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Censure and Condemnation, and More from CRS

Between 1973 and 2016, Members of Congress introduced resolutions of censure directed against federal officials on 59 occasions, according to the Congressional Research Service. Of those, 14 were filed against the Obama Administration. Such resolutions have little or no practical significance, though they may serve a limited political purpose. “The adoption of a simple or […]

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Navy Builds Underground Nuclear Weapons Storage Facility; Seattle Busses Carry Warning

By Hans M. Kristensen The US Navy has quietly built a new $294 million underground nuclear weapons storage complex at the Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC), a high-security base in Washington that stores and maintains the Trident II ballistic missiles and their nuclear warheads for the strategic submarine fleet operating in the Pacific Ocean. The […]

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Foreign Aid: An Introduction, and More from CRS

U.S. aid to foreign countries and populations takes many forms in support of a range of objectives, from strategic to humanitarian. A newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service illuminates the structure of U.S. foreign aid, and traces the evolution of U.S. spending abroad. “Adjusted for inflation, annual foreign assistance funding over the past […]

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FAS Roundup: June 21, 2016

From the Blogs Red Teams Needed to Critique Military Operations: U.S. military commanders would do well to make use of “red teams,” composed of independent experts to evaluate and critique U.S. military operations as they are being planned, according to a new publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Red teams can “help commanders and staffs think critically and […]

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2017 Intelligence Bill Would Constrain Privacy Board

The jurisdiction of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) would be restricted for the second year in a row by the Senate Intelligence Committee version of the FY2017 Intelligence Authorization Act (S.3017). Section 603 of the Act would specifically limit the scope of PCLOB’s attention to the privacy and civil liberties “of United […]

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Growing District Court Vacancies, and More from CRS

The number of vacancies in U.S. district courts around the country increased by a hefty 71% from the beginning of the Obama Administration (when there were 41 vacancies) until June 1 of the Administration’s eighth year (when there were 70 vacancies), according to a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service. By contrast, the number […]

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Red Teams Needed to Critique Military Operations

U.S. military commanders would do well to make use of “red teams” composed of independent experts to evaluate and critique U.S. military operations as they are being planned, according to a new publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Red teams can “help commanders and staffs think critically and creatively; challenge assumptions; mitigate groupthink; reduce […]

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Islamic State Acolytes, and More from CRS

Domestic supporters of the Islamic State “have accounted for 67 homegrown violent jihadist plots between 2014 and early June 2016” involving more than 100 individuals, according to a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service. “In November 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly had more than 900 investigations of IS suspects in the […]

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FAS Roundup: June 14, 2016

From the Blogs Flawed Pentagon Nuclear Cruise Missile Advocacy: In its quest to secure Congressional approval for a new nuclear cruise missile, the Pentagon is putting words in the mouth of President Barack Obama and spinning and overstating requirements and virtues of the weapon. Last month, DOD circulated an anonymous letter to members of Congress after it learned that […]

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Congress Passes FOIA Improvement Act

The House of Representatives yesterday approved the Freedom of Information Act Improvement Act, which had previously been adopted by the Senate. If signed by President Obama, as expected, it will strengthen several provisions of the FOIA and should enhance disclosure of government records. The bill “reaffirms the public’s right to know and puts in place […]

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