FAS Website Blocked by US Cyber Command, Then Unblocked

For at least the past six months, and perhaps longer, the Federation of American Scientists website has been blocked by U.S. Cyber Command. This week it was unblocked. The “block” imposed by Cyber Command meant that employees throughout the Department of Defense who attempted to access the FAS website on their government computers were unable […]

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Rising Sea Levels and U.S. Coasts, & More from CRS

“With few exceptions, sea levels are rising relative to the coastlines of the contiguous United States, as well as parts of the Alaskan and Hawaiian coastlines,” a new report from the Congressional Research Service observes. “Although the extent of future sea-level rise remains uncertain, sea-level rise is anticipated to have a range of effects on […]

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Terrorism and the First Amendment, & More from CRS

Incitement to commit an imminent act of violence is not protected by the First Amendment, and may be restricted by the government. But advocacy of terrorism that stops short of inciting “imminent” violence probably falls within the ambit of freedom of speech. A new report from the Congressional Research Service examines the legal framework for […]

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On Covert Action in Angola in the Carter Years

U.S. covert action in Angola during the Carter Administration is among the topics documented in a new volume of the official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series that was released yesterday. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume XVI, Southern Africa. The CIA had secretly intervened in Angola in 1975, during […]

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How Big Should the Army Be?

In its version of the pending defense authorization bill, the House of Representatives said that the U.S. Army should consist of 480,000 soldiers at the end of FY2017. That would be an increase of 5,000 over the current year level of 475,000. But the Senate said that 460,000 soldiers would be sufficient, a decrease of […]

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Update on Comprehensive Test Ban, & More from CRS

The Congressional Research Service has prepared an updated account of the status of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT), which would prohibit explosive testing of nuclear weapons. “As of August 2016, 183 states had signed the CTBT and 164, including Russia, had ratified it. However, entry into force requires ratification by 44 states specified […]

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Contesting a Presidential Election, & More from CRS

The procedures for challenging the outcome of a presidential election are summarized in a new publication from the Congressional Research Service. “The initial responsibility for resolving challenges, recounts, and contests to the results of a presidential election” lies with each individual state, CRS noted. But under some circumstances, challenges to a presidential election can work […]

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Autonomous Military Technology at a “Tipping Point”

Autonomous military technologies that are capable of independently selecting a course of action to achieve a goal are maturing rapidly, the Defense Science Board said in a newly published study. “Autonomy, fueled by advances in artificial intelligence, has attained a ‘tipping point’ in value,” the DSB study said. “Autonomy will deliver substantial operational value–in multiple […]

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DoD Security Cooperation Programs, & More from CRS

The Department of Defense has assumed a growing role in providing assistance to foreign military and security services over the past decade, often supplanting the Department of State. The evolution of DoD security cooperation activities is traced in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. “Since military aid became a major component of U.S. […]

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Active Protection for Combat Vehicles, & More from CRS

Efforts to develop Active Protection Systems (APS) to defend military combat vehicles against rocket-propelled grenades or anti-tank missiles are reviewed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. An Active Protection System is supposed to detect an incoming threat, such as a grenade or a missile, and employ countermeasures to destroy or deflect it, […]

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