from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 114
December 27, 2004
TRANSITION TO AND FROM HOSTILITIES (DSB) For all of its prowess in combat, the U.S. military today is poorly prepared to conduct post-combat stabilization operations, the Defense Science Board observes in a new report to the Pentagon. A series of recommended changes in military forces and operational planning flow from this observation, including the development of improved stabilization and reconstruction capabilities, enhanced strategic communications (the subject of another recent DSB report), and intelligence reform that stresses language capability, area expertise and the skillful exploitation of open source information. Open source intelligence, a field that was largely scanted in recent intelligence reform legislation, is given particular attention by the DSB authors (pp. 147-152). "Urgent action is called for, as the nation is likely to engage in additional stabilization and reconstruction operations before the recommendations in this study can be implemented and, as a result, will do so unprepared," the study emphasizes. A copy of the Defense Science Board 2004 Summer Study on Transition to and From Hostilities, December 2004, is posted here (229 pages, 2.4 MB PDF file):
- TRANSITION TO AND FROM HOSTILITIES (DSB)
- SENSITIVE SECURITY INFORMATION AT THE USDA
- TORTURE POLICY DOCUMENTS IN CONTENTION
- THE EVOLUTION OF ARMY SPECIAL FORCES, 1995-2004
- TSUNAMI RELIEF
SENSITIVE SECURITY INFORMATION AT THE USDAOfficial controls on unclassified information are proliferating in such abundance that there are now two categories of information that are both called "sensitive security information" (SSI), though each has a different scope and significance. The better known type of "sensitive security information," which is broadly defined in statute, has to do with aspects of transportation security that are protected from disclosure. It includes such things as airline and airport security plans, threat assessments, training materials and so forth. This type of SSI has become a subject of some public controversy because of the expansive interpretation given to the term by the Transportation Security Administration. TSA has refused, for example, to disclose its legal authority for conducting passenger pat-downs or for requiring passengers to present a photo ID. Because such information is SSI, the agency says, it cannot be made public. (See "The Arrival of Secret Law," Secrecy News, 11/14/04). But then there is the completely unrelated "Sensitive Security Information" (SSI) which applies to "unclassified but sensitive" information in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "It is the policy of USDA to safeguard unclassified but sensitive security information within its control. USDA will withhold from release sensitive information that is not appropriate for public disclosure consistent with laws, regulations and court decisions," according to a USDA regulation. This type of SSI corresponds generally to what is termed "For Official Use Only" in other agencies. See "Control and Protection of 'Sensitive Security Information'," USDA Departmental Regulation 3440-02, 30 January 2003:
TORTURE POLICY DOCUMENTS IN CONTENTIONSen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) last week challenged the Bush Administration's refusal "to disclose pertinent documents and memoranda relating to its policies and practices governing the treatment and interrogation of prisoners in U.S. custody." "I have for months been asking for these materials but this Administration will not even provide an index to the elected representatives of the American people," Sen. Leahy said. "This type of secrecy contributes to the manipulation of the law and the misuse of government authority."
THE EVOLUTION OF ARMY SPECIAL FORCES, 1995-2004A recent master's thesis presents "a historical analysis of the evolution of US Army Special Forces operations from 1995 to 2004, focusing specifically on operations conducted in the Balkans (Bosnia and Kosovo), Afghanistan and Iraq" and addresses the question: "How have the operations conducted by US Army Special Forces evolved from the Balkans in 1995 through Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)?" See "From Bosnia to Baghdad: The Evolution of U.S. Army Special Forces from 1995-2004" by Armando J. Ramirez, Navy Postgraduate School, September 2004:
TSUNAMI RELIEFThe American Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are among the organizations seeking donations to aid relief efforts following the December 26 tsunami in South Asia. See:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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