FAS Roundup: April 12, 2016

By April 12, 2016

From the Blogs


Nuclear Transparency and the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan: Hans Kristensen, director of the FAS Nuclear Information Project, addresses the Obama administration’s nuclear policy, mainly what other nuclear-armed states should (or could) disclose regarding their nuclear arsenals in order to improve communication about the role of nuclear weapons and avoid misunderstands and counterproductive surprises.

New START Data Shows Russian Increases and US Decreases: Russia continues to increase the number of strategic warheads it deploys on its ballistic missiles counted under the New START Treaty, according to the latest aggregate data released by the US State Department. The data shows that Russia now has almost 200 strategic warheads more deployed than when the New START treaty entered into force in 2011. The United States, in contrast, has continued to decrease its deployed warheads and the data shows that the United States currently is counted with 1,481 deployed strategic warheads – 69 warheads below the treaty limit.

Assessing “Security Cooperation,” and More from CRS: There are approximately 80 distinct “security cooperation” programs and statutory authorities by which the U.S. provides security assistance to foreign security forces, according to a Department of Defense tally. The legal and institutional framework for delivering U.S. security aid to foreign countries is detailed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

DNI Clapper Embraces Review of Secrecy System: Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper threw his weight behind the upcoming Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (FCGR), which requires executive branch agencies to review all of their classification guidance and to eliminate obsolete secrecy requirements every five years. In an extraordinary memorandum sent to directors of five other intelligence agencies (CIA, DIA, NGA, NSA, and NRO), Director Clapper told them to seize the opportunity to overhaul current classification policy.

DoD Security Clearances Down by 900K Since 2013: The total number of employees and contractors holding security clearances for access to classified information at the Department of Defense dropped by a hefty 900,000 between 2013 and 2016 — or 20% of the total cleared population at DoD. A reduction in security clearances is a wholesome development, since it lowers costs and permits more focused use of security resources. It also increases pressure, at least implicitly, to eliminate unnecessary security classification restrictions.

U.S. Declassifies Highly Enriched Uranium Inventory: The White House announced that the U.S. inventory of highly enriched uranium (HEU) as of September 2013 has been declassified. “The newly declassified information shows that, from 1996 to 2013, U.S. HEU inventories decreased from 740.7 metric tons to 585.6 metric tons.  This reflects a reduction of over 20 percent,” according to a March 31 White House fact sheet.

DOE Requests Increase in Nuclear Weapons Budget: The Department of Energy budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would again increase spending on nuclear weapons in Fiscal Year 2017.

CIA Withdraws Email Destruction Proposal: The Central Intelligence Agency has formally rescinded its widely-criticized 2014 plan to destroy the email records of all but 22 senior agency officials, the National Archives said last week. “The agency has withdrawn this schedule effective March 21, 2016, due to the agency’s reorganization,” wrote Margaret Hawkins, director of records appraisal and agency assistance at the National Archives and Records Administration, in an email message to FAS.

Intelligence for Air and Missile Defense: A new U.S. Army manual addresses the challenges of intelligence support for air and missile defense programs. To meet emerging aerial and tactical ballistic missile (TBM) threats, the Army prescribes an Air and Missile Defense (AMD) Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) process.

FAS in the News

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