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Nuclear News - 06/29/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 29 June 2000


A. U.S. – Russia General

    1. A Paranoid Power, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, U.S. News andWorld Report (4/17/00)
B. Department of Energy (DOE)
    1. General Gordon Begins Tenure as Administrator of  theNational Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy (6/28/00)
    2. Report Faults Energy Dept. As Failing To Gain Lab Staff'sSupport For Tighter Security, James Risen, New York Times (6/28/00)
C. ABM, Missile Defense
    1. Joint Exercise On Missiles Seen For U.S. And Russia, MichaelR. Gordon, New York Times (6/29/00)
D. Russian Economy
    1. Russia Unveils A Bold Economic Blueprint, Michael Wines,New York Times (6/29/00)
 

A. U.S. – Russia General

1.
A Paranoid Power
        Mortimer B. Zuckerman
        U.S. News and World Report
        April 17, 2000
        (for personal use only)
 
Many Americans would like to forget about Russia, but we cannot affordto. The Cold War may be over, but Russia's nuclear arsenal is more threateningbecause the command and control system is crumbling. Russians simmer withresentment about America and the Western alliance. They believe they savedthe world from fascism and got little in return. They spent the last decadeWesternizing their society and then, as they see it, the West turned itsback on them when the going got rough.  What we have to deal with,in short, is a still proud giant that feels poorer, weaker, misunderstood,humiliated, neglected, and betrayed. A dangerous mix.

Recent Marttila polls provide a snapshot of national paranoia. Some69 percent of Russians believe that the West is hoping their economy willcompletely collapse; 87 percent believe that the United States is takingadvantage of Russia's economic decline to strengthen its own influencein the world. Russians think Belarus and Ukraine are their only true allies. Only 13 percent of Russians described America as a friend or an ally; only10 percent described Bill Clinton as a true friend; 28 percent describedthe United States as their enemy.

It is some consolation that a weakened Russia will not be the archrivalthat the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. But it is not likely tobecome the strategic partner the United States once hoped for.  Thenew president, Vladimir Putin, faces the challenge of managing a superpowerin decline.  That is why he so frequently invokes patriotism as away to stabilize the political foundation of his regime. Putin is tryingto create the sense that he is dedicated to returning Russia to its internationaleminence. But Russian nationalism may well provoke a backlash against theWest, a backlash abetted by Western moralizing over Chechnya.

Whatever was necessary. The Russians have a very different view of theirwar with Chechnya. They signed military agreements with the Chechens in1996 that effectively handed over control to the warlords. Their recordof crime, abuses, kidnapping, slave trading, drug trafficking, and murdersince the 1996 agreement rightly enraged the Russians. I was told by formerPrime Minister Yevgeny Primakov that the leader of Chechnya told him thathe wanted an independent Chechnya and that his chief deputy wanted a separateMuslim country made up of all the Muslim areas of Russia. The chief deputythen led an invasion of a neighboring Muslim state, Dagastan. Given thatand the outrage over the bombing of apartments that killed some 300 peoplein Moscow and other cities, the Russian response, which the West perceivedas a brutal overreaction, was deemed by the Russians as doing whateverwas necessary to end Chechnya’s insurgency and terrorism. The war was sopopular that when Putin publicly announced that Russia would bury the Chechensin "their own crap," his popularity rose dramatically.

The chief point of tension between Russia and the United States willnow be over American plans for a national missile defense (NMD) to be decidedby the administration this summer. In theory, NMD would protect most ofthe United States from limited ballistic missile threats emerging fromrogue states like North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. It means amending the 1972ABM Treaty so the United States and Russia can each have more than 100interceptors and one ABM site. The Russians are resisting. They fear thatthis new missile-defense system would threaten the deterrent value of Russia’snuclear forces. So we must reassure Russia that we do not want to throwour basic nuclear relationship out of balance.

One approach would be to significantly reduce our nuclear arsenal. Bydoing so, we would acknowledge Russia's status and reassure the Russiansthat we do not seek to eliminate their nuclear deterrent and transformthe United States into a world hegemon. Reducing the negotiated ceilingon the number of nuclear warheads from upward of 3,000 to 2,000 or lesswould still leave us with a more than adequate deterrent.

The political consensus in the United States, which includes both presidentialcandidates, favors a limited missile defense. George W. Bush has indicatedthat he would proceed come what may.  Given the need to protect againstrogue states, it might come to that, but given the need to dissipate Russianparanoia, it will be best if a treaty modification can be worked out. Itwill be a test of American diplomacy and a mark of Putin's qualities ofleadership.
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B. Department of Energy (DOE)

1.
General Gordon Begins Tenure as Administrator of  the NationalNuclear Security Administration
        Department of Energy
        June 28, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Met with Richardson to Discuss Security Challenges and Next Steps

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson today swore in General John A. Gordonas the department's first Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administratorof the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). On Monday, SecretaryRichardson welcomed General Gordon to the department for a series of preparatorybriefings and meetings.

"As the second ranking official in our government's intelligence communityand a physicist who has worked at our national laboratories, General JohnGordon has an excellent background to serve as the department's first UnderSecretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator," said SecretaryRichardson. "He has my full support in undertaking this challenging andimportant assignment."

Secretary Richardson has asked General Gordon to conduct a top-to-bottomreview at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

"I look forward to working with Secretary Richardson in charting theright course for the new National Nuclear Security Administration," saidGeneral Gordon. "I am grateful to President Clinton and Secretary Richardsonfor their confidence and support."

General Gordon is meeting with laboratory directors, field managersand plant managers from NNSA sites within the Energy Department complexthroughout this week. He will be formally sworn in by Secretary Richardsonon July 12.

In early January, Secretary Richardson named a high-level search committeetasked with finding qualified candidates to serve as the NNSA Administrator.General Gordon was one of three candidates recommended to Secretary Richardsonby the panel. President Clinton nominated General Gordon on May 3 and theSenate confirmed him on June 14.

General Gordon has a long and distinguished career in the national securityarena from weapons development to long range planning, from stockpile managementto arms control, from working as a physicist at DOE's Sandia National Laboratoriesto serving as the second ranking official in the intelligence community.

The NNSA officially began operations on March 1, 2000. Its mission isto carry out the national security responsibilities of the Department ofEnergy, including maintenance of a safe, secure and reliable stockpileof nuclear weapons and associated materials capabilities and technologies;promotion of international nuclear safety and nonproliferation; and administrationand management of the naval nuclear propulsion program.
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2.
Report Faults Energy Dept. As Failing To Gain Lab Staff's SupportFor Tighter Security
        James Risen
        New York Times
        June 28, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Energy Department has failed to convince scientists at the government'snuclear weapons laboratories of the need for tougher security and counterintelligencemeasures to prevent espionage, according to a new Congressional report.

Because senior officials have not won the support of the scientificcommunity at the three national weapons laboratories, their efforts toimpose tougher security rules have fallen short, according to the reportby the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

New regulations imposed by the Energy Department in the wake of accusationsof Chinese nuclear espionage at Los Alamos National Laboratory were notaccompanied by a strong effort by department officials to sell the changesto the rank-and-file at the laboratories, the report said. As a result,there has been open rebellion against plans to  subject key weaponsscientists to polygraph examinations, while counterintelligence trainingefforts at the laboratories have been dismal.

"No organization, governmental or private, can have effective counterintelligencewithout active, visible and sustained support from management and active'buy-in' by the employees," the report said.

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's plan to require about 800 laboratoryemployees to undergo polygraph examinations as part of a more stringentcounterintelligence program has drawn intense criticism from laboratoryemployees over the past few months. Laboratory employees have worn buttonsto work with slogans like "Just say no to the polygraph."

"The attitude toward polygraphs at the laboratories runs the gamut fromcautiously and rationally negative to emotionally and irrationally negative,"the report found. "Moreover, since the polygraph is a highly visible partof the overall counterintelligence effort, the entire counterintelligenceprogram has been negatively affected by this development."

The report was the result of a review of counterintelligence at thelaboratories conducted by a special panel headed by Paul Redmond, formerchief of counterintelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Redmond panel was created by the House intelligence committee inresponse to the furor over charges that China may have stolen nuclear datafrom Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The study was conductedbefore the latest security problem: hard drives containing sensitive informationabout nuclear weapons that were missing for several weeks.

The report acknowledged that the scientists have some legitimate concernsabout whether such a large polygraph program could be implemented fairly.But the report also noted that part of the problem was that the scientistsbelieved they were "indispensable and special, and thus should be exemptfrom such demeaning and intrusive measures as the polygraph." The reportcriticized the Energy Department's effort to explain the need for polygraphsto employees as "ineffectual." The Redmond panel found that while the resistanceto polygraphs had in some cases been  "unreasonable," the Energy Department'sresponse had been "dictatorial and pre-emptory."

The panel urged the Energy Department to get local managers at the laboratoriesmore heavily involved in selecting the employees who should undergo polygraphexaminations because of the sensitive nature of their work.

The panel also recommended that the Energy Department and the laboratoriesmodel their counterintelligence programs after those used at the NationalSecurity Agency, the government's secret code-breaking and eavesdroppingarm. The agency, like the national laboratories, employs many highly educatedpeople with strong academic backgrounds. While the laboratories employphysicists and other scientists, the security agency employs world-classmathematicians and cryptographers.

"The key factor in N.S.A.'s success in the training and awareness appearsto be that its overall integrated security and counterintelligence programhas been in existence for many years, and the mathematicians enter a culturewhere, from the very beginning of their employment, security, counterintelligenceand the polygraph are givens in their daily work," the report said.

The Energy Department, it continued, "is now starting virtually fromscratch and would do well to learn from the positive experiences of agenciessuch as N.S.A."
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C. ABM, Missile Defense

1.
Joint Exercise On Missiles Seen For U.S. And Russia
        Michael R. Gordon
        New York Times
        June 29, 2000
        (for personal use only)

In an effort to broaden their military cooperation, Russia and the UnitedStates are planning to conduct a joint exercise of their defenses againstshort- and medium-range missiles, a senior United States official saidtoday.

The aim is to rehearse the procedures for coordinating Russian and Americantheater missile defenses against a common foe, American officials said.The exercise is likely to take place at Fort Bliss, a United States Armypost in Texas, before the end of the year.

Theater defenses are antimissile systems like the Russian S-300 or theAmerican Patriot that are intended to counter short- or medium-range missiles-- typically missiles with ranges between a few hundred and a few thousandmiles -- that could threaten American troops abroad or endanger the UnitedStates' allies.

The plan for the joint exercise does not mean that Moscow has droppedits opposition to the Clinton administration's proposal to erect a missileshield over the United States. Russia still fears that the administrationplan, which is intended to counter intercontinental-range missiles, wouldgive the United States a strategic advantage.

But theater systems have emerged as the one missile defense area inwhich Washington and Moscow seem able to cooperate, albeit for their ownreasons.

"We are resuming our longstanding cooperation in theater missile defense,"a senior American official said.

Plans for the exercise were discussed in talks here by senior Russianand American defense officials. The broad aim of the talks was to restorethe cooperation between the two militaries that existed before NATO's warwith Yugoslavia.

The two sides, for instance, discussed a plan to have Russian peacekeepersfrom Kosovo train American soldiers for that mission at the United Statesmilitary training center in Hohenfels, Germany.

The Russian motivation to cooperate on theater missile defense is clear.Moscow sees the administration's plan for a national missile defense asa threat and is energetically advocating theater missile defense as analternative.

In meetings with American officials, President Vladimir V. Putin ofRussia has asserted that theater defenses could be used to shoot down enemymissiles in the first few minutes after their launching, when they arerelatively slow and their rocket engines are still burning, an approachthat is known in the United States as a "boost phase" defense. This, theRussians suggest, could protect the United States and Europe from threatsfrom states like North Korea, dispensing with the need for the administration'ssystem, which involves the deployment of 20 missile interceptors and abattle-management radar in Alaska by 2005.

The Pentagon has a different motivation in seeking to cooperate on missiledefense. American officials are eager to draw the Russians into a discussionof potential missile threats and ways to counter them in the hope thatthe Kremlin's opposition to national missile defense might wane. And theywant to learn about Russian technology.

The cooperation itself involves a "command post" exercise at Fort Bliss,the El Paso home of the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command, accordingto a United States official. That means that Russian and American officerswould practice the procedures that are needed to track enemy missiles andthen coordinate and fire Russian and American antimissile defenses. No"enemy" missiles would actually be launched or shot down.

Russians and American officers have been involved in two previous exercises-- in Moscow 1996 and in Colorado Springs in 1998 -- but they have essentiallybeen computer simulations. Another round of talks is planned before thedate of the command post exercise is set; it is expected to be held inthe fall.

"This is an attempt to move out of institute and simulations into thefield," a United States official said. "It is still a simulation but undermore realistic field conditions."

Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, a Republican influentialon missile defense, said the Pentagon had been too slow to cooperate withthe Russians on theater defense, in part because the administration wasinitially opposed to the idea of a national missile defense.

"We should have been doing this all along," Mr. Weldon said in a telephoneinterview. "We have sent the wrong signals to the Russians, and now theywonder why we want to get them involved."

Mr. Weldon recently met with Russia's Deputy Defense Minister, NikolaiMikhailov, who said Moscow was interested in working with the Americansin developing a new system, the S-500. But Mr. Mikhailov did not describethat system in any detail.
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D. Russian Economy

1.
Russia Unveils A Bold Economic Blueprint
        Michael Wines
        New York Times
        June 29, 2000
        (for personal use only)

On a day largely devoted to displaying its political and fiscal mastery,the Kremlin issued its long-awaited plan to overhaul Russia's creakingeconomy today. True to predictions, it was the very model of modern Westerneconomic theory.

It was also considerably bolder than almost any plans that most Westernnations have ever tried to push past suspicious voters and hardened specialinterests. But given the overwhelming popularity President Vladimir V.Putin is enjoying these days, outside experts say that for the moment,anyway, it actually has a chance to become law.

Perhaps by design, the unveiling of the fiscal plan almost overshadowedthe day's other major event: a solid vote by Russia's upper house of Parliamentagainst Mr. Putin's plan to effectively disband it, fire its members andreplace them with senators elected by secret ballots.

The upper house, the Federation Council, voted 129 to 13 against theproposal, averting what one newspaper called Mr. Putin's proposal for ritualsuicide. But many experts said the council may only have stayed the execution.

Russia's lower house, which is solidly in Mr. Putin's hand and whichoverwhelmingly passed the measure earlier this month, seemed ready to overridethe vote and make the proposal law.

With the new economic blueprint that it announced today, the Kremlinaims to slash the subsidies that have kept utility rates here outrageouslylow, and wipe out the unpaid wages, tax breaks and other obligations thathave sapped the government's already limited spending power. It also willdevise an entirely new energy policy for the world's largest and almostcoldest nation.

And those are but the major goals for this year. The rest of the planproposes radical changes in everything from the nation's moribund bankingsystem to its pension funds, now carved up among a bevy of government fiefs.

Westerners were approving. "It's a strong, liberal reform program,"said Al Breach, an economist with Goldman Sachs in Moscow.

"These are the same reforms that have been bandied around in I.M.F.and World Bank programs for years, but this time it's the Russians themselvesdoing it."

The program was debated for months in the government and in a governmentresearch group led by the new minister of trade and economy, German Gref,which drew up the plan.

In a briefing today, the prime minister, Mikhail M. Kasyanov, assertedthat the government could ensure economic growth of 5 percent a year, andstrengthen the ruble by half, should the proposals become law.

History suggests that the changes may not be so simple to carry out.Countless reform programs under former President Boris N. Yeltsin wereforgotten as soon as they were published, often perishing beneath the oppositionof the Communist-dominated lower house, the Duma.

But the Duma, as well as the public, is now firmly behind Mr. Putin.And with the economy buoyed by profits from soaring oil prices, it maybe easier to push otherwise painful reforms through the Parliament.

The government's program calls for raising energy prices, which stilllag far behind the cost of production, and for greater fiscal opennessin the operations of Russia's natural gas monopoly, Gazprom. A privatesavings system for pensions could be instituted as early as next year,while action on bank reform, which Mr. Kasyanov called a crucial goal,was put off until the fall.

The lower house has already passed changes to the tax code largely draftedby the Kremlin, and the government is drawing up plans to discipline theregions' finances. The proposed tax changes would reduce the burden oncompanies by 20 percent this year.

But before the lower house delves deeply into Mr. Putin's economic proposals,it is expected to complete his restructuring of the upper house, and thatcould come as soon as Friday, the Duma's deputy speaker said today.

Mr. Putin's backers in the Duma said flatly that they had the 300 votesneeded to override the upper house's vote today.

If Mr. Putin's supporters succeed, they will have ratified the mostsweeping change in the government since Mr. Yeltsin put down a Communistcoup and drew up a new Constitution in 1993.

The council's current 178 members, all appointees, consist of the all-powerfulgovernors of Russia's 89 regions and the 89 leaders of their regional legislatures.

Mr. Putin would replace them with the governors' and legislators' nominees,who would have to survive a secret ballot by local legislators to win theirfour-year terms.

The proposal is part of Mr. Putin's pledge to restore central controlin Russia. He has already carved the nation into seven super-regions andput his personal appointee in charge of federal money, patronage and lawenforcement in each.

Mr. Putin's aides took the Federal Council's veto calmly. "This movewas predictable," the Interfax news service quoted a Kremlin official assaying.

"There is no cause for worry."

The members of the Federation Council accused Mr. Putin of trying tosubvert Russia's Constitution and pull off a coup.

In debate before today's vote, they proposed a constitutional conventionof sorts at which the final structure of Russia's democracy would be drafted.But Boris Gryzlov, the head of the Unity faction, which essentially representsMr. Putin in the Duma, said the legislators were no longer interested inthe upper chamber's ideas.

"I do not see any need in initiating conciliatory procedures," he said."All this is a thing of the past."
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