FAS Roundup – January 21, 2019

Why Trump should use his next summit with Kim to declare an end to the Korean War

Abigail Stowe-Thurston writes for NK News: “Declaring an end to the war may, in practice, be a necessary step in making progress on threat reduction on the peninsula or persuading North Korea to agree to limits on its nuclear arsenal.” (Paid access required.) 

The U.S. May Have to Rethink Its Approach to North Korea

Adam Mount to Wall Street Journal: “Pressing” threats from North Korea are being neglected while chasing denuclearization “fantasy.” 

South Korea wants Trump-Kim summit to be a turning point

Ankit Panda told The Post: There is “little basis” to think North Korea views the U.S. Special Rep. as an “influential” Trump administration figure. 

The Government’s Secret UFO Program Funded Research on Wormholes and Extra Dimensions

Steven Aftergood spoke to Motherboard about a list of over 35 research programs pursued by the Defense Intelligence Agency released in response to his Freedom of Information Act request. 


CIA Historical Review Panel Put on Hiatus

The Historical Review Panel that advises the Central Intelligence Agency on declassification of historical intelligence records said this week that its planned December 2018 meeting was canceled by CIA, and that no future meetings were scheduled. 

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

China Mobilizes DF-26 Missiles in Response to Warship Passage
Hans Kristensen told The Washington Free Beacon: “From Xinyang, the DF-26 is capable of targeting Guam, Japan, and most of India.” 

Russia, China have hypersonic missile tech that U.S. can’t defend against, StratCom chief warns
Hans Kristensen to Omaha World-Herald: Nuke delivery does not need hypersonics’ accuracy. 

Navy Stealthy Columbia Subs Launch First Patrol in 2031 With New Missile Variant
Hans Kristensen told Warrior Maven: New Mk-4A variant has “improved targeting,” and more. 

New FAS Intl. 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 available 


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 7, 2019

FAS Chair Named to National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence

Gilman Louie, Chair of the FAS Board of Directors, was named to the U.S. National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The commission was created by the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act to review how advances in AI, machine learning, and related technologies could affect U.S. national security. 

Trump Says DoD IG Reports Should Be “Private”
The recurring dispute over the appropriate degree of secrecy in the Department of Defense arose in a new form last week when President Trump said that certain audits and investigations that are performed by the DoD Inspector General should no longer be made public. 

Defense Primers, and More from CRS
“The President does not need the concurrence of either his military advisors or the U.S. Congress to order the launch of nuclear weapons,” the Congressional Research Service reminded readers last month in an updated “defense primer.” Read this primer and several 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

FAS President Speaks to STEM PhDs at University of Virginia on Science Policy 

FAS President Dr. Ali Nouri spoke with STEM Ph.D. and post-doctoral students at the University of Virginia about engaging Congress on issues of science and technology and careers in science policy. Original press release. 


Q&A with Justin Ripley, president of Princeton Citizen Scientists

The Daily Princetonian spoke with the Princeton Citizen Scientists President about the group’s DC trip and meeting with FAS President Ali Nouri

FAS Welcomes Dr. Cameron Reed as FAS Adjunct Senior Fellow
Dr. Cameron Reed is the Charles A. Dana Physics Professor Emeritus at Alma College. Dr. Reed has published four books on the Manhattan Project. Learn more about Dr. Reed and his expertise. 

BWC Meeting Stumbles Over Money, Politics
FAS’ Jenifer Mackby writes for Arms Control Todayon the recent Biological Weapons Convention meeting and its “precarious” future. 

FAS Roundup – December 31, 2018

Kim Jong Un’s Warning to Trump

FAS’ Ankit Panda examines Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s Day speech, writing for POLITICO Magazine: “North Korea’s leader is telling Washington that his patience is wearing out […] In two words, Kim’s message for the United States: ‘Your turn.'” 

Interior’s Proposed FOIA Limits May Be Illegal, Watchdogs Say

Steven Aftergood told Bloomberg Environment: The U.S. Department of the Interior “can’t pick and choose which request it wants to fulfill.” 

N.K. leader puts onus on Trump to resolve nuclear impasse

Adam Mount told Yonhap News: The U.S.-North Korea “stalemate” will continue for now, but could “collapse suddenly.” 


Kim ready to talk more with Trump but says not to test North

Adam Mount told AP: U.S. should move “decisively” to find out if North Korea is willing to go toward a “verified cap” on their arsenal. 


(Audio) Second Summit with North Korea Coming

Ankit Panda discusses progress on the Korean Peninsula and what “denuclearization” means to both North Korea and the United States. 

FAS welcomes Dr. Michael A. Fisher
The Federation of American Scientists is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael A. Fisher will join the organization as Senior Fellow. Dr. Fisher is both a molecular biologist and citizen scientist, his expertise at the intersection of science and policy. 


FAS President’s op-ed among The Bulletin‘s best of 2018
President Ali Nouri and Shahram Seyedin-Noor‘s op-ed on synthetic biology’s potential and risks was among the best pieces on disruptive tech. 


FAS Roundup – December 24, 2018

(Audio) Looking Back on 2018 in Asian Geopolitics

FAS’ Ankit Panda — and Prashanth Parameswaran — discuss six key trends across Asian geopolitics: from Trump administration departures and “America First” to the varied perception of the Indo-Pacific and progress within the Korean Peninsula. 

‘Last adult’ James Mattis leaves the room: what next for Asia?

Ankit Panda told SCMP: Mattis was the “most important symbol of foreign policy” across the Obama and Trump administrations. 

The only choice is both choices: balancing assurance and coercion in nonproliferation-focused alliance-management strategies

In Nonproliferation Review (requires paid access), Matt Korda explores historical case studies, concluding: the best way to prevent allies from pursuing nuclear weapons is to combine assurance with coercion. 

In the latest episode of Above The Fray, FAS President Ali Nouri discusses the recently enacted federal farm bill and its incentives for young farmers with Holy Hill Farm’s Jon Graziano.

🗃 Past episodes available here.


FAS Roundup – December 17, 2018

Don’t ‘Block the Path to Denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula,’ North Korea Warns US

Ankit Panda writes in The Diplomat: “Pyongyang has been careful not to commit itself to a particular course of action […] this year’s statements — and the ‘tactical’ weapon test earlier this month — amount to shots across Trump’s bow ahead of the summit.” 

U.S. allies in Asia-Pacific region rattled after Mattis quits
Adam Mount told Reuters: “[Mattis’] work kept the [S. Korea] alliance afloat but major questions will have to be resolved to keep it strong.” 

The Right Way to Manage a Nuclear North Korea
Ankit Panda in Foreign Affairs: “North Korea is the United States’ third nuclear-armed adversary” whether U.S. policymakers accept it or not. 

Israel’s Official Map Replaces Military Bases with Fake Farms and Deserts
Matt Korda follows up his Strategic Security piece from last week: The Israeli government is deleting “entire facilities” from its official national map, replacing them with “patches of fake farmland or desert” or using “white or black splotches” to paint over them. 


(Opinion) Don’t Tear Up This Treaty
The New York Times editorial board wrote on the INF Treaty, citing global nuclear arsenal estimates from the FAS Nuclear Information Project (directed by Hans Kristensen). 

R.I.P Riccardo Giacconi (1931–2018)
Dr. Riccardo Giacconi — 2002 Nobel Laureate in physics and member of the FAS Board of Sponsors — died on December 9. He was 87. Read about the life and achievements of Dr. Giacconi. 

FAS Roundup – December 10, 2018

FAS researchers selected as Nuclear Scholars

FAS’ own Matt Korda (Nuclear Information Project, left) and Abigail Stowe-Thurston (Defense Posture Project, right) were selected as 2019 Nuclear Scholars for the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Project on Nuclear Issues (CSIS PONI). 

Trump moving ahead with second Kim summit despite frustrations

Adam Mount told ABC: “The North Koreans calculated that they can come up with better deal from talking to the president directly.” 

(Opinion) Synthetic biology: A call for a new culture of responsibility

FAS President Ali Nouri co-writes for The Bulletin: Scientists and engineers are the ones equipped to develop effective safeguards against misuse. 

Widespread Satellite Blurring of Satellite Images Reveals Secret Facilities

Matt Korda writes for FAS Strategic Security: “Yandex Maps—Russia’s foremost mapping service—has agreed to selectively blur out specific [military] sites beyond recognition; however, it has done so for just two countries: Israel and Turkey.” 

📰 Read further coverage in Quartz and Popular Mechanics.


As One Arms Treaty Falls Apart, Others Look Shakier

The Wall Street Journal used global nuclear arsenal data from the Nuclear Information Project’s Hans Kristensen in their interactive graph. 

Forbes illustrated the world’s nuclear arsenals — annotated with key historical moments and treaty introductions — using data from the Nuclear Information Project’s Hans Kristensen. 

New Pre-Publication Review Policy is Coming

Two years ago, the House Intelligence Committee asked the Director of National Intelligence to improve the government’s controversial policy on reviewing books, etc., by current and former intelligence employees. 

DNI Orders Security Clearance “Reciprocity”

One of the most vexatious aspects of the system of granting security clearances for access to classified info has been the reluctance of some govt. agencies to recognize the validity of clearances approved by other agencies. 

Congressional Oversight of Intelligence, and More

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following and more:

Steven Aftergood publishes analysis and new/updated Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports in the FAS Secrecy News blog. To subscribe to the FAS Secrecy News mailing list, click here.

FAS Roundup – December 3, 2018

FAS endorses joint statement to United Nations
FAS’ Jenifer Mackby endorsed a joint NGO statement to the United Nations Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting of States Parties in Geneva this week to:
  • show the significance of NGO experts in analyzing science and technology implications for the BWC
  • support the development of governance mechanisms, codes of conduct, and education
  • and urge financial sustainability of meetings in jeopardy
📄 Joint NGO Statement (PDF)
🎧 Joint NGO Statement (MP3)

Putin threatens to develop disputed nukes in response to U.S. ultimatum
Abigail Stowe-Thurston told CNBC: The Trump administration’s ultimatum is “not likely” to convince Russia to comply with the INF Treaty. 

FAS experts meet with international officials
Three FAS experts — President Dr. Ali NouriHans Kristensen, and Christopher Bidwell — met with government officials from 10 nations as a part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program to discuss FAS’ work on arms control policy.

FAS hosts Princeton Citizen Scientists
This week, FAS President Dr. Ali Nouri met with the Princeton Citizen Scientists — graduate students from Princeton University — to discuss the efforts that FAS will be spearheading to help connect scientists and lawmakers for more informed public policy.

FAS Roundup – November 26, 2018

FAS President joins Gender Champions initiative

FAS President Dr. Ali Nouri has joined the Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy. “Like many other fields, the WMD policy space faces challenges when it comes to gender equality. I’m honored to be a part of this initiative to help reverse that,” said Dr. Nouri.

ℹ️ To learn more about the pledges made by FAS and other organizations to make meaningful strides toward gender equality in the nuclear policy space and beyond, visit gcnuclearpolicy.org.

Fact-checking Trump’s statement on Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi murder

Steven Aftergood told PolitiFact: Pres. Trump’s statement on the CIA’s Khashoggi murder conclusions evades their judgment’s “substance.” 


US Sanctions on Russia, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service provides an overview of US sanction tools and authorities, and their application to the case of Russia. 

DoD Says US, Turkey on a Collision Course

Turkey’s pending procurement of a Russian surface to air missile system would jeopardize its status in NATO, and disrupt other aspects of US military relations with that country, DOD told Congress. 

Religious Support to Military Funerals

The US Army has issued updated guidance on military funerals that notably emphasizes freedom of religion and individual choice. 

Steven Aftergood publishes analysis and new/updated Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports in the FAS Secrecy News blog. To subscribe to the FAS Secrecy News mailing list, click here.


FAS Roundup – November 19, 2018

North Korea tests new ‘tactical’ weapon, releases U.S. prisoner
Adam Mount spoke to Reuters about North Korea’s latest weapon test: “They’re trying to signal that they are willing to walk away from talks and restart weapons testing. It is the most explicit in a series of escalating statements designed to send this message.” 

Trump, Who Loves Nukes and Hates Treaties, Is Putting Us on the Road to the Apocalypse
Hans Kristensen told The Daily Beast: “There’s really no strategic upside to terminating New START.” 

Problem with Our $6 Trillion War Tab
Steven Aftergood was quoted for his U.S. Senate briefing remarks: “When we were at war, everyone knew we were at war and everyone helped pay for it at least to some extent. That is no longer true.”