Atomic Pulse

What We’re Reading: Cyberwarfare, Hacking and North Korea Nuclear Policy

Donald Trump has just passed the half-way mark of his first
100 days in office – a yardstick by which every new president’s early performance is measured  – and the rush of news out of the White House, the new
administration, and Congress has been so overwhelming that it’s easy to miss
interesting and pertinent stories on global and nuclear security issues.

So setting aside stories about healthcare and hacking, leaks
about tax returns, and tweets about wiretapping, we’ve pulled together some of
the most interesting reading, reporting, and listening on the top security
issues making headlines.

With the usual disclaimer that the views expressed may not
necessarily reflect those of NTI, members of our Board or the organizations
with which they are associated, we recommend the following:

On cyber nuclear

Did secret Pentagon cyberwarfare cause some of North Korea’s
test missiles to explode or plunge into the sea? New York Times reporters David Sanger and Bill Broad’s stories (here
and here)
about the Pentagon’s disruption efforts raise a host of questions about the
wisdom and effectiveness of new so-called “left of launch” tactics designed to hobble or stall nuclear programs in rogue states.

In a Times podcast about the stories,
Sanger—in just 60 seconds—offers what may be the simplest, most cogent and most
important analysis of how and why evolving cyber capabilities and strategies
may unravel strategic deterrence and the long-held nuclear order. The whole
piece is well worth a listen, but Sanger articulates the significant risks
ahead in that one minute, starting at 17 minutes and 26 seconds.

Global Zero founder Bruce Blair, a former missileer, followed
up with an-op on the topic: Why
Our Nuclear Weapons Can Be Hacked.
In it, he warns that, “Despite its
allure, cyberwarfare risks causing nuclear pandemonium.”

NTI is engaged in work to prevent cyber threats to nuclear
facilities and command and control systems. ICYMI when it came out in December,
check out our report,
Cyber Threats: Priorities for Cybersecurity at Nuclear Facilities.


More on North

Former U.S. Defense Secretary William J.
, an NTI Board member emeritus and author of My Journey at the
Nuclear Brink
, urges President Trump to adjust his administration’s
approach to dealing with North Korea in
new op-ed in the Huffington Post
. “Our diplomacy has consistently failed to
persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal and is likely to continue
to fail if that is our overriding goal,” Perry writes. “But we do have a viable
diplomatic option to reduce the dangers created by that arsenal.”
Perry’s piece.

Perry’s not the only one with advice for President Trump on
North Korea. In an
for Politico Magazine
, Toby Dalton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy
Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Jon Wolfsthal,
former senior White House official and non-resident scholar at Carnegie, offer
this advice: “
So what should Trump do? The best
approach—unsatisfying as it may be—is to ensure that any negotiations with
North Korea not only rely on Chinese leverage, but are accompanied by a regular
and sustained effort to convince South Koreans of the durability of U.S.
security commitments. In this way, the Trump administration can evaluate the
costs and benefits of competing approaches while keeping the big picture in

If you have reading, listening or viewing
suggestions, please email Atomic Pulse Editor Mimi Hall at
[email protected]


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