Iran to address nuclear weapons development slowly but surely
Laurence Norman, Wall Street Journal – March 10, 2014
Iran has urged the IAEA to take its inquiry into the “possible military dimension” of Iran’s nuclear program “one step at a time.” Iran only recently agreed to provide the IAEA with information about its work on detonators that could be used to trigger a nuclear weapon, and the deadline for submission of that documentation is May 15th. Further questions about Iranian nuclear activities at the Parchin military complex and the work of Mohsen Fahkrizadeh, the suspected head of Iran’s weaponization effort, will also need to be addressed. Leaders of the P5+1, who are separately pursuing a deal to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief, hope that Iran’s negotiations with the IAEA can move in sync with their own talks.
Overseer of chemical weapons removal effort meets with US national security official
Diane Barnes, National Journal – March 10, 2014
Deputy National Security Adviser Antony Blinken met with Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch ambassador overseeing Syria’s chemical weapons removal process, and discussed the importance of ensuring uninterrupted deliveries of chemical weapons if Syria is to make the June 30 deadline for destruction of the weapons. The United States is worried that Syrian delays in January and February will keep Syria from making the deadline and that even a rapid removal of chemical weapons now may not allow Syria to meet the deadline.
China to counter US anti-missile laser with protective coating
Stephen Chen, South China Morning Post – March 10, 2014
One of the many problems with missile defense systems is that they are typically easy to counter. Ground-based interceptors, for example, may be easily overwhelmed by missiles with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles or dummy missiles. Now, an experimental anti-missile laser due to be placed on an active US ship for the first time later this year, can reportedly be countered by coatings designed to reflect or absorb the light emitted by the laser. There is some question as to whether the coatings currently used by China would work in practice–questions similar to those facing the anti-missile laser.
FY14 contracts issued for construction of the littoral combat ship
Sea Power Magazine – March 10, 2014
Contracts with two companies were finalized to fund the construction of four more littoral combat ships in the 2014 fiscal year. The funds will go toward the seventeenth through the twentieth ships to date. The total amount authorized by the new contracts is about $1.38 billion, a fraction of the total cost of acquisitions and lifetime maintenance for the littoral combat ship, a program that recently saw the total number of planned acquisitions shrink from 50 to 32.