AIR DEFENSE BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE CIVIL DEFENSE
AMERICAN STRATEGIC DEFENSE ASSOCIATION
“The question of whether this capability works has been settled. . . We have had a number of successful tests.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Feb. 20, 2008
In this edition
An interceptor launched from a Pearl Harbor-based cruiser soared 130 miles above the Pacific and smashed into a dying US satellite on February 20. The USS Lake Erie, armed with an SM-3 missile designed to knock down incoming missiles rather than orbiting satellites, launched the intercept at 5:26 pm. It hit the satellite about three minutes later as it pursued a polar orbit at more than 17,000 mph.
The operation was rather extraordinary with much international publicity. Much of the publicity seemed to be building a justification for the intercept. After all, the Chinese had shot down one of their weather satellites last year and been criticized for leaving a lot of space debris. But this satellite was different because it had on board a small tank of Hydrazine that would be very dangerous if the tank fell in a populated area. So, the mission was not only to hit the bus-sized satellite but also to smash up the hydrazine tank.
Destroy it, it did. According to a Pentagon statement, “Nearly all of the debris will burn up on re-entry within 24-48 hours, and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days.” As to the publicity, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “What we’ve tried to do from the beginning is to be as open as possible about the intention. We have been very transparent.” Maybe so, but it also could be an excuse for shooting down a satellite.
The National Missile Defense System got quite a bit of publicity in the process. We were told that the Lake Erie is one of three Aegis cruisers equipped with two SM-3 interceptors. The second, USS Port Royal, also is stationed at Pearl Harbor. The third cruiser, USS Shiloh, is stationed in Japan. Last November, the Lake Erie fired both its interceptors at approaching dummy warheads and destroyed them both. There have been 12 successful intercepts in 14 attempts since 2002.
John Bolton told us a year ago that Kim Jong Il would be in no hurry to denuclearize as long as he could keep the rewards coming and he was right. As January faded into February, the Bush administration was still waiting for Pyongyang to submit what it considers a sufficient declaration of the North’s nuclear programs. The North says it has given all it has. In early February, the US State Department sent Song Kim to North Korea to clarify the situation. Nothing much happened. Except that the North slowed the removal of fuel rods from its Yongbyon nuclear facility to less than half the rate needed to disable the site by the agreed deadline. Each day, North Korean workers are removing about 30 fuel rods to nearby cooling pools under US supervision but they would have to remove about 80 rods daily to finish the job on time. So far, over 1,000 fuel rods have been removed from the Yongbyon facility.
Underlying all this is policy warfare within the Bush administration on how to deal with Kim Jong Il. Observers say the Bush administration is trying to suppress internal criticism over its diplomatic strategy for engaging North Korea as delays in denuclearization continue. “The administration is getting a little nervous,” said David Albright, head of the Institute for Science and International Security, “What I have seen so far is Bush is committed (to the diplomatic strategy) bu they know North Korea has to make some concessions but it’s not doing that. So the whole process is slowing down.”
Iran has vowed to push ahead with uranium enrichment despite a third round of sanctions from the UN Security Council. The council approved the measure in a 14-0 vote but unity among the major powers faltered when Russia and China blocked an attempt by Western nations to introduce a resolution on Iran’s nuclear defiance at a meeting of the subordinate IAEA. The failed resolution called for the IAEA to continue investigations into purported nuclear weapons-related experiments Iran claims never happened.
The new sanctions ordered a freeze on assets of additional Iranian officials and companies with links to the country’s nuclear and missile programs and banned for the first time trade with Iran in some goods that have both civilian and military uses.
One year ago, former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, together with former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former Senator Sam Nunn, wrote an article calling for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately end them as a threat to the world. Since that initial article, the interest and momentum to address these issues has been extraordinary, strong positive responses from people and governments around the world. The effort has found its way into high-level political and public policy debates and has received support from more than a dozen former Secretaries of State and Defense and National Security Advisors. The Nuclear Security Project was established to build on this momentum. The Project is a two-year initiative to advance the vision and the steps and spur global action to reduce urgent nuclear dangers. We reproduce here the latest article authored by the original distinguished group.
The response of the Bush people to this is that if Kim violates this agreement or cheats, he is violating a agreement with China and Russia as well as the US.
John Bolton and Henry Sokolski are leaders of the hard-nosed “regime change” policy advocates. Their screams of dismay are recognition that their policy position has been rejected by President Bush.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been noisily locked in a nuclear standoff with the United Nations while his regime is supporting and encouraging the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon and helping train al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Iraq. In January, six Iranian gun-runners were captured in Irbil, Iraq. Near the end of January, Iran refused to admit 38 IAEA inspectors, as required under a month-old UN resolution. Iran was also under a unanimous UN Security Council resolution giving it until February 21 to suspend all enrichment and reprocessing activities.
Iran blithely celebrated the deadline by announcing that it was about to start industrial-scale uranium enrichment by installing 3,000 centrifuges in a huge underground factory at Natanz. The report from IAEA to the Security Council confirming Iran’s refusal to suspend nuclear activities was almost an afterthought. Anticipating a negative IAEA finding, the Bush administration is readying a new resolution containing sanctions for Security Council consideration.
A New York Times news analysis by William Broad and David Sanger suggests that Iran’s announcement of industrial-scale uranium enrichment is a piece of “political showmanship.” The many setbacks and outright failures of Tehran’s experimental program suggest that its bluster may outstrip its technical expertise, according to the authors. To enrich uranium on an industrial scale, the centrifuges must spin at very high speeds for months on end. But the latest IAEA report said the primitive machines of the Iran pilot plant ran only intermittently. Also, the Iranians were able to set up just two of the planned six groups of 164 centrifuges at the pilot plant. Observers said the industrial push made little sense given Iran’s problems in getting its experimental centrifuges to run smoothly. “From a technical point of view,” one said, “it’s illogical to stand up 3,000 centrifuges before you know how to do it.”
On October 4, 2006, President Bush signed into law the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act. That Act established new leadership positions within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), brought additional functions into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and amended the Homeland Security Act. On January 18, 2007, Secretary Michael Chertoff informed affected employees of the changes that will take effect on March 31, 2007. What is going to happen then? For one thing, some 500 DHS employees will be transferred into the new FEMA.
FEMA will continue to be headed by R. David Paulison and he will take on the new title of Administrator. The new position of Administrator of FEMA is by law a Level 2 position. Now, Secretary Chertoff as a cabinet member is a Level 1. He has a deputy, the Under Secretary, who is a Level 2, same as the Administrator of the new FEMA. Will the FEMA head report to the Under Secretary? We don’t think so. Recall that Michael Brown, the putative “goat” of Katrina, told Congress he bypassed Chertoff’s offices and went directly to the White House because he couldn’t get any response otherwise. The legislative history will have Paulison reporting directly to Chertoff. There may even be circumstances under which he will report directly to the president.There will be two Deputy Administrators. One will be the Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer. This will be the principal deputy, with overall operational responsibilities at FEMA. Harvey Johnson will remain in this role. The other deputy will be the Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness, heading a new division within FEMA.
The transfers to the new FEMA include the United States Fire Administration, the Office of Grants and Training, the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Division, the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program and the Office of National Capital Region Coordination. The new National Preparedness Division will focus on policy, contingency planning, exercise coordination and evaluation, emergency management training and hazard mitigation with respect to the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness and Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program. It will have two divisions. Readiness, Prevention and Planning will be the central office within FEMA handling preparedness policy and planning functions. The National Integration Center will maintain the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the National Response Plan.
The Office of Grants and Training will be moved to the new FEMA and renamed the “Office of Grant Programs.” The Training and Systems Support Divisions will be transferred to the National Integration Center.
The foregoing transfers are from the Preparedness Directorate. The legacy Preparedness Directorate will be renamed the National Protection and Programs Directorate(NPPD). It will continue to be led by Under Secretary George Foresman. It will be responsible for infrastructure protection and cyber security. Does any of this make sense to you?