June 11, 2016 - No. 24

Establishing an Anti-War Government Is a Matter of Principle

Say No to Canadian Participation in U.S. Missile Defence

Information on U.S. Ballistic Missile Defence Program
and Preemptive Strike Doctrine

Oppose Canada's Participation in War Preparations in Europe
Unacceptable Government Defence Policy Review and Consultation

Competition over the Monopoly of Nuclear Weapons,
Material and Technology

Dangerous U.S. Seizure of Gendarme Role over Nuclear
Monopoly and Canadian Acquiescence

Disposal of Uranium and Plutonium and Consolidation
of U.S. Monopoly

Canadian Government's Push for Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty
Concern over Nuclear Re-Armament in Europe

For Your Information
Washington Nuclear Security Summit
U.S. Government's $1 Trillion Nuclear Modernization Programs
- Arms Control Association -

20th Anniversary of the Publication of Modern Communism,
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
by Hardial Bains

The Study and Discussion of Modern Communism Are Part of
the Historic Initiative to Turn Things Around in Canada

Establishing an Anti-War Government Is a Matter of Principle

Say No to Canadian Participation in
U.S. Missile Defence

  Windsor protest at National Day of Action Against Ballistic Missile Defence,
October 2, 2004.

The Trudeau government is working to destroy the public opinion of Canadians against participation in the U.S. ballistic missile defence program. This public opinion was created in the course of Canadians' concerted actions against joining the program in 2004 and 2005 as well as their opposition to the U.S. wars against Afghanistan and Iraq and most recently Libya and Syria. It must not pass!

This opposition has been consistently voiced going back to the U.S. genocide against Vietnam and Indochina, to U.S. missile testing in Canada during the Pierre Trudeau Liberal government in the early 1980s and Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" program among other things. Canadians oppose the country's annexation into Fortress North America and the placing of Canadian resources and territory under the control of the U.S. imperialists for the purpose of war preparations.

The new push to integrate Canada into U.S. missile defence comes on the heels of U.S. President Obama's final "Nuclear Security Summit" held in Washington, DC from March 31 to April 2. There the U.S. put the finishing touches on its self-serving concepts of non-proliferation and "ridding the world of nuclear weapons," which have come to mean the U.S. strengthening its monopoly on nuclear weapons, materials and technology. The U.S. is claiming successes in this "non-proliferation" at a time when it is expanding its missile shield program and preemptive strike capacity in North America, the Asia-Pacific and Europe.

This is another indication that the Liberals' program for "real change in Canada-U.S. relations" aims to rapidly accelerate Canada's annexation into Fortress North America under the hoax of "joint command," "defence of North America" and shameless fearmongering about alleged threats from "rogue states." Far from defending the security of the peoples of Canada, the U.S. and the world, the Liberal war government is pushing for further integration into the U.S. war machine precisely at a time when the U.S. ruling elite is organizing for a Clinton presidency that threatens preemptive strikes against Iran and Syria and an expansion of the U.S. aggressive "pivot to Asia."

To this end the Liberals and U.S. imperialist academics and experts have been for several years laying the groundwork to revive a dangerous debate which Canadians considered to be closed in 2005. The latest push comes as part of the government's Defence Policy Review launched on April 6, which asks whether, "given changing technologies and threats," Canada should revisit its decision to not participate in the U.S. ballistic missile defence system.

At the same time, the government has appointed a four-person Ministerial Advisory Panel on the defence policy review including Bill Graham, Minister of Defence under the Paul Martin Liberal government. Graham was the biggest proponent of missile defence at the time and has been trotted out more recently to express regret at the government opting out of the program in the face of Canadians' public opinion. Graham cynically told a Senate committee in 2014 that it was the negative opinion Canadians held about George W. Bush that forced the government to stay out. "If it had been President Obama asking with his approach, you never know, we might have said yes," Graham said.

The Liberals are eager to destroy Canadians' unity in action against war and annexation by fearmongering and claiming that Canada's non-participation in U.S. missile defence actually threatens Canadian sovereignty. Questions posed by Liberal MPs to Canadian armed forces figures at meetings of the House Committee on National Defence in March and April envision nightmare scenarios of missiles hurtling from some unknown source towards Canadian cities, and ask what Canada could do in such a situation. According to the Liberals and these military figures, once a missile is identified the decision would be solely up to the U.S. as to whether its missile defence system would attempt to intercept it.

Such ideas do not do justice to any modern conception of security and insult the intelligence of Canadians. When it comes to integration into the U.S. military apparatus, it is well known who calls the shots. More importantly, Canadians must keep in mind that these crude scenarios are designed to sow confusion and smash their opposition to warmongering and have no basis in fact. Asserting the "right" to conduct preemptive strikes and the actual bombardment of cities are features of both the Bush and Obama doctrines. They have been a feature of U.S. warfare going back to unprecedented murder of more than one million Japanese by the U.S. nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945.

Canadians answer the government's watchwords "defence of North America" and "shared security" -- designed to accelerate war preparations -- with a slogan that belongs to them: Our Security Lies in Our Fight for the Rights of All! Our security and our future become one in the defence of rights, including standing as one with the world's peoples in defence of their right to be against U.S. imperialist preparations for another world war. TML Weekly is providing information below about the U.S. ballistic missile defence program and preemptive strike doctrine, Canada's participation in U.S./NATO war preparations in Europe as well as the Liberal government's ongoing defence policy review.

Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!
Say No to Canadian Participation in U.S. Missile Defence!
Our Security Lies in Our Fight for the Rights of All!

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Information on U.S. Ballistic Missile Defence Program and Preemptive Strike Doctrine

The U.S. ballistic missile defence program is a key part of the nuclear blackmail the U.S. imperialists have imposed on the world's peoples since the infamies committed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The U.S. drive to build up its missile defence systems in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific is part of increasing its capacity to conduct preemptive strikes and protect itself from retaliation.

Preemptive Strike Doctrine

The George W. Bush regime articulated its doctrine of preemptive strikes in a June 1, 2002 declaration. Bush said that "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long." He called for a military "ready to strike at a moment's notice" and for Americans to be "ready for preemptive action when necessary."

This was also reflected in the 2002 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, a "legislatively-mandated review that establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture" for a five-year period. At that time the Washington Post noted, "The review makes clear a turn by the Bush team to a strategy of preemption, including by nuclear weapons if necessary." This was allegedly to protect against "rogue states," and listed Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Libya and Syria as potential targets.

The Obama regime never repudiated this doctrine and its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review maintained the status quo. The preemptive strike policy went unchanged and was given explicit justification in the case of "the evolution and proliferation of the biological weapons threat and U.S. capacities to counter that threat." The legal justification for preemptive strikes was rearticulated most recently in an April 1 speech by Brian Egan, the top lawyer at Obama's State Department. Egan elaborated the concept of "imminence" to explain the circumstances in which the U.S. would legally justify preemptive strikes under the hoax of self-defence.

"The absence of specific evidence of where an attack will take place or of the precise nature of an attack does not preclude a conclusion that an armed attack is imminent for purposes of the exercise of the right of self-defense, provided that there is a reasonable and objective basis for concluding that an armed attack is imminent," Egan said.

The Associated Press reported on June 4, 2015 that the Obama administration has drawn up plans for "counterforce" attacks using conventional missiles in preemptive attacks against Russian nuclear weapons, and "countervailing strike capabilities" for nuclear attacks on Russian military targets.

Development of U.S. Missile Defence

U.S. ballistic missile defence system in Europe (click image to enlarge).

Since the end of the Cold War the creation of ballistic missile defence systems has become a major preoccupation of U.S. imperialism. Previously, the size and scope of ballistic missile defence systems were limited by a U.S.-Soviet treaty signed in 1972. The U.S. withdrew from this treaty in 2002 and has since been rapidly increasing the scope of its program.

Current and planned U.S. missile defence systems include:

Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD)

There are currently four GMD interceptors located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and 26 at Fort Geely, Alaska. The GMD system is designed to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere. It relies on radar stations in Alaska, California, the United Kingdom and Greenland and is connected directly to NORAD, the U.S. Northern Command Command, other bases in the U.S. and the Shariki U.S. airbase in Japan. The system has been in testing since 1997 and has cost roughly $40 billion to date. Intercept tests to date have counted more failures than successes. The primary contractors are Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD)

Polish and U.S. leaders at Aegis Ashore missile defence system groundbreaking ceremony in Redzikowo, Poland, May 13, 2016. (U.S. Dept. of Defense)

This is a ship-based missile defence system designed to intercept "short-to-intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase" ballistic missiles. There are currently approximately 33 Aegis BMD vessels, with 16 assigned to the Pacific Fleet and 17 to the Atlantic Fleet. There are expected to be 43 Aegis ships by the end of 2019, and a total of between 80 and 97 by 2043. The ships use the Lockheed Martin Aegis Weapon System and Raytheon missiles. Out of 37 intercept tests between 1997 and 2015, 31 have been successful.

The Aegis system has also been deployed on land, referred to as "Aegis Ashore." In May 2016 the U.S. Navy and U.S. Missile Defence Agency declared operational an Aegis missile defence site in Deveselu, Romania. It will be joined by an Aegis site in Poland to be completed by April 2018, both under U.S./NATO command.

U.S. ships with Aegis BMD systems include the USS Monterey, which was deployed in the Mediterranean and then the Black Sea in 2011. The U.S. again deployed the Monterey to the Mediterranean at the beginning of June 2016 along with two aircraft carriers and another Aegis ship, the San Jacinto.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)

THAAD has been in development since 1992 and first deployed in 2008. It is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles in their terminal phase. It is said to be capable of hitting targets in the upper part of the atmosphere and outside the atmosphere. The system can be vehicle-mounted and has been deployed in Hawaii, Guam and Wake Island. It is designed and built by Lockheed Martin. The commanding general of Army Space and Missile Defense Command announced in March 2016 that the THAAD system is being considered for deployment in Europe and the Middle East through U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and Central Command (CENTCOM), as well as in south Korea. The THAAD system was successful in most tests conducted between 2005 and 2012.

Along with the placement of nuclear weaponry in eastern Europe, the U.S. is building up its missile defence capacity and hence its capacity for preemptive strikes in the Baltic Sea through ship-based systems.

Patriot Anti-Ballistic Missiles

The MIM-104 Patriot missile "has been the [U.S. military's] cornerstone air-and-missile defense system for 40 years," writes DefenseNews. It is the U.S. army's primary "High to Medium Air Defense" system, and is expected to be widely used until 2040. There are more than one thousand launchers in U.S. service and nearly 200 have been sold to U.S. "allies." U.S./NATO controlled Patriot systems are deployed in Poland and Turkey. The system was developed by Raytheon, and each missile costs roughly $2-3 million.

(Sources: U.S. Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency, DefenseNews, Just Security, Arms Control Association)

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Oppose Canada's Participation in
War Preparations in Europe

News reports on June 10 revealed that the Trudeau Liberal government is considering permanently deploying up to 1,000 Canadian soldiers in eastern Europe. An article in the Ottawa Citizen reported that NATO has been pressing for Canada to do so after the U.S., Britain and Germany each pledged similar numbers.

NATO wants to establish "a new force in Europe" specifically targeting Russia, and has also requested Canada conduct a permanent patrol in European waters, contribute CF-18 fighter jets to a "Baltic Air Policing" mission and possibly send an armoured reconnaissance unit to eastern Europe. A "senior NATO diplomat" was cited as saying, "other European allies are stretched thin because of operations in Africa, Afghanistan or at home, which is why Canada is being singled out."

A spokesperson for Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan told media, "As a committed NATO ally, Canada is actively considering options to effectively contribute to NATO's strengthened posture." According to The Citizen, Canada will make its decision before NATO's 2016 Warsaw Summit in Poland from July 8 to 9. Prime Minister Trudeau will attend the summit along with other leaders of NATO member states. The summit is expected to announce the stepping up of NATO war preparations and its military buildup in eastern Europe with this new land force.

After a meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau in Ottawa on May 10, Polish President Andrzej Duda was quoted saying, "Trudeau confirmed he would present a statement at the summit, with a focus on the need to strengthen the eastern flank of NATO, that NATO should act jointly in this regard, that it is necessary to stress the importance of the unity of the Alliance in Warsaw to make all allies respond together to the new threat from the east."

Anakonda-2016 Military Exercise in Poland

NATO's largest war games since the end of the Cold War, the "Anakonda-2016" exercise, is being held from June 7 to 17, involving 31,000 ground troops from 19 NATO members and six "partner" states in NATO's "Partnership for Peace," including Ukraine. At least 220 Canadian troops are participating along with armed forces from the U.S., UK and Germany as well as Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. The war games are said to simulate "defence" against a "Russian incursion from the east."

Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe Ben Hodges informs that Anakonda is "the major exercise" of 2016. Hodges says that the "key point in deterring Russia" is "rapid response" and "accumulation of military equipment in strategic locations." Polish General Slawomir Wojciechowski said it is "the first exercise since 1989 involving U.S.-allied troops on such a large-scale." The ground exercises are comprised of four distinct but overlapping areas: live fire, command post, field training and cyber and electronic warfare exercises.

Nearly half of the participating soldiers are from the U.S. and 1,000 are from the UK. One hundred and five NATO aircraft and 49 warships are conducting simultaneous exercises in the Baltic Sea. Special forces and intelligence units are also taking part. The U.S. Army in Europe informs that its training events during Anakonda-2016 include "multinational air assault and airborne operations, air defense operations, bridging operations and numerous other training activities." Participating U.S. units come from various bases in Germany, Italy and the U.S. The exercises are being called "Polish-led" to cover up the main role of the U.S. in the military buildup and war preparations on Russia's frontiers. The Guardian noted that "For the first time since the Nazi invasion of [Poland] began 22 June 1941, German tanks will cross the country from west to east."

Participation of Ukraine

Ukrainian media reported in April that Poland "insisted" that Ukraine should be included but that Germany was "strongly opposed." According to reports citing Polish generals, Germany was also opposed to the use of its roadways for the movement of U.S. troops to the exercises. The U.S. Embassy in Poland issued a statement on April 29 stating that "German authorities have not denied U.S. Army transportation requests regarding the movement of U.S. troops and equipment through Germany to Poland for the Anakonda 16 exercises." The U.S. and Germany "continue to coordinate the movement of U.S. troops along German highways in accordance with the U.S.-German Status of Forces Agreement," the statement said.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence announced on April 29 that its soldiers would take part in the Anakonda exercise as well as nine other major military exercises with NATO countries this year. These include the U.S.-Ukrainian Rapid Trident 2016 and Maple Arch 2016 hosted by the "International Peacekeeping and Security Center" (IPSC) in western Ukraine and the U.S.-Ukraine Sea Breeze 2016 exercise involving more than 12,500 Ukrainian troops. The U.S. Department of Defense announced in February 2016 that it will maintain a permanent military presence at the IPSC until 2020. More than 200 Canadian armed forces personnel taking part in the U.S. mission to train Ukrainian militias are likewise based at the IPSC.

Click to enlarge.

Largest U.S. Transfer of Ammunition to Europe in Ten Years

The U.S. military announced in February that it has "transported over 5,000 tons of ammunition from the port of Nordenham to the Theater Logistics Support Center Europe's ammunition depot in Miesau." This is the "largest single European-bound U.S. shipment of ammunition in 10 years," the military said. Transportation took place in 415 shipping containers and will be made available for the Anakonda exercise. The U.S. military said that increasing ammunition reserves in Europe "means that U.S. and NATO forces can quickly draw ammunition in support of short notice NATO operations and other multinational efforts aimed at maintaining a strong alliance."

Urgent Need to Get Canada Out of NATO

The Trudeau Liberals' support for U.S. imperialist war preparations in Europe takes Canada further along the dangerous course of the U.S. ruling circles and their NATO alliance. It is the path of militarization, preemptive strikes, wars of aggression and occupation abroad, and fascism on the home front. The method of the U.S. imperialists is to create "facts on the ground," be it about "weapons of mass destruction" or the new buzz phrase of "Russian aggression," and use this to justify aggression and bring humanity closer to the brink of another world war.

The increasing aggressiveness of NATO's "eastern posture," the upcoming Warsaw Summit in July and the expectation for Canada to "step up" and significantly increase its military presence in Europe pose serious dangers to the Canadian and world's peoples. They show that getting Canada out of NATO and establishing an anti-war government is not a matter of policy but one of principle and an urgent necessity to safeguard the peoples' lives and future.

Canada must not participate in U.S. imperialist war preparations and must also defend its sovereignty in a meaningful way. This means not permitting the U.S. imperialists to exercise command and control over Canada's air, land, water and government and military assets. It means to remove all Canadian soldiers, ships and equipment from foreign territory. Most importantly, it means that the Canadian working class and people must prepare to establish an anti-war government for Canadians to uphold their peace-loving stand internationally and prevent tragedies and crimes from taking place in their name.

(Photos/graphics: TML, Sputnik)

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Unacceptable Government Defence Policy
Review and Consultation

The Department of National Defence initiated a Defence Policy Review on April 6 with consultations that will continue until July 31. A four-member Ministerial Advisory Panel has been created for the review, comprised of former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham, former NATO Military Committee Chairman Raymond Henault and former Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Security and Intelligence) Margaret Purdy.

The Department of National Defence says it is conducting the review because "the strategic context in which the [Canadian armed forces] operates has shifted in the last decade, in some ways significantly. Canada is facing a range of new challenges, from the rise of terrorism in ungoverned spaces, to the expanded use of hybrid tactics in conflict, to new opportunities and vulnerabilities associated with the space and cyber domains."

The Trudeau Liberal government is continuing the unacceptable pattern set with the review of Canadian foreign policy by the Chrétien Liberals in 1994/95 that fundamental issues are not up for review. A document was released at the launch of the review with an introduction by Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan setting out the "themes that should underpin the review." These are "renewing Canada's commitment to United Nations peace operations, maintaining strong commitments to NORAD and NATO, renewing focus on the surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches, particularly the Arctic, ensuring our men and women in uniform have the equipment and support they need, and ensuring a strong link between defence policy, foreign policy, and national security."

Six total "stakeholder" roundtables are being held with "defence, security and other experts." Four have been held to date, in Vancouver (April 27), Toronto (May 20), Yellowknife (May 24) and Edmonton (June 4). The next roundtables will be held in Montreal and Halifax. The "stakeholders" in question have so far been primarily former diplomats, representatives of armaments monopolies, academics, former military figures and members of think-tanks.

The U.S. and other countries will be part of the review through bilateral and multilateral meetings. In this regard, the Department of National Defence reported on May 13 that a visit by Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan to Washington, DC for meetings "with senior government officials on Capitol Hill" "focused on a wide range of issues currently being examined as part of Canada's ongoing Defence Policy Review, including Canada's long standing defence partnership with the U.S. through NORAD, as a NATO Ally, and as a partner in the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)."

Sajjan was quoted in an official press release as saying, "My meetings in Washington were highly informative as Canada examines a number of issues important to our ongoing Defence Policy Review. These include continuing to work with our most important defence partner to strengthen continental defence and working together to address broader security challenges as they emerge around the globe."

Canadians are invited to visit the National Defence consultation website and complete one of six "E-Workbooks," each of which has its own Discussion Forum. The website is called "Have Your Say: Defence Policy Review 2016" and advertises the hashtag #DefenceConsults. The online consultation is privately managed by the French market research company Ipsos through its consultations division.

Users can register an account on the forum to post comments and replies to predefined topics, which can then be given a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down." The E-Workbooks consist of multiple-choice questions and in some cases, comment forms. According to numbers published on the discussion forums, the most popular topic has, as of June 11, fewer than 3,000 views and around 400 comments. Others have far less engagement.

The online consultation and public consultation document are divided into five areas: Canadian Approach to Defence; The Security Environment; Defending Canada and North America; Contributing to Global Peace and Security; Defence Capabilities and the Future Force.

The Defence Policy Review website also invites Canadians to host their own local consultation events, using the government's Consultation Tool Kit, consisting of a PDF of the review booklet, a "Defence 101" powerpoint presentation, a moderator's guide and news release template. These events can be submitted to National Defence and may be included on its website but the government does not say what are the criteria for consultation events to be acceptable or published on the website.

There have been eight consultation events since the review was launched in April. Four have been hosted by Members of Parliament; one private event has been held by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute; one event has been held by the Royal United Services Institute, a British defence and security think-tank; one private event was held by the Western Canadian Defence Industries Association; one was held by the École nationale d'administration publique in Montreal; and one event appears to have been organized by a member of the public in Vancouver.

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Competition over the Monopoly of Nuclear Weapons, Material and Technology

Dangerous U.S. Seizure of Gendarme Role over Nuclear Monopoly and Canadian Acquiescence

One of the self-proclaimed successes of the eight years of the Obama war presidency in the U.S. is the advance in nuclear non-proliferation worldwide.[1] At the close of the U.S.-sponsored Nuclear Security Summit 2016 held in Washington from March 31 to April 2, Obama stated, "As terrorists and criminal gangs and arms merchants look around for deadly ingredients for a nuclear device, vast regions of the world are now off-limits, and that is a remarkable achievement."

Four "Nuclear Security Summits" were held between 2010 and 2016 under Obama's direct leadership, creating an alternative forum in the imperialist system of states for deal-making on nuclear issues outside established United Nations bodies and without the participation of the majority of sovereign states. This has led to the creation of an even narrower "Nuclear Security Contact Group" which is tasked with continuing the efforts of the Summits and meeting annually on the sidelines of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Through the Nuclear Security Summits and other initiatives, the U.S. imperialists have seized a gendarme role in the monopoly over nuclear weapons, materials and technology worldwide. Most worryingly, the Obama presidency has entrenched a conception of "nuclear non-proliferation" synonymous with consolidation of the U.S. nuclear monopoly. This is the basis for its claimed successes.

To declare "vast regions of the world" to be "off-limits," the U.S. has organized the dismantling of nuclear facilities overseas and the physical relocation of huge quantities of nuclear material, including from Canada, to the U.S. for permanent storage or conversion. This is described as keeping nuclear materials "out of the hands of terrorists" while the U.S., the only entity to ever use nuclear weapons against human beings, embarks upon a $1 trillion "nuclear modernization" program, deploys new nuclear weaponry in Europe and violates existing nuclear disarmament agreements.

The Trudeau Liberal government in Canada is playing a dangerous role in support of U.S. nuclear intrigues and creating the new international police powers to ensure its nuclear domination. Among other things, Canada has been given the role of leading the push to conclude a global fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), an agreement between states to prohibit the production of highly-enriched uranium and reprocessed plutonium for use in weapons.

Visiting Hiroshima, Japan with counterparts from G7 countries on April 11, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion said Canada should focus, "very strongly" on an FMCT, and that it is the measure which is "the least difficult to reach." The fraud of the FMCT and Canada's claim that this would be a significant step in disarmament and non-proliferation is that all but a handful of countries worldwide are acknowledged to have ended production of these materials for weapons purposes in the 1990s or before. Canada sells huge quantities of raw uranium to at least one of those countries. Perhaps more importantly, the FMCT would have no effect on existing stocks of such materials, 99 per cent of which are held by existing nuclear powers. The materials held by the five biggest nuclear powers alone are the equivalent of roughly 80,000 nuclear devices.

During the 1990s, Canada was similarly given an "honest broker" role to conclude an FMCT through the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (UNCD). At that time many non-nuclear powers pointed out this hypocrisy and voiced principled opposition to any such treaty that did not promote genuine disarmament, and so the treaty stalled.

Canada is now leading the blackmail against these countries, threatening that unless the UNCD agrees to the FMCT its members will be excluded from any say on future nuclear agreements.

In a tirade at the High-Level Segment of the UNCD in Geneva on March 2 Foreign Affairs Minister Dion stated that in the past 20 years the UNCD "has not made a single concrete contribution to international peace and security." Dion then pointed to recent agreements which had been negotiated outside the UN and threatened that if the UNCD does not "make a serious effort to resume its substantive work, ad hoc non-proliferation and disarmament efforts in other forums will become the norm." Dion claimed that the failure of the UNCD to support such initiatives is a "damning indictment of our inability to overcome our narrow national interests."

Dion spoke out against efforts towards disarmament of existing nuclear powers or including such measures in future treaties and attempted to paint these as calls for "an immediate outright ban on nuclear weapons." He called for "realistic objectives, taking contemporary strategic realities into account."

Dion clarified that a key aspect of an FMCT would be the establishment of new international police powers for verification and enforcement of the nuclear monopoly of recognized powers led by the U.S. The FMCT would "be instrumental in helping to advance important verification mechanisms necessary for broader disarmament efforts," Dion said. Dion likewise made clear that these "important verification mechanisms" are to be established outside of recognized international institutions, praising an organization called the "International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification" for "addressing important technical aspects of verification that currently pose a significant obstacle to the development of long-lasting disarmament measures."

The "International Partnership" is a private-public partnership between the U.S. State Department and the "Nuclear Threat Initiative," (NTI) an organization founded in 2001 by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and billionaire Ted Turner. The NTI is also the coordinating body, along with Stanford University's Hoover Institute, of the "Nuclear Security Project," formed in 2007 by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and Nunn.

In other words, Canada's apparent leadership on nuclear disarmament is based on diplomatic support for the international gendarme role of the U.S. imperialists, the elimination of international institutions based on the equality of sovereign states and the creation of new, privatized mechanisms in the imperialist system of states. While the U.S. continues its nuclear blackmail against the world's peoples, Canada insists that the people drop their opposition to double standards lest they be excluded from any say whatsoever.

In this issue, TML Weekly is providing for your information materials on the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, how the U.S. is consolidating its monopoly over nuclear materials, the Canadian government's efforts to conclude an FMCT, U.S. plans for deployment of new nuclear weapons in Europe, as well as the U.S. government's nuclear modernization program.

Canada's activities on the issue of nuclear disarmament are proof positive that its role in the imperialist system of states is dirty indeed. The alternative is for Canadians to prepare the conditions for an anti-war government and bring it into being. It can be done! It must be done!


1. The Obama administration's initiatives in this field began following a speech in Prague on April 5, 2009, marking ten years of the Czech Republic's membership in NATO. Obama stated that "Our efforts to contain [nuclear] dangers are centered on a global non-proliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point where the center cannot hold." He used the occasion to "state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."

Lofty goals included reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy, strengthening multilateral treaties and concluding a fissile material cut-off treaty. "Some countries will break the rules," Obama said, "That's why we need a structure in place that ensures when any nation does, they will face consequences."

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Disposal of Uranium and Plutonium and Consolidation of U.S. Monopoly

The U.S. says the main achievement of the four Nuclear Security Summits (NSS) has been the removal of existing nuclear materials from various countries and regions. According to a White House press release, "wide swaths of Central and Eastern Europe and all of South America can be considered free of [highly enriched uranium (HEU)]." The U.S. says it has "successfully completed removals or confirmed the downblending of highly enriched uranium [HEU] and plutonium from more than 50 facilities in 30 countries -- in total, enough material for 130 nuclear weapons." As well, security at nuclear facilities and borders is said to have improved, and some countries are reported to have harmonized their security practices.

HEU is disposed of through down-blending, that converts it into low enriched uranium (LEU) which can be used as reactor fuel but not for nuclear weapons.  Plutonium is disposed of through transportation to the U.S. and storage in facilities such as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP),[1] a deep geological repository in New Mexico. Some excess plutonium is then converted into a mixed oxide fuel for use in nuclear reactors. Statements issued at the NSS noted the key role of the U.S. in assisting countries to dispose of uranium and plutonium stocks -- which it calls non-proliferation -- and ensure that countries are "no longer targets for those seeking nuclear materials." However, the WIPP in New Mexico has been shuttered for two years for safety reasons and plans for a facility to convert to mixed oxide fuel have now been cancelled. The U.S. currently has no "disposal" plan for plutonium in that regard.

On the first day of the 2016 NSS, the U.S. announced that it had declassified and released information about its national inventory of HEU as of September 30, 2013. The data states that "from 1996 to 2013, U.S. HEU inventories decreased from 740.7 metric tons to 585.6 metric tons." Since September 2013 the U.S. Department of Energy says it has down-blended 7.1 metric tons of HEU. The U.S. says 499.4 metric tons of remaining HEU stock is for "national security or non-national security programs including nuclear weapons, naval propulsion, nuclear energy, and science" while, of the remaining 86.2 metric tons, "41.6 metric tons was available for potential down-blend to low enriched uranium or, if not possible, disposal as low-level waste, and 44.6 metric tons was in spent reactor fuel."

At the current U.S. rate of disposal, it would take more than 17 years to dispose of the 41.6 metric tons "available for potential down-blend." Approximately 500 tons of Russian HEU was down-blended by the U.S. from 1993 to 2013, the fuel from which powered around half of U.S. nuclear power plants during that period. Most of the remaining world's HEU stockpiles are held by the U.S. and Russia. The International Panel on Fissile Materials estimates that global separated plutonium reserves were around 495 tons in 2012, half of which was for military purposes and the other half for civilian purposes, with roughly 98 per cent stored in nuclear weapons-possessing countries. The U.S. has committed to disposing of 34 metric tons of its own "excess" weapons-grade plutonium.

Highlighted at the 2016 NSS were the removal of HEU and plutonium from Japan's Fast Critical Assembly following a 2014 U.S.-Japan Joint Pledge; the removal of "excess" plutonium from Germany; and the elimination of all HEU from Argentina and Indonesia. It was further announced that the U.S. will work with Japan to transfer HEU fuel from the Kyoto University Critical Assembly to the United States for down-blending. British-flagged ships carrying approximately 331 kilograms of plutonium from Japan's Fast Critical Assembly arrived in Charleston, South Carolina on June 4 designated for the Savannah River facility.

At the same time, the demand for medical isotopes, commonly produced using HEU, is rising for use in various fields, from health to agriculture. Countries such as India are working to set up facilities to produce molybdenum-99 "by irradiating low enriched uranium targets in India's research reactor," India's Department of Atomic Energy informed.

The government of Canada has committed to eliminate the use of HEU in medical isotope production and announced at the 2014 NSS that it would do so by October 2016. However the Natural Research Universal (NRU) reactor at the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario produces around one-third of the world's medical isotopes (molybdenum-99) on the basis of HEU and there is currently no feasible replacement source. As a result, the deadline for the shutdown of the NRU reactor has been extended to March 2018. There are efforts in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere to develop techniques to produce molybdenum-99 without HEU, for instance through accelerators or neutron capture but there is, as of yet, no facility which could take over from the Chalk River labs.

Canada agreed at the 2010 NSS that all spent HEU of U.S. origin from the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario would be repatriated to the U.S., the stated purpose of which is "increased security of this inventory and in cost savings over long-term management in Canada." The repatriation is funded by the Nuclear Legacy Liabilities Program established by the Canadian government in 2006. Six shipments have been made, one in 2010, one in 2012 and four in 2015 and the repatriation is expected to be completed in May 2019.

In 2012 this initiative was expanded to include the removal of all "excess" HEU material stored at the Chalk River Laboratories, as well as heavy water byproducts of isotope production. These shipments are expected to begin in mid-2016 and also finish by May 2019. The University of Alberta is reportedly taking steps to shut down its SLOWPOKE Nuclear Reactor Facility which also runs on HEU fuel, and plans to repatriate this fuel to the U.S. also by May 2019. This would leave the SLOWPOKE reactor operated by the Saskatchewan Research Council as the only remaining HEU-utilizing research reactor in Canada. Canada's total HEU holdings are not disclosed publicly but are estimated at approximately 1,035 kg.

The transport of HEU to the U.S. was described by Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility as "hundreds of truckloads of liquid radioactive waste containing weapons-grade radioactive uranium [being sent] down to the [U.S. government's] Savannah River Site in South Carolina."

Canada has around 213 tons of irradiated plutonium in the form of spent fuel. In its progress report to the 2016 NSS the government announced that three-quarters of its stocks are ready to be removed and discussions are taking place with the U.S., requesting that they accept the material for long-term management. The remainder is said to be stored for use in future research and development.

U.S. Violations of Plutonium Management and Disposal Agreement

An agreement signed between the U.S. and Russia in 2000 and further amended in 2010 affirms the intention of both countries to remove 34 metric tons of plutonium from their nuclear weapons programs and to convert this plutonium into forms unusable for nuclear weapons. Each agreed that 25 metric tons of plutonium in or from weapon components and nine metric tons of metal or metal alloy and plutonium dioxide would be disposed of through irradiation, meaning through conversion into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel.

In the U.S. this was to be done at what would be the only MOX fuel manufacturing plant in the United States, which began construction at the Savannah River Site nuclear zone in 2007. The 2017 U.S. federal budget proposed by the Obama administration called for an end to construction of the plant, citing cost overruns. The alternative proposed to dispose of the 34 tons of plutonium is through burial at the WIPP in Carlsbad, New Mexico after being blended with other materials, a process which would take place at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The final funding decisions will be made by the U.S. Congress but the decision means the U.S. government plans to violate the plutonium disposal agreement at a time when more and more plutonium is being brought from Japan, Germany, Canada and other countries to the U.S. for permanent storage. Plutonium stored at the Savannah River Site has no "disposition path" at this time.

Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear corporation, announced in September 2015 that it has begun disposing of the plutonium through production of MOX fuel. Russia constructed a MOX fuel facility in Zheleznogorsk for the express purpose of fulfilling the agreement, and invested in reactors which will use the fuel instead of weapons-grade plutonium.

Commenting on the violation of the agreement Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 7, "This means that they preserve what is known as the breakout potential, in other words [the plutonium] can be retrieved, reprocessed and converted into weapons-grade plutonium again. This is not what we agreed on... We signed this agreement and settled on the procedures for the material's destruction, agreed that this would be done on an industrial basis, which required the construction of special facilities," Putin said. "Russia fulfilled its obligations in this regard and built these facilities, but our American partners did not."


1. The WIPP is the sole deep geological repository in the U.S. after plans for a Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository were cancelled in 2011. It is managed by a private firm called the Nuclear Waste Partnership and holds more than 171,000 waste containers amounting to approximately 4.9 metric tons of plutonium.

It has been closed since 2014 following serious incidents. On February 5, 2014 a truck caught fire, requiring an evacuation, and temporarily disabled underground air monitoring equipment. The fire was caused by a buildup of flammable material exposed to high temperatures, despite management being repeatedly warned to remove such buildups.

On February 15, 2014, high levels of radiation were detected underground and later trace amounts were detected above ground. Twenty-one workers were exposed during what was later determined to be a radiation leak beginning the evening of February 14 which moved through the ventilation system.

The source of the leak was found to be an exploded barrel. A May 23, 2014 National Public Radio article entitled "Organic Cat Litter Chief Suspect in Nuclear Waste Accident" stated:

"In February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste burst open inside America's only nuclear dump, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

"Now investigators believe the cause may have been a pet store purchase gone bad.

"'It was the wrong kitty litter,' says James Conca, a geochemist in Richland, Wash., who has spent decades in the nuclear waste business.

"It turns out there's more to cat litter than you think. It can soak up urine, but it's just as good at absorbing radioactive material.

"'It actually works well both in the home litter box as well as the radiochemistry laboratory,' says Conca, who is not directly involved in the current investigation.

"Cat litter has been used for years to dispose of nuclear waste. Dump it into a drum of sludge and it will stabilize volatile radioactive chemicals. The litter prevents it from reacting with the environment.

"And this is what contractors at Los Alamos National Laboratory were doing as they packed Cold War-era waste for shipment to the dump. But at some point, they decided to make a switch, from clay to organic.

"'Now that might sound nice, you're trying to be green and all that, but the organic kitty litters are organic,' says Conca. Organic litter is made of plant material, which is full of chemical compounds that can react with the nuclear waste.

"'They actually are just fuel, and so they're the wrong thing to add,' he says. Investigators now believe the litter and waste caused the drum to slowly heat up 'sort of like a slow burn charcoal briquette instead of an actual bomb.'

"After it arrived at the dump, it burst."

(International Panel on Fissile Materials, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, White House, NPR, Savannah River Site Watch)

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Canadian Government's Push for
Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty

Media reported in January that according to internal government documents, Canada plans to "kick-start a long-stalled international effort aimed at ridding the world of the key ingredients needed for nuclear weapons" in the form of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).[1]

Fissile material refers to highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium, while a cut-off treaty is meant to limit their production for offensive purposes. There is actually very little production of fissile materials for weapons purposes internationally, on top of which the distinction between HEU and plutonium for weapons purposes and non-weapons purposes pertains to their use and oversight and not their physical properties. Nevertheless, such a treaty is ostensibly aimed at prohibiting its signatories from producing fissile material for weapons purposes, without impacting their production for energy, research or other peaceful purposes.

However, the International Panel on Fissile Materials also notes that nuclear weapon-possessing states "still have enough fissile materials in their weapon and naval fuel stock-piles for tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. On the civilian side, enough plutonium has been separated to make a similarly large number of weapons." The global stockpile of HEU at the end of 2014 was 1,370 tons, more than 99 per cent of which is held by nuclear weapons states. Other countries which are accused of having uranium enrichment capacity such as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have a minuscule capacity for enrichment compared to other countries.

Canada's Fraudulent Role in Nuclear Disarmament

In a National Post article entitled "Canada leads UN anti-nuke effort," Rosemary McCarney, Canada's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva told media at that time that she was beginning a series of meetings at the Conference on Disarmament, the UN's main arms-control body, with the aim of re-starting negotiations this year for the creation of an FMCT.

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion addressed the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament (UNCD) in Geneva on March 2 and also cited the need to negotiate such a treaty. A Global Affairs backgrounder issued on March 3 noted that the government "believes that the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty is the best means to return the UNCD to its mandated role." Dion cited the failure of the UNCD to play a role "in any of the significant advances in disarmament" and said this is the reason for "ad hoc non-proliferation and disarmament efforts in other forums" becoming "the norm" such as the Nuclear Security Summits and now the Nuclear Security Contact Group initiated by the U.S. at the March 31 to April 2 Summit.

The government and monopoly media are misleading Canadians to give the impression that Canada is making an important effort and playing a role to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

The treaty would not prohibit new nuclear weapons from being built, nor reduce existing stocks of nuclear materials. The new push to conclude an FMCT has more to do with the international verification and policing measures such a treaty could assist in putting in place as part of the competition between big powers for a monopoly over nuclear weapons, materials and technology, as well as to maintain the overwhelming nuclear advantage of the U.S. and others in terms of stockpiles as well as devices.

Two countries acknowledge continuing production of HEU for weapons purposes: Pakistan and India; and Israel is known to do so as well. In 2015 Cameco, one of the world's largest private uranium firms, concluded a $350 million deal with India to provide 7.1 million pounds of uranium concentrate over five years, following the 2013 Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement signed by the federal government re-legalizing Canadian exports.

Canada was the world's largest raw uranium producer until 2009, when it was overtaken by Kazakhstan. Northern Saskatchewan is currently the only region of Canada in which uranium is being mined, but accounts for around 20 per cent of the world's production. Reports say that Canada exports more than 9,000 tons of uranium annually and 85 per cent of overall production is for export. Canada is one of the top eight countries in terms of HEU stockpiles.

Author Paul McKay in his book Atomic Accomplice: How Canada Deals in Deadly Deceit points out that Canadian uranium has been involved in the production of the nuclear arsenals of the U.S., UK, Russia, France, India, Israel and Pakistan. Canada's annual uranium exports create enough spent fuel by-products to build 5,000 nuclear weapons, McKay says. A 1993 federal-provincial panel on uranium mining in Saskatchewan noted that "no proven method exists for preventing incorporation of Canadian uranium into military applications."

Verification Systems and Inclusion of Existing Stocks

Anne Schaper, a Senior Research Associate at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt notes that many FMCT verification scenarios are possible, "ranging from just a fence around former military production facilities to completely new global concepts. Verification must cover not only non-production but also non-diversion of (at least) civilian materials produced after entry into force. No material must be diverted for use in nuclear weapons, a commitment to be undertaken equally by all signatories of an FMCT. This is already being verified in non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS) under full-scope safeguards. The difference under an FMCT verification regime would be that NNWS would not be allowed to possess unsafeguarded materials from earlier production, while NWS [nuclear weapons states] and SON [states outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] would be allowed a 'black box' of previously excluded materials."[2]

The main debate that surfaced during discussions at the Conference on Disarmament in the 1990s involving Canada's then-Ambassador for Disarmament Gerald Shannon was whether existing stockpiles of fissile material would be included. The report produced by Ambassador Shannon (CD/1299) left this issue of scope to be discussed and bypassed the issue of existing stocks, which has been a stumbling block for furthering an FMCT in subsequent years.

In debates at the Conference on Disarmament in 2013 the U.S. opposed the inclusion of existing stockpiles, while a number of countries including South Africa, Iran and Pakistan insisted that to be non-discriminatory it would have to address existing stockpiles. The South African delegate, Michiel Combrink noted that "the outright rejection of dealing with stocks before even commencing negotiations" raised questions about the real commitment to disarmament of those upholding this position. The Iranian delegation noted that without addressing stockpiles and a framework aimed at their elimination, an FMCT would be an "ineffective measure in the field of disarmament" and therefore meaningless. Delegates from Switzerland and Ireland expressed similar positions.

The Canadian government's official position in 2013 was that "existing stockpiles of fissile material remain a difficult and contentious issue." The Canadian Delegation at the Conference on Disarmament noted that NNWS are "already prohibited from producing fissile material under the NPT" and thus noted that the main issue is to implement the International Atomic Energy Agency verification procedures already used by nuclear weapons states (NWS). At that time Canada supported "a key role" for the IAEA as it would be "cost-effective in that it would not require the creation of a new verification regime."

Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University writes, "A primary goal of an FMCT will be to attain the signatures of the five NPT nuclear weapon states and three non-NPT countries -- India, Pakistan, and Israel (hereafter referred to as eight target states)... While all five NPT nuclear weapon states have stopped production of nuclear materials for weapons, India, Pakistan, and Israel are believed still to be producing fissile material for weapons use. Thus, one focus of any useful FMCT must be the participation of the three non-NPT countries."

According to Minister of Foreign Affairs Dion at the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament, however, the FMCT would be "instrumental in helping to advance important verification mechanisms necessary for broader disarmament efforts." Also on the issue of "verification," Dion noted "the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification, in which Canada is actively participating, is addressing important technical aspects of verification that currently pose a significant obstacle to the development of long-lasting disarmament measures."

The International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification website lists one "Partner" organization, the U.S. State Department. The Partnership is a project of the private U.S. organization Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), which former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and media tycoon Ted Turner founded in 2001.

The NTI, with the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, is the coordinating body of the Nuclear Security Project that was formed in 2007 by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and Senator Nunn. The NTI's partners have put forward a concept of "societal verification" entailing interference in the affairs of sovereign states and eliminating established international bodies which deal with compliance through "leverag[ing] new technologies and publicly available data to supplement national technical means (NTM) and other traditional verification methods."[3]

The U.S. put forward a draft FMCT to the UNCD in May 2006 which was notable for excluding any explicit verification procedures. At that time the official U.S. position was that " effective verification of an FMCT cannot be achieved," and that "there is no achievable combination of verification and monitoring means and measures that would enable the United States and other parties to the agreement to detect noncompliance in time to convince a violator to reverse its actions, or to take such steps as may be needed to reduce the threat presented and deny the violator the benefits of its wrongdoing." Furthermore, it was argued that non-discriminatory verification systems would be detrimental to U.S. national security.

Instead the U.S. position was that verification should be done through what is called "national means and methods" (a synonym for NTM), including monitoring techniques such as satellite photography and other intelligence work. "Societal verification" is the latest aspect of this.

The U.S. announced its change in position to support verification measures in an FMCT with Obama's speech in Prague on April 5, 2009. He called for "a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons." What will these verification measures be? What are the "important verification mechanisms" which Minister of Foreign Affairs Dion says are being advanced by private organizations such as the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification and what role are they to play in a future FMCT? What is most clear is that Canada's claims of its leadership and of an FMCT as being critical for disarmament are dubious at best.


1. Global Affairs, formerly Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada says Canada has actively promoted an FMCT since the mid-1950s. During the period when Canada was allegedly supporting a cut-off of fissile materials production for weaponry it was providing materials and technology to countries where they were used for nuclear weapons programs. As well, Canada permitted U.S. nuclear weapons to be based in the country until 1984, which obviously goes against the spirit of arms reduction an FMCT is meant to embody.

At that time, the bipolar division of the world and superpower contention was one factor preventing an FMCT from being concluded. The U.S. came out in support of an FMCT during the 1950s when its quantities of HEU and plutonium were far greater than those of the Soviet Union. When it had lost its edge in the 1960s, the U.S. opposed the cut-off as well as proposals for mutual dismantling of nuclear arsenals. In 1992 the U.S. announced that it would no longer produce fissile material for nuclear weapons and other major nuclear states made similar announcements around that time.

The FMCT proposal was revived by U.S. President Bill Clinton during his first year in office in September, 1993 with a speech at the United Nations. The same year, the U.S. and Russia initiated the "Megatons to Megawatts Program" which saw 500 tons of Russian HEU converted to low enriched uranium (LEU) and sold to the U.S. for nuclear fuel ending in 2013. A UN General Assembly resolution was adopted in December 1993 calling for a "non-discriminatory, multilateral and international effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

In 1994, Canada's then-Ambassador for Disarmament, Gerald Shannon, was appointed Special Co-ordinator in the world's permanent forum for the negotiation of disarmament treaties, the Conference on Disarmament (UNCD) in Geneva. Global Affairs says Shannon's goal was gaining consensus for a negotiating mandate for an FMCT. Global Affairs says that these efforts made some progress but that "the UNCD's inability to agree on a Program of Work has prevented FMCT negotiations from being resumed after the end of the 1998 session."

2. Annette Schaper, Verification of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.

3. A July 2014 NTI report, Innovating Verification: New Tools & New Actors to Reduce Nuclear Risks, Redefining Societal Verification puts forward a hypothetical scenario:

"A new facility appears in a country that has made specific treaty-based commitments regarding its nuclear weapons program. A blogger popular with nuclear experts posts a commercial satellite image and asks the community: What is this? Satellite imagery analysts, regional specialists, technical experts, native language speakers, and specialists from other disciplines, some not related to nuclear weapons or their associated technologies, weigh in. They assemble a compelling circumstantial case that the activity at the facility is suspicious.

"In parallel, officials from the treaty partners assess what is happening and decide whether the facility is unrelated to treaty obligations or houses secret, proscribed activities. In addition to the information the outside experts have generated, government officials tap classified resources, including spy satellites, and purchase commercial satellite imagery of areas where national satellites did not focus or have a clear view. Open-source intelligence analysts, meanwhile, scour local native-language media for clues and check chatter. They also comb social media for references that could indicate the purpose of the building, and they search photo and video-sharing sites for images that show activity at the facility. Companies specializing in crucial, difficult-to-acquire materials are consulted to see if there have been attempted (or successful) procurements. Analysts combine all of the information, including from formal verification tools, to determine whether the country is using the facility to violate its treaty commitments."

The report says that governments "need to build a foundation for societal verification within the current arms control policy leadership. They should develop policies, diplomatic guidance, and bureaucratic structures to evaluate and integrate societal verification data in treaty verification."

"Through societal verification, states can leverage new technologies and publicly available data to supplement NTM and other traditional verification methods. As information collection, analysis, and promulgation technologies continue to evolve and perform increasingly diverse functions, societal verification can increase the likelihood that violations of international commitments are detected. Societal verification might also help strengthen the connection between non-proliferation and arms control objectives, two currently distinct realms that will be increasingly interconnected as states move toward eliminating nuclear weapons while continuing nuclear power programs."

(The National Security Archive at The George Washington University, Paul McKay, International Panel on Fissile Materials, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, Reaching Critical Will)

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Concern over Nuclear Re-Armament in Europe

The Foreign Ministry of Russia issued a statement on April 15 expressing its concern over U.S. plans to deploy new nuclear weaponry in Europe. It referred to the B61 Model 12, a bomb tested in 2015 in Nevada, U.S. and intended to have enhanced accuracy and a lower yield than previous weapons. In 2014 former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz spoke at a conference organized by the U.S. security think-tank the Stimson Center and confirmed that the lower yield weapons are intended to broaden the range of targets for U.S. nuclear attacks.

Writing on the website of the Federation of American Scientists, Hans M. Kristensen noted, "Increasing the accuracy broadens the type of targets that the B61 can be used to attack."

"For NATO, the improved accuracy has particularly important implications because the B61-12 is a more effective weapon that the B61-3 and B61-4 currently deployed in Europe.

"The United States has never before deployed guided nuclear bombs in Europe but with the increased accuracy of the B61-12 and combined with the future deployment of the F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter-bomber to Europe, it is clear that NATO is up for quite a nuclear facelift."

"It is also unclear how improving the nuclear posture in Europe fits with NATO's arms control goal to seek reductions in Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe. Instead, the increased military capabilities provided by the B61-12 and F-35 would appear to signal to Russia that it is acceptable for it to enhance its non-strategic nuclear posture in Europe as well."

Within the U.S., a number of former military and government figures have spoken out against the replacement of existing U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe with the B61 Model 12. Andrew C. Weber, a former assistant secretary of defence and former director of the Nuclear Weapons Council argued in an October 2015 editorial in the Washington Post that the "smaller" and more "precise" weapons could lead to the U.S. government contemplating "limited nuclear war."

The Russian Foreign Ministry said, "It is a very dangerous project that can considerably lower the nuclear weapons use 'threshold' when American nuclear bombs are seen as 'battlefield weapons.' We must not forget that Moscow and Washington abandoned such an option twenty-five years ago. It looks like the United States is planning to plunge back into its former irresponsible practice of walking on the brink of nuclear warfare."

"Washington's approach to the observance of the provisions of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is still alarming," the ministry said. "The United States along with its non-nuclear NATO allies continue exercises to drill nuclear weapons usage skills as part of the so-called 'nuclear sharing.' It is a flagrant violation of Articles I and II of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons."

"Instead of propaganda statements on the United States' commitment to further steps in the area of nuclear disarmament, it would be expedient to pull all U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons back to the national territory [as Russia did twenty-five years ago], to impose a ban on their deployment outside national territories, to dismantle the entire infrastructure that can be used to swiftly re-deploy U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe and, of course, to refrain from any exercises with servicemen of non-nuclear NATO states on drilling the skills of the use of nuclear weapons," the ministry said.

"Moreover, the United States and NATO have embarked on a course of 'containing' Russia and tilting the balance of forces in the European continent in their favour by means of the Alliance's expansion, moving its military infrastructure eastwards and now by means of deployment of their forces in direct proximity to the Russian borders," the ministry said.

It added that the prospects for advancing arms control in Europe are contingent on "NATO's rejection of policy of enhancing measures of military 'containment' of Russia, resumption of a due level of trust and normalization of relations with Russia, including in the sphere of military cooperation."

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For Your Information

Washington Nuclear Security Summit

The fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) was held in Washington, DC from March 31-April 2. The 2016 Summit commenced with a dinner hosted at the White House for "52 world leaders," including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the heads of four international organizations on the evening of March 31.[1] Two other meetings were held alongside it, a Nuclear Industry Summit and Solutions for a Secure Nuclear Future NGO Summit. The first NSS event in 2010 was held in Washington with a second in Seoul in 2012 and a third in The Hague in 2014. The summits are described as a "signature event" of the presidency of Barack Obama, who initiated and sponsored the meetings.

The 2016 summit is the last regular NSS, as a "Nuclear Security Contact Group" will take up their mission. Thirty-nine of the 52 participating countries, along with representatives of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the United Nations issued a joint statement committing to establishing the Contact Group which will meet annually on the sidelines of the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna as well as promote and monitor implementation of commitments made during the four NSS summits. The Contact Group will also be open to countries which were not part of the Nuclear Security Summit.

Nearly 40 countries operate nuclear reactors for energy or research purposes, while nine countries are said to possess nuclear weapons, the vast majority of which are held by the U.S. and Russia with inventories of roughly 7,000 devices each. The focus of the 2016 meeting was on the threat of nuclear terrorism and the 2016 NSS Communiqué began by noting that the "threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism remains one of the greatest challenges to international security, and the threat is constantly evolving."

The NSS was used by the U.S. to cement its leadership of the participating states on the issue of nuclear security from outside established international institutions such as the United Nations and the IAEA. In this regard the conception advanced by the U.S. of non-proliferation and the successes it claimed revolved around the removal or disposal of nuclear materials and technology from various countries by the U.S. and the achievement of commitments that these materials and technology should be an exclusively U.S. domain. The NSS also decided on five "action plans"-- for the IAEA, the UN, INTERPOL, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT, which is co-chaired by the U.S. and Russia) and the G-7 "Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction." The use of the NSS to set agendas for outside organizations, most of which include far more member states than were invited to the NSS, was specifically objected to by Russia and other countries which did not participate in the 2016 summit (see below).

Gift Basket Diplomacy

The summits devised what is called "gift basket"diplomacy as a way around the need for universal consensus for any deliverable matter. Some 15 informal groups or "gift baskets" were formed on a specific theme.

"Gift basket diplomacy" refers to "joint pledges by like-minded countries" signalling agreement on particular issues. However, these often use ambiguous language that gives participants an easy way to escape their commitments. The term derives from "House Gifts" introduced by the U.S. at the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit to refer to specific pledges by individual countries. "Gift baskets" were then introduced at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit to create specific agreements between smaller groups of countries outside the framework of established international organizations.[2]

Participating countries also form informal "circles" around specific issues. Around 20 countries, including the U.S. and UK, are part of the "countering nuclear smuggling" circle, whose job is said to aim at stopping the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials through an exchange of information, as well as "aggressive prosecution through effective domestic legislation."

Canada "co-led" two gift baskets, one with Spain and south Korea to assists "efforts in facilitating technical assistance on the implementation" of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 which "establishes legally binding obligations on all UN Member States to have and enforce appropriate and effective measures against the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (WMD), their delivery systems, including by establishing controls." The second was co-led with the UK on "highlighting the successes of the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) Academy in providing certified training of nuclear security managers and personnel" and encouraging expansion of the program. A further 15 gift baskets were co-sponsored by Canada, including the "Joint Statement on Sustaining Action to Strengthen Global Nuclear Security" which establishes the Nuclear Security Contact Group co-sponsored with the U.S.

Prime Minister Trudeau announced at the NSS a contribution from Canada of $42 million "to improve nuclear and radiological security worldwide," funded by Canada's Global Partnership Program. Of the total amount pledged, $26.5 million will go towards providing "training and equipment" to Mexico, Colombia, Jordan and Peru as well as INTERPOL; $6.6 million will go to the IAEA for "the implementation of programs to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism;" $5.7 million will support refurbishing and upgrading security measures and training at nuclear facilities in Thailand, Ukraine and Egypt through the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. $2.3 million is allocated to "help remove disused high activity sealed radioactive sources -- primarily in the Americas." $1 million goes to the U.S. Department of State to "international transportation security" while $100,000 will be given in in-kind technical expertise to the IAEA and Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

Non-Participation of Russia and Other Countries

The Russian government informed the U.S. in October 2014 that it would not participate in the 2016 NSS. Russia objected to the fact that the final documents and declarations of the 2016 NSS would be used to set the agenda for outside organizations such as the UN, IAEA and INTERPOL outside the formal processes for those bodies and the participation of their full membership. "We believe it is unacceptable to create a precedent of such outside interference into the work of international organizations," the Russian foreign ministry said. "Washington is trying to assume the role of the main and privileged 'player' in this field," the foreign ministry said, adding that Russia would instead focus on its cooperation with the IAEA.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova added in January 2016 that the IAEA must be the main coordinating body for nuclear security efforts. Zakharova stated that it is "unacceptable" for the "opinions of a limited group of states" to be imposed on international bodies. The IAEA has 168 member states compared to 52 participating in the NSS. Some IAEA member states such as Iran and Syria were not invited to participate. Argentina, Chile and Brazil were the only states present from Latin America; no Caribbean states were invited and neither was the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Russia also noted that there was a lack of mutual cooperation in working out the agenda for the NSS.

Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres and
Centres of Excellence (CoE)

The first NSS in 2010 resulted in commitments from several states to found Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres and Centres of Excellence (CoE). The CoEs are training, research and technical support centres for the nuclear industry and governments, typically run by local atomic energy authorities. Further CoEs were announced in 2012 and 2014 although many are still at the design or pre-operation phase.

The CoEs, described as the most tangible outcome of the NSS process, number more than 12. Last year in June, Laura Holgate, the US sherpa[3] for the summit, described CoEs as a "major component of the effort to carry forward the Summit momentum." A 2014 joint statement submitted by Italy on behalf of 30 countries said, "With the help of the [IAEA], the network of centres aim to promote activities to provide for the "exchange of information and best practice that would strengthen capacity building and nuclear security culture, and maintain a well-trained cadre of technical experts in States."

"Scenario-Based Discussion"

The gendarme role of the NSS and various agencies was further brought to light by the closing plenary session of the summit which was "a scenario-based discussion for leaders to get a taste of the technical complexity on the subject." The scenario on nuclear security was put to "the leaders," who were asked to give their views in an interactive way. This is considered a useful way to get the political leadership to appreciate the complications which they might otherwise not appreciate.[4]

The "scenario" put forward was not made public but was described hypothetically by the CBC in the following sensationalist manner: "Terrorists have smuggled enough enriched uranium to fill a five-pound bag of sugar, or stolen a grapefruit-sized quantity of plutonium. That's all it would take to build a nuclear bomb. "Were it to detonate in downtown Washington, or Paris, or Toronto, hundreds of thousands of lives could be lost.

"Ask yourself, what would you do? More crucially, what would Prime Minister Justin Trudeau do?"

"You're the national leaders. How do you deal with this problem? The benefits of this kind of exercise is you recognize very quickly where the seams are," said Carl Robichaud, a nuclear security expert with the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

"We have this global system of interlapping jurisdictions, and this really reveals the seams that exist at the intersection of these different jurisdictions," Robichaud said.


1. On the sidelines of the NSS, Prime Minister Trudeau held meetings with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

With Cameron, Trudeau discussed "a wide range of priority issues including the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), international and regional security issues, as well as upcoming international summits."

In his meeting with Modi the two prime ministers "undertook to advance the longstanding relations between the two countries, which are built on shared traditions of democracy and pluralism as well as extensive people-to-people ties. They also discussed cooperation on increasing trade and investment links and addressing climate change."

Prime Minister Trudeau "commended President Macri's early efforts to implement his economic reform agenda to promote sustainable economic growth and attract investment," and discussed "opportunities to strengthen the bilateral relationship, including in trade and investment, as well as areas for enhanced collaboration, such as clean technology and countering drug trafficking," and a "wide range of issues of shared interest, such as human rights and democracy, hemispheric security and climate change."

With Prime Minister Abe, Trudeau discussed the agenda of the G7 Summit, which subsequently took place in Ise-Shima, Japan on May 26-27 and "a range of other issues of mutual interest, including trade and investment, infrastructure, science and technology, as well as regional and international peace and security," the PMO reported.

2. National Security Council (NSC) Director for Nuclear Threat Reduction Shawn Gallagher is credited with conceiving and first proposing gift basket diplomacy while NSC Senior Director for WMD Terrorism and Threat Reduction Laura Holgate and White House WMD Czar Gary Samore are credited with first implementing the "gift basket diplomacy" policy. The "gift basket" concept has been subsequently used for other nuclear agreements.

3. "Sherpas" refer to "the senior expert officials in each Summit country responsible for developing the outcomes of the Summits and for preparing their respective leaders," a White House communique states. "These Sherpas cut across multiple agencies to form a tight-knit community of action."

4. The 2014 "scenario-based discussion" at The Hague was produced by Scenarios4summits, a Dutch company which combines "high-quality tailored film content with key questions to deliver an engaging and facilitated discussion." Scenarios4summits says, "We can elevate your crisis management game to a new and more realistic level. Your objectives are better met when the participants are engaged. That takes a realistic and challenging scenario. We can build on the scenarios and images we have or we can develop something unique for your purpose. Anyhow we can support you creating something that will not be forgotten... A corporate strategy meeting or high-level business event can be transformed into something that truly energises the audience, whether it be world member states or company employees. This innovative approach is proven to inspire, motivate and solve complex issues."

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U.S. Government's $1 Trillion
Nuclear Modernization Programs

The United States maintains a modern arsenal of about 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), and Strategic Bombers. The Departments of Defense and Energy requested approximately $23 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 to maintain and upgrade these systems, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). CBO estimates that nuclear forces will cost $348 billion between FY 2015 and FY 2024.[1] Three independent estimates put the expected total cost over the next 30 years at as much as $1 trillion.

The U.S. military is in the process of modernizing all of its existing strategic delivery systems and refurbishing the warheads they carry to last for the next 30-50 years. These systems are in many cases being replaced with new systems or completely rebuilt with essentially all new parts. Though the president and his military advisors have determined that U.S. security can be maintained while reducing the size of its deployed strategic nuclear arsenal by up to one-third below the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) levels, the proposed spending is based on maintaining the New START levels in perpetuity.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work testified to the House Armed Services Committee on June 25 [2015] that "modernizing and sustaining" the nuclear arsenal will cost an average of $18 billion per year between 2021 and 2035 in FY 2016 dollars. When combined with the cost to sustain the current arsenal as the new systems are built, this will roughly double spending on nuclear weapons from the current level of approximately 3 percent of the overall defense budget to about 7 percent, Work said.[2]

Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord stated in November 2015 that the anticipated financial requirement for nuclear modernization "is the biggest acquisition problem that we don't know how to solve yet."

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, President Obama has requested $8.8 billion to fund nuclear weapons activities in the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which oversees the U.S. nuclear stockpile and production complex, a 7.5 percent increase over FY 2015.[3]

This effort includes:

- Modernized Strategic Delivery Systems: Existing U.S. nuclear delivery systems are undergoing continual modernization, including complete rebuilds of the Minuteman III ICBM and Trident II SLBM. The service lives of the Navy's 14 Trident Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines are being extended. Additionally, a new submarine, the SSBN(X), which will replace the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, is undergoing development and is expected to cost about $139 billion to develop, according to the Defense Department. The B-2 strategic bomber, a relatively new system, is being upgraded, as is the B-52H bomber. The Air Force is also planning a new Long-Range Strike Bomber and a new nuclear-capable cruise missile, known as the Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO) to replace the existing Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM).

- Refurbished Nuclear Warheads: The U.S. stockpile of nuclear warheads and bombs is continually refurbished through NNSA's Life Extension Program (LEP). Existing warheads are certified annually to be safe and reliable. The JASON panel of independent scientists has found "no evidence" that extending the lives of existing U.S. nuclear warheads would lead to reduced confidence that the weapons will work. The panel concluded in its September 2009 report that "Lifetimes of today's nuclear warheads could be extended for decades, with no anticipated loss in confidence."[4] The United States does not need to resume nuclear test explosions, nor does it need to build new "replacement" warhead designs to maintain the reliability and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. The NNSA is currently pursuing a controversial and expensive plan to consolidate the existing number of nuclear warhead types from 10 down to 5. Known as the "3+2" strategy, the five LEPs associated with this approach are estimated to cost over $65 billion.

- Modernized Production Complex: The nuclear weapons production complex is being modernized as well, with new facilities planned and funded. For example, the FY 2016 NNSA budget includes $430 million for the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The total construction cost for UPF is estimated at $6.5-7.5 billion, according to an independent study conducted by the Corps of Engineers, although some estimates put the price tag at $11 billion.[5]

- Command and Control Systems: The Defense Department maintains command, control, communications, and early-warning systems that allow operators to communicate with nuclear forces, issue commands that control their use, and detect or rule out incoming attacks. CBO projects that the amounts budgeted for DoD's nuclear command, control, communications, and early-warning systems between FY 2015 and FY 2024 would be $52 billion.

-Nuclear Force Improvement Program: In the wake of revelations of professional and ethical lapses and poor morale in the U.S. nuclear force, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in November 2014 steps the department is taking to address the numerous setbacks. These include changing the conduct of inspections to reduce the burden on airmen and sailors, eliminating micromanagement of nuclear personnel seen as overtaxed by excessive bureaucratic and administrative requirements, and elevating the head of Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the Air Force's nuclear forces, from a three- to a four-star rank. Hagel also said the Defense Department will request a 10 percent annual increase in funding for nuclear weapons over the next five years. The FY 2016 budget request included $1.1 billion in proposed new funding pursuant to this effort. The proposal would support 1,120 additional military and civilian personnel working on Air Force nuclear issues and accelerate investments in Navy shipyard infrastructure. The Pentagon plans to spend $8 billion for these and other force improvement efforts over the next five years.

The Obama administration has requested huge increases for nuclear weapons programs at the Defense and Energy Departments to sustain and modernize the arsenal. Indeed, current and proposed spending levels for many key efforts currently exceed what the administration originally advertised early in its first term.

For example, the administration's FY 2016 request for nuclear weapons programs at the Energy Department is roughly $3.5 billion more (or 55%) than the Bush administration's final budget request. The GOP-led Congress has provided less funding for this program than requested by the President.

The following is a status update of existing programs to enhance the nuclear stockpile and modernize the delivery systems that make up each element of the U.S. nuclear triad:

1. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)

The United States Air Force currently deploys about 450 Minuteman III ICBMs located at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming; Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; and Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. Under the New START treaty, the United States will reduce to 400 the number of deployed missiles and maintain 50 extra missile silos in a "warm" reserve status.

Today's Minuteman weapon system is the product of almost 40 years of continuous enhancement. The Pentagon has spent roughly $7 billion to date on life extension efforts to keep the ICBMs safe, secure and reliable through 2030.[6] This modernization program has included the following enhancements to the Minuteman III missiles:

- Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting (REACT) Service Life Extension Program: The first REACT system was installed in the Minuteman III in the 1990s. REACT reduces the time required to re-target the missiles. In 2006 the Air Force began modernizing REACT to extend its service life. The Air Force completed the effort in 2006.

- Safety Enhanced Reentry System Vehicle (SERV): SERV modifies the reentry vehicles for the W-87 warheads that were removed from the Peacekeeper missiles and redeployed on the Minuteman III.

- Propulsion Replacement Program (PRP): The PRP replaces the propellant in the Minuteman III.

- Guidance Replacement Program (GRP): The GRP extends and improves the reliability of the Minuteman III guidance sets.

- Propulsion System Rocket Engine Program (PSRE): PSRE is designed to replace the post-boost propulsion system components on the Minuteman III missiles.

- Solid Rocket Motor Warm Line Program: In FY 2009 Congress approved an Air Force program to continue producing the solid rocket motors for the Minuteman III in order to preserve the manufacturing capabilities.

This modernization program has resulted in an essentially "new" missile, expanded targeting options, and improved accuracy and survivability. The Air Force is currently assessing how to replace the Minuteman III missile and its supporting launch control and command and control infrastructure. In June 2015 Arms Control Today reported that the Air Force has proposed procurement of 642 follow-on missiles, 400 of which would be operationally deployed through 2070. The Air Force currently estimates the development cost of the replacement program at approximately $62 billion over the next 30 years.[7]

The Air Force is also upgrading the Minuteman's nuclear warheads by partially replacing older W78 warheads with newer and more powerful W87 warheads, formerly deployed on the now-retired MX Peacekeeper ICBMs. The W87 entered the U.S. stockpile in 1986, making it one of the newest warheads in the arsenal with the most modern safety and security features, including insensitive high explosive and a fire-resistant pit design, which can help to minimize the possibility of plutonium dispersal in the event of an accident. Under a 2004 LEP, the W87 warhead was refurbished to extend its service life past 2025.

There is no evidence to suggest that the W87 -- or any current U.S. nuclear warhead, for that matter -- cannot be refurbished indefinitely. NNSA has proposed a joint LEP to field a common, refurbished warhead to replace the W78 and W88 (see SLBMs, below). However, Congress approved NNSA's 2014 proposal to delay production of this warhead by five years from 2025 to 2030.[8]

2. Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and Submarines

The United States Navy currently has the ability to deploy 288 Trident II D5 SLBMs on 12 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) based out of Bangor, Washington (7 boats) and Kings Bay, Georgia (5 boats). The Ohio-class submarines have a service life of 42 years; two twenty year cycles with a two year mid-life nuclear refueling. The total fleet includes 14 boats; due to the refueling process, only 12 SSBNs are available for deployment at any given time.

The Ohio-class SSBNs were first deployed in 1981, and will reach the end of their services at a rate of approximately one boat per year between 2027 and 2040. The Navy plans to replace each retiring boat, starting in 2031, with a new class of ballistic missile submarine, referred to as the SSBN(X) or the Ohio-class replacement.[9] The Navy originally planned to begin using the replacement boats in 2029, but in 2012 the Pentagon announced a two-year delay to the SSBNX program. This would push back completion of the first SSBN(X) to 2031. In its FY 2016 request, the Navy asked for $1.4 billion for the Ohio replacement under its research and development budget line.[10] In its FY 2016 request, the Navy asked for $1.4 billion for the Ohio replacement under its research and development budget line.[10] The Navy ultimately wants 12 boats, and estimates the cost to develop and buy the submarines to be $139 billion in then-year dollars. The total lifecycle cost of the SSBNX program is estimated at $347 billion.[11]

Taking into account the delay, the Navy now plans to purchase the first SSBNX in 2021, the second in 2024, and one per year between 2026 and 2035. The first boat is scheduled to become operational in 2031. As a result, the Navy will field 10 ballistic missile submarines between 2030 and 2040.

Each Ohio-class submarine serves as a launch platform for up to 24 SLBMs loaded with up to eight warheads each. Under the New START treaty, by 2018 the Navy plans to deploy 20 SLBMs on each Ohio class submarine rather than the full 24. This will result in a total of 240 deployed SLBMs. The SSBN(X) will carry up to 16 SLBMs, for a maximum of 192 deployed SLBMs when the fleet is fully converted to the SSBN(X) in 2040.

First deployed in 1990, the force of Trident II D5 missiles has been routinely tested and evaluated. It is currently being modernized to last until 2042.[12] The Trident II D5 LEP is underway to modernize key components, notably the electronics. In 2008, 12 life-extended variants of the D5 were purchased; 24 D5s were produced each year through 2012 for a total of 108 missiles at a total cost of $15 billion. The first modified D5s were deployed in 2013. The Navy's FY 2016 budget request included a proposed $1.1 billion to fund the Trident II LEP.

The D5 SLBMs are armed with approximately 768 W76 and 384 W88 warheads. In 2009, NNSA began delivery of the W76-1, a refurbished version of the W76 that extends its service life for an additional 30 years. According to NNSA, the W76 LEP is refurbishing the nuclear explosive package, the arming, firing, and fusing system, the gas transfer system, and associated cables, elastomers, valves, pads, cushions, foam supports, telemetries, and other miscellaneous parts.[13] NNSA plans to complete the $4 billion production of up to 2,000 W76-1 warheads by 2019. NNSA requested $244 million for the W76 life extension program for FY 2016.[14]

The W88 entered the stockpile in 1989, making it the newest warhead in the arsenal. The W88 was the last U.S. warhead produced before the Rocky Flats Plants -- which made plutonium "pits" -- was shut down in 1989. NNSA re-established pit production capacity at Los Alamos National Laboratory with the first "certifiable" pit in 2003, and new production resumed in 2007.[15] A new plutonium research and pit production facility, the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR), was planned for Los Alamos, but was put on hold for budget reasons in 2012. NNSA requested $430 million in FY 2016 for construction of the UPF at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

With the rebuilt Trident D5 missile in service to 2042, the W76-1's life extended to 2040-50, the relatively new W88 in service, and a new class of SSBNs lasting into the 2070s, the U.S. Navy's Trident Fleet will be kept robust and modern well into the 21st century.

3. Strategic Bombers

The United States Air Force currently maintains 18 B-2 Spirit bombers at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and 76 B-52H bombers at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, and Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, that can be equipped for nuclear missions. The Pentagon announced in 2014 that in order to meet the New START limits it would retain 42 deployed and 4 nondeployed nuclear capable B-52 bombers. The remainder of the B-52 bombers would be converted to carry only conventional weapons. In 2008 the Air Force created a designated bomber squadron at Minot Air Force Base to focus on the nuclear mission.[16] The squadron began its operations in 2010 and is comprised of 22 B-52Hs. The B-52H is expected to remain in service until 2040.

The Air Force is planning to purchase 80-100 new, dual-capable long-range penetrating bombers that will replace the B-1 and B-52 bombers. Known as the LRS-B, the Pentagon estimates the average procurement unit cost per aircraft will be $511 million in 2010 dollars when procuring 100 aircraft. The Obama administration asked for $1.2 billion for the program in FY 2016. The Air Force plans to spend $41.7 billion over the next ten years on research and development for the new bomber (in then-year dollars).

The Air Force continually modernizes the B-2 fleet, which first became operational in 1997 and is expected to last through 2058. In testimony before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Major General William Chambers stated that the B-2 is "capable of long-range delivery of direct attack munitions in an anti-access environment." To enable the B-2 to continue operating in high threat environments, Chambers testified that, "we have programs to modernize communication, offensive, and defensive systems."[17]

Ongoing B-2 modifications include an incremental three-part program to update the Extremely High Frequency Satellite Communications and Computer Upgrade program (EHF SATCOM). Increment 1 will upgrade the B-2's flight management computers. Increment 2 provides more secure and survivable strategic communications by integrating the Family of Beyond-Line-of-Sight Terminals with the low observable antenna. Increment 3 connects the B-2 with the Global Information Grid. The Air Force also began procuring components for a Radar Modernization Program (RMP) in FY 2009. The RMP includes replacing the original radar antenna and upgrading radar avionics.[18]

The B-2 carries the B61 and B83 strategic gravity bombs. The B61 has several mods, 3, 4, 7, 10, and 11. B61-3 and B61-4 are non-strategic weapons deployed in Europe for NATO aircraft as part of the U.S.'s extended nuclear commitment. The B61-7 and B61-11 are strategic weapons deployed on the B-2. An LEP recently extended the life of the B61-7 for an additional 20 years by refurbishing the bomb's secondary stage (canned subassembly) and replacing the associated seals, foam supports, cables and connectors, washers, o-rings, and limited life components. NNSA intends to combine these mods into a single bomb, the B61 mod 12. The LEP will refurbish the warheads with new firing, arming, and safety components, updated radar components, permissive action link components and equipment, modified power supplies, thermal batteries, join test assemblies, weapon trainers, and test and handling gear.[19] The LEP will also modify the B61 for compatibility with the new Joint Strike Fighter. The LEP will extend the life of the B61s for 30 years. According to the NNSA, the First Production Unit will be completed in FY 2020. Completion of the LEP is scheduled for FY FY 2025, and will cost an estimated $10 billion dollars.[20] NNSA requested $643 million for the LEP in FY 2016.

The B83 was first produced in 1983, making it one of the newer weapons in the stockpile and the only remaining megaton-class weapon in the stockpile. The B83 has the most modern safety and security features, including insensitive high explosive and a fire-resistant pit.

The B-52H fleet, first deployed in 1961, has an on-going modification program, beginning in 1989, incorporating updates to the global positioning system, updating the weapons capabilities to accommodate a full array of advanced weapons developed after the procurement of the B-52H, and modifying the heavy stores adapter beams to allow the B-52H to carry up to 2,000 pound munitions and a total of 70,000 pounds of mixed ordnance armaments. In FY 2011 the Air Force added to its modernization efforts for the B-52H, receiving funding for the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) program, which updates the B-52 computer infrastructure.

The B-52H carries the air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), first deployed in 1981. Each ALCM carries a W80-1 warhead, first produced in 1982. The Air Force currently retains 572 nuclear-capable ALCMs, down from the original production run of 1,715 missiles, which concluded in 1986. Roughly 200 of these missiles are believed to be deployed at Minot Air Fore Base in North Dakota with the W80-1 nuclear warhead. New START does not cap the number of bombs or cruise missiles that can be carried on treaty-limited strategic bombers.

The Air Force is developing the long-range standoff cruise missile (or LRSO) to replace the existing ALCM. The new missile will be compatible with the B-2 and B-52 bombers, as well as the planned Long-Range Strike bomber. The first missile is slated to be produced in 2026.

The current Air Force procurement plan for the LRSO calls for about 1,000 new nuclear-capable missiles, roughly double the size of the existing fleet of ALCMs. According to the service, the planned purchase of 1,000 missiles includes far more missiles than it plans to arm and deploy with nuclear warheads. The Obama administration's fiscal year 2016 budget request proposed to increase spending to accelerate by two years the development of the LRSO and the modified W80-4 warhead that it would carry, partially reversing the fiscal year 2015 proposal to delay development of both by three years.

The total cost to build the LRSO and refurbish the associated warhead could reach $25 billion (in then-year dollars). CSBA [Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments] estimates the development cost of the LRSO at nearly $15 billion. The Energy Department projects the cost of the life extension program for the ALCM warhead to be between $7 billion and $9.5 billion.


1. Congressional Budget Office, Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2015 to 2024, Jan. 2015.

2. Robert Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Statement before the House Committee on Armed Services, June 25, 2015.

3. National Nuclear Security Administration, FY2016 Budget Request: Positioned for the 21st Century Mission Delivery, February 2, 2015.

4. Lifetime Extension Program (LEP) Executive Summary, JSR-09-334E, The MITRE Corp., JASON Program Office, September 9, 2009, p. 2.

5. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Water and Energy Development, Senate Report 114-54, May 21, 2015.

6. Jason Simpson, "Kehler: Air Force Investigating Minuteman III Follow-On System," Inside the Air Force, October 8, 2009.

7. Kingston Reif, "Air Force Drafts Plan for Follow-on ICBM," Arms Control Today, July/August 2015.

Congressional Budget Office, Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2014 to 2023, Dec. 2013.

8. http://www.armscontrol.org

9. Ronald O'Rourke, "Navy SSBN (X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress," Congressional Research Service, April 22 2011.

10. Sam LaGrone, "Navy Budgeting $10 Billion for Ohio Replacement Program Over Next Five Years," USNI News, February 3, 2015.

11. Christopher Castelli, "New Nuclear Subs Will Cost $347 Billion to Acquire, Operate," Defense News, February 16, 2011.

12. Dana J. Johnson, Christopher J. Bowie, and Robert P. Haffa, "Triad, Dyad, Monad? Shaping the U.S. Nuclear Force for the Future," Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies, December 2009.

13. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), "Life Extension Programs."

14. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration "FY 2016 Congressional Budget Request," Vol. 1, February 2015.

15. Los Alamos Study Group, "Plutonium Pit Production -- LANL's Pivotal New Mission."

16. Amy F. Woolf, "U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues," Congressional Research Service, March 10, 2011.

17. Major General William A. Chambers, Assistant Chief of Staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, "Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for Department of Energy Atomic Energy Defense Activities and Department of Defense Nuclear Forces Programs," Statement before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, April 5th, 2011.

18. Department of the Air Force Presentation to the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, United States House of Representatives, Subject: Air Force Programs, Combined Statement of: Lieutenant General Daniel J. Darnell, Air Force Deputy Chief Of Staff For Air, Space and Information Operations, Plans And Requirements, Lieutenant General Mark D. Shackelford, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition , Lieutenant General Raymond E. Johns, Jr., Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans And Programs, May 20, 2009, pp. 14-15.

19. Department of Energy Fiscal Year 2012 Congressional Budget Request, National Nuclear Security Administration, February 2011.

20. Hearing transcript, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Water and Energy Development, July 25, 2012.

(December 2015)

20th Anniversary of the Publication of Modern Communism, Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) by Hardial Bains

The Study and Discussion of Modern Communism Are Part of the Historic Initiative
to Turn Things Around in Canada

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Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca