from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 47
May 19, 2005


A report to Congress from the Overseas Basing Commission was removed from the Commission's web site last week after the Department of Defense complained that its publication involved "unauthorized disclosure of classified information."

But "The commission is confident that everything in our report was obtained from unclassified sources or settings," Commission chairman Al Cornella told the Washington Post.

Along with forthright criticism of current Pentagon planning, the suppressed Commission report concluded ironically that "The nation would benefit from a more inclusive discussion on how best to ensure the greater security of the United States." (p. C&R 3).

The main body of the May 9 report of the Overseas Basing Commission, not including several appendices, was preserved on the web site of Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX). A copy is posted here (5.4 MB PDF file):

See also "Report Critical of Rumsfeld Is Pulled After DOD Protest" by Mike Allen, Washington Post, May 16, 2005:


The Final Report of the Nuclear Attack Planning Base 1990 (NAPB 90) project, a little-known classic of the late cold war era on the consequences of a nuclear war, was released under the Freedom of Information Act and is now available online.

NAPB-90 was undertaken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1985-86 to estimate the physical effects of a Soviet nuclear strike against the United States.

It presents detailed assessments of casualties and other damages due to nuclear weapons blast overpressure, fire and radiation.

"NAPB-90 cannot be used to predict how a nuclear war would be fought against the U.S. but merely identifies areas and populations which are at potential risk from nuclear weapon effects," the final report states.

"It represents a credible estimate of the potential risk from a large-scale nuclear attack on the U.S., having been constructed on logical, studied assumptions and available empirical data." (p.2).

The approximately 800 page final report, originally marked Limited Distribution and Not for Public Release, has long been hard to find. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Allen Thomson, FEMA courteously provided its library reference copy on loan.

The full text of "Nuclear Attack Planning Base-1990 Final Project Report," April 1987, is now here:


Some recent reports of the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include these.

"Federal Counter-Terrorism Training: Issues for Congressional Oversight," May 16, 2005:

"Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues," updated May 9, 2005:

"Bioterrorism Countermeasure Development: Issues in Patents and Homeland Security," May 6, 2005:


It seems improbable that anyone would join the military in order to serve as a musician. But bands and orchestras are an established part of military ceremony, and so they even have their official guidelines and "doctrine."

The U.S. Army this month issued an updated Handbook for Army Band Leaders.

It includes an informative account of the origin and history of instruments used in Army bands, and provides practical guidance for band organization and rehearsal.

Among the band leader's more subtle and profound duties is to appraise his band members, so as to integrate them into a cohesive and well-tempered unit.

"Every section leader must know each player's capabilities before effectively employing those capabilities. This is a continually ongoing process, beginning with evaluating a new player, through daily observation of their development, until the day that Soldier leaves the band."

See "Army Band Section Leader Handbook," Training Circular 12-44, dated 23 May 2005 (70 pages, 1.1 MB PDF file):


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send an email message to [email protected] with "subscribe" (without quotes) in the body of the message.

To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a blank email message to [email protected].

OR email your request to [email protected]

Secrecy News is archived at:

Secrecy News has an RSS feed at: