Monday, April 12, 2010

DTN News: Boeing, Air Force, Air National Guard Roll Out 1st Operational F-15C With Enhanced Radar

DTN News: Boeing, Air Force, Air National Guard Roll Out 1st Operational F-15C With Enhanced Radar Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) JACKSONVILLE, Fla., - April 13, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] representatives joined the U.S. Air Force and Florida Air National Guard (ANG) in Jacksonville today to roll out the first operational ANG F-15C equipped with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. Boeing is under contract to upgrade 14 ANG and 10 Air Force F-15C/D aircraft with AESA. The Raytheon APG-63(V)3 AESA radar being installed on the F-15s combines the operationally proven APG-63(V)2 software with the advanced APG-79 Transmit/Receive hardware found on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. It is a reliable and affordable high-performance AESA for the F-15 air-to-air variant. The AESA radar antenna is 50 times more reliable than the mechanically scanned antenna it replaces. “The (V)3 AESA radar will greatly improve F-15 pilots’ situational awareness, beyond-visual-range targeting, and weapon accuracy,” said Jim Means, director of Proprietary Programs for Boeing Global Strike Systems. “The new radar also enhances the capability to find and track small targets at low altitude -- a capability the ANG will employ in its Homeland Defense Air Sovereignty role. The addition of a built-in test function on the AESA antenna makes the (V)3 easier to maintain.” The APG-63(V)3 radar is the latest in a series of planned upgrades that will ensure the F-15C’s combat-proven air supremacy well into the 21st century. These include a fighter-to-fighter data link, GPS navigation and the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System, enabling the fighter to conduct network centric operations while employing the latest air-to-air weapons. Boeing Global Services & Support provides sustainment services for the Air Force F-15 fleet, including spares and retrofit programs, field service teams and a full range of training systems and services. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: Boeing to Provide Next-Generation GPS Ground Systems Support To US Air Force

DTN News: Boeing to Provide Next-Generation GPS Ground Systems Support To US Air Force Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) AURORA, Colo., - April 13, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] April 12., announced that, as part of the Raytheon team awarded the space-based Global Positioning System (GPS) advanced control segment program (OCX), it will develop portions of the U.S. Air Force's new ground control segment. GPS OCX will provide more secure, accurate, and precise navigation around the world for military, humanitarian and commercial applications. The development contract, awarded recently by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center's GPS Wing, is valued at more than $880 million over six years, including five option years for sustainment. Boeing has provided ground operations sustainment support for the current GPS II fleet for nearly a decade. Under GPS OCX, the company will provide infrastructure, development of the ground systems, and continued 24/7 operational and sustainment support for the current and future GPS satellite systems. The company will install hardware and software at GPS control stations at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. "This award demonstrates the Air Force's confidence in our solution," said Sparky Olsen, director of Boeing Intelligence and Security Systems Mission Operations. "We will deliver a solution that provides enhanced operational capabilities to warfighters and other users while demonstrating Boeing's efficiencies and innovation with responsive operations and sustainment." GPS OCX will replace the current GPS Operational Control System while maintaining backward compatibility with the Block IIR and IIR-M constellation, providing command and control of the new GPS IIF and GPS III families of satellites, and enabling new, modernized signal capabilities.
A prime contractor for GPS satellites for more than three decades, Boeing is currently under contract to build 12 GPS Block IIF satellites. GPS IIF is the product of Boeing's experience with 39 successful satellites from the GPS Block I and Block II/IIA missions and more than 30 years of teamwork with the Air Force. GPS IIF will form the core of the GPS constellation for many years to come. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: China Agrees To Pursue New Sanctions Against Iran

DTN News: China Agrees To Pursue New Sanctions Against Iran *Chinese President Hu Jintao meets with Obama before the start of an international security summit in Washington. Source: DTN News / LATimes By Christi Parsons and Paul Richter April 13, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, U.S. - April 13, 2010: Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed in a face-to-face meeting with President Obama on Monday to pursue new economic sanctions against Iran, but stopped short of committing his government's support for the additional strictures aimed at persuading Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions. In a 90-minute White House meeting, Hu told Obama that China and the United States "share the same overall goal on the Iranian nuclear issue," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu. The U.S. and other leading Western nations believe Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons; Tehran, which has been subjected to three rounds of sanctions since 2006, says its nuclear program is for civilian power purposes only. After Obama's diplomatic overtures to Iran were rejected last year, the White House has pushed steadily for a new round of United Nations sanctions against Iran. U.S. officials portrayed the Hu-Obama meeting -- held just hours before the beginning of a two-day summit on nuclear security -- in positive terms. "They're prepared to work with us," said Jeffrey Bader, a White House National Security Council official. A senior administration official said the Chinese leaders "agree that Iran must face consequences if they fail to live up to their obligations." Hu's comments may have been short of a breakthrough, however, because Chinese diplomats have been actively discussing proposed new sanctions in New York for several weeks. A "no" vote by China, which wields veto power at the U.N., would block new sanctions. Even an abstention would damage efforts by the West to show a united front against Tehran. Some analysts have predicted that China eventually will press to water down new sanctions during negotiations, then abstain from a final vote.U.S. officials said Monday's one-on-one meeting, which came at a moment of warming relations between the countries, was largely devoted to Iran. It took place before the opening of the 47-country nuclear summit hosted by Obama in Washington. Obama also raised the issue of China's currency, but officials did not disclose any agreement after the meeting. U.S. officials contend the yuan's low value damages U.S. competitiveness and have urged China to allow it to float upward. The meeting with Hu was the most significant in a series of bilateral sessions Obama held just before the nuclear conference. The White House announced Monday that Ukraine agreed to give up all of its nuclear material by 2012. White House officials said the United States was a possible destination for nuclear material from the former Soviet republic, once the site of one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world. Analysts described Ukraine's move as a positive step but said there had been little doubt Ukraine would follow through on its promises to get rid of the nuclear material. The country was scarred by the collapse of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said Ukraine "has been a very responsible partner on this." Obama also met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. Obama is expected to press Erdogan for cooperation on the Iranian sanctions. Turkey is one of the nonpermanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and Turkish officials have signaled their reluctance to impose more economic punishments on their neighbor. Although the summit drew more than 40 world leaders, it attracted few protesters, compared with other major international meetings. For most of the day, fewer than 100 protesters gathered along the perimeter of the Washington Convention Center, according to police estimates. Some held signs in support of an independent Tibet, others called for religious freedom for the Falun Gong, a spiritual group outlawed in China. On Monday night, a group was scheduled to protest alleged human rights violations in Vietnam. Police said there were no disruptions. Related Stories Nuclear summit is expected to sidestep touchy subjects Washington talks U.S., Russia sign nuclear arms treaty Obama nuclear weapons manifesto is detailed Obama discusses Mideast peace prospects with Jordan's King Abdullah

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY April 13, 2010 ~ 38 Taliban Fighters Said Killed In Pakistan Battle

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY April 13, 2010 ~ 38 Taliban Fighters Said Killed In Pakistan Battle Source: DTN News / The New York Times By SALMAN MASOOD (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - April 13, 2010: More than 100 Taliban militants attacked a checkpoint in a tribal region in northwest Pakistan early Monday, Pakistani military and security officials said, firing rockets and mortars before being repulsed in a long gun battle. The attack occurred in Orakzai, one of the seven restive tribal areas that straddle the Pakistan-Afghan border. A three-week Pakistani operation to flush out Taliban fighters has turned Orakzai into the latest center of clashes. “The clashes started at midnight and continued until early Monday morning,” said Lt. Col. Nadeem Anwar, an army spokesman in Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province. Officials put the Taliban death toll at 38, and said two soldiers with Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps had been killed. Orakzai had become a sanctuary for insurgents routed by the army’s campaign in South Waziristan, notably Tehrik-i-Taliban, an umbrella organization of militant groups operating in the tribal regions. Orakzai was also a stronghold of the Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who is generally believed to have been killed in a airstrike in January. Army officials said over the weekend that militants fleeing other tribal regions also had taken refuge in the remote, thickly forested Tirah Valley in Khyber. Pakistani officials say that more than 250 militants have been killed in recent offensives in the Orakzai and Khyber tribal regions, although the figures cannot be verified. Journalists are barred from the areas. While the Pakistani military is thought to have gained the upper hand in the tribal regions, militants have continued to target civil and military installations. Security forces foiled an attempt by militants two weeks ago to retake control of a post in the Bezoti area of Orakzai. Also Monday, at least six people were killed in clashes in the Abottabad district over the renaming of North-West Frontier Province. The police fired tear gas to quell the unrest, which paralyzed the district in recent days. Protesters claimed that the police opened fire on them, but officials said that the police had fired only rubber bullets. Last week, a suicide bomber killed 42 people at a ceremony being held to celebrate the renaming. Angry protesters set several vehicles and a police station on fire, and more than 100 people were injured, police officials said. A package of constitutional amendments, already passed by the National Assembly, renames the province Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, a move long championed by the majority ethnic Pashtun population. The renaming is being resisted, however, by the sizable non-Pashtun minority. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the provincial information minister, said Monday that a judicial inquiry into the protests would be held.

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated April 12, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated April 12, 2010 Source: U.S. DoD issued April 12, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 12, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued April 12, 2010 are undermentioned; CONTRACTS NAVY ~Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems and Sensors, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $58,605,221 not-to-exceed, cost-plus-incentive-fee letter contract for the design and manufacture of hardware for the Acoustic Rapid commercial-off-the-shelf Insertion (A-RCI) system improvement and integration program. The contract provides funding for the development and production of the A-RCI and common acoustics processing for Technology Insertion 08 through Technology Insertion 10 for the submarine fleet and for Foreign Military Sales. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (98.2 percent) and the government of Canada (1.8 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Clearwater, Fla. (60 percent), and Manassas, Va. (40 percent), and is expected to be completed by October 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-6266). ~FN Manufacturing, LLC, Columbia, S.C., is being awarded an $11,500,000 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for refurbishing and overhauling of machine guns in support of multiple military agencies. The MK 46 lightweight machine gun (LMG), MK 48 LMG, and the M240 machine gun will be refurbished and or overhauled to a like new condition so the aforementioned weapons can be used in combat. The MK 46 LMG, MK 48 LMG, and the M240 machine gun will be used to support a wide array of U.S. Armed Forces missions. Work will be performed in Columbia, S.C., and is expected to be completed by April 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $315,056 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded on a sole-source basis with the solicitation being publicized on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JN09). AIR FORCE ~Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $19,836,983 contract which will provide major research collaboration between laboratory telecommunications sciences researchers, the University of Maryland faculty, and other academic institutions in the areas of secure networking, high bandwidth telecommunications, and information assurance. At this time, $1,508,479 has been obligated. 55 CONS, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002). ~EDO Defense Systems, Amityville, N.Y., was awarded a $19,615,175 contract which will exercise an option to provide for the repair of AN/ALQ-161A radio frequency surveillance/electronic countermeasures system components. At this time, no money has been obligated. 448 SMG/PKHCB, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8522-09-D-0006, P00002). ~Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $14, 488,466 contract which will provide for the stand-up of a new command center for executing U.S. Cyber Command initiatives while continuing to execute its mission essential tasks for a robust, secure global information grid under the President’s National Cyber Initiative. At this time, $297,619 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002). ~Axsys Technologies, Nashua, N.H., was awarded a $5,999,000 contract which will provide for seven high definition spot camera systems in support of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Angel Fire program. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 88 CONS, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8601-10-C-0031).

DTN News: BAE Systems Tops Ranking Of Biggest Arms Maker ~ Study

DTN News: BAE Systems Tops Ranking Of Biggest Arms Maker ~ Study Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) STOCKHOLM - April 12, 2010: BAE Systems topped an international ranking of the world's biggest arms groups, becoming the first non-US company to hold the spot, a leading defence think tank said on Monday. The group knocked US defence giant Boeing out of the top position in 2008, according to the ranking of biggest defence groups worldwide tallied by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). "The main reason that BAE became the largest arms-producing company in the world in 2008 is the increase in its US sales, which outpaced decreases elsewhere including in the UK," the think tank said in the study. With arms sales in 2008 of 18.9 billion pounds, Boeing fell from first place in 2007 to third following BAE Systems with 20.98 billion pounds and US group Lockheed Martin with 19.36 billion pounds. It was followed by three US groups -- Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon -- ahead of European group EADS in seventh place, Italian company Finmeccanica in eighth, L-3 Communications in ninth and Thales of France in tenth position. The biggest Russian group on the list, air defence systems maker Almaz-Antei, was number 18 on the list. In 2008 the 100 biggest defence groups had arms sales of 249 billion pounds, up 11 percent from the previous year, according to SIPRI. "This is more than three times the size of the total development aid of OECD countries in 2008," SIPRI said, noting that such aid reached 77.73 billion pounds. Putting the data in perspective, the think tank said that arms sales of Lockheed Martin alone topped US development aid by four billion dollars and that BAE Systems sales were greater than the gross domestic product of 105 countries. SIPRI's ranking focuses on companies' arms sales which make up only 48 percent of Boeing's turnover and 70 percent of Lockheed Martin's revenues. In BAE System's case, arms sales make up a far larger share of its sales with 95 percent of the total. Born out of the merger of Marconi and British Aerospace in 1999, BAE Systems counts among its products the Eurofighter combat aircraft, the Bradley tank and the Astute submarine. With 59 percent of BAE Systems' sales coming from the vast US arms market, the group has major production operations in the country as well as in Britain, Sweden, South Africa and Sweden. "BAE really shows the increasing internationalisation of the arms industry and the attractiveness of the US market," SIPRI arms industry expert Susan Jackson said. The group has benefitted from sales of mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles to the US government for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

DTN News: Kuwaiti MPs Warn Of Grilling Over French Jets

DTN News: Kuwaiti MPs Warn Of Grilling Over French Jets Source: DTN News / By Omar Hasan (AFP) (NSI News Source Info) KUWAIT CITY - April 12, 2010: An Islamist bloc in Kuwait's parliament opposed to a planned purchase of French-made Rafale warplanes on Sunday warned it will grill senior officials if the deal is signed. "Signing the purchase agreement means we will grill whoever is responsible for authorising the deal," spokesman for the Reform and Development Bloc Faisal al-Muslim told a press conference. He would not say, however, whether the prime minister or defence minister are among the officials the bloc plans to call to account if the multi-billion-dollar deal to purchase between 14 and 28 Rafale jets goes ahead. Another of the bloc's MPs, Jamaan al-Harbash, who has campaigned against the deal for several months, produced what he said were documents from the defence ministry recommending that the purchase be dropped. "The reports concluded that the plane is not technically advanced, its price is very expensive and so are its spare parts. If it goes ahead, the deal will be a massive squandering of public funds," Harbash said. Both Muslim and Harbash insisted that their opposition to the deal had nothing to do with any animosity against France. MP Mussallam al-Barrak, spokesman for the opposition four-MP Popular Action Bloc, later declared total support for any political questioning over the Rafale deal. The visiting chief of staff of the French armed forces, Admiral Edouard Guillaud, defended the Rafale as one of the best warplanes in the world, saying negotiations over the deal are proceeding in complete transparency. "France has proposed that Kuwait replace the old Mirage jets with the advanced Rafale and the Kuwaiti government asked to study the offer," Guillaud was quoted as saying by the official KUNA news agency. Guillaud said Kuwait has sent experts to France for a close assessment of the jets, adding that Paris will also make a proposal to sell the plane to the United Arab Emirates. The Popular Action Bloc has been campaigning against several proposed arms deals, including the Rafale purchase. Last month, Defence Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah said the Rafale deal remained a priority for Kuwait. In November, the emirate's parliament voted unanimously to ask the independent Audit Bureau to probe three planned arms deals with the United States and France that one lawmaker said were worth billions of dollars. The deals include the planned purchase of an unspecified number of US-made Hercules transport aircraft and an ammunition factory, as well as the Rafale fighters. But Muslim said on Sunday that the accounts watchdog told parliament that it was unable to carry out the probe because the defence ministry failed to provide it with the necessary documents. In October, Kuwait and France signed a new defence agreement and discussed details of the Rafale deal. During a Gulf tour in February 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said discussions had begun with Kuwait on the sale of between 14 and 28 Rafales, which are made by France's Dassault Aviation.

DTN News: Boeing Completes Site Acceptance Testing Of Australia's Network Centric Command And Control System

DTN News: Boeing Completes Site Acceptance Testing Of Australia's Network Centric Command And Control System Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) BRISBANE, Queensland, - April 12, 2010: Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], today announced that Project Vigilare, a Network Centric Command and Control System (NC3S) solution for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), has passed Site Acceptance Testing at the Northern Regional Operational Centre (NROC) located at RAAF Base Tindal, Northern Territory. "The Site Acceptance Test verifies Vigilare, as installed at the NROC site, is able to interface with all the relevant external systems and is ready for operational testing," said Arthur Mamalis, Boeing Defence Australia program director for Project Vigilare. "This shows that we continue to make significant strides toward delivering Vigilare's full operational capability to our RAAF customer." The system successfully demonstrated its ability to manage multiple datalinks concurrently from the site by using assets deployed over a vast geographic area, both in the Northern Territory and the East Coast of Australia. These datalinks connected test assets as well as operational assets such as RAAF F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. "With data feeds from more than 45 different sensors and agencies using an enhanced Department of Defence communications network, the Vigilare Site Acceptance Test demonstrated an integrated, high-fidelity command and control system capability," said Tim Malone, Defence Materiel Organisation project director for Project Air 5333 Vigilare. "This is the culmination of many years of hard work by operational specialists, engineers and logisticians to build a system that arguably will be the benchmark for Network Centric Warfare systems in the Australian Defence Force for some time." Operational testing with the RAAF is scheduled to begin in June, before Vigilare is accepted at NROC by the Commonwealth of Australia. "This milestone was a direct result of the commitment and dedication of our employees, our program partners and the customer," said Steve Parker, Boeing vice president and general manager of Network and Space Systems - Australia. "The overriding success of the test demonstrated the advanced capabilities Vigilare provides and allows the team to prepare for operational testing." Developed by Boeing Defence Australia, NC3S integrates advanced technologies that combine data from land, sea, air and space platforms, sensors, data links and intelligence agencies to provide tactical and strategic-level surveillance and battlespace management operations across wide geographic regions. Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, is a leading Australian aerospace enterprise. With a world-class team of nearly 2,000 employees at 13 locations throughout Australia and two international sites, Boeing Defence Australia supports some of the largest and most complex defense projects in Australia. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: Washington Nuclear Summit Under Way

DTN News: Washington Nuclear Summit Under Way Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 12, 2010: Leaders and representatives from 47 nations have gathered for a nuclear security summit in Washington as Barack Obama, the US president, pledges to one day rid the world of nuclear weapons. Obama is expected to tell delegates at Monday's conference that the biggest threat to global security has shifted from the possibility of confrontation between nuclear armed states, to the fear that "terrorist" groups might acquire atomic weapons. "The single biggest threat to US security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon," Obama said at meetings with world leaders on Sunday. "We know that organisations like al-Qaeda are in the process of trying to secure nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and would have no compunction at using them." Concrete commitments Obama set a goal of ensuring all nuclear materials worldwide are secured from theft or diversion within four years. The White House will seek concrete commitments from world leaders on securing stockpiles of separated plutonium and uranium, to ensure that they cannot be stolen, smuggled or sold. "I feel very good at this stage in the degree of commitment and sense of urgency that I've seen from the world leaders so far on this issue," Obama said. "We think we can make enormous progress on this." The summit will focus primarily on separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium stocks, rather than radiological "dirty" bombs, which the US sees as a less catastrophic threat than nuclear devices. US officials hope nations participating in the summit will agree on a series of security steps for their own nuclear material, and help pay to put the stocks of less well-off countries under lock and key. They also expect some leaders to unveil specific actions, similar to Chile's decision to ship a stock of highly enriched uranium to the US. Binyamin absent Iran and North Korea were not invited to the conference. The US believes that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear weapon in violation of the global nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and it objects to North Korea's nuclear weapons stockpile and exports of nuclear materials and technology. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will not attend the conference and is expected to send Dan Meridor, the deputy prime minister, in his place. Insiders said Netanyahu was worried Turkey and Egypt would use the summit to challenge him over his country's nuclear arsenal, which Israel has never officially acknowledged.The two countries planned to demand that Israel sign up to the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The conference is the fourth leg of Obama's campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapons, which began a year ago in Prague, in the Czech Republic, when he laid out plans for significant nuclear reductions. Last week Obama approved a new nuclear policy for the US vowing to reduce its' nuclear arsenal, refrain from nuclear tests and not use nuclear weapons against countries that do not have them. North Korea and Iran were not included in the pledge. Also last week Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, the Russian president, signed a new START treaty that reduces each side's deployed nuclear arsenal to 1,550 weapons. The conference is a precursor to the United Nation's Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference next month, seen as another important moment in heading off a future nuclear arms race.