FAS Roundup: April 1, 2013

Red line in Syria, new issue of the PIR and much more.

The Thin Red Line in Syria

In a new article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, FAS’ Senior Fellow on State and Non-State Threats, Mr. Charles Blair, examines how, in light of the growing number of alleged incidents involving chemical attacks, the United States’ ‘red line’ on Syria is impacting global norms surrounding the taboo against chemical weapons use.

Blair writes that “it is incumbent on the Obama administration to clearly articulate what definitions are being used in determining whether its red line has been breached, and to make a compelling case for why the use of certain chemical agents is not grounds for another U.S. military foray into the Middle East.”

Read the article here.

From the Blogs

DoD Inspector General Has Unrestricted Access to Classified Info: Steven Aftergood writes that a Department of Defense instruction issued last week reinforces the policy that the DoD Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to have full access to all records, including classified records, that it needs to perform its function, and that no DoD official other than the Secretary himself may block such access.

Privacy and Cloud Computing, and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as cloud computing, the National Broadband Plan and the impact of China’s naval modernization on the United States.

A Look Back at Congressional Oversight of Intelligence, 2011-2012: On March 22, the  latest biennial report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was released, summarizing the Committee’s oversight activities in the 112th Congress. The report provides details of the long-awaited and still unreleased Committee study on CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

 

New Issue of Public Interest Report

The new issue of the Public Interest Report is now available online. This year, FAS transformed the PIR to an online-only journal, with a new look and a better experience on computers, tablets, and smartphones. (Individual articles are still available to be downloaded in PDF format.)

This issue includes articles on U.S. missile defense, President’s message about the future direction of FAS, H5N1 “gain-of-function” experiments and North Korea’s satellite launch of the Unha-3.

The Winter PIR is available online here.

Call for Applications: Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament Project

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was established in 1979 as the international community’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. FAS and the Pacific Islands Society recognize that young experts in foreign policy could play a key role in Pacific Island Countries  engagement on counter-proliferation and disarmament issues and launching the “Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament Project” to provide these young experts in foreign policy with an international forum to voice their ideas.

For more information on the project click here.

Event: Should the U.S. Encourage RoK and Japan to Make Plutonium Based Nuclear Fuels?

Next month, Secretary of State Kerry will visit South Korea and Japan.  High on the list of topics to be discussed in Seoul will be how to proceed with the renewal of the U.S.-RoK agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation, which will expire early in 2014. Currently, negotiations have bogged down over Seoul’s request that the U.S. permit it to chemically process U.S. nuclear fuel assemblies that already have been used in South Korean reactors to make new, plutonium-based nuclear fuels. What should U.S. policy toward South Korea and Japanese nuclear recycling ambitions be?  Should the U.S. treat South Korea as it does its other close East Asian security ally, Japan, and allow it to recycle U.S. origin spent fuel?

On Thursday, April 4, 2013, The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) will host a lunch seminar on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, addressing these questions. Speakers include Dr. Frank Von Hippel, Professor of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and Mr. William Tobey, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.

For more information on the event or to RSVP, visit the event page on the NPEC website.

Event: Safe, Secure and Peaceful Use- Nuclear Energy and Safeguards

On April 10, FAS, the Global America Business Institute (GABI), and the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), will host a workshop on nuclear energy and safeguards at the University of California Washington DC Center from 2pm to 4:15pm. The workshop agenda can be found here. Seating is limited, to register please contact Alan Ahn.

The Cold War: Avoiding Armageddon

On February 14, FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson spoke at a workshop hosted by the Atomic Heritage Foundation titled “Transforming the Relationship between Science and Society: Interpreting the Manhattan Project.”

Dr. Ferguson and Mr. Bud Rock, President of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), spoke about the role of scientists to prevent nuclear Armageddon during the Cold War.

The video is available here.

FAS in the News

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