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Category Archives: Defense

Can Congress Limit the President’s Power to Launch Nuclear Weapons?

Do you ever think…I sure am grateful for the experts at CRS who are regularly providing top notch, comprehensive, accurate, timely subject matter specific research on demand to Congress (that is still not available directly to the public). Every week as we are reading (and/or listening to) news pertaining to critical issues that impact our government, society, and our future, CRS is publishing reports that provide critical insight, facts and information on topics that range from: the courts, to health care, energy and the environment, domestic terrorism, social services, defense, government documents, natural disasters, food and drug issues, and the list goes on and on. Thank you to the experts at CRS (that include librarians and attorneys) for the wealth of knowledge they provide to the Hill, and to the organizations such as FAS who have made these documents public, so that we may collectively benefit and gain a greater understanding of current affairs, law, legislation, and history.  And now, please see the following brief sidebar, memorandum, and primer on an issue which is very much in the news, and on our minds:

Department of Defense Casualty Releases – 2017

The men and women of our armed forces who have died in “three wars” –  Iraq, Afghanistan and in other lands where they were deployed to “fight terrorism.” See News Releases are official statements of the Department of Defense. Go to DoD News for more information and for links to other news items. In related… Continue Reading

Department of Homeland Security 2017 Privacy Office Annual Report to Congress

“The work of the DHS Privacy Office supports all five core DHS missions articulated in the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review: (1) prevent terrorism and enhance security; (2) secure our borders; (3) enforce our immigration laws; (4) safeguard cyberspace; and (5) strengthen national preparedness, as well as the important cross-cutting goal to mature and strengthen homeland… Continue Reading

Partisans Have Starkly Different Opinions About How the World Views the U.S.

Pew – North Korea, cyberattacks widely viewed as ‘major threats’ to U.S. “The public has long held the view that the United States is “less respected” by other countries than in the past. Majorities said this when Barack Obama was president, as well as when George W. Bush was in office. And today, 68% say… Continue Reading

Reports – Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

SIGAR released its thirty-seventh Quarterly Report to Congress, highlighting lessons from America’s 15-year experience in Afghanistan, at a time of a new U.S. security commitment requiring the Afghan government take strong action against corruption. SIGAR released its second lessons learned report examining how the U.S. government developed and executed programs to build, train, advise, and… Continue Reading

Approaches for Managing the Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2017 to 2046

“To continue to field a nuclear force roughly the same size as it is today, the United States plans to modernize virtually every element of that force over the coming decades. CBO estimates that the most recent detailed plans for nuclear forces, which were incorporated in the Obama Administration’s 2017 budget request, would cost $1.2… Continue Reading

The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Military Options and Issues for Congress

CRS report via FAS – The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Military Options and Issues for Congress, October 27, 2017. “North Korea’s apparently successful July 2017 tests of its intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, along with the possibility that North Korea (DPRK) may have successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, have led analysts and policymakers to conclude that… Continue Reading

Facebook, Google and Twitter Executives Testified on Russian Disinformation

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing entitled: “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online: Working with Tech to Find Solutions” October 31, 2017. This link includes video of the testimony as well as transcripts of prepared testimony by Facebook, Twitter, Google as well as two subject matter experts. View the… Continue Reading

The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection – NARA

“The National Archives today released 2,891 records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act). These records are available for download online. The President has also ordered that all remaining records governed by section 5 of the… Continue Reading

FERC Proposes New Security Management Controls for Grid Cyber Systems

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) [on October 19, 2017] proposed new cyber security management controls to further enhance the reliability and resilience of the nation’s bulk electric system. These include mandatory controls to address the risks posed by malware from transient electronic devices like laptop computers, thumb drives and other devices used at low-impact… Continue Reading

CRS – U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts

CRS report via FAS – U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts, Barbara Salazar Torreon, Senior Research Librarian. October 11, 2017. “Many wars or conflicts in U.S. history have federally designated “periods of war,” dates marking their beginning and ending. These dates are important for qualification for certain veterans’ pension or disability benefits.… Continue Reading

Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy

CRS report via FAS – Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy, Clayton Thomas, Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs. October 11, 2017. “This report analyzes state-to-state arms sales in the Middle East with a particular focus on U.S.transfers, as authorized and reviewed by Congress.The information in this report, including… Continue Reading