FAS Roundup: October 22, 2012

50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, radioactive waste cleanup and much more.

50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis

October marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a time when the United States and the Soviet Union almost went to nuclear war. In 2012, with threats from North Korea, Iran, and terrorist groups, could this happen again?

To commemorate this anniversary, FAS solicited and compiled essays from members and distinguished experts. FAS selected 10 of the best articles written by experts who pondered the lasting impact of this historic event and the destructive capacity of nuclear weapons.

To read the essays click here.

Other Resources:

Fifty Years After the Cuban Missile Crisis: Time to Stop Bluffering at Nuclear Poker (Written by Dr. Martin Hellman, co-published by FAS and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation)

The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Nuclear Order of Battle, October and November 1962 (Nuclear Notebook written by Mr. Hans Kristensen and Dr. Robert Stan Norris)


From the Blogs

  • Kiriakou Not Allowed to Argue Lack of Intent to Harm U.S.: A court ruled this month that former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who is charged with unauthorized disclosures of classified information to the media, will not be permitted to argue at trial that he intended no harm to the United States, or that his entire career testifies to a deep commitment to national security. Instead, the central question at trial will be whether Kiriakou “had reason to believe” that the information he allegedly released would cause injury to the United States.
  • Post-RDD Radioactive Waste: Radioactive waste disposal is not cheap. Think of how much radioactive waste will be produced in the aftermath of a dirty bomb attack, and how much it might cost for disposal. In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y discusses potential cleanup standards in the case of an attack and potential costs.
  • The Purpose of National Security Policy, Declassified: The most fundamental purpose of national security policy is not to keep the nation safe from physical attack but to defend the constitutional order.  At least, that is what President Reagan wrote in a Top Secret 1986 directive. In a list of national security objectives, the directive does note the imperative “to protect the United States… from military, paramilitary, or terrorist attack.” But that is not the primary objective, according to the Reagan directive.  Defense of the Constitution evidently takes precedence.



  • Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project, spoke at a briefing hosted by the Arms Control Association at the United Nations in New York on October 15 regarding options for further reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear forces.
  • Steven Aftergood, Director of the Government Secrecy Project, spoke at a conference hosted by the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School in New York on October 16 regarding national security secrecy.
  • On October 18, FAS hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis and future nuclear security threats featuring Dr. Martin Hellman from Stanford University
  • FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson will speak at a forum on nuclear regimes hosted by Virginia Tech  University in Arlington, VA on November 5, 2012. Nuclear regimes have their origins in non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and continue to have a significant impact on the nuclear power enterprise worldwide. Topics that will be discussed at the conference include: the role of the IAEA, future role of nuclear power and other energy sources and nuclear policy regulations by the government. Registration for the conference is free. The deadline to register is Friday, October 26, 2012. To view the conference agenda and register, click here.
  • Tickets are now on sale for the 2012 FAS Symposium on Catastrophic Threats and Awards Ceremony which will be held in Washington, DC on Friday, November 9, 2012. The next President of the United States and his national security team will need to make urgent decisions about protecting the nation from catastrophic threats. At the symposium, distinguished experts on policy and technological aspects of conventional, nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, biotechnology, nuclear safety, electricity generation, distribution, and storage, and cyber security will present their recommendations for preventing and reducing risks from catastrophic threats and for developing an effective energy policy. To purchase tickets to the symposium, click here. 


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