from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2017, Issue No. 51
July 5, 2017
Secrecy News Blog: https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/
ARMY ISSUES NEW COUNTER-WMD DOCTRINE
Countering weapons of mass destruction (CWMD) is "an enduring mission of the U.S. Armed forces," the US Army said last week in a new doctrinal publication.
Counter-WMD operations are defined as actions taken "against actors of concern to curtail the research, development, possession, proliferation, use, and effects of WMD, related expertise, materials, technologies, and means of delivery."
See Combined Arms Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, ATP 3-90.40, June 29, 2017:
The Army document does not refer to any specific countries such as North Korea.
Instead, it says generally that "Conventional forces and SOF [special operations forces] capabilities may be necessary to stop the movement of CBRN materials, WMD components and means of delivery, WMD-related personnel, or functional weapons into or out of specified areas or nations. Such actions may require boarding vessels and using search and detection capabilities to secure and seize shipments."
Counter-WMD activities are directed not only at the weapons themselves but at the networks that produce, sponsor, fund and utilize them.
"Interacting with and engaging networks requires the use of lethal and nonlethal means to support, influence, or neutralize network members, cells, or an entire network. As part of this effort, commanders select, prioritize, and match effective means of interacting with friendly networks, influencing the neutral network, and neutralizing threat networks," the new Army publication said.
"Commanders and staff utilize the targeting process to identify targets, determine the desired effects on those targets, predict secondary and tertiary effects, and plan lethal and nonlethal effects. This process enables the prosecution of targets to capitalize on and exploit targets of opportunity."
STILL NO CLASSIFIED TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVES
After nearly six months in office, President Trump has not yet issued a classified presidential directive on national security.
On June 16, Trump issued a National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) on US policy towards Cuba, reversing or limiting some of the steps towards normalization of relations with that country that were undertaken by the Obama Administration.
The version of the Memorandum that was published on the White House website was unnumbered, but a White House official said last week that it is formally designated as NSPM-5.
Since the first four Trump NSPMs are also unclassified public documents, this means that at least as of June 16 there were still no classified or unreleased presidential directives on national security.
That is unexpected, and it is a departure from past practice in previous Administrations.
The explanation for the lack of classified NSPMs is unclear.
It is possible that President Trump is using some other instrument for issuing policy directives on classified national security matters (though that would be at odds with the definition and purpose of NSPMs). Alternatively, he may have delegated certain aspects of national security decision making elsewhere, as with the authorization for the Secretary of Defense to determine troop levels in Afghanistan.
Or it could be that there just are no other Trump national security directives because there is no other Trump national security policy to speak of. The Administration may still be so understaffed that it is incapable of launching significant new policy initiatives.
The June 16 NSPM-5 directed the Secretary of State to publish it in the Federal Register. But three weeks later, even that simple task has still not been carried out.
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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