Friday, 27 Jan 95 Washington, DC
1. THE NATIONAL SECURITY REVITALIZATION ACT: STAR WARS IS
Title II of the bill (HR-7) would make it national policy "to deploy at
the earliest possible date an anti-ballistic missile defense that is capable
of providing a highly effective defense of the United States against
ballistic missile attacks." The debate began this week with hearings in
both Houses of Congress.
Reagan-era star warriors came out of retirement to make the case for
accelerated development of missile defenses. Richard Perle observed
that the Cold War argument that a missile defense would just be
countered by building more missiles is not relevant to a threat from Third
World crazies. But John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists
wondered why we should "assume that a Mad
Dog dictator who somehow gets the bomb would choose to deliver it in
the one way that places a return address on the package."
2. RUSSIA SURVIVES "MISSILE ATTACK" FROM NORWAY!
morning that the House National Security Committee held its hearings on
missile defenses, a Russian news agency reported that a "combat
missile" from northern Europe had been destroyed by Russian air
defenses. The report was cited as an example of the need for missile
defense, but Rep. Dellums (D-CA), the ranking minority member, had an
update: it was not a military missile, it was a
Norwegian research missile probing the aurora; and it wasn't over
Russia, it was headed the other way; and it wasn't destroyed by the
Russians, it went down of its own accord. It was number 607 in a
series--the Russian defenses failed to detect the first 606.
3. MEANWHILE, THE ENOLA GAY MAY BE DOWNED BY FLAK FROM
A letter signed by 81 members of the US House of Representatives calls
on Smithsonian Secretary I. Michael Heyman to fire Martin
Harwit, the Director of the Air and Space Museum. Heyman will
recommend to the Smithsonian's board on Monday that the exhibit,
"The Last Act: the Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II," be
cancelled or drastically reduced, but he has apparently decided to stand
behind Harwit, a physicist and a Fellow of the APS. The controversy
has focused on whether use of the bomb was justified
(WN 2 Sep 95). Earlier in the week, Bob Dole (R-KA) called for
Senate hearings into the direction of the Smithsonian.
4. GERMANS ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR NEW NEUTRON SOURCE -- US
Three months ago, two Americans shared the Nobel Prize
for the development of neutron scattering as an important research tool
(WN 14 Oct 94), but hopes that the US would reassert leadership in this
burgeoning field have faded amidst reports that the ANS has been
dropped from the budget. Germany, meanwhile, is moving ahead with
plans for an advanced neutron source, FRM-II. What's more, they plan to
use highly enriched uranium in spite of U.S. objections. The
Non-Proliferation Treaty allows peaceful uses of
HEU, which produces less radioactive waste and little plutonium.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's
and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)