenings in and with Iran.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18pm EST

Launch a missile, get a podcast. North Korea launched a short-range missile over the weekend and a Planet satellite was there to see it.

Jeffrey and Anne discuss the one in a million picture, the missile itself and what it might mean for the final fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed (or not) by Chairman Kim.

 

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Direct download: 127.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:37pm EST

The Trump Administration approved some 810s to Saudi Arabia.  And INVAP is building a low power research reactor in Riyadh.  What's an 810?  What's INVAP?  It's complicated.  You'll just have to listen to the podcast as Jeffrey and Aaron discuss how people are over-reacting to the latest Saudi nuclear news while also noting that it is time for Saudi Arabia to put in place a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA.  Well, Saudi already has a CSA. Like we said, its complicated. 
 
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Direct download: 126.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EST

Test a missile, get a pod. Kill a satellite? Get a podcast with a special guest. Ankit Panda joins Aaron and Jeffrey to discuss India's recent anti-satellite test. Also, Jeffrey says he told you so. (Again.)

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 125.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:15pm EST

The summit in Hanoi was a bust. 
New podcast co-host Anne Pellegrino joins Jeffrey and Aaron to discuss, as Joshua Pollack calls it, the Scapegoat Rodeo in Hanoi.
 
 

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Direct download: 124.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43pm EST

The Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform wants answers to allegations about influence peddling and a grandiose plan to sell Saudi Arabia up to 40 nuclear reactors.

This week, Aaron and Jeffrey dig into the interim staff report detailing the allegations, what the purported IP3 plan really means, and safeguards on civil nuclear technology. 

 

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Direct download: 123.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56pm EST

Judging from Twitter, the Munich Security Conference is talking about
the demise of the INF Treaty.  Jeffrey, back in California after his
sojourn to Vermont and Aaron revisit INF pods of the past to focus on
what really matters: Getting Taylor Swift to cover Nena's 99
Luftballoons.

Direct download: 122.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06pm EST

Andrea hosts one last KCN-eh? before heading off to the Great White North. Jeffrey joins in to talk about North Korea's other developments from January, including the site of the second Trump-Kim summit, U.S. Special Representative Stephen Beigun's speech at Stanford, and how to mimic denuclearization without denuclearizing.

 

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Direct download: 121.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55pm EST

Satellite images taken by Planet Labs appear to show that Saudi Arabia has constructed a plant to manufacture solid propellant ballistic missiles.

Jeffrey and Aaron talk about the CNS team's latest find.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 120.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:21pm EST

Russia tested a hypersonic missile, or at least they claimed to. As of now, Putin and Russian media have told us a lot, but what do we really know about Avangard?

Aaron and Jeffrey are joined by James Acton from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to discuss hypersonics, missile defense, and what Russia's Avangard may actually look like. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

 

Direct download: 119.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm EST

Jeffrey and Aaron return from the holidays to talk about ... North Korea. 

Kim Jong Un gave his traditional New Year's  Day speech.

On the first day of 2017, Kim signaled the ICBM test that was to come. And on the first day of 2018, he hinted at the diplomatic thaw that would bring “love letters” and a finger-heart. So what does 2019 have in store for us?

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 118.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am EST

The CNS OSINT team did it again. While doing what one does on the weekend, looking at DPRK missile bases, Jeffrey and his team found a new missile base.

In this week’s episode, Aaron and Jeffrey talk through the finding, Josh Pollack’s meta op-ed on what OSINT means in today’s media environment, and how OSINT can be used to support the policy process and hold leaders feet to the fire.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!
Direct download: 117.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

A Canadian discusses the month’s North Korea-related developments with some special guests. For November, Andrea is joined by Cristina Varriale of the Royal United Services Institute, and Hamish Macdonald of the Korea Risk Group. They talk through announcements about postponed meetings, joint military exercises, inter-Korean projects and Chinese border infrastructure. Oh, and puppies. 

 

Links of Note:

Pompeo says meeting with Kim Yong Chol is postponed.

Mattis announces that a scaled-down version of the Foal Eagle exercises will go forward in spring.

 

Reuters on the sanctions exemption for inter-Korean rail survey activities.

 

Hamish’s investigation into the slew of infrastructure development projects along the China-North Korea border.  

 

French national charged with treason for supposedly passing information to North Korea.

 

Did we say puppies?! 

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Direct download: 115.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:56pm EST

India has some nuclear naval news, with its defense minister claiming a successful "first deterrent patrol."
What does this mean for Pakistan and nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean?
 
Aaron sits down with friends of the pod Ankit Panda and Vipin Narang to talk about the India-Pakistan relationship, India's ballistic missile subs, and Pakistan's cruise missile subs. 
 
This episode started as a Brilliant Pebble and ballooned into a full-blown episode!
 
Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!
Direct download: 114.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09am EST

With the US on the precipice of withdrawing from the INF, all eyes have turned to China and its large number of INF range missiles. The think tank community has followed and a bevy of think pieces on basing modes in Asia have been published.

On this week’s episode, Jeffrey and Aaron talk about the cost of the BGM-109G and some of the implications of putting them on land... in the Pacific.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 113.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51pm EST

A Canadian reviews the month’s North Korea news together with a special guest. Andrea and Ramon Pacheco-Pardo, the Korea Foundation-Free University Brussels Korea Chair, look at Pompeo’s latest visit to Pyongyang, examine the outcomes of Moon Jae-in’s European tour, and talk about the North Korean middleman now on an FBI Most Wanted poster.

Links of Note:

Details of Pompeo’s October visit to Pyongyang.

NY Times, “South Korea backtracks on easing sanctions after Trump comment”, 11 October 2018.

Ramon’s article for NK News, examining what Moon Jae-in achieved and didn’t on his recent trip to Europe.

The Pope indicates his willingness to visit Pyongyang.

Department of Justice press release concerning the indictment of Singaporean national Tan Wee Beng, for his alleged dealings with North Korea.

 

 Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 112.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06pm EST

The end of arms control, or a sub-culture run amok?

In today’s special, live-recorded edition of the Arms Control Wonk podcast, Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the end of the INF, John Bolton's motivations, and the reasons behind the US pull-out (aka the Stormy Daniels).

Previous Podcast Episodes about this Topic:

Tightening the Screws on the INF

An Era Without Arms Control?

The INF, NATO, and the MSC

The Little Green Men and a New Cruise Missile

Russia and the INF: Don't Call it a Circumvention

Is Russia Cheating on the INF Treaty? This was the very first Arms Control Wonk Podcast episode!

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 111.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46pm EST

Aaron and Jeffrey return to the topic to discuss the potential for a New Start extension and what it could mean for the future of the US-Russian relationship.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am EST

US Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, made some news. And not in a good way. She was trying to say that the US would develop countervailing capabilities -- something that started under the Obama Administration and that almost no one disagrees with.

But she mangled the quote and, in doing so, reinforced Russian paranoia about decapitation. The US and Russia seemed determined to relive the horrors of the early 1980s, albeit on accident. Find out why.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 110.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:05pm EST

Andrea is joined again by John Hemmings, Director of Asia Studies at the Henry Jackson Society, to talk about the major developments in North Korea relations during September. They consider Pyongyang’s tamer military parade, examine the optics and outcomes of Moon Jae-in’s trip to North Korea, and look at the way those outcomes are being communicated to the international community at the UN General Assembly.

 

Links of Note:

DPRK’s English version of the Pyongyang declaration

Moon Jae-in’s speech to the 73rd UN General Assembly. 

Joint report on the negotiating situation from the Henry Jackson Society, King’s College London, and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Full text of the criminal complaint against North Korean hacker Park Jin Hyok.

Hamish Macdonald with all of the happenings at the 8th Rason trade exhibition.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 108.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Andrea discusses friction between Europe and the United States over the Iran nuclear deal with Justine Walker, Director of Sanctions at UK Finance. They review European engagement in the Iranian market over the last two years, consider the EU’s reaction to Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, and examine the implications for companies now caught between two sets of opposing laws. 

 

Links of Note:

Full transcript of Trump’s speech announcing withdrawal from the JCPOA.

US Treasury FAQ on the reimposition of sanctions on Iran.

Daimler abandoning its Iran expansion plans.

UK Finance publications on the EU blocking regulations, Iran, and other sanctions issues.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 107.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EST

In today’s episode, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the 2020 Commission and its relationship with how we are conditioned to think about nuclear weapons. The podcast is filled with spoilers (you’ve been warned), but attempts to use the book — and one of the main characters, President Donald Trump — to discuss nuclear war, American nuclear policy, the rationality of fictional North Korean actions, and the tragedy that would follow any use of the bomb.

We also take the time to discuss our new subscriber benefit, Brilliant Pebbles, a mini-pod about the wide world of weapons of mass destruction. The show will drop every Tuesday and will feature short takes on relevant topics that we would not normally discussing on the big show. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!
Direct download: 106.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35am EST

In today’s podcast, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the geolocation work that underpinned Jeffrey’s research for his novel and how open source investigations can be leveraged to inform analysis.

Links of Note:

Previous Arms Control Wonk Podcast episodes on South Korea's missile arsenal:

South Korea's Missile Arsenal Expands

The Hyunmoo-2C: South Korea's 800km Missile

Jeffrey's new book, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States - A Speculative Novel, can be purchased here!

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 105.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:03am EST

It's a family pod today!

Andrea, Aaron, and Jeffrey review July's new North Korean developments. They dive into the developments at Sohae Satellite Launching Grounds, sanctions enforcement, and the repatriation of POW/KIA remains from the Korean War. 

Links of Note:

Treasury's press release of sanctions ordered against the Russian Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank.

Imagery analysis from 38 North of the dismantling of the engine test stand and covered rail transfer station at Sohae. 

Paul Boudreau's Juche Bird cocktail!

Jeffrey's new novel, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 104.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:19pm EST

Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick have a bombshell story about North
Korea producing one, possible two, Hwasong-15 ICBMs at its Sanumdong
facility.  Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the role that MIIS and open
source played in corroborating the report.

This episode brought to you by Jeffrey's new novel, The 2020 Commission Report.

 

Links of Note:

Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick's article in the Washington Post about ICBM production at Sanum-Dong.

Ankit Panda's Diplomat article on continuing ICBM production in North Korea.

Jeffrey's new book, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States - A Speculative Novel, can be preordered here!

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 103.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

KANGSON

We have the (probable) location of North Korea's original enrichment site: Kangson, now called Chollima. This is probably the spot where the DPRK has been enriching uranium since the early 2000's, which has previously not been openly identified! 


Jeffrey, Grace Liu, and Dave Schmerler combed over information dropped by friend-of-the-pod Ankit Panda.

Jeffrey, Aaron, and Scott talk about this old, newly discovered site, the history of North Korean enrichment tracking, and the difficulty in tracking major proliferation concerns.

Links of Note:

Ankit's bombshell article in The Diplomat about Kangson.

Geo4NonPro, The CNS/MIIS crowd-sourced satellite imagery analysis project.

Jeffrey's new novel, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:38pm EST

A Canadian reviews the last month’s news with two special guests.

Andrea talks to CNS Senior Research Associate Melissa Hanham and FAS Adjunct Fellow Ankit Panda as they go through the trajectory of U.S./DPRK diplomacy after the Singapore Summit, parse through the differences between U.S and DPRK public statements, and developments within the U.S./ROK Alliance.

 <!--more-->

Links of Note

 NBC report on North Korea's additional enrichment sites and increased nuclear activity.

Ankit's article in The Diplomat about the DPRK's additional missile TEL production in 2018.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 101.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm EST

Jeffrey spent the past week making Singapore Slings but it didn't help dull the pain.
 
The conversation then turned to the summit and ended with a conversation about the sustainability of summits without substance and what the two sides can do in the future to settle on an actual agenda for talks.
 
Jeffrey and Aaron commiserate over the complete goat rodeo that played out, including the Joint Statement, Trump's wild presser, and KCNA's excellent trolling of John Bolton.
 
 
Links of Note:
 
Full text of the joint statement between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
 
The weird movie that the U.S. team showed the DPRK team and the on-site journalists.

Kim Jong Un shaking John Bolton's hand on KCNA.
 
 
Scott wrote an article over at the blog about the "missile engine test stand." Dave Schmerler also wrote a twitter thread on it.
 
Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!
 
 
Direct download: 100.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:10pm EST

Back in March, Putin said that Russia has been testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile and showed a little bit of video footage. Throughout April and May, stories have come out questioning the success of these tests.

Jeffrey and his team at CNS have been peaking into the test site and trying to figure out what is actually going on.  

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss using satellite images to geolocate the launch site and what that tells about the state of the program.

Links of Note:

The Gertz piece on the possibly failed tests. 

The CNBC piece on the testing regime's successes and failures.

Previous Arms Control Wonk Podcast episode on Putin's new cruise missile and other nuclear weapons. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 99.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42am EST

This is a full end-to-end OSINT episode, buckle up. 

Using satellite imagery, SAR data, Farsi-language television coverage, one rocket scientist's favorite color, and one very important box, the team at CNS/MIIS tracked down a second solid-propellant rocket production facility in Iran.

We suspect it may be moving towards ICBM research. 

Scott ventures out to California to join Jeffrey and Dave Schmerler in person to talk about Shahrud, the history of the Iranian missile program, and one very eccentric military scientist. 

 

Links of Note:

New York Times coverage of the Shahrud research

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 98.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am EST

A Canadian reviews the last month’s news with a special guest. Andrea talks to Hamish Macdonald from NK News about what went boom at Punggye-ri, recaps the diplomatic rollercoaster ride that was May, and ponders the Max Thunder joint military exercises (during an actual thunderstorm).

 Links of note: 

Will Ripley’s Instagram snaps from his visit to Wonsan and Punggye-ri.

North Korea takes issue with the Max Thunder joint air drills.

Press statement by First Vice Minister Kim Kye Gwan, telling the US he’s not so into Bolton

Text of Trump’s letter to “His Excellency” Kim Jong Un, (maybe) cancelling the planned summit

North Korea keeps doing those pesky ship-to-ship transfers.

North Korean vessels showing up at Chinese coal ports, again….

Our new report on North Korean companies active in the global IT sector.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 97.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am EST

What is going on with the Trump-Kim summit following the recent cancellation of a DPRK-ROK meeting?

Will Trump and Kim meet?

And how does John Bolton fit into all of this?

Today, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the latest twists and turns in the run-up to the Singapore summit, and raise broader questions about denuclearization and bureaucratic politics in the United States.

 

Links of Note:

John Bolton discussing that the summit will fail.

Dig!

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Direct download: 96.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EST

Kim Jong Un said he is closing the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri. But if outside inspectors and exports aren't allowed in, it could just be a PR stunt with no substantive contribution to "denuclearization."

Jeffrey and Aaron talk about what this means for North Korea, why inspectors and outside experts need to be allowed in, and what the upcoming Trump-Kim summit may lead to. 

Links of Note:

CNS/MIIS research on the possibility that the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri is possibly being dismantled right now. 

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Direct download: 95.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57am EST

A Canadian reviews the last few weeks of North Korea news with a special guest. Andrea chats with Antoine Bondaz from the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris. They dissect the optics and outcomes of the recent inter-Korean summit, analyse the responses, and look at some of the stories you may have missed amongst the flashbulbs.

Links of Note:

Full text of the Panmunjom declaration, signed by Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un.

Rodong Sinmun’s reporting on the summit the following day. Articles herehere, and here.

Australia and Canada sending planes to monitor illicit DPRK shipping activity. UK sending ships to monitor the same.  

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Direct download: 94.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am EST