Month: June 2018


Rachel Bronson at the July March for Science Inaugural S|GNS Summit

Update: Can’t make it to the #SIGNS2018 summit this weekend? No worries! Catch the morning plenary sessions LIVE! Use this link and join us at 9am central: NEW YORK, NY – The March for Science, a global organization that advocates for equitable evidence-based science policies, has announced the inaugural S|GNS (Science | Government, Institutions … Continued

Garlin Gilchrist, executive director of the University of Michigan’s new Center for Social Media Responsibility

Garlin Gilchrist: Fighting fake news and the information apocalypse

In this interview, Garlin Gilchrist II, executive director of the University of Michigan’s new Center for Social Media Responsibility, discusses potential tools for deterring the spread of fake news and rebuilding the public’s trust in reliable sources of news and information. Gilchrist describes how “deep fakes”—audio and video recordings that have been digitally manipulated to … Continued


The making of a non-proliferation law: A memoir

In this article, the author describes the legislative process by which the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 (NNPA), the most comprehensive nuclear nonproliferation law created since the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, came to be enacted. The act would have looked very different, the author notes, but for an unusual parliamentary maneuver engineered by a … Continued

Waste makes haste: How a campaign to speed up nuclear waste shipments shut down the WIPP long-term repository

What happened, in the years leading up to Valentine’s Day 2014, that made a canister of nuclear waste burst open and spew out fire underground at a US facility for the long-term disposal of radioactive military waste? According to one widely publicized scenario, a simple run-of-the-mill typo led to organic kitty litter mistakenly being used … Continued

The Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system, pictured in 2017.. Source: Соколрус, via Wikimedia

The vicissitudes of Russian missile defense

The Russian vision of ballistic missile defense has reflected the specifics of the Russian/Soviet political system and decision-making mechanisms, and it is entangled with Moscow’s peculiar perceptions of external military threats, nuclear deterrence, and conventional warfighting. In this article, the author attempts to answer three basic questions about that vision: What is Russia’s long-term aim … Continued

A diagram of an interceptor that might be used in a proposed boost-phase missile defense system for use against North Korea.

A new boost-phase missile defense system—and its diplomatic uses in the North Korea dispute

The defense system the authors sketch in this article – the Airborne Patrol System – would make it possible to destroy North Korean ICBMs with fast-accelerating, high-speed interceptors before the targeted missile could deploy countermeasures that can defeat the US ground-based missile defense system. The Airborne Patrol System would be based on the well-tested, long-endurance … Continued

How emerging technology is shaping the future of intelligence.

Myths of automation and their implications for military procurement

Several mythical beliefs surround military automation, including the belief that automation reduces manpower needs, that it requires less training for operators, and that it reduces errors. The unbridled enthusiasm for automation exhibited by some technologists – and, consequently, by some technology acquisition programs – extends to claims that computers will achieve and even surpass human-like … Continued

Sigmund Freud

Deterrence and its discontents

What might Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, have found, had he lived long enough to study the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review and its drafters? Anxiety about failure and death, fear of impotence, and an obsession with deterrence that obscures the ultimate question: “What is it that the United States wants in this world?” … Continued

Launch of a missile defense interceptor from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California.

US Ground-based midcourse missile defense: Expensive and unreliable

The Trump administration is seeking a significant expansion in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program – a missile defense system on which the United States has already spent some 67 billion. Since the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system was declared, more than 15 years ago, to have achieved initial operational capability, tests of the system have failed more … Continued