from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2010, Issue No. 81
October 14, 2010

Secrecy News Blog:


The Intelligence Science Board (ISB), which was established in 2002 to provide independent scientific advice to the Director of National Intelligence, has been disbanded by the new DNI, James R. Clapper Jr., as part of a process of reorganizing and streamlining the ODNI organization.

"My understanding is that the Director will be disbanding all 20 of his advisory boards, which includes the ISB," one participant in Intelligence Science Board studies told Secrecy News.

DNI Clapper "did a zero base review of all outside advisory boards as part of an efficiency review," an ODNI official said. "The new strategy is to have one Senior Advisory Group and then convene Task Forces on specific issues as needed." The Task Forces in turn "may have expiration dates." The membership of the new umbrella Advisory Group is now in formation, the official said.

The overall contribution of the Intelligence Science Board is difficult for an outsider to assess, since little of it has been made public. But the Board's 2006 report on "Educing Information," which authoritatively explained that there was no empirical justification for the use of coercive interrogation (or torture), remains a milestone in the field. It demonstrated independent judgment as well as immediate policy relevance.

An ODNI spokesman said the move to eliminate the Board should not be seen as a rejection of science advice, but as a step toward a smaller standing bureaucracy and increased efficiency.

"One of the things Iím doing is... essentially restructuring the Office of the Director of National Intelligence" said DNI Clapper at an October 6 speech to the Bipartisan Policy Center.


"The Soviet Army is the best prepared force in the world to conduct both offensive and defensive NBC [nuclear, biological and chemical] operations," according to a 1984 U.S. Army manual that is newly available online.

The three-part manual, based on Soviet military literature and other open sources, provides a dauntingly detailed account of almost every aspect of Soviet military structure and operations.

So, for example: "The Soviets recognize three basic types of smoke screens: blinding, camouflaging, and decoy. Each type is classified as being frontal, oblique, or flank in nature, depending on the placement of the screen."

Perhaps of equal or greater importance, the manual implicitly documents the U.S. Army's perception of the Soviet military late in the Cold War.

"In the Soviet view, the correlation of forces has been shifting in favor of the socialist camp since the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Soviet Marxist-Leninist ideology requires the correlation to shift continuously in favor of socialism. The correlation of forces may be advanced by both violent and nonviolent means. When it is advanced by violent means, the military component of the correlation is the dominant factor."

The first volume of the manual, originally "for official Government use only," has not previously been published online. See "The Soviet Army: Operations and Tactics," Field Manual 100-2-1, July 16, 1984 (203 pages, large pdf):

The second volume is "The Soviet Army: Specialized Warfare and Rear Area Support," FM 100-2-2, July 16, 1984 (100 pages, pdf):

The third volume is "The Soviet Army: Troops, Organization, and Equipment," FM 100-2-3, June 1991 (456 pages, large pdf):

In February 1957, the Army produced an extremely detailed "Glossary of Soviet Military and Related Abbreviations," Army Technical Manual TM 30-546:


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

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