With generous support from members and donors, FAS was able to continue its work to provide science-based analysis of and practical solutions to reduce dangers from weapons of mass destruction, as well as to promote greater accountability of government in secrecy and classification policies. A list of achievements by topic can be found below.
- Provided the most authoritative, publicly available, frequently cited resources on the nuclear arsenals around the globe via publication on the Strategic Security Blog, the Nuclear Notebook, and the SIPRI Yearbook.
- Argued for lengthening the nuclear fuse in an innovative report detailing how to take U.S. and Russian warheads off alert: a dangerous practice left over from the Cold War.
- Examined U.S. budget plans for nuclear forces including the modernization of the B61-12 bomb to increase accuracy (at the price tag of $1 billion) and provided recommendations on how the United States can meet its security needs while cutting costs for unnecessary weapons and upgrades.
- Questioned data found in U.S. government documents related to modernization of world nuclear forces and set the record straight on missing information including China’s missile forces, Russian ICBM testing, and the United Kingdom’s plan to construct a new SSBN.
Iranian Nuclear Program
- Evaluated the economic effects of Iran’s nuclear program, and policy implications of sanctions and other actions by the United States and other allies. FAS and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published a report titled Iran’s Nuclear Odyssey: Costs and Risks, which concluded that economic sanctions nor military force cannot end this prideful program; it is imperative that a diplomatic solution is reached to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful.
- Advocated for compromise and relaxed pressure by the United States in the wake of the election of moderate Iranian president Hassan Rouhani via extensive analysis and media outreach. On November 24, 2013, members of the P5+1 and Iran signed a historic deal to freeze Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited economic sanctions relief.
- Educated the public on U.S. government surveillance policy in the wake of leaks disclosed by Edward Snowden regarding top secret surveillance programs by the National Security Agency. Director of the Government Secrecy project Steven Aftergood provided commentary to the media and the public on issues related to whistleblowers and leaks including: the changing secrecy culture and how the Snowden leaks have shifted public opinion in regards to what should be classified, priorities for the Public Interest Declassification Board (which advises the President on classification policy), and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
- Provided the public with access to previously undisclosed government records that have public policy significance, along with access to Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS), which are produced for members of Congress and not available to the public.
- Analyzed reports produced by the Inspector General at each government agency that classifies national security information as required by the Reducing Over-Classification Act of 2010 to combat overclassification.
- Determined practical options for fixing major problems in Japan’s nuclear power industry and make recommendations for reforms of Japan’s nuclear safety system which should include an effective and transparent response to the problems at Fukushima Daiichi.
- Co-chaired the U.S.-Japan Nuclear Working Group (with the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation) to bring together American and Japanese experts and officials who represent the two countries’ nuclear energy initiatives to work together for joint energy security. In April 2013, the working group released a report on its findings and specific issues to address including a strategy for reducing Japan’s plutonium stockpile, new standards for radiation safety and environmental cleanup and treatment of spent nuclear fuel.
Chemical, Biological and Conventional Weapons
- Distinguished myth from reality about Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal via media outreach and extensive publication of articles related to the removal of chemical weapons, sarin and its effects, and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
- Addressed the terrorist threat from man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and efforts by the international community to address this threat, and provided recommendations for additional measures that governments can take to further reduce the illicit proliferation and use of these dangerous weapons.
- Transformed to a more user-friendly format for the Public Interest Report, FAS’s quarterly journal, now devoted to being a venue for innovative ideas to reduce catastrophic risks.
- 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. As a result, articles appeared in the New York Times and The Hill about Richter’s outreach effort.
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