FAS Roundup: September 10, 2012

Thorium reactors, new CRS reports, DoD security policy and much more.

From the Blogs

  • Greater Autonomy for Unmanned Military Systems Urged: The Department of Defense should focus on increasing the autonomy of drones and other unmanned military systems, a new report from the Defense Science Board said. “Autonomy” in this context does not mean “computers making independent decisions and taking uncontrolled action.”  The Board is not calling for the immediate development of Skynet at this time.  Rather, autonomy refers to the automation of a particular function within programmed limits.
  • DoD Security Policy is Incoherent and Unmanageable, IG Says: “DoD security policy is fragmented, redundant, and inconsistent,” according to a new report from the Department of Defense Inspector General.  This is not a new development, the report noted, but one that has persisted despite decades of criticism. The report said that the solution to this fragmentation and incoherence is the development of a comprehensive and integrated security policy.
  • Thorium Reactors and Radioactive Waste: What are the advantages to using thorium-cycle reactors? In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y investigates the reactor design, economics and waste produced by these reactors.

  • U.S.-Israel Military Exercises Spawn Mixed Messages: Throughout much of this year, the U.S. military has been conducting joint military exercises with Israel or planning such exercises.  A descriptive listing of 2012 U.S. exercises with Israel bearing code names like NOBLE MELINDA and RELIANT MERMAID was recently published in a House Armed Services Committee hearing volume on the FY2013 budget request for U.S. European Command (EUCOM). Whatever their intrinsic military value may be, the exercises also serve a messaging function. They constitute signals to internal and external audiences concerning the state of the U.S.-Israel alliance.
  • New Army Doctrinal Publications on Intelligence, Special Ops: Steven Aftergood writes that the U.S. Army  recently began publishing two new series of Army Doctrine Publications (ADP) and Army Doctrine Reference Publications (ADRP). These publications generally offer a digest of existing doctrine in introductory form for broad consumption, with limited modifications and a few updates.


Radiological and Nuclear Non-State Adversaries Database

Mr. Charles Blair, Senior Fellow on State and Non-State Threats, and Mr. Gary Ackerman, Director for Special Projects at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, compiled data on 45 distinct non-state radiological and nuclear perpetrators to form the Radiological and Nuclear Non-State Adversaries Database (RANNSAD). For more information on the database, click here.

Letter to NRC on Nuclear Proliferation Risks of Laser Enrichment

FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson joined 18 nuclear non-proliferation experts in signing a letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) asking it to fulfill its responsibility to assess proliferation threats related to the technologies it regulates.

The NRC is considering the application of Global Laser Enrichment, LLC to operate a large-scale laser enrichment facility based on SILEX. The letter urges the NRC to prepare an assessment of the new technology as it has significant potential proliferation threats. Read the letter here.


FAS in the News


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