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Missiles, Defenses, and Space
Sep 09, 2021 "The National Security Case for America Returning to the Moon," virtual NPEC meeting
On September 9th at 5:00 PM, NPEC hosted a virtual event on "The National Security Case for America Returning to the Moon." NPEC secured a distinguished panel of space experts to discuss the topic. Peter Garretson, Senior Fellow in Defense Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, and Simon "Pete" Worden, Chairman of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, gave brief presentations. In addition, Michael "Mick" Gleason, national security senior project engineer in the Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy, provided brief commentary. See below for slides and a recording.  
Presentations; Audio & Video
Aug 24, 2021 China Waging War in Space: An After-Action Report (Occasional Paper 2104)
Last Friday, Space News reported Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Hyten wanted to demonstrate a classified American anti-satellite capability before he left office this fall. Why? Because, he argued, keeping America's space capabilities secret is undermining its ability to deter Chinese and Russian attacks against key U.S. space-based nuclear and conventional military command, control, communications, and surveillance satellites. He’s got a point. In the space war game my center recently conducted, uncertainties about what space military capabilities the United States had and was willing to use caused serious confusion among our allies in responding to aggressive Chinese space actions. The game was perfected by Mark Herman, an internationally recognized war game designer that worked closely with the Pentagon for more than 30 years. The game’s play was further enhanced by the participation of some of the nation’s top military space experts, staff, and officials. The scenario had China using its anti-satellite capabilities to intimidate Japan. Beijing's plan was to keep Japan from helping Taiwan which China was about to blockade. The good news is China's ploy didn't work. The bad news is it was a close call. The game was played over two weeks and generated four key takeaways, which are posted below. For the full 100-page report, click here.
Occasional Papers & Monographs; Wargame Reports
Jun 15, 2021 "Military micro-reactors: Waging yesterday's wars while losing the future's," Defense News
Earlier this month, the Secretary of Defense requested $60 million for further development of Project Pele, a micro-reactor concept the Army is working on to provide power for remote military bases. So far, the project has flown largely below the political radar screen. It shouldn’t. In a Defense News piece, “Military Micro-reactors: Fighting Yesterday’s Wars While Losing the Future’s,” Bryan Clark, a former nuclear submariner at the Hudson Institute, and I make the case that the Pentagon should hit the brakes.  It isn’t that the project is technically infeasible: the United States demonstrated luggable military reactors a half-century ago. It’s that they’re geared to wage wars in ways that no longer make sense.  Early in the Afghanistan campaign, a key vulnerability of our forward bases was the extended lines of fuel trucks needed to transit fuel to our forward-deployed forces. These convoys were sitting ducks that locals could knockout with mere potshots. Hence, the Army’s interest in developing reactors that might reduce our military's need to deliver so much fuel to contested bases. That was a decade or more ago. Today, forward bases’ key vulnerability is different. It’s not logistical convoys that are the key target, but the bases themselves. Chinese, Russian, Iranian, North Korean, Turkish, and European accurate missiles and drones have spread to the world’s hotspots and to proxy forces. These missiles can be used to knockout the bases themselves. This makes forward basing our forces much more risky.  If you build micro-reactors on these bases, you have a prescription for even more mischief. If hit, the reactors would jeopardize the base, leaving a radiological stain that would be difficult to remove and diplomatically awkward to handle. At the very least, potential host nations — e.g., a Japan or a Germany — would be loath to allow such plants on their soil.  Bryan and I make these points and several others. Bottom line: The Pentagon should leave this project to NASA and DoE.  To determine how best to power forward based energy-directed weapons, electric military vehicles, and the like, the Defense Department should stop picking preferred “winners” without truly having an open contest. Towards this end, the Pentagon might employ DARPA’s proven technique of awarding prizes for winners of technical contests that allow a wide variety of possible solutions.  There currently is a rapid rate of innovation for renewables, battery storage, distributed energy systems, switching technologies, and the like. Having the Pentagon clarify its military energy requirements, set a competition deadline, and announce a large prize for the winner makes more sense than funding some faddish pick.  _________________________________________________________________________________________________ On June 24, 2021, Bryan Clark and Henry Sokolski gave a presentation on this op-ed. Their presentation, "Does Our Military Need Micro-Reactors?" examines the military case for Project Pele, a micro-reactor concept the Pentagon is funding to provide power for a variety of military missions. For the Powerpoint slides, click here. For the video recording, see below.  _______________________________________________________________________________________________
Op-Eds & Blogs; Presentations; Audio & Video
May 12, 2021 Henry Sokolski Interview with The John Batchelor Show, "The perils of nuke plants on Taiwan."
On May 12, 2021, Henry Sokolski had an interview with The John Batchelor Show podacst on "The perils of nuke plants on Taiwan." Click here to listen to the recording.
Interviews; Audio & Video
May 10, 2021 "Nuclear plants a big security risk," Taipei Times
If there is a topic both supporters of Biden and Trump agree about it is the need to bolster Taiwan’s security. For most this has meant selling it more advanced weaponry. But there’s another military danger Taiwan faces that Washington can help reduce — the vulnerability of its power reactors to precision PLA missile attacks. In the attached Taipei Times piece, “Nuclear plants a big security risk,” I build on analysis Ian Easton of Project 2049 published earlier detailing Chinese instruction in targeting Taiwan’s reactors in their military guidebooks. Although China prefers to merely knock the plants out temporarily, the military is prepared to countenance radiological releases.  To shut down roughly 10 percent of Taiwan’s electrical generation, however, China needs only to fire a precise missile or drone near one of the reactors (say in their parking lot). Such strikes would also likely prompt local residents to flood the roads to escape possible follow-on attacks. If any of Taiwan’s active reactors were hit and suffered a loss of coolant, evacuation of many thousands to several million residents might be required. This August, Taiwan will hold a referendum on whether or not to complete a fourth nuclear plant, which is located directly on one of China’s most preferred landing beaches. Technically and financially, completing the plant is a non-starter. Still, it is a political referendum on President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party’s rule, one that critically depends upon the support of environmentalists, who back President Tsai’s call to shut down all of Taiwan’s reactors by 2025.  It is unclear how realistic meeting that deadline might be. What isn’t is the nuclear security imperative for Taiwan to replace its reactors with nonnuclear alternatives as soon as possible. This is one nuclear security energy initiative that should enjoy broad political and technical support not only in the United States, but from much of Western Europe, as well as from Japan and South Korea. 
Op-Eds & Blogs
Apr 22, 2021 The New Day After: Accurate Missiles in the Middle East
Uzi Rubin, founder and first director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in the Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD), briefs the group on how precise missile and drone attacks can cause near-nuclear scale damage against states like Israel.
Presentations; Audio & Video
Apr 12, 2021 Lecture at University of San Diego on "Dr. Strangelove's New Passion: Precision-Guided Mayhem"
On April 12, 2021, NPEC Executive Director Henry Sokolski gave a lecture to University of San Diego students on the subject of "Dr. Strangelove's New Passion: Precision-Guided Mayhem."
Presentations; Audio & Video
Mar 25, 2021 Lecture at University of Utah on, "Dr. Strangelove's New Passion: Precision-Guided Mayhem"
On March 24, 2021, NPEC Executive Director Henry Sokolski gave a lecture to University of Utah students on the subject of "Dr. Strangelove's New Passion: Precision-Guided Mayhem."
Presentations; Audio & Video
Mar 17, 2021 "Dr. Strangelove's New Passion: Precision-Guided Mayhem," American Purpose
  Monday, in what is becoming a weekly occurrence, Houthi drones again struck two Saudi airports. Coming after previous precision drone and missile attacks conducted against Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Syrian targets, this latest spat of attacks suggests the not so brave world we are moving into — a precision-missiled planet in which weak actors use advanced weaponry not to reduce possible harm to civilians, but to increase it.  What might this future look like? I take a peek in the attached American Purpose piece and video interview, “Dr. Strangelove’s New Passion: Precision-Guided Mayhem.” In it, I spotlight the increasing number of threats weaker states and non-state actors are making with precision missiles and drones against “sympathetic targets” (e.g., dams, petrochemical plants, ammo depots, nuclear plants, natural gas depots, etc.) that release far more harm once hit than the amount of energy initially used to strike them.  I also focus on the difficulty of defending against such threats that states face and the specter of launching massive preemptive wars as a response. In a world with nuclear-armed states in East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, this could spell real trouble.   
Op-Eds & Blogs; Audio & Video
Mar 11, 2021 The Next China Syndrome: Taiwanese Reactors' Vulnerability to Missile and Drone Strikes
This is the first series of workshops the center will be holding and to kick off this working group, Ian Easton of Project 2049 has agreed to brief us on China's targeting of Taiwan's reactors, which recently made the news. In addition, Henry Sokolski will be sharing research NPEC has conducted on the impact of such strikes.  
Presentations; Audio & Video
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The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
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