Steven Aftergood

Recent Activity from Steven Aftergood

Can the Defense Department Build a Border Wall?

If the President were to declare a national emergency in order to justify building a “wall” on the border with Mexico, there would be certain legal authorities that he could invoke to initiate construction operations. But the scope of those legal authorities is uncertain and would almost certainly trigger litigation to challenge their application, the Congressional […]

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Defense Primers, and More from CRS

“The President does not need the concurrence of either his military advisors or the U.S. Congress to order the launch of nuclear weapons,” the Congressional Research Service reminded readers last month in an updated “defense primer” on “Command and Control of Nuclear Forces.” The CRS defense primer series consists of two-page introductions to a variety […]

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New Pre-Publication Review Policy is Coming

Two years ago, the House Intelligence Committee asked the Director of National Intelligence to improve the government’s controversial policy on reviewing books, articles and speeches by current and former intelligence employees prior to their publication, so as to make the process more uniform, timely and fair. That has still not been accomplished, but a new […]

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DNI Orders Security Clearance “Reciprocity”

One of the most vexatious aspects of the system of granting security clearances for access to classified information has been the reluctance of some government agencies to recognize the validity of clearances approved by other agencies, and to require new investigations and adjudications of previously cleared personnel. A new directive from the Director of National […]

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Congressional Oversight of Intelligence, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Background and Selected Options for Further Reform, December 4, 2018 The War Powers Resolution: Concepts and Practice, updated December 11, 2018 U.S. International Food Assistance: An Overview, December 6, 2018 U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications, updated […]

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US Sanctions on Russia, and More from CRS

The US has imposed several categories of sanctions on Russia in response to malicious or objectionable Russian activity. A new report from the Congressional Research Service provides an overview of US sanction tools and authorities, and their application to the case of Russia. It also discusses the various sanction regimes, their targets, their effectiveness, and […]

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DoD Says US, Turkey on a Collision Course

Turkey’s pending procurement of a Russian surface to air missile system would jeopardize its status in NATO, and disrupt other aspects of US military relations with that country, the Department of Defense told Congress. “The U.S. Government has made clear to the Turkish Government that purchasing the S-400 [surface to air missile system] would have […]

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Religious Support to Military Funerals

The US Army has issued updated guidance on military funerals that notably emphasizes freedom of religion and individual choice. “The Army requires the capability to provide RS [religious support] across austere and isolated locations which accommodates service members’ right to the free exercise of religion and supports resiliency efforts to sustain service members in combat.” […]

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Defense Primers, Costs of War, and More from CRS

Several short introductions to basic aspects of U.S. military policy have recently been updated by the Congressional Research Service. Intended for congressional consumers, they may also be useful to others. Defense Primer: Organization of U.S. Ground Forces, CRS In Focus, updated November 16, 2018 Defense Primer: Special Operations Forces, CRS In Focus, updated November 16, 2018 Defense […]

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