Federation of American Scientists

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Federation of American Scientists
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
 -  President Charles D. Ferguson
 -  Founded 6 January 1946 

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is a 501(c)(3) organization with the stated intent of using science and scientific analysis to attempt to make the world more secure. FAS was founded in 1945 by scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs.

With 86 sponsors,[1] FAS claims that it promotes a safer and more secure world by developing and advancing solutions to important science and technology security policy problems by educating the public and policy makers, and promoting transparency through research and analysis to maximize impact on policy.[2] FAS projects are organized under four main program areas: Biosecurity, Earth Systems, Educational Technologies, and Strategic Security.


FAS logo

FAS was originally founded as the Federation of Atomic Scientists on November 30, 1945, by a group of scientists and engineers within the Associations of Manhattan Project Scientists, Oak Ridge Scientists, and Los Alamos Scientists. Its early mission was to support the McMahon Act of 1946, educate the public, press, politicians, and policy-makers, and promote international transparency and nuclear disarmament. On January 6, 1946, FAS changed its name to the Federation of American Scientists, but its purpose remained the same - to agitate for the international control of atomic energy and its devotion to peaceful uses, public promotion of science and the freedom and integrity of scientists and scientific research. For this purpose, permanent headquarters were set up in Washington, D.C., and contacts were established with the several branches of government, the United Nations, professional and private organizations, and influential persons.

By 1948, the Federation had grown to twenty local associations, with 2,500 members, and had been instrumental in the passage of the McMahon Act and the National Science Foundation, and had influenced the American position in the United Nations with regard to international control of atomic energy and disarmament.

In addition to influencing government policy, it undertook a program of public education on the nature and control of atomic energy through lectures, films, exhibits, and the distribution of literature, coordinating its own activities with that of member organizations through the issue of memorandum, policy statements, information sheets, and newsletters.


The mission of FAS is to promote a safer and more secure world by developing and advancing solutions to important science and technology security policy problems by educating the public and policy makers, and promoting transparency through research and analysis to maximize impact on policy.

Strategic Security Program[edit]

Continuing the FAS tradition of international control of atomic energy and devotion to its peaceful uses, the Strategic Security Program (SSP) pursues projects that create a more secure world. SSP includes program work that focuses on reducing the risks of further nuclear proliferation, preventing the traffic and sale of small arms and light weapons, creating greater government transparency on national security issues, and analysis on the threat from international terrorism.[3]

The Strategic Security Blog is one of the first NGO blogs with overall coverage of national security written by real experts in the field.[4] Topics include arms trade, biosecurity, chemical weapons, man-portable air defense systems, and nuclear weapons and proliferation.

Arms Sales Monitoring Project[edit]

The Arms Sales Monitoring Project (ASMP) seeks to increase transparency, accountability and restraint in the legal arms trade; eradicate the illicit arms trade; and to serve as a repository of data on U.S. arms transfers and arms export controls. For the past decade, FAS has reported on the arms trade, U.S. arms export policies, and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons through the publication of reports and articles, media outreach, and public speaking. FAS’ objective is to get information out to interested journalists, policy makers, and the general public so that many people can act, achieving much more than FAS alone can.[5]

Government Secrecy[edit]

The Government Secrecy Project works to promote public access to government information and to illuminate the apparatus of government secrecy, including national security classification and declassification policies. The project also publishes previously undisclosed or hard-to-find government documents of public policy interest, as well as resources on intelligence policy.

The FAS project on Government Secrecy also provides a Secrecy News blog,[6] a publication that reports on new developments in government secrecy and provides public access to documentary resources on secrecy, intelligence, and national security policy.[7]

The politically sensitive Government Secrecy Project is directed by Steven Aftergood, who is also editor and author of the internet publication Secrecy News.[8]

Military Analysis Network[edit]

The Military Analysis Network offers information on U.S. and Foreign Weapon Systems, Munitions, and Weapons in Space.[9] The Network provides resources and databases in several categories including:

  • A guide to United States Munitions and Weapons Systems[10]
  • Rest of World Military Equipment by Country Index[11]
  • United States Military Logistics Index[12]
  • Selected Country Military Summaries Index[13]
  • Report on Weapons in Space[14]

Nuclear Information Project[edit]

The Nuclear Information Project provides the general public and policy-makers with information and analysis on the status, number, and operation of nuclear weapons, the policies that guide their potential use and nuclear arms control. The project reports on developments in the nuclear fuel cycle that are relevant to nuclear weapons proliferation. The project puts technical information into a nonproliferation context and looks at case studies by conducting independent calculations and analyses.

Biosecurity Program[edit]

The Biosecurity Program (BIO) concentrates on researching and advocating policies that balance science and security without compromising national security or scientific progress. This includes preventing the misuse of research and promoting the public understanding of the real threats from biological and chemical weapons.[15]

The Biosecurity Blog provides the public with a resource to find the latest updates on biosecurity policy, bioterrorism information, and biodefense research.[16]

Educational Technologies Program[edit]

The Educational Technologies Program (ETP) focuses on ways to use innovative technologies to improve how people teach and learn. The ETP designs and creates prototype games and learning tools. In addition, the ETP assembles collaborative projects consisting of NGOs, design professionals, and community leaders to undertake innovative education initiatives at both the national and local level. ETP also publishes major studies and briefs members of the United States Congress on innovative education technologies.[17]

Emerging Technologies[edit]

Notable in this area is the FAS Virtual Worlds Project, which includes not only FAS, but a strong and diverse group of partners. The Virtual Worlds Project’s initial stage was the creation of a website which is intended to be a compendium of virtual world websites. Eventually, this site will serve as the foundation for a new universe of virtual worlds, all of which will use a common set of open source tools, and one that will make it possible for a diverse collection of developers, instructors and others to collaborate in the design, evaluation, and use of such learning systems while providing the option for learners and educational institutions to choose among competing approaches.[18][19]

Games and Simulations[edit]

FAS is working to help create learning tools that help bring about major gains in learning and training. The most recent FAS project is Immune Attack, a fully 3-D game in which high school students discover the inner workings of the body's circulatory and immune systems, as they pilot a tiny drone through the bloodstream to fight microscopic invaders.

Immune Attack is funded by the National Science Foundation and jointly developed by the Federation of American Scientists, the University of Southern California, Brown University, and Escape Hatch Entertainment.[20] It teaches immunology in a fun and engaging way that is different from the traditional classroom setting, making use of the “challenge and reward” paradigm found in most video games.

Immune Attack is a supplemental teaching tool, designed to be used in addition to middle school and high school biology textbooks. It introduces molecular biology and cellular biology in detail that is usually reserved for college students. However, it uses the familiar and motivational video game format to introduce the strange and new world of cells and molecules.[21]

Earth Systems Program[edit]

The Earth Systems Program (ESP) seeks to examine the increased stresses on the environment, including issues relating to energy, food, agriculture, water, and other natural resources, and to analyze how they interact with respect to international security. ESP was created out of the idea that technology should allow people worldwide to improve their living standards and amenities through secure and environmentally friendly ways. ESP seeks to improve dialogue and trust between environmental scientists, policy makers, and the public, as well as to develop science partnerships to solve critical environment and energy problems.[22]

Building Technologies Project[edit]

The FAS Building Technologies Project was initiated in 2001 to focus the efforts of scientists and engineers who specialize in building materials on a range of issues such as structural engineering, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and architectural design to create homes that are safe, affordable, and attractive to builders and owners in the United States and abroad.

The Building Technologies Program works to advance innovation in building design and construction that can improve quality, affordability, energy efficiency and hazard protection while lowering construction and operating costs. Technical advances, including new composite materials and prefabricated components, help to meet these goals in ways that are beneficial for builders and owners. Since its conception, the Building Technologies Project has combined the talents of renowned architects and engineers along with the nation’s leading energy experts to embark upon housing issues in the United States and abroad.[23]

Program areas include:

  • Manufactured housing[24]
  • Relief housing[25]
  • Advanced technologies[26]
  • Learning technologies and training[27]
  • Policy issues[28]


The Federation of American Scientists is led by a Board of Directors made up of renowned scientists.[29]

Charles D. Ferguson is the President of FAS. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and an Adjunct Lecturer in the National Security Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins University. Prior to FAS, he worked as the Philip D. Reed Senior Fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition to the many long and distinguished positions he has held, Ferguson is a widely respected physicist and nuclear engineer who has more than twenty years of experience in the field.[30]

FAS membership includes numerous prominent American and international scientists, many of whom are current and former government officials.[31] In addition, the FAS Board of Sponsors includes 64 Nobel Laureates.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Federation of American Scientists: Advisory & Sponsor Boards". Fas.org. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  2. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: About FAS". Fas.org. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  3. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: Strategic Security Program". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  4. ^ "Comments and analyses of important national and international security issues » FAS Strategic Security Blog". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  5. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: The Arms Sales Monitoring Project". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  6. ^ "Secrecy News". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  7. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: About the Government Secrecy Project". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  8. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: biography of Steven Aftergood". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  9. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: Military Analysis Network Homepage". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  10. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: United States Munitions and Weapon Systems". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  11. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: Rest of World Military Equipment by Country Index". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  12. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: United States Military Logistics Index". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  13. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: Selected Country Military Summaries Index". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  14. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: Weapons in Space". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  15. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: Biological and Chemical Weapons Main Page". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  16. ^ "FAS in a Nutshell | Become A FAS Member Today www.fas.org/member/donate_today.html". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  17. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: About the Educational Technologies Program". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  18. ^ "Main Page - FAS Virtual Worlds Almanac". Vworld.fas.org. 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  19. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: Emerging Technologies". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  20. ^ "Immune Attack". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  21. ^ "Immune Attack blog". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  22. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: Earth Systems Program Overview". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  23. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: Building Technologies Project homepage". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  24. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: The Building Technologies Program". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  25. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: Relief Housing Policy and Procedures". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  26. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: Advanced Technologies". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  27. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: Learning Technology & Training". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  28. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: The Building Technologies Program". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  29. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: Board of Directors". Fas.org. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  30. ^ "Federation of American Scientists: Charles D. Ferguson Biography". Fas.org. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  31. ^ "Federation of American Scientists :: Support FAS". Fas.org. 2013-02-28. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 

External links[edit]

Official Websites