from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2017, Issue No. 79
November 14, 2017

Secrecy News Blog:


The President's authority to use nuclear weapons -- which is the subject of a congressional hearing today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- was addressed in several recent publications of the Congressional Research Service.

A new CRS Legal Sidebar addresses the unresolved question: Can Congress Limit the President's Power to Launch Nuclear Weapons?

A detailed new CRS memorandum examines Legislation Limiting the President's Power to Use Nuclear Weapons: Separation of Powers Implications.

See also Defense Primer: President's Constitutional Authority with Regard to the Armed Forces, CRS In Focus.

The uncertain scope of presidential authority to order the use of nuclear weapons was identified as a serious policy problem in 1984 by the late Jeremy J. Stone, then-president of the Federation of American Scientists. In an article published in Foreign Policy at the time, he concluded that "presidential first use [of nuclear weapons] is unlawful."

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

FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act, November 8, 2017:

The Rohingya Crises in Bangladesh and Burma, November 8, 2017:

Lebanon, updated November 9, 2017:

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief, updated November 9, 2017:

El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations, updated November 3, 2017:

Guatemala: Political and Socioeconomic Conditions and U.S. Relations, updated October 17, 2017:

Why is Violence Rebounding in Mexico?, CRS Insight, November 8, 2017:

Comprehensive Energy Planning for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, CRS Insight, November 6, 2017:

Resolutions of Inquiry: An Analysis of Their Use in the House, 1947-2017, updated November 9, 2017:

Government Printing, Publications, and Digital Information Management: Issues and Challenges, November 8, 2017:

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, CRS Insight, November 9, 2017:

Natural Disasters of 2017: Congressional Considerations Related to FEMA Assistance, CRS Insight, November 2, 2017:

Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, updated November 7, 2017:

U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominees Who Received a Rating of "Not Qualified" from the American Bar Association: Background and Historical Analysis, CRS Insight, November 9, 2017:

Consumer and Credit Reporting, Scoring, and Related Policy Issues, updated November 3, 2017:

The U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce: Recent, Current, and Projected Employment, Wages, and Unemployment, updated November 2, 2017:


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

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