A New Direction for the Library of Congress?

With the impending retirement of the longtime Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, there is an opportunity for a fundamental reconsideration of the function and operation of the Library of Congress. In particular, the time may be ripe for a massive expansion of the Library’s digitized holdings, enabling universal public access to its historic and cultural riches. There are “Great New Possibilities for the Library of Congress!” according to the headline of an article by […]

Read More

Environmental Considerations in Military Operations

The environmental impacts of military operations are increasingly becoming factors in the planning and execution of military activities. “The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment,” according to a newly revised and reissued Army doctrinal manual. See Environmental Considerations, ATP 3-34.5, August 10, 2015. Of course, military operations by their nature are not environment-friendly. “The primary mission of the military is to fight and win […]

Read More

Air Force Issues Guidance on “Media Operations”

As a rule, U.S. Air Force personnel should not employ physical violence against news reporters who disobey their instructions, newly updated Air Force guidance says. If reporters are present at the scene of an accident or incident in which Air Force classified information is exposed, Air Force officials should “explain the situation and ask the media to cooperate.” But “Do not use force if media representatives refuse to cooperate unless declared an NDA [National Defense […]

Read More

China’s Science of Military Strategy (2013)

Updated below In 2013, the Academy of Military Sciences of the People’s Liberation Army of China issued a revised edition of its authoritative, influential publication “The Science of Military Strategy” (SMS) for the first time since 2001. “Each new edition of the SMS is closely scrutinized by China hands in the West for the valuable insights it provides into the evolving thinking of the PLA on a range of strategically important topics,” wrote Joe McReynolds […]

Read More

Mass Shootings Becoming More Prevalent, CRS Finds

Mass murder involving firearms has become more prevalent in the United States over recent decades, according to data presented in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. In the 1970s, there was an average of 1.1 such mass homicide incidents per year, with 5.5 victims murdered and 2.0 wounded per incident. The numbers have increased each decade since then. By 2010-2013, there was an average of 4.5 incidents per year, with 7.4 victims murdered […]

Read More

China’s Stock Market Volatility, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. China’s Recent Stock Market Volatility: What Are the Implications?, CRS Insights, July 20, 2015 Can Military Servicemembers Carry Firearms for Personal Protection on Duty?, CRS Insights, July 17, 2015 Department of Defense Contractor and Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan: 2007-2014, July 22, 2015 Microbeads: An Emerging Water Quality Issue, CRS Insights, July 20, […]

Read More

Crowd-Sourcing the Treaty Verification Problem

Verification of international treaties and arms control agreements such as the pending Iran nuclear deal has traditionally relied upon formal inspections backed by clandestine intelligence collection. But today, the widespread availability of sensors of many types complemented by social media creates the possibility of crowd-sourcing the verification task using open source data. “Never before has so much information and analysis been so widely and openly available. The opportunities for addressing future [treaty] monitoring challenges include […]

Read More

The Dark Web, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service introduces the “Dark Web” and its implications for law enforcement and security. “The Dark Web is a general term that describes hidden Internet sites that users cannot access without using special software. Users access the Dark Web with the expectation of being able to share information and/or files with little risk of detection,” the CRS report said. “This report illuminates information on the various layers of the […]

Read More

Pluto Flyby Mission Powered by Plutonium

News of the Earth these days is such that one welcomes news from elsewhere, especially when it concerns a prospect as spectacular as the impending flyby of Pluto by the NASA spacecraft New Horizons that will take place on July 14. In reality, of course, New Horizons also represents news from Earth, having been built by humans and launched from Cape Canaveral in January 2006. Moreover, the New Horizons probe is not simply a technological […]

Read More

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Lessons Learned and Issues for Congress, updated July 2, 2015 Acquisition Reform in House- and Senate-Passed Versions of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735), July 2, 2015 Iran’s Foreign Policy, updated June 30, 2015 Iran: Efforts to Achieve a Nuclear Accord, updated July 1, 2015 Puerto Rico’s Current Fiscal Challenges: In Brief, June 30, 2015 Burma’s […]

Read More