FAS Roundup: February 3, 2014

Threats to the Olympics, implementation of nuclear reductions and much more.

Negotiated Cuts: A New Nuclear Weapons Treaty is Not the Only Option

In his 2013 address announcing his new nuclear agenda, President Obama stated that his administration would seek further negotiated cuts with Russia by cutting the 1,550 deployed strategic warheads allowed by New START to between 1,000 and 1,100 warheads. The Obama administration prefers a new legally binding treaty to implement these reductions.

Fulbright Scholar and Nuclear Fellow Anna Péczeli writes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that there are other possibilities for the United States to implement these reductions. These include a bilateral amendment to New START, an informal understanding of reciprocal reductions without setting a firm number, and commitment to unilateral reductions sans waiting for Moscow.

Read the article here. 

From the Blogs

DNI Clapper: Transparency is the Way Forward: In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, DNI James Clapper said that one of the main lessons that emerged after the Edward Snowden disclosures is that U.S. intelligence agencies must be more transparent in their operations. Clapper also noted that even with greater transparency, the American people will choose not to accept certain kinds of intelligence programs.

A Credible Radioactive Threat to the Sochi Olympics: The Sochi Olympics are set to start this week and there are large concerns about security threats to the games. Many of the security concerns are raised by the proximity of Sochi to Chechnya and recent suicide bombings in Volgorad, about 425 miles from Sochi. In a guest post on the Strategic Security Blog, Dr. George Moore, Scientist-in- Residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, examines the threat of Chechen and other military groups using radioactive materials to construct a Dirty Bomb to disrupt the Olympics.

DoD Doctrine on Foreign Humanitarian Assistance: Secrecy News has obtained a copy of a newly updated doctrine on disaster relief and foreign humanitarian assistance missions by U.S. military personnel. This consists of “Department of Defense activities conducted outside the U.S. and its territories to directly relieve or reduce human suffering, disease, hunger, or privation.”

JASON on Enhanced Geothermal Energy Systems (GES): A new report from the JASON science advisory board examines the potential for new technologies to harvest energy from the Earth’s crust. EGS entails drilling deep into the Earth’s crust — 1 to 5 kilometers or more — and forcing a fluid (water or brine) through hot, permeable rock. Energy from the heated fluid can then be extracted. The technology is not without hazards. One is the potential for pollution of potable water aquifers. Another more ominous concern is “induced seismicity” — or artificially-generated earthquakes.

Perjury Under Federal Law and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as nuclear cooperation with other countries, military retirement, U.S. relations with North Korea and Iran sanctions. 

Board Member Elected to International Academy of Humanists

Congratulations to FAS Board Member Dr. Lawrence Krauss for his election to the International Academy of Humanists. Dr. Krauss is a Professor in the School of Space and Earth Exploration in the Department of Physics at Arizona State University, where his research focuses on theoretical physics and cosmology.

The International Academy of Humanists is a membership organization which works to disseminate humanistic ideas and beliefs; members are elected based on their commitment to using the scientific method to promote humanist values.

The full press release is available here

FAS in the News

Feb 1: The Hill“NSA Nominee Unknown To Privacy Advocates”

Jan 30: The Atlantic“The NSA’s ‘Top Secret’ Edward Snowden Talking Points”

Jan 30: New York Daily News“The Afghanistan Mess: Fed Report Says We’ll Pay Up The Nose Long After The Troops Return”

Jan 29: BBC News Magazine“Hackers, Spies, Threats And The US Spies’ Budget”

Jan 28: Huffington Post“Intelligence Agencies Won’t Release Reports On Excessive Secrecy”

Jan 27: MSNBC“Lawmakers To Obama: Fire Your Intelligence Chief For Lying” 

Jan 27: Washington Free Beacon“Political Review Hampers FOIA Process, Watchdogs Say”

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