FAS Roundup: April 26, 2016

FAS Attends GEO Review Panel

Chris Bidwell, Senior fellow for Law and Policy, was invited to participate in a recent GAO review panel on Gaps in DHS and FBI Biological Attribution Capabilities. The review took place over a two day period at GAO headquarters in Washington DC. GAO will eventually publish its findings in an upcoming report to Congress.

Op-Ed: What Happened at Chernobyl 30 Years Ago?

In this op-ed, Tara Drozdenko, Managing Director for Nuclear Policy and Nonproliferation at the Outrider Foundation, examines the science behind the catastrophic accident that occurred on April 26, 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine, and discusses the lessons learned from that fateful day. Read the full piece here.

From the Blogs

FAS Nuclear Notebook Published: Russian Nuclear Forces, 2016: In the latest FAS Nuclear Notebook published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Norris and Kristensen take the pulse on Russia’s nuclear arsenal, reviewing its strategic modernization programs and the status of its non-strategic nuclear forces. Russia’s non-strategic nuclear forces are currently the subject of much interest in NATO due to concerns that Russian military strategy has been lowering the threshold for when nuclear weapons could potentially be used. Russia has also been increasing operations and exercises with nuclear-capable forces, a trend that can also be seen in NATO and U.S. military posturing.

Cross-Cutting Intelligence Issues, and More from CRS: A new report from the Congressional Research Service raises the possibility that polygraph testing of intelligence employees could be phased out in favor of “continuous evaluation” (CE), i.e. the automated monitoring of financial, criminal and other databases. The notion was suggested in a CRS overview of selected intelligence policy issues, including budget management, the quality of analysis, big data, workforce diversity, global coverage, and transparency.

Air Force Updates Doctrine on Cyberspace Operations: Within living memory, even a passing mention of cyber weapons or U.S. offensive activities in cyberspace was deemed sufficient to justify national security classification. Now, although the Obama Administration generally neither claims nor receives credit for it, military cyberspace doctrine has become one of a number of significant policy areas in which this Administration is demonstrably “more transparent” than its predecessors. A new US Air Force directive “provides policy guidelines for planning and conducting AF cyberspace operations to support the warfighter and achieve national security objectives.”

Border Security Doesn’t Yield Consistent Results (CRS): Border security to prevent unauthorized migration along the U.S-Mexico border is a dynamic and challenging problem that has not consistently been mitigated by allocating increased resources, such as fencing and surveillance, says a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

DoD Directs “Equal Attention” to Secrecy, Declassification: Declassification of national security information should be pursued on a par with classification, according to a Department of Defense directive that was reissued on April 21, 2016. “Declassification of information will receive equal attention as the classification of information so that information remains classified only as long as required by national security considerations,” said DoD Instruction 5200.01, signed by Marcel Lettre, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

FAS in the News

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