J Rood On “Conventional Nuclear” Weapons

Confusion reigns in the “press pool”:http://www.state.gov/t/us/rm/113301.htm.

UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: With regard to the [START] treaty, I think one of the principal differences is over the scope of the treaty. For us in the United States, we would like a treaty which sets limits on strategic nuclear weapons. *Our colleagues in Russia would like a treaty with a broader scope than that, and they would like it to encompass conventional forces as well, conventional strategic forces*.

QUESTION: *Conventional nuclear?*


QUESTION: *Conventional nuclear forces?*

UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: *That’s a contradictory term, conventional nuclear*. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Well, there is such a – well, so is full tactical nuclear weapons. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what I’m saying.

UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: *Tactical nuclear weapons form a nuclear weapon. I wouldn’t call it a conventional weapon.* But there are —

QUESTION: Are there long-range bombers, then, or something like that?

UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: No. *You can have strategic conventional weapons. Long-range bombers that drop a conventional weapon would be one.* Conventionally armed —

QUESTION: They’re talking about – that they’re talking about?



UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: *They’d like that sort of thing to become –conventionally armed missiles, other forms of conventional forces.* And whatever means they would be, they would be strategic.

QUESTION: *So when you say conventional, you mean not nuclear?*


Now that we got _that_ sorted out… Might I recommend “WMD411”:http://www.nti.org/f_WMD411/f_index.html?

1 thought on “J Rood On “Conventional Nuclear” Weapons

  1. anon

    The confusion that reigns is not in the press pool, but in Rood’s head. Since he doesn’t really know anything about START and the Moscow Treaty, he can’t understand the Russian position here. Russia wants a new Treaty to count, as START did, the warheads that could be carried on all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, even if those had been converted to carry conventional weapons (some bombers, maybe some Trident missiles). In other words, you count the missile and multiply by the designated warhead number. This would capture and count any Trident missiles we had converted to conventional delivery vehicles. The U.S., and Rood, want to use the Moscow Treaty rule, where we just declare a total number of deployed nuclear warheads, without reference to delivery vehicles at all. You don’t count anything, you just declare. That way, we can leave out stuff we don’t want to count.

    So, if you avoid the shorthand, the dispute is over how you deal with strategic nuclear delivery vehicles that might carry conventional warheads. They count ‘em, we don’t.


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