vs. The Arms Race
Clifford Johnson CPSR/Palo Alto
The following text is excerpted from a speech first delivered at the University
of British Columbia, Vancouver, in November, 1986.
The Capabilities Caper
At the dawn of the Atomic Age, Einstein warned: "The unleashed power of the atom
has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward
unparalleled catastrophe." As we enter the late 1980s, we are not merely adrift.
Already in the lion's jaw, we madly waste our wit and wealth honing its teeth
and enlarging its appetite. We must face the challenge of changing our modes of
thinking, or very soon we will destroy ourselves.
The nuclear arms race has accelerated beyond the ken of modern minds. For
example, in the early 1970s, then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who had
written books on how to manage deterrence, categorically announced that the
deployment of cruise missiles was so outrageously dangerous that it could never
be allowedÑbut, he was for the development of cruise missiles, not to be
deployed, because of their immediate "bargaining chip" value. The chip was
defective. The missiles built, Kissinger advocated their deployment. Likewise,
Secretary of Defense Weinberger's testimony requesting money for Euro-missiles
promised that the mere threat of deployment would scare the Soviets into
removing dangerously destabilizing missiles stationed in Russia. Instead, the
Soviets reacted by stationing even more dangerous and destabilizing missiles in
East Germany and Czechoslovakia. Off U.S. coasts, they began sorties of cruise
missile-armed bombers, and increased their submarine patrols.
Experts conjure fantastic theories, but the arms race is basic tit-for-tat.
Einstein foresaw but one remedy. He urged, "To the village square we must carry
the facts of atomic energy. From there must come America's voice."
In their "Military Posture for Fiscal Year 1988," the Joint Chiefs of Staff
axiomatically assume that the United States must possess as big a nuclear
arsenal as the Soviets. It is presumed that anything less would vitiate
deterrence, and cause the Soviets to dominate escalation at all levels. This is
ludicrous logic. In a game of chicken, why should the smaller car swerve first?
One truth plainly follows from E = mc2. If the United States were to eliminate,
across the board, half of its nuclear arsenal, the drop in the dreadfulness of
its deterrent would be insignificant. But, a significant step would have been
taken in the only rational direction. Even before 1,000 multi-warhead Minuteman
missiles had been acquired by the infamous missile gap hoax; even before the
advent of cruise and Pershing 2 missiles, of Trident submarines, etc.; President
Eisenhower expressed deep shock at the United States nuclear overkill factor.
Yet, in the face of the unanimous disapproval of its NATO allies, and counter to
the express counsel of the Senate, the United States now wantonly exceeds even
the gross overkill limits of SALT II. Why?
It appears, and I find, that the United States is willfully increasing the risk
of nuclear war for coercive purposes. This policy is not overt, being
misrepresented to and by politicians. It is made by a handful of backstage war-
gainers with strong connections to the Rand Corporation, a think-tank founded by
the Air Force in late 1945 to study German rocketry and the utility of nuclear
The United States master nuclear war plan, the Single Integrated Operation Plan
(SIOP) was an important part designed by Daniel Ellsberg of the Rand Corporation
shortly after he delivered a twice-reprinted and muchcited lecture entitled "The
Theory and Practice of Blackmail." He taught the error that every man has his
Call it blackmail; call it deterrence; call both coercion: the art of
influencing the behavior of others by threats. Nuclear weapons have one
preeminent use in politics: to support threats. How to do this is, of course,
the heart of the blackmailer's art. You will resist if you are certain that I
won't carry out my threat; but you will comply if you assign more than some
critical risk to my carrying out the threat. But blackmailers too can calculate
risksÑand take them. They too can go to the verge of war; and this has an
important bearing on the risks of deterrence. In the next lecture, we shall hear
the sound of blackmail; the words that Adolph Hitler spoke, and their echoes,
that won him half of Europe before the firing of a shot. There is the artist to
study, to learn what can be hoped for, what can be done with the threat of
Ellsberg's eloquence won Rand the contract to draft the SIOP's first so-called
"limited" nuclear options. (Ellsberg later made amends by publishing secrets
such as the fact that some six or seven military commanders had been delegated
nuclear launch authority.) Since Rand's formative work in 1961, the SIOP has
remained the province of bought analysts who extol first-strike "capabilities."
Make no mistake: these are the authors of the United States actual nuclear
strategy, which is vastly different from the official strategy. It was at the
time that the first limited-option SIOP was implemented that Secretary of
Defense McNamara formally ordered the Air Force to stop basing acquisition
requests on the official nuclear strategy.
The "capabilities caper" is the ploy whereby the military salves its conscience,
and overtrumps public objections, with watery denials that first-strike weapons
are for first-strike, and that "prompt response" is launch on warning.
"Enhancement of deterrence" is the ubiquitous rationale for acquiring most of
the wickedest "capabilities" that dollars and technology can provide, regardless
of military necessity, and insufficiently mindful of consequent risks. This mode
of thinking must be changed
Slavish Animosity, Fatal Technology
Undeniably, technology has assured mutual destruction a thousandfold.
Undeniably, technology has created a worsening risk of accidental nuclear war.
The fatalist fears technology is sweeping us away. But the root problem must lie
with us, for technology exists only as a consequence of our conduct. The
fatalist fears that then there truly is no hope, for we are as powerless to
change our own nature as to reverse the tide, and, in any case, there's nothing
the individual can do about it. But, each individual can reflect a truth that
many may see, nor need we change our nature, which is not wholly bad. We need
only ensure that the good governs.
So, let us vigilantly reapply proven and self-evident principles of government
to the new technological peril. Let us urgently seek solutions to the arms race
in the better traditions of this fortunate nation. Above all else, let us
recognize that salvation from technology does not lie in more technology, but in
the human spirit that shall forever master its hollow inventions. Let us look
beyond the trivial theory of games. Let us call constitutional muster.
In his 1796 Farewell Speech to the American people, President George Washington
bequeathed this balanced advice:
Nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against
particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded. The
Nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred, or an habitual
fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its
affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its
interest. Antipathy in one nation against other disposes each more readily to
bloody contests, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur.
I charge that the West has built its nuclear arsenal with slavish animosity
towards the Soviet Union. Shamefully, there exists a growing minute-by-minute
risk that we ourselves will accidentally initiate all-out nuclear war.
Wherefore, we have indulgently strayed from both our duty and our interest; nor
are we free, especially not from fear. We ought to be afraid that officials in
the Pentagon will forget to pull the reality plug the next time they dry run
Armageddon. We ought not to be afraid that the Soviet Union will suddenly launch
a nuclear attack from off-coast submarines and bombers, and so destroy our
capacity to retaliate. Yet, the United States is so afraid of this incredibility
that it continuously operates a launch on warning capability that could,
especially in a perceived
crisis, result in the unintentional launch of land-based Minuteman and MX
nuclear missiles, due to an erroneous computer attack warning. Such a launch
would likely be so massive that even without the inevitable retaliation, a
world-ending nuclear winter could result.
To those who cheerily point out that there has been no accidental launch to this
day, I reply that we are building a tower of pennies, which has already wobbled.
Third World instability and proliferation promise a series of sudden, driving
crises. Nuclear response times have halved because of the upgraded capability to
launch on warning of a submarine attack on nuclear command and control, and
because of ever closer and readier forward-based deployments, including
difficult to detect cruise missiles. Nevertheless, the risky reliance upon
launch on warning has darkly deepened because MX missiles have become
operational in vulnerable silos. As Senator Humphrey feared in 1981, the
deployment of MX missiles is Driving us down the path of less and less
attractive options, more undesirable options, and at the end of the path is the
option we all want to avoid, much less embrace; namely, launch on warning." The
Air Force would simply hate to waste these uniquely prompt and accurate Soviet
command bunker-busters, notwithstanding the guaranteed survival of the nuclear
The pressure on military decision makers to launch on warning, that is, to order
a retaliatory nuclear strike before the detonation of any attacking missiles, is
compelling also because the very first detonations would likely kill them.
However, launch on warning of submarine attack allows only some six minutes of
warning, decision, and execution time. General Burke was candid:
We are going to put our finger on the trigger and he is going to put his finger
on the trigger. As soon as we get into a crisis situation, long before he has
pulled that trigger, we know our only choice is to use it or lose it, we are
going to get very close to the trigger and he is going to know we are doing
that, and he is going to do it. And I think the analogy of two scorpions in the
bottle will be very apt. The other problem, of course, is there is just not much
Experts concur that there is not time to conclusively verify an attack warning.
A proper decision is out of the question: there isn't time for a cup of tea. As
Senator Goldwater told General Ellis in 1981: "Are not those conferences rather
automatic? If you can complete a conference in (deleted minutes), that is a fast
conference." General Ellis replied: 'A procedure has been defined. The purpose
of that conference is to get a decision." Goldwater retorted: "You ought to
change the word conference. That sounds too long." I propose the word "drill."
The vestigial person-in-the-loop rushes through a compulsory checklist. The
button pushes the person.
Risks attendant to a launch on warning capability are wildly multiplied by the
interlocking of the alerting programs of the United States and the Soviet Union.
The authority Paul Bracken puts it this way: "If the Soviet Union seemed to be
going on alert, this would be a shock that would trigger hundreds of
preprogrammed American responses. For today's mature nuclear forces, a
declaration of alert above some level reinforces the need to go on still higher
alert." Instability is inevitable for ever-ready deterrent forces configured to
be generally unleashed should they in part be destroyed. With hostile military
organizations preprogrammed to execute at electronic speed the tit-for-tat
illogic of the arms race, the prohibition of launch on warning is vital to
provide a signal firebreak between feedback and finis. Launch on warning is a
seductively cheap doomsday machine that fatally blurs and bridges the nuclear
We are held hostage by our very own hair-trigger. The deep question is not how
to preserve our freedom, but how to regain it, before it is irrecoverably lost
to us and to all posterity by our own fault. Deterrence is not succeeding. It is
failing. We have forsaken the fourth freedom to which Roosevelt pledged the
nation in 1941:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to freedom
from fear, which means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and
in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act
of physical aggression against any neighbor, anywhere in the world. That is no
vision of a distant millenium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world
attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very
antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to
create with the crash of a bomb. To that order we oppose the greater
conceptionÑthe moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world
domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.
True, as President Coolidge drily observed: "The business of America is
business." Yet, the moral order is not the money order. True, physical survival
requires that we meet might with might. Yet, survival without contradiction
requires also that we confront wrong with right. The virtue of strength must be
nurtured, with due recognition that the mightiest nation is certainly not the
nation that needs the most, biggest, and readiest nuclear missiles, and that
needs to threaten their use. On nineteen documented occasions since World War
II, the United States has concretely threatened to use nuclear weapons.
The Pax Machina Pipe Dream
Sooner or later, the nuclear fix foreordains global calamity, and so it is the
worst of vices. The root evils of nuclear weapons are as ancient as war. It was
not the Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Air Command who said "A quick
decision is an unsafe decision"; it was Sophocles, circa 450 B.C. In 1787,
mindful of the tyranny of one-man rule which they had courageously escaped, the
Founding Fathers mandated at Article I Section 8 of the Constitution that only
the Congress has the power to commence war, and to authorize reprisal raids
against another state, and to pay privateers to fight for American interests
The wise intent of the mandatory wording, which prohibits delegation to the
President, is clear from the records of the constitutional debate. In response
to a motion that the President be empowered to declare war, Elbridge Gerry
remonstrated that he "never expected to hear in a republic a motion to empower
the President alone to declare war." The motion was withdrawn. Had a machine of
chance been proposed for the decision to declare war, what uproar would have
arisen? Outrageously, this is the level to which things are rapidly sinking.
The Rand Strategy Assessment Center system, dubbed RSAC, is now online within
the Department of Defense. It is a computer package developed to provide the
National Command Authorities with decisionmaking guidance during crises.
Freedom's flip-flops can take 1,000 sub-decisions per second. A program module
called "Blue Agent" represents the President of the United States. This
Computer-in-Chief is programmed with a battery of nuclear "warfighting styles,"
one of which comprises a set of attributes prescribing the President's
"temperament." An example temperament attribute ranks, on a scale of one to
three, the President's "risk proclivity." (On a scale of one to three, the
present administration's risk proclivity should surely score a four.) Launch on
warning, nuclear first-use, and other escalatory decisions are modelled by RSAC.
The diagrams accompanying this text are from Rand publications. Figure 1 depicts
the interaction of major program modules. Note that Blue Agent's "Rules on
option selection (are) based largely on state vector in and character of NCA
(National Command Authorities)." Inputs from warning sensors are part of the
state vector in, and the level of alert is part of the online character of the
NCA. Rand documents describe how to "Build Blue rules . . . establishing whether
Blue would actually try to launch under attack in some circumstances." Launch
under attack rules are illustrated, in simplified form, in Figure 2.
Note that the rules depicted imply reliance on only one type of sensor warning
(satellite or radar), in the event of the other type being dead, but launch
under attack would not be undertaken except in the highest state of alert.
Figure 3 depicts sample coding of a rule for launch on warning. Of special
significance is RSAC's escalation decisionmaking. Figure 4 shows a typical
(again simplified) decision tree for Blue Agent. Escalation strategies are
preprogrammed into Blue Agent, by National Command Authorities, using a
Transition matrix." "Rational" decisionmaking is thus subjugated to the
preferred Defense Department strategy.
Figure 5 illustrates a transition matrix for ('Sam 5." The various Blue Agents
maintained online are called Sam 1, Sam 2, etc.; Red Agents are called Ivan 1,
Ivan 2, etc. Sam 5 is relatively non-aggressive, according to Rand: "Other Sams
would launch an intercontinental strike if NATO's defenses were about to
collapse." However, Figure 5 shows that Sam 5 would escalate from "Eur-gen-conv"
("general conventional war in Europe") to "Eur-demo-tacnuc" ("demonstrative
operational-tactical nuclear war in Europe"), by virtue of the " + " in the
seventh line and tenth column.
Curiously, according to Rand escalation terminology, an accidental nuclear
launch in response to a false alert constitutes an "intentional" launch, being
bracketed under "inaccurate assessment of situation" in Figure 6.
The original purpose of RSAC was to generate decisions based upon the rational,
mathematical assessment of probable consequences. However, RSAC's rational
assessments, for obvious reasons, would not generate required recommendations
for first-use of nuclear weapons. And so, Rand consciously and unconscionably
fudged RSAC to cross the nuclear threshold. This was accomplished by
disregarding civilian death counts, and basing first-use decisions essentially
upon missile counts. The expected ratio of remaining American to Soviet missiles
after a nuclear exchange is estimated for the United States going first, and for
the United States going second. The "price of going second" is the difference.
In predefined circumstances, if the price of going second exceeds some value,
then the decision may be to go first. Now, the United States National Command
Authorities have a computer decisionmaker which is billed as rational, but
whichÑwhen it works properlyÑin fact parrots arbitrary nuclear first-use
formulae. The United States irrational rational decision maker competes
alongside the immobile mobile MX missile in the nuclear folly sweepstakes.
In theory, national commanders will weigh RSAC's recommendations against other
considerations, but no such minimal safeguard applies to the automatic response
implicit in the Star Wars defense system, which depends upon knocking out Soviet
missiles in their boost phase while still over Soviet territory. Concerning
this, Robert Cooper, the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency, in 1984 told Congress: "We might have the technology so (the President)
couldn't make a mistake. "
He elaborated: "It is quite possible the technology could go right along with
him, even into the bathroom." Similarly, at an April 4, 1984, press conference,
Secretary of Defense Weinberger asserted that Star Wars was technically
feasible, claiming that American technology could produce "miracles." As proof,
he cited the Space Shuttle.
In 1985, an influential think-tank on preventing nuclear war, a group mentored
by Senators Nunn and Warner, asserted that the pragmatic means to reduce the
risk posed by technology should be more technology. In particular, the Nunn-
Warner Group recommended more sensors, and more computers, to reduce the risk of
accidental launch posed by the present launch on warning capabilityÑand also to
reduce the "confirmed" warning time to two minutes.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of the Nunn-Warner group's controlling committee
helped design and implement the present launch on warning posture. Apallingly,
these so-called experts laud the hair-trigger as obviously risk-reducing owing
to the unambiguous readiness. This is like arguing that driving as fast as
possible is safest because the time spent on the road is thereby minimized. It
is obvious to the rest of the world that the nuclear hair-trigger poses a direct
risk of accidental war that cannot be so presumptively glossed over.
I oppose the nuclear hair-trigger, which should be eliminated by imposing a 30-
minute electronic timelock on all MX and Minuteman missiles. This would prevent
a launch on warning. My position is that to respond to a nuclear attack even
within 24 hours would be irresponsible, and that to respond within 30 minutes of
a supposed attack is illegitimate.
The Nunn-Warner group's work in some areas, notably including test ban proposals
and hot-line upgrades, may be valuable, but, like many arms control measures,
its ultimate inadequacy stems from its express limitation to pragmatic means to
reduce nuclear risk. This translates into an acceptance of present deterrent
policy, which includes launch on warning and firststrike capabilities.
Unfortunately, it is the placebo of pragmatism that has eased our slide to the
brink of doom, and all but irresistably now draws us over that brink. The
preeminent constitutional authority Laurence Tribe recognizes that the Framers
provided latches to arrest this process. He wrote: "It seems worth remembering
Bertrand Russell's sage warning that pragmatism is like a warm bath that heats
up so imperceptibly that you don't know when to scream. The decision to
screamÑto invoke the Constitution in resisting new roles for the executiveÑmay
have to be made."
In debating the 1973 War Powers Act, Congress rejected a clause proposed by
Senator Stennis that would have delegated to the President the authority to use
nuclear weapons if he had clear and convincing evidence of imminent nuclear
attack on the United States. Though the hottest issue was the authority for a
preemptive strike, the delegation of the decision to operate a launch on warning
capability was particularly objected to by the Senate Committee. Accordingly, it
is clear that the present operation of a launch on warning capability by the
executive branch usurps the war powers of Congress, and so is unconstitutional.
Further, because of the imminent, actual threat it poses, the operation by the
military of the present launch on warning capability must rank as an illegal
first-use of nuclear weapons, and as an act of war. A gun may be legally worn,
but when that gun is loaded, aimed, and cocked, then the law intervenes on
behalf of persons threatened (according to the Fifth Amendment's provision for
It is inconceivable that the judiciary should have no role whatsoever in
guarding against the evident new threat of nuclear annihilation. As Chief
Justice Marshall declared in Marbury v. Madison, in 1803: "It is emphatically
the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." And,
as Justice Goldberg observed: "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."
Even in the middle of a conventional war, with nuclear arsenals now way over the
Armageddon threshold, it is obvious that the first-use of nuclear weapons is a
qualitative expansion of war, rather than a continued waging of war. The
Founding Fathers expressly allocated such qualitative expansions of war as then
existed solely to Congress, to guard against the potentially arbitrary actions
of a single person. President Nixon drew chilling attention to this one-man
hair-trigger danger in 1973. Under the pressures of Watergate, he remarked to
congressional leaders, as proof of his responsibility because he hadn't done it,
"I can go into my office and pick up the telephone and in 25 minutes 70 million
people will be dead." Surely, the grave nuclear first-use decision is a
nondelegable congressional responsibility.
Finally, the Constitution does not and cannot grant even to the Congress the
right to declare Armageddon, for the guiding Preamble declares that its very
purpose is to secure for ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty.
The Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln prayed "Let us strive to deserve, as far
as mortals may, the continued care of Divine Providence, trusting that, in
future national emergencies, he will not fail to provide us the instruments of
safety and security." To this I add a prayer that we strive to provide for our
posterity as responsibly as our forefathers provided for us.
A Talk With Dr. Robert Kahn
Part 1: National Research Initiatives
Dr. Robert Kahn, former Director of the Information Processing Techniques Office
of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is a familiar name to
researchers in computer science in the United States. Dr. Kahn, also a former
member of the faculty at MIT and a research manager at Bolt, Beranek and Newman,
has been a key figure in the development and funding of a number of technologies
in computer science such as the Arpanet, which he helped design, the MOSES
project, supercomputing, artificial intelligence, and very high-speed integrated
circuits, or VHSIC. Dr. Kahn is now the president of the Corporation for
National Research Initiatives, a Washington-based nonprofit corporation set up
to manage future research in computer science. The first part of this interview,
set forth below, covers the mission and the structure of NRI. The next issue of
the CPSR Newsletter will feature a discussion of Dr. Kahn's role in DARPA, and
specifically his role in the genesis of the Strategic Computing Program, the 10-
year, $1 billion research effort investigating the application of advanced
computer technologies for conventional weapons systems. This interview was
conducted by Gary Chapman, Executive Director of CPSR, in Los Angeles in late
Let's talk about your new venture, National Research Initiatives.
The formal name of the organization is the Corporation for National Research
Initiatives. That's kind of a long title, so we refer to it as National Research
Initiatives, or NRI.
And what is the mission of NRI, in general terms?
Well, we hope to play a central role in the United States in providing both
leadership and funding support for work and development of what we call
"information infrastructure." What we mean by this is the underlying support and
foundation for large, multiorganizational kinds of computer and communication
systems. As an example of a familiar kind of infrastructure, people can think of
the road system. We're trying to do the same kind of thing with information
technology, something that could be of benefit to many organizations.
Can you give us some examples of the kinds of things you're interested in?
I think the primary long-term focus will depend largely on what the funders of
NRI will be most interested in, and what can have the most impact on them. At
the present time we've selected a few things from a long list of possibilities
and started a planning phase in which we're trying to define the nature of a
project in each of several areas. We've selected three areas to focus on
initially. One is called the "digital library system." The second is a
"knowledge bank" for science and technology. The third is called an "electronic
transaction framework," which we hope will serve as a user interface to the
library and the knowledge bank.
These are facilitating mechanismsÑinfrastructure. Using the metaphor of the road
system, these are ways to facilitate transportation. But the road system, of
course, doesn't involve the building of cars and it doesn't involve driving the
carsÑthose things are up to the users of the roads. Likewise, in the case of the
digital library, that concept doesn't include the on-line information; that
would presumably be provided by different organizations which wanted to use the
library system as a mechanism for access. Our hope is to find a common interface
among a variety of different systems so that a user at a given workstation will
have common ubiquitous access to information that's provided by multiple
vendors. It's up to the vendors to decide what they want to digitize and offer
over the system.
So you are interested in investigating and researching things like high-speed
networks, user interfaces, protocols, and so on?
Well, our initial interest in the infrastructure area is based on networks,
whether they're high-speed or low-speed. As long as they can get the job done,
that's all that really matters. There are lots of networks around today, most of
them are what I would call medium- to low-speed, and at some point in the future
we may look on them all as ultra low-speed. Our goal is to make use of whatever
facilities are there for the purpose of implementing systems such as the library
system. Our hope would be that in the future there will be more powerful
networking technology, and our expectation is that, at least initially, the
government might serve as the source of funds for such networking investments.
A barge networking project that seems to be getting underway is the SDI net to
support research on the Strategic Defense Initiative. This was one of the things
recommended by the Eastport Group, and there has been a great deal of activity
on this project. The net is supposed to be tied into the National Test Bed in
Colorado Springs, and so on. Is this something that should be a priorityÑlet's
say, apart from the goals of the SDI? Are there enough resources now so that we
don't have to build another large national network?
Well, I 've heard about the interest in this project, but I don't know much
about what they're actually doing. My view is that if its real goal is
development and deployment, assuming this program continues, that it should be
done as a separate thing. On the other hand, if the goals are tied to more basic
research, then it seems to me to make more sense to tie it in to a more general
research network. I don't think you can really fragment the research community,
and if you try, I think in the long run it's not a good idea. As far as the
total size goes, I don't think you'd ask that question
about the telephone system, for example. If you can put a network into place and
make it work, and if it's got the right properties so that it can scale and
evolve, then it ought to be able to handle the research community independent of
what that community is working on.
Getting back to NRI, what is it that you and NRI would like to see accomplished
in five or ten years?
I would certainly like to see the start of some of the projects I've alluded to
earlier, perhaps some of them even at the state of fruition. In the case of the
library system, for example, we might have a delimited set of capabilities that
we could draw upon, such as natural language access to scientific reports and
other similar printable material. In the case of the knowledge bank, we might
have a few domains where researchers could access codified knowledge through the
developed infrastructure. But, at a more global level, my hope is that we can
stabilize and even institutionalize funding for long-term research initiatives
of this type in this country. Historically, the only mechanisms that were really
available for making long-term investments in research were either through
certain parts of the government, such as the National Science Foundation or
DARPA, certain other parts of the military and nonmilitary sectors of the
government, and a small number of very large corporations which happened to have
budgets large enough to enable that kind of investment. Unfortunately, this has
been very small in the face of the competitive pressures facing this country.
Our investment has probably not been effective enoughÑnot that what's been done
hasn't been worth doing; it's just that in total the investments made are not
aggregated or focused well enough to be as effective as they could be.
NRI itself is a nonprofit corporation. Why did you choose to go that route?
The main reason we filed for not-for-profit status is that we did not want any
misunderstanding about the motivation for starting the initiative. In many ways,
collaborative research has been countercultural to the way things have been done
in this country, and the potential was there for many people to misunderstand
why we were entering into this long-term effort. Secondly, it would facilitate
our ability to deal with the research community at large in the universities,
and it should make it a lot easier for us to deal with the business sector.
Should we end up being successful in developing this infrastructureÑwhich, by
the way, I don't see so much as a product, but as a service in common, to be
shared by allÑit wouldn't look like we were in competition with anybody in
producing it. We also made a decision not to get involved in making any products
or providing any services that would wind up in competition with any of the
funders. The issue is that infrastructure is something that really can't be
developed effectively by a single organization. You need a critical mass, with,
hopefully, all the relevant organizations sharing the infrastructure.
How does NRI propose to work? Will there be research directions, program
managers, people who are supervising grants? Will you say, "We want the research
to go in this particular direction, and these are the kinds of things we would
like to see developed"?
I see it as a collaborative effort and in some ways a kind of consensus-building
arrangement. But our goal is to develop projects for funding that will really
benefit the industrial sector and the research community and ultimately the
country as a whole. Our hope is to draw on inputs from the funders, so that they
can play a part in insuring that the investments they make are in their long-
term best interests.
Do you envision computer scientists in the research community writing grant
proposals, saying to NRI, " This is what I would like to work on, " or do you
think NRI will put out announcements about the availability of grant money for
certain specified projects?
It's likely that in conjunction with the funders, we will lay out general
program areas in which we have an interest, like the digital library, for
example. And within that framework, we will lay out what our view is as to what
the ultimate end point should be, at least as far as we can see. And then we
will leave it up to the research community to propose how we might get there. To
the extent that ideas come from the research community that really don't mesh
with any of our initial plans, they may form the basis for new plans. But I
don't see an organization that is simply there to fund any proposal that comes
in. It's going to be a focused organization in the sense that we elaborate
certain goals and objectives, and those goals will be more structured than some
admonition to "do good research." It will be more like, "Do good research for
the specific purpose of ÔxÕ.Ó
It sounds like it's going to be run a lot like DARPA has been run, rather than,
say, the National Science Foundation.
The National Science Foundation has been changing in many ways over the last few
years. I think Erich Bloch, the new director there, has really done a marvelous
job in getting NSF more interested in some of the fundamental problems facing
the science and engineering communities in this country. They are actually
entertaining a quantity of engineering projects more extensive than anything the
Foundation has undertaken in the past. So, I think they're in a period of some
change, and I think that's probably going to benefit the country. To that
extent, I think there are elements of both the NSF and DARPA models that could
be reflected in what we do.
How about peer review?
I don't think that the particular mechanism we will use will be identical to
that of either the NSF or DARPA. And we still have to determine what the most
appropriate views are. I could imagine setting up a variety of coordination
mechanisms that involve some of the senior people in industry and academia to
help oversee what's going on. But I don't think we'll be using any particular
mechanism that's exactly like what exists today.
Who's on the Board of Directors of NRI at present?
There are five people on the Board at the present time, and it's likely that in
the future we will consider expanding the Board. At present, in addition to
myself, the Board consists of: Richard Cyert, who is president of Carnegie-
Mellon University; Sam Fuller, who is the Vice President for Research and
Architecture at Digital Equipment Corporation; Joshua Lederberg, who is
president of Rockefeller University; and Bill Spencer, who is the Vice President
for Research at Xerox, and until fairly recently also the vice president and
manager of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.
And were there other people involved in starting NRI who are not part of the
Well, there were several who were involved. One of them was our attorney, a
partner in one of the Washington, D.C., firms. Another was Keith Uncapher,
Executive Director of the USC Information Sciences Institute. And of course I
discussed the NRI concept with many leaders in business, academic and government
prior to its inception.
Who's funding NRI at this point?
At the present time we have research support from three of the large computer
corporations in this country: Digital Equipment, Xerox, and IBM.
And their support is funding turned over to NRI? That is, they don't have any
say in what you do other than what you decide to give them? Is their support
like a donation or a contribution?
The relationship is intended to be arms-length, in the sense that the support
comes because we've laid out a program they're willing to invest in. NRI is
laying out the program and we're looking for corporate support for it. We share
the results of our program with the contributors, but unlike some other
organizations which I would characterize as joint ventures or consortia, the
supporting organizations are not themselves in the process of laying out the
program or otherwise trying to instruct us in what to do.
This is different from the MCC model, then.
It's quite different from the MCC model. MCC, as you know, is a for-profit
corporation which is owned by the corporations that are supporting it. Each of
these corporations has a seat on the board, and the results of the MCC work have
been available to these corporations, and only these corporations, unless they
authorize an outside licensing agreement. So it's really a pooled technology
development effort for the supporting organizations.
And the products NRI develops will be treated like a public service, to be made
available to everyone.
Well, we're hoping to develop infrastructure. That infrastructure will be
available to the organizations which support NRI, for research purposes, and
then we'll have to determine to what extent it can be made available outside
this group. In such a case there might be some fees associated with its use. And
of course the organizations supporting us will have a leg up on developing the
technology for either commercial products or for their own internal purposes, as
they see fit.
And what funding levels are you planning for?
I can tell you what we'd like to see happen. In organizing the corporation, we
believe that to really do an effective job that would make an impact in the
country, we need annual funding of about $100 million. My feeling was that would
ultimately have to come from a combination of public and private sources. Some
of the early reaction we got was that that's a lot of money for the private
sector, and I would certainly concur, based on my early experience. But if we
could manage to develop a program that was attractive enough to raise that kind
of money, it could probably raise ten times that much as well, because the
motivation would be there, and the impact would be there. We'll have to see how
things go, but those are the kind of goals we have now.
Just for comparison purposes, the Strategic Computing Program is somewhere in
the ballpark of about $150 million a year, isn't that right?
YesÑI don't know what the precise budget is for 1987 or '88, but that was the
target range. But a better comparison might be with something like MCC, which,
my understanding is, has a budget in the neighborhood of $60 to $80 million,
raised from about twenty corporations. So the kinds of numbers that we're
talking about are not impossible. It's just that I think it has not been in the
culture of American industry to invest in the building of infrastructure through
organizations outside of themselves. In fact, it's more typically been the
province of government to invest in infrastructure.
And the $100 million a year figure, how far out is that, say from this point?
When will we get there?
Yes, when do you think you'll get there?
Well, we don't really know. In some sense I view this as an experiment to
determine whether it's possible to generate stable, long-term industrial support
for an organization like this. But there's no long-term track record we can
judge by. I'm hoping we'll see the results of this experiment within a few
years. At this point, I think it's really too early to say. We're all optimistic
and hopeful; but we just don't know.
When do you start actually giving out money? You obviously are going to have to
reach some threshold, at which point you say, well, we've got enough money to
get this thing rolling.
I think there are two phases to this process. One is laying out reasonable plans
in the areas that I've mentioned; in fact we're deep into the process of laying
out these plans for the library system and the knowledge bank. Once we have
those plans, we can begin to see what the reaction is within industry for
providing funds. If the reaction is favorable, then at that point in time,
assuming that enough funds can be raised to start it, we'll determine a phase-in
strategy to begin those projects, and that will be determined essentially by the
size of the funding that we can raise.
How Big a staff does NRI have then?
We're very small at the moment, only five people: myself, Vint Cerf, Keith
Uncapher, two administrative staff members plus a few consultants. Our goal is
to keep the total size of the organization down to perhaps twenty or less. Let
me elaborate on that just a bit. Unlike an organization, such as MCC which
decided to do their research in-house, and grew a staff of, at last count, more
than four hundred, our hope is to contract out the research to the research
community. To that extent, I'd like to keep the organization as lean as possible
so that the overhead on this research program is as small as possible. In all my
days at DARPA when we were dealing with budgets significantly larger than the
one I'm talking about here, we rarely had more than ten professionals involved.
Now it's true there was a large amount of support everywhere in DoD that we were
able to obtain in terms of letting of contracts and auditing of contracts, and
the like. But those are services we can also contract for at NRI. Whether we
will be able to keep to those numbers or not, I think is something we are going
to be monitoring very closely. But that's certainly our goal, to keep the
organization small, lean, allow the best researchers in the country to
participate, and allow them to do it where they are so they don't have to move
to Washington, or Boston, or Austin, or wherever.
And who's involved in preparing these plans now? People in the research
community? Or is it just NRI staff? Or people in the corporations that are
We've been working primarily from our experience in the field for several
decades. We know a large number of people in the research community. And they've
been helping us on a volunteer basis to lay out some of these programs, sharing
with us ideas and views, conceptions. I think that the ultimate task of putting
these plans together, of actually writing them down, will fall on us at NRI. But
I suspect even there we will get significant help from the research community in
putting together the program.
Why did you decide to get into this? Presumably when you left DARPA you had a
lot of alternatives. Why this particular enterprise, both in terms of the
structure of the way you're doing it, and in terms of the mission of what you're
Well, I felt this was extremely important for the country, it was something that
needs to be done, and I felt it could potentially be one of the greatest
stimuli, catalysts, to economic growth and productivity enhancement for the
remainder of this century and into the next. I had a vision of what we might do,
had the contacts with the research community, and to a large extent in the
business community. Frankly, I just found it a very important as well as
fascinating area to work in. If I had my druthers and could make a choice, this
is what I would have chosen to do next. I view it still as an experiment, it
could very well turn out that in two or three years we might decide the support
isn't there. On the other hand, I didn't see any other alternative for making
this kind of thing happen, other than to get involved in it myself and to seek
the participation of the most capable people and organizations in the country.
I'm sure you've speculated or reflected on, if this task is so important, why
haven't people done it before? What has been the obstacle to doing this in the
past, and perhaps, what is the obstacle to doing it now?
In some ways cooperative development of infrastructure by the private sector can
be viewed as countercultural, and that's always an obstacle. On the other hand,
I think it's a natural thing for the country and the way we're doing it really
draws upon native strengths of the United States. I think it's a win-win
situation for everyoneÑif the funding can be provided. I also don't think that
the necessity of this kind of investment was apparent until fairly recently. The
market system in the United States has a certain essential dynamic quality to
it, which does allow it to grow and evolve. The only concern that has really
shown up recently is whether the dynamics of that system are compatible with the
dynamics of the international marketplace in which we are working. To the extent
that timing is not an important issue, and it really hasn't been up until the
last five or ten years, there was no reason not to let information
infrastructure just evolve at its own pace. We tend to have very effective
mechanisms in this country for bootstrap evolution of infrastructure. We know
how to generate low-level interfaces for compatibility, but there's really been
no mechanism for dealing with this problem at either a higher level or with a
more global, coherent point of view. The imperative for dealing with it in this
fashion has really just come about in the last few years as a result of the
change in the international environment that we're facing. Whether that's a
sufficient motivation for industry to get involved is a key question. I think it
should be, but it's really up to them to make the final decision.
When you say "international environment, " you're talking about the
international competitiveness issue. Is that correct?
And the issue of competitiveness with, say, the Pacific Rim, is that in your
mind when you're making these pitches to the corporations to fund this effort?
Are you concerned about this competitiveness issue?
Yes, I am concerned. And the competitiveness issue is one which I think has
caught the attention of the governmentÑ certainly it's caught the attention of
many people in industry. But there's another facet to this which is, in my mind,
even more fundamental and important, and that's the role that infrastructure can
play in facilitating economic growth and productivity, which I mentioned before.
Even if we did not have an issue of competitiveness facing us at this point in
time, my personal view is that this kind of infrastructure investment is still a
very good thing for this country to do. It's just that I think the motivation
for companies to fund this would be lower without some kind of external
challenge, and, while it happens to be the Pacific now, it could very well be
some other part of the world later on. I don't necessarily think that this is
fundamentally a problem applied to one particular area or another. It's a matter
of us understanding what's in our long-term interests in the United States.
How crucial, how critical is the competitiveness issue, in your view? Are we
really in a dire situation, or is this just something that could be a spur to
Well, I'm very optimistic about the capabilities in this country. We've
certainly got a real pioneering spirit still, and the innovation in the United
States has been continually strong. We've got the largest and most effective
research base in the world, even in areas where we are being challenged in the
marketplace. Competition often arises in technology areas which we invented,
nurtured, grew, and developed in this country. I personally think that
information processing technology is going to be one of the key, if not the key,
technologies in the 21st century. It will affect our standard of living and our
quality of life. It's going to affect our national security, it's going to
affect virtually every aspect of society.
I think there is a concern that unless we get ourselves better organized in this
country, we could lose a lot of that leadership capability which we've held in
the past. We've seen, certainly, the leadership in semiconductor technology
gradually evolve and essentially migrate over the years. We're still strong in
semiconductor technology, but we've virtually lost the market in DRAMs. I don't
know to what extent that's due to adverse trade practices or technology. The
Japanese, with their Fifth Generation Project, have begun a major effort to
obtain world leadership in computers, and the Japanese tend to be very
dedicated, earnest, almost relentless in pursuing their goals. I think we can
stay ahead if we just have the determination. On the other hand, we have the
situation at the present time where there are hundreds of thousands of
individual organizations dealing one-on-one with a better organized set of
competitors from abroad. I'm not sure that we can compete as effectively in that
kind of environment; but we don't have and we haven't had a very good strategy
for getting more coherently organized. Frankly, I'm not sure we need global
organizational strategies. What we need are facilitating mechanisms that let our
companies and research organizations be able to work more effectively, more
collaboratively where that's appropriate, and to essentially get better
organized to compete abroad. And I think infrastructure can play a key role in
making that all happen. This is one approach, I should point out, and I'm sure
there are many others that are potentially viable and should also be explored.
Next issue: A discussion of DARPA, the Strategic Computing Program, military
funding for computer science research, and CPSR.
Poindexter Sensitive Information Memo Rescinded
Under pressure from legislators, civil libertarians, librarians, scientists, and
the information industry, the Reagan administration on March 17,1987, rescinded
the Poindexter memo, officially known as National Telecommunications and
Information Systems Security Policy No. 2 (NTISSP 2). This document, as reported
in the CPSR Newsletter (Winter 1987), broadly defined a class of "sensitive, but
unclassified information the disclosure, loss, . . . or destruction of which
could adversely affect national security or other Federal Government interests"
and charged all government agencies, departments, and contractors with
identifying and protecting such information in telecommunications and automated
information systems. The directors of the CIA and NSA were assigned
responsibility for guiding the process of identification and protection.
Although opponents of NTISSP 2 hailed the recession as a step in the right
direction, they cautioned that the policy it embodies remains in place. It was
National Security Decision Directive 145 that first decisively shifted
management of government information policy from a civilian agency to the
Department of Defense in 1984. It was also NSDD-145 that charged the government
with aiding the private sector in identifying and protecting "systems which
handle sensitive nongovernment information." Indeed, under NSDD145, "the private
sector shall be encouraged, advised, and, where appropriate, assisted in
undertaking the application of such measures." But, as more than one
representative of the private sector has commented one person's encouragement is
another's intimidation. And, according to White House chief of staff Howard
Baker, NDSS-145 is now under review.
Legislative efforts to return government information policy to civilian control
are underway. The Computer Security Act of 1987, H.R. 145, sponsored by
Representatives Jack Brooks (D-Texas) and Dan Glickman (D-Kansas), would provide
for a computer standards program within the National Bureau of Standards (NBS)
and establish a research program at the NBS to assess the vulnerability of all
computing systems except those storing classified security information. However,
the current bill does not resolve difficulties surrounding the category of
"unclassified, but sensitive information.
From the Secretary's Desk
Laura Gould-National Secretary
In the summer of 1983, Volume One, Number One of the CPSR Newsletter appeared.
It consisted of five pages of introductory information which was formatted on a
research computer. Volunteers photocopied and mailed it to the 150 or so
members, mostly from California, who had joined at the time of CPSR's
incorporation a few months earlier. Until the beginning of 1984, CPSR had no
office, no telephone, and no paid staffÑjust a post office box and a very small
In the spring of 1987, as I write this column for the fifteenth time, my words
are shipped to a commercial typesetting firm in the Midwest. There they are
incorporated into a nineteen-page Newsletter, replete with graphics, and mailed
to our 2,000 members across the nation and around the world. The three fulltime
staff in CPSR's downtown Palo Alto office, who have produced and mailed many
intervening issues using our own computer system, are now much too busy working
on substantive projects to deal with Newsletter mechanics. Among many other
tasks, Gary is doing final editing of a book to be entitled Computers in Battle,
Mary Karen is researching and writing a proposal concerning computers and civil
liberties, and Katy is coordinating the promotion and distribution of CPSR's
slide show Reliability and Risk.
CPSR has come a long way in a very short time as this description and a quick
glance through back issues of the Newsletter will indicate. While the first
column I wrote was entitled "CPSR Denied Booth Space at NCC," subsequent issues
described CPSR's very successful booths at IJCAI and other conferences and our
part in the formation of a new ACM Committee to study Computer Systems,
Reliability, and Risks to the Public. While the first issue listed addresses for
six CPSR chapters, all quite small, this issue lists addresses for thirteen,
many quite large. It also lists half a dozen foreign organizations which have
formed on our model and an impressive array of educational materials.
Minutes of the April Board meeting indicate an even more promising future.
CPSR's program for next year will include projects in the important new areas of
civil liberties and funding priorities in computer science research, while
further work will continue to be done on computers in weapons systems,
particularly the SDI. Individual CPSR chapters are developing materials and
projects regarding electronic voting, opportunities for non-military employment,
and workplace monitoring, to name but a few. The Board will increase in strength
from eleven members to fourteen with the addition of two new regional directors
(completing our representation across the nation) and a new special director,
and new people will bring fresh inspirations and energies to many old positions.
Looking back over my two terms as National Secretary I am astonished at the
amount a very small and dedicated group has been able to accomplish. As CPSR's
reputation, visibility, membership, staff, and Board all continue to grow, it
should be able to accomplish even more.
New CPSR Board Members and Officers Elected
An almost entirely new Board of Directors will take over the direction of
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility in July, 1987, when all the new
terms will begin. At the Board of Directors meeting on April 26 at Stanford
University, Steve Zilles, currently CPSR treasurer, was elected the new chairman
of the board. Terry Winograd, who has been serving as a director-at-large, was
elected president. Eric Roberts, a researcher at Digital Equipment Corporation's
Systems Research Center in Palo Alto, CA, will be the new Board secretary.
Rodney Hoffman, a researcher for Xerox and instructor in computer science at
Occidental College in Los Angeles, will be the new CPSR treasurer.
The Midwest region, which consists of the chapters in Madison, Wisconsin, and
Chicago, will have its first regional representative to the Board of Directors.
Hank Bromley, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, was
elected by CPSR members of the region.
Jonathan Jacky, a faculty member at the University of Washington in Seattle,
will replace Alan Borning as the Northwest regional representative. The
Northwest region includes chapters in Seattle and Portland.
Karen Sollins and David Bellin won the election for at-large directors in a
dead-even tie vote. Karen Sollins is an assistant professor of computer science
at M IT, and David Bellin holds the same position at the Pratt Institute in
Brooklyn, New York.
Finally, Marc Rotenberg will become the second special director on the Board. He
is graduating this year from Stanford Law School and expects to move to
Washington, D.C., for a career in public service. He will be the Board member
responsible for the civil liberties and privacy program of CPSR.
In addition to these people, continuing Board members include Lucy Suchman, the
Western regional representative; Richard Wallstein, regional representative for
the Mid-Atlantic region; Steve Berlin, regional representative for the
Northeastern region; and Gloria Duffy, special director.
CPSR Board Member Testifies Before House Arms Control Panel
CPSR Board of Directors member Dr. Gloria Duffy led a group of arms control
experts in testimony before the arms control panel of the House Committee on
Foreign Affairs on March 12. The hearing was based on a recent report,
Compliance and the Future of Arms Control, issued jointly by Dr. DuffyÕs Palo
Alto-based consulting firm Global Outlook and the Stanford Center for
International Security and Arms Control.
The report is the product of 18 months of research by a Compliance Working
Group. Directed by Dr. Duffy, the group included 22 former government officials,
former arms control negotiators, prominent scientists and specialists on the
Soviet Union. The report represents a broad consensus of the arms control
The working group concluded that the overall pattern of U.S. and Soviet
compliance with existing arms control agreements has been good. Although each
side occasionally "stretches the terms of agreements," the numerical ceilings on
offensive launchers have been maintained without significantly affecting the
U.S.-Soviet strategic balance. The report does cite one outright violation of a
treatyÑthe breach of the ABM Treaty by the Soviets' Abalakovo radar; three
instances of "questionable compliance" (the Soviet SS-25 missile, Soviet
telemetry encryption and upgrades of U.S. radars in Greenland and England); and
one case of a "threat of breach of contract," the Strategic Defense Initiative.
An Update on
Johnson v. Weinberger
Johnson v. Weinberger, C86 3334, was filed on June 17, 1986, in the U.S.
District Court, San Francisco. It alleges that the present U.S. Iaunch on
warning capability (LOWC) is unconstitutional on eight counts. The basic
argument is that the LOWC is error-prone, in that a false warning of attacking
missiles could trigger a massive accidental launch. Thus, it usurps the power of
the Congress to commence war. It also delegates nuclear release authority to the
military in violation of the Atomic Energy Act (42 USC 2122). Because the LOWC
is a peacetime threat to Johnson's life, it violates his due process rights.
Weinberger filed a motion to dismiss, arguing: "The atomic Energy Act does not
cover the military use or application of atomic weapons and Johnson cites 42 USC
2122 in error as authority . . . The Plaintiff has filed to show that . . . only
the President is vested by law with authority to launch such weapons."
Weinberger accused Johnson of "a tortured reading of the act." Newsweek ran a
story (Jan. 5, 1387) on Weinberger's response. Johnson replied, "Defendant's
chilling contention that the Atomic Energy Act does not guarantee civilian
control over the first launch of nuclear weapons is appalling, given his day-to-
day control of thousands of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert."
Weinberger responded with a sworn statement by Pentagon nuclear warplanner
Colonel Hope: "Only the President can authorize the use of nuclear weapons.
There are positive controls to preclude the use of such weapons without
Presidential authority. The specific details of our nuclear release procedures
are highly classified." But Weinberger did not admit error re the Atomic Energy
Act. He argued simply that the President had inherent Commander-in-Chief powers
to operate the alleged LOWC, regardless of the degree of automation,
congressional disapproval, and risk to Johnson's life.
In response, Johnson not only challenged this claim of inherent powers, but also
disputed the truth of Colonel Hope's statement. Johnson showed that the same
statement was made in 1975, but was disproved by the 1976 testimony of Admiral
Miller, who admitted a "launch on warning" type of delegation was given to the
NORAD commander. Johnson demanded his right to interrogate Colonel Hope.
Weinberger backed down; although he insisted Colonel Hope's statement was
"unequivocal" proof that the complaint was untrue, he asked the court to
nevertheless ignore it.
After several delays due to this prolonged argument, the motion to dismiss was
heard on March 18, 1987. Weinberger repeated his request that Colonel Hope's
statement be ignored, and asked the court to make its decision as though all the
facts alleged were true, i.e., assuming the U.S. is now in a dangerous, military
launch on warning posture. The case should be dismissed, Weinberger argued,
because Congress had provided for the alleged operation of a LOWC by
appropriations. Judge Williams summarily agreed, and dismissed the action as a
However, Judge Williams indicated that the case was worth taking to the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeal. For this reason, he gave permission to the Lawyers'
Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control to file a supporting brief as part of a motion
to reconsider his dismissal. This motion disputes the new claim of congressional
authorization of launch on warning, and is set to be heard by Judge Williams on
June 3, 1987. If he does not reverse his dismissal, which is probable, the case
will be appealed shortly thereafter.
After the March 18 dismissal, Weinberger's attorney, Christopher Stoll, told
reporters, "This is not the end, only the end of the beginning.
Ten Join CPSR National Advisory Board
Ten distinguished people have joined the National Advisory Board of Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility. The ten are: Richard Karp; Robert E.
Tarjan; Sherry Turkle; Barbara Liskov; Herbert L. Abrams; Douglas Engelbart;
Adele Goldberg; Anthony Ralston; Robert W. Taylor; and Severo Ornstein.
The National Advisory Board is made up of individuals distinguished for their
reputations in the field of computer science or for their work in areas of
concern to members of CPSR. Members of the National Advisory Board are invited
to join by the CPSR Board of Directors. Current and continuing members include
Professors Herbert Simon and Alan Perlis, IBM Fellow John Backus, Congressman
Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Admiral Noel Gayler.
Dr. Richard Karp is Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley, and is one of the
world's leading computer science theorists. Professor Karp is a member of the
National Academy of Sciences. In 1985, he was awarded the Turing Award by the
Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).
Robert E. Tarjan is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished Professor of Computer
Science at Princeton University, and is a senior member of the technical staff
at AT&T Bell Laboratories. His research interests are centered around the design
and analysis of algorithms and data structures. In 1986 he was a recipient of
the Turing Award.
Dr. Sherry Turkle is Associate Professor in the Program in Science, Technology
and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She holds joint
doctorate degrees in sociology and psychology from Harvard University. She is
the author of The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, a product of six
years of research on how computer technology affects social and psychological
development at different stages of life.
Barbara Liskov is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT. Her
research and teaching interests include programming languages, programming
methodology, and distributed computing. Her work led to the development of the
programming languages CLU and Argus. Currently she is working on problems in
heterogenous distributed computing systems.
Herbert L. Abrams, M.D., is Professor of Radiology at Stanford University; a
member-in-residence of the Stanford Center for International Security and Arms
Control; founding vice-president of IPPNW, the organization awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1985; and a member of the Board of Directors of Physicians for
Social Responsibility. His study on "Sources of Human Instability and the
Handling of Nuclear Weapons" was published recently in the book Medical
Implications of Nuclear War, produced by the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Douglas Engelbart is Senior Scientist in the McDonnell Douglas Information
Systems Group. He was founder, and for many years director, of the Augmentation
Research Center at Stanford Research Institute. In that capacity he developed
the NLS system, the first "mouse," and made the first use of display "windows."
Dr. Adele Goldberg is President of ParcPlace Systems; she is a past Secretary
and President of the ACM, and was, for a number of years, manager of the Systems
Concepts Laboratory of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. She is the author of the
Smalltalk-80 series of books.
Prof. Anthony Ralston is Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at SUNY
Buffalo. He has held visiting positions at various universities in the U.K. He
is author and editor of eleven books and fifty papers; past president of the
ACM; past president of AFIPS; a member of the Board of Governors of the
Mathematics Association of America and the Mathematical Sciences Education Board
of the National Research Council.
Robert W. Taylor is Director of Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research
Center in Palo Alto, California. For many years he was in charge of the Computer
Science Laboratory of Xerox PARC. He is a former Director of the Information
Processing Techniques Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of
the Department of Defense.
Also joining the National Advisory Board will be Severo Ornstein, co-founder and
chairman of CPSR, when he leaves the Board of Directors of CPSR in July.
Volunteers Needed for CPSR Booth at AAAI in July
CPSR will have a booth at the annual convention of the American Association for
Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), to be held in Seattle, Washington, July 1316,
1987. As in previous years, AAAI has donated space for a CPSR booth in the
Members of CPSR/Seattle have prepared materials to be presented and sold at the
booth. The videotape version of the slide show Reliability and Risk will be
shown at the booth, and members will be on hand to answer questions, pass out
literature, and promote membership in CPSR.
CPSR/Seattle needs volunteers to help staff the booth during the AAAI convention
hours. Anyone who is planning on attending AAAI and who can spend two hours or
more at the booth should get in touch with Ken Berkun of CPSR/Seattle. His
telephone numbers are (206)462-2464 during the day, and (206)524-7260 in the
evening. Any and all assistance will be greatly appreciated.
The CPSR Newsletter is published quarterly by:
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
P.O. Box 717
Palo Alto, CA 94301
The purpose of the Newletter is to keep members informed of thought and activity
in CPSR. We welcome comments on the content and format of our publication. Most
especially, we welcome contributions from our members. Deadline for submission
to the next issue is June 15, 1987.
This Newsletter was produced by AIR Editions, Inc., 315 W. Gorham Street,
Madison, WI 53703. It was set on a Mergenthaler 202 typesetter via a Quadex 500
front end system.
Created before October 2004