from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2015, Issue No. 50
August 3, 2015
Secrecy News Blog: http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/
- AIR FORCE ISSUES GUIDANCE ON "MEDIA OPERATIONS"
- CHINA'S SCIENCE OF MILITARY STRATEGY (2013)
- MASS SHOOTINGS BECOMING MORE PREVALENT, CRS FINDS
AIR FORCE ISSUES GUIDANCE ON "MEDIA OPERATIONS"
As a rule, U.S. Air Force personnel should not employ physical violence against news reporters who disobey their instructions, newly updated Air Force guidance says.
If reporters are present at the scene of an accident or incident in which Air Force classified information is exposed, Air Force officials should "explain the situation and ask the media to cooperate."
But "Do not use force if media representatives refuse to cooperate unless declared an NDA [National Defense Area]," the Air Force guidance advises.
"If photographs are taken after a warning is issued, Air Force officials must ask civilian law enforcement authorities to stop further photography of the exposed classified information and to collect all materials with that coverage."
However, "If no civilian law enforcement authorities are on the scene and media representatives take unauthorized pictures, do not seize the materials or hold the photographer." Rather, the senior Air Force official at the scene should "immediately contact the managing editor or news director" of the news organization and "request the return of media coverage having suspected classified information."
That is one of the scenarios envisioned in a newly updated Air Force Instruction 35-104 on "Media Operations," dated 13 July 2015.
The Instruction generally favors constructive engagement with the news media, both on principle and out of self-interest.
"Releasing official information through the media can help create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of national interest and policies, as well as mitigate any adverse effects from unofficial, misinformed, or hostile sources," the Instruction states.
Of course, Air Force personnel are directed "not [to] release classified information" to members of the news media. Interestingly, however, the new Instruction also says that there are "circumstances when exposure to sensitive or classified information is allowed."
"The commander may grant access [to sensitive or classified information] if the reporter agrees to a security and policy review of the communication product. Agreement to a security and policy review in exchange for this type of access is strictly voluntary; however, if a reporter does not agree, then access to sensitive information may be denied. If a reporter agrees to a security and policy review, it will be conducted solely to ensure that sensitive or classified information is not included in the product."
In general, "the primary responsibility for protecting classified information lies with the Air Force, not the reporter, and the reporter can justifiably refuse any requests for prior review," the Air Force Instruction said.
CHINA'S SCIENCE OF MILITARY STRATEGY (2013)
In 2013, the Academy of Military Sciences of the People's Liberation Army of China issued a revised edition of its authoritative, influential publication "The Science of Military Strategy" (SMS) for the first time since 2001.
"Each new edition of the SMS is closely scrutinized by China hands in the West for the valuable insights it provides into the evolving thinking of the PLA on a range of strategically important topics," wrote Joe McReynolds of the Jamestown Institute.
A copy of the 2013 edition of the Science of Military Strategy -- in Chinese -- was obtained by Secrecy News and is posted on the Federation of American Scientists website (in a very large PDF).
"The availability of this document could be a huge boon for young China analysts who have not yet had the chance to buy their own copy in China or Taiwan," said one China specialist.
An English translation of the document has not yet become publicly available.
But an overview of its treatment of nuclear weapons policy issues was provided in a recent essay by Michael S. Chase of the Jamestown Institute.
"Compared to the previous edition of SMS, the 2013 edition offers much more extensive and detailed coverage of a number of nuclear policy and strategy-related issues," Mr. Chase wrote.
In general, SMS 2013 "reaffirms China's nuclear No First Use policy.... Accordingly, any Chinese use of nuclear weapons in actual combat would be for 'retaliatory nuclear counterstrikes'."
With respect to deterrence, SMS 2013 states that "speaking with a unified voice from the highest levels of the government and military to the lowest levels can often enhance deterrence outcomes. But sometimes, when different things are said by different people, deterrence outcomes might be even better."
SMS 2013 also notably included the first explicit acknowledgement of Chinese "network attack forces" which perform what the U.S. calls "offensive cyber operations."
In a separate essay on "China's Evolving Perspectives on Network Warfare: Lessons from the Science of Military Strategy," Joe McReynolds wrote that the SMS authors "focus heavily on the central role of peacetime 'network reconnaissance' -- that is, the technical penetration and monitoring of an adversary's networks -- in developing the PLA's ability to engage in wartime network operations."
On July 28, the Congressional Research Service updated its report on China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities -- Background and Issues for Congress.
Update: The Union of Concerned Scientists has published a detailed review of the 2013 Science of Military Strategy, including translations of some key passages.
MASS SHOOTINGS BECOMING MORE PREVALENT, CRS FINDS
Mass murder involving firearms has become more prevalent in the United States over recent decades, according to data presented in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.
In the 1970s, there was an average of 1.1 such mass homicide incidents per year, with 5.5 victims murdered and 2.0 wounded per incident. The numbers have increased each decade since then. By 2010-2013, there was an average of 4.5 incidents per year, with 7.4 victims murdered and 6.3 wounded per incident.
The CRS report said that the prospects for a legislative response to such mass murders might possibly be enhanced if the quality and specificity of reporting on them were improved.
"With improved data, policymakers would arguably have additional vantage points from which to assess the legislative proposals that are inevitably made in the wake of these tragedies."
CRS therefore suggested requiring federal agencies to report annually on firearms-related mass murders, including data on (1) offender acquisition of firearms, (2) types of firearms used, (3) amounts and types of ammunition carried and shots fired, (4) killed and wounded counts, (5) offender histories of mental illness and domestic violence, and (6) victim-offender relationships.
A copy of the new CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News. See Mass Murder with Firearms, 1999-2013, July 30, 2015:
Other new and updated products from CRS include the following.
Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview, updated July 29, 2015:
The Iran Hostages: Efforts to Obtain Compensation, updated July 30, 2015:
Consumer and Credit Reporting, Scoring, and Related Policy Issues, July 30, 2015:
NLRB Weighs In on Insulting Facebook Posts Cases, CRS Legal Sidebar, July 31, 2015:
License Plates and Public Signs: Government First Amendment Speech, CRS Legal Sidebar, July 29, 2015:
Patent Litigation Reform Legislation in the 114th Congress, updated July 29, 2015:
Filling the Senate "Amendment Tree", CRS Insights, July 28, 2015:
Defense Health Program Funding Shortfall for Fiscal Year 2015, CRS Insights, July 30, 2015:
The Federal Tax Treatment of Married Same-Sex Couples, updated July 30, 2015:
Expansion of WTO Information Technology Agreement Targets December Conclusion, CRS Insights, July 28, 2015:
Mexico's Oil and Gas Sector: Background, Reform Efforts, and Implications for the United States, updated July 30, 2015:
The 2015 National Military Strategy: Background and Questions for Congress, CRS Insights, July 29, 2015:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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