FAS has office space available for rent in the heart of Washington’s central business district and close proximity to the Farragut West (orange and blue lines) and Farragut North Metro (red line) Stations. Currently, there is 2.500 to 8.000 rentable square feet available (up to 15 windowed options); price is negotiable. Office space can be furnished and includes: reception area, two conference rooms, copy room, kitchen and storage space. Parking is available in building.
We hope that all Secrecy News readers will give generously to charitable causes that help relieve those who are in distress, near and far.
But if you have something left over and you find our work interesting or useful for your own purposes, then we hope you may also contribute to Secrecy News and the FAS Project on Government Secrecy.
If your situation permits, please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the Federation of American Scientists to support Secrecy News. (Thanks to those who have already done so!)
Donations can be made online (specify that your donation should be directed to “government secrecy”). If contributing via Paypal or CFC (account number 11539), send us a separate email to let us know you want your contribution allocated to the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. Checks payable to FAS may also be mailed to:
Federation of American Scientists
1725 DeSales Street N.W.
Washington D.C. 20036
FAS has three offices for rent in the heart of Washington’s central business district, within less than a minute’s walk to Farragut North metro stop on the red line, and less than four minutes walking distance from Farragut West metro stop on the orange and blue line. The offices are 130 sqft each and are furnished.
If one is looking for a copy of a Presidential Policy Directive issued by President Obama, the last place to turn is the White House website. In most cases, the Obama White House does not disclose presidential directives even when they are unclassified.
The Obama Administration has issued more than 20 Presidential Policy Directives (PPDs), many of which are collected or listed on the Federation of American Scientists web site.
But with few exceptions (PPD 14, PPD 19) most of these cannot be obtained from the White House. PPD 1, for example, which established the “Organization of the National Security Council System” is not on the White House web site, though it can be found on the FAS site here.
This refusal to disclose basic policy information is not merely frustrating and antithetical to transparency. By withholding current policy guidance, the White House may be inadvertently implying that obsolete guidance is still in effect.
Several of the Obama directives replaced previous directives issued by the George W. Bush Administration, particularly on homeland security policy. But while many of those Bush directives were publicly available, explained Christian Beckner of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, their successor directives from President Obama are not.
For example, he wrote, Obama’s PPD 18 on Maritime Security, which has not been released, replaced the Bush National Security Policy Directive 41, which was published on the Bush White House web site. Under the circumstances, withholding PPD 18 is bound to create confusion, especially among non-federal stakeholders.
“Without its public release, key stakeholders are likely still assuming that NSPD-41 is the top-level federal policy directive on maritime security issues, when in reality it was rescinded nearly a year ago,” wrote Beckner.
Similarly, the Obama PPD 17 on Countering Improvised Explosive Devices, which has not been disclosed, replaced the Bush Administration HSPD 19, which was disclosed. The result is a deficit in current, accurate policy information.
“Why this lack of transparency for a category of documents that had been publicly released in the previous administration?” Beckner wondered.
“I suspect a primary cause of this is the integration of the Homeland Security Council (HSC) into the National Security Council (NSC) in 2009,” he suggested. “The parts of the HSC that were absorbed into the new structure seem to have taken on the internal processes of the NSC, which has traditionally operated in the classified domain and worked on issues where federal agencies and international governments are the primary (if not sole) actors. However, for nearly all homeland security issues, the participation of non-federal stakeholders is essential. It’s not serving anyone’s interests for these directives to be kept so close hold.”
See “Missing Homeland Security PPDs — why not online?” by Christian Beckner, Homeland Security Watch, July 11.
However, the White House presidential directive non-disclosure policy extends beyond homeland security. Recently, the non-profit Center for Effective Government (CEG) sought to obtain a copy of Presidential Policy Directive 6 on Global Development. Though unclassified, the Administration refused to release the document, which it says is privileged.
In response to a pending Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by CEG, the Administration said last month that the 2010 directive was exempt from disclosure because it is “a confidential communication from the President to a select and limited group of senior foreign policy advisors, cabinet officials, and agency heads concerning the global development policy of the United States.”
While unclassified Obama presidential directives are mostly unavailable to the public, at least one highly classified Obama directive is posted online for anyone who wishes to read it. Presidential Policy Directive 20 on U.S. Cyber Operations Policy was apparently leaked by Edward Snowden and was published by the Guardian newspaper (“Obama orders US to draw up overseas target list for cyber-attacks” by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, June 7).
FAS and the Pacific Islands Society (PacSoc) are pleased to announce the inaugural class of Pacific Young Leaders on Disarmament.
Calvin Ziru comes from the Solomon Islands and is a lawyer by profession. He is currently a Chevening Scholarship recipient, completing a Master of Arts in Politics and International Relations at the Durham University in England. Previous to this, Calvin was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2009-2012), Parliamentary Secretariat and Legal Officer to the National Parliament Office of Solomon Islands (2007-2009), and Legal Associate in a commercial private practice in Fiji (2004-2007).
Charity Anna Porotesano recently graduated from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. In 2012, The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation recognized her exceptional leadership potential when she was made a Truman Scholar. Porotesano has since returned to her home of American Samoa to work in education and serve as a youth representative on the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.
Keiko Ono is a recent graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Development Studies. Of Papua New Guinean-Japanese decent, Ono has a strong interest in development and diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region. She also cares passionately about the future of SOAS where she currently works as the elected Co-President of SOAS Students Union. In this capacity, Ono plays a central management and oversight role in over 190 student-led activities.
Over the next six months, these young leaders will draft a short series of blog posts on contemporary counter-proliferation and disarmament issues. These will be designed to better familiarize the young leaders with opportunities and challenges currently facing the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Each will then be asked to draft a “Statement to the Conference on Disarmament.” These statements will provide their personal views on how the CD could, in the words of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, better live up to expectations. After publishing these statements on the FAS Blog, FAS/PacSoc staff intend to deliver the collection of statements to various Geneva-based diplomatic missions based to coincide with the start of the 2014 CD session.
On March 6, FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson gave a presentation on “The Physics (and Politics) of Nuclear Disarmament” at the physics colloquium of the University of Illinois. This event was, in part, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the course Physics 280: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear War, and Arms Control taught for 30 years by Prof. Frederick Lamb and now taught by Prof. Matthias Grosse Perdekamp. This is believed to be the longest continuously taught course on these issues; more than 1,000 students have taken this course.
Dr. Ferguson’s presentation slides can be viewed here (PDF).
On March 7, Dr. Ferguson gave the MillerComm lecture at the University of Illinois on the topic of “Leveraging Science and Technology to Transform International Security: The Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists.”
Dr. Ferguson’s presentation slides can be viewed here (PDF).
On Tuesday, April 9, 2013, Dr. Martin Hellman, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and Advisor to the FAS Nuclear Security Program, will speak at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Manufacturing Research Center on “The Wisdom of Foolishness: Taking on Nuclear Deterrence”.
The event is co-sponsored by the Daisy Alliance, Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Center for International Strategy, Technology & Policy, Nuclear & Radiological Engineering Program and the General Ray Davis Memorial Fund.
Light refreshments will be served.
The address of the event is:
Georgia Institute of Technology Manufacturing Research Center (MaRC)
813 Ferst Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30332
For more information, please contact Mr. Bruce Roth, Executive Director of the Daisy Alliance, via e-mail at email@example.com.
Dr. Donald Glaser, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who served as a member of FAS’s Board of Sponsors for many years, passed away last week at the age of 86. Glaser was the inventor of the bubble chamber, which allowed researchers to trace the paths of subatomic particles, which allowed for scientists to further discover that most particles of matter are composed of small particles called quarks.
Dr. Glaser went on to help found one of the U.S’s first biotechnology firms, the Cetus Corporation.
Later in his career, Dr. Glaser studied neurobiology and vision to understand how humans perceive motion.
For more information on Dr. Glaser, please see these resources:
U.S. drone policy, new CRS reports and much more.
From the Blogs
- Drone Programs Spark Budgetary, Privacy, Legal Concerns: The development of unmanned aerial systems (or drones) for military and civilian applications appears to be accelerating faster than the normal policy process can adapt to it. The use of drones in U.S. air space has sparked privacy, legal and budget concerns. Secrecy News has obtained a new Congressional Research Service report which addresses these concerns and the different drone programs in existence.
- Safety: We go to great lengths to try to keep ourselves safe, and everything we do to increase our safety and security imposes limits and restricts our options. But with all that we do, perfect safety is an oxymoron. In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y analyzes the quest for perfect safety, and how this is doomed to fail.
FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson will speak at a forum on nuclear regimes hosted by Virginia Tech University in Arlington, VA on November 5, 2012.
Dr. Ferguson will speak about nuclear power and nonproliferation regimes.
Nuclear regimes have their origins in non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and continue to have a significant impact on the nuclear power enterprise worldwide. Topics that will be discussed at the conference include: the role of the IAEA, future role of nuclear power and other energy sources and nuclear policy regulations by the government.
Registration for the conference is free. The deadline to register is Friday, October 26, 2012.
To view the conference agenda and register, click here.