Author: Katie Colten

FAS Roundup: January 28, 2013

Former CIA officer sentenced for leak, Pentagon relaxes censorship of Afghan war memoir and much more. From the Blogs ODNI Releases FY 2009 Budget Book (Redacted): The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released a heavily redacted version of its Congressional Budget Justification Book for Fiscal Year 2009 in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act. Steven Aftergood writes that although most of the substance of the document has been withheld, a number of details of interest (to some) have been preserved. Pentagon Relaxes Censorship of Afghan War Memoir: In 2010, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer wrote a memoir of his service as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan called “Operation Dark Heart”. The Department of Defense intervened to block publication, asserting that the manuscript contained classified information.  An initial print run of the book was destroyed, and the work was republished with hundreds of passages redacted. Now the Pentagon has decided that many of the claimed redactions are no longer necessary, and may be disclosed in future editions of the book.

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FAS Roundup: January 21, 2013

U.S. and North Korea relations, disposal of nuclear weapons components and much more. From the Blogs Strategy Lacking for Disposal of Nuclear Weapons Components: According to an internal Department of Energy contractor report, there is a “large inventory” of classified nuclear weapons components “scattered across” the nation’s nuclear weapons complex and awaiting disposal. But, there is no effective disposal strategy currently in place. Improving Intelligence on Emerging Bioweapons Threats- New Engagements Needed Between Intelligence and Academia: With advances in life sciences and biotechnology, there has been an increase in bioweapons capabilities access for a number of actors. In a new op-ed posted on the Virtual Biosecurity Center, Dr. Kathleen Vogel, Professor at Cornell University, about the need for more engagement between the academic and intelligence communities to detect new types of bioweapons threats. Sandia Scientists Model Dynamics of Social Protest: Steven Aftergood writes that researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have been studying the ways that information, ideas and behaviors propagate through social networks in order to gain advance warning of cyber attacks or other threatening behavior.

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FAS Roundup: January 14, 2013

 New debate on cyber security, sailors sue TEPCO and much more. Up for Debate: U.S. Cyber Policy The United States has incorporated cyber security into its foreign policy, using the Stuxnet worm to destroy nearly 1,000 Iranian centrifuges in June 2012. Countries such as Iran are also using  cyber technologies to cause disruptions such as the October 2012 cyberattacks on U.S. banks. With the growing threat of cyber attacks, how should the U.S. operate in this arena? Has cyber warfare made the United States more or less safe? In a new edition of the FAS online debate series “Up for Debate,” Mr. Joe Costa of the Cohen Group, Dr. James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS),and Dr. Martin Libicki of the RAND Corporation debate how the United States should operate within the cyber domain. Read the debate here.

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Preparatory Commission CTBTO Conference

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), an international organization based in Vienna, is organizing a science and technology conference in Vienna from June 17-21, 2013.

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FAS Roundup: January 7, 2013

Iran's intelligence ministry, intelligence oversight and public accountability, new CRS reports and much more. From the Blogs Senate Passes Intelligence Bill Without Anti-Leak Measures: On December 28, the Senate passed the FY2013 intelligence authorization act after most of the controversial provisions intended to combat leaks had been removed. The provisions that were removed from the final bill included restrictions on background briefings for the press, limits on media commentary by former government officials, and authority for the DNI to unilaterally revoke the pension of a suspected leaker. Understanding Defense Acquisition and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as the CTBT, U.S. special op forces, U.S. Army drawdown and restructuring, tax policy and a new rule from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect radioactive material.

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FAS Roundup: December 24, 2012

New JASON report, Congress allows reclassification of restricted data and much more. From the Blogs JASON on "Compressive Sensing" for DoD Sensors: The latest report from the elite JASON science advisory panel is devoted to the subject of “compressive sensing.”  This term generally refers to the use of sensors for imaging (or other sensing) of an object in a manner that uses a limited subset of the available data in order to improve efficiency or conserve resources. Detained Linguist Released Under Supervision: Former Navy contract linguist James Hitselberger, who has been charged under the Espionage Act with mishandling classified records, was ordered released under supervision while awaiting trial on December 19. Mr. Hitselberger is a multi-lingual translator and collector of rare documents, including records that are now housed in a dedicated collection at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.  Unfortunately for him, the government says that his collection activity extends to some documents that are currently classified.

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FAS Roundup: December 17, 2012

New report on U.S. and Russian arms control, Instagram arms control and much more. Give the Gift of FAS Membership This Holiday Season Share your passion and commitment to a safer and more secure world by giving the gift of a one-year membership to FAS for $35. Introduce a friend or loved one to the longest-serving organization committed to providing high quality research addressing nuclear weapons and other security risks. Recipient will be notified of your gift on the morning of December 25, 2012. To give a FAS gift membership this holiday season click here. New Report: Trimming Nuclear Excess The United States and Russia have significantly reduced their nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile has declined from more than 19,000 in 1991 to approximately 4,650 today. The history of the Russian stockpile is less well known but is estimated to have declined more than five-fold in the same time period from about 30,000 warheads to roughly 4,500 today. Russia and the United States currently hold more than 90 percent of the world’s total inventory of nuclear warheads. In a new FAS report, Mr. Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project, discusses options for how the United States and Russia can continue to reduce nuclear forces. Read the report here.

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FAS Roundup: December 10, 2012

New START data, Syria's chemical weapons, transparency on U.S. nuclear forces and much more.   Why Assad Won't Use His Chemical Weapons Syria likely has one of the largest and most sophisticated chemical weapon programs in the world, including hundreds of tons of sarin. There are  reports this week that Syria is preparing to deploy its chemical arsenal against rebels. In a new op-ed in Foreign Policy, Charles Blair writes that the greater threat in Syria is terrorist acquisition of chemical weapons if the military loses control over relevant sites and facilities. The Pentagon estimated earlier this year that it would take more than 75,000 troops to secure Syria's chemical weapons against theft and that assumes that U.S. intelligence knows precisely where they all are. Read the op-ed here.

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FAS Roundup: December 3, 2012

B-61 12 bomb contract signed, new CRS reports, and much more. From the Blogs Classification Decisions are Reviewable by Courts, Gov't Admits: Executive branch decisions to classify national security information are subject to judicial review in Freedom of Information Act cases, government attorneys acknowledged in a brief filed on November 27. That potentially explosive question arose following an extraordinary ruling by a federal judge ordering the U.S. Trade Representative to release a one-page classified document that had been requested under the FOIA by the Center for International Environmental Law. B-61 12: Contract Signed for Improving Precision of Nuclear Bomb: This week, the U.S. Air Force’s new precision-guided nuclear bomb B61-12 moved one step closer to reality with the Pentagon issuing a $178.6 million contract to Boeing. The expensive B61-12 project will use the 50-kiloton warhead from the B61-4 gravity bomb but add the tail kit to increase the accuracy and boost the target kill capability to one similar to the 360-kiloton strategic B61-7 bomb.The U.S. Air Force plans to deploy some of the B61-12s in Europe late in the decade for delivery by F-15E, F-16, F-35 and Tornado aircraft to replace the B61-4s currently deployed in Europe.

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FAS Roundup: November 13, 2012

Policy recommendations to the Obama administration, conflict with Iran and much more. FAS Symposium on Catastrophic Threats and Awards Ceremony Only three days after the national election, FAS hosted a day-long symposium that featured distinguished speakers and recommendations to the Obama administration on how best to respond to catastrophic threats to national security at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The memo recommendations can be found here (PDF). FAS also hosted the 2012 Awards Ceremony luncheon recognizing outstanding individuals who have made a distinctive contribution to national security. Dr. John Ahearne was honored with the 2012 Richard L. Garwin Award, Dr. Sidney Drell received the 2012 Public Service Award, and Dr. Rosa Ovshinsky accepted the 2012 Hans Bethe Award on behalf of the late Mr. Stanford Ovshinsky. Dr. Drell shared the honor of the Public Service Award with Dr. Henry Kissinger, Senator Sam Nunn, Dr. William J. Perry, and Mr. George P. Shultz. For more information on the award winners and to view Senator Nunn's acceptance video, click here.

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