from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2017, Issue No. 71
October 9, 2017

Secrecy News Blog:


Other nations, including current and potential adversaries, possess military capabilities that now match or exceed those of the United States, according to a new US Army doctrinal publication.

"Today's operational environment presents threats to the Army and joint force that are significantly more dangerous in terms of capability and magnitude than those we faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. Major regional powers like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are actively seeking to gain strategic positional advantage. These nations, and other adversaries, are fielding capabilities to deny long-held U.S. freedom of action in the air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace domains and reduce U.S. influence in critical areas of the world."

"In some contexts they already have overmatch or parity, a challenge the joint force has not faced in twenty-five years."

That assessment appears in the Foreword to the newly updated US Army Field Manual 3.0 on Operations that was officially released today.

The Field Manual describes the conduct of operations in the new environment, with notably new material on the cyber and space domains.

"Threat operations [by adversaries] in cyberspace are often less encumbered by treaty, law, and policy restrictions than those imposed on U.S. forces, which may allow adversaries or enemies an initial advantage," the manual states.

The unclassified field manual was released along with two supporting volumes:

ADP 3-0. Operations, Army Doctrine Publication, October 2017:

ADRP 3-0. Operations, Army Doctrine Reference Publication, October 2017:

Last week, Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a memorandum to all military personnel and DoD employees warning against leaks of classified or otherwise restricted defense information.

"It is a violation of our oath to divulge, in any fashion, non-public DoD information, classified or unclassified, to anyone without the required security clearance as well as a specific need to know in performance of their duties," he wrote. A copy of the memo was obtained by Military Times. (A security clearance is not required for unclassified information.)

Yet also last week, Secretary Mattis himself disclosed new information that about US rules of engagement that is normally not published, the New York Times reported. A Pentagon spokesman denied that the disclosure would place US forces at risk, or help the enemy. See "Mattis Discloses Part of Afghanistan Battle Plan, but It Hasn't Yet Been Carried Out" by Thomas Gibbons-Neff, October 6.


New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

President Trump's Proclamation on Enhanced Vetting of Foreign Nationals from Designated Countries, CRS Insight, September 29, 2017:

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity in the Armed Services: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 4, 2017:

Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 2, 2017:

Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy, updated October 3, 2017:

Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated September 29, 2017:

Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2018 Budget and Appropriations, updated October 3, 2017:

U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 3, 2017:

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress, updated September 27, 2017:

Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy, updated October 2, 2017:

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 4, 2017:

Navy Columbia (SSBN-826) Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 4, 2017:

Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 3, 2017:

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 3, 2017:

The Blue Slip Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: Frequently Asked Questions, October 2, 2017:

U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2017, October 4, 2017:

Department of the Interior Secretarial Order 3356, CRS Insight, October 4, 2017:

Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response, updated September 29, 2017:

Economic Impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, CRS Insight, October 2, 2017:

Ethics Pledges and Other Executive Branch Appointee Restrictions Since 1993: Historical Perspective, Current Practices, and Options for Change, September 29, 2017:


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

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