OLC: President May Withhold WMD Info from Congress

Despite an explicit statutory requirement to keep Congress “fully and currently informed” about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the President may withhold proliferation-related information from Congress if he determines that doing so could harm the national security, according to a sweeping opinion from the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that was prepared in 2003. The opinion, written by then-OLC deputy John C. Yoo, was released this week under the Freedom of […]

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Security Assistance & Foreign Internal Defense

Through its international security assistance programs, the United States advances its foreign policy agenda, exercises influence, sometimes wreaks havoc or abets abusive conduct, and now and then does good things. Security assistance refers to a variety of programs involving arms sales abroad, military training of foreign security services, and other defense-related activities. A new non-profit website called Security Assistance Monitor presents “all publicly available data on U.S. foreign security assistance programs worldwide from 2000 to […]

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Intelligence Agencies Have a “Duty to Warn” Endangered Persons

Intelligence agencies that discover a threat to a person’s life or safety are obliged to alert the intended target in most cases as long as they can do so without compromising intelligence sources and methods, a new intelligence community directive instructs. A U.S. intelligence agency “that collects or acquires credible and specific information indicating an impending threat of intentional killing, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping directed at a person or group of people shall have […]

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Moving Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems to Global Deployment

  In the FAS Special Report entitled, Moving Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems to Global Deployment, Charles D. Ferguson, FAS President, identifies the major factors that will affect deployment of advanced reactors (often referred to as Generation IV reactors) in the coming years to decades and analyzes what industry and governments need to do to move forward toward the ultimate goal of widespread deployment of potentially hundreds of highly energy-efficient, much safer, more proliferation-resistant, and economically-competitive nuclear power systems. Moreover, the report looks at lessons learned from the history of development and deployment of Generation II and III reactors and seeks to learn explicitly about the reasons for the predominant use of light water reactors. It then seeks to apply these lessons to current efforts to develop advanced nuclear energy systems. In the process of that assessment, the report reviews the status of the global cooperative and national efforts to develop and eventually deploy advanced nuclear energy systems. The main intentions of the […]

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Six Achievable Steps for Implementing an Effective Verification Regime for a Nuclear Agreement with Iran

  Now that an agreement has been reached between the P5+1 and Iran, a non-partisan task force convened by FAS has published Six Achievable Steps for Implementing an Effective Verification Regime for a Nuclear Agreement with Iran, a report that addresses anticipated implementation challenges and offers findings and recommendations for strengthening the implementation process both internationally and within the United States. Over the last 20 months, Iran has been in negotiations with the P5+1 regarding its nuclear program, culminating in an agreement on July 14, 2015 that was memorialized in a 159-page text. The essence of the agreement is that Iran has offered the P5+1 constraints on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. As part of these negotiations, in paragraph iii of the Preamble and General Conditions, “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” The negotiation process and the resulting agreement […]

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Air Force Issues Guidance on “Media Operations”

As a rule, U.S. Air Force personnel should not employ physical violence against news reporters who disobey their instructions, newly updated Air Force guidance says. If reporters are present at the scene of an accident or incident in which Air Force classified information is exposed, Air Force officials should “explain the situation and ask the media to cooperate.” But “Do not use force if media representatives refuse to cooperate unless declared an NDA [National Defense […]

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China’s Science of Military Strategy (2013)

Updated below In 2013, the Academy of Military Sciences of the People’s Liberation Army of China issued a revised edition of its authoritative, influential publication “The Science of Military Strategy” (SMS) for the first time since 2001. “Each new edition of the SMS is closely scrutinized by China hands in the West for the valuable insights it provides into the evolving thinking of the PLA on a range of strategically important topics,” wrote Joe McReynolds […]

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Mass Shootings Becoming More Prevalent, CRS Finds

Mass murder involving firearms has become more prevalent in the United States over recent decades, according to data presented in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. In the 1970s, there was an average of 1.1 such mass homicide incidents per year, with 5.5 victims murdered and 2.0 wounded per incident. The numbers have increased each decade since then. By 2010-2013, there was an average of 4.5 incidents per year, with 7.4 victims murdered […]

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Crowd-Sourcing the Treaty Verification Problem

Verification of international treaties and arms control agreements such as the pending Iran nuclear deal has traditionally relied upon formal inspections backed by clandestine intelligence collection. But today, the widespread availability of sensors of many types complemented by social media creates the possibility of crowd-sourcing the verification task using open source data. “Never before has so much information and analysis been so widely and openly available. The opportunities for addressing future [treaty] monitoring challenges include […]

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US Nuclear Weapons Base In Italy Eyed By Alleged Terrorists

By Hans M. Kristensen Two suspected terrorists arrested by the Italian police allegedly were planning an attack against the nuclear weapons base at Ghedi. The base stores 20 US B61 nuclear bombs earmarked for delivery by Italian PA-200 Tornado fighter-bombers in war. Nuclear security and strike exercises were conducted at the base in 2014. During peacetime the bombs are under the custody of the US Air Force 704th Munitions Support Squadron (MUNSS), a 130-personnel strong […]

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