CRS on Conventional Arms Transfers, and More

The Congressional Research Service has produced its latest annual report on U.S. arms sales abroad (pdf). The CRS report, authored by Richard F. Grimmett, has become a standard reference in the field since it is based on closely held official data.

“This report is prepared annually to provide Congress with official, unclassified, quantitative data on conventional arms transfers to developing nations by the United States and foreign countries for the preceding eight calendar years for use in its various policy oversight functions.”

Like other CRS products, this report is not made directly available to the public by CRS. A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1998-2005,” October 23, 2006.

Further information and analysis are available from the FAS Arms Sales Monitoring Project.

Among other noteworthy new products of the Congressional Research Service are the following (all pdf).

“Weapons of Mass Destruction: Trade Between North Korea and Pakistan,”
updated October 11, 2006.

“Extradition Between the United States and Great Britain: The 2003 Treaty,” updated October 10, 2006.

“Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests,” updated October 19, 2006.

“The National Institutes of Health (NIH): Organization, Funding, and Congressional Issues,” October 19, 2006.

“Journalists’ Privilege: Overview of the Law and 109th Congress Legislation,”
updated October 3, 2006.

Defense Industry Gears Up for “Phase Two” of Arms Export Control Reform Campaign

The Defense Industry is laying the groundwork for yet another attempt to “reform” the US arms export control system. At a briefing held at the Heritage Foundation last week, Mark Esper of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) announced that the AIA is “fine tuning” Phase two of its campaign, which will, according to AIA’s newsletter, feature a “new export control law that we will draft and take to the 110th Congress next year.” Previous proposals by reform advocates have met strong resistance from Congress, but changes in congressional leadership and industry’s strategy could result in a very different outcome this time around.
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DoD Suppressed Data on Rising Research Lab Demand

In a report to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission last year, Department of Defense officials selectively withheld data showing that demand for certain DoD research laboratory facilities was likely to increase, not decrease, in coming years.

The suppression of this information on “future excess capacity” appears to have significantly distorted the decision-making process regarding military base closures.

“The [suppressed] data would have made for an awkward situation were it not expunged because it showed that excess capacity will vanish without any BRAC actions taken,” according to a sharply critical November 2005 memorandum (pdf) prepared by Don J. DeYoung, a member of an internal BRAC study group.

A copy of the DeYoung memo as well as the suppressed data on “future excess capacity” at DoD laboratories were independently obtained by Secrecy News.

“It was unethical to expunge critical data from the official process, and then withhold it from the public and the affected DoD workforces,” Mr. DeYoung wrote in his internal memorandum. It may also have been illegal, given a statutory requirement to provide all relevant information to Congress and the BRAC Commission.

Any decision to preserve or to shut down a particular facility is a judgment call that involves consideration of numerous factors.

But because relevant data were withheld, the resulting decisions “lacked integrity,” wrote Mr. DeYoung. “A necessary and appropriate public debate was thereby eliminated.”

The BRAC decision-making process also produced some results that are questionable from a public policy point of view. For example, a decision was made to close a research facility at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey even though it is a leading developer of countermeasures against Improvised Explosive Devices, which are a major threat to U.S. troops in Iraq.

A more detailed account of the DoD suppression of BRAC data on “future excess capacity” is presented in this synopsis.

For links (pdf) to the uncensored version of the report including data on “future excess capacity,” the censored BRAC report as presented to the Commission, the November 2005 DeYoung critique of the process, and a DoD email message suggesting that the suppressed data be classified, see this page.

Resources on Space Policy

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has produced a revised edition of its “basic doctrine” which generally “explains what geospatial intelligence–or GEOINT–is, how it has evolved and how it contributes to our nation’s security.” See “Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Basic Doctrine,” Publication 1-0, September 2006 (6.2 MB PDF).

The U.S. Air Force watches the skies by means of the Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) system. An introduction to GEODSS, its structure, history and contributions, was prepared by Allen Thomson in A GEODSS Sourcebook (4.2 MB PDF).

This week the People’s Republic of China successfully launched two satellites into orbit. Earlier this month, China issued a white paper on “China’s Space Activities in 2006” (pdf).

Argentina, Arsenic and More from CRS

Some recent reports of the Congressional Research Service which have not been made readily available to the public include the following (all pdf).

“The War Crimes Act: Current Issues,” updated October 2, 2006.

“Honduras: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations,” updated October 13, 2006.

“Argentina: Political Conditions and U.S. Relations,” updated October 12, 2006.

“Arsenic in Drinking Water: Regulatory Developments and Issues,” updated October 5, 2006.

“Defense: FY2007 Authorization and Appropriations,” updated September 5, 2006.

“North Korea: Terrorism List Removal?,” updated August 12, 2004.

“Chemical Facility Security,” updated August 2, 2006.

Reaffirming the Nuclear Umbrella: Nuclear Policy on Autopilot

In condemning the North Korean nuclear test and repeating its call for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, one of the Bush administration’s first acts ironically has been to reaffirm the importance of nuclear weapons in the region.

“The United States will meet the full range of our deterrent and security commitments,” President Bush told Japan and South Korea after last week’s test. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice strongly hinted that the commitments potentially include nuclear strikes against North Korea.

But is it helpful or counterproductive at this stage to threaten North Korea with nuclear weapons?
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Cultivating Military Leadership in a Democracy

A new U.S. Army Field Manual (pdf) presents a vision of excellence in military leadership and articulates principles by which such excellence may be achieved.

“It is critical that Army leaders be agile, multiskilled pentathletes who have strong moral character, broad knowledge, and keen intellect.”

But in America, the “warrior ethos” is not an independent value, the Army manual explains. Rather, the value of military leadership derives from the constitutional order that it serves and supports.

“The Army’s military and civilian leaders are instruments of the people of the United States.”

Furthermore, the effectiveness of Army leadership is dependent on the quality and wisdom of the elected leaders of the country.

“The elected government commits forces only after due consideration and in compliance with our national laws and values,” the manual says. “Understanding this process gives our Army moral strength and unwavering confidence when committed to war.”

The 200 page manual presents extensive theoretical as well as inspirational material and a bibliography for further study.

See U.S. Army Field Manual FM 6-22, “Army Leadership: Competent, Confident, and Agile,” October 12, 2006 (4.4 MB PDF).

CRS on Arms Sales and Proliferation

Several recently updated reports from the Congressional Research Service, not readily available to the public, provide an introduction to the subject of conventional arms sales and the proliferation of weapons technology (all pdf).

“International Small Arms and Light Weapons Transfers: U.S. Policy,” updated October 2, 2006.

“Military Technology and Conventional Weapons Export Controls: The Wassenaar Arrangement,” updated September 29, 2006.

“Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan: Effects and Countermeasures,” updated September 25, 2006.

“Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process,” December 20, 2002.

Still More from CRS

Some more reports from the Congressional Research Service on diverse topics include the following (all pdf).

“Freedom of Information Act Amendments: 109th Congress,” updated September 22, 2006.

“The Endangered Species Act and ‘Sound Science’,” updated October 5, 2006.

“Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2007,” updated October 10, 2006.

“Globalizing Cooperative Threat Reduction: A Survey of Options,” updated October 5, 2006.

“Iran’s Influence in Iraq,” updated September 29, 2006.

“Project BioShield,” updated September 27, 2006.

ODNI Plan Seeks to Foster Intelligence Community Integration

The U.S. intelligence community can and should form a more integrated whole without its member agencies sacrificing their individual character, according to a Five Year Strategic Human Capital Plan (pdf) from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

“A truly integrated IC is the only answer to the myriad threats that we face,” the newly disclosed June 2006 Plan states.

But “a national intelligence ‘service’ does not depend on or require a monolithic, homogeneous institutional culture, or a one-size-fits-all set of personnel rules and procedures (although some uniformity will undoubtedly be necessary).”

“I absolutely respect the cultures and traditions of the individual agencies,” Ron Sanders, the ODNI Chief Human Capital Officer told Secrecy News. “But this is one team, one fight. We have to come together in an integrated way.”

The 47 page Human Capital Plan accordingly outlines an approach to achieving what it calls “unity without uniformity.”

The term “human capital” (now used in place of “human resources”) encompasses all aspects of personnel management, from recruitment, hiring, salary and benefits, to training, promotion and termination. While it is not an intelligence function per se, it cuts to the core of the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy.

The Plan also provides new insight into a host of challenging intelligence community personnel matters, including workforce diversity, competition with the commercial sector, “generation gaps” within the intelligence community and security clearance policy.

A copy was released today in response to a request from Secrecy News.

See “The US Intelligence Community’s Five Year Strategic Human Capital Plan,” June 22, 2006 (released October 18, 2006).