Arms Control Wonk
Proliferators not only need to move goods around the world to support their WMD and missile programs, they need to move money too.
 
How do they get into the international financial system undetected? Can banks do more to stop them? Who is leading the global charge on countering proliferation finance? Andrea talks to Tom Keatinge, a former investment banker-turned financial crime specialist. 
 
Links of Note
 
The Financial Action Task Force Recommendations
 
 
 
Direct download: 58.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56am EDT

The Trump Administration is reportedly mulling the development of new "low yield" nuclear weapons in its Nuclear Posture Review. But is this really new? Or is it that we just don't trust the Trump Administration with sharp objects, let alone the bomb.
 
Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the recent history of proposals for new nuclear weapons, including low-yield ones, as well as how partisan framing and foreign perceptions may matter more than the technical reality.
 
Links of Note:
 
 
 
Direct download: 57.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:12am EDT

The final part in our three part series! Episode 1 can be found here. Episode 2 is here.

This addendum episode includes discussion on new developments, the DPRK's 'Site B' for SLBMs, and the Golf submarines.

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 2 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: 54Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:35am EDT

The second part in our three part series! Episode 1 can be found here.

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 2 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: 54B.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25am EDT

 

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

Test a missile, get a pod. North Korea tested a missile. The big one. An ICBM. To discuss recent events, Aaron, Jeffrey, and Scott talk about the KN-20/Hwasong-14, how we got here, and what we know about the missile. 

Links of Note:

The pod about the Hwasong-12, the immediate precursor to the Hwasong-14, including discussion of the DPRK's engine developments.

Ankit Panda's article that first mentions the KN-20 designation and that the U.S. observed the missile for around 70 minutes prior to launch (and Russian denial that the KN-20/Hwasong-14 an ICBM... a topic for another pod).

And, for your viewing pleasure, the Hwasong-14 and Kim Jong-Un doing the Smooth Criminal lean in the bottom right. 

Direct download: 47.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:54pm EDT

South Korea tested the 800km Hyunmoo-2C ballistic missile ... from a barge! New President Moon Jae-in was in attendance, resulting in some geolocation goodies.

Aaron and Jeffrey talk about using open source information to track the interesting, but under-studied, South Korean missile program.

 

Links of Note:

A series of various twitter threads from Jeffrey with Schmerler.

Jeffrey wrote a blogpost about the Anheung Proving Ground with annotated Planet imagery.

The discussed Canadian Tuxedo Man holding a model of the reentry vehicle: 

Direct download: 46.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

Norm enforcement: You test a missile, you get a pod. You test a missile in a shipping container, you get a pod and a reference to Russian techno music.

In today’s episode, Jeffrey, Aaron, and Scott talk Israel’s LORA, the spread of small solid fueled missiles, and improved guidance.

 

Links of Note:

Video/advertisement of the event.

Israel Aerospace Industries announcement of the trial.

Raytheon advertisement and fact sheets for the DeepStrike. (Seriously Raytheon folks, send me your best video)

Update on the DeepStrike's progress.

Direct download: 45.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Iran fired a number of ballistic missiles, including the new solid Zolfaqar missiles, from bases in Kermanshah and Kurdistan against at least two ISIS targets in Mayadin in eastern Syria. 

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss using open source information to identify the launch points and impact points, and what the launches tell us about Iran's growing missile program. 

 

Links of Note:

Early analysis of the Zolfaqar by Jane's.

If you're interested in the Shahed-129 drone mentioned.

Jeffrey tweeted a bunch about tracking down the launch and impact sites.

 

 

Direct download: 44.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02pm EDT

The UAE is a missile power. Who knew? 

In today's episode, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the UAE's 1989 purchase of the Scud B (or Hwasong 5) from North Korea, a second purchase of the Scud C in 1999, and the country's well maintained missile base.

 

Links of Note:

NIE 5-91C discussing missile proliferation. 

The 2015 Emirati email leak.

Direct download: 43.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm EDT

The US conducted a successful test, FTG-15, of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system designed to protect the United States against a ballistic missile launched from North Korea. The Missile Defense Agency takes a victory lap after its first intercept of an ICBM-class target. 

Scott joins Jeffrey to discuss what the test proves -- and what it does not.

Links of Note:

Vice Admiral Syring (Director, Missile Defense Agency) made an unclassified written statement linked here.

A Department of Defense statement with video of the intercept event (FTG-15) linked here.

Video of Vice Admiral Syring's testimony before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, FY18 Priorities & Posture of Missile Defeat Programs & Activities.

 

Direct download: 42.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am EDT

A group of countries is negotiating a convention to ban the use and
possession of nuclear weapons. The chair has released a draft treaty
in advance of the second round of negotiations to be held this month.

 

Andrea Berger and Jeffrey Lewis discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly
of the draft Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Direct download: 41.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:53am EDT

Turkey released footage of a test of a short-range ballistic missile, Roketsan's Bora/Khan. You know the Arms Control Wonk rule, test a new missile, get a podcast. 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss Turkey's defense industries, armed forces, and cooperation in developing missiles with China. 

Direct download: 40.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

North Korea has finally tested (successfully) a new missile -- and boy it is a doozy. After the April 15 parade, we called this missile the KN-08 Mod Odd and the KN-08 +/-. But North Korea calls it the Hwasong-12 and it contains a surprise: the brand-new "indigenous" engine that North Korea debuted in March.

Jeffrey and Scott discuss this new IRBM, its odd firing table and launch configuration, the propaganda of missile testing, and whether or not an ICBM is next.

 

 

Direct download: 39.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm EDT

France has elected Emmanuel Macron as President, which is a chance for
Jeffrey to inflict upon Aaron endless stories illustrating his love of
French wine, food, and nuclear weapons.

Direct download: 38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am EDT

Jeffrey and Aaron don't really want to keep talking about North Korea,
but there is a US THAAD battery sitting on a fricking golf course.
That calls for a podcast, one in which Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the
politics of deploying THAAD now, China's opposition to THAAD, and North
Korea's probable countermeasures.

Direct download: 37.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

Do you remember THE GREEN BEE? Where we talked about a mysterious Taiwanese ballistic missile that looked a lot like the Lance? Well the research continues and new data has come to light putting the Green Bee firmly on the Israeli Jericho arc, not the U.S. Lance arc. 

Jeffrey and Scott continue to discuss Taiwan's understudied ballistic missile program, dive through declassified documents, and discuss Taiwan's strange connections to Israel, Iran, and the Jericho missile.

Direct download: 34.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38pm EDT

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the the Trump Administration is conducting a comprehensive review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the Iran nuclear deal. Jeffrey and Aaron catch up on the deal and try to put the review in context.

Direct download: 36.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06pm EDT

Where were you, April 15th? Because we were in front of our computers ironically tweeting about what new missiles North Korea would show us, and then suddenly it got weird.

The North Korean's showed off 8 missile and launch systems, of which 5 were mods, reconfigurations, or totally new. While we don't think all of the missile systems actually exist yet, this was probably a glimpse of the DPRK's aspirational future missile arsenal.

Jeffrey and Scott get granular as they go through each ballistic missile system in detail and try to parse out what was real, what was signalling, what we learned, and what we will be watching for in the future. 


DISCLAIMER: This data is new and is still being processed. This is a set of second-impressions, not a set of final, settled analytic conclusions.

Due to the lack of a very high resolution parade at time of recording, this link was used.
The schedule:

The Kumsong-3 (Kh-35 lookalike)

The Pukguksong-1 SLBM

The KN-18 ASBM (UPDATE: ID'd erroneously in the pod as the KN-17)

The Pukguksong-2

The Musudan

The KN-08+ or -  (UPDATE: Called the Hwasong-12 and KN-17, though KN-17 designation erroneously used for the terminally guided possible ASBM)

The Soviet-looking DF-21A/31 ICBM MEL(no extant public designation)

The DF-41/RT-2PM2 Topol-M ICBM TEL lovechild (no extant public designation)

 

Direct download: 35.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58am EDT

Syria's Bashar Al Assad has used chemical weapons (again.) Jeffrey and Aaron discuss what happened, why and what to do about it. Jeffrey and Aaron debate the merits of a strike in a episode recorded a few hours before the airstrike on al-Shayrat Air Base.

Direct download: 33.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:22pm EDT

Why are more than 100 countries negotiating a legally binding prohibition on nuclear weapons, at the same time that Donald Trump is arguing for more nukes, the P5 are modernizing, and Kim Jong Un is threatening to use Japan as target practice?

Andrea and Gaukhar explain the initiative’s origins, and report back from the first week of UN talks on the proposed treaty.

Direct download: 32.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am EDT

Do you get lost in missile defense jargon? Have trouble with radar bands, layering, or interceptor types? Jeffrey and Aaron take a step back and discuss the basics of ballistic missile defense architecture and California wines.

Direct download: 30.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34pm EDT

North Korea launched 4 extended range Scuds in March. They weren't the long-awaited ICBM, but they are a big deal in their own way. Jeffrey and Aaron discuss North Korea's launch, US military exercises on the Korean Peninsula, and how a nuclear war might start.

Direct download: 29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Andrea Berger and James Pearson sit down to discuss their open source exposure of Glocom, a front company used by North Korea to sell military communications equipment. North Korea has a reputation for disturbingly impressive sanctions evasion, and the Glocom case is an example of hiding in plain sight. 

They track supply chains, Reconnaissance General Bureau personnel, and conference room architecture in their investigation to see how deep the front-company rabbit hole goes.  

Direct download: 28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:59am EDT

Jeffrey just returned from the Munich Security Conference. On his way back, he passed through DC where he sat down with Aaron and Scott to discuss NATO, extended deterrence, intermediate-range nuclear forces like the RS-26 and the SSC-8, and what makes for an ideal beer hall.

Direct download: 27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am EDT

North Korea tested the Pukguksong-2, a medium-range solid-fueled ballistic missile.

Jeffrey says "I told you so," Scott wonks out about the missile's canister and Aaron brings along his toddler to warn us of the dangers of an EMP attack.

By the end, they might even explain why this missile is a Big Frickin' Deal.

Direct download: 26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06pm EDT

Donald Trump ordered up a new Nuclear Posture Review and reportedly told Vladimir Putin that the New START arms control treaty was a bad deal -- after first asking his advisers what it was. We don't know whether Trump really hired two Russian hookers to pee on Obama's hotel bed in Moscow, but Jeffrey tells Scott that the President is certainly directing a warm stream of abuse toward Obama's nuclear legacy.

Direct download: 25.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18pm EDT

Iran's Khorramshahr missile may be the BM-25 variant of North Korea's Hwasong-10, which the US calls the Musudan, which is based on the Soviet R-27 Zyb, which the US called the SS-N-6 Serb.

Simple, right? Don't worry! Jeffrey and Scott talk about Iran's latest missile test and what it might tell us about missile development in Iran and North Korea.

Direct download: 24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09am EDT

Jeffrey and Scott celebrate the Lunar New Year by sharing two stories
about how the moon featured in the arms race.

Scott talks about plans to nuke the moon in project A119, while
Jeffrey discusses how a young Bill Perry helped the US monitor Soviet
radars by intercepting the signals reflecting off the lunar surface.

Direct download: 23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41am EDT

Trident’s latest test was rather underwhelming. The missile's flight trajectory was error filled and flew at an unintended target (Disneyworld). Why? The dastardly grey weather, or something more pernicious. Is our dear Dreadnought in trouble? Tune in and find out.

Jeffrey and Aaron have a gentlemanly discussion about the British strategic deterrent. Tea will be served.

Direct download: 22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37am EDT

If you study nuclear weapons, you study something secret.  Not
surprisingly, we spend a lot of time in the arms control community
thinking about intelligence estimates.  Jeffrey and Scott take a break
from the bomb to talk analytic method. The  Trump documents dumped on
Buzzfeed are as good an excuse as any to discuss the role of analysis in
making sense of raw intel.

Direct download: 21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:46pm EDT

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss a number of inaccuracies in the public debate over North Korea's long-range missiles and U.S. missile defenses, while Scott seethes on mute.

Direct download: 19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

In the mid-60s, The Green Hornet was a popular TV show. Popular enough for the Taiwanese to apparently name an early ballistic missile after it, the Green Bee (青蜂). Also, did you know Taiwan had its own ballistic missile program? Its anti-ship and cruise missiles tend to make the news, but Taiwan has a storied and strange history with ballistic missile proliferation that involves the infiltration of American universities, the laundering of missiles, and Israel. 

Jeffrey and Scott sit down to discuss Taiwan's history with ballistic missiles with data fresh from Jeffrey's primary source research.

Direct download: ep18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:26pm EDT

Can the North Koreans still trade coal effectively? What is going on with North Korean ships? Are transit lounges smokey dens of proliferative behavior?

Andrea Berger, Deputy Director of Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at the Royal United Services Institute, joins Jeffrey to talk about UNSC 2321 and recent UN attempts to close the loopholes in existing sanctions on North Korea.

Direct download: 17revision.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Aaron and Scott talk about the Fourth Player in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Turkey was the lesser-known player in the Cuban Missile Crisis, with nuclear-tipped Jupiter missiles that ranged the bulk of the western USSR and Warsaw Pact countries. The U.S. opted to pull back the Jupiters in exchange for those pesky missiles south of Florida. Turkey was not thrilled. 

Scott also sneaks in a reference to his favorite never-was missile, the Italian Alfa.

Direct download: EP16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17am EDT

Donald Trump can independently order the United States to launch nuclear weapons. No, really ... he can independently order the use American nukes. This realization has made some uncomfortable, prompting discussions about presidential power and the bomb. Jeffrey and Aaron talk Donald, the Bomb, and independent launch authority.

Direct download: ep15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:46pm EDT

The election is over and Donald Trump is our president elect. The president elect and the nuclear did make regular appearances on the podcast, but things are different now. This week, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the election, the Donald, and the nuclear.

Direct download: ep14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03pm EDT

Did you know Egypt has a robust ballistic missile program?  And has had, since the 1960s?  Or that Egypt worked with Argentina and Iraq to design missiles?  Or that Egypt was the source of the missiles that are the basis of North Korea's missile programs?  Ever wonder what the Egyptians are up to now?  Aaron and Jeffrey discuss one of the world's least understood missile programs.

Direct download: ep13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am EDT

Scott Lafoy sits in for Aaron as Scott and Jeffrey discuss China's hit-to-kill program being tested out of Korla in China's western desert. Is designed to defend against missiles or shoot-down satellites?  BOTH, SILLY!

Direct download: ep12-2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26pm EDT

Donald Trump made a bunch of crazy claims about the 2010 New START treaty, misnaming it the START UP treaty.  And, on top of that, State published the semi-annual aggregate data causing raising a few eyebrows and signing a couple of others with hot takes.  All of which is plenty of reason for Aaron to tell Jeffrey what it was like the negotiate an arms control treaty in Bill Potter's famous simulation class.

Direct download: ep11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:37pm EDT

Russia deployed the Iskander missile system to its tiny enclave of Kaliningrad and is reportedly churning out ground-launched cruise missiles like sausages.  The 1987 INF Treaty is probably in a lot of trouble,  which is as good a reason as any for podcast.  Jeffrey and Aaron talk.

Direct download: ep10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:43pm EDT

Yemen showed off a new missile called the Burkan-1 that looks an awful lot like an Extended Range Scud. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the very ignored missile program of a very ignored country. 

Direct download: ep9.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:38pm EDT

Former French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has written an article for The Washington Quarterly that dishes some of the dirt about negotiations leading up to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- better known as the Iran Deal.  Jeffrey and Aaron discuss what the revelations mean for the past and present of the US-Iran relationship.

Direct download: ep8.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:19pm EDT

There is a healthy debate about how much a new ICBM will cost the US Air Force.  One question is whether to base the new missile in silos or consider something more ... exotic.  Jeffrey and Aaron take a light-hearted look at basing modes discussed during 1980s when the American defense community last confronted this question.

Direct download: Ep7.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52pm EDT

Leaked audio proves that Hilary Clinton revealed her secret plan to cancel the nuclear-armed cruise missile at a fundraiser in February.  Except it doesn't.  Aaron and Jeffrey discuss.

Direct download: ep6.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

During the first Presidential debate, Donald Trump was asked about whether the United States should pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.  Jeffrey and Aaron use Trump's ramblings as guide to nuclear weapons declaratory policy.

Direct download: Ep5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25pm EDT

The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2310 calling for an end to nuclear testing and the entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the origin of the proposal to pass a UNSCR against nuclear testing, the politics of the damn thing, and "World's Greatest Deliberative Body"™.

Direct download: 9272016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am EDT

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss North Korea's test of new rocket engine.  In January 2016, the US Treasry Department sanctioned several Iranian individuals associated with Iran's Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG) for helping North Korea develop this engine -- the infamous "Dudes from the SHIG."

Direct download: 9222016_dudes_from_the_shig_II.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm EDT

President Barack Obama entered office with a speech in Prague committing the United States to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Like every other two term President, his attention in the final months has turned to his legacy.  Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the reports that Obama considered and rejected no first use, and what he might do as his term comes to an end.

Josh Rogin, "Obama plans major nuclear policy changes in his final months," Washington Post, July 10, 2016.

David Sanger and William Broad, "Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons," New York Times, September 5, 2016.

Julian Borger, "Obama to decide on cuts to US nuclear arsenal in October," The Guardian, September 17, 2016.

Direct download: Dolittle_Do_a_lot_9202016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:05pm EDT

North Korea conducted yet another nuclear test. On a school night.

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss North Korea's fifth nuclear test, what it is like to write three articles in three days, and how quickly a toddler can decorate a television in lotion.

North Korea’s Nuke Program Is Way More Sophisticated Than You Think, Foreign Policy, September 9, 2016.

Why Is North Korea's Fifth Nuclear Test Different From Its Other Tests? The Atlantic, September 10, 2016. 

The Fifth Test: North Korea Building A Strategic Rocket Force? Beyond Parallel, September 9, 2016.

Direct download: ACW_20160913.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:16am EDT

“MIRV” stands for Multiple Independently-targetable Re-entry Vehicles, the ability to put lots of very accurate nuclear warheads on a single missile.  Michael Krepon watched the US-Soviet arms race dangerously accelerate as both sides deployed large numbers of MIRVed missiles in the 1970s. Now other countries, like China and India, seem to be heading down this path.  Michael has edited a new book, The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs, that looks at the challenges and includes, among others, a chapter by Jeffrey on China’s nuclear forces.  Jeffrey and Michael discussion counterforce, MIRVs and the possibility of more intense nuclear arms races in East and South Asia.

The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age, Michael Krepon, Travis Wheeler and Shane Mason, editors (Stimson Center, 2016). 

Jeffrey Lewis, “Great, Now China’s Got Multiple Nuclear Warhead Missiles?” Foreign Policy.com, May 26, 2015.

Support the show (and Karl the producer) by making a small donation on Patreon!

Thanks to: Dr Mark McCall, Sean Wain Dunlevy, Tim Emerton, and TD MacDonald for supporting the podcast!

Direct download: ACW_MIRVS_4_Jun_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:11pm EDT

Jeffrey and the Center for Nonproliferation Studies have been busy hosting a series of track 1.5 dialogues in the foggy bit of California. Under the direction of Stephanie Lieggi, CNS brought together American and Chinese officials for a much broader conversation about nonproliferation that was hijacked by the North Koreans - sorta like this podcast. Earlier that same week, a group of Russian and American officials met to discuss the DPRK nuclear threat. In this latest addition the podcast, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss these two track 1.5 events, in addition to our mutual love of Santa Lucia Pinot Noir and whales (tune in to find out how we worked in these last two topics).

Here is the write-up of our Russia meeting: What to do about North Korea: U.S., Russian officials talk in Monterey

Here is the link to Anna’s story in the Post: North Korea’s missile launch has failed, South’s military says - The Washington Post

Here is my write up of the static engine test: New DPRK ICBM Engine

Support the show (and Karl the producer) by making a small donation on Patreon!

Direct download: ACW_19_Apr_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

Would South Korea ever build the bomb? Probably not, but there is a constituency in the country that has thought about it. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss South Korea’s nuclear weapon history - and constraints on proliferation.

Direct download: ACW_26_Mar_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:12pm EDT

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un visited a missile factory and posed with a nuclear weapon promoting the obvious question: Which one is Fat Man and which one is Little Boy? Aaron and Jeffrey discuss.

Direct download: ACW_10_Mar_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:57pm EDT

The DPRK launched a small satellite using its latest SLV, the Kwangmyŏngsŏng. In response, the United States and its regional allies deployed missile defense systems to defend their population from the DPRK threat. One problem: the systems deployed had no hope of shooting down the DPRK rocket. Today’s podcast explores the politics of alliance reassurance and why the US needs a new playbook to deal with DPRK space launches.

Direct download: ACW_10_Feb_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:18pm EDT

The U.S Treasury Department sanctioned individuals in the UAE and Iran, including some “dudes from the SHIG” for cooperation with KOMID. What the hell is KOMID? Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the Korea Mining Development Corporation, North Korea’s major arms seller and ponder the future of efforts to stop the (further) spread of ballistic and cruise missiles.

Treasury Sanctions Those Involved in Ballistic Missile Procurement for Iran

Direct download: ACW_20_Jan_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

North Korea tested a submarine launched ballistic missile called the KN-11. The North Koreans released footage of the test that showed the missile soaring into the heavens. A close analysis of the footage by the Middlebury Institute team, however, determined that is exploded catastrophically shortly after launch. Jeffrey and Aaron discuss North Korea’s missile programs, the analysis of the test and what we should do about a problem like this.

Catherine Dill, “Video Analysis of DPRK SLBM Footage,” Arms Control Wonk, January 12, 2016

Direct download: ACW_14_Jan_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:46pm EDT

North Korea tested a nuclear weapon, claiming it was an H-bomb. Was it? Aaron Stein returns to talk with Jeffrey about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Direct download: ACW_North_Korea_test_6_Jan_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:03pm EDT

Russian cruise missiles are in the news lately, from allegations from strikes in Syria to ongoing allegations that Russia is violating the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.  Why are the Russians so nutty for cruise missiles?  Jeffrey talks to Tom Moore, a former professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to discuss Russia new air, sea and ground-launch cruise missiles.

Direct download: ACW_Russian_Cruise_Missiles_14_Dec_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:11pm EDT

Red Mercury. It does not exist and anyone promising you riches for it is a conman. Following CJ Chivers massive story in the New York Times magazine about the red mercury hoax, inlcuding efforts by groups like ISIS to obtain what they think is an ultra-secret nuclear material, Jeffrey talks to Michael Moore about the awful humanitarian impact of the widespread belief in Subsaharan Africa that landmines are a source of Red Mercury, and how he started a website, The Campaign Against Red Mercury, to get the word out.

C.J. Chivers, “The Doomsday Scam” New York Times Magazine, November 19, 2015.

The Campaign Aganst Red Mercury Website

Direct download: ACW_3_Dec_15_Red_Mercury.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:48pm EDT

The IAEA has completed its managed access to Iran’s Parchin site, which reportedly included the taking of samples and images. The process by which the samples were taken and questions about how the IAEA would authenticate the samples has led to a recurring debate about whether Iran is “inspecting itself.’ Jeffrey is joined by Cheryl Rofer, a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory and founder of Nuclear Diner, a blog about nuclear policy stuff.

Sampling At Parchin | Nuclear Diner

How the AP Got the Iran Inspections Story Wrong

Direct download: ACW_2_Oct_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:35pm EDT

In this week’s podcast, Jeffrey speaks to Aaron live from Hiroshima. Seventy years after the first use of nuclear weapons, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the decision to use the bomb, the bureaucracy underpinning American nuclear decision-making, and the role of nuclear weapons in the twenty-first century.

Links:

Direct download: ACW_Hiroshima_10_Aug_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:27pm EDT

Sanctions and the Iran Deal

Sanctions relief is a super important part of the Iran deal. It can also be kind of boring. We know boring. We study arms control verification, for pete’s sake.

But it’s still super important. Jeffrey and Aaron are joined by Sam Cutler, policy advisor at Ferrari & Associates, P.C., in a special joint Arms Control Wonk and Sanction Law podcast. You might even say it’s s Joint Comprehensive Podcast. Special bonus: Jeffrey and Aaron help Sam develop some sanction law related pickup lines.

Links:

Direct download: ACW_SanctionLaw_21_Jul_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:34am EDT

After months of negotiations, the EU3+3 and Iran have signed a nuclear agreement. Jeffrey was so excited he got up at 3:30 in the morning California time to get a jump on reading the 159 page document. Meanwhile, Europe based Aaron read it over coffee at a cafe outside. All in all, the JCPOA looks a lot like the US fact sheet after Lausanne - and that is a good thing! 

In today’s episode, Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the merits of the deal, why we should have cared more about Cyprus, and Iran’s Fordow compromise. The discussions also touches on the missile issue, as well Russia’s cornering of the Iranian conventional weapons market. On it merits, the agreement is good for nonproliferation, but will do little to help solve the region’s security problems. But based on the deal’s original intent - sanctions relief for greater access to Iranian nuclear sites - the agreement achieves what it set out to do. 

Direct download: ACW_15_Jul_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:17pm EDT

After a four week absence, Aaron returns to the show to discuss the current state of the Middle East and related nonproliferation challenges/concerns. The wide ranging conversation touches on the prevailing stability-instability paradox, the Saudi Air War in Yemen, Scud hunting difficulties, the proliferation of ballistic missiles in the Gulf, and why the Saudis can probably build a Bomb - but won’t because most states don’t choose build nuclear weapons.

It also wades into the mess in Syria and sorts through the concerns about the Islamic State’s overrunning of Syrian nuclear sites, and whether or not Bashar al Assad stashed fuel rods in Hezbollahstan

Sorry, Fareed: Saudi Arabia Can Build a Bomb Any Damn Time It Wants To | Foreign Policy by Jeffrey

Direct download: ACW_3_Jul_15_Final.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:11pm EDT

In May, North Korea released pictures of the Kim Jong Un watching the launch of what appears to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Jeffrey sits down with Melissa Hanham and Dave Schmerler to discuss open source and the DPRK’s SLBM program.

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Direct download: ACW_15_Jun_15_CNS_show.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:33pm EDT

The 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, known among wonks as the REVCON, collapsed in acrimony. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is – last week we talked with Andrea Berger about the debate in New York over disarmament and a long-planned conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction-free Zone in the Middle East. Joining Aaron and Jeffrey for Part 2 of NPT REVCON Follies is Jeffrey’s colleague at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova.

Gaukhar is the Director of International Organizations & Nonproliferation Program. She attended the REVCON for all four weeks and wrote two posts for the Arms Control Wonk blog (one and two) from the REVCON.

Sponsor: Tinderbox a personal content assistant that helps you visualize, analyze, and share your notes. Download and try it today.

Direct download: ACW_6_Jun_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:32pm EDT

The 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, known among wonks as the REVCON, collapsed in acrimony. After weeks of debate over disarmament between the nuclear haves and have nots, the parties failed to agree to a consensus state after Egypt and the United States deadlocked over the details of a long-planned conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction-free zone in the Middle East.

Joining Aaron and Jeffrey to talk about the REVCON is Andrea Berger, the Deputy Director of the Proliferation and Nuclear Policy programme at RUSI.

Gangs of New York: The 2015 NPT Revcon by Andrea Berger

Direct download: ACW_28_May_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:50pm EDT

The Pentagon’s annual report on China’s military power (PDF) describes for the first time, China’s CSS-4 mod 3 missile equipped with multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicles. MIRVs! Hans Kristensen noticed the passage and, over the weekend, David Sanger and Bill Broad published a nearly 1000 word piece in the New York Times that includes quotes by several experts including Jeffrey.

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss what China is doing, whether it heralds a change in Chinese nuclear posture and what the US should do in response. Jeffrey also gets in plugs for his two books on China’s nuclear weapons programs, Minimum Means of Reprisal (2006) and Paper Tigers (2014).

Direct download: ACW_19_May_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:36pm EDT

Iran has been dominating the news, but the North Koreans have been busy too. Whether it is missile testing, nuclear activities at Yongbyon or new space launch facilities, there is a lot to look at. We use open source tools from satellite photographs to computer models for keeping up with the Kims.

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss North Korea’s new general satellite control center, changes at the Soha launch site, North Korea’s missile testing and changes at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Kim Jong Un Visits Newly-built General Satellite Control Centre,” Rodong Sinmun, May 5, 2015.

Nick Hansen, “North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station: Major Upgrade Program Completed; Facility Operational Again,” 38 North, October 1, 2014.

David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, “Yongbyon: A Better Insight into the Status of the 5MWe Reactor,” ISIS, April 29, 2015 (PDF).

Jeffrey Lewis, “DPRK Missile, Rocket Launches,” ArmsControlWonk.com, February 10, 2015.

Jeffrey Lewis, “Don’t Know Where Waldo Went, But Kim Jong Un Was in Wonsan: Geolocating North Korea’s June 26 and August 14 Missile Launches,” 38North, November 3, 2014.

Jeffrey Lewis, “North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons: The Great Miniaturization Debate,” 38North, February 5 2015.

Greg Scarlatoiu and Joseph Bermudez Jr. “Unusual Activity at the Kanggon Military Training Area in North Korea: Evidence of Execution by Anti-aircraft Machine Guns?” HRNK Insider, April 29, 2015 (PDF).

Direct download: ACW_5_May_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:25pm EDT

A bill to have both Houses of Congress vote on any deal between Iran and the E3/EU+3 to limit Tehran’s nuclear program is winding its way through the United States Senate. Some people are worried that the measure known as Corker-Cardin – or even just the freakshow that is debate within the self-proclaimed world’s greatest deliberative body – will kill off negotiations. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the substance and politics of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.

Direct download: ACW_28_Apr_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

The United Kingdom is having an election in May. Inexplicably, the issue of whether London can afford to replace its fleet of nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines is shaping up to be a major issue, especially if there is a hung parliament. Actually, the debate is getting downright nasty. The Tory defense secretary has already warned the Labour’s Ed Milliband would “barter away our nuclear deterrent in a backroom deal with the SNP,” adding that Milliband “stabbed his own brother in the back to become Labour leader. Now he is willing to stab the United Kingdom in the back to become prime minister.”

Jeffrey and Aaron are joined by Toby Fenwick (@Tobbes73), a Middlebury College alum who has written a monograph entitled Retiring Trident: An Alternative Proposal for UK Nuclear Deterrence. We were also joined, briefly, by Toby’s neighbor. That was weird. But very polite.

Toby Fenwick, Retiring Trident: An Alternative Proposal for UK Nuclear Deterrence, CentreForum, 2015. (PDF)

Direct download: ACW_9_Apr_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:33pm EDT

We have a deal! Or, at least, a “framework” agreement between Iran and the E3/EU+3. Whether the negotiators can hammer out the details by June 30, especially on the timing of sanctions relief, remains to be seen but the terms of the deal look pretty strong.

Aaron and Jeffrey run through what we know, what we think and what we wonder about the Iran nuclear deal. Then Max Fisher from Vox joins to talk about what its like to cover the Iran issue.

Links:

Follow the hosts & guest on Twitter:

Direct download: ACW7_Apr_15_Fisher.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:39am EDT

The circus continues! In Obama’s America, the truth is revealed! The US helped with Israel’s H-Bomb. But wait, there’s more! To punish Bibi Netanyahu, our Muslim Brotherhood lovin’ president released a declassified a report detailing said cooperation with Israel on nuclear weapon, thus indirectly confirming for the first time Israel’s nuclear program. Scandal, right? 

Not really. It turns out that the prestigious news organizations that have reported on this “news" - Iran’s Press TV, Russia Today, The Nation, Anti-War.com, and the Weekly Standard - failed to read the never classified document. The study is about missile defense; the Strategic Defense Initiative to be more specific. What does this have to do with nuclear weapons? Edward Teller’s Project Excalibur, or a nuclear pumped X-Ray Laser to shoot down Soviet ICBMs in flight. It goes boom!

To find out more about this story, tune in to the latest podcast.

Direct download: Israels_H-Bomb.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:32pm EDT

With negotiations between Iran and the E3/EU+3 coming down to the wire, Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the circus surrounding the talks including the false allegations about secret underground centrifuge plants and nastygrams from members of Congress. Jeffrey has a newborn and a head-cold, but called in anyway. Why? It’s another emergency podcast!

Jeffrey Lewis, “Why a ‘Bad’ Deal With Iran Is Better Than No Deal at All,” Foreign Policy, March 11, 2015

Jeffrey Lewis, “That Secret Iranian ‘Nuclear Facility’ You Just Found? Not So Much,” Foreign Policy, March 3, 2015

Direct download: Iran_Talks_Have_Become_a_Coughing_Goat_Rodeo.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:02am EDT

Russia’s last early warning satellite is dead. It is no more, has ceased to be, is bereft of life, it rests in peace. This is an ex-early warning bird. So should we be worried? Jeffrey and Aaron talk to David Hoffman, author of the magisterial The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy.

David Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (Anchor, 2009).

Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces,” Pavel Podvig, editor (MIT Press, 2004).

Valery E. Yarynich, “C3: Nuclear Command, Control, Cooperation.” (Center for Defense Information, 2003).

Pavel Podvig, “Russia lost all its early-warning satellites,” Russianforces.org February 11, 2015.

Anton Valagin, “Guaranteed wages: how the Russian system ‘Perimeter’,” January 22, 2014. Rossiya Gazeta.

Michael Tymoshenko, “Retaliatory Nuclear Strike Will Be Mounted Under Any Circumstances,” Red Star, February 19, 2015.

Bruce Blair, “Russia’s Doomsday Machine,” New York Times, October 8, 1993. See also: William J. Broad, “Russia Has ‘Doomsday’ Machine, U.S. Expert Says,” New York Times, October 8, 1993.

Previously Classified Interviews with Former Soviet Officials Reveal U.S. Strategic Intelligence Failure Over Decades, 1995 Contractor Study Finds that U.S. Analysts Exaggerated Soviet Aggressiveness and Understated Moscow’s Fears of a U.S. First Strike,” William Burr and Svetlana Savranskaya, editors, National Security Archive, September 11, 2009.

Direct download: ACW8_Mar_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:48pm EDT

Its cold in Moscow. On a chilly day in a hotel overlooking Red Square, Boston Globe reported “the Russians informed the Americans that they were refusing any more US help protecting their largest stockpiles of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium from being stolen or sold on the black market.” How bad is it? Well, things are bad after Russia circumvented Ukraine’s state sovereignty. Today Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the cancellation of US-Russian cooperation programs. To lighten the mood, Jeffrey and Aaron call Dr. Bethany Goldblum, the Founder and Director of the Nuclear Policy Working Group at UC Berkeley, to talk about her efforts to train the next generation of nuclear security experts.

Links:

Direct download: ACW_17_Feb_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:29am EDT

After a series of scandals, incoming Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has some tough choices to make about US nuclear weapons and the future of the so-called “triad” of nuclear delivery system.

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss Carter’s confirmation hearing, Jeffrey’s article in Foreign Policy (The Nuclear Trials of Ashton Carter, Foreign Policy, February 5, 2015), and Janne Nolan’s account of Carter’s role in the Clinton Administration’s 1994 Nuclear Posture Review (see below).

Jeffrey also interviewed Geoff Brumfiel, a science correspondent at National Public Radio, about his reporting on the future of the US ICBM force. Geoff visited the 90th missile wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base and reported a three-part series for All Things Considered:

Geoff also wrote a pair of very funny blog posts:

After outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel received a pair of reviews of the nuclear enterprise, Geoff revisited his reporting for All Things Considered:

Reading recommendations:

Direct download: ACW_9Feb15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:36am EDT

We love open source. We talk about it all of the time. But it went wrong - like really wrong - in two different instances in recent weeks. Today, Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the dark side of open source and the need for analysts and journalists to be rigorous in how they approach open source work.

Links:

Direct download: ACW_3_Feb_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:59pm EDT

What’s up with Taiwan’s cruise missile program? What in the world compelled the Taiwanese government to deploy the HF-2E in poorly disguised civilian still trucks? And how cool is it that Taiwan displayed the HF-2E’s engine?
 
To get to the bottom of Taiwan’s cruise missile program, Aaron and Jeffrey speak with Dennis Gormley, the author of Missile Contagion and A Low Visibility Force Multiplier, about the proliferation of cruise missiles, the lack of an effective cruise missile defense, and Taiwan’s efforts to date.
Direct download: ACW_24_Jan_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

We love Serial. But what does it have to with arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament - nothing, really. So why talk about it? Geospatial analysis, of course.

No, really!

Today, Jeffrey and Aaron speak with Susan Simpson, an associate at the Volkov Law Group (and an expert in national security law), about geospatial analysis and how it relates to the Serial podcast.

The View From LL2 | Thoughts on law, economics, and all things slightly geeky. - Susan’s blog

Direct download: ACW_9_Jan_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:34pm EDT

Today, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the history of Saudi Arabia’s missile program and the reasons for the Kingdom’s new openness vis-a-vis its ballistic missiles.

Saudi Rattles Its Saber | NTI Analysis - by Jeffrey and Ala Alrababah

Direct download: ACW_21_Dec_14.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT

The INF debate continues. The controversy about Russia’s new cruise missile raises a number of key questions about American strategy in Europe: How should the United States respond to Russia’s INF violation? What are the security implications of a new Russian ground launched cruise missiles? Has Russia’s “circumvention” of state sovereignty changed the game? And - in a change from the status quo - the show does not end on a positive note, but rather with a gloomy prediction.

Direct download: ACW_17_Dec_14.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:42pm EDT

Washington is a mess. We are fighting three wars and we don’t have a Secretary of Defense. In this episode of the podcast, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the Hagel resignation, Ash Carter, and the dysfunction in Washington. Tune in for commentary on automated systems, the autopen, and Aaron’s defense of Chuck Hagel’s socks.

Direct download: ACW_7_Dec_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:37pm EDT

7 months! Really? 7 Months! Is it over?

After the recent extension of the JPOA, Jeffrey and Aaron felt it necessary to hold an emergency podcast (Jeffrey is speaking from an undisclosed parking lot in Northern California) to discuss the future of the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Tune in to hear our take on the future of the JPOA and the threat posed by new US sanctions and Iran’s IR-5.

The Iran Nuke Extension Is a Death Sentence - Jeffrey’s article in Foreign Policy

Direct download: ACW_25_Nov_14.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:17pm EDT

After sitting poolside for two weeks, Arms Control Wonk podcast co-host Aaron Stein returns to talk with Jeffrey and Shashank Joshi about the P5+1’s negotiations with Iran. In it, we discuss the current state of the negotiations, the prospects for an extension to the JPOA, Iranian centrifuge research, and conclude, as always, on a positive note.

Direct download: ACW_22_Nov_14.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:05pm EDT

How does Jeffrey find time to podcast? He has super talented staff to do the real work! Jeffrey talks with Melissa Hanham and Catherine Dill, research associates at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, about their latest work modeling North Korean missiles and eyeballing Chinese military bases.

A collection of missile models produced by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Direct download: ACW_12_Nov.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:36pm EDT

How can open source information help verify arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation agreements? Jeffrey and Aaron talk with the NTI’s Corey Hinderstein. In the 1990s, Corey was one of the first nonproliferation experts to use commercial satellite images and other open source tools to peek into foreign nuclear programs. Here is Corey way back in 1999.

Today Corey is Vice President, International Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and author, along with Kelsey Hartigan and Andrew Newsman, of Innovating Verification: New Tools & New Actors to Reduce Nuclear Risks.

Direct download: ACW_6_Nov_14.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:19pm EDT

Aaron and Jeffrey talk with Theresa Hitchens, the Director of UNIDIR, about life in Geneva, space, and emerging technologies. The podcast begins with some useful tips for cheese lovers and Jeffrey’s advice for finding the perfect sausage, before moving on to a discussion about difficulties in defining a “space weapon,” the Russian and Chinese approaches to space issues, cyber threats, and the need for the US to craft a more comprehensive policy to address future proliferation threats.

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Direct download: ACW_27Oct14.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:32pm EDT

The Iraq Survey Group did a poor job. How did the ISG miss so many pre-1991 chemical weapons? Did Donald Rumsfeld do anything right? Why did US soldiers receive poor medical care in Iraq and then after they came home? Why wasn't the Pentagon prepared to find poorly disposed of chemical weapons in Iraq? And, finally, what should the US do about it? Today, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss C.J. Chivers' latest piece in the New York Times, The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-392781-s-1.audio.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:45am EDT

Where is Kim Jong-Un? Is he sick? Has there been a coup? Or is North Korea simply trolling DPRK watchers? Today, Jeffrey and Aaron speak with Andrea Berger, a Research Fellow at RUSI, about North Korea, Kim Jong-Un's whereabouts, the DPRK's nuclear doctrine, and whether or not North Korea wants to be seen as a responsible nuclear state.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-392219-s-1.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:21am EDT