Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times covers a report released by the National Research Council, which says the ability of the US to identify the source of a nuclear weapon used in a terrorist attack is fragile and eroding. The goals of the highly specialized detective work, known as nuclear attribution, is to clarify options for retaliation and to deter terrorists by letting them know that nuclear devices have fingerprints that atomic specialists can find and trace. 'Although US nuclear forensics capabilities are substantial and can be improved, right now they are fragile, under-resourced and, in some respects, deteriorating,' the report warns. 'Without strong leadership, careful planning and additional funds, these capabilities will decline.' The report calls on the federal government to take steps to strengthen its forensic capabilities and argues for the necessity of better planning, more robust budgets, clearer lines of authority and more realistic exercises."