FAS Roundup: April 15, 2013

Q&A on North Korea, letter from Nobel Laureates to Congress, B61 bomb, and much more.

Better Understanding North Korea: Q&A with Seven East Asian Experts

Researchers from FAS asked seven individuals who are experts in East Asia about the the recent escalation in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Is North Korea serious about their threats and are we on the brink of war? What influence does China exert over DPRK, and what influence is China wiling to exert over the DPRK? How does the increase in tension affect South Korean President Park Guen-he’s political agenda?

This is the first part of the Q&A featuring Dr. Ted Carpenter, Dr. Balbina Hwang, Ms. Duyeon Kim and Dr. Leon Sigal. The second part will be released on April 16th.

Read the first part here.

From the Blogs

Intelligence Budget Requests for 2014 Disclosed: Some $4 billion is being cut from the National Intelligence Program this year as a result of sequestration, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Acquisition programs will be “wounded,” ongoing programs will have to be curtailed, and the ensuing degradation of intelligence capabilities will be “insidious” with unforeseeable effects, he said. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed  that the FY 2014 budget request for the National Intelligence Program (NIP) is $48.2 billion.

How Clean is Clean: Should there be a dirty bomb attack, do we insist on cleaning everything up to pre-attack levels or is it OK to leave a little bit of radioactive contamination behind as long as the risk isn’t too high?

Pentagon Manual Urges Precision in Classifying Information: Steven Aftergood writes that the Department of Defense is not particularly concerned with “openness” in the abstract, but it is strongly motivated to conserve resources and reduce discretionary expenditures. That imperative dictates the discriminating use of national security secrecy — at least in theory — because of the costs incurred by classification. A newly reissued DoD manual discourages broad, sweeping classification of information.  Through an extended questionnaire for classifiers, it seeks “to systematically bound and refine the scope of the analysis needed to determine which items warrant protection through security classification.

$1Billion for a Nuclear Bomb Tail: Hans Kristensen writes that the  U.S. Air Force plans to spend more than $1 billion on developing a guided tailkit to increase the accuracy of the B61 nuclear bomb. The annual costs increase by nearly 200 percent from $67.9 million in FY2014 to more than $200 million in FY2015. The high cost level will be retained for three years until the project decreases after production ceases in FY2018. Production of the guided tailkit is intended to match completion of the first new B61-12 bomb in 2019, a program that is estimated to cost more than $10 billion. Although the number is a secret, it is thought that the U.S. plans to produce roughly 400 B61-12s.

Foreign Ownership of U.S. Financial Assets and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as U.S. natural gas exports, terrorism in Latin America and economic considerations of foreign investments and U.S. national security.

Prosecutors Rebut Defendant’s Challenge to Espionage Act Statute: Last month, attorneys for Navy linguist James Hitselberger, who was charged under the Espionage Act with unlawful retention of classified documents, filed a motion arguing that the Espionage Act is unconstitutionally vague and unenforceable.  Last week, prosecutors replied and said that’s not so. The prosecutors cited rulings from past and present prosecutions involving charges under the espionage statutes to bolster their argument.


58 Nobel Laureates Urge Congress to Halt Budget Cuts to Scientific Research

On April 10, FAS released a letter written by Dr. Burton Richter, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in physics, and signed by 58 U.S. Nobel Laureates urging Congress to preserve federal funding of long term scientific research for the 2014 fiscal year budget.  With sequestration cuts to agencies which support scientific research and development including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the United States is at risk of falling behind other countries in the development of science and technology.

Read the letter:

Web version



Call for Applications: Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament Project

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was established in 1979 as the international community’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. FAS and the Pacific Islands Society recognize that young experts in foreign policy could play a key role in Pacific Island Countries  engagement on counter-proliferation and disarmament issues and launching the “Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament Project” to provide these young experts in foreign policy with an international forum to voice their ideas.

For more information on the project click here.

FAS in the News

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