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"[Arms Control Today is] Absolutely essential reading for the upcoming Congressional budget debate on the 2018 #NPR and its specific recommendations ... well-informed, insightful, balanced, and filled with common sense."

– Frank Klotz
former Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration
March 7, 2018
Missile Defense

Congress Puts Bipartisan Arms Control Policies at Risk

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Volume 9, Issue 5, July 17, 2017

The future of U.S. nuclear weapons and missile defense policy is at a crossroads. The Trump administration is conducting comprehensive reviews—scheduled to be completed by the end of the year—that could result in significant changes to U.S. policy to reducing nuclear weapons risks.

As the possessors of over 90 percent of the world's roughly 15,000 nuclear weapons, the United States and Russia have a special responsibility to avoid direct conflict and reduce nuclear risks. Yet, the U.S.-Russia relationship is under significant strain, due to to Moscow’s election interference, annexation of Crimea, continued destabilization of Ukraine, and support for the brutal Assad regime in Syria. These tensions have also put put immense pressure on the arms control relationship.

It is against this backdrop that the House and Senate Armed Services Committee versions of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) include provisions that if passed into law would deal a major, if not mortal, blow to longstanding, bipartisan arms control efforts.

The House approved its version of the NDAA July 14 by a vote of 344-81 and the Senate could take up its bill later this month. 

The problematic arms control provisions in the bills would undermine U.S. security by eroding stability between the world's two largest nuclear powers, increasing the risks of nuclear competition, and further alienating allies already unsettled by President Donald Trump’s commitment to their security. In fact, some are so radical that they have even drawn opposition from the White House and Defense Department.

The bills also fail to provide effective oversight of the rising costs of the government’s more than $1 trillion-plan to sustain and upgrade U.S. nuclear forces and propose investments in expanding U.S. missile defenses that make neither strategic, technical, or fiscal sense.

Sowing the Seeds of the INF Treaty’s Destruction

The United States has accused Russia of testing and deploying ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The treaty, which remains in force, required the United States and the then-Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

Both the House and Senate versions of the NDAA authorize programs of record and provide funding for research and development on a new U.S. road-mobile GLCM with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The House bill requires development of a conventional missile whereas the Senate bill would authorize a dual-capable (i.e., nuclear) missile.

The House bill also includes a provision stating that if the president determines that Russia remains in violation of the treaty 15 months after enactment of the legislation, the prohibitions set forth in the treaty will no longer be binding on the United States. A similar provision could be offered as an amendment to the Senate bill.

These provisions are drawn from legislation introduced in February by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in the Senate and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) in the House to “provide for compliance enforcement regarding Russian violations” of the INF Treaty.

Development of a new treaty-prohibited GLCM is militarily unnecessary, would suck funding from other military programs for which there are already requirements, divide NATO, and give Russia an easy excuse to publicly repudiate the treaty and deploy large numbers of noncompliant missiles without any constraints.

The report accompanying the Senate bill notes that the Senate “does not intend for the United States to enter into violation of the INF Treaty.” (The treaty does not ban research and development of treaty-prohibited capabilities.) But this claim is belied by the report’s statement that development of a GLCM is needed to “close the capability gap opened” by Russia. Moreover, supporters of a new GLCM also argue it is needed to counter China, which is not a party to the treaty.

Before rushing to develop a new weapon that the Pentagon has yet to ask for and NATO is unlikely to support, the administration and Congress must at the very least address concerns about the suitability and cost-effectiveness of a new GLCM. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) offered an amendment to the bill on the House floor that would have done just that, but it was defeated by a vote of 173-249.

Meanwhile, mandating that the United States in effect withdraw from the treaty if Russia does not return to compliance by the end of next year raises constitutional concerns. If Congress can say the United States is not bound by its obligations under the INF Treaty, what is to stop it from doing the same regarding other treaties?

The administration's statement of policy on the House NDAA objected to the House INF provision on requiring a new GLCM, stating "[t]his provision unhelpfully ties the Administration to a specific missile system, which would limit potential military response options.” The statement also noted that bill would “raise concerns among NATO allies and could deprive the Administration of the flexibility to make judgments about the timing and nature of invoking our legal remedies under the treaty.”

Instead of responding to Russia’s violation by taking steps that could leave the United States holding the bag for the INF treaty’s demise, Congress should emphasize the importance of preserving the treaty and encourage both sides to more energetically pursue a diplomatic resolution to the compliance controversy. Lawmakers should also encourage the Trump administration to pursue firm but measured steps to ensure Russia does not gain a military advantage by violating the treaty and reaffirm its commitment to the defense of those allies that would be the potential targets of Russia’s noncompliant missile.

Cutting Off Our Nose to Spite Our Face on New START

One of the few remaining bright spots in the U.S.-Russia relationship is 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Signed in 2010, the treaty requires each side to reduce its deployed strategic nuclear forces to no more than 1,550 warheads and 700 delivery systems by 2018. It also includes a comprehensive suite of monitoring and verification provisions that help ensure compliance with these limits.

The agreement, which is slated to expire Feb. 5, 2021, can be extended by up to five years if both Moscow and Washington agree.  The House bill includes a provision that would prohibit the use of funds to extend New START until Russia returns to compliance with the INF treaty. This is senseless and counterproductive. By “punishing” Russia’s INF violation in this way, the United States would simply free Russia to expand the number of strategic nuclear weapons pointed at the United States after New START expires in 2021.

If the treaty is allowed to lapse, there will be no limits on Russia’s strategic nuclear forces for the first time since the early-1970s. Moreover, the United States would have fewer tools with which to verify the size and composition of the Russian nuclear stockpile.

For these reasons and more, the U.S. military and U.S. allies continue to strongly support New START.

Undermining the Norm Against Nuclear Testing

A small but influential group of Republican lawmakers are seeking to cut U.S. funding for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and undermine international support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the global nuclear test moratorium.

Sen. Cotton and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) introduced legislation on Feb.7 to “restrict” funding for the CTBTO and undermine the U.S. obligation – as a signatory to the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty – not to conduct nuclear test explosions.

Rep. Wilson successfully offered the bill as an amendment to the House NDAA and Sen. Cotton could seek to do the same on the Senate bill.

With North Korea threatening to conduct a sixth nuclear test explosion, it is essential that the United States reinforce, not weaken, the global nuclear testing taboo

More information on the problematic provision in the House bill is detailed in a recent issue brief on CTBTO funding.

Nuclear Weapons Spending Run Amok

The Trump administration’s first Congressional budget request pushes full steam ahead with the Obama administration’s excessive, all-of-the-above approach to upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Both the House and Senate bills authorize the requested level of funding for these programs, and even increase funding for some programs beyond what the Trump administration requested.

As the projected costs for programs designed to replace and upgrade the nuclear arsenal continue to rise, Congress must demand greater transparency about long-term costs, strengthen oversight over high-risk programs, and consider options to delay, curtail, or cancel programs to save taxpayer dollars while meeting deterrence requirements.

A February 2017 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the United States will spend $400 billion (in then-year dollars) on nuclear weapons between fiscal years 2017 and 2026. The new projection is an increase of $52 billion, or 15 percent, over the CBO’s most recent previous estimate of the 10-year cost of nuclear forces, which was published in January 2015 and put the total cost at $348 billion.

In fact, the CBO’s latest projection suggest that the cost of nuclear forces could greatly exceed $1 trillion over the next 30 years.

What makes the growing cost to sustain the nuclear mission so worrisome for military planners is that costs are scheduled to peak during the mid-2020s and overlap with large increases in projected spending on conventional weapon system modernization programs. Numerous Pentagon officials and outside experts have warned about the affordability problem posed by the current approach and that it cannot be sustained without significant and sustained increases to defense spending or cuts to other military priorities.

Unfortunately, the House rejected two Democratic floor amendments that would have shed greater light on the multidecade costs of U.S. nuclear forces. One amendment would have required CBO to extend the timeframe of its biennial report on the cost of nuclear weapons from 10 years to 30 years. Another would have required extending the timeframe of a Congressionally mandated report submitted annually by Defense Department and National Nuclear Security Administration from 10 years to 25 years.

In addition, the House defeated by a vote of 169-254 an amendment offered by Rep. Blumenauer that would have restricted funding for the program to develop a new fleet of nuclear air-launched cruise missiles at the FY 2017 enacted level until the administration completes its Nuclear Posture Review and a detailed assessment of the need for the program.

Though the administration requested a major increase for the new missile and associated warhead refurbishment program in FY 2018, Defense Secretary James Mattis has repeatedly stated that he is still evaluating the need for the weapon.

The House Rules Committee also prevented debate on a floor amendment that would have required the Pentagon to release the value of the contract awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp. in October 2015. The department has refused to release the contract value citing classification concerns.

Tripling-Down on Missile Defense Despite Technical Flaws

Both the House and Senate bills authorize significant increases in funding for U.S. ballistic missile defense programs. The House bill authorizes an increase of $2.5 billion above the administration’s FY 2018 budget request of $7.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency. The Senate bill authorizes a $630 million increase.

The bills also include provisions that would authorize a significant expansion of the ground-based midcourse (GMD) defense system in Alaska and California, which is designed to protect against limited long-range ballistic missile attacks from North Korea or Iran, and accelerate advanced technology programs to increase the capability of U.S. missile defenses. The GMD system has suffered from numerous reliability problems and has a success rate of just over 50 percent in controlled and scripted flight intercept tests.

In addition, the House bill includes a provision that would require the Pentagon to submit a plan for the development of a space-based missile defense interceptors and authorize $30 million for a space test bed to conduct research and development on such interceptors. The House bill would also require the Pentagon, pursuant to improving the defense of Hawaii, to conduct an intercept test of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile against an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) target. The interceptor, which is still under development, is designed to defend against medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and the department has no public plans to test it versus an ICBM.

Rushing to deploy more unreliable GMD interceptors or building additional long-range interceptor sites is not a winning strategy to stay ahead of the North Korean ICBM threat. Quantity is not a substitute for quality.

Any consideration of building and deploying additional homeland interceptors or interceptor sites should wait until a new ground-based midcourse defense kill vehicle under development is successfully tested under operationally realistic conditions (including against ICBM targets and realistic countermeasures). The first test of the new kill vehicle under these conditions is not scheduled until 2020 and deployment is not scheduled until 2022.

In addition, future testing and deployment of new capabilities should not be schedule-driven, but based on the maturity of the technology and successful testing under operationally realistic conditions. Accelerating development programs risks saddling them with cost overruns, schedule delays, and test failures, as has been the case with previous missile-defense programs.

Despite numerous nonpartisan studies that have been conducted during both Republican and Democratic administrations which concluded that a spaced-based missile defense is unfeasible and unaffordable, a small faction of missile defense supporters continues to push the idea. Most recently, a 2012 report from the National Academy of Sciences declared that even a limited space system geared to longer-burning liquid fueled threats would cost about $200 billion to acquire and have a $300 billion 20-year life cycle cost (in FY 2010 dollars), which would be at least 10 times any other defense approach. 

While missile defense has a role to play as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat the North Korean missile threat, it’s neither as capable nor as significant as many seem to hope. More realism is needed about the limitations of defenses and the longstanding obstacles that have prevented them from working as intended.

The potential blowback of an expansion of U.S. missile defense capabilities from Russia and China must also be considered. Missile defense does not provide an escape route from the vulnerability of our allies, deployed forces, and citizens in the region to North Korea’s nuclear and conventional missiles.—KINGSTON REIF, director for disarmament policy

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The House and Senate Armed Services Committee are currently considering defense authorization legislation that if passed into law would deal a major, if not mortal, blow to longstanding, bipartisan arms control efforts.

Anti-Missile System Destroys ICBM Target


July/August 2017
By Kingston Reif

In a high-stakes test, the problem-plagued defense system designed to protect the United States from a limited long-range missile attack was able to intercept and destroy a mock intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-range target for the first time.

The successful May 30 test of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system occurred against the backdrop of the growing North Korean ballistic missile threat and calls from some members of Congress to increase U.S. missile defenses in terms of numbers and spending.

A long-range, ground-based interceptor lifts off May 30 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It successfully intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile-range target launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll. It was the first live-fire test against an ICBM-class target. (Photo credit: U.S. Missile Defense Agency)



The interception was “an incredible accomplishment” and a “critical milestone,” Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), said in a statement. “The system demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.”

Still, some observers said the test does not resolve doubts about whether the GMD system can be relied on anytime soon to protect the continental United States against a limited attack, such as one launched from North Korea or Iran. “The mock enemy target was only barely of ICBM range, and slower than an ICBM from North Korea to Los Angeles would be,” Philip Coyle, former director of weapons testing for the Defense Department and a member of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors, said in a May 30 statement. In the $244 million test, known as FTG-15, a missile interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California collided with a target, launched from the Army’s Kwajalein Test Site in the Marshall Islands, flying at a range and speed similar to that of an ICBM. Multiple sensors provided the target acquisition and tracking data necessary to execute the interception.

In addition to being the first test against an ICBM-class target, FTG-15 was also the first test of an upgraded kill vehicle, known as the CE-II Block I EKV. The kill vehicle sits atop the interceptor’s booster rocket and is intended to collide with a target in outer space.

A total of 36 GMD interceptors are currently deployed in Alaska and California, and an additional eight interceptors armed with the CE-II Block I EKV will be installed by the end of the year.

Before FTG-15, the GMD system had not been tested against a mock target since June 2014. (See ACT, July/August 2014.) The MDA has now conducted 18 intercept tests of the system, of which 10 have been reported as successful.

The Trump administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2018, released May 23, seeks $828 million in research and development funding for the GMD system, $140 million less than the enacted level for the current fiscal year but $127 million more than the Obama administration’s final budget request projection.

Overall, the administration seeks $7.9 billion for the MDA, a decrease of $334 million from the current level but an increase of $470 million from the projection in the final Obama submission.

Test Simulates North Korea Scenario

In a May 31 press call, Syring described the test as “very realistic” and said it “actually replicated” an operational scenario that the Pentagon would face if North Korea fired an ICBM at the United States. The test included decoys that North Korea might use to fool the GMD system, he said.

North Korea in July successfully tested for the first time an ICBM that could reach as far as Alaska.

Following the test, the Pentagon’s testing office updated its assessment, which had described the GMD system as having only “a limited capability” to defend the U.S. homeland from a small number of simple long-range missiles launched from North Korea or Iran. In a June 6 memo, the office said that the system has “demonstrated capability” to defend against a small number of long-range missile threats that employ “simple countermeasures.”

Syring told a Senate panel in 2013 that the MDA tests the GMD system “in a controlled, scripted environment based on the amount of time and money each one of these tests costs.” This means the there are limits to the realism of the test scenario.

The GMD system has not been tested against complex decoys and countermeasures that North Korea could develop. The system also has not been tested against more than one target at the same time. In addition, 20 of the 32 interceptors currently deployed in Alaska are armed with an older kill vehicle that failed to intercept the target in its last test in 2013 and has not had a successful interception since 2008.

The next test of the GMD system is scheduled for late 2018 and, for the first time, will involve firing two interceptors against one ICBM target. In a real-world scenario, multiple interceptors would be fired at an incoming missile.

New Kill Vehicle Advances

Syring said that the interceptor tested in FTG-15 will allow the United States to “outpace” the North Korean ballistic missile threat “through 2020.”

A new, redesigned kill vehicle under development “will be the next step to not only improving reliability, but [also to] improving performance against the evolving threat,” he said. The MDA announced in March 2014 that it would build a kill vehicle that would be more reliable and cost effective. (See ACT, July/August 2014.) The first test is slated for 2019 with deployment scheduled to begin in 2022.

The administration’s budget request would provide $465 million for the new kill vehicle, $246 million more than the fiscal year 2017 appropriation. Over the next five years, the MDA is seeking $2.8 billion for this effort, a major increase from the $600 million the agency was projecting to request from fiscal years 2017 through 2021.

In a May 30 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) raised several red flags. For example, both U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command are questioning whether the seeker planned for the kill vehicle will be able “to detect and track threats in an ICBM-range environment,” according to the GAO.

The MDA is pursuing additional efforts to improve the GMD system’s capabilities, including development of a new ground-based sensor to provide enhanced tracking and discrimination capabilities and a new “multi-object” kill vehicle to allow a single GMD interceptor to destroy multiple targets. The MDA aims to begin fielding the multiple kill vehicle in 2025, five years earlier than its previous plans.

Lawmakers Seek Expansion

The Trump administration is conducting a congressionally mandated review of missile defense policy that could signifi­cantly alter policy and have far-reaching implications for the U.S. military budget and strategic relationship with Russia and China. (See ACT, May 2017.)

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget request for the MDA largely continues programs and plans underway during the previous administration. Projected funding for fiscal years 2019 through 2022 “are notional” and will be determined by the outcome of the ongoing policy review, MDA spokesman Chris Johnson said in June.

Meanwhile, some U.S. lawmakers are calling on Congress to expand the GMD system and accelerate new technology development programs.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced legislation May 22 that would authorize procurement of an additional 28 GMD interceptors for Alaska, beyond the 44 currently planned, and require the Pentagon to study having up to 100 interceptors distributed across the United States. The measure has seven co-sponsors, including three Democrats.

Other lawmakers cautioned against rushing to expand the GMD system. “We should avoid adding hundreds of millions of dollars for technologically risky programs or making policy changes that could undermine strategic stability and exacerbate a nuclear arms race,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, said June 5.—KINGSTON REIF

SM-3 Interceptor Test Fails

The new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA failed to destroy a mock medium-range ballistic missile target in a June 21 intercept test, the Missile Defense Agency said.

The SM-3 IIA is being developed cooperatively by the United States and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and will have a greater range and more advanced capabilities than existing SM-3 variants. The interceptor is part of the Aegis missile defense system and can be fired from specially designed Aegis ships or land-based sites.

The Defense Department is planning to deploy the SM-3 IIA in Poland in 2018 as part of the third phase of the so-called European Phased Adaptive Approach. (See ACT, June 2016.) It is not clear if the failed test will delay anticipated interceptor deliveries or the 2018 deployment date in Poland.

In the June 21 test, the interceptor launched from the USS John Paul Jones off the coast of Hawaii failed to destroy the target launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. This was the second intercept test of the new missile. The previous intercept test, conducted in February 2017, was successful. (See ACT, March 2017.)—KINGSTON REIF

Anti-Missile System Destroys ICBM Target

Brexit Has Nuclear Consequences for UK


July/August 2017
By Kelsey Davenport

The United Kingdom’s decision to pull out of a treaty establishing nuclear cooperation in Europe, as part of its overall withdrawal from the European Union known as Brexit, will have significant implications for UK nuclear activities. If London does not take steps in the next few years to fill the void, the UK’s nuclear trade and access to research projects could suffer.

The UK is a party to the 1957 treaty that established the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) to coordinate civil nuclear energy research and create a market for developing nuclear power. Euratom also plays a role in implementing safeguards, which provide assurances that nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes. The UK joined Euratom in 1973, and membership now includes all EU states.

Technicians work at the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a multinational nuclear fusion project, in Saint-Paul-les-Durance, France, on October 6, 2016. The UK’s withdrawal from Euratom jeopardizes its participation in the megaproject. (Photo credit: Christine Poujoulay/AFP/Getty Images)Following Brexit, the UK will need to reach new bilateral cooperation agreements with the United States and other countries to continue civil nuclear trade. It will also need to revise its nuclear safeguards arrangements and determine how to engage with Euratom on projects, such as fusion research, in which the UK is heavily invested.

It was not a foregone conclusion that Brexit would include withdrawal from Euratom. Although legal experts differ on whether the UK had to withdraw from Euratom, a governmental white paper in February noted that Euratom uses the same institutions as the EU and, under UK law, references to the EU include Euratom.

In March, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU withdrawal notification to the European Council included leaving Euratom. Previously, Jesse Norman, the then-UK minister for energy and industry, called withdrawal from Euratom a “regrettable necessity” in remarks Feb. 27 to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology.

New Safeguards Agreement

One critical area where Euratom plays a role is in implementing nuclear safeguards. Euratom safeguards predate the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and its requirement for non-nuclear-weapon states to implement safeguards arrangements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to pursue peaceful nuclear activities. When the UK joined Euratom, its civil nuclear activities were subject to Euratom safeguards.

The UK, as a recognized NPT nuclear-weapon state, does not have the same NPT obligations as non-nuclear-weapon states, but it reached a voluntary safeguards agreement with the IAEA and Euratom for its civil program in 1978 and an additional protocol to strengthen its IAEA safeguards in 2004.

Implementation of Euratom safeguards is a component of the IAEA’s implementation of safeguards for Euratom member states. For instance, Euratom provides the IAEA with information on nuclear material accounting and transportation. The IAEA also conducts some safeguards inspections jointly with Euratom and verifies Euratom safeguards activities through observation.

Withdrawal from Euratom will require changes in the UK approach to safeguards and in domestic provisions for providing IAEA information and access. Some experts contend that the UK will need to renegotiate its voluntary access safeguards agreement and additional protocol with the IAEA, given that the Euratom measures are part of the UK arrangements with the agency.

Dame Sue Ion, chair of the UK Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board, told the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology on March 7 that the UK will need to “evolve other arrangements” between the UK regulator and the IAEA. She said that London will need new arrangements that “pretty much mirror” Euratom.

In a June 6 interview, a UK official speaking on condition of anonymity said it is an “urgent priority” to put in place a “solid safeguards framework,” given that nuclear cooperation agreements take safeguards into account. Ensuring effective safeguards post-Euratom, he said, will be critical to ensuring continuity in cooperative research and trade activities. Although high UK stand­ards could still be relied on to prevent diversion, London wants to continue to lead and set an example for good safeguards practices, he said.

In a June 21 speech on the government’s intentions for the next parliament, Queen Elizabeth II mentioned a new bill that would create domestic nuclear regulations and safeguards to fill the void left by withdrawal from Euratom. Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the UK Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said on June 21 that the bill is a necessary step for the UK to take on safeguards responsibilities, but said it does not get close to “resolving the issues they have created” by leaving Euratom.

Nuclear Research and Trade

Euratom also coordinates cooperative research in civil nuclear projects, and several scientists told ACT they are concerned about retaining access to research opportunities, facilities, and projects.

Brexit puts in question the future of the EU-funded nuclear-fusion experiment known as the Joint European Torus in Culham, UK. The August 2013 photograph shows the interior of the vacuum vessel with walls of beryllium and tungsten. (Photo credit: EUROfusion)

The UK is heavily invested in cooperative work to develop nuclear fusion-reactor technologies. Existing nuclear reactors use fission, or the splitting of atoms, to produce energy, whereas a fusion reactor would join atoms together to produce energy.

The UK participates through Euratom in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a megaproject under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion reactors. The UK’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy currently houses the Joint European Torus (JET) project, which is funded by the EU to examine the potential for fusion power.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee report said that exclusion from programs such as JET and ITER could “disadvantage national nuclear research” and called for “special consideration” for funding arrangements that would allow continued access to these projects.

In addition to coordinating and facilitating research, Euratom also serves as the partner for U.S. civil nuclear cooperation with Europe, including the UK. In 1958 the United States and Euratom concluded the Euratom Cooperation Act, which serves as the agreement required by the 1954 U.S. Atomic Energy Act to conduct nuclear trade. Once the UK withdraws from Euratom, it will not be covered by that agreement.

In a June 8 interview, a second UK official expressed confidence that the UK would be able to negotiate with the United States a bilateral nuclear cooperation pact, often referenced as a 123 agreement, but said there could be “costly disruptions” to nuclear commerce and research if there is no substitute agreement by March 2019, the effective date for Brexit. A bilateral text is already being drafted, although details need to be worked out before the U.S. review process can begin, he said.

Other countries conducting nuclear trade with the UK via Euratom, such as Canada and Japan, also likely will be affected by London’s withdrawal.

The impact is not limited to trade. It could have implications for decommissioning nuclear facilities and nuclear waste disposal. The UK currently relies on facilities outside of the country for some of these activities, which would require new arrangements.

Moving Forward

Lord John Hutton, NIA chairman, told the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology on March 7 that the UK needs to avoid a “cliff edge” and recommended seeking associate partner status in Euratom. Taking this step, however, would not resolve all of the issues. Switzerland, for instance, is an associate partner, entitling the country to participation in some research projects, but it is not part of the Euratom safeguards agreement.

Another option proposed by Parliament’s Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Committee on May 2 is to “seek a transitional agreement to retain our existing arrangements until new arrangement can be put in place.” The committee noted that the transition time may need to be longer than the three-year period recommended by the European Parliament as the limit for transitional arrangements between the EU and UK. The committee also noted that a delay would give the nuclear industry time to navigate the transition and “minimize any disruptions to trade and threats to power supplies.”

Euratom and other groups seem to support a longer transitional arrangement.

Foratom, the trade association for nuclear energy in Europe, said in an April 3 statement that these arrangements should apply in case the initial transition period is “not sufficient” to prevent any disruption in projects, research, and supply of nuclear fuels.—KELSEY DAVENPORT

Brexit Has Nuclear Consequences for UK

 

Moon Orders THAAD Deployment Review

A South Korean protester wears a ‘No THAAD’ face mask during an April 28 rally in Seoul against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. (Photo credit: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)New South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced on June 7 that deployment of four additional U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile launchers would be suspended pending an environmental review. After taking office May 10, Moon said he had not been informed of the presence of the launchers on South Korean soil for weeks and ordered an investigation into why the Defense Ministry withheld this information. Moon has been critical of the rushed deployment of two launchers before his predecessor’s impeachment earlier this year, arguing that the decision should have been left for the incoming administration. Although the four additional launchers would have brought the battery to full strength, the two initial launchers will continue to function. Each launcher is equipped with eight interceptors designed to defend against incoming missiles.

Moon, who campaigned on fostering dialogue with North Korea, sought to ease concerns about diverging policies with Washington. “My order for a probe on THAAD is purely a domestic measure, and I want to be clear that it is not about trying to change the existing decision or sending a message to the United States,” he told U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) during a May 31 meeting in Seoul. U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently expressed confidence that the United States could address Moon’s concerns.—TYLER ROGERS

Moon Orders THAAD Deployment Review

Decision on Missile Defense Site Delayed

The Defense Department announced that a final environ­mental statement designating a preferred location for a new ballistic missile interceptor site has been delayed again and will be further studied as part the department’s broad review of U.S. missile defense policy. “We will not be able to provide additional information” on the additional site until the ballistic missile defense review concludes, said Leah Garton, a Missile Defense Agency spokesperson, in a May 19 email to Arms Control Today.

The policy review, to be completed by the end of the year, will “identify ways to strengthen missile-defense capabilities, rebalance homeland and theater defense priorities and provide the necessary policy and strategy framework for the nation’s missile defense systems,” according to a Defense Department press release on May 5. The review could significantly alter long-standing policy and have far-reaching implications for U.S. strategic relationships with Russia and China. (See ACT, May 2017.)

The current system to protect the U.S. homeland against a limited, long-range missile attack, known as the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, consists of interceptor sites in Alaska and California. Pentagon officials have repeatedly stated that there is no military requirement for a third site and that the estimated $3-4 billion price tag would be better spent to upgrade the existing GMD system. (See ACT, January/February 2017.)—KINGSTON REIF

Decision on Missile Defense Site Delayed

GMD Intercept Test Expected Soon

The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system successfully intercepted a mock intercontinental-ballistic-missile-range target for the first time in a May 30 test, according to the Missile Defense Agency. “The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program” said Vice Admiral James Syring, the agency director. “The system demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.” The GMD system is designed to protect the United States against a limited long-range missile attack from North Korea or Iran. A total of 36 interceptors are currently deployed in Alaska and California and an additional eight are scheduled to be installed by the end of the year. The May 30 test, known as FTG-15, was the first flight intercept test of the system since June 2014 (See ACT, July/August 2014). In the test, a missile interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California collided with a target, launched from the Army’s Kwajalein Test Site in the Marshall Islands, flying at speeds similar to those of an ICBM. The Missile Defense Agency has now conducted 18 intercept tests of the GMD system, of which 10 have been reported as successful.—CHARLES CARRIGAN

GMD Intercept Test Expected Soon

New Interceptor Missile Scores a Hit

March 2017

By Maggie Tennis and Kingston Reif

The United States and Japan last month conducted the first successful test of a new ballistic missile defense interceptor that will increase the capability of U.S. and allied regional defenses in Europe and Asia. 

Meanwhile, a January report from the Pentagon’s top testing official strongly criticized the missile defense system designed to protect the U.S. homeland against a limited long-range missile attack from North Korea or Iran, known as the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. The successful Feb. 3 test and the critical report on the GMD system from the Pentagon’s director for operational test and evaluation come as the Trump administration prepares to conduct a formal review of U.S. missile defense policy and posture. 

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the Japan Ministry of Defense, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS John Paul Jones successfully conducted a flight test February 3, resulting in the first intercept of a ballistic missile target using the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA off the west coast of Hawaii. (Photo credit: Leah Garton/U.S. Missile Defense Agency)In the February test, a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA launched from the USS John Paul Jones off the western coast of Hawaii successfully destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. The SM-3 IIA is being developed cooperatively by the United States and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The interceptor is part of the Aegis missile defense system and can be fired from specially designed Aegis ships or land-based sites. 

The Aegis system is a central component of the U.S. missile defense architecture in Europe and Asia. As of Feb. 3, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has conducted 41 intercept tests of the system, of which 34 were successful. 

The Defense Department is planning to deploy the SM-3 IIA missile in Poland in 2018 as part of the third phase of the so-called European Phased Adaptive Approach. (See ACT, June 2016.) The approach is the U.S. contribution to NATO’s missile defense system and is designed to protect Europe against short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles launched from Iran. 

Russia has strongly opposed the planned Polish site and claims that the alliance’s missile defense plans are aimed at undermining Moscow’s nuclear deterrent. U.S. and NATO officials have stated repeatedly that the SM-3 system will not be able to shoot down Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

In a Feb. 8 email to Arms Control Today, Christopher Szkrybalo, an MDA spokesman, said the SM-3 IIA “was neither designed nor planned to defend the U.S. against ICBM threats.” 

Although the SM-3 IIA was successful in its first intercept test, the Pentagon’s testing office raised concerns about the viability of the GMD system. Consistent with prior assessments, the office’s 2016 annual report states that the system “has demonstrated a limited capability to defend the U.S. Homeland from small numbers of simple intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea or Iran.” 

The report notes that the “reliability and availability” of the system’s interceptors “are low” and the MDA “continues to discover new failure modes during testing.” The report also notes that “[f]ew cybersecurity assessments have been performed” of the system to date. 

The GMD system consists of interceptor sites in Alaska and California. A total of 44 interceptors are scheduled to be deployed at these locations by the end of fiscal year 2017. 

It remains to be seen whether and how President Donald Trump will adjust missile defense policy. In a Jan. 27 executive order, he ordered Defense Secretary James Mattis to conduct a new Ballistic Missile Defense Review “to identify ways of strengthening missile defense capabilities” and “rebalancing homeland and theater defense priorities.” Such a rebalance could lead to greater emphasis on and funding for expanding the GMD system, including by building a third GMD site in the eastern United States, at the expense of regional defenses such as the Aegis system. (See ACT, January/February 2017.

Last year, Congress voted to open the door to expanding national missile defenses beyond the currently limited goal of defending against Iran and North Korea as some, predominantly Republican backers eye actions that some worry could upset the nuclear balance with Russia and China. (See ACT, January/February 2017.)

A ballistic missile interceptor scores a hit, but there is renewed criticism of a missile defense system.

China’s Alleged ICBM Moves Questioned

March 2017

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

China reportedly has deployed a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the DF-41, in northern China near the Russian border. The missile was successfully flight-tested for the seventh time in April 2016, but it is unclear if it has completed development, and experts reacted skeptically to news reports circulating in late January that it had been deployed. 

Military vehicles carrying DF-31A intercontinental ballistic missiles are displayed in a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. (Photo credit: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)Observers’ photos on Chinese websites of missile launchers in Daqing City in northern China are evidence of the missile’s deployment, according to a Jan. 24 report by The Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper, which cited information from “some Hong Kong and Taiwan media.” The Global Times noted that “some media…think this is Beijing’s response” to U.S. President Donald Trump’s combative remarks about China. 

China has disputed the reports. “This is just the speculation of Internet users, the guesses that do not correspond to reality,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told the Russian news agency TASS on Jan. 25.

Reports of the DF-41 deployment are unsubstantiated, asserted Gregory Kulacki, China project manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists, in a Feb. 13 blog post. There is also no official report that the missile has completed development, although China is notoriously secretive about its nuclear arsenal.

The modernized missile appears to be slightly larger than its predecessor, the DF-31A; but like the DF-31A, it is able to reach targets in the United States, Kulacki told Arms Control Today in a Feb. 13 email. The missile’s range is 12,000 to 15,000 kilometers, and it can carry up to 10 multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) warheads, according to the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

As a solid-fueled, road-mobile ICBM, the “mobility of the system is the most notable upgrade,” Catherine Dill, senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, told Arms Control Today in an email on Feb. 17. She also stated that the missile is still under development and therefore not all features are known.

China has diverse missile systems, including short-range, medium-range, and intercontinental missiles, as well as cruise missiles. The development of the DF-41 would have “modest but important” implications for the Chinese nuclear deterrent, said Kulacki. 

“China’s nuclear forces have one, and only one, purpose, which is to prevent a nuclear attack against China,” he said. “The new missile is another incremental improvement in the retaliatory capability that Chinese leaders believe is necessary to fulfill that purpose, especially in the face of new precision-guided conventional capabilities which could target China’s nuclear forces.”

At issue is whether China has deployed a new intercontinental ballistic missile ICBM near the Russian border.

New ICBM Replacement Cost Revealed

March 2017

By Kingston Reif

The high end of an independent Pentagon cost estimate to design and build a replacement for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system put the project at roughly $100 billion after adjusting for inflation, an informed source told Arms Control Today.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test September 5, 2016, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. (Photo credit: Michael Peterson/U.S. Air Force)The $100 billion figure in the estimate completed last August is more than 60 percent greater than the $61 billion cost set last summer by the Defense Department’s top acquisition official in advancing the new ICBM program. His announced figure was at the low end of the independent projection and, even so, exceeded the initial cost estimate produced by the Air Force. (See ACT, October 2016.)

At the high end of the estimate, recapitalizing the Minuteman III could be more expensive than replacing the nation’s aging fleet of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and exacerbate the affordability challenge posed by current plans to modernize U.S. nuclear forces. 

The independent estimate was prepared by the Pentagon’s Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) in support of the program’s so-called milestone A decision, a key early benchmark in the acquisition process. Frank Kendall, former undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, approved the milestone A decision on Aug. 23, the Air Force announced in a Sept. 1 press release.

CAPE provides the Defense Department with detailed analysis of the costs of major acquisition programs. The office’s estimate for the missile program, known as the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), is measured in fiscal year 2016 constant dollars. When measured in then-year dollars, which includes inflationary increases expected over the period to acquire the new ICBM system, the low CAPE estimate translates to $85 billion while the high estimate could top $140 billion, according to the source. 

The Air Force in 2015 published a preliminary cost estimate of $62.3 billion in then-year dollars for the replacement program. (See ACT, July/August 2015.) That estimate covered a 30-year time horizon. The time period covered by the CAPE projection is unclear. 

Even at the level of the CAPE low estimate, the Pentagon will need to find more than $1 billion in additional funding to pay for the GBSD system than it anticipated in the fiscal year 2017 budget request, which was based on the Air Force projection. 

The dueling Air Force and CAPE estimates reflect both the different assumptions used to estimate the cost of the new ICBM program and the significant uncertainty about program costs.

In CAPE’s annual report for fiscal year 2016, published in January, former CAPE Director Jamie Morin said that although the Air Force “relied” on historical Minuteman and Peacekeeper program data, CAPE’s estimate “used additional data from the Navy Trident II and the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-Based Interceptor.” 

Morin added that “it was unusually difficult to estimate the cost of a new ICBM program because there was no recent data to draw upon, and the older historical data was of very questionable quality or was nonexistent.” 

“This leads to considerable uncertainty and risk in any cost estimate,” he said. 

In an interview last fall with Defense News, Morin said the biggest driver of the difference between the low- and high-end CAPE estimates had to do with different assumptions about the price escalation of labor costs. The value of the escalator used by CAPE in each estimate is unclear. 

Morin expressed hope that the current plan to buy more than 600 new missiles would result in efficiencies that bring down the overall cost. 

The CAPE estimate illustrates the significant high-side cost risk of the new ICBM program and is likely to prompt continued questions about whether the Pentagon is pursuing the most cost-effective approach to sustaining the ICBM leg of the triad beyond 2030. 

Many ICBM proponents argue that they are the cheapest leg of the triad to maintain and modernize, but the $100 billion CAPE high estimate is roughly the same as the Navy’s constant-dollar cost estimate for the program to replace the current fleet of 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines with submarines of the Columbia class. In then-year dollars, the CAPE high estimate of approximately $140 billion exceeds the projected cost of $128 billion for the Columbia-class submarine program. 

The Air Force argues that a new ICBM is necessary because the Minuteman III is aging into obsolescence and losing its capability to penetrate adversary missile defenses. (See ACT, April 2016.) The current recapitalization approach assumes that 400 deployed ICBMs, which is the same number the United States is planning to deploy under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, will be required for the entire 50-year service life of the new missile system. 

But some analysts claim that if the requirements for 400 deployed missiles, a 50-year service life, and new capabilities are relaxed, then it is possible to extend the life of the Minuteman III for a period of time beyond 2030 and at less cost than the GBSD system. (See ACT, October 2016.)

A high-end cost estimate raises the prospect that the missiles will cost far more than anticipated.

Congress Rewrites Missile Defense Policy

January/February 2017

By Kingston Reif

In a significant departure from long-standing U.S. policy, lawmakers voted in December to expand the declared role of U.S. national ballistic missile defenses.

The measure states that it shall be “the policy of the United States to maintain and improve an effective, robust layered missile defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States and its allies against the developing and increasingly complex ballistic missile threat.” That opens the door to expanding the system beyond the currently limited goal of defending against Iran and North Korea as some, predominately Republican, backers eye actions that could upset the nuclear balance with Russia and China.

The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS Hopper successfully conducted two developmental flight tests of the Standard Missile-3 Block IB Threat Upgrade guided missile on May 25 and 26, 2016, off the west coast of Hawaii. (Photo credit: U.S. Missile Defense Agency)The policy provision is part of the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The final compromise version of that bill, which the House of Representatives and the Senate passed on Dec. 2 and Dec. 8, respectively, establishes spending ceilings and legal guidelines for Pentagon programs and the activities conducted by the Energy Department’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law on Dec. 23, despite having previously objected to the new missile defense language. The policy statement does not require the development of missile defenses against any one country or countries and notes that implementation is subject to the annual authorization and appropriation of funds by Congress. 

The language replaces a 1999 law expressing “the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate).”

For nearly two decades, U.S. ballistic missile defense policy has been guided by protecting the homeland against limited long-range missile strikes from states such as Iran and North Korea and not major nuclear powers Russia and China. In May 2014, Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in speech that Washington “will not rely on missile defense for strategic deterrence of Russia because it would simply be too hard and too expensive and too strategically destabilizing to even try.”

Yet, some lawmakers and national security analysts had expressed concern in recent years that the 1999 law was too restrictive and did not reflect the evolving ballistic missile threat environment. 

Last spring, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) successfully attached amendments to their respective chamber’s versions of the defense authorization bill that removed the word “limited” from the 1999 law. Franks justified the change in part by arguing that “China and Russia are both developing complex missile technology specifically designed to exploit our weaknesses,” such as hypersonic strike systems and advanced cruise missiles. 

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the strategic forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, also cited Russia and China as a motivating factor, stating at a committee discussion on the Franks amendment that the old policy was written at a time when “Russia was a peaceful partner” and China had yet to deploy long-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles. 

In a statement last June, the White House said it “strongly objects” to removing the word “limited” from the 1999 law. “The inclusion of this word is specifically intended to convey that the U.S. homeland missile defense system is designed and deployed to counter limited attacks (in number and sophistication) from Iran and North Korea, and not to counter the strategic deterrence forces of Russia and China,” according to the statement. 

Some analysts argue that the White House and other critics of the new policy are misinterpreting the new provision. Thomas Karako, the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Arms Control Today in a Dec. 29 email that the “substitution of ‘effective, robust, and layered’ for ‘limited’ does not mean ‘unlimited.’” 

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Kenneth Todorov, the former deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), told Arms Control Today in a Jan. 3 interview that the change was unnecessary. “I never felt like the word ‘limited’ constrained us in any way, including our development of capabilities against the most serious ballistic missile threats,” he said.

Todorov added that he would be “interested in observing how Russia and China react to the change, since they could use the new language as fodder to support their longstanding claim that U.S. missile defenses are in fact aimed at them.”  

Another provision in the authorization bill encourages but does not require the Defense Department to begin research and development on a space-based missile defense option for the United States. Vice Adm. James Syring, the MDA director, told lawmakers at a House hearing last April that he had “serious concerns about the technical feasibility” and “long-term affordability” of interceptors in space.

B-21 Provisions Diluted

The final authorization bill removed provisions contained in the initial House and Senate versions that sought to control the cost of the nuclear-capable B-21 Raider bomber program. 

The Air Force is planning to purchase 100 bombers to complement and then replace the existing B-52H and B-2A aircraft. The new bombers are scheduled to enter service in the mid-2020s, and the entire fleet could cost more than $100 billion to produce, according to some nongovernmental estimates. 

An Air Force depiction of the long-range, nuclear-capable bomber known as the B-21 Raider, which is scheduled to enter service in the mid-2020s. (Photo credit: U.S. Air Force)The House bill required the defense secretary to submit a report to Congress on the value of the contract awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp. in October 2015 to begin developing the bomber. The Senate bill contained a similar reporting requirement and a provision that would have halted development of the new bomber fleet if the program exceeded certain cost growth thresholds.  

The Air Force has refused to release the value of the contract award and the estimated total cost of the B-21 program, citing classification concerns. 

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a critic of the Air Force’s unwillingness to share more information about the price of the bomber, decried the elimination of the House and Senate cost control provisions. 

“It’s a testimony again to the clout of the industry in the Congress,” he told CQ Roll Call in December. “It’s absolutely unconscionable.”

On weapons dismantlement, the law sets an annual limit of $56 million for NNSA expenditures in fiscal years 2017 to 2021 to take apart and dispose of retired nuclear warheads and prohibits spending beyond that amount unless a number of stringent conditions can be met. 

The measure also bars funding to provide nuclear security assistance to Russia unless the U.S. energy secretary, with the concurrence of the secretaries of state and defense, issues a waiver stating that such assistance is necessary to address an urgent “nuclear-related threat arising in the Russian Federation.” 

Nearly all U.S. nuclear security work inside Russia has come to an end due to Russia’s unwillingness to continue that work and congressional limitations on funding. (See ACT, March 2015.)

Continuing Resolution 

In addition to passing the authorization bill, Congress in December passed a continuing resolution that extends funding for most discretionary government programs at the previous year’s levels through April 2017, although a number of nuclear weapons programs received a special funding exemption. 

Lawmakers failed to pass any fresh appropriations bills for fiscal year 2017, which began on Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30. The House and Senate passed a continuing resolution last September to fund the government at the fiscal year 2016 enacted levels through early December and a second such measure in early December to extend funding at that level through the end of April. 

Most programs will be funded at the fiscal year 2016 levels, but the current continuing resolution permits the Navy to fund advance procurement activities for the Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine program at a rate consistent with the fiscal year 2017 request of $773 billion. Navy officials had warned that failure to provide this funding would delay the program and increase total costs. 

The bill passed in December also allows the NNSA to fund its nuclear weapons activities account consistent with the fiscal year 2017 request of $9.2 billion. 

Although the Air Force did not receive a similar exemption for its nuclear modernization programs, Capt. Mark Graff, an Air Force spokesperson, told Arms Control Today in a Dec. 22 email that the service “does not anticipate any adverse impacts” to the programs to develop the B-21 and new fleets of nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles as a result of the continuing resolution. But Graff warned that an extension of the continuing resolution for the entire fiscal year would cause delays for these programs.

Sponsors look beyond Iran and North Korea to developments in Russia and China.

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