Arms Control Wonk

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/

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

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....

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

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

1