TacNukes News No. 6

A summary of news and analysis on tactical nuclear weapons. 

Newsletter edition August 8, 2013

 


 

1. Prospects for Russian-U.S. Arms Control
2. NATO’s future nuclear posture
3. Project Publications
4. The German debate on TNW during election campaign
5. President Obama wants to cut TNW
6. NATO and UN common issues on nuclear weapons
7. A new European-Russian Leadership Task Force
8. U.S. House and Senate curb B61 spending
9. The Netherlands ends ambiguity around TNW

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1. Prospects for Russian-U.S. Arms Control

On May 16th, 2013 a roundtable workshop on prospects for the next round of nuclear arms control talks between Russia and the United States was jointly held by the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), Arms Control Association (ACA), the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy Hamburg (IFSH), with support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. A group of 40 officials, diplomats, and experts from Russia, the United States, and NATO countries considered each party’s objectives, political and technical opportunities, and possible areas and ideas that could help advance progress for discussions and possible negotiations on strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons, as well as offensive and defensive ballistic missiles. This summary higlights key points and issues discussed.

During the NATO-Russia Council Ambassadorial Annotated Agenda in July 2013, U.S. and Russian representatives gave their views on cooperation possibilities between Russia and the U.S., partly also focusing on nuclear arms control. Rose Gottemoeller underlined that the U.S. together with its NATO allies is interested in working with Russia 'to make progress on nuclear arms control and the overall strategic stability agenda'. Anatoly Antonov did neither explicitly mention tactical nuclear weapons, nor nuclear arms control in his remarks.

 

 

2. NATO’s future nuclear posture

 

This paper highlights the main themes arising from a roundtable discussion held on July 25th, 2013 in Washington D.C., which brought a small group of experts together with representatives from a number of NATO member states to discuss the future of NATO’s nuclear posture and engagement with Russia on arms control and nuclear weapons. This discussion built on workshops previously held in Moscow and Brussels in 2012 and 2013.

 

 

 

3. Project Publications

 

The current Nuclear Policy Paper No. 14 details the timelines for, and implications of, procurement decisions for NATO’s next-generation dual-capable aircraft (DCA).

 

On April 29, 2013 the French White Paper on Defence and National Security had been published. Jean-Marie Collin will discuss the implications of the White Paper for nuclear arms control and disarmament within the context of the NATO debate on American tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Europe in a forthcoming Nuclear Policy Paper.

 

 

 

4. The German debate on TNW during election campaign

On June 5th, 2013 the German government replied (No. 17/13820) to questions of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the Bundestag on a range of post-Chicago Summit, disarmament, missile defence and European security issues (No. 17/11905). The government states that the New Strategic Concept obliges NATO to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, which it sees as an important step by the Alliance in terms of arms control and disarmament. It was the German engagement that the Special Advisory and Consultative Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Committee has been established thanks to German leadership, according to the reply. Germany will play an active role in the work of the new committee. At the same time the government voices the belief that the American tactical nuclear weapons stationed on European territory provide an important transatlantic tie and mirror the close transatlantic connection as well as the division of the nuclear sharing risks. The Tornado fleet is scheduled to operate at least till 2025. Till 2016 with 11,500 flight hours and after the update of the Avionics System Software Tornado in Ada 3 from 2017 it will be 13,310 flight hours annually. Unless further investments are made, the plane's service life will end in 2030 at the latest. Tornado will still perform its nuclear function. The question of certification of the Eurofighter does not pose itself at the moment. There is no suggestion at present that the Eurofighter, which is down to replace the Tornado in the Luftwaffe, will ever be nuclear certified.

  • Bundestag printed paper No. 17/13820 (June 2013 ) Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Große Anfrage der Abgeordneten Uta Zapf, Dr. Rolf Mützenich, Rainer Arnold, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion der SPD. Ergebnisse und Folgen der Beschlüsse des NATO-Gipfels von Chicago für Abrüstung, Raketenabwehr und europäische Sicherheit (in German) http://dipbt.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/17/138/1713820.pdf
  • Deutscher Bundestag plenary protocol 17/250 (June 2013) Zu Protokoll gegebene Reden zur Beratung der Antwort auf die Große Anfrage: Ergebnisse und Folgen der Beschlüsse des NATO-Gipfels von Chicago für Abrüstung, Raketenabwehr und europäische Sicherheit (Tagesordnungspunkt 21) http://dipbt.bundestag.de/dip21/btp/17/17250.pdf#P.32069 (in German)

The Social Democratic Party calls in its election program to remove the American tactical nuclear weapons from Germany within a European disarmament agreement.

In its election program, the Green Party in Germany calls for the complete and immediate withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany, advocates for rapid Global Zero and a world without nuclear weapons. They want to end the stationing of the American nuclear weapons in Büchel and end the nuclear mission of the German Airforce.

Germany's Left Party calls for a consequent disarmament, in particular for the withdrawal and destruction of the American nuclear weapons stationed in Germany. It will seek to ban the stationing of modernised nuclear weapons in Germany and will block any financial grants for modernising the DCAs.

The Free Democratic Party adheres to the aim of the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from European territory.

Germany's governing party CDU/CSU avowes itself to NATO and its new Strategic Concept. The party will support every fair initiative to diminish nuclear weapons, conditioned it will serve international security. The election program does not mention tactical nuclear weapons at all.

5. President Obama wants to cut TNW

In his Berlin Brandenburg speech, President Obama calls on Americans, NATO allies and Russians to work together for bold reductions in U.S. and Russian tactical weapons in Europe.

 

This DOD report translates Obama’s presidential nuclear guidance into operational doctrine and practice. It specifies that the US will retain the capability of forward deployed nuclear weapons with heavy bombers and dual-capable fighter aircraft and will hold close consultations with its Allies and partners on nuclear forces and posture.

 

6. NATO and UN common issues on nuclear weapons

 

Angela Kane, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, calls on NATO to devote a Strategic Concept just to nuclear disarmament. She urges the Alliance to articulate concrete measures to work towards the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Elimination of all threats, and non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament are complementary issues and should be pursued in parallel, without preconditions.

 

 

 

7. A new European-Russian Leadership Task Force

 

A High Level Leadership Task Force on European-Russian Relations: A Cooperative Greater Europe by 2030 has been launched on May 2013 by the European Leadership Network (ELN), The Russian Council on International Affairs (RIAC) and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM). One of its goals is to bring forward proposals on how to radically transform the political-military relationship between Russia and NATO, including in the fields of nuclear policy and deployments. 

 

 

8. U.S. House and Senate curb B61 spending

 

The U.S. House rejected an attempt to scale back spending on the modernization of B61 bombs maintained at Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, setting up a possible spending showdown with the U.S. Senate.

 

 

 

 

The info-graphic shows alternative options for spending $11.6 billion instead of upgrading the B61.

9. The Netherlands ends with ambiguity around TNW

In a National Geographic documentary on the cold war, former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers broke the cone of silence surrounding the U.S. nuclear weapons stored at the Volkel air base in the Netherlands. After Lubbers, former Prime Ministers Van Agt and Stemerdink followed, confirming their existence and rough numbers.

Editor: Katarzyna Kubiak, Researcher IFSH

TacNukes News summarizes recent developments related to transparency, accounting, and reductions of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. It is jointly published by the Arms Control Association, the British American Security Information Council and the Institute for Peace Research and Security at the University of Hamburg under a joint project funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 

If you have information you would suggest be included in the next newletter, please contact  tacnukes@basicint.org

 

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