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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Request for Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism: Phase II (Abbreviated Report of the CUI Version). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27393.
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B
Request for Information

During its data collection for Phase II, the committee developed a set of questions pertaining to nuclear war risks and a different set pertaining to nuclear terrorism risks.

DATA, INFORMATION, BRIEFING REQUESTS—PHASE II

The committee’s focus is on meeting all of the elements of its tasking (statement of task). At a high level, the committee requests information relevant to addressing the tasks below. During Phase I of the study, the committee focused on addressing Tasks 1–3, using unclassified, publicly available information. For Phase II, the committee will revisit Tasks 1–3, with access to relevant classified information and will focus on Tasks 4 and 5, which explore the interface between risk assessment and strategy development by U.S. policy makers.

Information includes reports, policy statements, briefings, site visits, and potential observation of exercises.

Specific questions currently of interest to the committee related to assessing risks related to nuclear war:

The committee will explore the intersection between those conducting risk assessments and decision makers (consumers of risk assessments) examining assumptions that are made by risk analysts and how are they communicated to the decision makers; and assumptions that are made by the decision makers when incorporating risk assessments into strategy and decisions.

Specific questions below:

  • Are there any written materials on relevant U.S. government (USG) risk analyses and national nuclear strategies that the committee should review in advance of your presentation?
  • Role in USG strategies: What role does your organization play in USG development of (a) risk assessment of nuclear war; and (b) nuclear or national security strategies?
    • What assumptions are made in your role?
    • How does your work contribute to nuclear or national strategy documents? Identify the documents or statements.
  • Current risk methods: What methods and approaches for assessing risk related to nuclear war are used in your roll/organization?
    • Include both quantitative and qualitative methods
    • How are scenarios identified for exercises/war games and what assumptions are made in planning and conducting those events? What recent relevant exercises or war games have taken place that the committee can be briefed on?
  • To USG leadership briefing the committee (i.e., STRATCOM, Joint Chiefs, NSC, and others):
    • What does your organization believe to be the best value added by this committee?
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Request for Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism: Phase II (Abbreviated Report of the CUI Version). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27393.
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    • Describe your process for internally vetting/challenging assumptions and risk estimates. How does that process interact with the NSC staff (this goes to decision making)?
    • Describe how your organization uses red teaming in order to better assess risk estimates and their underlying methodology.
  • Recent and past events and risk assessment: In the questions below, the committee requests information on the methods, assumptions, and changes made to risk assessment approaches in response to real-world events of relevance to the risk of nuclear war.
    • For risk analyses related to the war in Ukraine, provide details on how methods were used and updated as the situation evolved.
    • What risk analyses were used to guide the decision in March 2022 to delay ICBM tests, if any?
    • What risk methods were used to assess risks of Russian invasion and were they successful in predicting/preparing the U.S. for actions to take to reduce risk of nuclear war? What, if any, changes were made to the assumptions used by those methods after the invasion?
    • Have risk methods been used to assess the impact of sanctions on Russia? If so, what assumptions were made?
    • How were risk analysis outputs used in responding to Russian invasion? And China’s response?
    • Was Putin’s underestimate of the Ukrainian response/resistance predicted? Where in risk methods/models would this have been captured?
    • What actions have been taken in response to past “near misses” and how have those actions been assessed to reduce risk of nuclear war? What has changed to increase the risk? Selected incidents include: Cuban Missile Crisis, 1983 Able Archer Exercise, and 1991 George H.W. Bush de-alerting U.S. strategic nuclear forces. Other examples are welcomed.
    • How does the missile defense system’s capability enter into risk assessments, if at all?
  • Feedback on our study:
    • From your perspective, what topics should the committee be sure to address in this study?
    • What types of recommendations would be most useful to you?
    • What question(s) haven’t we asked, but should have?

Specific questions currently of interest to the committee related to assessing risks related to nuclear terrorism:

High-level questions:

  1. Describe your role in the coordination in the inter-agency (NNSA, DOE, State, NSC, IC, etc.) in taking a whole of USG approach for addressing the risks of nuclear terrorism. Who performs or is responsible for formulating an overall USG risk estimate of nuclear terrorism? If there is not a single entity, should there be? What methods are used to estimate the risk?
  2. In your opinion, what think tanks/NGOs/national labs/academics are doing “state of the art” work in employing risk analysis methods in looking at nuclear terrorism.
  3. Given what you know about this Committee’s Statement of Task, where and how do you think this Committee can add value in the use of risk analysis methods to address nuclear terrorism?

Specific examples of risk assessments to guide decisions/strategy:

  1. Explain how risk estimates are used to arrive at non-proliferation program budget decisions. What methods are used in developing these risk estimates?
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Request for Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism: Phase II (Abbreviated Report of the CUI Version). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27393.
×
  1. Does your organization compare the risk of the detonation of an improvised nuclear device to the deployment of a radiological dirty device or other radiological devices? If so, explain how risk estimates are used in this comparison?
  2. Explain how your organization uses risk estimates to assess the physical security of nuclear materials overseas that are covered by USG non-proliferation funding. Explain the specific methods uses in this process.
  3. How do cybersecurity vulnerabilities factor into your organization’s risk estimates for prioritizing securing nuclear materials domestically and overseas?
  4. Describe your organization’s risk informed process to determine what nuclear materials (other than HEU and weapons grade plutonium) your program should fund/support.

Specific examples of risk assessments:

  1. Update the committee on the Department of Energy’s graded approach for nuclear material characterization. Is this approach accepted across the USG?
  2. Recently, Russia has made allegations that Ukraine planned to deploy a radiological dirty bomb. Explain your organization’s role in the inter-agency process in assessing the validity of this threat as well as in preparing possible response options for the USG.
  3. In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, specifically the Russian attacks against and in the vicinity of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, has there been a uniform USG approach to addressing the risks of nuclear fuel meltdown or spent fuel pool damage?
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Request for Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism: Phase II (Abbreviated Report of the CUI Version). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27393.
×
Page 29
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Request for Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism: Phase II (Abbreviated Report of the CUI Version). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27393.
×
Page 30
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Request for Information." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism: Phase II (Abbreviated Report of the CUI Version). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27393.
×
Page 31
Next: Appendix C: List of Phase II Briefers »
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The Committee on Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism was established and managed by the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering in response to a congressional mandate to independently explore U.S. government methods for assessing nuclear war and nuclear terrorism risks and how those assessments are used to develop strategy and policy. This publication is the public, abbreviated version of the classified report.

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