National Security Report
This report addresses the questions of whether the United States should resume nuclear testing and, if not, whether it should better prepare to do so in the future. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive and balanced consideration of all significant arguments that inform these questions. To place these arguments in the proper context, we briefly recount US nuclear testing history, describing alternative objectives for nuclear tests and providing a taxonomical retrospective of significant surprises encountered—in the nuclear environment, in vulnerabilities of military systems, and in weapon performance and safety. We review as well the critical role played by Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship in lieu of testing and the concerns of its critics. We also describe the current state of nuclear test readiness and assess whether the United States can presently meet its readiness obligations. After considering all significant technical and policy arguments and counterarguments, both for and against test resumption, we conclude that under present circumstances, the United States should not resume nuclear testing because of the lack of a compelling national security need combined with potentially significant negative geopolitical consequences for nuclear proliferation and reignition of a nuclear arms race. However, we identify a series of future technical and political developments whose occurrence would require revisiting our decision calculus. We end the report with recommendations to improve test readiness and, as a final thought, place the issue of whether or not to resume nuclear testing in the context of conflicting far- and near-term US national security goals.
National Security Report
Even though vaccines for coronavirus are increasingly available, it will be many months before sufficient herd immunity is achieved. Thus, testing remains a key tool for those managing health care and making policy decisions. Test errors, both false positive tests and false negative tests, mean that the surface positivity (the observed fraction of tests that are positive) does not accurately represent the incidence rate (the unobserved fraction of individuals infected with coronavirus). In this report, directed to individuals tasked with providing analytical advice to policymakers, we describe a method for translating from the surface positivity to a point estimate for the incidence rate, then to an appropriate range of values for the incidence rate, and finally to the risk (defined as the probability of including one infected individual) associated with groups of different sizes. The method is summarized in four equations that can be implemented in a spreadsheet or using a handheld calculator. We discuss limitations of the method and provide an appendix describing the underlying mathematical models.
National Security Report
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory commissioned "Measure Twice, Cut Once: Assessing Some China–US Technology Connections," a series of papers from experts in specific technology areas to explore the advisability and potential consequences of decoupling.
In each of these areas, the authors have explored the feasibility and desirability of increased technological separation and offered their thoughts on a possible path forward. The authors all recognize the real risks presented by aggressive, and frequently illegal, Chinese attempts to achieve superiority in critical technologies. However, the project also represents a reality check regarding the feasibility and potential downsides of broadly severing technology ties with China.
The project was led by former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, initially in partnership with Avril Haines, former Deputy National Security Advisor. This compilation of papers was authored by experts from across the nation, and the views of the authors are their own.
APL has published the event summary for the inaugural National Health Symposium, which brought together more than 160 experts from government, academia and industry to discuss ways that advances in research and development can translate into better delivery of health care.
In recognition of APL’s Centennial Vision, this special issue looks toward 2042. Our world is rapidly changing in many dimensions, bringing emerging global challenges, such as climate change; increased individual access to technologies once accessible only by nation states; new states of matter and new phenomena; increased commercially funded research worldwide; commercial space exploration ventures; espionage and cyberattacks with increased sophistication and proliferation; increasingly autonomous health care leading to more medical research breakthroughs; and increasingly AI-driven weapons being developed by nation states. There has never been a greater need for creative and persistent innovations to highlight this country’s preeminence. In the face of these challenges, APL is finding new ways to explore, create, and collaborate to conceive revolutionary concepts and to persistently move them forward. The articles in this issue offer a glimpse into exciting pursuits that could lead to the Lab’s future defining innovations.