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Category Archives: Defense

New Memoir by Participant in U.S. H-Bomb Program Sheds Light on the Making of First Test Device

National Security Archive: “A new scientific memoir by one of the few surviving participants in the U.S. H-bomb project provides fresh information and insights into the production of the world’s first thermonuclear device. In an exclusive essay and selection of declassified documents provided to the National Security Archive and posted today on the Archive’s website, the author, Dr. Kenneth W. Ford, brings to light intriguing pieces of the H-bomb’s early history, including personal aspects such as the brittle relationship between physicists Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam and their feud over who came up with one of the central theories leading to the H-bomb’s development. Building the H Bomb, A Personal History (Singapore: World Scientific, 2015) describes a central element of the process — the Princeton University-based “Project Matterhorn” — where Ford and his colleagues used the latest computer technology to calculate the mid and late stages of a thermonuclear explosion, especially the burning of the nuclear fuel. The Matterhorn calculations were essential to the IVY MIKE thermonuclear test that caused the island of Elugelab — part of Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands — to disappear on 1 November 1952. As William Broad reports in The New York Times yesterday, 23 March 2015, Dr. Ford is currently in a dispute with the Department of Energy concerning the latter’s security review of Building the H Bomb. Ford emphasizes that he has scrubbed his book of nuclear weapons secrets and that any and all technical information he uses is from public sources. The DOE reviewers, however, declare that the book includes secret “Restricted Data.” Believing otherwise, Dr. Ford argues that much of the public-record material that he uses comes from people who had “Q” clearances authorizing their access to nuclear weapons data. On the grounds that the DOE arguments are poorly founded, Ford has gone ahead with publication…”

Progress Report Panel Conducts Review of FBI Since 9/11 Commission Report

“A congressionally mandated panel charged with reviewing the FBI’s implementation of recommendations contained in the 9/11 Commission Report in 2004 today issued its findings. The release of the 9/11 Review Commission’s report, The FBI: Protecting the Homeland in the 21st Century, followed 14 months of research, interviews, briefings, and field visits by commissioners and theirContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Drug Discount Program, Homeland Security, James Webb Space Telescope, NASA, Unmanned Aerial Systems

Drug Discount Program: Status of GAO Recommendations to Improve 340B Drug Pricing Program Oversight, GAO-15-455T: Published: Mar 24, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 2015. Homeland Security: Action Needed to Better Assess Cost-Effectiveness of Security Enhancements at Federal Facilities, GAO-15-444: Published: Mar 24, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 2015 James Webb Space Telescope: Project Facing IncreasedContinue Reading

Air Force testimony to Congress highlights diminished budget, tactical resources, capability

United States Air Force Presentation Before the Senate Armed Services Committee Fiscal Year 2016. Air Force Posture. Witness Statement of The Honorable Ms. Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force General Mark A. Welsh III, USAF Chief of Staff by the Generals of American Land and Air Forces to the Armed Forces Committee ofContinue Reading

Destabilizing Property

“Rosser, Ezra, Destabilizing Property (March 1, 2015). Connecticut Law Review, Forthcoming; American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2015-1. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2581710 “Property theory has entered into uncertain times. Conservative and progressive scholars are fiercely contesting everything it seems, from what is at the core of property to what obligations owners owe society.Continue Reading

Commentary and document release – CIA declassifies document used to support Iraq invasion

Article by Jason Leopold – March 19, 2015: “Thirteen years ago, the intelligence community concluded in a 93-page classified document used to justify the invasion of Iraq that it lacked “specific information” on “many key aspects” of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. But that’s not what top Bush administration officials said during their campaign toContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Crop Insurance, Security Clearances

Crop Insurance: Reducing Subsidies for Highest Income Participants Could Save Federal Dollars with Minimal Effect on the Program, GAO-15-356: Published: Mar 18, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 2015: “The federally subsidized crop insurance program helps about 1 million participants manage the risk inherent in farming. In recent years, the government’s costs for the crop insuranceContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Criminal History Records, Geospatial Data, Improper Payments, Military Base Realignments and Closures, Operational Contract Support, Recovery Act

Criminal History Records: Additional Actions Could Enhance the Completeness of Records Used For Employment-Related Background Checks, GAO-15-162: Published: Feb 12, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2015. Geospatial Data: Progress Needed on Identifying Expenditures, Building and Utilizing a Data Infrastructure, and Reducing Duplicative Efforts, GAO-15-193: Published: Feb 12, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2015. Homeland SecurityContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Defense Acquisitions, Egypt

Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Program, GAO-15-342SP: Published: Mar 12, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2015: “Over the past year, the overall size of DOD’s major defense acquisition program portfolio decreased, from 80 programs to 78, while the estimated cost has decreased by $7.6 billion. The size and cost of the portfolio is currentlyContinue Reading

Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community – 2015

Statement for the Record Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, Senate Armed Services Committee, James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence February 26, 2015. Cyber Strategic Assessment – “Cyber threats to US national and economic security are increasing in frequency, scale, sophistication, and severity of impact. The ranges of cyber threat actors, methodsContinue Reading

Unclassified Version of March 6, 2015 Message to the Workforce from CIA Director John Brennan

Unclassified Version of March 6, 2015 Message to the Workforce from CIA Director John Brennan: Our Agency’s Blueprint for the Future, March 6, 2015 “Colleagues, Last September I asked an outstanding group of officers from across the Agency to examine our organization—particularly its people, processes, and structure—and to provide a report on how to ensureContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Auto Safety, Aviation Security, Visa Programs, TARP

Auto Safety: Status of NHTSA’s Redesign of Its Crashworthiness Data System, GAO-15-334: Published: Mar 6, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 2015. Aviation Security: TSA Should Take Additional Action to Obtain Stakeholder Input when Modifying the Prohibited Items List, GAO-15-261: Published: Feb 4, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 2015. H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs: Increased ProtectionsContinue Reading