FAS Roundup: April 5, 2016

By April 5, 2016

Scientist Spotlight with FAS Board Member, Dr. Rosina Bierbaum

Dr. Rosina Bierbaum is a Professor and Dean Emerita at the University of Michigan with appointments in both the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and the School of Public Health. This month, she took on the additional role as the Roy F. Weston Chair in Natural Economics at the Public Policy School at the University of Maryland. Her experience extends from climate science into foreign relations and international development. Read the full interview here.

Finishing the Race: Eliminating and Minimizing Fissile Materials and High-Risk Radioactive Sources

On March 30, at the 2016 NGO conference, “Solutions for a Secure Nuclear Future,” preceding the official Nuclear Security Summit, FAS President Charles D. Ferguson presented on the topic of reducing the risk of high-activity radioactive sources used in acts of terrorism. His thesis focuses on permanent risk reduction through development and deployment of commercially-viable alternative technologies that do not use radioactive sources. A copy of the complete presentation is available here.

From the Blogs

Questions About The Nuclear Cruise Missile Mission: During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on March 16, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member of the committee, said that U.S. Strategic Command had failed to convince her that the United States needs to develop a new nuclear air-launched cruise missile; the LRSO (Long-Range Standoff missile). Senator Feinstein has raised some important questions about the scope of nuclear strategy: How useful should nuclear weapons be and for what type of scenarios? Hans Kristensen, director of the FAS Nuclear Information Project, weighs in.

Redacted Intelligence Budget Documents Released: For the coming decade, the Department of Defense Military Intelligence Program (MIP) will focus its new investments “on space protection, enhancing capabilities that provide intelligence in Anti-Access / Area Denial environments, improving intelligence support to Cyber operations, and improving Security.” So says the FY 2016 Congressional Budget Justification Book for the MIP, which was released this week in heavily redacted form under the Freedom of Information Act. Though the majority of the document has been withheld, the released portions nevertheless contain fragmentary observations of interest.

Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt, and More from CRS: Luxembourg owns $200 billion worth of U.S. federal debt, making it one of the top ten foreign holders of U.S. debt. China is the leader, with $1.2 trillion in U.S. debt holdings, or 20% of the total. That information, and its possible significance, is discussed in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service on Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt, March 28, 2016.

Secrecy System to Undergo “Thoughtful Scrutiny”: The Obama Administration has begun a systematic examination of its national security classification policies, known as the Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (FCGR), in an effort to eliminate obsolete classification requirements and to reduce national security secrecy.

Overview of the Chinese Military, and More from CRS: “From 2005 through 2014, China’s official military budget increased at an average rate of 9.5% per year in real terms, allowing the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] to improve its capabilities in many dimensions,” says a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service based on open sources.

FAS in the News

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