2017 Intelligence Bill Would Constrain Privacy Board

The jurisdiction of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) would be restricted for the second year in a row by the Senate Intelligence Committee version of the FY2017 Intelligence Authorization Act (S.3017). Section 603 of the Act would specifically limit the scope of PCLOB’s attention to the privacy and civil liberties “of United […]

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Growing District Court Vacancies, and More from CRS

The number of vacancies in U.S. district courts around the country increased by a hefty 71% from the beginning of the Obama Administration (when there were 41 vacancies) until June 1 of the Administration’s eighth year (when there were 70 vacancies), according to a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service. By contrast, the number […]

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Red Teams Needed to Critique Military Operations

U.S. military commanders would do well to make use of “red teams” composed of independent experts to evaluate and critique U.S. military operations as they are being planned, according to a new publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Red teams can “help commanders and staffs think critically and creatively; challenge assumptions; mitigate groupthink; reduce […]

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Islamic State Acolytes, and More from CRS

Domestic supporters of the Islamic State “have accounted for 67 homegrown violent jihadist plots between 2014 and early June 2016” involving more than 100 individuals, according to a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service. “In November 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly had more than 900 investigations of IS suspects in the […]

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Congress Passes FOIA Improvement Act

The House of Representatives yesterday approved the Freedom of Information Act Improvement Act, which had previously been adopted by the Senate. If signed by President Obama, as expected, it will strengthen several provisions of the FOIA and should enhance disclosure of government records. The bill “reaffirms the public’s right to know and puts in place […]

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Funding Overseas Contingency Ops, and More from CRS

The use of the “overseas contingency operations” budget construct to circumvent limits on discretionary spending was examined in a report from the Congressional Research Service published yesterday. “Some DOD officials argue that this funding approach is essential to enable a timely military response to a dynamic enemy operating in a complex battlespace,” the CRS report […]

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SSCI Bill Adopts Fundamental Classification Review

The Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (FCGR) that was launched by President Obama’s 2009 executive order 13526 would be written into statute by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in its version of the FY intelligence authorization act (S. 3017), released this week. The FCGR has become the primary mechanism for systematically updating agency classification rules […]

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Social Media in Congress, and More from CRS

“In less than 20 years, the entire nature of Member-constituent communication has been transformed, perhaps more than in any other period in American history,” observes a new report from the Congressional Research Service. Congressional offices now receive hundreds of millions of electronic communications from constituents each year, vastly more than they ever did using postal […]

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Intelligence Reform in the Jimmy Carter Era

“Public trust and confidence in the Intelligence Community have been seriously undermined by disclosures of activities in the past that were illegal, injudicious or otherwise improper by today’s standards,” according to a 1977 interagency memorandum circulated by National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. “Moreover, many disillusioned persons who have come to believe the worst of their […]

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DoD’s Rotation to the Philippines, and More from CRS

“On March 18, 2016, the United States and the Republic of the Philippines announced the selection of five military sites that will host a rotation of U.S. military units. This marks the first time that U.S. units will be welcomed by the Republic on regularly scheduled visits since the last permanent garrisons were withdrawn in […]

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