Arms Control Wonk

What the heck is going on with the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Planet?
Aaron and Jeffrey walk through the safety situation, the open source assessments of what is going on, and what appears to be a Russian strategy to....steal a power plant?

Links of Note:

Russia Tries to Steal a Nuclear Power Plant, Cheryl Rofer


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Direct download: 206.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:24pm EDT

Why isn't North Korea testing nukes? What are the signals and signs that precede a test? 
Jeffrey and Aaron talk testing indicators, the logistics of detonating a nuclear device in North Korea, and the proper use of the Chatham House Rule...

The team talks about the impact of Michael Krepon on the field and on us personally. He will be greatly missed, and his importance and mentorship in the field of arms control cannot be understated. 

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Direct download: 205.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:24pm EDT

As the President visited various states in the Middle East, Jeffrey and Aaron sat down to eulogize the JCPOA renegotiation attempts as they slowly slide farther off the rails. Iran's programs continue and it looks like the U.S. is preparing to continue into the sanctions and containment realm, as Israel continues its seemingly ineffective hardware sabotage campaign. The North Korea-ification of Iran-US relations continues, unabated.
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Direct download: 204.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT

Jeffrey and Aaron walk through a piece of foundational field canon, The Wizards of Armageddon by Fred Kaplan, discussing its coverage of institutional and personal decisionmaking, picking apart the concepts of deterrence and compellence, and discussing the seemingly crystalized debate on the same core tenets, decades after the initial events. 

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Direct download: 203.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm EDT

After a brief hiatus due to Jeffrey's house catching on a lil' bit of fire, the Arms Control Wonk team is back to take a look at North Korea's triple missile launch and looming possible nuclear test. 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the North Korean nuclear testing schedule, the expectations of precision that open source intelligence has generated, and what it means when half of the attendees at a nuclear conference all simultaneously leave...

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Direct download: 202.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

The U.S. has unilaterally committed to not conducting destructive anti-satellite missile tests!

Jeffrey and Aaron walk through what the U.S. has actually normatively committed to, what this means for potential future attempts at arms control in space, and some of the institutional hurdles the U.S. must overcome for a long-lasting commitment to space-based arms control.

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Direct download: 201.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54pm EDT

Gerry Doyle and Blake Herzinger join Jeffrey to talk about their new book: Carrier Killer: China's Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles and Theater of Operations in the early 21st Century.

The group sits down to talk through China's DF-21D and DF-26 missiles. Do they work? What do they do? What can they actually accomplish? How do navies adapt to the new threat environment? 

The group talks through the realities and the puffed up hype around these systems, and how they actually impact strategy and naval operations.

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Direct download: 200.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am EDT

...get a pod. 

North Korea has conducted three (and, as I'm typing this, apparently four), ICBM (or ICBM element) tests, with two labelled as "satellite" system tests. 

Jeffrey and Scott talk through an OSINT Oreo: Good OSINT to identify ICBM tests, BAD OSINT claiming that some agricultural fields were missile support areas, and then more good OSINT in the form of Jeffrey's talented class of missile modelers. 

Jeffrey also predicts a Hwasong-17 test is coming, and as this episode is being published, he is proven right. 

Next episode: North Korean Test Bingo Cards.  

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Direct download: 199.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53am EDT

Should we be worried that Russia may intentionally use nuclear weapons in Ukraine? 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the role nuclear weapons, conspiracy theories, and misinformation play within conventional wars and escalation dynamics. 

Aaron posits the Bunga Bunga Theory of Deterrence, wherein an individual actor's rationality can be gauged by the company they keep. 

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Direct download: 198.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm EDT

Russia has invaded Ukraine, and some folks are arguing that Ukraine could've deterred Russia "if it had never given up nuclear weapons."

But they never "had" nuclear weapons. Jeffrey and Aaron talk through the control of nuclear weapons in Ukraine during the Cold War, and the "return" of those weapons to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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Direct download: 197.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm EDT

Jasmine Owens, Lead Organizer and Policy Coordinator at the Physicians for Social Responsibility, joins Jeffrey to discuss social justice and nuclear weapons.

Jasmine and Jeffrey attack the tough issues facing culture within the nuclear security field, embedded bias, and the disproportionate impact these weapons have on minority and oppressed communities. 

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Direct download: 196.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm EDT

Dr. Michal Onderco, Associate Professor of International Relations in the Department of Public Administration and Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, joins Jeffrey to talk about his new book, Networked Nonproliferation: Making the NPT Permanent. 

Dr. Onderco and Jeffrey talk about the history of the NPT extension, interpersonal relationships in diplomacy, and the methods and study of diplomacy in nuclear treaty-making. 

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Direct download: 195.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EDT

After North Korea tested its new MaRV twice, a bunch of weird news stories suddenly started breaking about U.S. responses. Flights were grounded in parts of the West Coast, there was a shelter in place order up at the missile defense site in Alaska, and it seemed like someone may have mistook the North Korean test for an ICBM launch. Jeffrey and Aaron talk about the U.S. early warning and ballistic missile defense system, pressures of decisionmaking, and what happens when missile warnings are misunderstood in high-pressure environments. 

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Direct download: 194.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm EDT

North Korea tested what appears to be a maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV), which could support a tactical nuclear mission and subvert ballistic missile defenses.

Jeffrey and Aaron talk through the difference between a MaRV and a hypersonic glide vehicle, discuss the development of the DPRK missile industry, and walk through North Korea's tactical nuclear ambitions. 

Other Episodes of Interest:

Glide or Die: When the DPRK tested what appears to be a hypersonic glide vehicle

Iranian Nuclear Talks are Not Going Well: Jeffrey visits our friends on the War on the Rocks Warcast to talk about Iran's recent space launch attempt.

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Direct download: 193.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05pm EDT