FAS Roundup: November 13, 2012

Policy recommendations to the Obama administration, conflict with Iran and much more.

FAS Symposium on Catastrophic Threats and Awards Ceremony

Only three days after the national election, FAS hosted a day-long symposium that featured distinguished speakers and recommendations to the Obama administration on how best to respond to catastrophic threats to national security at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The memo recommendations can be found here (PDF).

FAS also hosted the 2012 Awards Ceremony luncheon recognizing outstanding individuals who have made a distinctive contribution to national security. Dr. John Ahearne was honored with the 2012 Richard L. Garwin Award, Dr. Sidney Drell received the 2012 Public Service Award, and Dr. Rosa Ovshinsky accepted the 2012 Hans Bethe Award on behalf of the late Mr. Stanford Ovshinsky. Dr. Drell shared the honor of the Public Service Award with Dr. Henry Kissinger, Senator Sam Nunn, Dr. William J. Perry, and Mr. George P. Shultz.

For more information on the award winners and to view Senator Nunn’s acceptance video, click here.

From the Blogs

  • Document Collector Charged Under Espionage Statute: James F. Hitselberger, a Navy contract linguist who served in Bahrain, has been charged under an Espionage Act statute. However, he is not suspected of espionage. Mr. Hitselberger is a collector of rare documents, and was found to have contributed a classified document to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. These are only a few of the “unusual features” of this case.
  • Human Nature: In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Dr. Y has been volunteering in New York City at one of the shelters for those evacuated from their homes. As a result of this experience, in a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, he examines how humans choose to see and interact with the world in which we live.
  • Pentagon Inspector General to Probe Overclassification: The Department of Defense will review its classification practices as required by law under the 2010 Reducing Over-Classification Act. The new Inspector General review has the potential to thicken and enrich the oversight of national security classification policy.  The IG staff will have broad access to whatever classified Department information they require to perform their statutorily-mandated review.  Moreover, they typically have an investigative orientation that goes beyond routine monitoring.
  • Some Comments on the “Withdrawal” of a CRS Report: The Congressional Research Service withdrew a report on reduced tax rates and increased economic growth. However, CRS never posted the report for public viewing. The withdrawal gained recognition only from an article written by the New York Times and postings of the report on other websites. This raises larger questions about public disclosure of controversial CRS reports.


With his reelection, President Obama will continue to hear from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin  Netanyahu and a chorus of critics at home that he has far less time to convince Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). Mark Jansson, Director of Special Projects at FAS, writes in a post on Lobelog (an initiative of IPS News Agency) that an important step for the Obama administration before it starts grasping for diplomatic straws is to refresh the framing of the issue and think longer term.

Read the post here.


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