Putin Eyes ‘High-Precision’ Arms as Partial Nuclear-Weapons Alternative

Russian President Vladimir Putin, shown last month, has called for Moscow to heighten its focus on conventional arms that he describes as emerging as an "equal" to nuclear arms in their deterrent capacity.
National Journal
Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
See more stories about...
Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
Dec. 3, 2013, 4:02 a.m.

WASH­ING­TON — Ad­vanced con­ven­tion­al weapons are emer­ging as an “equal” to atom­ic arms in their ca­pa­city to ward off ag­gres­sion, un­der­lin­ing a need for Mo­scow to bol­ster its fo­cus on their de­vel­op­ment, Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin told seni­or of­fi­cials in com­ments re­leased last week.

Putin’s re­marks — is­sued to a Krem­lin gath­er­ing on the pre­par­a­tion of “long-range high-pre­ci­sion weapons” — might partly refer to con­ven­tion­al “hy­per­son­ic” arms un­der de­vel­op­ment in Rus­sia as a re­sponse to a “prompt glob­al strike” cap­ab­il­ity sought by the United States. However, the gov­ern­ment-re­leased tran­script does not spe­cific­ally identi­fy which weapons he be­lieves are in need of “an ad­ded boost” in de­vel­op­ment ef­forts by Mo­scow.

“High-pre­ci­sion weapons are be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly im­port­ant factor in non-nuc­le­ar de­terrence, and per­haps even one of the most de­cis­ive factors,” Putin said in a meet­ing tran­script pub­lished last Fri­day.

“The de­gree of pre­ci­sion and power of today’s high-pre­ci­sion weapons makes them es­sen­tially an al­tern­at­ive to nuc­le­ar weapons,” he con­tin­ued. “In some of their para­met­ers they are quite simply equal to nuc­le­ar weapons in their ef­fect­ive­ness.”

A fu­ture long-range, rap­id-strike cap­ab­il­ity has been seen by some in the United States as a par­tial al­tern­at­ive to nuc­le­ar weapons for hit­ting im­port­ant time-sens­it­ive tar­gets. The cap­ab­il­ity sought by Wash­ing­ton could al­low U.S. forces to con­duct a non-nuc­le­ar strike against any loc­a­tion in the world in one hour or less.

In Ju­ly, a deputy Rus­si­an de­fense min­is­ter sug­ges­ted that his na­tion’s mil­it­ary would not be­gin to re­ceive hy­per­son­ic de­liv­ery sys­tems — a pos­sible ana­logue to the U.S. prompt glob­al strike tech­no­logy — un­til 2018 at the earli­est.

In Fri­day’s tran­script, though, Putin said his na­tion had already star­ted sup­ply­ing its mil­it­ary with the “high-pre­ci­sion weapons” un­der dis­cus­sion.

Fri­day’s ex­change came on the heels of tran­scripts re­leased earli­er in the week from Krem­lin meet­ings that ad­dressed land-, sea- and air-based ele­ments of the Rus­si­an nuc­le­ar de­terrent.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

What We're Following See More »
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
1 days ago
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
2 days ago

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
3 days ago

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Trump Cancels Rallies
4 days ago

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
4 days ago

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”