FAS Roundup – March 25, 2019

Above The Fray Cold War Science Diplomacy with the Soviets with Professor Frank von Hippel

In the latest episode of Above The Fray, FAS President Ali Nouri‘s video podcast, he and former FAS Chair Prof. Frank von Hippel discussed Cold War-era science diplomacy efforts, and more. For more conversations in Cessnas, visit our official playlist.

National Science Foundation Budget Request (FY20)

On Tuesday, National Science Foundation (NSF) Director, Dr. France A. Córdova, came before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations to testify on NSF’s fiscal year 2020 budget request and address:

  • the importance of funding discovery science and engineering research
  • advances in artificial intelligence
  • efforts toward diversifying the science and engineering research community and ending sexual harassment

Read the latest FAS Congressional Hearing Readout for a detailed review of the hearing and video highlights of witness testimonies.

For more news about science and technology policy, subscribe to theCongressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter

Pentagon Says All of Google’s Work on Drones Is Exempt From the Freedom of Information Act

Steven Aftergood spoke to The Intercept about DOD’s FOIA rejections for Project Maven. 

 

Ex-NSA contractor pleads guilty in theft of secret documents

Steven Aftergood told AP: The recent string of breaches is a reminder that “people are fallible” and “perfect security can never be achieved.” 

 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

Discussion The Report of the FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy

Study group director, FAS’ Adam Mount, and members Mira Rapp-Hooper and FAS’ Ankit Panda discussed their report on managing a nuclear-armed North Korea at the Korea Society in New York this past Thursday. Watch the entire discussion, including a Q&A.

Trump’s North Korea Blunder

Ankit Panda writes for The Alantic on the Trump-U.S. Treasury conflict about recent DPRK-related sanctions: “The president is finally reckoning with the role of sanctions in diplomacy.” 

Trump sparks confusion with tweet on North Korea-related sanctions

Adam Mount told CNN: Trump’s voluntary loosening of sanctions to preserve negotiations “shovels leverage to [North Korea].” 

(AUDIO) Mission Shakti: The Indian Anti-Satellite Test

Ankit Panda appeared on the Arms Control Wonkpodcast to discuss in-depth India’s recent anti-satellite test. 

Modi calls India ‘space superpower’ as satellite downed by missile

Ankit Panda told AFP: “This is less about shooting down satellites and more about proving high-altitude ‘hit-to-kill’ proficiency.” 

FAS Roundup – March 18, 2019

At #Nukefest, We Asked All The Wrong Questions

FAS’ Matt Korda wrote for Inkstick on the 2019 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference (“Nukefest”), the health of the nuclear policy field, and issues the field faces in racial and ethnic diversity, gender parity, and socioeconomic barriers to access. 

FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy Launches Report at USIP

At the United States Institute of Peace, the FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy launched its report on managing a nuclear-armed North Korea with study group director Adam Mount, members Jieun Baek and Tom Plant, and moderator Elise Hu (NPR).

 

WATCH: US Might Need A New Approach To DPRK Nuclear Program

Newsy covered the study group’s report launch and highlighted some key recommendations from the report in its video summary. 

Engineering Our Way to a Sustainable Bioeconomy

Experts from the biotechnology community came to the House of Representatives Space, Science, and Technology Committee last week to speak on advances in their field and discuss:

  • ethical issues around genome-editing technologies
  • the role of DNA as a data storage medium
  • the overall global race to dominate the bioeconomy

Read the latest FAS Congressional Hearing Readout for a detailed review of the hearing and video highlights of witness testimonies. 

For more news about science and technology policy, subscribe to the Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter

NSF hopes Jason can lead it through treacherous waters

Steven Aftergood spoke to Science Magazine to explain why NSF reached out to JASON: “They only handle hard problems.” 

 

The Longest “Emergency”: 40 Years and Counting

Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that an Australian man had been sentenced to 24 months in prison for illegally exporting aircraft parts and other items to Iran without a license. The case relied on a 1979 declaration of national emergency that remains in force. 

 

Demolishing and Creating Norms of Disclosure

By refusing to disclose his tax returns, President Trump has breached — and may have demolished — the longstanding norm under which sitting presidents and presidential candidates are expected to voluntarily disclose their federal tax returns. At the same time, there is reason to think that new norms of disclosure can be created. 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

Next Week Intl. Study Group on North Korea Policy Briefing

March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m. (New York)
FAS’ Adam Mount and Mira Rapp-Hooper of the International Study Group on North Korea Policy will discuss their latest report on North Korea strategy. Tickets 

FAS Roundup – March 11, 2019

Mount: Can’t bet “all or nothing” on North Korea’s denuclearization

Adam Mount (Director, Defense Posture Project) appeared on CNN Newsroom with Victor Blackwell to discuss the recent activity at North Korea’s Sohae rocket launching facility and the new report of the FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy.

 

(AUDIO) Addressing the threats from North Korea

Mount discussed in detail the Study Group’s recommendations for managing a nuclear-armed North Korea on ABC News Radio (AU). 

How Pakistan Navigates the Saudi-Iranian Rivalry

Ankit Panda (Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Posture Project) spoke on a panel at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) to discuss Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Panda authored a recent report for USIP titled, Pakistan’s Approach to Navigating the Saudi-Iranian Split.

Maintaining US Leadership in Science & Technology

Bolstering U.S. leadership in science and technology was the theme of last week’s House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing. Topics covered in the hearing by committee members and witnesses from the National Academies, industry, and academia included:

  • Challenges in U.S. science education and diversity in the research community
  • The need for strong and steady research funding
  • The importance of industry-academic partnerships

Read the latest FAS Congressional Hearing Readout for a detailed review of the hearing and video highlights of witness testimonies. 

For more news about science and technology policy, subscribe to theCongressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter

The Mueller Report: Can Congress Get It?

There are exceptions to the Attorney General’s power to withold portions of the pending report of the Special Counsel, according to the Congressional Research Service. 

All Major Military Operations Rely on Contractors

Military contractors are such an integral part of U.S. military forces that “most military operations will include contracted support,” a newly updated Pentagon manual explains. 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

Last Call FAS Intl. Study Group on DPRK Policy Report Release

March 21 from 9:30-11 a.m. (Washington, DC)
Study Group co-director Adam Mount and members Jieun Baek and Tom Plant will discuss the report at USIP. Moderated by NPR’s Elise Hu. RSVP 

 

International Study Group on North Korea Policy Briefing

March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m. (New York)
FAS’ Adam Mount and Mira Rapp-Hooper of the International Study Group on North Korea Policy will discuss their latest report on North Korea strategy. Tickets 

FAS Roundup – March 4, 2019

Report Managing a Nuclear-Armed North Korea

The FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy – 14 experts from 5 countries – released their report providing recommendations to the United States and allies on managing a nuclear-armed North Korea. 

After Hanoi, North Korea experts propose new strategy: Contain threat, encourage change 

The Study Group and report were profiled in The Post: “The paper is the product of a year of debate and analysis by 14 experts on North Korea from around the world.” 

Event Public Release of the Study Group’s Report

Thursday, March 21 from 9:30-11 a.m. (EDT)
Study Group co-director Adam Mount and members Jieun Baek and Tom Plant will discuss the report at USIP. Moderated by NPR’s Elise Hu. RSVP 

FAS Nuclear Notebook: Russian Nuclear Forces

In the latest FAS Nuclear Notebook, FAS’ Hans Kristensen and Matt Korda provide detailed estimates and analysis of Russia’s nuclear forces — which include 4,490 non-retired warheads — and modernization programs. 

🗃 Find the most recent FAS Nuclear Notebooks here.

 

Column HASC Members Show Alarmingly Poor Knowledge On Nuclear Weapons

In his new Forbes column, Hans Kristensen analyzes the recent House Armed Services Committee hearing on U.S. nuclear policy and posture. 

 

Evidence Inquiry into Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Nuclear Disarmament

Matt Korda contributed evidence to the UK House of Lords’ inquiry into the NPT and nuclear disarmament, titled “Engaging Russia on Missile Defense.” 

The Hanoi Summit Was Doomed From the Start

FAS’ Ankit Panda and MIT’s Vipin Narang wrote in Foreign Affairs: “If there is one lesson from Hanoi, it is to take North Korea’s words seriously. Kim had long signaled that he expected sanctions relief up front before taking any further steps toward denuclearization.” 

Tracking “Unobligated” Military Construction Funds

A new congressional tally of military construction projects that have unobligated fund balances turned up hundreds of current projects fitting that description. See “FY2017-2019 Military Construction Projects/Programs with Unobligated Balances.” 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

Biological and chemical weapons: the other threats from DPRK

FAS’ Jenifer Mackby told Military Times that there is a lack of public knowledge on biological weapons and how they might be used. 

Open Position Research Assistant/Associate for the Defense Posture Project

We are hiring! FAS is looking for a Research Assistant/Associate to support and author research for the Defense Posture Project.
💼 Learn more and apply 

International Study Group on North Korea Policy Briefing

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount and Mira Rapp-Hooper of the International Study Group on North Korea Policy will discuss their latest report on North Korea strategy. Tickets 

FAS Roundup – February 25, 2019

Analysis Anatomy of a Failed Summit: At Hanoi, All or Nothing Ends with Nothing

Writing for CNN, FAS’ Adam Mount analyzes the collapse of the Hanoi summit: “It is time for a reset of US negotiation policy. Without a decisive shift in tactics, the talks will stagnate and fail, and a third summit will only end like the second.” 

 

The India-Pakistan Military Crisis

FAS’ Ankit Panda appeared on Vox‘s “Today Explained” to discuss the “most serious military crisis between the two countries since 2002”and how it all began in Kashmir. 

 

Ending the India-Pakistan Crisis Requires a Courageous Modi

Ankit Panda for The Atlantic: Pakistani PM’s release of the captured Indian pilot speaks to the “courage” needed on both sides to stand down. 

Kim-Trump Summit Ends Abruptly with No Deal
Appearing on Euronews Tonight, Ankit Panda explained that sanctions relief was the key issue of disagreement that led to the breakdown of US-North Korea talks in Vietnam, but there is not a “total collapse” on either side of negotiations. 

Understanding What Happened at the US-North Korea Summit in Hanoi
Ankit Panda dissects the collapse of the Hanoi summit for The Diplomat: North Korea wants sanctions relief before denuclearization. 

Can nuclear-armed Pakistan and India step back from the brink?

FAS’ Hans Kristensen told NBC News: The fear of the India-Pakistan crisis is the “entanglement between conventional and nuclear forces.” 

 

Top Nuke General: Russia Is Exploiting Gaps In New START

Speaking to Defense One, Hans Kristensen notes: Gen. Hyten also wanted “all nuclear weapons to be included in a treaty.” 

Military Deception: A Handbook

The theory and techniques of military deception were detailed this week in a new Army publication for military planners that also implicitly illuminates the role of deception in other contexts. 

National Emergencies, & More from CRS

New and updated publications from the Congressional Research Service, not all published online by CRS, include Defense Primer: Electronic WarfareImmigration: U.S. Asylum Policy, and more. 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

Open Position Research Assistant/Associate for the Defense Posture Project

We are hiring! FAS is looking for a Research Assistant/Associate to support and author research for the Defense Posture Project.
💼 Learn more and apply 

International Study Group on North Korea Policy Briefing

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount and Mira Rapp-Hooper of the International Study Group on North Korea Policy will discuss their latest report on North Korea strategy. Tickets 

FAS Roundup – February 18, 2019

Putin Ratchets Up Nuclear Warning Against U.S.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, FAS’ Hans Kristensen detailed the “invincible” weapons Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened the U.S. with, but explained: “[Putin] seems to be fully aware that Russia can ill-afford to ramp up the arms race.” 

Statement of Pro-Diplomacy Groups Regarding U.S. Policy Toward Iran

FAS joins 50 other organizations in urging U.S. lawmakers to support the Iran Deal.
📄 Full statement 

Open Position Research Assistant/Associate for the Defense Posture ProjectWe are hiring! FAS is looking for a Research Assistant/Associate to support and author research for the Defense Posture Project.
💼 Learn more and apply 

Last Call Symposium Panel: Banning Nuclear Weapons?

February 25, 2019 from 9:15–10:40 a.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount will speak at the 2019 JNSLP Symposium at Georgetown Univ. to discuss the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and more. RSVP 

FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy Briefing

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount and Mira Rapp-Hooper of the FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy will discuss their latest report on North Korea strategy. Tickets 

FAS Roundup – February 11, 2019

Analysis Goals for Any Arms Control Proposal with North Korea

In The Bulletin, FAS Adjunct Senior Fellow Ankit Panda and co-author John K. Warden provide detailed guidance for managing and negotiating with a nuclear-capable North Korea ahead of the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27–28. 

 

Special Report

Pakistan’s Approach to Navigating the Saudi-Iranian Split

FAS’ Ankit Panda authored a special report for the U.S. Institute of Peace examining “the factors that have influenced Pakistan’s approach to navigating the ever-sharpening geopolitical split between Iran and Saudi Arabia since 2015.”
Read the Full Report 

Book Chapter

Nuclear Safeguards, Security, and Nonproliferation
FAS’ Hans Kristensen authored the first chapter in James Doyle’s second edition of Nuclear Safeguards, Security, and Nonproliferation, titled “Global Nuclear Arsenals, 1990-2018.” Published by Elsevier Press.
Learn More 

Army: Domestic Ops Must Respect Constitutional Boundaries

The use of military forces to perform domestic functions — such as constructing barriers along the US-Mexico border — could pose fundamental legal, policy and administrative challenges. 

EU-Japan Trade Agreement Leaves US Out, New and Updated CRS Reports

A new free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Japan places the US at a disadvantage, at least temporarily, according to the Congressional Research Service — and more. 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

Symposium Panel: Banning Nuclear Weapons?
February 25, 2019 from 9:15–10:40 a.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount will speak at the 2019 JNSLP Symposium at Georgetown Univ. to discuss the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and more. RSVP 

FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy Briefing
Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount and Mira Rapp-Hooper of the FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy will discuss their latest report on North Korea strategy. Tickets 

FAS Roundup – February 4, 2019

FAS President: Scientists Should Educate, Engage Their Lawmakers on Critical Science Issues

FAS President Ali Nouri wrote in Nature: Scientists should engage and educate their lawmakers on critical science and technology issues, base public policies on evidence-based research, and hold the Executive Branch accountable when science is dismissed. 

The Facts Behind President Trump’s Biggest State of the Union Claims

Chris Bidwell told TIME: Despite Iran taking “significant steps” to limit its nuclear activities, “proving a negative” is an “impossible task.” 

(WATCH) FAS Expert Talks History and Current Status of Nuclear Weapons on Franco-German TV

Hans Kristensen appeared on ARTE’s new German-language television program — The New Cold War: More Nuclear Weapons in Europe? — to discuss Europe’s nuclear arsenals and visit former and current weapons sites in both France and Germany. 

Putin Warns That Russia Is Developing ‘Invincible’ Hypersonic Missiles

Hans Kristensen told NYT: Russia’s claim after U.S. INF withdrawal is “old wine in new bottles.” 

Demise of Cold War-era nuclear arms treaty undermines global security

Abigail Stowe-Thurston and Matt Kordadiscussed the implications of Trump’s INF Treaty withdrawal with Canadian Broadcasting Corp. 

IG Reports on Wars Abroad Unaffected by Trump Rebuke

In apparent disregard of criticism from President Trump, two new Inspector General reports on aspects of the wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq were openly published this week. 

National Emergencies, and More from CRS

There were no less than 30 “national emergencies” in effect as of February 1, according to a tabulation prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), and more reports new and updated. 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

FAS Senior Fellow Jenifer Mackby spoke at a meeting of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Nuclear Disarmament Verification to address the challenges of verification and monitoring in disarmament. 

Symposium Panel: Banning Nuclear Weapons?

February 25, 2019 from 9:15–10:40 a.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount will speak at the 2019 JNSLP Symposium at Georgetown Univ. to discuss the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and more. RSVP 

 

FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy Briefing

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount and Mira Rapp-Hooper of the FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy will discuss their latest report on North Korea strategy. Tickets 

FAS Roundup – January 14, 2019


FAS Senior Fellow will help World Bank Forecast Global Crises, Improve Disaster Response

FAS has partnered with the World Bank to help the agency better anticipate global crises. New FAS Senior Fellow Andrew Choi will serve in the Office of the President at the World Bank through this partnership. 

FAS to President, Senate, and House Leadership: Shutdown Is Hurting Science

The Federation of American Scientists sent a letter to the President, Senate, and House leadership highlighting the negative impacts that the partial government shutdown has had on American science and scientists. 📄 Full letter 

FAS Experts Analyze Trump’s 2019 Missile Defense Review: ‘Mixed Messages’

FAS Nuclear Information Project’s Hans Kristensen (Director) and Matt Korda (Research Associate) reviewed the Trump administration’s 2019 Missile Defense Review: “[It] offers up a gamut of expensive, ineffective, and destabilizing solutions to problems that missile defense simply cannot solve.” 

Has the Government Legalized Secret Defense Spending?

Steven Aftergood spoke to Rolling Stone about new federal guidance that allows agencies to “modify” public financial statements. 

More Light on Black Program to Track UFOs

The Defense Intelligence Agency disclosed this week that it had funded research on warp drive, invisibility cloaking, and other areas of fringe or speculative science and engineering as part of a now-defunct program to track and identify threats from space. 

JASON Endorses Further Fusion Power Research

The JASON scientific advisory panel cautiously endorsed further research into what is known as Magneto-Inertial Fusion (MIF) as a step towards achieving fusion-generated electricity. 

Can the Defense Department Build a Border Wall?

If the President were to declare a national emergency in order to justify building a “wall” on the border with Mexico, there would be certain legal authorities that he could invoke to initiate construction operations. 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

Pence: North Korea taken no ‘concrete steps’ to dismantle nuclear program

Adam Mount to ABC News: Trump has “gotten next to nothing” in U.S.-DPRK negotiations. 

(Audio) BBC: The World Tonight – January 17, 2019 Edition

Ankit Panda discussed the Trump administration’s 2019 Missile Defense Review with BBC. (Hear his thoughts at the 27-minute mark.) 

FAS Roundup – January 28, 2019

The Rise of NGOs: What Cheap and Available Imagery Means for Monitoring and Advocacy

FAS’ Pia Ulrich and Christopher Bidwell, along with John Lauder, Harvey Rishikof, and Valerie Lincy, write in USGIF’s Trajectory MagazineBy using commercial and open-source satellite imagery, NGOs are ending the government monopoly on monitoring international nonproliferation agreements. 

Trump falls on sword for Putin’s treaty violation

As President Trump withdraws the U.S. from the INF Treaty with Russia, revisit Hans Kristensen and Matt Korda‘s October piece in The Bulletin“Trump’s willingness to scrap mutually beneficial agreements in order to appear tough and to pander to his domestic base does not bode well for the international order.” 

 

The U.S. And Russia Are Stocking Up On Missiles And Nukes For A Different Kind Of War

Hans Kristensen discusses the dangers of new low-yield nuclear weapon variant: W76-2. 

Intelligence Transparency — But For What?

Steven Aftergood writes on Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ National Intelligence Strategy released last week affirming transparency as a “value” and “strategic priority,” asking: Has such transparency actually led to increased public trust in intelligence? 

Combating Fraud Through Law, & More from CRS

Noteworthy new publications from the Congressional Research Service include Bribery, Kickbacks, and Self-Dealing: An Overiew of Honest Services Fraud and Issues for CongressChina’s Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Agricultural Products, and more. 

Steven Aftergood directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. To stay up-to-date with his analysis and release of Congressional Research Service reports, subscribe to Secrecy News

New Symposium Panel: Banning Nuclear Weapons?

February 25, 2019 from 9:15–10:40 a.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount will speak at the 2019 JNSLP Symposium at Georgetown Univ. to discuss the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and more. RSVP 

 

FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy Briefing

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m.
FAS’ Adam Mount and Mira Rapp-Hooper of the FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy will discuss their latest report on North Korea strategy.