FAS Roundup: February 27, 2012
Status of China’s nuclear forces, strides in DoD classification reform, photos and video from FAS Awards Ceremony and much more.
From the Blogs
- Pentagon Defends Record on Secrecy Reform: The Department of Defense has done a better job of complying with changes in national security classification policy than it has gotten credit for, Pentagon officials told a Senate Committee. The number of classification guides that are up to date has increased from 30% to over 70%, the officials said, and a new four-volume information security guide that has been under development since 2009 is in final coordination.
- Media Orgs File Amicus Brief in Sterling Leak Case: Dozens of major news media organizations joined together to defend the notion of a reporter’s privilege to protect the identity of a confidential against compulsory disclosure. The brief is an emphatic chorus of support for James Risen (the New York Times reporter who has been subpoenaed to testify in the case of Jeffrey Sterling, the former CIA officer who is accused of leaking classified information to Mr. Risen), and it offers a clear statement that the public interest in free press is at stake in this case. One thing it does not do, however, is simplify the matter for the appeals court or help to devise some kind of resolution of the conflict between the parties.
- Chinese Nuclear Modernization-Smaller and Later: Last week, Congress received its annual threat assessment from the U.S. intelligence community. Hans Kristensen writes that China’s nuclear arsenal is at a size that makes comparison with U.S. nuclear force level meaningless – even at the lowest level feared by the critics. The threat assessment showed that China’s nuclear force modernization has been slower than predicted during the Bush administration.
- DoD Reports “Impressive Strides” in Updating Classification: Steven Aftergood writes that the Department of Defense says it has cancelled more than 300 of its 1800 classification guides as a result of the ongoing Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (mandated by President Obama’s 2009 executive order to identify and eliminate inappropriate classification requirements). The defunct guides can no longer be used to authorize the classification of national security information.
- Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained new CRS reports on topics such as nonstrategic nuclear weapons, federal budget issues for FY2013 and beyond, and war powers litigation.
- Existential Threats: What does the term “existential threat” exactly mean? There have been recent discussions in the media about these threats, yet there is no universal definition of the term. Dr Y. investigates the meaning on the ScienceWonk blog.
- CIA and Special Ops are “Deconflicted at All Levels”: The conduct of DoD special operations, including coordination between DoD clandestine operations and CIA covert operations, was the subject of an informative hearing held by the House Armed Services Committee in September. Secrecy News has obtained the record of the hearing which was recently published.
- Post-WikiLeaks Network Monitoring Takes Shape: Steven Aftergood writes that the heightened surveillance of classified government information networks, a predictable response to the unauthorized disclosures published by WikiLeaks, is becoming more discernible.
- Photos and video from the 2011 FAS Awards Ceremony honoring Dr. Steven Chu and Dr. Richard Meserve are now available online.
Office Space for Rent
- FAS has office space available for rent in Washington, DC featuring great amenities. For more information, view our ad, or contact Mary Kate Cunningham at [email protected]
Uranium + Peaches
- On Saturday, March 10, 2012 the Arts Council of Princeton and the Princeton Theatre Experiment will present a staged reading of Peter Cook and William Lanouette’s historical play, “Uranium + Peaches” at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Paul Robeson Center in Princeton, NJ. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door. For more information click here.
FAS in the News
- Feb 24: Wired, “Calm Down. Why Iran’s Missiles Can’t (and Won’t) Hit the East Coast”
- Feb 23: Bloomberg, “Manning Faces Arrignment in WikiLeaks Case”
- Feb 23: Washington Times, “WikiLeaks Suspect Defers Plea”
- Feb 23: Lesoir.be, “Des missiles qui attisent bien des convoitises”
- Feb 21: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Rethinking How Many Nuclear Weapons Are Enough”
- Feb 19: New York Times, “WikiLeaks, a Postscript”
- Feb 18: Associated Press, “Boldest Nuclear Cutters Recently? It’s Been GOP”