from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 30
April 4, 2016
Secrecy News Blog: http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/
- U.S. DECLASSIFIES HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM INVENTORY
- DOE REQUESTS INCREASE IN NUCLEAR WEAPONS BUDGET
- CIA WITHDRAWS EMAIL DESTRUCTION PROPOSAL
- INTELLIGENCE FOR AIR AND MISSILE DEFENSE
U.S. DECLASSIFIES HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM INVENTORY
The White House announced last week that the U.S. inventory of highly enriched uranium (HEU) as of September 2013 has been declassified.
"The newly declassified information shows that, from 1996 to 2013, U.S. HEU inventories decreased from 740.7 metric tons to 585.6 metric tons. This reflects a reduction of over 20 percent," according to a March 31 White House fact sheet.
The White House added that "This announcement marks the first time in fifteen years that the United States has declassified and released information of this kind."
But that assertion is in error.
In 2006, the Department of Energy declassified and released data on US HEU inventories dating from 2004. See Highly Enriched Uranium Inventory: Amounts of Highly Enriched Uranium in the United States, Department of Energy, January 2006:
Moreover, the DOE report from a decade ago shows that
almost all of the 20% reduction in HEU inventories cited by the White House last week had already been accomplished by 2004, when the HEU total was 590.5 metric tons. Thereafter, in the period between 2004 and 2013, the total HEU inventory evidently declined by only about 5 additional metric tons (less than 1%) to 585.6 metric tons. [Correction: I mistakenly wrote that the inventory of HEU in 2004 was 590.5 Metric Tons. But that number was the amount of U-235, not HEU. (I read the 2006 DOE report wrong.) The actual inventory of HEU at the time was 686.6 Metric Tons. Therefore, between 2004 and 2013 there was a reduction in the U.S. HEU inventory of 101 Metric Tons. Thanks to Prof. Alan Kuperman for pointing out the error.]
But the White House added that "further reductions in the inventory are ongoing; the U.S. Department of Energy's material disposition program has down-blended 7.1 metric tons of HEU since September 30, 2013, and continues to make progress in this area."
The latest disclosure was made to enhance nuclear transparency so as to encourage reciprocal disclosures by other nuclear weapons states.
"The U.S. commitment to sharing appropriate nuclear security-related information has also been demonstrated by recent actions such as the declassification of information on the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and transparency visits by officials from non-nuclear weapons states to Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories," the White House said. "These actions show that countries can increase transparency without revealing sensitive information."
DOE REQUESTS INCREASE IN NUCLEAR WEAPONS BUDGET
The Department of Energy budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would again increase spending on nuclear weapons in Fiscal Year 2017.
"The budget request for FY2017 seeks $9,243.1 million for Weapons Activities within a total budget of $12,884 million for NNSA," according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service. "This represents an increase of approximately 4.4% in the Weapons Activities Account over FY2016."
"The Obama Administration has requested increased funding for the nuclear weapons complex in each of its annual budgets," CRS noted. But the latest request still exceeds expectations.
In particular, "the FY2017 budget request and projections for subsequent years now exceed the amount predicted in [a] 2010 report [to Congress]," CRS said.
The details are presented in Energy and Water Development: FY2017 Appropriations for Nuclear Weapons Activities, April 1, 2016:
Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.
Supreme Court Vacancies: Frequently Asked Questions, March 31, 2016:
Supreme Court Appointment Process: President's Selection of a Nominee, updated April 1, 2016:
Medicare Primer, updated March 31, 2016:
Iran, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy, updated March 30, 2016:
Mexico: Background and U.S. Relations, updated March 30, 2016:
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities -- Background and Issues for Congress, updated March 31, 2016:
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents, updated March 30, 2016:
CIA WITHDRAWS EMAIL DESTRUCTION PROPOSAL
The Central Intelligence Agency has formally rescinded its widely-criticized plan to destroy the email records of all but 22 senior agency officials, the National Archives said last week.
The CIA proposal generated controversy when it became public in 2014 because of its surprisingly narrow scope, which would have precluded preservation of vast swaths of CIA email records. Such records have proved invaluable not only for historical purposes, but also for contemporary accountability and congressional oversight.
"The agency has withdrawn this schedule effective March 21, 2016, due to the agency's reorganization," wrote Margaret Hawkins, director of records appraisal and agency assistance at the National Archives and Records Administration, in an email message to the Federation of American Scientists.
"In our last communication on this schedule, it was conveyed that a public meeting would be held to address all comments received. With the schedule's withdrawal, this meeting will not be held."
In any case, CIA is still obliged to present a plan to the National Archives to explain how it will preserve or dispose of its email records. CIA can either adopt the standard template known as the Capstone General Records Schedule, or it can devise a specific plan of its own for approval by the National Archives.
"If the agency chooses to submit a new agency-specific records schedule, it will be available for request and comment to the public through the Federal Register process," Ms. Hawkins wrote.
INTELLIGENCE FOR AIR AND MISSILE DEFENSE
A new U.S. Army manual addresses the challenges of intelligence support for air and missile defense programs.
"A large number of adversary countries possess or are trying to acquire TBMs [tactical ballistic missiles] and Advanced Air Breathing Threats (ABTs) (i.e. Fixed-Wing (FW) aircraft, Rotary-Wing (RW) aircraft, Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), Anti-Radiation Missiles (ARMs), and Cruise Missiles (CMs)), for prestige and/or military purposes. These aerial and TBM threats have the potential to give the adversary a military advantage against the United States (US) and multinational forces. The threat the adversary presents is a complex, multi-dimensional, intelligence problem," the Army manual stated.
To meet this emerging threat, the Army prescribes an Air and Missile Defense (AMD) Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) process, as outlined in the manual. See Air and Missile Defense Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield, ATP 3-01.16, March 31, 2016:
"AMD IPB identifies facts and assumptions about the battlefield environment and the air and missile defense threat. AMD IPB determines enemy air and missile defense courses of action (COAs), their associated branches and sequels, and describes the operating environment for air and missile defense operations. This supports commander and staff planning and the development of friendly COAs."
"Applied properly, AMD IPB provides for the timely and effective neutralization and/or destruction of the aerial and TBM threat, while minimizing the requirement for friendly AMD assets."
Air and missile defense systems may be vulnerable to attack through cyberspace, the Army manual noted, so consideration should be given to "what mitigations can be put into effect to limit or negate the effects of an attempted cyber-attack on the AMD system."
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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