Arms Control Wonk
November 25, 2009 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Arms Control Wonk - a collaborative blog detailing the ins and outs of strategic weapons programs around the world.

Originally started by Jeffery Lewis (published articles).

Some fun recent posts:
The Blue and Yellow Bomb (a history of Sweden's canceled nuke program)
Votkinsk Portal Monitoring Facility (detailing the US team stationed in Russia tasked with counting mobile missiles produced there)
A criticism of the recent Seymour Hersh article on Pakistan's nukes

And of course, The Fall's response.
posted by Burhanistan (11 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Oops, that criticism link should go here.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 AM on November 25, 2009

It is a site I check daily.

Yes... I AM a nerd... thank you very much, kthxby3!!!

I CHOOSE situational awareness.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 9:26 AM on November 25, 2009

your criticism link is the same as your votkinsk portal monitoring link.
posted by shmegegge at 10:11 AM on November 25, 2009

Related: War Nerd (brilliant and engaging, if infrequently updated)

(mirrored here since the main site seems to be down)
posted by joshwa at 10:58 AM on November 25, 2009

What would be a non-strategic weapon? A mortar that blows bubbles? A missile that, when launched, yells "hey, guys, they're over HERE!"?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:59 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

What would be a non-strategic weapon?

Not sure if you're being jokey, but "strategic" is used in conjunction with weapons that are destructive enough to set foreign policy by and require a corresponding level of maintenance and planning. It's a kind of arbitrary definition, as something like the F-22 could be considered strategic because of its limited tactical use to the military at large. But, it just means big nukes is all.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:07 AM on November 25, 2009

"Strategic" weapons are generally defined in contrast to "tactical" weapons. It is not a terribly clear-cut definition. From Aerospaceweb:
In general terms, a strategic weapon is one designed for mass destruction like a nuclear missile. A tactical weapon, on the other hand, typically carries a conventional high explosive warhead.

These definitions are not always clear-cut, however, for there can be considerable overlap between how the terms strategic and tactical are applied depending on the context. For example, nuclear weapons are often classified as both strategic and tactical. A strategic nuclear weapon is usually considered to be a large vehicle like an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can travel over very long ranges and carries a very large and powerful high-yield warhead. A tactical nuclear weapon is generally much smaller like a cruise missile or a bomb that travels over short ranges carrying a low-yield warhead. A strategic weapon would typically be targeted at a military base or city according to a premeditated war plan. A tactical weapon, however, would usually be used against battlefield targets that may change rapidly as battle conditions change.
There are more "formal" definitions drawn from treaties like START-II, but they're fairly arbitrary.

I'd argue that it's more a question of deployment than any real characteristic of the weapon system; you could have the a particular physics package in a pre-targeted ICBM pointed at an enemy silo and it would be clearly strategic, but the same thing in a mobile launcher, forward deployed, and it might qualify as tactical under many treaties.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:59 PM on November 25, 2009

I CHOOSE situational awareness.

And this awareness helps you exactly HOW on a day to day basis?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:00 PM on November 25, 2009

Well, for starters, keeping up on current events and the arms control situation helps me to make my bank robbery notes that much more topical.

"North Korea has bombs, Iran's probably working on one. Bandits can raid Soviet-era nuclear plants pretty easily.
I've got a gun, and want all the money. Now that I've it in perspective, am I really the bad guy here?
No dye packs."
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:56 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have been reading ACW on and off for the last year or so. It's good.
posted by rokusan at 5:28 PM on November 25, 2009

Arms Control Wonk is by no means new to MetaFilter's front page, not to mention the inside. While not technically a double post, it is not exactly new to anyone who has been here awhile.
Just sayin'...

But then again, it's not another case of NewYorkTimesFilter--now there is personal pet peeve numero uno for moi.
posted by y2karl at 5:39 PM on November 25, 2009

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