One of the lacunae in the history of defense policy and science advice to government concerns the role of the JASON advisory panel. A fascinating new book on the JASONs helps to fill in that mysterious gap.
Established in 1960, the JASONs first gained unwelcome public attention as the result of a reference in the leaked Pentagon Papers. They have only rarely since been heard from in public.
Their membership is not publicized. Their meetings are closed. The publications are mostly classified. Their impact is hard to assess.
Author Ann Finkbeiner interviewed 36 JASONs, “roughly half of the membership,” and gleaned more about their activities than has ever appeared on the public record before, beginning with a definitive account of the origin of the JASON name (it was coined by Mildred Goldberger, the wife of Murph Goldberger, who is a JASON founding member and a friend of Secrecy News).
In her engaging and highly readable book, Finkbeiner traces the work of the JASONs over four decades and introduces many of the group’s original, eccentric and hyper-intelligent members.
See “The JASONs: The Secret History of Science’s Postwar Elite” by Ann Finkbeiner, Viking, April 2006.
A selection of unclassified JASON reports may be found here.
To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
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 […]
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