Public Interest Reports
FAS’s online, quarterly science and security journal featuring articles by members of the FAS network on issues related to foreign policy and national security.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons, and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
The 21st century will be shaped by the US-China strategic competition. The United States and China are locked in a battle for global power, influence, and resources, and are fighting for control of the world’s most important geopolitical regions, including the Indo-Pacific and Africa. They are also vying for leadership in cutting-edge technologies such as […]
On 27 October 2022, the Biden administration finally released an unclassified version of its long-delayed Nuclear Posture Review. Here’s what you need to know.
Read the full report PDF here. Summary Depending on how it is defined, sole purpose could have transformational effects on nearly every aspect of nuclear weapons policy or relatively modest effects. It could accommodate or incorporate a range of related policy options, like a deterrence-only posture or no first use. In January 2021, President Biden […]
How can US officials assure allies that Biden’s sole purpose policy will increase their security, not decrease it?
The Pentagon’s case for the ICBM replacement program, known as the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) needs to be reevaluated in light of cost escalation and surrounding budgetary pressures.
This policy memo suggests that the Biden administration should immediately launch a National Security Council-led strategic review examining the role of ICBMs in US nuclear strategy, and presents four alternative policy options that the Biden administration could pursue in lieu of the current GBSD program of record. Download the report here.
This report features the results of an October 2020 poll on US nuclear policy conducted by ReThink Media on behalf of the Federation of American Scientists. Download the report here. View the polling as a webpage here.
The primary deterrence challenge facing the United States today is preventing aggression and escalation in limited conventional conflicts with a nuclear-armed adversary.
This report uses data gathered from multilingual sources to explore China’s motivations behind its systematic ADIZ intrusions as well as the implications for Japanese, South Korean, Taiwanese, and U.S. forces operating in Northeast Asia.
The debate over whether North Korea could be deterred was eclipsed by the onset of negotiations in 2018. Yet, the last three years have been marked by rapid advancements in the regime’s military capabilities and apparent evolution in its military strategy, which now relies on the threat of preemptive attacks against allied conventional forces to […]
In 2018, Russia and China both tested an uncommon type of missile that flew a ballistic trajectory but could be launched from an aircraft. Air-launched ballistic missiles (ALBM) are just one curiosity at a time when many countries are rapidly expanding and upgrading their missile inventories, but the tests raised some understandable questions: Is this […]
The FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy convened to develop a strategy toward a North Korea that will in all likelihood remain nuclear-armed and under the control of the Kim family for the next two decades. The composition of the group reflects a conviction that a sustainable and realistic strategy must draw on […]
The goal of this Task Force report is to offer findings and make recommendations regarding nonproliferation monitoring and verification in general; our observations are grounded in large part on the Task Force’s continued attention to nonproliferation developments such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran, nuclear developments in North […]
A so-called loophole might allow a non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS) to use a naval reactor program to acquire nuclear weapons by taking nuclear material outside of safeguards and then potentially diverting some of that material. Additionally, nuclear-armed states with nuclear-powered warships might use their naval reactor programs to justify keeping a substantial inventory of highly […]
This report examines the nuclear dynamics and implications for strategic relations in a world where four nuclear-armed states are developing strategic ballistic missile defenses (BMD). These states are the United States, Russia, China, and India. Each state appears to have the common rationale of wanting at least limited protection against ballistic missile attacks, and all […]
This special report is a result of the FAS U.S.-French Naval Nuclear Task Force and is focused on the life-of-the-ship reactors and role of accelerated testing on naval propulsion fuels and reactors. The report is written by Dr. George Moore.
This special report is a result of an FAS task force on French naval nuclear propulsion and explores France’s decision to switch from highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU). By detailing the French Navy’s choice to switch to LEU fuel, author Alain Tournyol du Clos — a lead architect of France’s nuclear propulsion program — explores […]
The presidential candidates’ debates will soon occur, and the voters must know where the candidates stand on protecting the United States against catastrophic nuclear attacks. While debating foreign policy and national security issues, the Democratic and Republican candidates could reach an apparent agreement about the greatest threat facing the United States, similar to what happened […]
President’s Message: What Will the Next President’s Nuclear Policies Be? by Charles D. Ferguson The presidential candidates’ debates will soon occur, and the voters must know where the candidates stand on protecting the United States against catastrophic nuclear attacks. Three-Dimensional Arms Control: A Thought Experiment by Heather Williams In order to move beyond old-school arms […]
The George W. Bush Administration is not typically viewed as the paragon of arms control. This was the Administration that withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002, agreed to the Moscow Treaty that same year with no verification provisions, and generally eschewed traditional approaches to arms control, including negotiations and treaties, as Cold […]
Ever since the United States began developing a missile defense system, the focus has been on pursuing a robust missile defense system. As not much progress has been made on boost phase interception, it becomes mandatory to study a technology that could make the midcourse system of the ballistic missile more vulnerable to enemy missile defense system. […]
The special nature of nuclear energy requires particular safety and security conditions and stronger protective measures. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as do other international and regional organizations, provides assessment, but it does not know a great deal about the security status of most Member States. It is necessary to learn of and determine […]
NGOs AND THEIR ROLES IN THE VERIFICATION OF NUCLEAR AGREEMENTS – APRIL 2016 After finishing up his second MacArthur Foundation-sponsored research project on issues related to verifying a nuclear agreement with Iran, Christopher Bidwell, FAS Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation Law and Policy, and his team are now focused on a third project that will look […]
From its inception 70 years ago, the founders and members of the Federation of American Scientists were reinventing themselves. Imagine yourself as a 26-year old chemist having participated in building the first atomic bombs. You may have joined because your graduate school adviser was going to Los Alamos and encouraged you to come. You may […]
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) formed after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, precisely because many scientists were genuinely concerned for the fate of the world now that nuclear weapons were a concrete reality. They passionately believed that, as scientific experts and citizens, they had a duty to educate the American public about the […]
On August 8, 2015, twenty-nine scientists sent a letter to President Obama in support of the agreement with Iran that would block (or at least significantly delay) Iran’s pathways to obtain nuclear weapons. This continues a tradition that began seventy years ago of scientists having a role in educating the public, advising government officials, and […]
From its beginning, the Federation of American Scientists has been immersed in policies and issues regarding government secrecy and censorship. By the time World War II broke out, the fission process had been observed, followed by detection of the neutron, and recognition of induced uranium fission. In the early 1940s, some scientists in the United […]
“I was chairman of FAS from 1962-63. Fifty-year-old memories are hopelessly unreliable and historically worthless. Fortunately, my mother preserved the letters that I wrote to her describing events as they happened. The letters are reliable and give glimpses of history undistorted by hindsight. Instead of trying to recall fading memories, I decided to quote directly […]
“I am sharing some memories of the period 1960-1970 when I served as FAS General Counsel. I start by echoing Freeman Dyson’s caution that 50-year old memories are unreliable. I first learned about FAS in late 1958 when my wife, Dr. Maxine Singer, a molecular biologist employed by NIH, shared with colleagues her concerns about […]