Steven Aftergood

Recent Activity from Steven Aftergood

Next HASC Chair Sees Need for Greater DoD Transparency

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the likely chair of the House Armed Services Committee in the next Congress, told congressional colleagues that enhancing national security transparency is among his top oversight priorities. “Together, we have made strides on national security issues but much more must be done to conduct vigorous oversight of the Trump Administration and […]

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Defense Primers, and More from CRS

Incoming members of Congress face a steep learning curve in trying to understand, let alone master, many diverse areas of public policy such as national defense. To help facilitate that learning process, the Congressional Research Service has issued a series of “defense primers” that provide a brief introduction to a variety of defense policy topics. […]

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Classified Anti-Terrorist Ops Raise Oversight Questions

Last February, the Secretary of Defense initiated three new classified anti-terrorist operations intended “to degrade al Qaeda and ISIS-affiliated terrorists in the Middle East and specific regions of Africa.” A glimpse of the new operations was provided in the latest quarterly report on the U.S. anti-ISIS campaign from the Inspectors General of the Department of Defense, Department of […]

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Presidential Disability and the 25th Amendment

Under the 25th amendment to the Constitution, a U.S. President could be declared “disabled” and removed from office against his will by the Vice President acting together with a majority of the Cabinet. A new report from the Congressional Research Service details the background and provisions of the amendment. Proponents of the 25th amendment insisted that it […]

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Invention Secrecy Hits Recent High

Last year the number of patent applications that were subject to a “secrecy order” under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 was the highest that it has been in more than two decades, according to data obtained from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Whenever disclosure of a new invention is deemed to be “detrimental to national security,” […]

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U.S. Curtails Asylum for Refugees Fleeing Gang Violence

In the recent past, refugees who were fleeing gang or domestic violence in their home countries were able to present a claim for asylum in the United States on that basis. Though such claims were not always accepted, they could at least be adjudicated. But in June of this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled […]

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Nuclear Stockpile Declassification Sought

The Federation of American Scientists asked the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to declassify and disclose the current size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, as they have done in past years. The number of nuclear weapons presently in the U.S. arsenal is deemed “Formerly Restricted Data” (FRD) that is classified under the Atomic Energy Act. […]

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“Taking” Marine Mammals for National Defense

The U.S. Navy this month updated its regulations on the use of marine mammals — such as whales, dolphins, and seals — for national defense purposes. See Acquisition, Transport, Care, and Treatment of Navy Marine Mammals, Secretary of the Navy Instruction 3900.41H, 10 October 2018. The Navy policy on marine mammals follows a 1987 statute (10 USC 7524) […]

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Arms Sales: Congressional Review, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process, updated October 22, 2018 Congress Considers Possible Responses to the Killing of a Saudi Journalist, CRS Insight, updated October 22, 2018 The United States and the “World Court”, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 17, 2018 The Global Compact on Migration (GCM) […]

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DOE Declassifies Declassification of Downblending Move

Last year, the Department of Energy decided to declassify the fact it intended to make 25 metric tons of Highly Enriched Uranium available from “the national security inventory” for downblending into Low Enriched Uranium for use in the production of tritium. However, the decision to declassify that information was classified Secret. This year, the Department […]

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