- The Washington Times - Friday, July 20, 2001

More nuke experiments
U.S. intelligence agencies have uncovered more evidence of Chinese nuclear weapons testing.
Officials tell us that Chinese nuclear testing officials carried out three nuclear weapons-related "experiments" over the past two months at Lop Nur, the remote test area in western Xinjiang province where China has conducted its underground nuclear blasts in the past. A fourth test is expected soon, intelligence officials said.
Satellite photographs taken within the past several weeks showed Chinese workers at Lop Nur filling in a test hole with concrete. "That's a sign this was a nuclear weapons-related test," one official told us.
U.S. intelligence agencies, however, still lack hard evidence that the Chinese set off an underground nuclear blast. Officials said no seismic shock waves have been detected from monitoring stations around the world. And special "sniffer" U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flying near China have not detected any signs of radioactivity venting from the tests.
Intelligence officials believe the tests are part of China's ongoing program to develop small nuclear warheads — like the U.S. W-88 warhead. The CIA has concluded China obtained W-88 warhead secrets from the United States through espionage.

Merger talk
Insiders tell us not to expect a Pentagon decision until late August at the earliest on two bids to buy Newport News Shipbuilding, the country's lone manufacturer of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
Edward Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, has set up a team to review bids from General Dynamics Corp. (GD) and Northrop Grumman Corp. The central questions are: Would either merger result in noncompetitive pricing, and would it produce the advertised savings? Savings is a top priority of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Northern Virginia-based GD promises $3.5 billion of it over 10 years.
David Oliver, a Clinton appointee, vacated the Pentagon last week as Mr. Aldridge's top deputy for acquisition, leaving behind his recommendation. Mr. Oliver opposed GD's offer for Newport News two years ago. His replacement, Michael Wynne, was confirmed Friday by the Senate.
Crunching the numbers is Gary Bliss, director of weapon systems cost analysis division within the Pentagon comptroller's office.

DIA China bias?
The CIA's Intelligence Directorate is only beginning to feel the effects of a devastating report by a 12-member commission of outside analysts. They concluded two weeks ago that CIA analysis is prone to an "institutional predisposition" to play down the growing problem of China.
Now officials tell us the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is showing the same signs of the "China-is-not-a-threat" bias. Some in the Pentagon believe the DIA should be next in facing a similar competitive analysis review.
The CIA's top-secret intelligence digest, known as the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief, recently carried a DIA article. The DIA article sought to play down the large-scale Chinese military exercises now under way along the coast north of Taiwan at Dongshan island.
DIA analysts dismissed the threatening war games as nothing out of the ordinary. According to DIA, the reason there is nothing to worry about is that Chinese jets are not shadowing U.S. EP-3 and RC-135 surveillance aircraft monitoring the games. Intelligence sources said the article reflected the views of the DIA's top China analyst, Lonnie Henley, who, like many in the CIA's China shop, has a reputation for playing down Chinese military activities as non-threatening.
But official Chinese media have stated clearly that the games are targeted at Taiwan's democratic government. They have issued public threats to fire on any Taiwanese or "foreign" — read United States — surveillance aircraft or ships that try to monitor the maneuvers.
The war games, which include up to 20,000 troops, scores of ships and aircraft, are the largest in recent years. They are viewed by some U.S. military officials who disagree with the DIA as practice for a possible invasion of Taiwan or one of its smaller islands.

Gender wars
Anita Blair, a prominent figure in the conservative women's movement, is in line to become a deputy assistant Navy secretary, working for William Navas, assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs.
But Pentagon officials are warning conservatives not to view the pending appointment as a sign that the Bush administration will revert to sex-segregated basic training. Officials tell us the defense secretary's staff will be preoccupied for months, if not years, with reorganizing and rebuilding the armed forces. What's more, there is not likely to be a push from within the Navy, Air Force or Army to stop coed boot camp. The Marine Corps trains the sexes separately during initial training.
As a candidate, Mr. Bush said he would look at separating men and women during the first few weeks of basic training. But with no momentum building inside the Pentagon, conservatives should look to Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, to tackle the issue legislatively.
This is not to say Mrs. Blair, general counsel for the Independent Women's Forum, has not fought the battle for single-sex — and thus more disciplined — basic training. Mrs. Blair headed the 1999 Commission on Military Training and Gender-Related Issues, and voted with the minority in the panel's 6-3 vote to retain coed basic training. A majority of trainers told the commission that mixed-sex training resulted in less discipline.
Mr. Navas replaces Carolyn Becraft, a Clinton-appointee who strongly backed sex-integrated training and women in combat.

Intercepts
* Military sources said the Pentagon is set to dispatch troops to Macedonia on yet another peacekeeping operation. The deployment would go against Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's efforts to rein in far-flung military deployments.
* Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, director of the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, showed a savvy understanding of the liberal media's opposition to national missile defense.
Asked Friday by a reporter if he was prepared for bad publicity if Saturday's intercept flight test failed, Gen. Kadish said, "Well, I don't mean to be smart when I say this, but if we succeed, people will write about the fact that it was a simple test and it's rigged. If we fail, it'll never work and we're wasting our money. So I'm going to go right down the middle on that one."
* The Navy has begun final testing of a new mini-submarine to be used for covert action programs. The mini-submarine will be used by U.S. Navy Seals for their operations and will be launched from ships or larger submarines.
* Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Fred Smith, the Clinton administration's China hand at the Pentagon, steps down from his post today, despite his attempts to stay on. His replacement is Peter Brookes, a former House staff member, who takes over Monday. Mr. Brookes is walking into a fierce internal debate over China policy and whether the Bush administration will continue the pro-Beijing policies of its predecessor, or forge new policies oriented more toward advancing U.S. national security interests.
* Vote by vote, Mr. Rumsfeld's policy team is coming together. Last Friday, the Senate confirmed Douglas J. Feith as undersecretary of defense for policy, and Peter W. Rodman as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved two other nominees: J.D. Crouch II as assistant secretary for international security policy and Stephen Cambone as deputy undersecretary for policy.

* Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough are Pentagon reporters. Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or by e-mail at bgertz@WashingtonTimes.com. Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail. at rscarborough@WashingtonTimes.com.

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