Welcome to the inauguration of the Federation of American Scientists’ Web Log on national security issues. We are very excited about this new blog.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was founded by scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. The birth of the atomic bomb was, or course, a turning point in history but one that had a particular significance for scientists because of their special role in its development. The founders of FAS thought that scientists should be concerned about the social, security, and political implications of their work and should strive to make the public aware of the implications of new science and technology. The founding motivations of FAS were keeping nuclear weapons and research under civilian control, minimizing the number of nuclear weapons and their salience to national security, and emphasizing international cooperation to reduce nuclear dangers. It would be nice, 60 years after the founding of FAS, to be able to say that all of these concerns have been taken care of. Unfortunately, in many ways they are as relevant today as they were then.
The six project directors of the FAS Strategic Security Project will be the regular contributors to our blog. Each of them has contributed a brief introduction as their first blog entry. I am Ivan Oelrich, the Vice President for Strategic Security, and I will cover nuclear weapons issues, including dirty bombs, and address some conventional weapons and budget questions. I will also write on nuclear energy questions when they relate to nuclear proliferation. Steve Aftergood will discuss the needed balance between secrecy and a well-informed public. Anne Fitzpatrick’s interests include technology policy, especially computers, the National Labs, and all things Russian. Hans Kristensen will discuss nuclear doctrine and force structure. Matt Schroeder will look at conventional arms control and the international trade in arms. Mike Stebbins covers biology, bio-security, and bio-terrorism. We will occasionally invite guest contributors.
Readers will be able to filter the blog by author or subject matter. The blog will include a moderated letters section. We welcome thoughtful letters but suspect we will be able to publish only a fraction of them. We think the blog is unique and fills an important niche – the first NGO blog with overall coverage of national security written by real experts in the field. We hope you enjoy the blog; we know we are looking forward to it.