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American intelligence and security agencies are not currently capable of detecting when foreign nations are building nuclear weapons or ramping up their existing programs, according to a newly released Pentagon report that faults a range of US agencies.
A 100-page report by the Defense Science Board, said the agencies’ finding “undeclared facilities and/or covert operations” – are “either inadequate, or more often, do not exist.” It calls for using some of the same techniques that the National Security Agency (NSA) has developed against terrorists.
The report is circulating just two months before President Obama will attend his third nuclear security summit meeting, set for March in The Hague, an effort he began in order to lock down loose nuclear materials and, eventually, reduce the number of countries that could build nuclear weapons.
The report concluded that potential new nuclear states are ” emerging in numbers not seen since the early days of the Cold War, ” and that “monitoring for proliferation should be a top national security objective – but one for which the nation is not yet organized or fully equipped to address.”
Moreover, US intelligence agencies are not doing enough to rectify the issue, according to the report, which called for a full-scale revamp in how agencies approach the issue of nuclear detection.
The United States “lacks a cohesive, long term, international engagement plan aimed at building cooperation and transparency,” the report warns.
America’s inability to detect rogue nuclear programs could be particularly problematic in the case of Iran, which has built many clandestine and underground nuclear facilities. The US has a history of being caught flat-footed when it comes to detecting foreign nuclear programs.
“The technologies and processes designed for current treaty verification and inspections are inadequate to future monitoring realities,” the Pentagon report states.
“The task force observed early in its deliberations that there are many communities involved in tackling a piece of the monitoring ‘elephant,’ but found no group that could clearly articulate the entire program, nor a strategy for addressing it in any complete or comprehensive fashion.”
“Closing the nation’s global nuclear monitoring gaps should be a national priority,” the report states. “It will require, however, a level of commitment and sustainment we don’t normally do well without a crisis.”
The report did not name any specific countries that are under American surveillance because of their current or suspected weapons programs, and it implicitly called into question whether administration officials should be so confident that they would detect if Iran ever violated the nuclear accord that began this week.
Voice of Russia, http://www.globaltimes.cn, freebeacon.com, Washington Times
Categories: Military Intelligence