SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 36
March 21, 2006

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

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US STRATEGIC STRIKE SKILLS ARE FADING, DSB WARNS

The U.S. military faces an erosion of the skills that it needs to develop and maintain strategic nuclear and non-nuclear strike forces, according to a new study by the Defense Science Board (DSB).

"It appears that a serious loss of certain critical strategic strike skills may occur within the next decade" as senior design and operations personnel retire, the DSB study said.

"The strategic strike area most at risk today is ballistic missiles: Current skills may not be able to cope with unanticipated failures requiring analysis, testing, and redesign."

"Design skills are rapidly disappearing, both for major redesigns of current systems and for the design of new strategic systems."

"DoD and industry have difficulty attracting and retaining the best and brightest students to the science and engineering disciplines relevant to maintaining current and future strategic strike capabilities," according to the DSB.

These findings are elaborated in the 89 page report with respect to ballistic missiles, bombers and other strategic strike platforms and systems.

See "Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Future Strategic Strike Skills," March 2006 (1.9 MB PDF):

This document was password-protected by DSB so as to prevent copying or printing of the report.


IN CONGRESS

A House resolution to investigate the so-called Downing Street memo on pre-war intelligence on Iraq was considered and rejected, along with two other resolutions on Iraq and the Valerie Plame case, in a September 14, 2005 markup by the House Committee on International Relations. A report of that Committee markup has now been published and is posted here:

Sen. Arlen Specter introduced his "National Security Surveillance Act" last week that would subject the Bush Administration's warrantless surveillance program to the adjudication of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. See his March 16 statement of introduction here:

Also on March 16, Senator Dewine and three Republican colleagues introduced their "Terrorist Surveillance Act" which would nullify the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and authorize warrantless surveillance for up to 45 days without any judicial authorization. See:


IN THE NEWS

The Department of Defense withdrew from its web site a DoD inspector general report that was critical of information security in the Missile Defense Agency's ground-based missile defense system. Federal Computer Week reported on the removal of the document and posted the missing document on its own web site. See "DOD removes missile defense system report from Web site" by Bob Brewin, Federal Computer Week, March 20:

Several critical assessments of the "sensitive but unclassified" information control marking were discussed in "New Reports Raise Questions About Secrecy Stamps" by Rebecca Carr, Cox News Service, March 19:

The consequences of applying espionage statutes not only to leakers but also to unauthorized recipients of classified information were considered by Fred Kaplan in "Spies Like Us: Listening to leakers could land you in jail," Slate, March 17:


SELECTED CRS REPORTS ON FOREIGN POLICY

Some notable new reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

"The Middle East Peace Talks," updated March 16, 2006:

"Terrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends," updated March 9, 2006:

"North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program," updated February 21, 2006:

"Nepal: Background and U.S. Relations," updated February 2, 2006:

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Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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