New DoD Website Fosters Secret Science
The Pentagon’s Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) last month announced the creation of a new password-protected portal where authorized users may gain access to restricted scientific and engineering publications.
“DTIC Online Access Controlled… provides a gateway to Department of Defense unclassified, controlled science and technology (S&T) and research and engineering (R&E) information,” according to a September 21, 2009 news release (pdf). “As defense S&T information advances, so does the unique community to which it belongs,” said DTIC Administrator R. Paul Ryan.
The cultivation of controlled but unclassified scientific research by DTIC seems to represent a departure [see update below] from a longstanding U.S. government position that scientific research should either be classified, if necessary, or else unrestricted. (There have always been exceptions for export controlled information and for proprietary information.)
“It is the policy of this Administration that, to the maximum extent possible, the products of fundamental research remain unrestricted,” wrote President Reagan in the 1985 National Security Decision Directive 189. “It is also the policy of this Administration that, where the national security requires control, the mechanism for control of information… is classification.”
“The key to maintaining U.S. technological preeminence is to encourage open and collaborative basic research,” wrote then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in 2001. “The linkage between the free exchange of ideas and scientific innovation, prosperity, and U.S. national security is undeniable.”
In response to a request 5 days ago, DTIC was not able to provide a comment on the matter.
Update and Clarification: “Departure” may be the wrong word for this new development. DTIC has long maintained a collection of limited distribution records, both classified and unclassified, that are not publicly available. Nevertheless, the new DTIC Online Access Controlled portal appears to expand and reinforce the barriers blocking access to certain unclassified DTIC holdings.
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 […]
On 14 April 2023, the Belarusian Ministry of Defence released a short video of a Su-25 pilot explaining his new role in delivering “special [nuclear] munitions” following his training in Russia. The features seen in the video, as well as several other open-source clues, suggest that Lida Air Base––located only 40 kilometers from the Lithuanian border and the […]
A photo in a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) student briefing from 2022 shows four people inspecting what appears to be a damaged B61 nuclear bomb.
In early-February 2023, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) had informed Congress that China now has more launchers for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) than the United States. The report is the latest in a serious of revelations over the past four years about China’s growing nuclear weapons arsenal and the deepening […]