FAS Roundup: June 14, 2016

From the Blogs

Flawed Pentagon Nuclear Cruise Missile Advocacy: In its quest to secure Congressional approval for a new nuclear cruise missile, the Pentagon is putting words in the mouth of President Barack Obama and spinning and overstating requirements and virtues of the weapon. Last month, DOD circulated an anonymous letter to members of Congress after it learned that Senator Dianne Fenstein (D-CA) was planning an amendment to the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act to put limits on funding and work on the new Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) nuclear air-launched cruise missile. The letter not surprisingly opposes the limits but contains a list of amazingly poor justifications for the new weapon. Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project, discusses these claims  and the potential ramifications they could have for the LRSO program.

Briefing to Arms Control Association Annual Meeting: On June 6, Kristensen gave a talk at the the Arms Control Association’s annual meeting: “Global Nuclear Challenges and Solutions for the Next U.S. President,” where he described enhancement of military capabilities of the B61-12 nuclear bomb, the new air-launched cruise missile (LRSO), and the W76-1 warhead on the Trident submarines.

SSCI Bill Adopts Fundamental Classification Review: The Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (FCGR) that was launched by President Obama’s 2009 executive order 13526 would be written into statute by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in its version of the FY intelligence authorization act (S. 3017), released this week. The FCGR has become the primary mechanism for systematically updating agency classification rules and deleting obsolete secrecy requirements. Performed every five years, it entails the review of thousands of individual classification guides. After the first FCGR in 2012, hundreds of such guides were eliminated.

Social Media in Congress, and More from CRS: “In less than 20 years, the entire nature of Member-constituent communication has been transformed, perhaps more than in any other period in American history,” observes a new report from the Congressional Research Service. Congressional offices now receive hundreds of millions of electronic communications from constituents each year, vastly more than they ever did using postal mail or other traditional forms of messaging.

Intelligence Reform in the Jimmy Carter Era: “Public trust and confidence in the Intelligence Community have been seriously undermined by disclosures of activities in the past that were illegal, injudicious or otherwise improper by today’s standards,” according to a 1977 interagency memorandum circulated by National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

DoD’s Rotation to the Philippines, and More from CRS: “On March 18, 2016, the United States and the Republic of the Philippines announced the selection of five military sites that will host a rotation of U.S. military units. This marks the first time that U.S. units will be welcomed by the Republic on regularly scheduled visits since the last permanent garrisons were withdrawn in 1992,” according to a new brief from the Congressional Research Service.

FAS in the News

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