SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2013, Issue No. 89
October 17, 2013

Secrecy News Blog: http://blogs.fas.org/secrecy/

NUCLEAR WEAPONS SCIENTISTS ARE SAD

Scientists in the nuclear weapons program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are feeling blue, according to a recent internal report.

"We heard that there is a sense of increased stress and reduced morale among LLNL technical employees in the weapons program, stemming from a (perceived, at least) combination of reduced resources and increased work requirements," the report said.

Of course, many people are sad, for many reasons. The Shekhinah is in exile. But low morale among weapons scientists can have negative programmatic and national security consequences.

Therefore, "We recommend attention to the potential danger that activities that are important for long-term stockpile stewardship may be dropped in favor of seemingly urgent near-term requirements," the report said. See "Predictive Science Panel: Unclassified Report," LLNL Meeting, August 20-22, 2013:

A new study of the future of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal proposes "a framework for evaluating future reductions or modifications of the U.S. nuclear force." The study, performed for the Department of Energy, warns against irreversible changes in the arsenal (which it calls "roach motels of reduction"), reversible but undesirable changes ("box canyons in the Valley of Disarmament"), and other types of unfavorable actions ("wrong turns on the road to the future"). See "Reductions Without Regret" by John A. Swegle and Douglas J. Tincher, Savannah River National Laboratory, September 2013. The report does not necessarily represent the views of DoE or the US Government (or FAS).

A new report from the CATO Institute calls for the elimination of two legs of the nuclear triad (missiles and bombers) in favor of an entirely submarine-based nuclear force. See "The End of Overkill?" by Benjamin Friedman, Christopher Preble, and Matt Fay, September 24, 2013.

Meanwhile, Hans Kristensen of FAS discovers a surprising fact: "The latest data from the New START Treaty shows that Russia has reduced its deployed strategic nuclear forces while the United States has increased its force over the past six months." This is an anomalous result of the counting process, not a new arms buildup, but it is noteworthy nonetheless. See "New START Data Shows Russia Reducing, US Increasing Nuclear Forces," FAS Strategic Security Blog, October 2.


VISA BARRIERS KEEP ISRAELI CRYPTOGRAPHER FROM NSA MEETING

The renowned Israeli cryptographer Adi Shamir was unable to attend the 2013 Cryptologic History Symposium sponsored by the National Security Agency because of delays in visa processing that almost seem designed to frustrate international scientific cooperation. Adi Shamir is the "S" in the RSA public-key algorithm and is "one of the finest cryptologists in the world today," according to historian David Kahn.

The NSA Symposium begins today, October 17.

For the reasons described in the email message to colleagues that is pasted below, Dr. Shamir is not there.

Details of Dr. Shamir's October 18 lecture at MIT can be found here:

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

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