Sputnik News & Andrea Shalal / Reuters – 2016-02-09 00:57:28
Fresh START: US, Russia Should Resume Dialogue on Nuclear Arms Reductions
MOSCOW (February 2, 2016) — Russia and the United States should resume talks on reducing their nuclear arsenals, retired Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright said Tuesday.
“First, we need to transition from a bilateral dialogue on nuclear nonproliferation to a multilateral dialogue,” Cartwright said at a roundtable on the normalization of Russia-US relations in Moscow.
The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) was enacted in 2011 to reduce the total number of deployed US and Russian nuclear warheads to 1,550 and heavy bombers, equipped with nuclear warheads, to 700 by February 2018.
New START requires 18 annual on-site weapons inspections and information exchanges on the number of armaments every six months.
Cartwright called for the two leading nuclear powers to “not stop on the goal of reductions” and continue toward further non-proliferation.
“We need that dialogue restarted,” he reaffirmed.
Cartwright serves as the inaugural Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. He chairs the Global Zero nuclear weapons elimination campaign.
Russia Accuses US of Violating Nuclear Arms Treaty
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia believes that the United States violated their bilateral deal on intermediate-range nuclear forces when it installed Mk 41 vertical launching systems in Eastern Europe, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
The 1987 INF Treaty banned nuclear and conventional ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.
“We have grounds to regard land-based Mk 41s as cruise missile launching systems and their deployment on the ground as a direct INF violation by the US side,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
When installed on warships, Mk 41s can be used for launching both SM-3 interceptor missiles and medium to range Tomahawk cruise missiles. Several Mk 41s are currently stationed in Romania and will be later redeployed to Poland.
This came in response to continued US accusations that Moscow is not fulfilling its INF Treaty obligations. Washington alleges that Moscow tested a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the INF Treaty.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reiterated on Wednesday that Moscow considered such accusations to be baseless and accused Washington of using these claims to justify its “response” measures.
US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon said earlier today that the Pentagon was developing a “comprehensive response” to Russia’s alleged military actions irrespective of Moscowâ€™s answer.
“The aim of this deceptive move is obvious — it is to cast a shadow on our arms controls and to deflect attention from US actions,” the Russian statement read.
It accused the United States of piling military infrastructure at the Russian border and refusing to discuss the problem. “The situation with the treaty is shamelessly used to escalate the atmosphere of chronic military tension across the Euro-Atlantic space,” the Ministry said.
Speaking at the House Armed Services Committee, Brian McKeon said that the United States would increase its rotational forces and military exercises in NATO’s eastern flank, and preposition military hardware in Europe.
Exclusive: US Budget Plan Includes over $13 Billion for New Nuclear Submarines
Andrea Shalal / Reuters
WASHINGTON (February 2, 2016) — The Pentagon’s next five-year budget proposal seeks over $13 billion in funding for a new submarine to carry nuclear ballistic missiles, plus orders for more Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. fighter jets, according to sources familiar with the plans.
The plan also shifts the Navy’s strategy for a new carrier-based unmanned drone to focus more on intelligence-gathering and refueling than combat strike missions, said the sources, who were not authorized to discuss it publicly before the budget’s release.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter plans to map out his spending priorities for the $583 billion 2017 defense budget on Tuesday ahead of the official budget release on Feb. 9.
The Pentagon’s plan will also underscore the need to fund all three legs of the US strategic deterrent “triad” — a new Air Force bomber, a replacement for the Ohio-class submarines that carry nuclear weapons, and new nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles, said one of the sources.
The Navy’s proposed fiscal 2017 budget will fund procurement of materials for the new submarines that take a long time to acquire, with funding for construction of the first full new submarine to follow in fiscal 2021, said one of the sources.
Over the next five years, the Navy would spend over $4 billion on research and development of the new submarines, plus over $9 billion in procurement funding, the sources said.
General Dynamics Corp. has the lead role on the new submarine to replace the current Ohio-class of submarines, together with Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.
Boeing would receive well over $1 billion in new aircraft orders as it seeks to extend production at the company’s St. Louis facility. The Navy will request funding for two Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as part of the fiscal 2017 war budget, and 14 in the fiscal 2018 budget, said one of the sources.
Navy officials also will likely add a request for 12 more Boeing Super Hornets to their annual list of “unfunded priorities” for fiscal 2017, said one of the sources.
Those moves are aimed at filling a shortfall in the number of strike fighters available on aircraft carriers, given delays in the Lockheed F-35 fighter jet program and longer-than-expected repair times for current Boeing F/A-18 jets.
The five-year budget plan calls for Lockheed to sell a total of 161 F-35 fighter jets to the Navy and Marine Corps — 64 C-model jets that take off and land on aircraft carriers and 97 B-model jets, which can take off from shorter runways and land like a helicopter, according to one of the sources.
The proposal also narrows the mission of a new drone to be built by the US Navy, the sources said.
To reflect the change, the Navy plans to rename the new drone program the Carrier-Based Air Refueling System, or CBARS, instead of the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program, said one of the sources.
The drones would have an initial limited strike capability, but more could be added in coming years, the sources said.
Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman Corp., which makes the unmanned, unarmed X-47B plane that has been tested on US carriers, and privately held General Atomics spent tens of millions of dollars to prepare for the previous tender.
But the program was put on hold in 2014 pending a Pentagon-wide review of intelligence and surveillance programs.
(Additional reporting by Phil Stewart.)
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