House Amendment Would Cut NSC Budget by a Third

The House of Representatives yesterday approved an amendment to cut the budget for the National Security Council by one third in response to NSC moves to block congressional access to information. “Over the last few months, we have had several instances in which the National Security staff has mandated that the Department of Defense and other agencies selectively withhold information from congressional oversight committees,” complained Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), who introduced the amendment. It was […]

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Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund, and More from CRS

The Obama Administration has requested $5 billion to create a new Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF). The program would “build on existing tools and authorities” to establish a “more sustainable and effective” counterterrorism approach, focusing on building the counterterrorism capacity of partners worldwide through “train-and-equip” and other activities, according to the Congressional Research Service. “The CTPF proposal raises many questions regarding counterterrorism strategy, roles, responsibilities, authorities, and Congressional oversight,” said CRS in a brief overview of […]

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New USAF Bomber Already Under Development, Says CRS

A Request for Proposals from industry to develop a new Air Force Long Range Strike Bomber is said to be imminent. But in fact, the aircraft may already be under development, the Congressional Research Service said last week. The projected funding stream for the proposed new aircraft “resembles a production program more than a typical development profile,” CRS said. “This may indicate that significant LRS-B [Long Range Strike Bomber] development has already been completed, presumably […]

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Espionage Act Case Was “Overcharged,” Defense Says

In 2012, former Navy linguist James F. Hitselberger was indicted on two felony counts under the Espionage Act statutes after several classified documents were found in his possession. In 2013, a superseding indictment charged him with another four felony counts. But in the end, Mr. Hitselberger pleaded guilty this year to a single misdemeanor charge of removing classified documents without authorization. Now both the defense and the prosecution are endorsing Hitselberger’s request that any jail […]

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Army Doctrine on Geospatial Engineering

Those who are involved (or merely interested) in the field of geospatial intelligence will want to know about a new Army doctrinal publication on the subject. “Geospatial intelligence is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the earth. Geospatial intelligence consists of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information.” The new publication provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice […]

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ODNI Declassifies Data on Frequency of Surveillance

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the “2013 Statistical Transparency Report” detailing the frequency of use of various intelligence surveillance authorities and the estimated number of targets affected by the surveillance. While the reported numbers give some rough sense of the scale of intelligence surveillance — civil liberties groups said the estimated numbers are bound to be misleadingly low — the report provides no basis for evaluating the utility or legitimacy of […]

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The C-130 Hercules Aircraft, and More from CRS

The C-130 Hercules aircraft, which was introduced over half a century ago, is often flown by crew members who are younger than the plane they are flying. And that peculiar arrangement is likely to continue into the foreseeable future, says a new report from the Congressional Research Service. “The C-130 has been the cornerstone of the U.S. tactical airlift fleet since the late 1950s. Military planners believe that C-130 aircraft provide the United States an […]

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“For Official Use Only” is Used Too Much at DHS, House Says

There is too much information that is marked “For Official Use Only” at the Department of Homeland Security, the House Appropriations Committee said in its report on DHS Appropriations for 2015. Efforts to sort out what is really sensitive have “wasted substantial staff resources,” the report said. Therefore, the Committee would require any official who marked a document FOUO to identify himself or herself on the document, along with a justification for doing so. The […]

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Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy, and More from CRS

The implications of the conflict in Iraq for U.S. policy were examined in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. See Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy, June 20, 2014. The CRS report notably includes open source reporting and translations from the DNI Open Source Center. This sort of material had been routinely available to the public for decades until the CIA cut off public access to it last December 31. The CRS report on […]

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Army Directive Prohibits Retaliation for Reporting a Crime

The Secretary of the Army last week issued a directive specifying that retaliating against someone for reporting a crime is itself a crime. “No Soldier may retaliate against a victim, an alleged victim or another member of the Armed Forces based on that individual’s report of a criminal offense,” the new Directive states. See Prohibition of Retaliation Against Soldiers for Reporting a Criminal Offense, Army Directive 2014-20, June 19, 2014. Prohibited forms of retaliation include […]

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