Locomotive Idling: CRS Comes Online

The Congressional Research Service launched its new public portal this morning, with an initial installment of 628 reports dating back to January of this year. The back catalog of older reports is supposed to be added over time. The public versions of the reports are lightly redacted to remove the author’s contact information, and to […]

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The Nuclear Weapons Complex, and More from CRS

The Department of Energy has nuclear weapons facilities in seven states including three laboratories, five component fabrication or materials production plants, one assembly and disassembly site, a geologic waste repository, and one testing facility. A new report from the Congressional Research Service summarizes operations at each of the sites. See The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Overview […]

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USAF: Implementing Arms Control Treaties

The implementation of arms control agreements by the Air Force is detailed in a newly updated directive. The directive addresses Air Force obligations under New START, US-IAEA Safeguard Agreements, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Biological Weapons Convention. See Implementation of, and Compliance with, Treaties Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, Air Force Instruction 16-608, September 7, 2018. […]

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Reviving the Role of CRS in Congressional Oversight

The Congressional Research Service once played a prominent role in supporting oversight by congressional committees. Although that support has diminished sharply in recent years, it could conceivably be restored in a new Congress, writes former CRS analyst Kevin R. Kosar in a new paper. In the past, CRS “closely assisted Congress in a myriad of major […]

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Army Needs Intelligence to Face “Peer Threats”

U.S. Army operations increasingly depend on intelligence to help confront adversaries who are themselves highly competent, the Army said this week in a newly updated publication on military intelligence. Future operations “will occur in complex operational environments against capable peer threats, who most likely will start from positions of relative advantage. U.S. forces will require effective intelligence […]

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Post-9/11 Costs of War Exceed $1.5 Trillion

“Since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) has obligated $1,500.8 billion for war-related costs.” That’s the headline from the latest report to Congress on the post-9/11 costs of war, according to the Pentagon’s own reckoning. See Cost of War Update as of March 31, 2018 (FY 2018, Quarter 2). Independent estimates of military spending that use […]

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A New “Light Attack” Aircraft, & More from CRS

A US Air Force program to acquire “light attack” aircraft is introduced in a new publication from the Congressional Research Service. “The OA-X light attack aircraft is a small, two-seat turboprop airplane designed for operation in relatively permissive environments.” It would give the Air Force “an ability to free up more sophisticated and expensive assets for other […]

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Pentagon Moves to Support War in the “Grey Zone”

The Department of Defense issued a directive this month based on new authority granted by Congress last year to engage in “low-visibility, irregular warfare” operations. In the FY2018 defense authorization act (PL 115-91, sect. 1202) Congress specifically authorized the Secretary of Defense “to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in […]

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Considering a “Space Force,” & More from CRS

The Congressional Research Service says that, as a constitutional matter, it will be up to Congress to determine whether and how to reorganize the management of US national security assets in space, and whether to establish a new “space force,” as the Trump Administration has proposed. “The constitutional framework appears to contemplate that the role […]

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Financial Accounts May Be “Modified” to Shield Classified Programs

In an apparent departure from “generally accepted accounting principles,” federal agencies will be permitted to publish financial statements that are altered so as to protect information on classified spending from disclosure. The new policy was developed by the government’s Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) in response to concerns raised by the Department of Defense […]

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