Tag Archives: nuclear balance

The Under-reported Crisis: Russia’s Massive Arms Buildup, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its latest examination of under-reported defense issues concerning Russia.

Here is a small sampling of other vital information that has not been adequately presented to the public, generally appearing only  specialty journals, (one example being the extraordinary journalism presented in the Washington Free Beacon) some “wire services” such as AP but getting little attention in major newspapers, network television, or most cable news outlets:

The Associated Press reported this matter in February, which was, as usual, not given a great deal of attention:

“The Russian military received a sweeping array of new weapons last year, including 41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the wide-ranging military modernization will continue this year, the defense minister said Wednesday. Minister Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers the air force will receive 170 new aircraft, the army will receive 905 tanks and other armored vehicles while the navy will receive 17 new ships this year…The rising number of new weapons has raised demands for new personnel. Shoigu said the military currently needs 1,300 more pilots and will recruit them by 2018… the military now has 2,000 drones compared to just 180 in 2011…Russia has now deployed new long-range early warning radars to survey the airspace along the entire length of its borders.The minister said the military will complete the formation of three new divisions in the nation’s west and southwest, and also deploy a new division on the Pacific Islands, which have been claimed by Japan.”

The Jamestown Foundation reports that “Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the dismemberment of its territory is not an isolated operation. It constitutes one component of a broader strategic agenda to rebuild a Moscow-centered bloc designed to compete with the West. The acceleration of President Vladimir Putin’s neo-imperial project has challenged the security of several regions that border the Russian Federation, focused attention on the geopolitical aspects of Kremlin ambitions, and sharpened the debate on the future role of NATO, the EU, and the US in the Wider Europe.”

The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail reports on two significant new threats, one current and one on the drawing boards. “Russia has unveiled chilling pictures of its largest ever nuclear missile, capable of destroying an area the size of France. The RS-28 Sarmat missile, dubbed Satan 2 by Nato, has a top speed of 4.3 miles (7km) per second…The new Sarmat missile could deliver warheads of 40 megatons – 2,000 times as powerful as the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945…Russia is also readying itself to become a leader in the construction of hypersonic aircraft, a new report reveals. Kremlin-backed media claim engineers in the Federation are among the first in the world to work towards new materials for planes capable of reaching hypersonic speeds.” The move could help Russia produce a new fleet of aerial war machines that could launch nuclear attacks from space. Aviation researchers are reportedly working to develop the materials which can withstand the stress and high temperatures of travelling many times the speed of sound.

The Washington Free Beacon  reported last September that “The nominee to lead the U.S. Strategic Command warned Congress this week that China and Russia are rapidly building space warfare capabilities and the United States is lagging behind in efforts to counter the threat. Both Beijing and Moscow are developing anti-satellite missiles and laser guns and maneuvering killer space robots that could cripple strategic U.S. communications, navigation and intelligence satellites, the backbone of American high-technology warfare.”

The British publication, The Sun, also reported in October that “Russia conducted a massive evacuation drill for more than 40 million people to prepare for nuclear war. More than 200,000 emergency services personnel and soldiers used 50,000 pieces of equipment during the massive civil defence exercise.”

Moscow has not been shy about its new prowess.  The semi-official Russian publication RT  reported in October that “Over 100 fighter jets, long-range bombers and combat helicopters have been scrambled at their bases across Russia and six post-Soviet states as the allies prepare to test their integrated air defense system in a massive military exercise. More than 130 command and control centers have been put on alert in Russia and six former Soviet republics – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.” RT also notes  that “Russia’s next-generation strategic bomber, known as the PAK-DA, may be unveiled to the public by the end of 2018…The plane is expected to be able to cover a range of 6,740 nautical miles and carry around 30-40 tons of weapons including air-to-surface missiles as well as conventional and smart-guided bombs.”

The Under-reported Crisis: Russia’s Massive Arms Buildup

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two part examination of the lack of adequate coverage of Russia’s massive arms buildup.

Most of the major U.S. media has chosen to provide little coverage of significant military matters, except when an imminent threat arises or shooting actually starts.  One example: North Korea’s immediate nuclear threats have recently made the headlines, but the long years of Pyongyang’s development of its atomic and missile arsenals were touched on only lightly.

Over the past eight years America’s already depleted armed forces were substantially reduced by budget cuts and a White House that sought to divert defense spending to its social welfare agenda, despite the rising threats from Russia, China, and elsewhere.  The major media was largely supportive of that policy, and underreported the looming dangers. That press trend continues.

While the U.S. was in the midst of an extensive reduction in military spending, Moscow, starting in 2010, launched a $720 billion modernization program. As noted by the Economist  in 2014, “Russia’s defence spending has nearly doubled in nominal terms since 2007. This year alone it will rise by 18.4%.”

The relative military positions of Washington and Moscow were reversed during the Obama Administration.  Russia now, for the first time in history, is the world’s most powerful nuclear state,  a result of the Obama/Clinton New START treaty. The Wall Street Journal noted that President Obama had only a “a dim and faddish understanding of nuclear realities.”

The bizarre sale of American uranium interests to Russia, (uranium is the key ingredient for atomic weapons) and the resulting profit to the Clinton Foundation remains of the most under-discussed scandals in U.S. history.

Moscow’s nuclear development has been matched by Putin’s massive investment in his conventional forces.

Last year, as reported by the New York Analysis of Policy and Government,  USMC Lt. General Vincent R. Stewart, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, addressed the House Armed Services Committee on key threats facing the United States. He noted thatMoscow continues to devote major resources to modernizing its military forces, viewing military power as critical to achieving key strategic objectives: acknowledged great power status, dominating smaller regional states and deterring NATO from military action in Eurasia. Russian leadership considers a capable and survivable nuclear force as the foundation of its strategic deterrent capability, and modernized, agile general purpose forces as vital for Eurasian and limited out-of-area power projection.” For a more thorough examination of the growing imbalance in the U.S. nuclear deterrent, see the New York Analysis article, “Russian Nuclear Weapons Modernize while U.S. Arsenal Diminishes”

Some of the Kremlin’s massive arms buildup violated existing treaties. In October, Rep. Thornberry (R-Texas), chair of the House Committee on Armed Services, and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California) penned an urgent letter to President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to you again because of our urgent concern about the failure of your Administration to confront Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty…Neither the State Department nor Defense Department imposed consequences on Russia…your Administration is not permitting the military to pursue the options recommended to you by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey. It is now apparent to us that the situation regarding Russia’s violation has worsened…”

The Washington Free Beacon reported late in 2016 that “ Moscow has increased its deployed nuclear warheads over the last six months as the United States has reduced its own…Russia deployed nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad, Russia, its small territory bordering Lithuania and Poland, both NATO members.”

There are also concerns that Moscow may have violated other accords relating to nuclear weapons testing. The British newspaper The Sun  reported in February that the “U.S. [sent a] specialist nuke-hunter plane to the UK as ‘radiation spike’ sparks fears Putin has tested nuclear weapon in the Arctic… Many point to [a] radiation spike as “proof” the Russians have restarted nuclear weapons testing at Novaya Zemlya near the Arctic.

The Report concludes tomorrow