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Politics America’s aging nuclear weapons come under scrutiny as Russia and China build up their arsenals

15:07  28 july  2021
15:07  28 july  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

A year out, $60M bribery scandal felt in business, politics

  A year out, $60M bribery scandal felt in business, politics COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The arrests one year ago Wednesday of then-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four associates in connection with an alleged $60 million bribery scheme have rocked business and politics across the state, and events over the last year suggest a federal probe's tentacles only continue to grow. Here is a look at where things stand in what then-U.S. Attorney David DeVillers described as the largest corruption scandal in Ohio history:___THE PLAYERSHouseholder, a Republican, has pleaded not guilty and maintains his innocence.

CHINA’S MASSIVE MISSILE FIELDS: Using commercial satellite imagery, the Federation of American Scientists has documented an ambitious program by China to dramatically expand its ability to launch hundreds of nuclear weapons, identifying two fields of missile silos under construction which would accommodate roughly 230 ICBMs.

a close up of a book: DOD header 2020 © Provided by Washington Examiner DOD header 2020

The group calls the silo construction “the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever.” For decades, China has maintained about 20 silos for liquid-fuel DF-5 ICBMs under its so-called “minimum credible deterrent” strategy and was believed to have an arsenal of around 300 nuclear warheads.

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By adding 120 silos to a site at Yumen, another 110 silos at Hami, and counting expansion of an existing site, China appears headed toward a total of 250 new silos under construction — more than ten times the number of ICBM silos in operation today.

“The 250 new silos under construction are in addition to the force of approximately 100 road-mobile ICBM launchers that PLARF [People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force] deploys at more than a dozen bases,” the group says. By comparison, the United States has about 450 silos for its ground-based nuclear missiles.

“The number of new Chinese silos under construction exceeds the number of silo-based ICBMs operated by Russia, and constitutes more than half of the size of the entire U.S. ICBM force,” the group says. “The Chinese missile silo program constitutes the most extensive silo construction since the U.S. and Soviet missile silo construction during the Cold War.”

Russia Says Tensions with US Getting Close to 'Dangerous' Confrontation

  Russia Says Tensions with US Getting Close to 'Dangerous' Confrontation "This line by Washington, which blatantly violates international law, will continue to come up against unwavering opposition as far as protecting Russia's legitimate interests goes," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.The Russian Foreign Ministry held a board meeting Wednesday led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who discussed along with his colleagues the current state of the U.S.-Russia relationship. Following the talks, the ministry released a statement characterizing the participants' views of the tortured ties between the two powers.

ALARM BELLS: “We have known that China has been undergoing a crash nuclear build-up for some time and now it has been laid bare for all the world to see. These are not the actions of a country with a ‘no first use’ policy and seeking only a ‘minimum credible deterrent,’” said Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers in a statement. “It is abundantly clear that we must also rapidly modernize our nuclear infrastructure and bring our deterrent into the 21st century.”

Rogers, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, called on the Biden administration to ensure its Nuclear Posture Review looks at ways to deter both China and Russia “in different ways and with different mixes of delivery systems.”

“We need to have a serious discussion about what it truly means to have to deter two near-peer nuclear adversaries at the same time,” Rogers said.

RISKY BUSINESS: Rogers and his Senate counterpart, Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, disclosed a letter they say they received from the Nuclear Weapons Council, which is tasked with overseeing the maintenance and modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal.

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Rogers and Inhofe say the letter warns that the Biden budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which comes under the Energy Department, “injects risks” into plans to modernize all three legs of America’s nuclear triad.

“NWC members also believe that this budget injects risk into the longer term schedule required to ensure modernization of the U.S. nuclear deterrent,” the letter states. “NWC members express unanimous and grave concern that accepting increased programmatic risk within DOE/NNSA’s nuclear weapons activities will further increase operational risk at a time when both Departments are executing the nuclear modernization program of record.”

“The letter we received yesterday from the Nuclear Weapons Council highlights what we’ve been saying for months: National security spending that does not keep up with inflation is insufficient to safeguard this nation,” Rogers and Inhofe said in a statement. “For the first time in our nation’s history, we face the prospect of having to deter two near-peer nuclear competitors in Russia and China — both of which are massively expanding their nuclear arsenals. It’s irresponsible that this White House doesn’t seem to realize that, and put forward a budget that puts our nation in such a dangerous position.”

Decoding China's new list of demands to the US

  Decoding China's new list of demands to the US China on Monday ramped up its aggressive rhetoric toward the United States. © Provided by Washington Examiner Referencing U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman's two-day visit to Tianjin, a Beijing satellite city, the Western-focused Global Times propaganda outlet warned China has "a greater tolerance for chaos than the US does." It added, "We must make the American people more and more aware of how stupid they are to forcibly shape China into a strategic opponent." That was just the start. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng also issued Sherman with two lists.

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HAPPENING TODAY: Subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee get down to the business of marking up the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act today, with open hearings in 2118 Rayburn that begin this morning. All the markup sessions will be streamed live on the committee’s website.

Here’s the schedule:

10 a.m. — Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Subcommittee, mark available here

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12 p.m. — Strategic Forces Subcommittee, mark available here

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  Beijing Games: Sports coverage fine, other things maybe not TOKYO (AP) — The IOC says the Olympics are only about the sports; no politics allowed. This will be the mantra, as it always is, when the Beijing Winter Games open in six months. Covering ski races or figure-skating finals should be painless; just stay in the sports bubble and out of trouble. But reporters from other countries who puncture the PR skin to explore other aspects of life in China — as they have in Japan during the Tokyo Olympics — could draw more than criticism. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File) Covering ski races or figure-skating finals should be painless; just stay in the sports bubble and out of trouble.

2 p.m. — Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, mark available here

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3:30 p.m. — Military Personnel Subcommittee, mark available here

FUNDING FOR GUARD, CAPITOL SECURITY: The Senate has agreed to a $2.1 billion package that reimburses the National Guard for the $521 million it spent deploying troops to guard the U.S. Capitol after Jan. 6, just as the Guard is about to run out of money for the year.

The bipartisan bill, announced by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, would also address expenses incurred on the Capitol complex as a result of the COVID pandemic and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“We have the responsibility to take care of the Capitol Police in the wake of their incredible service on January 6th, and to reimburse our National Guard for costs incurred protecting the Capitol,” Leahy said in a statement. “We have the responsibility to pay for costs we have already incurred as a result of the pandemic. And we have the moral responsibility to stand with our Afghan partners who stood with us through two decades of war.”

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS SEEK $1 BILLION IN EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR AFGHAN VISA EFFORTS

BIDEN CONSIDERS MANDATORY VACCINES: On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require vaccinations. The requirement was for health workers only, but President Joe Biden confirmed yesterday he’s considering requiring all 4.2 million federal workers, including those in the military, to get a COVID vaccine or face regular testing.

Workers who decline the vaccine would be required to submit to regular testing and wear a mask to protect against the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus.

Biden was asked about his plans at an event yesterday at the Office of Director of National Intelligence. “Will you require federal employees to get vaccinated?” one worker asked.

“That's under consideration right now,” Biden replied. “But if you're not vaccinated, you're not nearly as smart as I thought you were.”

Asked if the CDC's mask guidance, which keeps changing, could sow confusion, Biden said, “We have a pandemic because of the unvaccinated, and they're sowing enormous confusion.”

“The more we learn about this virus and the delta variation, the more we have to be worried and concerned. And only one thing we know for sure: If those other hundred million people got vaccinated, we'd be in a very different world.”

HOUSE REIMPOSES MASK MANDATE AFTER CDC ISSUES NEW GUIDANCE

AUSTIN TO CHINA: ‘WE WILL NOT FLINCH’: In a speech in Singapore yesterday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin delivered a warning to China about America’s resolve to push back against Beijing's expensive claims in the South China Sea and what he called “coercion against the people of Taiwan.”

Austin called out what he called “Beijing’s unwillingness to resolve disputes peacefully” and it’s lack of respect for “the rule of law.”

“We have also seen aggression against India, destabilizing military activity and other forms of coercion against the people of Taiwan, and genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang,” Austin said. “We will not flinch when our interests are threatened. Yet we do not seek confrontation.”

“So let me be clear: As secretary, I am committed to pursuing a constructive, stable relationship with China,” he said. “These differences and disputes are real. But the way that you manage them counts.”

LLOYD AUSTIN ISSUES WARNING TO CHINA OVER TAIWAN

The Rundown

Washington Examiner: White House officials seek $1 billion in emergency funding for Afghan visa efforts

Washington Examiner: Bipartisan group of senators demand 'thorough review' of US funding for Chinese gain-of-function research

Washington Examiner: Lloyd Austin issues warning to China over Taiwan

Washington Examiner: Cybersecurity officials call on Congress to force private companies to disclose ransomware attacks

Washington Examiner: Former analyst who leaked sensitive drone details sentenced to nearly four years in prison

Washington Examiner: Justice Department says former Trump officials can testify in Jan. 6 committee investigations: Report

Washington Examiner: House reimposes mask mandate after CDC issues new guidance

Washington Examiner: House unanimously passes bill to create DC monument celebrating medal of honor recipients

Washington Examiner: Senate confirms Air Force secretary after hiccups

The Hill: Senate Panel Advances Navy Secretary Nominee

Defense News: House Bill Would Allow Navy To Retire Cruisers Early, Adds Funds To Build Second Destroyer

Newsweek: U.K. Warship Enters South China Sea Despite Beijing Warnings

Yonhap: U.S. Approach Toward N. Korea Leaves Doors Open To Dialogue: Austin

Reuters: Biden: If U.S. Has 'Real Shooting War' It Could Be Result Of Cyber Attacks

Wall Street Journal: U.S., Russia to Hold Arms Control Talks

The Hill: Shocking Spike In Suicides Among U.S. Troops

Bloomberg: McCain’s Legacy Initiative On Pentagon Waste Is At Risk

Air Force Magazine: Dickinson: Space Command and Cyber Command ‘Inseparable’

Air Force Magazine: USAF to Increase Arctic Investment as Strategy, Wargames Outline Needs in the Region

Business Insider: Russia's Risky Flybys May Be Attempts At 'Baiting Us Into Shooting First,' Top U.S. Admiral Says

19fortyfive.com: This is How the U.S. Army Wants to Kill Enemy Drone Swarms

Marine Corps Times: Marines Finally Getting A Realistic Force-On-Force Shooter For Combat Training

19fortyfive.com: Why China's Aircraft Carrier Fleet Should Worry the U.S. Navy

19fortyfive.com: Russia's New Checkmate Stealth Fighter: A Mini F-35?

19fortyfive.com: Is the British Army's Troubled Ajax Armored Fighting Vehicle Doomed?

Washington Examiner: Opinion: Decoding China's new list of demands to the US

Forbes: Opinion: How The Air Force’s LRSO Missile Could Prevent A Crisis From Escalating To Nuclear Annihilation

Calendar

WEDNESDAY | JULY 28

9 a.m. — House Armed Services Committee bipartisan staff members hold conference call briefings on background for Capitol Hill credentialed media only to discuss subcommittee markups for the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act. 9 a.m., Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee; 11 a.m., Readiness Subcommittee; 1 p.m., Intelligence and Special Operations Subcommittee. RSVP at https://docs.google.com/forms

9:15 a.m. Pentagon Briefing Room 2D972 — Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command, briefs reporters on "how North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command, in collaboration with all 11 U.S. combatant commands, have executed the third in a series of Global Information Dominance Experiments." https://www.defense.gov/Watch/Live-Events

10 a.m. — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual Spacepower Forum, with Gen. David “DT” Thompson, vice chief of space operations. Video posted afterward at https://mitchellaerospacepower.org/event/space-power-forum

11 a.m. — Institute for Defense and Government Advancement virtual Homeland Security Conference, with remarks on "Coordinating Responses to Emerging Homeland Security Threats,” by William Bratton, chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. https://www.idga.org/events-homelandsecurityweek

12 p.m. — Center for the National Interest virtual forum, “How Stable is North Korea?” with Bruce Bennett, adjunct international/defense researcher, RAND Corporation; Jessica Lee, senior research fellow in the East Asia Program, Quincy Institute; Frank Aum senior expert on Northeast Asia, U.S. Institute of Peace; Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest. https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register

12 p.m. — Hudson Institute virtual discussion: “Iran's Record of Smuggling, Kidnapping and Extortion,” with David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security; Olli Heinonen, fellow at the Stimson Center; Kenneth MacDonald, former special agent at the U.S. Customs Service; and Joshua Block, adjunct fellow at Hudson. https://www.hudson.org/events/1995-virtual-event

12 p.m. 1310 Longworth — House Administration Committee hearing on "Election Subversion: A Growing Threat to Electoral Integrity,” with Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md.; Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Ga.; Gowri Ramachandran, senior counsel at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice; Adrian Fontes, former county recorder for Maricopa County, Ariz.; Janice Winfrey, city clerk for Detroit, Mich.; former Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli, chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative and former Virginia attorney general. Livestream at https://youtu.be/C_8hnS7eNwc

1:30 p.m. — United States Institute of Peace virtual discussion: “Nuclear Security Policy in an Era of Strategic Competition,” with Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.; Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill.; and USIP President and CEO Lise Grande. https://www.usip.org/events/nuclear-security

3 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies “Smart Women, Smart Power” event: “U.S. National Security Policy in the Indo-Pacific: A Conversation with Sen. Tammy Duckworth.” https://www.csis.org/events/us-national-security-policy

THURSDAY | JULY 29

9 a.m. — George Washington University Project for Media and National Security Defense Writers Group conversation with Mr. John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR). https://nationalsecuritymedia.gwu.edu/

10 a.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. — American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in-person event: “America’s ever-shrinking fighting force,” with Mackenzie Eaglen, senior fellow, AEI; Arnold Punaro, former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee and CEO, Punaro Group; and former Sen. Jim Talent, senior fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center. https://www.aei.org/events/americas-ever-shrinking-fighting-force

3:30 p.m. — Washington Post Live virtual discussion: “Securing Cyberspace,” former Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs, partner at the Krebs Stamos Group. https://www.washingtonpost.com/washington-post-live

FRIDAY | JULY 30

8:30 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual 11th annual South China Sea Conference, with Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.; Zack Cooper, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; and Nguyen Nam Duong, deputy director-general of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam's East Sea Institute. https://www.csis.org/events

TUESDAY | AUGUST 3

8 a.m. — The virtual Aspen Security Forum, Day 1, with Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Zalmay Khalilzad, special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation; retired Gen. David Petraeus, former director, Central Intelligence Agency; Roya Rahmani, Afghan Ambassador to the U.S.; Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.; and more. See full agenda and register at https://www.aspensecurityforum.org/2021-virtual-asf

9:15 a.m. — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual Spacepower Forum: “The SASC version of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, particularly its implications for the Space Force, with South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds, and Matt Donovan, director of the Mitchell Institute Spacepower Advantage Research Center. Video posted afterward at https://mitchellaerospacepower.org/event/spacepower

12 p.m. — Association of the U.S. Army Noon Report webinar: “Army Climate Change Initiatives,” with Jack Surash, performing the duties of the assistant Army secretary for installations, energy and environment; and Amy Borman, deputy assistant Army secretary for environment, safety and occupational health. https://info.ausa.org/e/784783/-Noon-Report

WEDNESDAY | AUGUST 4

8 a.m. — The virtual Aspen Security Forum, Day 2, with Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies; Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political affairs; Adm. John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Stephen Biegun, former deputy secretary of state; Matt Pottinger, former deputy national security adviser; Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska; and more. See full agenda and register at https://www.aspensecurityforum.org/2021-virtual-asf

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I'm a law enforcement officer. And I do my best to keep politics out of my job, but in this circumstance, I responded. 'Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count, am I nobody?' That prompted a torrent of racial epithets, one woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled, 'You hear that, guys? This n***** voted for Joe Biden.' Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming, boo, f*****g n*****. No one had ever, ever called me a n***** while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer.”

Officer Harry Dunn, U.S. Capitol Police.

Tags: National Security, Daily on Defense

Original Author: Jamie McIntyre

Original Location: America’s aging nuclear weapons come under scrutiny as Russia and China build up their arsenals

Daily on Energy: Infrastructure nuclear aid too late for Illinois’ at-risk plants .
Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Default Image - July 2021 TIME IS TIGHT FOR ILLINOIS NUCLEAR PLANTS: The bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill, officially out last night, strives to save economically struggling nuclear plants from closing, but it’s very likely too late for a pair of plants in Illinois at greatest risk.

usr: 1
This is interesting!