Sunday, December 28, 2014

• China's Nuclear Nightmare By Elbridge Colby

Welcome to China's Nuclear Nightmare
Nuclear weapons will come to loom much larger than they have since the Cold War over U.S. and Chinese military planning.
By Elbridge Colby

FOR ALL the focus on maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas, there is an even greater peril in Asia that deserves attention. 

It is the rising salience of nuclear weapons in the region.
China’s military buildup—in particular its growing capabilities to blunt America’s ability to project effective force in the western Pacific—is threatening to change the military balance in the area. 

This will lead to a cascade of strategic shifts that will make nuclear weapons more central in both American and Chinese national-security plans, while increasing the danger that other regional states will seek nuclear arsenals of their own.
Like it or not, nuclear weapons in Asia are back.
For seventy years, the United States has militarily dominated maritime Asia. 

During this era, U.S. forces could, generally speaking, defeat any challenger in the waters of the western Pacific or in the skies over them. 

Washington established this preeminence and has retained it in the service of a strategy motivated both by parochial interests such as protecting American territory and commerce as well as by more high-minded aspirations to foster the growth and development of prosperous, liberal societies within the region. 

Military primacy has been the crucial underwriter, the predicate of broader American strategy.
This primacy is now coming into question. 

China’s advancing “anti-access/area-denial” (A2/AD) capabilities as well as its expanding strike and power-projection capabilities will present a mounting challenge to the U.S. force posture in the Pacific region—and thus to America’s strategy for the Asia-Pacific as a whole.
Beijing appears to be seeking to create a zone in the western Pacific within which the military power of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will be able to ensure that Chinese strategic interests are held paramount—in effect, to supplant the United States as the military primate in the region.
The oft-cited DF-21D “carrier-killer” ballistic missile is only one small facet of this much broader Chinese effort, which encompasses the fielding of a whole network that integrates a range of increasingly high-quality platforms, weapons, sensors, and command, control and communications systems. 

Because of this effort, U.S. forces attempting to operate in maritime Asia will now have to struggle for dominance rather than simply assume it.

Indeed, anxiety about the relative military balance between the United States and China is building among the defense officials charged with monitoring it. 

As Frank Kendall, the Pentagon official with chief responsibility for developing and acquiring new military systems, wrote in a recent paper focused on the implications of China’s military buildup:

While the U.S. still has significant military advantages, U.S. superiority in some key warfare domains is at risk...
U.S. Navy ships and western Pacific bases are vulnerable to missile strikes from missiles already in the inventory in China...

The net impact is that China is developing a capability to push our operating areas farther from a potential fight, thereby reducing our offensive and defensive capacity...
The Chinese are developing an integrated air defense system that puts U.S. air dominance in question, and in some regions, air superiority is challenged by 2020. 

Kendall summarized his assessment with the judgment that China is rapidly modernizing its forces and is developing and fielding strategically chosen capabilities that are designed to defeat power projection capabilities the U.S. depends upon.
Technological superiority the U.S. demonstrated over 20 years ago, and which we have relied upon ever since, is being actively challenged. 

Nor is Kendall an outlier in this assessment—rather, his view represents something like the evolving baseline understanding among defense officials and experts.
Comparably informed and thoughtful defense leaders like Deputy Secretary of DefenseRobert Work have said very similar things.

As a result, the United States is beginning to mount an effort to respond to China’s growing capabilities—for instance, through the Defense Department’s recently announced “Offset Strategy” initiative. 

The Pentagon rightly appears to be focused on maintaining American advantages in the effective projection of conventional military force even in the face of a resolute and highly capable opponent like Beijing. 

This goal stretches across procurement decisions, revisions to plans and doctrines, changes to deployment and basing, and attitudes toward the exploitation of technology. 

Outside commentators have tended to conflate this broad effort with the department’s laudable Air-Sea Battle initiative, which is clearly an important segment of the larger attempt to counter challenges to U.S. military superiority, but is still only a part of it. 

Ideally, this initiative will be successful and will allow the United States to maintain its traditional dominance in maritime Asia. 

But even if the Pentagon cannot wholly achieve this objective, maintaining even a partial edge in the military balance against China will give the United States valuable deterrent and coercive leverage in what will very likely be a fraught relationship with Beijing.

But achieving even this more modest aspiration is more a hope than a certainty. 

And the persistence of sequestration, the American political system’s unwillingness to decisively shift resources toward maintaining the military edge in Asia, and the abiding necessity or allure of involvement in other regions raise questions as to how reasonable this hope is. 

Thus, we cannot be sure how successful the United States will be in retaining its military edge in the region.

American Stupidity: 

DF-41 Missiles With Multiple Warheads Pulverizing America Using U.S. Technology

"The US capitalists have sold us the rope with which we will hang them.": China's missile threat has grown with the aid of U.S. technology, provided willingly by a Bill Clinton deluded by the notion that making nice with our enemies and trading with them will somehow make them less dangerous.

Chinese DF-41 warhead obliterating 
New York City thanks to Bill Clinton

China has just tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile that can deliver up to 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads, using technology given to them on President Clinton's watch to launch communications satellites.
The Dec. 13 test of the DF-41 was the third for the new weapon. 

But it marked the first test of a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle, or MIRV, technology and raises by an order of magnitude the nuclear threat to the U.S. as China continues its massive arms buildup. 

And disturbingly, the threat is in large part of our own making.

"The DF-41, which could be deployed as early as 2015, may carry up to 10 MIRVs, and have a range as far as 7,456 miles, allowing it to target the entire continental United States," according to the latest report produced for Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
"China could use MIRVs to deliver nuclear warheads on major U.S. cities and military facilities as a means of overwhelming (existing) U.S. ballistic missile defenses," the report added.

We now have 30 ground-based interceptors (GBI) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Fort Greely in Alaska. 

In March 2013, the Obama administration, which previously scaled back Bush administration plans for GBI deployment in the U.S., reluctantly announced plans for an additional 14 at Greely in response to the threat from North Korea.

China's missile threat has grown with the aid of U.S. technology, some stolen but muchprovided willingly by a U.S. at times deluded by the notion that making nice with our enemies and trading with them will somehow make them less dangerous.

A report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) dated Dec. 10, 1996, notes that China's MIRV technology is likely an offshoot of a "smart dispenser" for launching multiple satellites developed by China under a contract with Motorola to launch its Iridium communications satellites. This technology transfer was approved by the Clinton administration.

According to the 1996 report, "a minimally modified (smart dispenser) stage could be used on a ballistic missile as a multiple-re-entry vehicle post-boost vehicle" that could be used for multiple warheads "with relatively minor changes."
That strategic chicken has now come home to roost.

Another instance of missile technology transfer to China under the Clinton administration aided the development of the Chinese Long March series of missiles, a mainstay of its space program, technology also put to good use in the development of its ICBMs.

The Long March has proved a reliable Chinese launch vehicle, but it wasn't always so. 

After the failed launch of a satellite built by Loral Space & Communications Ltd. attached to a Chinese rocket in 1996, Loral provided 200 pages of data to China's Great Wall Industry Corp. to correct the guidance system problems of their Long March rockets, which blew up 75% of the time.
Such data, also applicable to the guidance system of ICBMs, were previously banned from export for national security reasons after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacres until President Clinton granted a waiver. 

Loral Chairman Bernard L. Schwartz gave $1.5 million to the Democratic Party in 1996.

A May 1997 classified Pentagon report concluded that Loral had "turned over expertise that significantly improved China's nuclear missiles" and that as a result "United States national security has been harmed." 

According to the Pentagon, the technology that improved the Long March satellite launcher has also made the Dong Feng ICBM series more lethal.

It may be the ultimate irony that with seemingly everything we buy at the mall being "made in China," the Chinese missile threat was made right here in the good ol' USA.


Uncle Sams Misguided Children
MIRV is an acronym for Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle. In short, one ICBM or Inter-Continental Ballistic Missilecan launch with warheads targeted to strike multiple cities or targets.

Imagine firing a ‘double ought’ buckshot(#00) shotgun shell with 9 balls of lead. With the standard shotgun shell all the balls will strike a target in a reasonably predictable pattern. But with a MIRV shell, each of those 9 balls of lead could be programmed to strike 9 different targets even if those targets were separated great distances.

Like the shotgun shell, a MIRV warhead still has to comply with the laws of physics. Once released each warhead will follow a predictable ballistic path to the intended target.

But tracking and countering MIRV warheads is a much more difficult proposition than a ‘standard’ ICBM warhead. Counting and/or tracking deployed MIRVs is problematic. A country may have 10 warheads on a missile, but if all can be negated with a single strike, is that one nuke or ten? Because of this, MIRVs were seen as widely destabilizing to the delicate nuclear balance between the US and Soviet Union when they were first deployed in the 1970s.

The U.S. has phased out its land-based MIRV ICBMs. However, our nuclear triad continues to include MIRV submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Putin’s Russia continues to field MIRV ICBMs.

China Confirms Test
Chinese defense officials of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) confirmed the flight test of a new long range missile. PLA Senior Colonel Yang Yujun at a briefing for reporters said,

“China has the legitimate right to conduct scientific tests within its border and these scientific tests are not targeting any country or target.”

When asked if the successful test of the DF-41 ICBM on Dec 13th would change China’s strategic nuclear policy of not being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. Yang answered,

“What needs to be pointed out is that China pursues a nuclear policy of self-defense and its policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons has not changed.”

US officials believe Yang’s reference to the ‘no-first-use’ policy by the military is a tacit admission the DF-41 test included the test of a last stage that carried MIRVs.
MIRV warheads – can reach multiple targets in multiple directions

MIRV Technology- illegally transferred?
Analyzing a ballistic trajectory is a simple high school physics problem. But there is a big step between analysis and implementation. Recording the necessary data, rapidly analyzing that data, combined with ever changing variables, to determine the precise moment to release a warhead so that it hits a specific target 8-10 thousand miles away, is NOT a simple task.

According to US government officials and those familiar with the issue, China’s multiple warhead technology was greatly enhanced by the illegal transfer of information/technology during the Clinton Administration.

According to a National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) report dated December 10, 1996, China developed a method for deploying multiple satellites under a contract with Motorola. The deployment method utilized a ‘smart dispenser’ to place Iridium communication satellites into orbit. Their smart dispenser utilizes technology transferred/purchased from Lockheed Martin Corporation, to assist China and Motorola. The technology boost was provided to China’s state-run Great Wall Industries. Great Wall is a missile manufacturer, and affiliated with Hong Kong company Asiasat.

The technology provided was to develop expendable perigee kick motors. Think of them as small booster motors to lift satellites into higher orbits. Similar to NASA’s PAM or Payload Assist Module, these kick motors are considered a key element used in MIRV guidance.

The technology transfers were made under loosened export controls implemented by the Clinton administration beginning in 1993.

The NASIC report stated,
“An initial NAIC study determined that a minimally-modified stage could be used on a ballistic missile as a multiple-reentry vehicle post-boost vehicle” that could be used for multiple warheads “with relatively minor changes.”

In 2000, the State Department fined Lockheed Martin Corp. $13 million for improperly exporting weapons data on the rocket technology used in multiple-warhead missiles.

The technology transfer was approved by President Bill Clinton’s administration.

Numbers, It’s All About the Numbers
The current ‘deployed’ U.S. strategic warhead arsenal includes 1,642 warheads. Deployed is the key word. Warheads not fitted to missiles at the ready, are not included in the count. All 450 Minuteman III missiles no longer carry MIRVs. The submarine launched Trident II missiles can carry up to 14 MIRVs per missile.

China’s nuclear arsenal is estimated around 240 very large warheads. But with MIRVs, that number could increase dramatically.

China is expected to deploy the DF-41 ICBM with MIRV warheads in 2015.

Chickens Coming Home
With Russia poised to act in Ukraine, ISIS advancing in the Mid-east, dropping oil prices threatening the Russian economy, Iran advancing their nuclear technology and the U.S. economy poised for another bubble burst, just in time for Hillary Clinton’s second run for the White House, China is building up their nuclear arsenal.

Thank you Bill Clinton. Sure wish you’d stuck to intern training.