October 25, 2010
South Korea has no plan to join the U.S. regional missile defense system but it will continue to strengthen cooperation with Washington to counter North Korea’s missile threat, the defense ministry said Saturday.
The ministry issued a statement to clarify comments made by its minister, Kim Tae-young, during a parliamentary audit a day earlier that were interpreted by some as suggesting that South Korea was considering joining the U.S. regional missile defense system.
South Korea and the United States “will discuss ways to share information and to use resources for the protection of the Korean Peninsula from the threat of North Korean weapons of mass destruction when their Extended Deterrence Policy Committee meets,” the ministry said in the statement.
October 20, 2010
Six Republican senators have asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to provide documents on secret talks between U.S. and Russian officials on missile defenses, amid conflicting reports that a deal with Moscow is close to completion.
“We are writing to request information pertaining to press reports suggesting the imminent conclusion of a missile defense agreement between Russia and the United States,” the senators stated in the letter sent Monday.
The senators asked Mrs. Clinton to turn over for review documents and transcripts of talks at the Arms Control and International Security Working Group headed by Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
October 19, 2010
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday said the United States has not pressured Turkey to take part in a NATO missile defense system, but expressed hope Ankara would endorse plans for the anti-missile shield.
Gates said US and Turkish officials have discussed the possibility of Turkey actively participating in the proposed missile defense system directed against Iran.
“The US has engaged Turkey in political and military dialogue on its potential technical and operational contributions should NATO adopt this approach,” Gates said in a speech to the American-Turkish Council in Washington.
October 15, 2010
U.S. and NATO officials said Thursday that they expect the military alliance to formally participate in the Obama administration’s plan for a missile defense shield over Europe, scheduled to be activated next year.
“Based on today’s discussion, I am quite optimistic,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after a joint meeting of foreign and defense ministers from the alliance membership. “There is, I think, a broad agreement that we should make such a decision, but there is still some technical work to do.”
September 15, 2010
Saudi Arabia’s planned massive arms deal with the United States is aimed at establishing air superiority over rival Iran while also addressing weaknesses bared in border fighting with Yemeni rebels, experts said on Tuesday.
Under the potential 60-billion-dollar (47-billion-euro), 10-year deal, the Saudis would be authorised to buy 84 new F-15 fighters and upgrade 70 more, as well as buy 178 attack helicopters and various missiles.
That should give the oil giant a clear advantage over Iran and any other of its neighbours save Israel, experts said.
September 15, 2010
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Tuesday started laying out some details of his plans to save $100 billion over the next five years as he tries to run the Pentagon more efficiently.
Over the past decade, the Pentagon’s spending has averaged a growth rate of 7 percent a year, adjusted for inflation, including the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that rate is expected to slow to 1 percent as the wars wind down.
Money saved in cutting overhead and other inefficient costs on weapons programs will go toward modernizing and recapitalizing military equipment and sustaining troops, Pentagon officials said.
Gates on Tuesday said the Pentagon must get “more bang for its buck and shift its focus to the military’s needs for the future.”
September 14, 2010
It has been almost six years since a Russian defense minister set foot inside the Pentagon, and when Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates devotes Wednesday to hosting his Kremlin counterpart, Anatoly E. Serdyukov, they are expected to find common ground on a topic that would have been unimaginable during the cold war.
In parallel, Mr. Gates and Mr. Serdyukov have declared war on their expensive, inefficient bureaucracies, to the frustration of their respective defense industries, civilian employees and some members of their officer corps.
Mr. Gates is trying to cut Defense Department spending on overhead to scrounge up more money for troops in the field and investment in new weapons.
June 15, 2010
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold two hearings this week regarding the treaty between the U.S. and Russia. The Senate will have a chance to publicly inquire about effects of the new treaty on the U.S. missile defense program. On June15, the committee will hear testimony from two key U.S. negotiators for the New START, Rose Gottemoeller, the Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance, and Edward L. Warner III, the Pentagon’s representative for the negotiations. The Committee must question the witnesses about certain preamble language in the treaty, and what effect it will have on future U.S. missile defense capabilities. The specific language in the treaty reads:
“Recognizing the existence of the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms, that this interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced, and that current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties.”
June 9, 2010
Iran’s proposal to swap enriched uranium for reactor fuel has essentially been dismissed. According to Diplomats, U.S. Russia and France are replying with a series of questions that stall any negotiations on the issue. The swap proposal would leave Iran with enough material to develop nuclear weapons.
“The strategy is a combination of diplomacy and pressure to persuade the Iranians that they are headed in the wrong direction in terms of their own security, that they will undermine their security by pursuit of nuclear weapons, not enhance it,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
June 3, 2010
State Department officials are pushing for the UN to vote on Iranian sanctions before the end of June. A restricted report released Monday said that Iran was moving forward with their nuclear program. This report and others lends credence to the need for more sanctions on top of the ones already stacked against Iran.
WASHINGTON — The United States said Thursday it hopes for a UN Security Council vote by June 21 on tough new sanctions against Iran over what it calls its continued failure to curb its nuclear ambitions.
“We are going to put forward this resolution in the coming days. And we expect all responsible members of the international community… to support the resolution,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
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