SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2012, Issue No. 123
December 10, 2012

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

SENATE PUTS BRAKES ON DEFENSE CLANDESTINE SERVICE

The Senate moved last week to restrain the rapid growth of the Defense Clandestine Service, the Pentagon's human intelligence operation.

Under a provision of the FY2013 defense authorization act that was approved on December 4, the Pentagon would be prohibited from hiring any more spies than it had as of last April, and it would have to provide detailed cost estimates and program plans in forthcoming reports to Congress.

"DoD needs to demonstrate that it can improve the management of clandestine HUMINT before undertaking any further expansion," the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote in a report on the new legislation.

Longstanding problems with defense human intelligence cited by the Committee include: "inefficient utilization of personnel trained at significant expense to conduct clandestine HUMINT; poor or non-existent career management for trained HUMINT personnel; cover challenges; and unproductive deployment locations."

The Committee noted further that "President Bush authorized 50 percent growth in the CIA's case officer workforce, which followed significant growth under President Clinton. Since 9/11, DOD's case officer ranks have grown substantially as well. The committee is concerned that, despite this expansion and the winding down of two overseas conflicts that required large HUMINT resources, DOD believes that its needs are not being met."

Instead of an ambitious expansion, a tailored reduction in defense intelligence spending might be more appropriate, the Committee said.

"If DOD is able to utilize existing resources much more effectively, the case could be made that investment in this area could decline, rather than remain steady or grow, to assist the Department in managing its fiscal and personnel challenges," the Senate Committee wrote.

The Washington Post published a revealing account of Pentagon plans to expand the size and reach of the defense human intelligence program in "DIA sending hundreds more spies overseas" by Greg Miller, December 1.

Along with overhead surveillance, bolstering human intelligence has been the focus of one of two major defense intelligence initiatives, said Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) Michael G. Vickers last October. The Defense Clandestine Service "enable[s] us to be more effective in the collection of national-level clandestine human intelligence across a range of targets of paramount interest to the Department of Defense," he said.

The latest issues of the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, released under the Freedom of Information Act, are available here (in some very large pdf files):

"A Short History of Army Intelligence" by Michael E. Bigelow of US Army Intelligence and Security Command, dated July 2012, is available here:

Newly updated doctrine from the Joint Chiefs of Staff includes Information Operations, JP 3-13, 27 November 2012:

and Joint Forcible Entry Operations, JP 3-18, 27 November 2012:

The defense authorization bill approved by the Senate last week also called upon the Pentagon to expedite the domestic use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and their integration into National Airspace System (NAS).

"While progress has been made in the last 5 years [in integrating UASs into domestic airspace], the pace of development must be accelerated," the Senate Armed Services Committee said in its report on the bill. "Greater cross-agency collaboration and resource sharing will contribute to that objective."

"Without the ability to operate freely and routinely in the NAS, UAS development and training -- and ultimately operational capabilities -- will be severely impacted," the Senate Committee said.


OPEN SOURCE TECHNOLOGIES FOR ARMS CONTROL

Members of the public are invited to develop and submit ideas to an essay contest on the potential uses of open source information and technology to support international arms control initiatives.

The State Department is sponsoring the contest in partnership with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Moscow-based Center for Policy Studies.

"The contest aims to harness the ingenuity of American and Russian citizens to think creatively about innovative ways to use open source information and communication technologies for arms control verification, compliance monitoring, and monitoring of sensitive facilities," the CNS said in its announcement.

While an essay contest is not a momentous undertaking, this one does seem to represent a wholesome awareness that the underlying realities of national security are changing in fundamental ways. It follows that national security policies -- including classification policies and public engagement -- need to adapt accordingly.

"Diplomacy today is very different than it was at the dawn of the nuclear age," the State Department said. "More often diplomacy is happening in the open, and at quicker speeds."

"The astonishing advancements in information and communication technologies include new tools and capabilities that could help support arms control transparency and compliance. This essay contest aims to encourage more public participation, discussion and thought on arms control," the State Department said.

There is already an impressive history of public participation in arms control efforts, notably including the work of Thomas Cochran and the Natural Resources Defense Council in demonstrating seismic monitoring for verification of a low-threshold nuclear test ban.


IRAN'S BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAM, AND MORE FROM CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has not made publicly available include the following.

Iran's Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Programs, December 6, 2012:

Syria's Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress, December 5, 2012:

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations, December 6, 2012:

In Brief: Next Steps in the War in Afghanistan? Issues for Congress, December 6, 2012:

Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians, December 6, 2012:

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents, December 4, 2012:

Right to Work Laws: Legislative Background and Empirical Research, December 6, 2012:

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

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