FAS Roundup: November 4, 2013

B61-12 capabilities increasing, parts for small arms and light weapons and much more.

From the Blogs

Intelligence Spending Dropped Sharply Last Year: Total U.S. intelligence spending last year declined by more than 10%. The reduction in spending was accelerated by the budget sequester which deprived intelligence agencies of billions of dollars beyond the intent of congressional appropriators, who were already cutting intelligence spending anyway. The Director of National Intelligence said that the 2013 budget appropriation for the National Intelligence Program was $52.7 billion, but that it was reduced by sequester to $49.0 billion. For decades, intelligence officials insisted that public disclosure of intelligence budget totals would cause intolerable damage to national security and that the total budget figures must therefore be classified. Eventually it was recognized that this was not true, and that it probably had never been true.

Capabilities of B61-12 Bomb Increase Further: With every official statement from DoD, STRATCOM and NNSA, it appears the capabilities of the new B61-12 appear to be increasing. The guided tail kit will increase accuracy and provide new warfighting capabilities. At a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, military and nuclear lab officials portrayed the B61-12 as key to future reductions and modifications of the nuclear stockpile. Hans Kristensen writes that this is quite the achievement for a weapon which was described as simply a refurbishment of four old B61s, but has now become the all-in-one nuclear bomb on steroids.

Army Drawdown and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as cybersecurity, U.S. Army restructuring and drawdown and tax issues for the oil and gas industries in the FY14 budget. 

Parts for Small Arms and Light Weapons: In a new research note published by Small Arms Survey, Director of the Arms Sales Monitoring Project Matt Schroeder examines the different parts for small arms and light weapons and the international trade of these parts.

Number of Secret Inventions Grew Last Year: According to new data released under the Freedom of Information Act by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, there were 139 new “secrecy orders” granted on patent applications during Fiscal Year 2013. Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, secrecy orders may be imposed by government agencies on patent applications if their disclosure would be “detrimental to national security.” The latest orders included 21 so-called “John Doe” orders, a term that refers to secrecy orders that are imposed on private inventors whose inventions and patent applications were generated without any government or military support (or “property interest”).

Biography of Dr. Richard Garwin

A crowdfunding effort to support a completed, published biography of Dr. Richard Garwin was launched on indiegog.com this week. Dr. Garwin is a world-famous physicist, designer of the first thermonuclear device (H-Bomb in popular speak), and has been an arms control advocate for half a century. He has been possibly the most highly regarded scientific advisor on national security issues to the U.S. government for nearly 60 years. He is one of the last major figures from the early Atomic Age and is still going strong, but no biography of him yet exists.

For more information on this project visit the site here. 

Event: The Wisdom of Foolishness: Four Historic Innovations, Deemed Foolish, Proven Smart

FAS and the Daisy Alliance are sponsoring a lecture on November 6, 2013 at 7 p.m. in Atlanta, GA at Georgia Tech featuring Dr. Martin Hellman, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Nuclear Risk Analysis.

Dr. Hellman will discuss how we can use the “wisdom of foolishness” to gain a bold new perspective on the risks and rewards of modernizing our country’s nuclear weapons posture: the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is far greater than we think, yet our ability to reduce that risk is far greater than we imagine.

To register for the event click here.

FAS in the News

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