from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 87
September 8, 2008

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A newly disclosed U.S. Army memorandum from 2001 describes the procedures that the Department of Defense must follow to invoke the state secrets privilege, from identifying the information at issue to preparing the required declarations to support the claim of privilege.

"These guidelines are intended to provide an instructive road-map for addressing the common procedural and substantive requirements associated with an invocation of the state secrets privilege," the memorandum states.

See "Practical Guidelines for Invoking the State Secrets Privilege," U.S. Army Memorandum for File, April 24, 2001:

The three page memorandum was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the James Madison Project (

"The document offers some insight into a process that was otherwise completely secretive," said attorney Mark S. Zaid, director of the Project.


Knowledge management -- referring to the creation, organization, application and transfer of knowledge -- is systematically explored in a new U.S. Army Field Manual.

Military knowledge management has been going on "implicitly since military operations began," the Manual notes. But by making its practices explicit, the Manual aims to increase the awareness and efficiency of knowledge management and to increase operational advantage.

"The primary purpose of knowledge management is to help commanders and staffs make informed, timely decisions."

Towards that end the Manual provides a detailed schematic account of the creation and transmission of knowledge in military affairs.

See "Knowledge Management Section," U.S. Army Field Manual 6-01.1, August 29, 2008:


The increasing demands placed on U.S. special operations forces have created new challenges for training and retention that were described at a congressional hearing last year.

"Recruiting since 9/11 has not been a problem for Special Operations Forces," said Gen. Bryan D. Brown, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. "Every seat in every school is full to start the course."

But only "about 23 percent graduate from the course," said Gen. Brown. "They fail the course for all kinds of reasons, one of them being their inability to pass the [foreign] language portion."

"And so if you can hit a target at 600 meters, that is great, but unless you can speak a language that we ask you to learn, you are still not going to graduate and wear a Special Forces tab."

Background on the status of Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps special operations forces was presented in the January 2007 hearing volume that was published last month along with detailed answers to questions for the record.

See "Current Manning, Equipping and Readiness Challenges Facing Special Operations Forces," hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, January 31, 2007:


Noteworthy publications from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following.

"India-U.S. Relations," updated August 12, 2008:

"Pakistan-U.S. Relations," updated August 25, 2008:

"Venezuela: Political Conditions and U.S. Policy," updated August 1, 2008:

"Latin America: Terrorism Issues," updated August 27, 2008:

"Iraq and Al Qaeda," updated August 15, 2008:

"Congressional Influence on Rulemaking and Regulation Through Appropriations Restrictions," updated August 5, 2008:

"Congressional Intervention in the Administrative Process: Legal and Ethical Considerations," September 25, 2003:

"Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: New Independent Agency Status," updated July 21, 2008:

On August 19, President Bush announced the nomination of James X. Dempsey, the vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a leading civil liberties organization, to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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