Hans M. Kristensen is a Research Associate with the Nautilus Institute's Global Peace and Security Program, where he coordinates the Nuclear Policy Project's Freedom of Information Act research on nuclear policy and operations in the Asia-Pacific region. He also coordinates the Non-Nuclear NATO Network, an Internet-based information project on NATO's nuclear policy jointly operated by Nautilus and the Fourth Freedom Foundation. He was a member of the 1997-1998 Danish Defense Commission, and a Senior Research Associate with the Nuclear Information Unit of Greenpeace International between 1991 and 1996.
As an independent military and foreign affairs analyst, Kristensen researches the role of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era. The work, which has been supported by grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the Ploughshares Fund, focuses on U.S. nuclear war planning in 1990s. Historical research includes the Strategic Air Command airborne alert program, naval nuclear operations and exercises, and nuclear diplomacy with a focus on the "Neither Confirm Nor Deny" policy. His work on U.S.-Danish nuclear relations led to the disclosure in 1994-1997 that the U.S. had secretly deployed nuclear weapons on Danish territory during the Cold War despite Denmark's non-nuclear policy. The Danish government subsequently commissioned an investigation that concluded that Danish governments had turned a blind eye to indications that nuclear weapons were present.
In many democratic countries public scrutiny may be called for by law but with little real framework for researchers to pursue specific documents and information. In the United States, however, the revolutionary origin of the nation combined with a strong tradition for public oversight of the government, has created the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the unique law that establishes a formal process for public access to information about the government's activities. Without this law, this paper would not have been possible.
Productive research through the FOIA, however, requires particular skills and approaches that take a long time to develop. Through my research career, I have been fortunate to work with some of the best researchers without whom I would not have been able to complete this paper. In particular, I would like to mention William M. Arkin and Joshua Handler, who taught me the art (and patience!) of FOIA research. My colleagues at Nautilus provided valuable project guidance and editorial comments; including Dr. Peter Hayes -- whose year-long in-depth research of U.S. military operations in the Pacific produced many of the historical documents making this paper possible; Timothy Savage who contributed tireless editorial assistance; and Dr. Wade Huntley who approved and encouraged production of this paper. Sae-Ryo Kim and Suzanne Beck provided valuable research assistance.
I also want to acknowledge the work by the FOIA staff at the U.S. Pacific Command Headquarters in Hawaii and other U.S. military commands and agencies that processed the many FOIA requests. The Ships History Branch at the Naval Historical Center in Washington D.C. endured endless requests and Xerox-copying despite limited staff and resources, and the Department of Justice staff assisted when "bureaucracy" slowed FOIA processing down too much at the military agencies.
Last, but not least, I want to thank the Ploughshares Fund for making this work possible by its generous support to the Nautilus Institute's Nuclear Policy Project's FOIA research.