FAS Roundup: April 2, 2012

Mitigating risks of bio research, implications of Israeli strike on Iran, fissile materials and much more.

From the Blogs

  • Military Intelligence and the Human Terrain System: Secrecy News has obtained the latest issue of the Army’s Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin which is devoted to the Human Terrain System (HTS),  a U.S. Army program to conduct social and cultural studies in support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bulletin provides theoretical and practical accounts from HTS personnel in the field.
  • New Policy on Mitigating Risks of Bio Research: In a new U.S. government policy released by the National Institutes of Health, certain types of life science research involving “high consequence pathogens and toxins” would be subject to new review and risk mitigation procedures which might include classification of the research or termination of the funding.
  • Back to the Basics- Producing Fissile Materials: Fissile materials have been in the news recently in regards to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, North Korea’s continuing nuclear weapons program and the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul. Dr. Y discusses what fissile materials are, how they are produced and why they are a security problem on the ScienceWonk blog.
  • “Power and Constraint” and Mutual Frustration: Steven Aftergood writes about a new book by Jack Goldsmith, Power and Constraint, which concludes that constitutional government is alive and well in the United States. Goldsmith, a former head of the Bush Administration’s Office of Legal Counsel, disputes the widely accepted view that traditional checks and balances have been diminished by the war on terrorism.


  • A New Plan for Iran: Lift Sanctions, Increase Monitoring: Dr. Yousaf Butt, scientific consultant to FAS, writes in a letter to the editor published by the Washington Post that since intelligence has indicated that a nuclear-armed Iran is not imminent, the United States should lift sanctions in return for increased monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program.


  • Dr. Melanie Stegman, director of the Learning Technologies Program, participated in the Science Rocks! program at the National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference in Indianapolis on March 28, 2012. Science Rocks! is a new program designed to connect children and their families with the nation’s accomplished scientists and to demonstrate the importance of science education.

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