from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2018, Issue No. 36
May 22, 2018

Secrecy News Blog:


"Pyongyang portrays nuclear weapons as its most effective way to deter the threat from the United States," the Department of Defense says in a newly disclosed report to Congress on North Korean security policy.

"North Korea's primary strategic goal is perpetual Kim family rule via the simultaneous development of its economy and nuclear weapons program -- a two-pronged policy known as byungjin." See Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 2017, Office of the Secretary of Defense, February 2018:

The DoD assessment presents an uncompromisingly hostile North Korea that is committed to nuclear weapons. The report provides no reason to anticipate a reconsideration or a reorientation of the country's nuclear policies, though that is the entire premise of the upcoming June 12 summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The report, generated in February 2018, has not been posted online by the Department of Defense. It was first reported last week by Anthony Capaccio of Bloomberg. See Pentagon Says North Korea's Regime Has Staked Its Survival on Nuclear Weapons, May 17.

"North Korea ultimately seeks the capability to strike the continental United States with a nuclear-armed ICBM," the Pentagon report said. "This pursuit supports North Korea's strategy of deterring the United States as well as weakening U.S. alliances in the region by casting doubt on the U.S.commitment to extended deterrence. In the long term, North Korea may see nuclear weapons as permitting more frequent coercive behavior and may further increase Kim Jong Un's tolerance for risk."

The DoD report, required by statute and reflecting developments only through December 15, 2017, is largely consistent with previous DoD reports on the subject. It includes some new material on North Korea's ballistic missile tests, cyber capabilities, special operations forces, and other topics.


"Lying, or making a false statement, is a federal crime under a number of circumstances," a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service instructs.

"It is a federal crime to make a material false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of a federal agency or department. Perjury is also a federal crime. Perjury is a false statement made under oath before a federal tribunal or official.... Subornation of perjury is inducing someone else to commit perjury. It, too, is a federal crime if the perjury induced is a federal crime. Finally, conspiracy to commit any these underlying crimes is also a separate federal crime."

See False Statements and Perjury: An Overview of Federal Criminal Law, updated May 11, 2018:

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

Iran Sanctions, updated May 11, 2018:

Liberia: Political Transition and U.S. Relations, May 15, 2018:

Permanent Legal Immigration to the United States: Policy Overview, updated May 11, 2018:

Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress, updated May 10, 2018:

Is the U.S. Economy Growing Faster? Can It Grow Faster?, CRS Insight, May 8, 2018:

NIH Funding: FY1994-FY2019, updated May 2, 2018:

How FDA Approves Drugs and Regulates Their Safety and Effectiveness, updated May 8, 2018:

Violence Against Journalists and Media workers in Mexico and U.S. Policy, CRS Memorandum, May 3, 2018:

Compelling Presidential Compliance with a Judicial Subpoena, CRS Legal Sidebar, May 4, 2018:


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

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