New Report on Aftermath of Fukushima Nuclear Accident

The U.S.-Japan Nuclear Working Group, co-chaired by FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson, has released a new report recommending priorities for the Japanese government following the March 11, 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

USJapanNukeReportApril2013

The U.S.-Japan Nuclear Working Group is composed of bi-national experts who have come together to examine the broader strategic implications of the Fukushima accident. The mission of the group is to understand, articulate and advocate for shared strategic interests between the United States and Japan which could be impacted through changes to Japan’s energy program. In the past twelve months, the group has conducted meetings with industry leaders and policymakers in Japan, the United States and the nuclear governance community in Vienna to examine the implications of Japan’s future energy policy. As a result of these meetings, the group released a report of its findings and recommendations, “Statement on Shared Strategic Priorities in the Aftermath of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident”.

The report discusses specific issues that must be addressed regardless of Japan’s energy policy decisions, including:  strategy for reducing Japan’s plutonium stockpile, new standards for radiation safety and environmental cleanup and treatment of spent nuclear fuel.

The report also examines broader concerns to Japan’s energy policy including:  climate change concerns, emerging nuclear safety regulations and global nuclear nonproliferation leadership (as Japan is a non-nuclear weapons state with advanced nuclear energy capabilities). The group offers strategic recommendations for Japanese and U.S. industries  and governments regarding the direction of Japan’s energy policy, and how both countries can work together for joint energy security.

Read the report here (PDF).

For more information on the U.S.-Japan Nuclear Working Group, click here.

Better Understanding North Korea: Q&A with Seven East Asian Experts, Part 1

North Korea flag nuclearEditor’s Note: This is the first of two postings of a Q&A conducted primarily by the Federation of American Scientists regarding the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. Developed and edited by Charles P. Blair, Mark Jansson, and Devin H. Ellis, the authors’ responses have not been edited; all views expressed by these subject-matter experts are their own. Please note that additional terms are used to refer to North Korea and South Korea, i.e., the DPRK and ROK respectively.

Researchers from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) asked seven individuals who are experts in East Asia about the the recent escalation in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Is North Korea serious about their threats and are we on the brink of war? What influence does China exert over DPRK, and what influence is China wiling to exert over the DPRK? How does the increase in tension affect South Korean President Park Guen-he’s political agenda?

This is the first part of the Q&A featuring Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, Dr. Balbina Hwang, Ms. Duyeon Kim and Dr. Leon Sigal. Read part two here.

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FAS Roundup: April 15, 2013

Q&A on North Korea, letter from Nobel Laureates to Congress, B61 bomb, and much more.

Better Understanding North Korea: Q&A with Seven East Asian Experts

Researchers from FAS asked seven individuals who are experts in East Asia about the the recent escalation in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Is North Korea serious about their threats and are we on the brink of war? What influence does China exert over DPRK, and what influence is China wiling to exert over the DPRK? How does the increase in tension affect South Korean President Park Guen-he’s political agenda?

This is the first part of the Q&A featuring Dr. Ted Carpenter, Dr. Balbina Hwang, Ms. Duyeon Kim and Dr. Leon Sigal. The second part will be released on April 16th.

Read the first part here.

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Number of Security Cleared Personnel Grew in 2012

The number of people who are cleared for access to classified information continued to rise in 2012 to more than 4.9 million, according to a new annual report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  This is only the third official tally of government-wide security clearance activity ever prepared, and it is the largest reported to date.

The total number of cleared personnel as of October 1, 2012 was 4,917,751.  Although the number of contractors who held a clearance declined in 2012, the number of eligible government employees grew at a faster rate, yielding a net increase of 54,199 clearances, or 1.1 percent, from the year before.

It is possible that there were more security-cleared Americans at some points during the Cold War, when there was a larger standing military with more cleared military personnel than there are today.  But until 2010, no comprehensive account of the size of the security clearance system had ever been produced.  So the new 4.9 million figure is the largest official figure ever published.

A 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office had estimated that 2.4 million people held clearances, excluding some intelligence agency employees.  But even allowing for one or two hundred thousand cleared intelligence personnel, this turned out to underestimate the case by nearly 50%.  A 1995 GAO report presented an estimate of 3.2 million persons as of 1993.

(Strictly speaking, the new ODNI report does not present data on the number of clearances but rather on the number of people who have been investigated and deemed “eligible” for a clearance, regardless of whether or not they have been granted access to classified information in fact. In addition to a security clearance, an individual is also supposed to have a “need to know” particular classified information in order to gain access to it.)

During 2012, the CIA denied 4.9% of the clearance applications that it reviewed, the report indicated, while NRO denied 5.9% and NSA denied 5.7%.  Several of the intelligence agencies reported that they had individual security clearance investigations that had remained open in excess of one year.

“The IC faces challenges in clearing individuals with unique or critical skills — such as highly desirable language abilities — who often have significant foreign associations that may take additional time to investigate and adjudicate,” the new report said.

The report notes that it was prepared in fulfillment of a requirement in the 2010 intelligence authorization act.  It does not mention the fact that the DNI asked Congress to cancel that requirement last year.

The DNI’s request to eliminate the report was initially approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee (as first noted by Marcy Wheeler of the Emptywheel blog). But then several public interest groups wrote to ask the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to preserve the annual reporting requirement, arguing that it provided unique public insight into the size and operation of the security clearance system. The Committees concurred, and the reporting requirement was retained.

In the absence of similar public attention and intervention, another intelligence community report to Congress on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was discontinued at the DNI’s request, to the dismay of students of arms control.

A pending change to the security clearance process is intended to encourage mental health counseling, but some say it may generate new confusion, reported Josh Gerstein in Politico today.

U.S. Aid to Pakistan, and More from CRS

Some lightly updated reports produced lately by the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2014, April 11, 2013

Sensitive Covert Action Notifications: Oversight Options for Congress, April 10, 2013

Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions, April 10, 2013

Navy Ship Names: Background For Congress, April 8, 2013

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, April 5, 2013

$1 Billion for a Nuclear Bomb Tail

The U.S. Air Force plans to spend more than $1 billion on developing a guided tailkit to increase the accuracy of the B61 nuclear bomb.

The cost is detailed (to some extent) in the Air Force’s budget request for FY2014, which shows development and engineering through FY2014 and full-scaled production starting in  FY2015.

The annual costs increase by nearly 200 percent from $67.9 million in FY2014 to more than $200 million in FY2015. The high cost level will be retained for three years until the project decreases after production ceases in FY2018. Some additional funding is needed after that to complete the integration and certification on (see graph).

b61-tailcost

Production of the guided tailkit is intended to match completion of the first new B61-12 bomb in 2019, a program that is estimated to cost more than $10 billion. Although the number is a secret, it is thought that the U.S. plans to produce roughly 400 B61-12s.

The expensive guided tailkit is needed, advocates claim, to make it possible to use the 50-kiloton nuclear explosive package from the tactical B61-4 bomb in the new B61-12 against targets that today require the 360-kiloton strategic B61-7 bomb. By increasing accuracy, the B61-12 becomes more useable because it significantly reduces the amount of radioactive fallout created in an attack.

Once deployed in Europe, the B61-12 will also be able to hold at risk targets that the B61-3 and B61-4 bombs currently deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey cannot target.

The B61-12 program will maintain compatibility on all five current B61-capable aircraft (B-2A, B-52H, F-16, F-15E and PA 200). In 2015, integration, design and testing will begin on the new stealthy F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. The Air Force budget request shows that B61-12 integration is scheduled for Block 4A and Block 4B aircraft in 2015-2021 with full operational capability in 2022 – three years after the first B61-12 is scheduled to be delivered (see table).

f35-b61_tn

The combination of the new and more accurate guided B61-12 on the stealthy F-35A will significantly increase the capability of the U.S. non-strategic nuclear posture in Europe. This  development is out of tune with U.S. and NATO pledges to reduce the role and reliance on nuclear weapons, and will make it a lot easier for hardliners in the Russian military to reject reductions of Russia’s larger inventory of non-strategic nuclear weapons.

 

This publication was made possible by a grant from the Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

Relation between Health and Security Policies

An overwhelming number of clinics, antiretroviral drugs, and education campaigns have flooded countries hard-hit with HIV/AIDS.  South Africa is one of those countries.  However, even after years of funding efforts and program developments to stop the spread of the disease, South Africa held the title of “world’s rape capital” as late as year 2012.  Once again, health policies have failed to address a key component of global health initiatives—security.  And rampant gender violence is just the beginning.

On April 5, 2013, CSIS hosted an event titled “U.S. Policy Priorities for Global Health Diplomacy and Multilateral Engagement in the Second Obama Term.”  The three speakers included Dr. Nils Daulaire, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs in HHS, Leslie Rowe, Ambassador in the Office of Global Health Diplomacy for the State Department, and Todd Summers, a senior advisor for the CSIS Global Health Policy Center.  The talk overall had a very optimistic ambiance, highlighting the many positive programs that the government developed in tackling global health issues.

However, listening to this talk with a security perspective, I could not help but notice an elephant in the room.  The efforts for multinational collaboration on disease detection and prevention is wonderful, and the work being done to have more accountable finances by having the implementing countries show the donor countries exactly how the funds are being used is worthy of applause.  Nonetheless, security needs must also be met in order to make global health solutions effective and enduring. It is hard to fight HIV in countries like South Africa where gender violence is so rampant that a woman has a better chance of being raped than graduating from high school.  It is hard to fight infectious diseases in countries that have overcrowded refugee camps, with great exposure to vectors that transmit disease and environmental hazards, due to rampant, organized, violent crime in their home.  Humanitarian assistance in the form of vaccines, one-purpose clinics, or money in areas facing war and violence is like passing food through a window to a person being threatened at gunpoint by a man inside.

It is only after years of violent intentions and distrust amongst ethnic groups, communities, and even nations are overcome that the many mutual benefits of improved global health can be appreciated and great strides can be taken towards achieving them.  Marginalized groups facing daily conflict and living in fear are often those very groups that face the greatest biosecurity threats. Their security needs cannot be overlooked if public health is to become a truly “global” enterprise.

Intelligence Budget Requests for 2014 Disclosed

Some $4 billion is being cut from the National Intelligence Program this year as a result of sequestration, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee at a hearing today. He said that the consequences will be severe. Acquisition programs will be “wounded,” ongoing programs will have to be curtailed, and the ensuing degradation of intelligence capabilities will be “insidious” with unforeseeable effects, he said.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed yesterday that the FY 2014 budget request for the National Intelligence Program (NIP) is $48.2 billion.  However, this figure excludes the pending funding request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), so it cannot be directly compared to previous budget allocations, such as the $53.9 billion that was appropriated in FY 2012, or the $52.6 billion that was requested for FY 2013. A summary of the FY 2014 budget request is here.

The Secretary of Defense also disclosed the FY 2014 budget request for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) yesterday, which was $14.6 billion. It also did not include the funding request for Overseas Contingency Operations.  This is a slight decline from the $14.7 billion base request for the MIP last year.  (An additional $4.5 billion was known to have been requested for OCO in the past fiscal year.)

Total intelligence spending (NIP plus MIP) peaked in Fiscal Year 2010, and has been on a downward slope since then. Intelligence budget disclosures from the last several years are tabulated here.

The NIP intelligence budget request was publicly disclosed for the first time in February 2011, in response to a requirement enacted by Congress in the FY 2010 intelligence authorization act. The MIP intelligence budget request was disclosed for the first time in February 2012, even though there was no specific statutory requirement to do so.

Foreign Ownership of U.S. Financial Assets, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Foreign Ownership of U.S. Financial Assets: Implications of a Withdrawal, April 8, 2013

Foreign Investment and National Security: Economic Considerations, April 4, 2013

Financial Market Supervision: Canada’s Perspective, April 4, 2013

The European Union: Foreign and Security Policy, April 8, 2013

The Berne Union: An Overview, April 5, 2013

Japan’s Possible Entry Into the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Its Implications, April 8, 2013

El Salvador: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations, April 5, 2013

Latin America: Terrorism Issues, April 5, 2013

U.S. Policy Towards Burma: Issues for the 113th Congress, March 12, 2013

Congressional Authority to Regulate Firearms: A Legal Overview, April 5, 2013

Procedural Analysis of Private Laws Enacted: 1986-2013, April 9, 2013

U.S. Natural Gas Exports: New Opportunities, Uncertain Outcomes, April 8, 2013

Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review of Fluoridation and Regulation Issues, April 5, 2013

State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues, April 5, 2013

58 Nobel Laureates Urge Congress to Halt Budget Cuts to Science Research

A group of 58 U.S. Nobel Laureates is urging members of Congress to preserve federal funding of long term scientific research for the 2014 fiscal year budget. Today, President Obama released the FY2014 budget, which is sent to Congress for approval and allocation.  With sequestration cuts to agencies which support scientific research and development including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the United States is at risk of falling behind other countries in the development of science and technology.

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) released the letter which was written by Dr. Burton Richter, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in physics, and signed by 58 U.S. Nobel Laureates, many of whom serve on FAS’s Board of Sponsors. Dr. Richter writes that “there is a bipartisan agreement on the importance of federal funding of long-term scientific research. The agreement exists because of recognition that this sort of research fuels the innovation engine that is essential to our economy. The entire federal research, development and demonstration enterprise amounts today to about one percent of our Gross Domestic Product and has steadily fallen over the years, while our rivals in Europe and Asia invest more.”

Dr. Richter underscores the importance of long-term scientific funding for future generations, stating that, “we Nobel Laureates are likely to do well in competition for a reduced level of funding. Our concern is for the younger generation who will be behind the innovations and earn the Prizes of the future.”

“The United States has far surpassed other nations in Nobel Prize winners in the sciences. The ability to foster such talent will be undermined with continued erosion of federal support,” said FAS President Charles D. Ferguson. “FAS is proud to circulate this letter on behalf of Dr. Richter and the Nobel Laureates to raise awareness of potential budget cuts to the United States science industry and future generations of scientists.”

Read the article in the New York Times regarding the letter here.

Click here for the PDF version of the letter or see full text below.

April 9, 2013

Dear Members of Congress:

With the delivery of the President’s budget on April 10, Congress will begin the process of allocating funds to all the areas in the Federal Budget. One of those areas is long-term research and development in the agencies that fund the backbone of the U.S. scientific enterprise: National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as parts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense. There is a bipartisan agreement on the importance of federal funding of long-term scientific research. The President emphasized it in his State of the Union speech and Majority Leader Cantor emphasized it in a recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute. The agreement exists because of recognition that this sort of research fuels the innovation engine that is essential to our economy. The entire federal research, development and demonstration enterprise amounts today to about one percent of our Gross Domestic Product and has steadily fallen over the years, while our rivals in Europe and Asia invest more.

We Nobel Laureates are likely to do well in competition for a reduced level of funding. Our concern is for the younger generation who will be behind the innovations and earn the Prizes of the future. We urge you, even in these financially troubled times, to keep the budgets of the agencies that support science at a level that will keep the pipelines full of the younger generation upon whom our economic vitality will rest in future years.

Respectfully,

Dr. Burton Richter

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

1976 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Peter Agre

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

2003 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Sidney Altman

Yale University

1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Kenneth J. Arrow

Stanford University

1972 Nobel Prize in economic science

Dr. David Baltimore

California Institute of Technology

1975 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Bruce Beutler

UT Southwestern Medical Center

2011 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. J. Michael Bishop

University of California, San Francisco

1989 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Gunter Blobel

The Rockefeller University

1999 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Michael Brown

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

1985 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Thomas Cech

University of Colorado Boulder

1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Martin Chalfie

Columbia University

2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Stanley Cohen

Vanderbilt University

1986 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Leon N. Cooper

Brown University

1972 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. James W. Cronin

Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics

1980 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Robert Curl Jr.

Rice University

1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Johann Deisenhofer

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

1998 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Andrew Fire

Stanford University School of Medicine

2006 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Jerome Friedman

MIT

1990 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Walter Gilbert

Harvard University Professor Emeritus

1980 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Sheldon Lee Glashow

Harvard University

1979 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Roy Glauber

Harvard University

2006 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Carol Greider

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. David J. Gross

University of California, Santa Barbara

2004 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Roger Guillemin

Salk Institute

1977 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. John L. Hall

University of Colorado

2005 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Leland Hartwell

Center for Sustainable Health, Arizona State University

2001 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Dudley R. Herschbach

Harvard University

1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Roald Hoffmann

Cornell University

1981 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Louis J. Ignarro

UCLA School of Medicine

1998 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle

MIT

2001 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Brian Kobilka

Stanford University School of Medicine

2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Walter Kohn

University of California, Santa Barbara

1998 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Roger Kornberg

Stanford University School of Medicine

2006 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Leon Lederman

University of Chicago

1988 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Robert Lefkowitz

Duke University Medical Center

2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Eric Maskin

Harvard University

2007 Nobel Prize in economic science

Dr. John Mather

University of Maryland and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

2006 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Craig Mello

University of Massachusetts Medical School

2006 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Mario Molina

University of California San Diego

1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Dr. Ferid Murad

George Washington University

1998 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Douglas Osheroff

Stanford University

1996 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Martin Perl

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

1995 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Saul Perlmutter

University of California, Berkley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

2011 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. William Phillips

Joint Quantum Institute

1997 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. David Politzer

Caltech

2004 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Adam Riess

Johns Hopkins University

2011 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Richard Roberts

New England Biolabs

1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Brian P. Schmidt

The Australian National University

2011 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Phillip Sharp

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Hamilton Smith

J. Craig Venter Institute

1978 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. George F. Smoot

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

2006 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Thomas Steitz

Yale University

2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Dr. Steven Weinberg

University of Texas at Austin

1979 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Carl E. Wieman

University of British Columbia

2001 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Eric Wieschaus

Princeton University

1995 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Torsten Wiesel

Rockefeller University

1981 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

Dr. Frank Wilczek

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2004 Nobel Prize in physics

Dr. Robert W. Wilson

Bell Laboratories

1978 Nobel Prize in physics