Comprehensive data on U.S. military deaths from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 through Operation Iraqi Freedom were presented in a recently updated report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service.
“This report is written in response to numerous requests for war casualty statistics and lists of war dead. It provides tables, compiled by sources at the Department of Defense (DOD), indicating the number of casualties among American military personnel serving in principal wars and combat actions.”
For the more recent military actions beginning with the Korean War, information on specific cause of death and demographic data are provided.
The Congressional Research Service does not make its publications directly available to the public. A copy of the report was obtained by Secrecy News.
See “American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics,” updated June 29, 2007.
Some more noteworthy new products from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include these (all pdf).
“Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court,” updated July 25, 2007.
“Iraq and Al Qaeda,” updated July 27, 2007.
“Air Cargo Security,” updated July 30, 2007.
“F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program: Background, Status, and Issues,” updated July 19, 2007.
“Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler Aircraft: Background and Issues for Congress,” updated July 23, 2007.
“Comparison of ‘Wounded Warrior’ Legislation: H.R. 1538 as Passed in the House and Senate,” July 27, 2007.
For decades now “The U.S. Intelligence Community” by Jeffrey T. Richelson has been the best one-volume account of the structure and operation of the far-flung U.S. intelligence bureaucracy. The fifth edition has just been published.
When I encounter an unfamiliar intelligence term, an odd acronym or a reference to an obscure office somewhere in the bowels of U.S. intelligence, I find that Richelson’s book more often than not — more often than Google — provides the explanation and the needed background, typically with a footnote to an official source.
The latest edition includes new material on homeland security intelligence, detainee interrogation, and other post-9/11 developments.
“The U.S. Intelligence Community” by Jeffrey T. Richelson, 5th edition, is published by Westview Press.
Most Strategic Security Blog readers are probably already aware of the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the UK, but I thought it might be useful to post summary information on what we know to date. In short, it appears as if the virus was found on two farms, that the likely source of the virus was a research and vaccine production facility located nearby, and that there will be hell to pay if it is determined that someone at that facility is responsible for the outbreak and subsequent shut down of beef exports from the UK. The good news is that the response to this outbreak was vastly improved from a 2001 outbreak, which resulted in close to 7 million animals being destroyed. The bad news is that it was probably released from a laboratory and will no doubt spark new concerns about animal disease research.
An out break of FMD was confirmed on August 3rd on a farm in Surrey, according to the British Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). A second case was found at a nearby farm, but tests at two other farms were negative. The owner of the Woolford Farm, where the first disease outbreak was found, reported symptoms to his veterinarian and then DEFRA on the 2nd. DEFRA said in a statement that the strain is a 01 BFS67-like virus, isolated in the 1967 FMD outbreak in the UK. That strain was being used this past July for vaccine production at a nearby facility run by Merial Animal Health, which is jointly owned by Merck and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis.
If the Leahy-Cornyn bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act that was adopted in the Senate last week becomes law, as expected, it will not happen a moment too soon, because current government handling of FOIA requests is deteriorating, according to a new analysis from the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government.
“Over the past nine years, the number of FOIA requests processed has fallen 20%, the number of FOIA personnel is down 10%, the backlog [of pending requests] has tripled, and costs of handling a request are up 79%,” the CJOG study (pdf) reported.
In fact, “the cost of processing FOIA requests is up 40% since 1998, even though agencies are processing 20% fewer requests.”
Productivity of FOIA requests has dropped in other respects as well.
“The number of denials [of FOIA requests] increased 10% in 2006 and the number of full grants, in which the requester got all the information sought, hit an all-time low.”
See “Still Waiting After All These Years: An in-depth analysis of FOIA performance from 1998 to 2006,” principally authored by Pete Weitzel, Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, August 8, 2007.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed an unusual motion (pdf) with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking public disclosure of recent Court orders interpreting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the law that regulates warrantless surveillance within the United States.
“Over the next six months, Congress and the public will debate the wisdom and necessity of permanently expanding the executive’s authority to conduct intrusive forms of surveillance without judicial oversight,” the ACLU motion stated, referring to the debate over the recent amendments to the FISA that will sunset in six months if they are not renewed.
“Unless this Court releases the sealed materials, this debate will take place in a vacuum.”
“Publication of the sealed materials would assist the public in evaluating the significance of recent amendments to FISA and determining for itself whether those amendments should be made permanent,” the ACLU argued.
A copy of the August 8 ACLU Motion for Release of Court Records is posted here.
An ACLU press release on the motion is here.
The ACLU motion admitted that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s docket “consists mainly of material that is properly classified.” However, it noted, “on at least two occasions in the past, this Court has recognized the public interest in the Court’s [activities] and has accordingly published its rulings.”
“Disclosure of the sealed materials, with redactions to protect information that is properly classified, would be consistent with the Court’s past practice and procedural rules,” the ACLU said.
On August 1, the Pacific island nation of Palau became the 139th country to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that would ban all nuclear explosions.
Among states that possess nuclear weapons, only France, Russia and the United Kingdom have ratified the Treaty. To enter into force, the CTBT Organization explained in an August 7 news release, the Treaty must be ratified by ten other countries including the United States, China, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, none of which has shown any eagerness to proceed.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library last week released declassified recordings of President Kennedy discussing the debate over a nuclear test ban in 1963.
Detailed background on the history and status of the nuclear test ban debate is available from the Congressional Research Service in “Nuclear Weapons: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty” (pdf), updated July 12, 2007.
A newly updated U.S. Army regulation on information assurance defines standards and procedures for protecting classified and unclassified information in automated information systems. See “Information Assurance” (pdf), AR 25-2, August 3, 2007.
Meanwhile, a new U.S. Navy Instruction establishes policy on monitoring of Navy communications for internal security purposes. See “Communications Security (COMSEC) Monitoring of Navy Telecommunications and Automated Information Systems (AIS)” (pdf), OPNAV Instruction 2201.3A, August 2, 2007.
Recent reports of the Congressional Research Service on various foreign affairs topics include the following (all pdf), obtained by Secrecy News. CRS does not makes its reports directly available to the public.
“Iraq: Oil and Gas Legislation, Revenue Sharing, and U.S. Policy,” updated July 25, 2007.
“Gangs in Central America,” updated August 2, 2007.
“Afro-Latinos in Latin America and Considerations for U.S. Policy,” updated July 13, 2007.
“Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America: An Overview and Selected Issues,” August 2, 2007.
“Israeli-Arab Negotiations: Background, Conflicts, and U.S. Policy,” updated July 9, 2007.
“Turkey’s 2007 Elections: Crisis of Identity and Power,” updated July 11, 2007.
“The Kaesong North-South Korean Industrial Complex,” July 19, 2007.
“The Proposed South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA),” updated July 18, 2007.
“Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests,” updated July 31, 2007.
“Cyprus: Status of U.N. Negotiations and Related Issues,” updated July 20, 2007.
“Pakistan-U.S. Relations,” updated July 23, 2007.
“Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations,” updated July 18, 2007.
“China-U.S. Trade Issues,” updated July 20, 2007.
“China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress,” updated July 20, 2007.
“China/Taiwan: Evolution of the ‘One China’ Policy — Key Statements from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei,” updated July 9, 2007.
“U.S. Clothing and Textile Trade with China and the World: Trends Since the End of Quotas,” July 10, 2007.
“U.S.-Peru Economic Relations and the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement,” July 27, 2007.
“The United Kingdom: Issues for the United States,” updated July 16, 2007.