NU­CLEAR-CUT RE­VIEW

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has been se­cretly work­ing on a re­view of U.S. nu­clear weapons in what of­fi­cials say is part of the White House ef­fort to make deeper cuts on strate­gic nu­clear forces.

“The ad­min­is­tra­tion has made up its mind that they want to go lower, and the only way to go lower is to change the mil­i­tar y re­quire­ments for how many weapons are needed,” said a U.S. of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the re­view.

The re­view has been dubbed a “mini-NPR,” af­ter the Nu­clear Pos­ture Re­view con­ducted last year that co­in­cided with lame­duck Se­nate ap­proval in De­cem­ber of the New START treaty, which calls for cut­ting nu­clear arms to 5,000 war­heads.

Pen­tagon and U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand spokes­men had no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

The mini-NPR is now look­ing for even lower lev­els, rais­ing new con­cerns among national se­cu­rity of­fi­cials about whether the United States will be able to de­ter China’s grow­ing and largely se­cret nu­clear forces or a re­van­chist Rus­sia that is also bol­ster­ing its arse­nal.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials have made ref­er­ences to the nu­cle­ar­weapons-cut­ting ef­fort in re­cent weeks.

Among them were Rose Got­te­moeller, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. She said at a con­fer­ence on de­ter­rence in Au­gust that “the United States has made it clear that we are com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing a stepby-step process to re­duce the over­all num­ber of nu­clear weapons,” in­clud­ing through a pos­si­ble agree­ment with Rus­sia that would cover all types of nu­clear arms: strate­gic, tac­ti­cal and de­ployed and non-de­ployed.

Gary Samore, White House arms con­trol co­or­di­na­tor, said in May that the re­view of nu­clear arms was un­der way.

“We’ll need to do a strate­gic re­view of what our force re­quire­ments are, and then, based on that, the pres­i­dent will have op­tions avail­able for additional re­duc­tions,” he told Arms Con­trol To­day. “That re­view is on­go­ing.”

Mr. Samore noted that the re­view is tak­ing time be­cause “we’ve reached the level in our forces where fur­ther re­duc­tions will raise ques­tions about whether we re­tain the triad, or whether we go to a sys­tem that only is a dyad.”

The cur­rent triad strate­gic force con­sists of three types of de­liv­ery sys­tems: land-based mis­siles, bombers and sub­ma­rine mis­siles.

It is not known which de­liv­ery sys­tem would be placed on the chop­ping block un­der the mini-NPR.

Mr. Samore noted that if there is no agree­ment or treaty for the next nu­clear cuts, “even uni­lat­eral” cuts are be­ing con­sid­ered. leased State Depart­ment cable.

The July 6, 2007, dis­patch, la­beled “se­cret,” said the U.S. govern­ment was con­cerned about North Korean ef­forts to buy equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy used in pro­duc­ing coun­ter­feit U.S. currency.

“Nor th Korea has ap­proached Drent Goebel of Ger­many to pur­chase an in­taglio press, ca­pa­ble of coun­ter­feit­ing U.S. currency,” the cable said.

“The U.S. has re­peat­edly warned both Ger­many and Drent Goebel that North Korea could use this equip­ment to pro­duce coun­ter­feit U.S. currency.”

Ger­man of­fi­cials promised to block the currency press sale to Pyongyang.

The Se­cret Ser­vice, ac­cord­ing to the cable, has ev­i­dence that the North Kore­ans con­tinue to “pro­duce and distr ibute coun­ter­feit U.S. currency.”

“Over the past sev­eral years, the U.S. Se­cret Ser­vice has im­ple­mented an ag­gres­sive cam­paign to stop the coun­ter­feit­ing of U.S. currency by [Nor th Korea] through dis­rup­tions in the sup­ply of ma­te­ri­als and equip­ment used to pro­duce coun­ter­feit U.S. currency,” the cable said.

It noted that the North Kore­ans were linked to the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of high­qual­ity coun­ter­feit $100 bills called “su­per­notes.”

“These coun­ter­feit ban­knotes are pro­duced in the same man­ner as U.S. currency, utiliz­ing sim­i­lar pro­cesses and ma­te­ri­als as U.S. currency,” the cable said.

Also noted was the fact that the Ger­man com­pany.

“Both sets of equip­ment are suit­able for the pro­duc­tion of coun­ter­feit U.S. currency, pos­si­bly in­clud­ing su­per­notes,” the cable said.

Since the cable, U.S. and diplo­matic of­fi­cials in Washington have re­vealed that North Korean govern­ment coun­ter­feit­ing is di­rected by Gen. O Kuk-ryol, a con­fi­dant of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

North Korean su­per­notes were dis­cov­ered in Las Ve­gas in 2008; in Pu­san, South Korea, in 2009; and ear­lier in the Philip­pines.

The su­per­notes are made on a high-qual­ity currency print­ing press iden­ti­fied at the Py­ong­song Trade­mark Print­ing Fac­tory in North Korea, run by the op­er­a­tions depart­ment of the Korean Work­ers Party, which is headed by Gen. O.

The in­sider Nel­son Re­port news­let­ter, writ­ten by former Hill staffer Chris Nel­son, re­ported on Sept. 16 that it has “passed on un­of­fi­cial ad­min­is­tra­tion re­quests not to write about the [F-16] A/B de­ci­sion as an ex­plicit ‘no’ to C/Ds.”

“Rather we have been re­peat­edly urged [. . .] please make clear that the de­ci­sion should be seen as about A/B retrofitting only [. . .] and not a ‘no’ on C/Ds.”

Mr. Nel­son stated fur­ther that “we’ve been re­peat­edly re­quested, don’t write some­thing which seems to rule out ad­min­is­tra­tion con­sid­er­a­tion of C/D’s at some point, even if not nec­es­sar­ily be­fore the end of this year.”

That spin was re­flected in a Sept. 17 re­port in New York Times, of­ten de­scribed by crit­ics as a house or­gan for the ad­min­is­tra­tion, that stated the pres­i­dent has not ruled out sell­ing the new F-16s.

An ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial then briefed re­porters on Sept. 20 at New York’s Wal­dorf As­to­ria Ho­tel, where Pres­i­dent Obama was stay­ing for the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly.

“And we’re ob­vi­ously pre­pared to con­sider fur­ther sales in the fu­ture,” the of­fi­cial said.

The re­al­ity, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial, is that the sale of C/D jets was blocked by the pres­i­dent at the urg­ing of National Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Thomas E. Donilon, who was ad­vised to do so by NSC staff aides Daniel R. Rus­sel and Evan S. Medeiros amid con­cerns that new jet sales would up­set China.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced on Sept. 21 that it will up­grade Tai­wan’s 145 F-16 A/Bs.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rose Got­te­moeller, as­sis­tant sec­re­tar y of state for ver­i­fi­ca­tion, has said that “we are com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing a step-by-step process to re­duce the over­all num­ber of nu­clear weapons.”

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