FAS Roundup: May 12, 2014

Russian ICBM modernization, ODNI requires pre-publication review of all public information and more. From the Blogs JASON Views Challenges of Electronic Health Data: The ongoing transition to electronic storage of individual health information was examined in a newly released study from the JASON scientific advisory panel. The JASON study addresses the tension between personal health information, which is “sensitive and therefore must be carefully safeguarded,” and aggregated population health data, which are “a highly valuable, and largely untapped, resource […]

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Russian ICBM Force Modernization: Arms Control Please!

By Hans M. Kristensen In our Nuclear Notebook on Russian nuclear forces from March this year, Robert S. Norris and I described the significant upgrade that’s underway in Russia’s force of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Over the next decade, all Soviet-era ICBMs will be retired and replaced with a smaller force consisting of mainly five variants of one missile: the SS-27. After more than a decade-and-a-half of introduction, the number of SS-27s now makes […]

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FAS Roundup: May 5, 2014

U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile number declassified, ODNI seeks to obscure CIA role in human intelligence and more. From the Blogs Using Classification to Curb Secrecy: When government employees believe that classified information in their possession is improperly classified, they “are encouraged and expected” to challenge its classification status, according to President Obama’s executive order 13526 (section 1.8). And sometimes they do. In FY 2012, there were 402 classification challenges filed by government employees. Such classification challenges have the potential to […]

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US Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Number Declassified: Only 309 Warheads Cut By Obama Administration

By Hans M. Kristensen After a transparency hiatus of four years, the Obama administration has declassified the size of its nuclear weapons stockpile: 4,804 warheads as of September 2013. The new stockpile size is 309 warheads fewer than the 5,113 warheads that the administration in 2010 reported were in the stockpile as of September 2009. The new number of 4,804 warheads is 154 warheads more than Norris and I have in our latest Nuclear Notebook, […]

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The B61 Family of Nuclear Bombs

By Hans M. Kristensen Robert Norris and I have made an update to our Nuclear Notebook on the B61 nuclear bomb family. Kind of an arcane title but that cozy-feeling title is what the nuclear weapon designers call that half a dozen different types of B61 nuclear weapons that were derived from the original design. And it’s kind of timely, because the Obama administration is about to give birth to the newest member of the […]

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FAS Roundup: April 21, 2014

B61-12 nuclear bomb design features, crisis in Ukraine and more. From the Blogs History of 1953 CIA Covert Action in Iran to be Published: In 1989, the Department of State published a notorious volume that purported to document U.S. foreign policy towards Iran in the early Eisenhower Administration. The volume triggered an avalanche of criticism because it omitted any mention of the CIA’s role in a 1953 covert action that helped overthrow the government of Iran. Later this […]

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Intelligence Directive Bars Unauthorized Contacts with News Media

The Director of National Intelligence has forbidden most intelligence community employees from discussing “intelligence-related information” with a reporter unless they have specific authorization to do so, according to an Intelligence Community Directive that was issued last month. “IC employees… must obtain authorization for contacts with the media” on intelligence-related matters, and “must also report… unplanned or unintentional contact with the media on covered matters,” the Directive stated. The new Directive reflects — and escalates — […]

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Is the Ukrainian Crisis Spiraling Out of Control?

Today’s news shows a heightened nuclear risk due to a dangerous feedback process at work in the Ukraine. The New York Times’ page 1 ominous headline was, “Striking Town, Ukraine Forces Defy Warning,” and the Wall Street Journal echoed the danger, “Ukraine Sends Troops East As Pro-Russia Forces Strike.” Is the Ukrainian crisis spiraling out of control, and if so, what might we do to reverse that dangerous process? The debate has become paralyzed with the […]

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FAS Roundup: April 14, 2014

Obama admin decision weakens New START, countering CIA’s conflict of interest in declassification and more. From the Blogs Countering the CIA’s Conflict of Interest in Declassification: Last week the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to submit the 480-page executive summary, findings and conclusions of its five-year investigation into the post-9/11 CIA Detention and Interrogation Program for declassification review. But in an obvious conflict of interest, the review is expected to be performed by the CIA itself. The standard […]

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