FAS Roundup: July 7, 2014

New Nuclear Notebook, ODNI declassifies data on surveillance and more. 

Slowing Nuclear Weapon Reductions and Endless Nuclear Weapon Modernizations: A Challenge to the NPT

The nine nuclear-armed states have large residual nuclear arsenals, and post-Cold War reductions of nuclear weapons have slowed. Nuclear nations have undertaken ambitious nuclear weapon modernization programs that threaten to prolong the nuclear era indefinitely. These trends present a challenge to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty community, appearing to contradict the promises by the five NPT nuclear-weapon states to pursue a halt to the nuclear arms race and to seek nuclear disarmament.

In a new Nuclear Notebook published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project and Robert S. Norris, Senior Fellow for Nuclear Policy, analyze the size and scope of nuclear modernizations of the nine nuclear states.

Read the article here. 

From the Blogs

ODNI Declassifies Data on Frequency of Surveillance: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the “2013 Statistical Transparency Report” detailing the frequency of use of various intelligence surveillance authorities and the estimated number of targets affected by the surveillance. While the reported numbers give some rough sense of the scale of intelligence surveillance — civil liberties groups said the estimated numbers are bound to be misleadingly low — the report provides no basis for evaluating the utility or legitimacy of the surveillance activities.

Italy’s Nuclear Anniversary: Fake Reassurance for a King’s Ransom: In December 1963, a shipment of U.S. nuclear bombs arrived at Ghedi Torre Air Base in northern Italy. Today, half a century later, the U.S. Air Force still deploys nuclear bombs at the base. The U.S.-Italian nuclear collaboration was celebrated at the base in January. A placard credited the nuclear “NATO mission” at Ghedi with having “protected the free nations of the world….” That might have been the case during the Cold War when NATO was faced with an imminent threat from the Soviet Union. But half of the nuclear tenure at Ghedi has been after the end of the Cold War with no imminent threat that requires forward deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe. Instead, the nuclear NATO mission now appears to be a financial and political burden to NATO and provides fake reassurance to eastern NATO allies.

Army Doctrine on Geospatial Engineering: Secrecy News has obtained a copy of new Army doctrine on geospatial engineering which provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of the field.

Espionage Act Case Was “Overcharged,” Defense Says: In 2012, former Navy linguist James F. Hitselberger was indicted on two felony counts under the Espionage Act statutes after several classified documents were found in his possession. In 2013, a superseding indictment charged him with another four felony counts. Hitselberger pleaded guilty this year to a single misdemeanor charge of removing classified documents without authorization. The defense and the prosecution are endorsing Hitselberger’s request that any jail penalty be limited to the time he has already served, including two months in DC jail and eight months of home confinement.

FAS in the News

Jul 2: USA Today“Don’t Make Reporter Testify Against A Source” 

Jun 27: World Policy Blog“5 Minutes With POTUS On ISIS?”