NSF members and participants,

We were treated to a most extraordinary presentation and analysis of global crisis spots by two of the nation’s top experts.  Rae Huffstutler, former Executive Director of the CIA, provided an intelligence analysis of these potential conflict areas, and Lieutenant General Marty Brandtner, former J3/Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, laid out potential and recommended courses of political and military actions.  The analyses were intended to be a briefing that would be provided for the next President of the United States just after the November election.

Rae and Marty have generously permitted us to forward their entire presentations and analyses.  Given the previous positions these two held and the high level of current interest in these topics, we are most pleased to link to their presentations below.  The Q&A period was, however, “off the record”.

Enjoy,

Ty

final-summary

Gary J. Duarte, Director, USNEF                                            (775) 224-2089

09/14/16          Op-Ed

Is it time for a U.S. “National Above Ground Nuclear Waste Storage Facility”?

The US Nuclear Energy Foundation has submitted a recommendation to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB) to consider the establishment of a National Above-Ground Temporary Nuclear Waste Storage Facility for America’s Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF). USNEF a non-profit 501 (c)(3). Currently, such casks have been stored at plant locations, about 71 sites nationwide.

Congress, corporate lobbying, legislation, etc. are all hitting road blocks when it comes to dealing with national controversial “public policy issues” which government is struggling to resolve. One of these is the completion of the Yucca Mountain Repository. Issues can be resolved if only these entities would be more willing to negotiate variables. Industries who provide scientific analysis of energy technologies must coordinate with the government in educating the grassroots public on topics of this importance and magnitude. Government programs sometimes do not provide enough public awareness. We believe grassroots education by independent foundations such as USNEF by nature has a more palatable communication with the public.

A local message by a local “entity”, engaging in local grassroots messaging, provides a greatly improved potential for “community friendly acceptance.” We have to accept that bureaucratic stalemates are the process in Washington and they are not resolving important public problems. We need a paradigm shift in public policy messaging that reaches across party lines into the real world of the citizens affected by these programs. It is a long process to modify standard procedures, but it is important to evaluate procedures that reverse stalemate positions. If laws exist that disrupt progress, then let’s change the law, especially if conditions exist that support unified progress.

We are recommending a method to rebrand the education about (nuclear waste) and nuclear power which has been demonized for half a century. The fact is that our current U.S. stockpile of about 71,000 metric tons has a limitless potential for economic development with applied science. In 2013, a paper submitted by Kenneth D. Kok, PE to the 15th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management. His baseline analysis was done on 70,000 metric tons of fuel from analytical data recorded by the Energy Information Administration. Based on fissionable isotopes in spent fuel, a rule of thumb for the energy value in these materials is 1 Megawatt Day per gram. His calculations indicate that the value of this 70,000-ton stockpile is $14 trillion dollars when extended through the entire cycle (2013) dollars.

The dilemma with Washington is the investment into a commercial reprocessing facility large enough for our current 70,000 MT (and more to be added annually) as the NRC has renewed 81 power plant reactors nationwide to run for up to 100 years. An inclusive reprocessing facility could cost between $33 and $45 billion but, its market value is in the trillions. Everything nuclear in cost calculations should be amortized over 70 years because that is the original designed functioning life of the first and second generation nuclear plants. Advanced technology and materials development can easily move this to 100 years.

The shutdown of Yucca Mountain has already cost taxpayers $12 billion in legal suits, estimated to be $20 billion by 2020. This is for non-performance by the contract of the DOE, for non-removal of the power companies’ onsite nuclear storage. It would be much more practical for these funds to be applied to the construction of a national temporary storage facility basically storing it to a multi-trillion-dollar safe deposit vault. We know that the world’s 270,000 MT of used fuel can be reprocessed, the issue has always been an economic investment, and market competitive costs when it is recycled. Also, with the development of molten salt reactors which are designed to be capable of burning that spent waste provides a secondary reusable market. When science and engineering provide a resolution, this is when Congress should focus on the logically based decision, making an educated constituent decision, for their public service, not on Congressional bickering.

Nevada has several locations that would be an excellent site for a national above ground spent nuclear fuel facility. Our current mission is to educate the grassroots constituents on the common sense of “logical” resolutions and having our citizens bring this message to their representatives to engage and solve.

There is a degree of consideration with or without the DOE completing or re-siting a permanent storage facility at Yucca Mountain. A high probably exists that the final selection site would be located in an expansive desert location in the Western U.S. This makes Nevada an ideal CENTRAL location for such a temporary above ground transfer facility. Nevada offers 100% security as our military test ranges provide a high-security profile over much of the desert land mass.

Gary J Duarte, President, Director

US Nuclear Energy Foundation

The U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing accurate information on nuclear energy.  The NEF has the goal of mobilizing citizens in Nevada and across the U.S. to design and build new “4th generation nuclear power reactors and spent fuel reprocessing technology”.  The National Security Forum is pleased to be able to bring to the attention of our members the work that Gary and the Foundation are doing.

Local forum covers global issues

from Brexit to refugees

— Randi Thompson
From the RGJ, September 11, 2016

“Think globally, act locally.”

That’s a line we hear a lot, but “thinking globally” is really challenging these days. There is so much going on the world, from terrorism to ethnic cleansing to economic breakups in the global financial market … it’s hard to keep up!

And more to the point, what should we know about what is happening globally that will help us act locally? Should we be adjusting our retirement and savings strategies because the United Kingdom exited the European Union, which caused jitters in the financial markets? What is really happening in Syria to cause thousands to flee the country, and what should we expect if we open up our homes to take in these refugees, as many in our community are doing?

These are challenging global issues that really can impact us locally. Fortunately, there is a forum in Reno that explores these and many other international issues that helps you better understand the world around you. It’s called the National Security Forum.

The forum offers an ongoing educational and informational source for national security and international affairs issues, and how those issues can impact our community and our own lives. The forums are open to the public, and the quality of speakers are something you usually only find in larger cities. The interaction that the audience has with these renowned speakers is truly rare.

The NSF is a nonpartisan educational organization believing in vigorous, open and balanced discussion and debate on vital questions affecting all Americans. It was established by Dr. Tyrus Cobb in 2009 to promote discussion regarding critical national security issues facing the United States. As a former special assistant to President Reagan serving on the National Security Council staff, Dr. Cobb has maintained his keen interest in global developments affecting the United States. And his list of contacts with international affairs leaders is incredible! The NSF has hosted key figures who play significant roles in international issues, including retired Gen. John Abizaid; former CIA Director Rae Huffstutler; former Federal Reserve official Dr. Gerald O’Driscoll; retired Gen. Carter Ham, who served as the second commander of U.S. Africa Command; and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and Venezuela Jeffrey Davidow.

I have found the forums to be an incredible source of information on issues that we don’t read about much in the news, yet impact our lives more than we truly understand. The forum represents a unique contribution to what is described as a growing “creative class” of individuals here in this region.

The “creative class” is a term now made popular with Richard Florida’s book, “The Rise of the Creative Class.” Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading public intellectuals on economic competitiveness, demographic trends, and cultural and technological innovation. He says essentially that if cities want to succeed, they need to attract the creative types who are the wave of the economic future. While many of these folks are attracting to Reno for our more “edgy” side (think Burning Man) and for our outdoor opportunities, they also require intellectual stimulation.

As Ty Cobb says, “Reno is doing a great job of attracting young entrepreneurs, but I believe that if we are to keep them here, we need to expand the intellectual opportunities available, and these forums are a great resource for thoughtful consideration of international, politico-military, and geoeconomic issues.”
Informed commentary has been provided on a wide variety of by speakers addressing key national security issues, including U.S. policy regarding recent Chinese and Russian aggression, American interests and strategies pertaining to the conflicts in the Middle East, on global financial concerns and bioterrorism; and such controversial topics as gun control.

Check out their website and see why the National Security Forum is gaining such a following. But you better register early, as their breakfasts meetings are selling out!

Randi Thompson is a public and government relations consultant. You can contact her at RandiThompson.com.  Her profile of the NSF appeared in the Reno Gazette Journal on Sunday, September 11, 2016.

Summary of August 25 Presentation on….

Israel Under Constant Siege

The Israeli Strategy for Defeating Its Regional Adversaries

with

COLONEL ELAM KOTT

(Colonel, Israeli Defense Forces, Ret)

NSF attendees were treated to an incisive and thorough analysis of the regional landscape in the Middle East as seen from Israel. Retired Colonel Elam Kott, who served with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) for over 30 years, highlighted the major aspects of the strategic environment Israel faces.

With respect to regional challenges, Kott stressed:

  • That extreme, violent, and well-armed substate actors have replaced neighboring state armies as Israel’s main military threat; these include Hezbollah in Lebanon/Syria and Hamas in Gaza (nonstate jihadist elements are also accumulating on Israel’s borders, but for now they do not pose the same level of threat).
  • These actors can now target Israel’s civilian population centers and vital strategic facilities with significant firepower, potentially affecting the country’s survivability.
  • These substate actors are operating from civilian areas in a bid to deny Israel freedom of action or undercut the legitimacy of its war effort. Some substate actors “supported by Iran” have access to Iranian resources unfrozen by the nuclear deal.
  • Iran plays a key role in Israeli defense planning. While the IDF does not expect the nuclear threat to come to fruition during the next five-year plan’s timeframe, it does call for enhancing deterrence and maintaining preparedness for potential preemptive strikes against “countries with no joint border with Israel.”

With respect to Responding to the Challenges, Kott said: 

  • The IDF identifies three basic situations for the use of force — Routine, Emergency, and (full-scale) War — distinguishable from one another.   In the latter situation, the IDF could be directed to achieve “a military decision, especially by destroying significant enemy capabilities, or to conduct a limited campaign focusing on strategic targets.”
  • Deterrence is key, defined in terms “relative to the nature and diversity of the threat”.  The IDF developed the concept of a “campaign between wars”. Early warning is now an element of intelligence superiority, which is to be achieved before and during any armed conflict.
  • A “defense pillar” has been added to address the significant threat of enemy fire on Israel’s heartland.
  • Cyberspace is another front, for which a Cyber Arm is being established.

Further observations Kott made on the strategic environment:

  • Israel faces extremely complex challenges in a fast-transforming landscape, posing acute strategic, operational, and domestic dilemmas. These challenges are epitomized by Iranian-supported Hezbollah, with its arsenal of over 100,000 rockets and its capacity to fire over 1,500 daily for weeks.  Israel prepares for the “consequences of a nuclear deal” that could compound existing uncertainties and threats from Iran’s proxies.
  • The Syrian army has been wiped from the map of threats for at least the next decade, and Israel enjoys strategic cooperation with Egypt and Jordan. What is left is Iran, with its strategic “terror arms” in the area, i.e., Hezbollah and Hamas, and the Sunni jihad organizations .
  • ISIS:  ISIS is primarily successful where there is a political void. Although the offensives in Syria and Iraq showed the Islamic State’s tactical capabilities, they were directed against failed states with weakened militaries.
  • The difference between a real army and the forces in Syria and Iraq that ISIS has encountered should be recognized. Generally, non-state actors are less dangerous than states. Only states can develop nuclear weapons. Non-state actors usually do not possess airplanes, heavy artillery and tanks that can cause great damage. Since they are Iranian proxies, Hizballah and Hamas are not an exception to this rule because they have been endowed with destructive capabilities, such as missiles, by a state.
  • ISIS might eventually carve an area of control along Israel’s borders, particularly on the Golan where the Syrian state is disintegrating. In a worst case analysis, Syria could yet become another “Hamastan.” But it is important to note that Israel has been successful in containing Hamas in Gaza.  Due to less global support for ISIS than for Gazans, Israel’s freedom of action against ISIS is obviously much greater.
  • However, ISIS also knows that if it makes such an attempt, at least from Syria, the Israel Air Force will respond with greater force than that used in the surgical strikes carried out by the US and the other members of the coalition.

The Q&A period was “off the record”, which permitted a more robust and candid exchange of opinions.

  • Colonel Kott was asked to rank the states surrounding Israel, in terms of which represented the greatest concern or threat, and which substate actors were considered the most serious.
  • He was asked about contacts between Egypt and Israel (extensive), as well as Saudi Arabia;
  • Lott discussed the hostile relationship with Iran and its Shia proxies in the region, including Syria and Hezbollah; he was asked to reflect on the possibility of Syrian President Assad falling from power and what that would mean for Israel;
  • The Colonel responded to questions regarding U.S. aid to Israel, including advanced defensive weaponry such as the Iron Dome anti-missile system
  • He described the current political balance in Israel, with Netanyahu’s Likud party holding on to a narrow majority, albeit with the help of minor parties; and he discussed the controversial appointment of Liberman as Defense Minister.

Colonel Kott addressed Israel’s strategic concept for the conduct of war against a notional adversary in the region, be that a state like Iran or sub-state adversaries such as ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah.

In sum, a very candid and informative session!  We definitely hope to have Colonel Elam Kott back soon to address the Forum again.

Biological Terrorism: An Operational Perspective

James M Wilson V, MD FAAP

Director, UNR International Center for Medical Intelligence

Uncertainty is a driver of fear.  If we allow fear to drive improbable scenarios, then we will expend limited resources on remote “possibilities” rather than actual threats.  Biological terrorism is a real threat.  However, compared to global climate change and associated rapidly evolving disease patterns, its overall impact is negligible. We are seeing a dramatic decline in antibiotic susceptibility among bacterial disease seen on a daily basis in medicine.  It is this latter threat that will cost more American lives than all modern acts of biological crime, terrorism, and warfare combined.

The international community, including the United States, focuses on threats and risks that are “most probable.” This implies that our chances of anticipation and rapid detection of a biological weapon before it is used are low.  The reality is that we need a given sample size of affected targets (i.e. people) before a pattern is noticed. We characteristically recognize patterns “after the fact.” A cluster of people will likely be infected and possibly die before recognition and response occurs.

Recent news about Zika virus and hysteric calls for the cancellation of the Olympic Games, as well as requests for nearly two billion dollars in funding to defend against epidemic transmission in the continental United States, highlights tremendous gaps in our understanding of how to produce balanced threat assessments.

When monitoring the world for unusual infectious disease activity over the last quarter century, I have found unequivocally that Mother Nature remains the single worst biological terrorist.  This finding is based purely on statistics for morbidity and mortality, economic disruption, and direct threat to any nation’s security.  The international community continues to exhibit grossly delayed event recognition, verification, and response.  This was evident during the emergence of SARS in Hong Kong, pandemic influenza A/H1N1 in Mexico, MERS in Saudi Arabia, Ebola in West Africa, and now Zika virus in the tropical regions of the Americas.

The impact of an intentional release remains debatable.  For example, after the conclusion of World War II, members of the Imperial Japanese Army biological warfare Unit 731 testified to a Soviet military court they conducted a live test deployment of plague-infected fleas in Ningpo, Zhejiang Province, Manchuria with a population of approximately 300,000.  The deployment triggered an outbreak in a close knit community involving 78 cases and 74 fatalities (case fatality rate 95%) that included the death of seven families.  Children and young adults aged 11-30 were most severely affected.  Despite lack of access to effective medical countermeasures such as antibiotics, the Ningpo community exhibited a high degree of social cohesion and resilience in the context of effective public health response.  In other words, this community remained a functional community despite not having any practical access to medical countermeasures.

We are often confronted with harrowing proclamations of national apocalypse when discussing biological terrorism.  Yet these fears are not borne out in experience or fact.  While we should always remain vigilant, we should not be captive to hyperbole.

Dr. James Wilson is the Director of the Nevada State Infectious Disease Forecast Station at the University of Nevada-Reno, and teaches in the School of Community Health Sciences at the UNR Medical School.