from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 81
September 30, 2016

Secrecy News Blog:


Military doctrine has been defined as "fundamental principles that guide the employment of U.S. military forces in coordinated action toward a common objective." Some of those fundamental principles are elaborated in two U.S. military documents that were made public this month.

A newly revised Pentagon publication addresses Joint Interdiction (Joint Publication 3-03, Joint Chiefs of Staff, September 9, 2016).

Interdiction here refers not simply to interception (as in the case of aircraft interdiction). Rather, it encompasses a broad range of military actions taken "to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy the enemy's military surface capability before it can be used effectively against friendly forces, or to achieve enemy objectives."

"The purpose of interdiction operations is to prevent adversaries from employing surface-based weaponry and reinforcing units at a time and place of their choosing." The new Pentagon publication explores the planning, execution and assessment of interdiction actions.

It notes along the way that "Cyberspace forces can employ offensive cyberspace operations capabilities to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy enemy capabilities in support of interdiction operations."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army has issued new doctrine on what it calls, somewhat mysteriously, Deep Operations (ATP 3-94.2, September 2016).

"Deep operations extend operations in time, space, and purpose. . . . They involve efforts to prevent or limit uncommitted enemy forces from being employed in a coherent manner. Deep operations involving air and ground maneuver forces in the deep area may be high risk activities. Commanders should carefully consider and balance the potential benefits with the risks associated with deep operations."

On closer inspection, it turns out that the two new doctrinal publications are related, and that the Army's "deep operations" overlap with the Joint Chiefs' concept of "interdiction."

Thus, the Army document says at one point that "The joint community refers to deep operations which are not in close proximity to friendly ground forces as interdiction."

The importance of national security terminology in facilitating common understanding -- or generating needless confusion -- is an underlying theme of a new book which also serves as a lexicon of current terms. See Intelligence and Information Policy for National Security: Key Terms and Concepts by Jan Goldman and Susan Maret (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).


The conflict in South Sudan is one of four in the world -- along with those in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen -- that are classified by the United Nations as humanitarian emergencies of the highest order (Level 3), a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service points out.

"U.N. officials estimate that at least 50,000 people have been killed since the conflict began, but no reliable death count exists, and some experts suggest the toll may be much higher. More than 2.7 million people have been displaced since December 2013. At least 1.7 million people are displaced internally, and in September 2016 the number of refugees surpassed 1 million."

For background on the conflict and its humanitarian impact, see Conflict in South Sudan and the Challenges Ahead, updated September 22, 2016:

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, updated September 20, 2016:

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, updated September 27, 2016:

Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations, updated September 26, 2016:

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated September 26, 2016:

Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Regulations: Background and Issues for Congress, September 28, 2016:

Housing for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS, updated September 27, 2016:

The Yahoo! Data Breach--Issues for Congress, CRS Insight, September 26, 2016:

Wells Fargo Customer Account Scandal: Regulatory Policy Issues, CRS Insight, September 28, 2016:

Monuments and Memorials Authorized Under the Commemorative Works Act in the District of Columbia: Current Development of In-Progress and Lapsed Works, updated September 26, 2016:

U.S. Peanut Program and Issues, updated September 27, 2016:


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

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