Dr. Jeffrey Lewis Profile picture
Professor at @miis, staff at @jamesmartincns, host of @acwpodcast and per Hu Xijin an "amateur ... shooting his mouth off at the media."
Sue Strong 🇺🇸🇦🇺🇨🇦🇳🇿🇬🇧 💉💉🐈🐈🦋 Profile picture Birger Leth Profile picture Elisabeth QUANQUIN Profile picture 4 added to My Authors
23 Jun
Last week, Iran conducted a failed space launch. Iran is now getting ready to try again. @DaveSchmerler and I worked it all out with open sources, then @ZcohenCNN got the Pentagon to confirm it. A short OSINT thread. 1/10
Last week, @DaveSchmerler noticed that a June 6 image of the Imam Khomeini Spaceport from @Maxar showed indicators that are normally associated with space launches in Iran. These are the same signatures that we used to predict previous space launches. 2/10
One of those signatures is a lot of vehicles showing up at the horizontal checkout building. On June 6, there were more than a dozen vehicles there -- something that only happens before space launches. 3/10
Read 10 tweets
10 Jun
Going through Nexis, the term "lab leak" appears occasionally in news about past events (Winnipeg 1999, China 2004 and the UK 2007) but it is largely confined to headlines where space is tight.
Scholar articles are more revealing. There are very few uses of "lab leak" or "laboratory leak" in scholarly journals *except* in reference to the current pandemic.
Read 5 tweets
23 Apr
It wasn't an explosion -- it was a test of a solid rocket motor. A thread. (1/12)
Here is the video that caused all the fuss. There is no explosion, just an intense fire that seems to go out by itself. (2/12)
Compare what you see in that video with images of a test of a large solid propellant rocket motor in the US, especially at the 3:11 mark. (3/12)
Read 13 tweets
12 Apr
I basically agree with this back-and-forth about why Israel would want to prevent a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program even though the sabotage campaign cannot reasonably be expected to prevent Iran from ultimately building nuclear weapons if it chooses.
As one colleague admitted pre-JCPOA: He was against a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem because fear of Iran's nuclear weapons program was the most effective issue around which to organize a campaign to isolate the Islamic Republic.
He wanted sanctions because he loathed the regime and wanted it removed. He was frank about his goal and clear-eyed about his strategy: Other countries would not support sanctions for Iran's other malign behaviors, only for the nuclear issue. So, you go with your best argument.
Read 5 tweets
15 Mar
The place to start is by noting that Biden's people have started repeating a Trump-era formulation: "The denuclearization of North Korea." I've seen in the #Quad statement, as well as the bilat with Japan. The Biden-Harris Administration is working to strengthen AmeWe reaffirm our commitment to the complete denuclearization
Here is the problem with this phrase. What Kim said was "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Same phrase used since Kim Il Sung and what it means is that the US needs to stop threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons, not that he will disarm.
Read 16 tweets
2 Mar
Gen. McKenzie's tale about waiting for the Iranians to download a satellite image is bullshit. And David Martin is just lapping it up, asking for seconds. A thread.
Problem 1: The story could not have occurred on the timeline that McKenzie describes. There is a big time gap between when a picture is taken ("collection time") and when the image is available to customers ("delivery time").
The image has to go from the satellite, to a ground station, then to the company, and finally to the customer. In reality, only a very small number of commercial satellite imagery providers like @planet offer images on anything like the timeline implied by McKenzie.
Read 14 tweets
4 Feb
This is a fairly tepid "rebuttal" to the @UCSUSA study on hypersonic gliders. What I find most notable is that it largely concedes the technical objections in the paper. Allow me to translate the summary bullet points.
"Ok, all the gliders we've actually made sucked but, and trust me on this, we are right now imagining gliders that do not suck." UCS. based their model on decade-old flight tests of an expe
"Ok, ok. The gliders we are imagining are slower and less reliable than ICBMs but have you considered the possibility that our glider could bank gently away from an interceptor with a burnout speed in excess of 3 kilometers per second?" UCS graded the model on two key metrics, flight time and det
Read 5 tweets
27 Jan
"National Security Directive-1" What the hell? A short thread.
Listen, there has been a simple pattern for my entire lifetime. When Nixon and Ford issued presidential directives, they we called National Security Decision Memoranda or NSDMs.
When Carter took office, he renamed those documents "Presidential Directives." This kicked off a process in which Republican and Democratic Presidents used different naming conventions for presidential directives. It was childish, sure. But so what?
Read 15 tweets
20 Jan
Note that the “football” followed Trump on to Marine One. He’s still possesses the sole legally authority to start a nuclear war for almost four more hours.
En route to Florida, Trump still retains the sole authority, as well as the ability, to order the use of nuclear weapons.
Read 5 tweets
18 Jan
Story by @JobyWarrick and @simondenyer on North Korea's steps toward new missile tests -- with satellite images by @Maxar and analysis by @DaveSchmerler and yours truly.
Our analysis is located here:
The short version: North Korea keeps a launch barge at Nampo for testing submarine-launched ballistic missiles. It hasn't moved for more than two years -- until now. It is currently on land, undergoing what appears to be a refit, presumably for a coming round of SLBM tests. ImageImage
Read 5 tweets
13 Nov 20
Here's a fun rabbit hole I fell into. Why are some solid-rocket motors tested horizontally, while others are tested vertically. I had wondered about this a long time.
The answer is that there was no clear consensus which was better. In the 1980s, Thiokol, maker of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor (SRM), preferred horizontal tests. United Technologies, maker of the Titan SRM, tested vertically, nozzle-up.
After the Challenger accident, this difference in approach turned into a public spat -- as you can see from these ¶s from "Shuttle Booster Design Couldn't pass Titan Test" in the Orlando Sentinel on April 6, 1986. In the Titan, test-fired in a vertical position, the booster
Read 8 tweets
6 Nov 20
Sure looks like the outgoing Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (@NNSANews ) retweeted, then deleted, a lot of questionable tweets about the election. A short thread.
What follows are many deleted retweets from @LGordonHagerty, which is apparently personal account of outgoing @LGHNNSA -- courtesy of the @internetarchive. These were things others said rhat she retweeted, then deleted.
You have to click through to see the original tweets -- which, again, she was retweeting. You tell me if you want this person overseeing the nation's nuclear stockpile.
Read 13 tweets
10 Oct 20
North Korea's new ICBM is much larger than the Hwasong-15 ICBM (~2 m in diameter). Here are two stills from the parade that help illustrate the difference.
The truck ("transporter-erector-launcher" or TEL) is new. In December, @kyodo_english reported that Kim "ordered the mass production of vehicles used for transporting and launching missiles including [ICBMs]" using imported parts. Looks like it worked.
@DaveSchmerler and I previously documented the expansion of the March 16 Factory for producing these vehicles.
Read 8 tweets
4 Oct 20
I see the @THEHermanCain account is being upbeat about Trump's health. The tweets this account issued about Herman Cain's illness are a useful reference point, both describing one person's course of treatment, as well as public messaging about it. Thread.
Cain tested positive on June 29, and was hospitalized a few days later on July 1. He was reported to be resting comfortably and was not on a respirator.
The account continued to be very upbeat about Cain's condition, stating that he was "making progress" on July 5.
Read 14 tweets
23 Aug 20
He's made ten appearances in the last thirty days, most recently on August 19. A list of Kim Jong Un's act...
As best I can tell, Chang Song-min, who claimed Kim was in a coma in April, is doubling down on that claim. m.monthly.chosun.com/client/mdaily/…
Read 4 tweets
20 Aug 20
For completeness: Russia's statement rejecting the novel US idea that is still a JCPOA participant even though it terminated its participation.
Read 4 tweets
16 Aug 20
When you terminate your participation in an agreement only to later realize that you wanted to retain one of your rights as a participant. ImageImage
It’s so simple! The US is a “participating state that terminated its participation.”
Bolton was absolutely clear when the US terminated its participation that the the US was forswearing the use of snapback in UNSCR 2231 because it was "out of the deal." Image
Read 4 tweets
14 Aug 20
Just a little context on these two images. This is a bit of trolling, which is pretty normal for Billingslea who doesn't have much else to do these days. At least he's wearing a mask.
The object is a Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS) rigged up like the one used for the ground-launched Tomahawk missile test flight to >500 km in August 2019. There is a placard with images of that test just to make sure you get the message.
This is probably Lockheed Martin's plant in Middle River, MD, which makes the Mk 41 VLS. Here's a picture of the ribbon-cutting in 2016.
news.lockheedmartin.com/2016-03-24-Loc… Image
Read 6 tweets
7 Aug 20
Yesterday, @fab_hinz, @DaveSchmerler, @ian_j_stewart and I were wondering about one of the sites alleged to be a uranium mill in Saudi Arabia, near Al-ula. We were skeptical.
I mentioned to @fab_hinz that the ground around it had changed very dramatically in recent years. He thought it was surrounded by ... rubbish. Then, he looked at the @NASA fire map of the area. Someone does a lot of burning there.
Fabian then checked other fire clusters in Saudi Arabia. And, at 24.629992, 38.440374°, he found a very similar building. The other building is a waste incineration plant.
Read 6 tweets
28 Jul 20
This actually makes quite a bit of sense. The point of the #UAS restriction was originally to prevent the transfer of target drones that could be repurposed as cruise missiles.
Taiwan, for example, acquired a US-built target drone in the 1980s that it seems to have believed would make a good cruise missile. ImageImage
The drones we use today are much more like remote-controlled aircraft than missiles, as @mchorowitz has pointed out.
Read 5 tweets