FAS Roundup- October 24, 2011

By October 24, 2011

One of the benefits of FAS membership is receiving weekly updates regarding the latest news and information on science and technology issues affecting our world. I am excited to share with you a new e-newsletter that will be sent to members every week, highlighting events, publications, reports and news from FAS and our experts about the urgent need for a more secure world.

From the Blogs

  • Invention Secrecy on the Rise: Steve Aftergood writes about the Invention Secrecy Act, which authorizes the government to block the disclosure of a patent application if it contains information that might be “detrimental to the national security.”  Remarkably, this secrecy authority extends even to privately-generated inventions that the government does not own or control. During fiscal year 2011, there were 143 new secrecy orders imposed on patent applications under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported this week. This represents an increase of 66% over the year before, and it is the highest number of new secrecy orders in a single year since 1998.


  • Last week, the trial of alleged arms sale dealer Viktor Bout began in New York. Bout (a former Soviet officer) is accused of agreeing to sell arms to Colombian rebels. FAS obtained documents that are relevant to the case against Bout.
  • NGA Releases Declassified Budget Documents: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency(NGA) hired 600 to 700 new employees each year between 2005 and 2008, newly released budget documents indicate.  Still, “the coming wave of retirement… presents significant risks that the program will lose valuable institutional knowledge and critical skills and capability.”These observations were presented in NGA’s annual budget justification materials for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011 (pdf).  Unclassified excerpts of the budget documents were released by NGA last week in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from the Federation of American Scientists.



  • On October 12, 2011, FAS hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill for over 30 Congressional staffers regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The event coincided with the release of FAS’s new report co-authored by Dr. Ali Vaez, Director of the Iran Project and Dr. Charles D. Ferguson, FAS President, which analyzes options for enhanced safeguards to ensure that the Iranian nuclear program remains peaceful.

FAS in the News

Job Opportunities at FAS

  • Water and Weatherization Fellowship, Earth Systems Program: FAS is seeking a highly motivated graduate fellow for an independent research project exploring the link between energy efficiency and water consumption in the built environment. Click here to read the job description.



Categories: FAS Roundup