FAS Roundup: June 24, 2013

Obama’s new nuclear guidance, look at Senate Intelligence Committee, radiological ray gun and much more.

From the Blogs

New Nuclear Weapons Employment Guidance Puts Obama’s Fingerprint on Nuclear Weapons Policy and Strategy: On June 19, the Obama administration released its long-awaited new guidance on nuclear weapons employment policy. On one hand, the guidance directs pursuit of additional reductions in deployed strategic warheads. On the other hand, the guidance reaffirms a commitment to core Cold War posture characteristics such as counterforce targeting, retaining a triad of strategic nuclear forces, and retaining non-strategic nuclear weapons forward deployed in Europe.

A Candid Look at the Senate Intelligence Committee: Much of the continuing controversy over intelligence surveillance policy revolves around whether the sweeping collection of U.S. telephone data by intelligence agencies violates constitutional norms. But it is also an occasion to assess the quality of intelligence oversight, and to review the performance of oversight mechanisms in representing the public and defending its interests. Recently, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence blocked its former general council, Vicki Divoll, from speaking on the record about how the Committee functions.

Radiological Ray Gun: More Buck Rogers Fantasy than Risk to Real People: The June 18th arrest of two men for allegedly plotting to build a bizarre yet potentially deadly radiological device once again highlights the potential nexus of non-state actors with so-called weapons of mass destruction. This most recent plot reveals the historical rarity and non-lethality of non-state actors and their behaviors with radiological weapons and agents.

Hundreds of Classified Leaks Under Review by IC Inspector General: Hundreds of cases of unauthorized disclosures of classified information were under review by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Most of these reviews pertained to disclosures which could not be criminally prosecuted for one reason or another, and which were therefore considered closed cases. But starting a year or so ago, the IC Inspector General began reviewing them in order to identify the leakers and to impose administrative sanctions where appropriate.

Avoiding Needless Wars, Part Six: North Korea: Over the last few months, North Korea has severely tested the world’s patience by conducting its third nuclear test and readied a missile for firing. This behavior seems to confirm the conventional wisdom that North Korea is a rogue nation. In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Martin Hellman examines other hypotheses which may give the United States and other countries more effective options for dealing with North Korea.

Armed Conflict in Syria and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as Syria’s chemical weapons use, U.S. strategic nuclear forces and the U.S. response to the armed conflict in Syria.

Workshop on Terrorism Analysis: July 25-26, 2013

FAS Senior Fellow on State and Non-State Threats Mr. Charles Blair will be hosting a workshop  at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, titled Terrorism Analysis: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methodologies and Tools on July 25-26, 2013.

This non-credit course introduces participants to a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies for the study of terrorism and learn how to create and utilize analytical tools for preventing, preparing for, responding to, or predicting terrorism.

Due to overwhelming demand, early bird registration has been extended until July 15. For more information on the workshop and to register and save 25%, click here.

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