Defense Reform: Yes, But How? (and more from CRS)

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the organization and performance of the Department of Defense, a new Congressional Research Service report says, but no consensus on what to do about it. Driving the current debate, CRS says, are questions such as: *     “Why, after the expenditure of nearly $1.6 trillion and over 15 years at war […]

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DoD Directs “Equal Attention” to Secrecy, Declassification

Declassification of national security information should be pursued on a par with classification, according to a Department of Defense directive that was reissued yesterday. “Declassification of information will receive equal attention as the classification of information so that information remains classified only as long as required by national security considerations,” said DoD Instruction 5200.01, dated […]

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Border Security Doesn’t Yield Consistent Results (CRS)

Border security to prevent unauthorized migration along the U.S-Mexico border is a dynamic and challenging problem that has not consistently been mitigated by allocating increased resources, such as fencing and surveillance, says a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. “Robust investments at the border were not associated with reduced unauthorized inflows during the […]

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Air Force Updates Doctrine on Cyberspace Operations

Within living memory, even a passing mention of cyber weapons or U.S. offensive activities in cyberspace was deemed sufficient to justify national security classification. Now, although the Obama Administration generally neither claims nor receives credit for it, military cyberspace doctrine has become one of a number of significant policy areas in which this Administration is […]

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Cross-Cutting Intelligence Issues, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service raises the possibility that polygraph testing of intelligence employees could be phased out in favor of “continuous evaluation” (CE), i.e. the automated monitoring of financial, criminal and other databases. The notion was suggested in a CRS overview of selected intelligence policy issues, including budget management, the quality […]

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Counting Casualties in Syria & Iraq, and More from CRS

The number of people killed in Syria since March 2011 is variously estimated to be between 250,000 and 470,000. The number of estimated casualties in Iraq ranges from 19,000 to 41,650 deaths since January 2014. A new report from the Congressional Research Service somewhat clinically discusses “the difficulties of collecting war-related casualty data in both […]

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Next U.S. National Military Strategy to be Classified

In a number of national security policy areas, there is a long-term trend in favor of greater transparency and disclosure. For example, the U.S. Army openly published a manual last week on Techniques for Information Collection During Operations Among Populations (ATP 3-55.4). It supersedes and replaces a previous publication from 2007 (FM 2-91.6) that was […]

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Preparing for the Presidential Transition, and More from CRS

The transfer of presidential power from one Administration to the next “is a complex and multi-faceted undertaking” that actually begins several months before the general election, an updated report from the Congressional Research Service explains. The law known as the Presidential Transition Act (PTA) “includes a number of provisions related to the pre-election portion of […]

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DoD: Some FOIA Requesters “Try to Monopolize the System”

Criticism of the Freedom of Information Act is frequently directed at the way that agencies implement the FOIA process, or the ways that they fail to do so. Requesters complain that responses to requests are delayed, often for years, that exemptions from disclosures are interpreted too broadly or in self-serving ways, and that fee waivers […]

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DNI Establishes Intelligence Transparency Council

The notion of “intelligence transparency,” which once would have been considered an oxymoron, is instead becoming institutionalized with the establishment of a new Intelligence Transparency Council. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper signed the Charter of the new Council on April 5. The Council includes representatives of each of the 17 Intelligence Community member agencies. […]

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