Jeffrey Lewis & Aaron Stein

Arms Control Wonk

Arms Control Wonk

Description

The nuclear weapons, arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation podcast. Companion to the popular Arms Control Wonk blog (www.armscontrolwonk.com)

Episodes

Iran's Four Steps

Nov 13, 2019 22:25

Description:

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!

China's 70th National Day Parade

Nov 6, 2019 52:32

Description:

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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Tailkits and the Turks: US Nuclear Weapons in Turkey

Oct 15, 2019 32:35

Description:

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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North Korea's New SLBM: The Pukguksong-3

Oct 8, 2019 42:54

Description:

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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An Iranian Missile Attack on Saudi Arabia?

Sep 19, 2019 39:39

Description:

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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Abadeh

Sep 14, 2019 31:54

Description:

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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Russia's Mysterious Nuclear-powered Missile Accident

Aug 22, 2019 52:02

Description:

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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Deproliferation in the Debates

Aug 5, 2019 25:17

Description:

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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CTBTO 2019

Jul 11, 2019 35:08

Description:

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. 

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First Combat Use: Turkey's Bora Missile

Jun 26, 2019 35:03

Description:

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.

 

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Low-yield Nuclear Testing in Russia?

Jun 14, 2019 52:40

Description:

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.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Middle East Missile Map

May 24, 2019 36:45

Description:

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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Iran and (more) Nuclear Archive

May 16, 2019 54:28

Description:

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.

 

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North Korea's New Short-Range Missile

May 8, 2019 26:28

Description:

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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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Nuclear

Apr 11, 2019 45:12

Description:

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.    Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Mission Shakti: The Indian Anti-Satellite Test

Mar 29, 2019 35:56

Description:

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.)

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Trump-Kim II: The Scapegoat Rodeo

Mar 4, 2019 37:29

Description:

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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IP3, YEAH YOU KNOW ME

Mar 1, 2019 48:08

Description:

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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The Demise of the INF and the Munich Security Conference

Feb 22, 2019 34:54

Description:

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.

  Previous Podcast Episodes about this Topic:   INF Basing Modes, Asia Edition Pulling Out of the INF 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!

KCN-eh? January's other North Korea Developments

Feb 19, 2019 48:46

Description:

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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From Bone Saws to Ballistic Missiles

Jan 25, 2019 35:15

Description:

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!

Avangard: A Boost-Guide Primer

Jan 24, 2019 43:32

Description:

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!

 

Kim Jong Un's 2019 New Year's Day Speech

Jan 9, 2019 41:52

Description:

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!

North Korea's Expanding Missile Base

Dec 12, 2018 34:45

Description:

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!

KCN-eh? November's other North Korea Developments

Dec 6, 2018 45:05

Description:

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?! 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Nuclear Navies in South Asia

Nov 12, 2018 41:04

Description:

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!

INF Basing Modes, Asia Edition

Nov 7, 2018 44:15

Description:

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!

KCN-eh? October's other North Korea Developments

Nov 6, 2018 59:14

Description:

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!

Pulling Out of the INF

Oct 31, 2018 34:30

Description:

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!

A Future for Arms Control?

Oct 16, 2018 32:13

Description:

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.

 

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If You Say, Kay

Oct 3, 2018 37:07

Description:

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.

 

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KCN-eh? September's other North Korea Developments

Oct 1, 2018 01:09:27

Description:

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!

JCPO-eh? Iran, the EU, and the US

Sep 17, 2018 55:23

Description:

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.

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Nuclear Rationality and the 2020 Commission

Sep 11, 2018 01:00:51

Description:

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!

South Korean Missile Tracking

Aug 14, 2018 22:11

Description:

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!

KCN-eh? July's other North Korea Developments

Aug 6, 2018 41:08

Description:

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!

North Korea's Continuing Missile Production

Jul 31, 2018 32:48

Description:

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!

North Korea's New Old Enrichment Site: Kangson

Jul 14, 2018 40:48

Description:

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!

KCN-eh? June's other North Korea Developments

Jul 10, 2018 54:03

Description:

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.

 

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!

Sentosa Goat Rodeo

Jun 13, 2018 50:48

Description:

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.   AFP: "Kim says denuclearisation dependent on ceasing antagonism, says 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!    

Russia's Crashing Cruise Missile

Jun 11, 2018 29:34

Description:

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!

Iranian ICBMs, Shahrud, and an Important Safety Lesson

Jun 8, 2018 44:40

Description:

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!

KCN-eh? May's other North Korea Developments

Jun 4, 2018 01:00:50

Description:

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!

The Libya Model and North Korean Nukes

May 17, 2018 39:46

Description:

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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North Korean Nuclear Tunnels

May 11, 2018 44:48

Description:

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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KCN-eh? April's other North Korea Developments - Part 2

May 3, 2018 44:05

Description:

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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Netanyahu and the Atomic Archive

May 2, 2018 42:26

Description:

Bibi showed off Iran’s bomb. And its pretty crappy. The slide show added some titillating details to what the world already knew about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and, in doing so, made the case for why the JCPOA is so important. The real news was not the documents or their provenance, but what they revealed about Iran’s nuclear weapons planning.

They wanted a few bombs in the basement. Literally.

Jeffrey and Aaron talk this week about the Iranian nuclear weapons program, how Bibi added to what we already knew about their program, and why the JCPOA is important to verify that Iran’s bomb program remains confined to dusty files in binders and CDs in a dilapidated warehouse.

Links of Note:

Netanyahu's presentation.

Jeffrey's Twitter thread walking through the presentation, step-by-step.

Joshua Pollack's Defense One article on the presentation.

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KCN-eh? April's other North Korea Developments - Part 1

Apr 25, 2018 01:14:26

Description:

A Canadian reviews the last few weeks of North Korea news with a special guest.

Andrea talks to Ramon Pacheco-Pardo from King’s College London about DPRK summit mania. They cover the recent high-level visits to Pyongyang, Beijing and Washington, consider North Korean pledges to refrain from certain nuclear and missile testing, and debate whether this is all a house of cards.

Links of Note:

Ramon’s take on the forthcoming inter-Korean summit, for War on the Rocks.

Yonhap on the Pompeo visit to Pyongyang, one of several ROK outlets creating an echo chamber for the Asahi Shimbun story.

The North Korean statement pledging to suspend ICBM testing and nuclear testing at the “northern” test ground.

Scott’s analysis of the recent North Korean test freeze pledge, for NK News.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

 

The Strike on Al Kibar

Apr 11, 2018 23:30

Description:

Haaretz dropped an incredible article with new details about the 2007 Israeli air strike on the nascent Syrian nuclear reactor at Al Kibar.

So we thought it would be a good opportunity to interrupt Jeffrey's working vacation to talk about Al Kibar, the North Korean nuclear connection, and how our understanding of the event has evolved over the past decade.

Links of Note:

The Haaretz article with all the details on the strike on Al Kibar.

One reader's trip to the Syrian archaeological site near Al Kibar that should not, and we cannot emphasize this enough, ever be tried again.

The 2008 videos detailing the Al Kibar strike

Some ACW blog posts on Al Kibar:

Discussions on the details of the reactor.

Some US IC statements about Al Kibar.

Decisionmaking around the strike.

Al Kibar being overrun during the Civil War.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

KCN-eh? March's Other North Korean Developments

Mar 30, 2018 40:29

Description:

A Canadian reviews the last month's North Korea news with two special guests, Jeffrey and Aaron. It's a family pod!

Andrea discusses the new UN Panel of Experts report on North Korea's illicit arms dealing, whether the DPRK is helping reconstitute the Syrian chemical weapons program, and some long awaited discussions on Myanmar's acquisition of North Korean ballistic missile systems.

 

Links of Note:

The New Panel of Experts Report!

The rest of the PoE reports, if you would like some light reading.

DPRK Foreign Ministry response to "maximum pressure" statements.

Russian Nuclear Doctrine and Escalation

Mar 23, 2018 30:12

Description:

What is Russia’s nuclear doctrine? Jeffrey talks to Dr. Olga Oliker about Russian nuclear doctrine and developments. Unfortunately, she speaks Russian, which turns out to he really inconvenient for a lot of people's theories. 

Jeffrey and Olga discuss whether escalate to deescalate is a thing and Putin’s awesome new menagerie of terror weapons. 

Dr. Oliker's hosts a podcast, Russian Roulette, with Jeffrey Mankoff over at CSIS. It can be found here, go take a listen!

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Novichok: The New Guy

Mar 16, 2018 34:46

Description:

The Russian chemical weapons attack in Salisbury is, sadly, not the first assassination to take place on UK soil.

Jeffrey and Aaron spoke about Russia’s use of a Novichok nerve agent, what this act says about a return of Soviet patterns of behavior, and some policy options.

 

Links of Note:

The Stimson Center report, Chemical Weapons Disarmament in Russia: Problems and Prospects.

A Trump/Kim Summit

Mar 9, 2018 29:26

Description:

President Trump announced that he's going to meet with Kim Jong Un.

He seems to think that Kim Jong Un is giving up his weapons. Kim Jong Un seems to think that Trump is recognizing North Korea as a nuclear power. What could possibly go wrong? 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss before Sarah Sanders walks this back. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

North Korean Missile Lunch

Mar 8, 2018 37:05

Description:

A delegation from South Korea visited Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang.  After a sumptuous lunch and what looked like a little boozy, over-the-top happy Kim Jong Un waved goodbye as the South Korean delegation drove off with promises.

Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the ROK's post-lunch (not launch, for once) statement, the history of DPRK negotiations, and what could go wrong and right with the talks on the Korean Peninsula. 

Links of Note

Statements on the inter-Korean meeting.

Mark Fitzpatrick's article on the Leap Day Deal and how U.S./DPRK parallel statements differed in 2012.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

 

KCN-eh? February's Other North Korean Developments

Mar 5, 2018 45:45

Description:

Two Canadians review the last month of North Korean developments as they try to ignore Canada's Olympic performance in curling and hockey.

Andrea talks to Matt Korda about Olympic diplomacy, DPRK proliferation networks, maritime deception practices, and the most recent set of sanctions.

 

Links of Note:

The transcript of the 2008 Burmese military delegation visit to Pyongyang.

The Panel of Experts Report covered in Reuters.

An update to Olympic Diplomacy: The ROK Delegation meets with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang this week.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Putin's Nuke-a-palooza

Mar 3, 2018 40:58

Description:

Russian president Vladimir Putin presented his annual address yesterday.

He showed off a bunch of new or recent nuclear weapons systems, designed to defeat US missile defenses.

The weirdest idea of all is a nuclear power cruise missile with global range. You read that right. Nuclear powered.

Aaron, Jeffrey, and Scott convene to discuss Russia’s new generation of insane nuclear weapons, ponder how we got here, and wonder what the hell we can do about it.

Links of Note:

Video Links!

The whole speech.

The new laser.

The new intercontinental nuclear-powered cruise missile.

The Sarmat ICBM with global range.

The air-launched missile Kinzhal.

The Avangard/Vanguard HGV.

The Status-6/Kanyon nuclear autonomous underwater vehicle.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has opened up voting on some of the new systems' names... if you wanna vote, vote here.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Missile Materiel and Adventures in Munich

Feb 27, 2018 47:11

Description:

We’re back. After a brief hiatus, Jeffrey and Aaron return from their myriad trips.

The show documents Aaron and superproducer Scott’s visit to missile central down at joint-base Anacostia, where the two got an up close and personal viewing of the Qiam/Burkan 2-H and other assorted Iranian made goodies on display.

Jeffrey then filled Aaron in on his trip to the Munich Security Conference and his assorted medical ailments while traveling through out Germany.

Links of Note:

Our two prior episodes on the Iranian materiel display, one focusing on the Qiam/Burkan 2-H and one focusing on the Qasef-1.

Our series of six episodes discussing strategic stability, European security, and the Russian/INF problem. See episode description for links!

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Sponsored Links:

Our sponsor this episode is ActionKit, a powerful suit of online campaigning tools.

https://actionkit.com/wonk

KCN-eh? December and January's Other North Korean Developments

Feb 8, 2018 44:33

Description:

A Canadian reviews the last two months' North Korea news with a special guest. Andrea talks to Scott LaFoy for a whirlwind tour of December and January's developments. They cover Kim Jong Un's New Years Address, the Vancouver Foreign Ministers Meeting, and those pesky ship-to-ship transfers the North Koreans are so fond of these days.

 

Links of Note:

Andrea's pre-mortem of the Vancouver Meeting at Arms Control Wonk.

Andrea's discussion of the Olympic exchanges and negotiations over at The Diplomat.

NK News imagery of the nuclear backpacks from the 2013 parade.

Scott and Fyodor Tertitskiy's NK Pro article on the Olympic Negotiations.

Full text of Kim Jong Un's 'op ed' in KCNA/Rodong Sinmun. VOA link, safe for clicking in South Korea!

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Sponsored Links:

Our sponsor this episode is ActionKit, a powerful suit of online campaigning tools.

https://actionkit.com/wonk

Agonizing over the Agni

Jan 25, 2018 40:09

Description:

India launched the Agni-V intermediate-range ballistic missile.

Launch a missile, get a pod.

Aaron is skiing in Vail, so The Diplomat's Ankit Panda joins Jeffrey to discuss India's nuclear and missile programs from rail mobile missiles to the guy who flooded India's only ballistic missile submarine.

Links of Note:

Ankit's Twitter thread on Agni test imagery.

Ankit and Prashanth Parameswaran did an excellent pod over at The Diplomat covering the Arihant and the Agni V.

 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Sponsored Links:

Our sponsor this episode is ActionKit, a powerful suit of online campaigning tools.

https://actionkit.com/wonk

Reviewing the Nuclear Posture Review

Jan 17, 2018 36:34

Description:

A draft of the Trump Administration's Nuclear Posture Review has leaked -- and its a doozy. 

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the history of these reviews and recommendations to develop a new sea-launched cruise missile and a variable yield warhead for the Trident D5 submarine launched ballistic missile.

Links of Note:

The Huffpost article that originally leaked the document.

The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review from the Obama administration.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Sponsored Links:

Our sponsor this episode is ActionKit, a powerful suit of online campaigning tools.

https://actionkit.com/wonk

 

Tightening the Screws on the INF

Jan 13, 2018 44:11

Description:

The Trump Administration is naming names, confirming what Jeffrey has long said — that the new cruise missile Russia is building in violation of the 1987 INF Treaty is the 9M729, which is known in the US as the SSC-8 Screwdriver.

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty, offering a deep dive on the new ground-launched cruise missile and the RS-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile.

Previous Podcast Episodes about this Topic:

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!

Sponsored Links:

Our sponsor this episode is ActionKit, a powerful suit of online campaigning tools.

https://actionkit.com/wonk

The Donald and The Nuclear VI: Pushin' My Buttons

Jan 5, 2018 46:24

Description:

We usually avoid chasing Trump’s tweets but when the President of the United States says his button is bigger than Kim Jong Un's ... well, we’re not made of stone.

Aaron and Jeffrey talk about whether Trump is bluffing and what the disarray in the White House says about policy process issues.

 

Links of Note:

The tweet in question and a backup in case it disappears. 

 

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

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Sponsored Links:

Our sponsor this episode is ActionKit, a powerful suit of online campaigning tools.

https://actionkit.com/wonk

Up Close and Personal with Iranian Drones

Jan 1, 2018 42:09

Description:

Ambassador Nikki Haley gave quite the presentation a few weeks ago. Standing in front of two Qiam/Burkan-2H missile pieces, the US Ambassador the UN called out Iran for its proliferation activities in the Middle East. Two weeks, Aaron and Jeffrey talked at length about the missile.

In this episode, Aaron circles back to the other two objects shown off: An Iranian drone and suicide boat. To talk Iranian drones and regional proliferation, Aaron spoke with Adam Rawnsley, the co-author of Foreign Policy’s SitRep, and a top expert on all things unmanned. 

Links of Note

Adam Rawnsley's Twitter thread on Conflict Armament Research's report on Houthi use of Iranian drones.

RAND report on IAF operations against the Hezbollah Ababils.

2006 Flight Global Report on Hezbollah Ababil.

CAR report on the drone boat.

CAR report on Qasef-1.

UN Panel of Experts report with Iranian Toophans in Yemen.

DVIDS Hub link to the 5568 x 3712 photos of the Iranian drones being used by the Houthis in Yemen.

Japan and JASSM

Dec 21, 2017 33:33

Description:

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera announced that Tokyo wants to acquire a pair of long-range cruise missiles -- the 500 km-range Joint Strike Missile from Norway and the 1000 km range JASSM-ER -- to arm the country's new F-35.  Aaron and Jeffrey discussion the implications for Article 9 of Japan's constitution and stability in the region.

Links of Note:

Japan Times article on the Japanese Ministry of Defense's plans for cruise missile acquisitions.

Sponsored Links:

Our sponsor this episode is ActionKit, a powerful suit of online campaigning tools.

https://actionkit.com/wonk

Up Close and Personal with the Qiam

Dec 16, 2017 40:33

Description:

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley gave a dog-and-pony show with debris from the recent Houthi missile strikes against Saudi Arabia.

Jeffrey and Aaron go over the debris, explaining why the U.S. thinks the Yemeni Burkan-2H is actually the Iranian Qiam and asking what that means. 

Links of Note:

DVIDS Hub link to the 5568 x 3712 photos of the alleged Iranian missiles being fired into Saudi Arabia by the Houthis in Yemen.

 

Sponsored Links:

Our sponsor this episode is ActionKit, a powerful suit of online campaigning tools.

https://actionkit.com/wonk

A Swing and a Miss in Saudi Arabia

Dec 13, 2017 28:26

Description:

"A shot was just taken by Iran, in my opinion, at Saudi Arabia. And our system knocked it down," Donald Trump told reporters. "That's how good we are. Nobody makes what we make and now we're selling it all over the world.”

Except it missed. Or maybe never even fired. Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the CNS OSINT teams investigation of the missile attack on the Riyadh airport that appeared in the New York Times.

 

Links of Note:

The New York Times article investigating the missile attack.

 

KCN-eh? November's Other North Korean Developments

Dec 7, 2017 01:01:52

Description:

A Canadian reviews the month’s North Korea news with a special guest.

For November, Andrea talks to John Hemmings, the Director of the Asia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society. They dig into major stories about North Korean defectors and the Kim Jong Nam assassination, and consider the stunning views from Cathay Pacific flights.

 

Links of Note: 

Defector crosses the border at Panmunjom.

Statement by Rex Tillerson on the Hwasong-15 launch.

Kim Jong Nam carrying VX antidote. 

North Koreans bootlegging in Pakistan. 

Cathay Pacific air crew gets a good view. 

North Korea's Big Frickin' Missile

Dec 1, 2017 36:57

Description:

North Korea tested a new ICBM called the Hwasong-15.

We'll keep these show notes brief. Its frickin’ huge.

Aaron, Jeffrey, and Scott discuss the missile, the launch site, the truck that carried it, and its oh-so-roomy payload.

Links of Note:

Dave Schmerler compiled the KCNA imagery into one big flickr album.

 

The Donald and the Nuclear V: The Senate Strikes Back

Nov 22, 2017 34:11

Description:

“Liddle Bob Corker” and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the President’s authority to use nuclear weapons. A bipartisan panel testified that “it’s fine.”

But is it?

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss Trump, the bomb, and the President’s War Powers.

 

Links of Note:

C-SPAN video of the entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Nuclear Weapons Authority.

South Korea's Missile Arsenal Expands

Nov 14, 2017 26:31

Description:

The US and South Korea agreed to revise the missile guidelines that have limited South Korea’s missile programs since the 1970s.

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the origin of those limits, their evolution, and the impact of missile proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.

 

Links of Note:

Arms Control Wonk article about South Korea's Anheung Proving Grounds, where the missile tests occur.

Our last podcast on the Hyunmoo-2C, South Korea's latest publicly displayed missile.

Missiles over the Middle East

Nov 9, 2017 37:48

Description:

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, recently stated that Iran has no need to extend the range of its missiles beyond 2,000 km. With debates about Iran's missile program affecting the debate about the Iran nuclear deal, Aaron and Jeffrey take a survey of regional missile proliferation from Egypt to Iran.

Special bonus, Jeffrey tries not to giggle uncontrollably every time Aaron mentions the Hague Code of Conduct, aka the H-COC.

 

Links of Note:

IRGC says that Iran's missiles are capped at 2000km by the Supreme Leader.

Shea Cotton's Iranian Missile Launch Database at NTI.

Sponsored Link:

Douglass Alchemy kindly provided Jeffrey, Aaron, and Scott with a wide variety of quality cocktail bitters.

ACW Podcast listeners can use the promo code ACW to get 20% off any orders. Perfect for keeping you warm while missile-watching this winter.

KCN-eh? October's Other North Korean Developments

Nov 1, 2017 53:33

Description:

A Canadian reviews the month's North Korea news with a special guest. For October, Andrea talks to Adam Cathcart -- a lecturer at Leeds University and editor of the website Sino-NK

They dig into the events of the 19th Party Congress in China, talk about the dodgy stuff the Egyptians have been buying from Pyongyang, and try to figure out what's in the water (or maple syrup) up North. 

Links of Note:

Adam Cathcart's China Brief article on Chinese PLA troop movements near the border with North Korea.

Joby Warrick's Washington Post article on the Jie Shun.

Andrea Berger and Matt Korda's Canadian International Council article on Canada's Ballistic Missile Defense Debate.

Our Source was the New York Times

Oct 31, 2017 36:10

Description:

The New York Times has a splashy interactive editorial, "Trump’s Nuclear Arsenal." It's good, but gets a few things wrong -- things that matter like Mutual Assured Destruction, Robert McNamara's famous thought experiment on sizing US nuclear forces, and how the US targets nuclear weapons. Also, they misuse decimate.   Aaron and Jeffrey talk through the problems with US nuclear policy and Jeffrey's proposal to state that the US will not use nuclear weapon against a target if a conventional one will do.   Links of Note:   The NYT Op Ed.   Jeffrey and Scott Sagan's article, and its shorter, op-ed version in the Washington Post.    Aaron's recently revived podcast, Turkey Wonk.  

97% Invincible

Oct 27, 2017 29:46

Description:

President Trump said each of the missile defense interceptors at the
Ground-based Midcourse Defense site in Alaska has a 97% chance of shooting down a North Korean missile and that two would have a 100% chance.

Statistics don't work like that, at least that's not
how it was taught where Jeffrey and Aaron went to school. We discuss
how to think about missile defenses and statistical risk, while Scott
joins us to explain the online calculator he built for just such a
problem.

 

Links of Note:

Mostly Missile Defense's List of Claims about GMD Effectiveness.

The Washington Post's Fact Check on President Trump's 97% claim.

Joshua Pollack's article on the 97% claim on Defense One.

Scott's been fiddling with missile defense calculators and put together a few helpful tools:

The Simple Model (pulled from Wilkening's work), but without radar/sensor probabilities. This calculator is used to estimate the probability of a multilayer missile defense architecture intercepting X number of incoming warheads.

Another Simple Model based calculator, but with a very basic estimation for sensors and tracking probabilities, also based on Wilkening's writings.

Scott's under-construction experimental tool for sticking these probabilities on a map (with examples!).

 

 

 

 

Uranium Fever

Oct 23, 2017 23:31

Description:

No, Hilary Clinton did not sell America's uranium to Russia.

Aaron and Jeffrey attempt to patiently discuss the Uranium One purchase of Willow Creek uranium mine, the US firm that bribed Russian officials to win trucking contracts, and why this particular conspiracy theory is so prevalent in American political discourse.

 

Links of Note:

The Washington Post article fact checking the President's claim.

The 2015 New York Times article that set the conspiracy theorizing in motion.

A 2010 article from the Washington Times claiming that the sale of Uranium One would hurt the U.S. (it didn't).

Decertification Day

Oct 18, 2017 53:13

Description:

Donald Trump announced a new "strategy"  -- loosely defined -- for confronting Iran. Trump also will refuse to certify that Iran is implementing its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), throwing the issue back to Congress and (possibly) starting a second nuclear crisis. 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss why Congress created the requirement to certify the Iran nuclear deal, why Trump hates it, and what happens now.

Links of Note:   NPR full video and transcript of Trump's Iran speech.
Main and addendum text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).   Text of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA).   Jeffrey and Aaron can also be seen talking about this issue on Vice News Tonight (Season 2, Episode 4, October 16). 

ICAN wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Oct 13, 2017 45:20

Description:

ICAN won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the prize, the treaty to ban nuclear weapons, and efforts to promote disarmament

Links of Note:

NTI's fact page on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Our episodes on the ban treaty negotiations, Banning the Bomb:

Part I

Part II

Part IIIA (with Beatrice Fihn herself!)

Part IIIB (with Beatrice Fihn herself!)

 

Scuttling Der Wienerplan

Oct 3, 2017 43:03

Description:

Donald Trump told the United Nations that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka the Iran nuclear deal aka the Vienna Plan aka der Weinerplan) between Iran and the so-called E3/U-3 "Is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it -- believe me."

Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the prospects for Trump to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, why that would be a bad idea, why the "section T" talking point is tendentious nonsense, and why its time to make peace with the fact that the future of nonproliferation is mostly about persuading countries to take a pass on the bomb.

Links of Note:

Full text of President Trump's United Nations General Assembly Speech.

Section T of Annex 1 of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

KCN-eh? September's Other North Korean Developments

Sep 30, 2017 43:35

Description:

A Canadian reviews the month's North Korea news with a special guest. For September, Andrea talks to Alison Evans -- deputy head of Asia-Pacific country risk at IHS Markit.

They revisit UN General Assembly drama, developments in alliance politics, and North Korea's stunning victory at Disney puns.

Banks and the Bomb

Sep 26, 2017 49:59

Description:

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   FATF Combating the Financing of Proliferation Status Report   Report: "Out of Sight, Out of Mind? A Review of Efforts to Counter Proliferation Finance"   The Chinpo Shipping Case Implodes

Tiny Nukes for Tiny Hands

Sep 19, 2017 40:34

Description:

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: Bryan Bender, "Trump review leans toward proposing mini-nuke," Politico, September 9, 2016.    Olga Oliker, Russia’s Nuclear Doctrine: What We Know, What We Don’t, and What That Means, CSIS, 2016.   Steven Young, "Just How New is the New, Nuclear-armed Cruise Missile?" UCS, 2016.    Lewis Dunn et al, Foreign Perceptions on U.S. Nuclear Policy and Posture, SAIC, 2006. 

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

Sep 9, 2017 26:27

Description:

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

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

Sep 9, 2017 27:11

Description:

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

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

Sep 8, 2017 58:07

Description:

 

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

North Korea Tests an H-bomb

Sep 6, 2017 49:51

Description:

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.

An Era Without Arms Control?

Aug 28, 2017 55:42

Description:

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.

The New START Treaty Text.   The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty Text   Models of some of the Russian missiles in question.  

North Korean Sanctions and Shellfish

Aug 21, 2017 46:57

Description:

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).

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

Aug 11, 2017 42:00

Description:

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. 

Iranian Space Launch and the JCPOA

Aug 1, 2017 31:16

Description:

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. 

Hot Launch Hot Take

Jul 29, 2017 21:49

Description:

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. 

 

 

Banning the Bomb III: Subsection B

Jul 28, 2017 34:37

Description:

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:   Negotiating mandate: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com16/resolutions/L41.pdf    First draft text of the ban (22 May 2017): http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/CRP1.pdf   Amended text, 27 June 2017: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/CRP1-Rev1.pdf    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    Final treaty, adopted 7 July: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/L3-Rev1.pdf   Voting Record: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/voting-record.pdf 

Banning the Bomb III: Subsection A

Jul 28, 2017 36:58

Description:

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:   Negotiating mandate: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com16/resolutions/L41.pdf    First draft text of the ban (22 May 2017): http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/CRP1.pdf   Amended text, 27 June 2017: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/CRP1-Rev1.pdf    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    Final treaty, adopted 7 July: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/L3-Rev1.pdf   Voting Record: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/documents/voting-record.pdf 

North Korea's New Missiles

Jul 19, 2017 01:04:17

Description:

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:

North Korea's ICBM: Hwasong-14

Jul 14, 2017 40:17

Description:

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. 

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

Jul 1, 2017 27:16

Description:

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: 

LORA at Sea

Jun 29, 2017 28:12

Description:

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.

The Zolfaqar at War

Jun 28, 2017 36:47

Description:

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.

 

 

The UAE's Phantom Missile Arsenal

Jun 24, 2017 43:33

Description:

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.

MDA Shoots Down an ICBM Target

Jun 21, 2017 49:57

Description:

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.

 

Banning the Bomb: Part 2

Jun 5, 2017 58:32

Description:

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.

BORA! BORA! BORA!

May 24, 2017 29:04

Description:

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. 

The Hwasong-12, finally

May 16, 2017 31:14

Description:

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.

 

 

En Marche!

May 15, 2017 29:06

Description:

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.

THAAD Deployment

May 10, 2017 28:59

Description:

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.

THE GREENER BEE

May 4, 2017 47:28

Description:

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.

Reviewing that Iran Deal

Apr 24, 2017 43:24

Description:

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.

North Korean Missile Parade: JucheFest 2017

Apr 18, 2017 01:02:50

Description:

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)

 

Assad's Chemical Weapons

Apr 8, 2017 51:46

Description:

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.

Banning the Bomb: Part 1

Apr 6, 2017 49:01

Description:

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.

BMD 101

Mar 24, 2017 38:09

Description:

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.

North Korean Missile Operations

Mar 15, 2017 01:01:41

Description:

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.

Glocom and DPRK Fronts

Mar 11, 2017 58:48

Description:

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.  

The INF, NATO, and the MSC

Mar 2, 2017 58:00

Description:

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.

KN-11 Ashore

Feb 15, 2017 57:38

Description:

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.

NEW START UP

Feb 14, 2017 48:41

Description:

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.

The Khorramshahr: BM-25 Musudan in Iran

Feb 11, 2017 41:34

Description:

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.

Nuke the Moon.

Feb 7, 2017 33:43

Description:

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.

Please sir, May I launch another?

Jan 28, 2017 49:33

Description:

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.

The Trump Dump: Sources and Methods

Jan 24, 2017 46:22

Description:

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.

Shooting Down (Dumb Ideas About) North Korea's ICBM

Jan 14, 2017 46:04

Description:

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.

THE GREEN BEE

Dec 27, 2016 01:02:35

Description:

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.

Andrea Berger Talks UNSC 2321

Dec 24, 2016 46:40

Description:

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.

Turkey and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Dec 8, 2016 32:00

Description:

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.

The Donald and the Nuclear 3: Tokyo Drift

Dec 3, 2016 45:18

Description:

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.

2 Donald 2 Nuclear

Nov 23, 2016 46:24

Description:

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.

Egypt's Missile Programs

Nov 14, 2016 52:21

Description:

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.

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

Nov 8, 2016 45:31

Description:

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!

START UP

Nov 2, 2016 57:16

Description:

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.

Iskander, INF and Kaliningrad

Oct 28, 2016 43:08

Description:

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.

Yemen's New Scud

Oct 28, 2016 42:47

Description:

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. 

On Fabius On the Iran Deal

Oct 18, 2016 46:21

Description:

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.

ICBM Basing Modes

Oct 11, 2016 42:04

Description:

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.

Hilary and the LRSO

Oct 6, 2016 46:43

Description:

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.

The Donald, The Nuclear, and No First Use

Oct 3, 2016 48:19

Description:

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.

The Security Council and the Test Ban

Sep 28, 2016 32:42

Description:

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"™.

Dudes from the SHIG II: Electric Boogaloo

Sep 24, 2016 30:27

Description:

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."

Barry's Legacy and the Bomb

Sep 22, 2016 43:17

Description:

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.

ANOTHER NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR TEST

Sep 17, 2016 46:16

Description:

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.

MIRVS!

Jun 5, 2016 40:57

Description:

“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!

Russia, China, and the US discuss the Norks

Apr 21, 2016 45:46

Description:

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!

South Korea and the Bomb

Mar 31, 2016 27:11

Description:

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.

Kim Jong Un's Bomb

Mar 11, 2016 38:10

Description:

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.

The North Korean Missile Threat and Alliance Reassurance

Feb 14, 2016 35:54

Description:

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.

Dudes from the SHIG

Jan 24, 2016 41:02

Description:

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

North Korea's KN-11 Goes Kablooie

Jan 15, 2016 44:22

Description:

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

North Korea Tested an H-Bomb?

Jan 7, 2016 31:11

Description:

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.

Sleuthing From the Internet

Jeffrey Lewis, “New Nuclear Test Tunnel Under Construction at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site,” 38 North, December 2, 2015.

Jeffrey Lewis, “Did Somebody Say H-bomb?” 38 North, December 14, 2015.

Russian Cruise Missiles

Dec 15, 2015 41:42

Description:

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.

Campaign Against Red Mercury

Dec 4, 2015 34:23

Description:

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

Parchin Puzzle

Oct 14, 2015 42:38

Description:

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

The Bombing of Hiroshima

Aug 11, 2015 55:35

Description:

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:

Magical Thinking and the Real Power of Hiroshima | Foreign Policy Hiroshima: John Hersey

Sanctions and the Iran Deal

Jul 24, 2015 01:21:05

Description:

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:

Blog | Sanction Law Sanction Law Podcast by Sam Cutler & Erich Ferrari in iTunes Arms Control Wonk by Jeffrey Lewis & Aaron Stein in iTunes Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) | Twitter Aaron Stein (@aaronstein1) | Twitter Sam Cutler (@youbsanctioned) | Twitter

We have a deal!

Jul 16, 2015 01:02:45

Description:

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. 

A Region in Flux: Proliferation Concerns in the Middle East

Jul 6, 2015 59:57

Description:

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

North Korea's Submarine Launched Missile

Jun 18, 2015 32:44

Description:

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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NPT Review Conference Follies Part 2

Jun 7, 2015 46:59

Description:

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.

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