from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2011, Issue No. 31
April 4, 2011

Secrecy News Blog:


Violent instability in Central America poses a growing threat to the countries of the region, with direct and indirect consequences for the United States, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

"The seven nations of Central America face significant security challenges. Well-financed and heavily armed criminal threats, fragile political and judicial systems, and persistent social hardships such as poverty and unemployment contribute to widespread insecurity in the region. The United States has allocated $260 million in security assistance to support Central America since FY2008 under what is now known as the Central America Regional Security Initiative; however, security conditions have continued to deteriorate," the CRS report said.

A copy of the report was obtained by Secrecy News. See "Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for Congress," March 30, 2011:

Other noteworthy new CRS reports include the following.

"The Japanese Nuclear Incident: Technical Aspects," March 31, 2011:

"Nuclear Power Plant Sites: Maps of Seismic Hazards and Population Centers," March 29, 2011:

"Japan's 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami: Economic Effects and Implications for the United States," March 25, 2011:

"Funeral Protests: Selected Federal Laws and Constitutional Issues," March 22, 2011:

"War in Afghanistan: Strategy, Military Operations, and Issues for Congress," March 9, 2011:


The challenges of conducting military operations in a mountainous environment are addressed in a new U.S. Army manual.

In the mountains, "small mistakes can lead to catastrophic events," while "technological supremacy can be negated by even the most crude and non-technical enemy actions," the new manual said.

Therefore, "Mountain combat calls for extreme physical fitness, mental toughness, endurance, and the utmost in tactical and technical proficiency on the part of all individuals." With proper leadership and preparation, "the physical characteristics of mountains can support and enhance offensive operations."

See Army Tactics Techniques Procedures (ATTP) 3-21.50, "Infantry Small-Unit Mountain Operations," February 28, 2011.


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

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