Author: Katie Colten

FAS Roundup: November 25, 2013

Agreement with Iran, Fall issue of the Public Interest Report, reducing SSBN force and more. FAS Holiday Membership Drive FAS will kick off a holiday membership drive on Friday, November 29 and we need your help! The four day drive will end on Cyber Monday, December 1 at midnight. FAS membership will be 50% off for all new members. The promotional link will be sent out on Friday; please pass along the information and link to those in your network who would be interested in our work.  Thank you for your continued support of FAS; we are very thankful for your participation and feedback. 

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FAS Roundup: March 18, 2013

Bradley Manning takes responsibility, possible changes to security questionnaire, risk and public health and much more. From the Blogs Bradley Manning Takes Responsibility: At an open hearing on February 28, Pfc. Bradley Manning said that he was responsible for providing U.S. government documents to the WikiLeaks website, including a large collection of U.S. State Department cables, a video of a brutal U.S. Army helicopter attack in Baghdad, and other records. A redacted copy of the statement was released by Manning's lawyer on March 11. Deterring Leaks Through Polygraph Testing: Steven Aftergood writes that last summer, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper directed agencies that perform polygraph tests to include a “pre-test dialogue” about the need to prevent leaks of classified information as part of the polygraph interview process. In a July 2012 memorandum to agencies, he said that the CIA’s polygraph program exemplified what he had in mind. The July 2012 memo was released last week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

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FAS Roundup: March 11, 2013

Overview of U.S. nuclear arsenal, Congress requests report on drone surveillance and much more. From the Blogs Congress Requires a Report from DoD on Drone Surveillance: Congress has directed the Secretary of Defense to report on the handling of surveillance data collected by drones operating in domestic airspace. This  provision in the 2013 continuing appropriations conference bill was  approved by the House on March 7. What Were They Thinking?: Back in the day, the U.S. and the USSR constructed over a hundred small HEU-fueled reactors and shipped them all over the world. Today, there are a number of reactors fueled with uranium that could be turned into nuclear weapons. In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y examines nuclear reactors fueled with highly enriched uranium (HEU).

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In Memory: Dr. Donald Glaser

Dr. Donald Glaser, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who served as a member of FAS’s Board of Sponsors for many years, passed away last week at…

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FAS Roundup: March 4, 2013

U.S. nuclear stockpile reductions, radiation and health, accessories for small arms and light weapons, and much more. From the Blogs Senators Ask Surveillance Court to Summarize Opinions: Several members of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court this month to ask the Court to prepare summaries of classified opinions that represent significant interpretations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to facilitate their declassification and public release. The Senate letter, the text of which was not released, stems from an amendment to the FISA Amendments Act that was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley in December to promote declassification of significant Surveillance Court opinions. (Still) Secret U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Reduced: The United States has quietly reduced its nuclear weapons stockpile by nearly 500 warheads since 2009. The current stockpile size represents an approximate 85-percent reduction compared with the peak size in 1967, according to information provided to FAS by the NNSA. The reduction is unilateral and not required by any arms control treaty.

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FAS Roundup: February 25, 2013

Meteors and nukes, additional delays for B61-12, and much more. From the Blogs A New Judge for the FISA Court: Judge Claire V. Eagan of the Northern District of Oklahoma was appointed this month to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by the Chief Justice of the United States. The FIS Court authorizes electronic surveillance and physical searches for intelligence and counterterrorism purposes. Additional Delays Expected in B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Schedule: Hans Kristensen writes that NNSA expects additional delays in the production and delivery of the B61-12 nuclear bomb as a result of sequestration budget cuts. The B61 LEP is already the most expensive and complex warhead modernization program since the Cold War, with cost estimates ranging from $8 billion to more than $10 billion, up from $4 billion in 2010. The price hike has triggered Congressional questions and efforts to trim the program.

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FAS Roundup: February 18, 2013

De-alerting nuclear weapons, Army use of drones, North Korea's test and much more. From the Blogs Army Use of Drones in U.S. is Constrained, Not Prohibited: There are significant barriers to the Army’s use of unmanned aerial systems within the United States, according to a new Army manual, but they are not prohibitive or categorical. The question arises in the context of Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), referring to military assistance to government agencies in disaster response and other domestic emergencies. Options for Reducing Nuclear Weapons Requirements: The Obama administration has decided that it can meet national and international security requirements with 1,000-1,100 deployed strategic nuclear warheads – 450-550 warheads less than planned under the New START Treaty. Hans Kristensen writes that this lower force level has the potential to save billions of dollars, but how much depends on how the administration decides to implement it. Additionally, Kristensen examines the possibilities of what the new  the new U.S. arsenal will look like with these cuts.

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February 11, 2013

Letter to Congress on B61 Bomb, DoD Special Access Programs and much more. From the Blogs Spotlight on DoD Special Access Programs: The procedures for establishing, managing and overseeing special access programs (SAPs) in the Department of Defense are spelled out in an updated DoD Instruction that was issued on February 6. A special access program is a classified program that employs security measures above and beyond those that would normally be used to protect ordinary (or “collateral”) classified information. DoD SAPs have been a focus of controversy in the past, because their intensive secrecy seemed to foster mismanagement. Judge Walton Named Presiding Judge of FISA Court: Steven Aftergood writes that Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts has appointed Judge Reggie B. Walton of the D.C. District Court to serve as Presiding Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, effective February 22, 2013. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reviews and authorizes applications for electronic surveillance and physical search under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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FAS Roundup:February 4, 2013

U.S. drone policy, new CRS reports and much more. From the Blogs Drone Programs Spark Budgetary, Privacy, Legal Concerns: The development of unmanned aerial systems (or drones) for military and civilian applications appears to be accelerating faster than the normal policy process can adapt to it. The use of drones in U.S. air space has sparked privacy, legal and budget concerns. Secrecy News has obtained a new Congressional Research Service report which addresses these concerns and the different drone programs in existence. Safety: We go to great lengths to try to keep ourselves safe, and everything we do to increase our safety and security imposes limits and restricts our options. But with all that we do, perfect safety is an oxymoron. In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y analyzes the quest for perfect safety, and how this is doomed to fail.

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